Whitewashed… or Washed White…

There are a lot of people whitewashed with religion who are not washed white in the blood of Christ. This is indeed a true saying. Nicodemus was a most religious man, but he needed to be washed white. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee” said the Saviour, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) And when Nicodemus expressed his surprise at the Lord’s teaching, he was met by the solemn declaration, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:7) You may be respectable, moral, upright, kind, amiable, and religious, without being washed white in the precious blood of Christ. (I Peter 1:19; I John 1:7).

A professing Christian was awakened out of her slumber of death in a very remarkable way. A high Church dignitary advised her to burn some Gospel tracts given to her by a relative. As she watched the destruction of one of them, her eye caught the words of one of the pages, “I was going respectably and religiously to hell.” The Holy Spirit revealed to her the fact that though she was “whitewashed” she was not washed white; that, in fact, she was “going respectably and religiously to hell!”

The Lord Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7: 13, 14) Multitudes throng the broad way, some on the clean footpath, and others on the dirty footpath. Few find the strait gate; they mistake other gates for the strait one. Some mistake ‘religion’ and ‘churchanity’ for Christ and Christianity.

Which road is the reader traveling — the broad or the narrow? Which class do you belong to —-the whitewashed or the washed white? Are you regenerated? Have you been ‘converted’ to, and by, God? If not, hearken to Christ’s declaration: “Except you be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). If you have never experienced this great change, you are an unsaved, unsanctified, unforgiven soul. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be cleansed from every stain (Acts 16:31). — A.M.

A tract from Pilgrim Tract Society, Randleman, NC 27317. Contributions send tracts to many nations. Send postage for 100 samples of tracts)

For more information on the Narrow Way, please search this blog for the “Narrow Way”. It is our most read post. Thank You.

Above All Things

“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” Proverb 4: 23

The writer of Proverbs warns us about the importance of what goes into our heart or inner person, the true ‘you’. “…with all diligence…” is also translated “above all things…”. Above all things we should watch over our heart for from it flow the springs of life!

He then goes on to tell us how to guard and examine our hearts. He uses such terms as “put away”, “put…far from you”, “watch”, “do not turn”, and then in another verse he tells us to “turn”. In other words, it is our responsibility to be pro-active in watching over our heart. A passive mind and will is the enemy of our heart and the welcome mat to our sinful nature and demonic intrigue.

First he warns us about our “mouth” and “lips”. “Put away from you a deceitful mouth and put devious lips far from you.” (verse 24) If we wish to know what is in our heart, all we need to do is listen to the words coming out of our mouth. The words of our mouth reveal the content of our heart. If we find evil (i.e. bitterness, deceitfulness, lying, boasting, etc.) pouring out of us, we need to find the root in our heart and remove it by repentance based on the word of God and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Secondly, he warns us about what we are paying attention to. Let your eyes look directly ahead, and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.” (verse 25) Paul told Timothy to play close attention to himself and we need to do the same. Does good and noble things have our attention or are we fixated on worldly and sinful things? Do we like to tip toe into satan’s territory, exposing ourselves to his snare. If our attention is drawn to worldliness and sin, we need to determine where this is coming from in our heart and deal with it.

Thirdly, he warns us about where our thoughts and corresponding actions are taking us, are we walking in fellowship with Lord Jesus or are we on the path of the wicked? Watch the path of your feet, and all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; turn your foot from evil. (verse 26-27) If we look honestly at the fruit of our lives, what path does it show we are own? Are we becoming more like Christ or more like the world? Or are we just wallowing around in complacently, worldliness and lukewarmness?

Paul, a brother who once found himself on the wrong path, tells us in 2 Corinthians 7 that we need to be perfecting holiness in the fear of God. The healthy, profound, adoring, awed respect (reverential fear) of the Lord teaches us to hate evil and to keep His commandments. Obedience is how we show our love for Him. (John 14: 21). By removing evil from our heart we become more “holy” or “set apart” unto the worship and service of God. I Corinthian 1: 2 tells us this is what God the Father through Jesus Christ has called us to. We are “saints by calling”.

