Payday for the Proud

“GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”    James 4:6

I don’t know about you, but I definitely need the grace of God daily.  I don’t need Him to oppose me or resist me because of pride in my life. I need Him to enable me to walk in the Spirit and be a blessing to others, not a stumbling block to others.

Here is scripture I found in Isaiah that speaks of a day of reckoning. It is a good reminder of what happens to the proud and those who reject God’s Word. May it be food for your spirit man.

“For the Lord of hosts will have a day of reckoning against everyone who is proud and lofty, and against everyone who is lifted up, that he may be abased.”

“And the pride of man will be humbled, and the loftiness of men will be abased, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.

“But the idols will completely vanish. And men will go into caves of the rocks, and into holes of the ground BEFORE THE TERROR OF THE LORD, AND BEFORE THE SPLENDOR OF HIS MAJESTY, WHEN HE ARISES TO MAKE THE EARTH TREMBLE.”

“In that day men will cast away to the moles and the bats their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship, in order to go into the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs, BEFORE THE TERROR OF THE LORD AND THE SPLENDOR OF HIS MAJESTY, WHEN HE ARISES TO MAKE THE EARTH TREMBLE.”

Isaiah 2: 12, 17-21 NASB (emphasis added)

In Isaiah, God is about to bring judgement on the “house of Jacob” who has forsaken Him, for idols. Terrible judgement is coming on them. The proud will be humbled.

In Revelation 6: 14-17 we see the same futile “hiding” by the proud in the future. They still have their idols and have rejected the gospel of the Lord.

“And the sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

And the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains;

and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “FALL ON US AND HIDE US FROM THE PRESENCE OF HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE, AND FROM THE WRATH OF THE LAMB;

FOR THE GREAT DAY OF THEIR WRATH HAS COME; AND WHO IS ABLE TO STAND?”

(emphasis added)

He describes these people and their idolatry in Revelation 9:20:

“And the rest of mankind, who where not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of sliver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.”

Thanks be to God, our Father, because He sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins. We will not be on the receiving end of “the wrath of the Lamb”.  Let us walk humbly before our God and greatly rejoice in His love, grace and mercy.

May His peace be upon you! Keep yourself from idols!

Carl

God Wants Us To Meet Pressing Needs

If you go to the state of Idaho today, the U. S. Forest Service has identified and marked some of the trails Lewis and Clark traveled in 1803 – 1804. The trails were created thousands of years before Lewis and Clark, by the Native Americans traveling to the buffalo hunting grounds and back. It was in these mountains that Lewis and his men were close to starvation. Lewis sent a small advance party ahead of the main group on foot, hoping to find an Indian tribe that had food. As the advance party emerged from the mountains onto the prairie, they surprised a Nez Perce foraging party, consisting of mainly women, children and older men. They were digging camas roots for food.

The Indians were startled by the strangers. Though they had heard of the white man from other tribes, they had never seen one and these strangers did not look white. The Americans were very dark due to sunburns, had full straggly beards. They were dirty, stinky men dressed in strange clothing with things on their heads (hats), and spoke words they did not understand. They later stated that initially they thought the Americans were a form of wild dog.

After the initial meeting was over and the tribe had fed the party camas roots and dried fish, Lewis’ men made their camp for the night outside the village. The unusual food made all the men sick. The Indians meanwhile convened a tribal meeting to decide what to do with the strangers. It was agreed that they would kill Lewis and all of his men.

Nez Perce tradition says the reason they decided to kill the men was because the tribe had recently sent a peace delegation to the Shoshones to establish friendly relations, but the peace overtures were rejected and the entire delegation was killed. When Lewis and his group showed up, they had with them a female Shoshone guide, Sacajawea. The Nez Perce were afraid this group was a Shoshone Trojan horse to destroy their village.

An Indian woman named, Watkuweis, whose name means “Returns from a Far Land”, objected. She had been kidnapped by the Minitarries tribe and taken north, eventually ending up in the Great Lakes area where she saw white people. After being the slave of a white man, she escaped and was given supplies and a horse by kind white people, which allowed her to eventually reach her Idaho tribe.

