Suffering for Christ

    Monday, February 16, 2015, 1:06 PM [General]

    1st Peter 3:17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.  18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

    4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.  17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?  18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?  19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.  (KJV)

    Peter points out, and the Holy Spirit affirms that as Christians, we can expect to suffer.  Christians are not perfect, and will suffer for sins.  Beyond that, Christians can also expect to suffer for doing good.  This is because Jesus pointed out that if you strive to follow Him, you could expect this world to treat you as it treated Him.  We are to accept suffering as a sign that we are God’s children.  Our Heavenly Father chastens and scourges all who come to Him, for our own good to train us how to live in His kingdom.

    2nd Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.  (KJV)

    People better get prepared, because the new world coming that everyone keeps talking about is not what the people of this world is expecting.  As earth develops its own new world (as in reference to the New World Order politicians push), or that New Age that spiritualists and gurus talk about, let us remember that that is for this world, and this world is ruled by Satan (HaSatan or Lucifer).  When our Heavenly Father brings in His Kingdom, this world will experience more troubles than mankind has ever conceived.  Are you ready?

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    Lusting for the Things of this World

    Monday, February 16, 2015, 12:28 PM [General]

    James points out how easily our lusts make us ineffective.  We see a new car- we lust after it.  We see a beautiful home- we lust after it.  We see this; we see that; we lust.  He says that we have not because we ask not, or we ask for the wrong thing (we ask amiss by KJV).  We may ask for a new car, house, or this or that, but be asking amiss, because we are asking for what we ‘lust’ after, and not necessarily what we need to accomplish God’s purpose.  If we are truly Christian, we should be only concerned about His purpose, because He is the One Who created us.  Then we should relax with confidence that He will supply all we need to work out His purpose.  When we ask for anything from a heart that is geared to do His will, He will give all we need and more to facilitate our carrying out His will and purpose.  As for more than that (the new car, house, this, or that) we should recognize that this world is not our home, and that our true, eternal home is being prepared above.  Doing more for His will and purpose means making a more beautiful home that will last for eternity.

    James goes on to call this chasing after earthly lusts as adulteries.  This is as God through the prophets of the Old Testament referred to Israel and Judah as whores and harlots.  The whole concept of adultery, whoredom, and harlotry refers to unfaithfulness.  Lusting after the things of this world represents being unfaithful to God, because Satan (Lucifer) is the prince of the power of the air and ruler of this world (Ephesians 2: 2; 2nd Corinthians 4:4).  Any time we let our earthly desires dwell on the things of this world instead of on our Creator’s will and purpose, we are being adulterers against Him (we are being unfaithful to Him).  That is why James said that being friends with this world was being an enemy to God.  Are we not all guilty before Him?

    James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you?  Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?  2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.  3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.  4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?  Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

    5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?  6 But he giveth more grace.  Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.  7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.  Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.  9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.  10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

    17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.  (KJV)

    It is God’s will for us to do good.  So in that we do not do what good we can find to do, it is sin.

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    Faith & Works

    Monday, February 16, 2015, 11:37 AM [General]

    Discussing the relationship between faith and works can be tricky.  People who have that genuine faith don’t have any problem understanding that their faith naturally leads to the works that come from that heart of faith.  Still, the Scriptures teach that you are not saved by works, but by the grace of God shown to those who put their faith (genuine faith) in Him.  From the Hebrew and Greek there are a number of words that are sometimes translated as belief, believe, trust, confidence, faith, or maybe others that I can’t think of just now.  Why?  Well why is it in English we have the different words belief, faith, trust, or confidence?  How much difference is there in the meanings of the words?  As in, I think all languages, there is a great deal of difference in meanings according to how words are used.  That difference can be more difficult to decipher sometimes when translated between different languages.

    If someone asks you do you believe in Jesus, do you automatically think, “Well, of course, He is well known in history”?  But if someone asks you if you believe in your neighbor, you may stop and think, “Well, I tend to question things about him, and I’m not so sure that I ‘really’ believe in him.”  When the Scriptures teach that believing in Jesus will lead to salvation, it does not simply mean to believe that He was a real historical person.  One must get to know Him personally and ‘really’ believe in Him, Who He is, and His work and teachings.  If someone believes that Jesus wasn’t really telling the truth when He taught that He is the Only Way to personally know our Heavenly Father, then would you want to tell someone that you believed in someone that you believed wasn’t telling the truth?

    The works that come from the faith demonstrate that trusting faith.  Works that you believe will bring you to Heaven are not works of faith, because you believe that the works are what will bring you salvation.  But if you have the genuine faith, those works come naturally from a heart of love that seeks to serve our Creator because of the love He demonstrated to us.  Those works are often in our doing for others, because we know that others are part of His creation, and we wish all to share in His blessings.

    Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.  3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

    6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.  (KJV)

    James 2:13 14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works?  Can faith save him?  15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?  17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

    18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.  19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

    20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?  21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?  22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?  23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.  24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.  (KJV)

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    Sunday, February 15, 2015, 3:15 PM [General]

    James 5:8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.  (KJV)

    Hebrews 10:36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.  37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.  38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.  39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. (KJV)

    Many times in the New Testament it is told how much we need patience.  Living with patience does not mean just carrying on life as though there were nothing more to be concerned with.  Patience means that something is waited for or anticipated.  That anticipation may be waiting for that home in Heaven, but if it is to be done with patience, then it means an eager anticipation or it would not require patience.  If you want to live in this world as long as you can, then you don’t have to be patient about waiting to enter the next one.  You just carry on and hope this life is a long one.  If you are eager for a Heavenly home, then you must wait patiently for the Lord’s appointed time.  However for many enduring the persecution that the Bible speaks of that God’s children will experience, that patience means more difficult patience.  It is not easy to be patient for suffering to end, but the Bible teaches that God’s children will endure this, and learning patience is part of it.

    From above: “38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, …”  I believe in eternal security (once saved, always saved).  I have written on this in the past.  There are several verses in Hebrews that some people use to argue that salvation can be lost, and this reference to one who ‘draws back’ is sometimes thought to mean one who was saved and drew back, thus losing that salvation.  In this verse, one who draws back refers to anyone who perhaps goes to church, shows and interest (they come close enough to and sense and taste of that saving power of the Holy Spirit, as in Hebrews 6: 4 or as King Agrippa listening to Paul in Acts 26: 28- ‘almost persuaded’) yet they turn aside and don’t fully commit to that saving faith.  They are as those in verse 39 above who do not believe (with that firm conviction) to (believe to the point of) the saving of the soul.

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    Rich in this World

    Sunday, February 15, 2015, 12:45 PM [General]

    James 5:1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.  2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.  3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire.  Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.  4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.  5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.  (KJV)

    How easy it is to look around and want all that this world has to offer.  Yes, we may like to have this and that, but the Jesus told us not to store up treasures in this world, but to store them up for eternal treasures, not like those in this world which will fade away.  There are even those false teachers who will tell you that Jesus wants to fill your life in this world with these earthly riches.  The Bible clearly warns that the ‘rich in this world’ will eventually “weep and howl” because of the miseries that would come upon them.

    It goes on to tell how the rich got rich by keeping back the hire (modern- keeping wages low enough that that the laborers barely get by).  Even false teachers who get rich by “panhandling salvation by distorting God’s Word” (not a true salvation, because it is not based on the TRUTH of God’s Word) are doing the same, in that they accept money from people who can ill-afford it because they are deceived by those teachings.  People accumulate worldly treasures in this world and rejoice in their pleasure, but they will be ‘weeping and howling’ as the Scripture above teaches.

    1st John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.  (KJV)

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