So above all things watch over your heart, that hidden person who you truly are. That is the person the Holy Spirit sees and we need to see ourselves as He sees us. Thank your heavenly Father that His goal is to cause us to walk in agape love that flows from a pure heart, a clear conscience and sincere faith (I Timothy 1:5). If we obey His word in the power of the Holy Spirit this will be accomplished and our heart will be purified (I John 3:3 & 1 Peter 1:22). Thank you, Father God.

Carl

Food For Your Inner Man

“As the outward man is not fit for work for any length of time unless he eats, so is with the inner man. What is the food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God-not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe. No, we must consider what we read, ponder over it, and apply it to our hearts.” ― George Muller (The Autobiography of George Muller). From Berean Call

Little Children and The Kingdom of God

But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD BELONGS TO SUCH AS THESE. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”

Lord Jesus to the parents of the little children- Luke 18: 16-17 (emphasis added)

This morning the pastor shared this Scripture in his sermon and it reminded me of the following statement by the commentariat Matthew Henry:

“The Holy Spirit is given to us to make us like little children.”

What a great truth to live by. May we become like little children in our relationship with our Heavenly Father; trusting, believing, receiving from and loving Him, as little children in relationship with their earthly fathers.

Carl

The Way of A Fruitful Life

“Let any one who has a garden ask the gardener what makes the plants grow so luxuriantly, what makes them produce such sweet and pretty flowers. He will answer, ” The warm summer sun and the damp dew of evening, the cold north wind and the drenching rain, — these all help forward the growth of your plants. Were it not for each, the flowers would not be so bright and blooming.”

Just so it is with the children of God, who are called “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord.” Sometimes they are in trouble; affliction of some kind comes upon them, which tries them, and makes them to grow in faith and patience. Then, again, the Lord raises them up, causing his face to shine upon them, just as the sun warms and revives the earth when the winter is past.

Oh, yes, the Lord’s people require both the north and the south wind to blow upon them, that they may bring forth much fruit to the glory and praise of God.

“Awake, O north wind; and come thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.” (Caut. iv, 16)”

From Martin Luther edited by Miss Whately (1897)

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Hebrews 12: 11)

May the blessings of God be upon your life as you experience all the trials and tribulation that living in this world brings. May your “garden” bring forth much fruit.

Carl

Wisdom Calls – The Conclusion of All Things

King Solomon, aka “The Preacher”, gives you and I hard-earned advice on what is important in living out our life. Being very, very rich and not always obedient to the Lord, Solomon investigated all of life’s pleasures and came to the following conclusion.

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14

Now let’s look at the Amplified Bible’s translation of the same Scripture. The richness of the Hebrew amplification is stunning and far reaching when you apply it to the way you live your life. The authors of the Amplified Bible say that this is what a Hebrew person understands when he reads this Scripture.

All has been heard; the end of the matter is: Fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is] and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man [the full, original purpose of his creation, the object of God’s providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the whole [duty] for every man.

For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is good or evil. [Matt. 12:36; Acts 17:30, 31; Rom. 2:16; I Cor. 4:5.]

Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14

Take a few moments and dwell on this Scripture. It is worthy of your pondering and meditation.

A short definition of the fear of the Lord is a healthy, overwhelming, profound, adoring, awed respect of the Lord. It is not a negative practice. As a matter of fact, Scripture tells us it is our treasure. We will discuss that later.

May we New Testament believers follow Apostle Paul’s instructions:

“THEREFORE, since these [great] promises are ours, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates and defiles body and spirit, and bring [our] consecration to completeness in the [reverential] fear of God. ”

2 Cor. 7:1 Amplified Bible

Thank you for your time and interest. Comments welcome!

Be blessed and protected in Christ Jesus!

Carl

The Blessed — According To Psalm 1

While antiquing with my wife I found a small, black, worn book on a piece of furniture which turned out to be The Amplified Old Testament (Part Two- Job to Malachi – 1962) The translation’s purpose is “intended to reveal, together with the single English equivalent to each key Hebrew word, any other clarifying shades of meaning that many have been concealed by the traditional word-for-word method of translation.”