She told the group that it would be wrong to kill these strangers, because they were good people like the ones who had helped her to escape.

Due to the kindness shown this poor woman, by white strangers who had nothing to gain by helping her, the Nez Perce spared the lives of Lewis, Clark and the twenty members of the Corp.

We do not know if these white people where Christians or not but, at a minimum, I believe they had been influenced by Christian teaching or culture. The wilderness was a tough place to live and a wicked person would definitely not have a problem with making someone his slave to share some of the tasks.

The point is, they helped save the life of this poor, abused, lonely woman and later, their kind, unselfish, deed was multiplied at least 22 times by saving the lives of the expedition members. These people never knew their kindness saved Lewis and his men.

As born again people, our Heavenly Father, has given us instructions through Paul about good deeds:

“Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.” Titus 3:14 NASB

Paul says again to Titus:

“This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.” Titus 3:8 NASB

Therefore, let this true story encourage us to “engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs”. We may never know what fruit is borne in other’s lives because of our compassion. But, there is coming a day when all shall be revealed and we will know the whole story.

Before you and I were saved, God had already prepared good deeds for us to engage in.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 NASB

And Lord Jesus said;

“By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” John 15:8

May your, “walking in good works”, bring joy to you and to the Lord. At the same time, we will be glorifying our Father in heaven! Blessings upon you.

Thank you for your time,

Carl

“Good Good Father”

The name “Father” for God has been brought to the fore by the very popular song entitled Good Good Father by Chris Tomlin.  It is an inspiring and truthful song. He truly is the perfect Father to those who have received the gospel of Jesus Christ and have been born again.  Sadly, those who have rejected His Son’s sacrifice on the Cross for their sins and His Lordship still have another father, Satan.

If we like this song and are calling God our “Father”, we need to give heed to what the Apostle Peter said about calling God “Father” in I Peter 1: 17-19:

“And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” (Emphasis added)

He says if we address God as “Father”, we need to

“conduct ourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon the earth.”

For us to properly understand his instructions we need to understand what it cost God to justly purchase us out of slavery to the devil and what the word “fear” means in this scripture.  The purpose of this study is to look at the word “fear”.

Vines Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words defines  “fear” as follows:

  • reverential fear of God, as a controlling motive of the life, in matters spiritual and moral,
  • not a mere “fear” of His power and righteous retribution, but a wholesome dread of displeasing Him
  • a “fear” which banishes the terror that shrinks from His presence, Romans 8:15, and which influences the disposition and attitude of one whose circumstances are guided by trust in God, through the indwelling Spirit of God.
  • concerning I Peter 1:17 specifically it says: “the reverential “fear” of God will inspire a constant carefulness in dealing with others in His “fear”.

The Greek scholar Vincent, quoting Wardlaw on Proverbs, defines the word “fear” as follows:

  • “This fear is self-distrust; it is tenderness of conscience; it is vigilance against temptation;
  • it is the fear which inspiration opposes to high-mindedness in the admonition, ‘be not high-minded but fear’;
  • it is a constant apprehension of the deceitfulness of the heart, and of the insidiousness and power of inward corruption,
  • it is the caution and circumspection which timidly shrinks from whatever would offend and dishonor God and the Savior.”

As we can see this “fear” or “wholesome dread of displeasing Him” shapes our Christian character and our conduct “in dealing with others”. It is not being terrified of the Lord because Romans 8:15 says

“For you have not received a spirit of slavery, leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!.”

This “spirit of slavery, leading to fear again” is referring to the terror the children of Israel expressed to Moses when God came down on the mountain to talk to them. They shrank away from God’s presence because of it. As born-again people in the New Testament period, we have been adopted into God’s family and He is our Heavenly Father. We can come boldly to His throne of grace to find help in time of need. Yet, we are still exhorted in the New Testament to conduct ourselves in the fear of the Lord.

The quote from Wardlaw throws light on this “fear” and its relation to our old sinful self. Though this is the “old man” that died with Jesus on the Cross in Romans 6:6, we must be on the alert for the old sinful self’s  insidiousness;  how it draws us into disobedience in a way that is gradual or not easily noticed.