Martin Luther, who “spiritualized Germany and made the German language” with his translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, stated this about the Hebrew Scriptures:

“The words of the Hebrew tongue have a peculiar energy. It is impossible to convey so much so briefly in any other language. To render them intelligibly we must not attempt to give word for word, but only aim at the sense and the ‘original Authors] idea.” (Table Talk)

Evidently, the Hebrew language contains so much more in one word than our English language. Similar, I guess, to the Greek language in which the New Testament was written.

With this in mind, I wanted to share with you Psalm 1 out of the Amplified version so you can enjoy all of the shades of meanings. We recently shared a post on Christian meditation entitled …the righteous will flourish like a green leaf which was based on Psalm 1. Enjoy. Carl

“Blessed –happy, fortunate, prosperous and enviable–is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly (following their advice, their plans and purposes), nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful and the mockers gather.

But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law –the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God — he habitually meditates, ponders and studies by day and by night. [2 Tim. 3:16; Gal 3:1-29; Rom 13:8-10]

And he shall be like a tree firmly planted and tended by the streams of water, ready to bring forth his fruit in its season; his leaf also shall not fade or wither, and everything he does shall prosper and come to maturity. [Jer.17:7, 8.]

Not so the wicked — those disobedient and living without God are not so. But they are like the chaff [worthless, dead, without substance] which the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked, those disobedient and living without God, shall not stand justified in the judgement; nor sinners in the congregation of the (consistently) righteous — those who are upright and in right standing with God.

For the Lord knows and is fully acquainted with the way of the (consistently) righteous; but the way of the ungodly — those living outside God’s will — shall perish, end in ruin and come to nought.

Is The New Spirituality Correct About The Existence of Sin?

New age gurus, spirit guides, higher selfs, Ascended Masters, Cosmic Christs, “Master Jesus”, and other spirit entities teach their adherents that there is no sin, the person controls their destiny, and, since the adherent is god himself (so they teach), there is no coming judgement for sin only evolving into a higher plane of being.

This is a great deception like has never been seen in the western world before. Tens of millions, both religious and non-religious, are believing these doctrines of demons. Pew Research Center’s survey (December 2017) found that 60% of self-identified American Christians held at least one New Age belief. The evil spirits who masquerade as these entities know the truth. They are leading these people to the same destruction that awaits them.

To counter the New Age lies about there being no “sin” and “future judgement”, please consider the following:

  • There is a Day of Reckoning
  • There are Books containing the record of our sins.
  • You can pay for your own sins.
  • There is a better way.

THERE IS A DAY OF RECKONING

The truth is that there is a judgement of the dead. The following biblical Scriptures give us a glimpse of this yet to come event:

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.  And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.” Revelation 20:11-12

And

I kept looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, its wheels were a burning fire.

A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him; thousands upon thousands were attending Him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; the court sat, and the books were opened. Daniel 7:9-10

This is the Great White Throne Judgement at the end of time. Holy God is the Judge and “thousands upon thousands” holy angels are attending Him. The others are the physically dead who have rejected Jesus Christ as their Savior.

There are several books present. One is the book of Life which contains the names of the redeemed. These are the saved who have trusted in the atoning sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross.  His death on the cross paid for their sins. This book will be opened to see if the person’s name is listed as “redeemed”.

THERE ARE OTHER BOOKS CONTAINING RECORDS OF OUR SINS

The scripture also says “and books were opened”. What are these books? Well, these books contain our sins, more specifically our ungodly deeds. Not only our ungodly deeds though but our ungodly words also. Listen to Jesus’ half-brother Jude and Jesus Himself:

 “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones,
to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”   Jude 14-15

Concerning our “words” Jesus Himself said:

“But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.”      Matthew 12:36

So God has a record of not only a person’s ungodly deeds but his ungodly words also. Not only does “sin” exist, but there is a Holy God who is keeping track of each person’s “sin”. That is very sobering. Every ungodly thing you or I have ever done or said is written down in heaven.

Just think about standing alone before the Holy God of all creation and His Holy Host and being judged. All of our sinful deeds and words being revealed in such an pure and holy company and we’re having to answer for our actions!

THERE ARE SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES IF YOU PAY FOR YOUR OWN SINS

This judgement will be a horrible for the person who has rejected Christ’s atoning sacrifice for their sins.  There is no way of escape. The person is already physically dead and the “second death” now looms before him. Payday has come.

“For the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23

Since the person has rejected God’s payment for their sins, now they have to pay. He rejected God’s Love Gift to the world that paid for the world’s sins.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”   John 3: 16-17

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Romans 5:8-10

This very Judge the person is standing before is the very One who was in-Christ on the cross reconciling the world to Himself. In other words, the Judge has already paid for the person’s sins but they rejected this free gift of salvation.

“… that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them…”  II Cor. 5:20

All hope will now flee away.  Despair. Terror. No ONE will escape.

The consequence of choosing to pay for your own sins, is to experience the “second death”. At the end of the person’s judgement and his guilt has been proven before a Holy God and the host of heaven, an angel will come forth and cast the person into the lake of fire where they will spend eternity.

This is how people will pay for their sins if they reject Christ.

This lake of fire was created by God for the devil and his angels, not man. God never intended for man to go there. This is what the new age spirit guides, Ascended Masters, higher selfs, false prophets and other spirit entities do not want you to know.

BUT IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son in to the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. John 3:16-17

Lord Jesus paid for our sins on the cross and God sent Him into the world for this purpose.

…but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Therefore, repent (change your mind) of your sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ today and be saved from the wrath of God that is coming. When I did this earlier in my life, God had an angel write in my sin account, PAID IN FULL BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST.

Listen to what a murderer who repented and was saved, said about this:

And when you were dead in your transgressions…He made you alive together with Him, having FORGIVEN US ALL OUR TRANSGRESSIONS, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14

Do you want your “certificate of debt” to be cancelled? Or do you want to stand before a Holy God and pay the “certificate of debt” yourself with your eternal well-being?

Flee to the cross of Jesus Christ. The proof that God accepted His sacrifice for your and my sins is that He raised Jesus from the dead.  He is now interceding for the believers in heaven.

Put your trust in what He did for you. Ask Him to save you and forgive you for all of your sins. And to come into your life and be your Lord.

The evil spirits that are deceiving millions in the New Spirituality or New Age movement know all of this. That is why they are working such deception and taking millions of souls captive through their lies. They know what awaits them, they can not repent and be saved.

But you can. Seize the opportunity before it is too late.

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, And whose sins have been covered.
“Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”  Romans 4:7-8

May your sins be covered by the precious blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God.

Carl

YOGA: Is It Exercise or Religion – Does It Matter

(Pastor John Lindell of the 10,000 member James River Church in Ozark, Missouri recently preached a sermon on New Age practices including yoga.  I applaud Pastor Lindell for having the conviction to address New Age or New Spirituality practices that are deceiving Christians and our fellow Americans.  Following is a booklet entitled YOGA: Is It Exercise or Religion – Does It Matter by Ray Yungen from Lighthouse Trials.  I pray the article answers questions some are having about this seemingly innocent practice. God Bless.  Carl)

“It is a moment that troubles me even now. Once, when I was giving a presentation at a Christian college about New Age spirituality, I noticed a student roll her eyes when I mentioned the term, Yoga. It was a small gesture, yet it spoke volumes—as if to say, “Give me a break! It’s just exercises!” I surmised from her response that she was a Yoga practitioner or had at least been exposed to the subject and believed that participation in Yoga had no negative impact on one’s spiritual life. After all, the young lady was attending a Christian college, so she likely presumed she was discerning enough to know whether a practice was pagan or not. But she gave no biblical evaluation of Yoga, and rather wordlessly defended it. Unfortunately, this trend to accept Yoga and other New Age practices has only continued to accelerate within Christian colleges, ministries, and even churches.

Just Exercise?

Currently, an estimated 24 million people in the United States are regularly involved with some form of Yoga.1 In the town where I live, the high majority of health clubs, including the YMCA, YWCA, and the local community college, offer Yoga classes. According to a new survey by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease and Prevention, nearly ten percent of U.S. adults and three percent of children participated in yoga in 2012.”2 Most of these adults may be vaguely aware of the Hindu component of Yoga but see that as being irrelevant to taking Yoga classes. Many people doing the asanas, or postures, seem to feel that these exercises are devoid of any religious connotation.”