In conclusion, if we are calling God our Father, Peter tells us to pay attention to our behavior.  The standard of conduct can not be what we think is right or wrong, but the standard must be what His Word, the Bible,  says is right and wrong.

If we are living in sin and calling Him “Father” and He really is our “Father” because we are born-again, remember He disciplines all His children so they may partake of His holiness. Discipline, maybe severe discipline expressed as “great tribulations” in Rev. 2: 22, may come our way if we are obstinate and persist in our rebellion to His will. Paul told the Corinthians in II Corinthians 12: 21 concerning unrepentant believers:

“I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, immorality and sensuality which they have practiced.”

Paul’s desire was to come to Corinth and build up the church. If these people did not repent and change their behavior, he would mourn because he would have to “tear down” the sin these people had built into their lifestyle. He would use his apostolic authority from the Lord to bring severe discipline to these believers. In the early church, this could mean dying, being turned over to Satan, or other visible manifestations of God’s anger/displeasure. We find him grieved in Galatians over the believers who forsook grace and returned to legalism, knowing that they would be severely disciplined for this.

God desire is to build us up to be like His Son Jesus. Not to have to tear us down because of our rebellion. But He is the Good Good Father.

I love you in the Lord. I close with my favorite definition of the fear of the Lord.

“And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28

Carl

Root of All Evil

IMG_0831

This tip jar is at a south Louisiana convenience store.  The clerk modified the scriptural message to fit her need. Some people were taking advantage of her offer.

This image reminds me of the apostle Paul’s instructions to Timothy in I Timothy 6:9-10:

“…but they that after giving the matter mature consideration desire to be wealthy, fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful cravings which are of such a nature as to drown men in destruction and perdition; for a root of all the evils is the fondness for money, which certain ones, bending their every effort to grasp, have been led astray from the Faith and have pierced themselves through with many consuming griefs.  (Wuest Expanded Translation – added emphasis)

May money have the proper place in our lives and not be an idol.

“Let your manner of life be without love of money, being satisfied with your present circumstances. For He himself has said, and the statement is on record, I will not, I will not cease to sustain and uphold you.  I will not, I will not, I will not let you down.”  (Hebrew 13:5 Wuest Expanded Translation)

Bless be God The Father who has redeemed us out of the slave market of sin by the precious blood of Jesus His Holy Son and transferred us into His eternal kingdom in-Christ!

Keep yourself from idols.

Carl

Advice From George Mueller

We should always read and meditate over the Word of God with reference to ourselves and our own heart. This is deeply important, and I cannot press it too earnestly upon you. We are apt often to read the Word with reference to others. Parents read it in reference to their children, children for their parents; evangelists read it for their congregations, Sunday school teachers for their classes. Oh! This is a poor way of reading the Word; if read in this way, it will not profit. I say it deliberately and advisedly: the sooner it is given up, the better for your own souls. Read the Word of God always with reference to your own heart, and when you have received the blessing in your own heart, you will be able to communicate it to others.
Whether you labor as evangelists, as pastors, or as visitors, superintendents of Sunday schools, teachers, tract distributors, or in whatever other capacity you may seek to labor for the Lord, be careful to let the reading of the Word be with distinct reference to your own heart. Ask yourselves, “How does this suit me, either for instruction, for correction, for exhortation, or for rebuke (2Ti 3:16)? How does this affect me?” If you thus read and get the blessing in your own soul, how soon it will flow out to others!
–George Müller

George Mueller (1805-1898) founded Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England where 10,024 orphans were cared for during his lifetime. He also founded 117 schools where more than 120,000 children received a Christian education. He did all of this without letting the financial needs be known to anyone except God. He met all his needs.

Regarding his quote, remember that pride always sees the faults of others. Therefore, when Carl is walking in pride, the truth seen in the reading of the Word or the preaching of the Word can easily be applied to someone else. And I miss out on what God wants to do in my own life. Not good!

Carl will be better off if he humbles himself and submits himself to God and His Word. Then I am open to receive what truth the Lord is trying to show me in His Word.

Let us receive Brother Muller’s instructions.