To read the compete articles click here.

The Power of The Gospel: “Such Were Some of You”

The apostle, Paul, today will give us insight into how God’s power can deliver people from bondage. I pray this blesses you and yours.

[9] Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, [10] nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. [11] Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. …

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NASB (emphasis added)

In this scripture Paul is writing to the Corinth church in Greece. He is telling them people who practice certain sins will not “inherit the kingdom of God” or in today’s vernacular, “will not go to heaven when they die”.

This Corinth was the “new” Corinth created by Roman Emperor Julius Caesar as a retirement city for veterans of his Roman legions. The “old” Corinth was destroyed a hundred years before by Emperor Achaiacus, for rebellion and its citizens were sold into slavery. It was this “old”Corinth that contained the temple of the goddess Aphrodite, with its 1,000 – 10,000 (the number varies) temple prostitutes. In Paul’s day it was still a very immoral, wicked city. In the Hellenistic Greek world, the term “Corinthian” was associated with whore mongering and prostitution.

Into this immoral culture came Paul, preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified for the sins of the world; the Light shining in the darkness. Through His preaching, the power of God was released and many pagans trusted in Christ for salvation. As a result of their faith in Christ, they were born again.

Being born again CHANGED them. CHANGED them from the sinful people he had listed in verse 9 and 10. He says of them in verse 11:

“Such were some of you….”

God working in their lives caused:

Adulterers to quit sleeping with other people’s spouses and to become faithful to their spouse.

Fornicators stopped sleeping around, instead learning to possess their own vessel (body) in sanctification and honor (I Thess. 4: 4 ) and glorifying God in their bodies (I Cor. 6: 20).

Idolaters stopped worshipping demon inspired false gods and started worshipping the one and only True God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Homosexuals stopped sleeping with men and recognized the God-given natural function of the female (Romans 1: 7), in a marriage context.

The effeminate men quit playing the part of the female in the homosexual relationship and became the men God created them to be.

Thieves stopped stealing from others and started giving to others.

Drunkards stopped abusing alcoholic drink, resulting in soberness.

The covetous changed from “acting unethically to obtain more,” to being satisfied with what they had. They probably became givers.

Swindlers stopped extorting people to obtain money and other things. These also probably became givers.

Revilers stopped speaking rudely of others, maligning people’s character.

Paul goes on to say that this CHANGE happened in the Corinthians because when they were born again God did three things to each one of them. He:

1. “…washed…” them – Titus 3:5 says the following

“He saved us ….. by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”

2. “…sanctified…” them – God set them apart from sin to Himself resulting in a willingness to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. They separated themselves from sin and grew in personal holiness.

3. They “…were justified..” – based on their faith in Christ, God declares them righteous before Him. They received the Holy Spirit in themselves.

CHANGE came in these people’s lives (and ours) because they were “washed, sanctified and were justified”. It is the work of a loving, forgiving God who loved us enough to send His Son to the Cross for our sins so we could be saved from the guilty and penalty of our sins and be CHANGED.

In closing, the Shantung revival in northern China (1920 – 30s) was a work of the Holy Spirit. He used a Miss Marie Monsen, a Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran, to awaken the missionaries and the Chinese church.

She asked everyone she met if they had been born again. As you can imagine, many missionaries and church members were greatly offended. But God used this and her teaching on sin to remove the blinders from the church members. Many were just religious and had never been born again by the Holy Spirit of God. Therefore, they had not CHANGED.

Others realized that at some point in their Christian walk, they had stopped confessing their sins; thereby, stopping the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. The CHANGING had stopped.

You see, being religious will not really CHANGE you. In Colossians 2:20-23 Paul is speaking about religious decrees (don’t eat this, don’t touch this, etc.) and he shows the futility of such man-made religion in verse 23:

“These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self -abasement and severe treatment of the body, BUT ARE OF NO VALUE AGAINST FLESHLY INDULGENCE.” (Emphasis added)

Trusting only in the work of Christ on the Cross can break the bondage in a person’s life. Jesus said you MUST be biblically born again to experience victory over fleshly indulgences. Paul, in our opening scripture is saying that the Corinth believers used to be controlled by fleshy indulgences but God CHANGED them. They, like many church members and pagans today, were practicing many forms of sexual sin and other wicked things but God set them free from their bondage.