May His sanctifying grace and tranquilizing peace be upon you.

Carl

Payday for Jezebel

“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent.”   Jesus  Rev. 3:19 NASB

“…but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.” Hebrews 12: 10 NASB

Welcome back as we continue our study of the Book of Jude in the New Testament. We are reviewing what the Lord is doing in the Thyatira church (Rev. 2:18-29) which has been deceived by a false prophetess named Jezebel.  Our opening scriptures give us two reasons why the Lord  disciplines His children, first because He loves us and, secondly, because it makes us share in His holiness.  As we will see, He is going to discipline His mislead bond-servants in Thyatira. They needed to quickly repent of their involvement in immorality and idolatry.

Now we come to the false prophetess, Jezebel’s, payday. She is going to receive from the hand of the Lord what she has sowed.  He is going to protect His Bride from this ambassador of satan.

Notice first, though, the mercy of our Lord. Even in His wrath, He is merciful to this person:

” ‘And I gave her time to repent…’ ”  Lord Jesus, Rev 2:21

Unfortunately,

” ‘…and she does not want to repent of her immorality.’ ”  Lord Jesus, Rev 2:21

I believe this person was not a born again person who had been deceived, but was a false brethren who had “crept in unnoticed” as Jude warned.  I like to believe that if she had been indwelled by the Holy Spirit, she would have repented.

Because she would not repent, wrath has come. Lord Jesus said:

” ‘ Behold, I will cast her upon a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with pestilence…”    Rev 2:22-23

Her sin of immorality was carried out in a bed and there, she would experience judgement, “great tribulation”.  As far as “killing her children with pestilence”, all the commentaries I reviewed said these were her followers. Just as Timothy and Onesimus are described as Paul’s children in the faith, she had “children” in her idolatrous faith.  Some thought “death” referred to the “second death” at the great white throne judgment where people are cast in the lake of fire.  But if pestilence is the correct word, that speaks of death associated with earthly disease.  Since the believers that had been misled by her, were technically her “children” also, it must have applied to them also, IF THEY DID NOT REPENT.

The phrase, “…and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation…”, includes the Lord’s misled bond-servants. “Adultery” speaks of the spiritual adultery like the nation of Israel committed by going after other gods.  Of course, it may speak of physical adultery also.

Here are Christians who are participating in immorality and idolatry. And they are about to experience “great tribulation unless they repent of her deeds.”  They needed to quickly “change their mind” resulting in righteous behavior or suffer the wrath of God.

Paul has warned us in Ephesians 5:5-6

“For this know with certainty, that no immoral, or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers  with them. (Emphasis mine)

Paul says almost the exact same thing in Colossians 3:5-6.  Notice also the following statement that Moses made to the children of Israel concerning the dangers of going after other gods:

“And it shall come about that as the Lord delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the Lord will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you; and you shall be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it.”  Deuteronomy 28: 63

Moses was warning Israel that this is what would happen to them if they went after other gods and forsook their Savior.  This is what we see happening in Thyatira to the misled New Testament believers, if they do not repent.  As Paul said in I Cor. 10:20 they were sharing in demons, by eating food sacrificed to demons (an idol) and participating in fornication, adultery, and other sexual vices. And the Lord hated it. And He still hates it today.

Dear Reader, as Paul exhorted us, do not let anyone deceive you with “empty words”.  There are many “empty words” being spoken today by people who claim to be believers.   Paul told Timothy to watch out for those who did not advocate “sound words”, which are “those of the Lord Jesus Christ and with the doctrine conforming to godliness” (I Timothy 6:3) So called “spiritual truths” that do not conform the saints to Christ likeness are “empty words”.

The Lord Jesus said all the churches would realize the following when they heard what He said and did in the Thyatira church situation.  You and I are to realize this.

” ‘ …and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.” Lord Jesus, Rev.2:23

May the eyes of our heart be open and illuminated by His Holy Spirit concerning what is hidden in our hearts and minds!  Thank you for your time.

“Little children, guard yourselves from idols.  Apostle John, I John 5:21

Carl

Provoking The Lord To Jealousy

“…But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel who calls herself a prophetess and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray, so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.” (Rev. 2:20 KJV)

In the last two posts we have looked at ancient society and idol worship. Now we want to discuss Jezebel, the false prophetess.

Like Balaam and the Nicolaitans, she was responsible for seducing the people of God to participate in the idolatrous feasts of pagans and to participate in immorality.

Two blogs back we looked at the importance of the pagan sacrifices in ancient cultures. Not only were they important in a religious and civil sense but also socially. The early Christian’s daily life was spent in the midst of a society saturated in idol worship and immorality. This is why Paul said to the Corinthian Christians:

“Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say. Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a SHARING in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a SHARING in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread. Look at the nation of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices SHARERS in the altar? What do we mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that the things which the gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God; and I do not want you to become SHARERS IN DEMONS. You CANNOT drink the cup of the Lord and the CUP OF DEMONS; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the TABLE OF DEMONS. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy?”

(I Corinthians 10: 14 – 22 emphasis mine)

If the Old Testament children of Israel, who did not have the indwelling Holy Spirit, provoked the Lord to jealousy with idols; HOW MUCH MORE the New Testament believers who have the indwelling Holy Spirit in them and are becoming sharers in demons by eating the sacrifices to these demons. This is why James 4: 5 says

“Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealousy desires the Spirit which He made to dwell in us?””

As we will see, Jezebel, and these New Testament Christians who followed her, DID provoke the Lord to jealousy. What was written in Deuteronomy, still applies to us and the bond servants in Thyratira:

“They made Him jealous with strange gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger. They sacrificed to demons who were not God, To gods whom they have not known, New gods who came lately, Whom your fathers did not dread.” (Deut. 32: 16-17)

And in another place it says:

“They have made Me jealous with what is not God. They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. (Deut. 32: 21a)

Paul warned us in I Corinthians 10: 11 that:

“Now these things” [what happened in the Old Testament] “happened to them” [the Old Testament children of God] “as an example” [to New Testament believers] “and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (Emphasis mine)

In other words, we, the New Testament Christians, like the children of Israel, can provoke the Lord to jealousy and anger by getting involved with idols, gods of other religions, or other abominations; such as witchcraft, divination, sorcery, spells, mediums, spiritist, necromancy (Deut. 18: 10-14), astrology and other evil practices. Paul instructed us to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. John told us to keep ourselves from idols and there are still plenty of idols around today. For example, do you know that a

“…covetous man, ….is an idolater…..’ (Ephesians 5:5)

Mammon or worldly riches is the idol of today’s covetous man and he is bowing down to and sacrificing his life to mammon. Jesus said you can not serve Him and mammon!

Also listen to what Samuel told Saul when Saul failed to obey the Lord’s command to exterminate the Amalekites:

“For rebellion is as the sin of divination” [or witchcraft] “and insubordination is as iniquity and IDOLATRY.” (I Samuel 15:23 addition and emphasis mine)

In the Lord’s eyes many things are idolatry, not just worshipping an idol in a pagan temple.

Jude said in verse 21:

“..keep yourselves in the love of God…”

The Lord Jesus said

“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. (John 15: 9-10)

When we came to Christ we had to repent or change our mind and behavior toward sin. Upon receiving the Holy Spirit, He spread the love of God in our hearts and gave us wonderful promises that, by renewing our mind, we can escape the corruption that is in the world through lust and order our daily behavior to imitate Christ. This is Truth but we throw a wrench in the gears of these Truths by not maintaining our initial repentance or turning away from sin.

Dear Reader, let us press on in imitating Christ by keeping His commandments, walking in agape love toward our fellow Christians and all men. Pay close attention to yourself. The deceitfulness of sin makes you believe that the sinful act will bring you true happiness. Our true joy, happiness and fulfillment lies only in our relationship with the Lord Jesus. Your life is hid in His.

Don’t let the deceitfulness of sin lull you to sleep and you awake to find yourself in darkness enslaved to practices that are an abomination to the Savior. Do not provoke Him to jealously. Repent if you need to and get up from defeat and go on in overcoming victory in the power of His Spirit. May God richly bless our obedience!

Carl