Have you been CHANGED, my friend? Have you been biblically born again through faith, and faith alone, in the work of Christ! If you have not, today is a good day to ask Jesus to save you from your sins and to be washed, sanctified and justified by the Holy Spirit.

Don’t settle for “religion” or the “traditions of men”. The Lord Jesus is vastly different from “religion”. He is True Life and Freedom.

Carl

When One Knows Oneself Well….

“When one knows oneself well, one is not desirous of looking into the faults of others.” –John Moschus (ca 550-619 AD)

Woe is me! Woe is you?

Let us not be the judge of others since there is only one True Judge, Jesus the Righteous.

Let us remember that pride always sees the faults of others.

Let us pray for one another.

Carl

Soul -Making

“This is a necessary step in soul-making. Temptation is sent to unveil the evils that lie deep within us, to reveal them to us and confront us with the truth of Nathan’s terrible words to [King] David: “You are the man!” (I Samuel 12:7 italics added). Yet this revelation is just the beginning of all the good God intends to do for us, for before we can be greatly used by God, we must see the monstrous evil in our own souls.”

“Jesus put it this way: “From within, out of man’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly…” (Mark 7:21-22) All the wickedness in the world lurks in us, undiscovered or disregarded, out of sight and out of mind.”

“God allows temptation and sin to show us who we are; they are the means by which He makes us aware of all the unholy tendencies, motives, and appetites that reside within us. To know and despair of ourselves is to know our need for God, the necessary prerequisite for handing ourselves over to Him for His healing.”

The Upside of Sin in The God Who Walks Beside Us – David Roper

Today, if you are struggling with some sin, temptation or are in a trial, I pray this word will encourage you. All that you are going through is not in vain. God is working in His children to do of His good pleasure. Go to Him in prayer because

“… we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are yet with sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in the time of need.”

Carl

Confessing, Instead of Hiding

“When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.

I acknowledged my sin to Thee, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; And Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin.”

“Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found; Surely in a flood of great waters they shall not reach him.”

David – Psalm 32: 3-6

“We find many ways to get around admitting our sin. We rationalize our sins away. We try to drown out the guilt with all types of distractions that keep us bustling from one activity to another. Over time, our sins deplete our will to even approach God in prayer. David was intimately familiar with all the ways one can try to hide sin.  He had exhausted himself covering up his own sins. But every thing changed when David finally refused to keep running away from his sin: “Then I acknowledged my sin to you.””

“Like David, we can find our prayer life renewed when we freely confess our sins to God. Does your prayer life seem lifeless and ineffective? Examine your heart and confess your sin.  And let God restore your prayer life to what it can and should be.”

(NASB app daily devotional.)

I hope you enjoyed this.  I did. Confession of our sins renews fellowship with our Holy Father in Heaven.  A place of life, joy and strength.

God bless you. May we tell Him all that we need to tell Him.  He loves us and beckons us to His throne of grace daily.

Carl

Found Holy & Blameless – Part One

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“Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world; that we should be holy and blameless before Him.”  (Ephesians 1: 4 Emphasis mine)

Scripture exhorts us to be holy and blameless.  It has nothing to do with our justification in Christ, our salvation, but is descriptive of the character that is produced as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the sanctification process that begins once we are born again.  He produces the character of Jesus in us.  We stop loving sin and the world, satan’s kingdom,  and start loving the Lord Jesus. We stop practicing sin and start practicing righteousness.  We are gradually conformed to His image.

Our scripture locates where this character is desired: “we should be holy and blameless before Him.”  Nearly all the scriptures associated with this phrase, or phrases similar to it, mention this context: “before Him“, when we “stand in the presence of His glory“, or “at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” or “until the day of Christ” or “that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory”.  This all refers to us standing in His Presence after He raptures the church and the Judgement Seat of Christ occurs.  The next BIG EVENT on the biblical calendar.

When He comes to rapture His people out of the earth, we will see Him in all His Glory and each believer will stand before Him to receive our reward or loss of rewards depending on what we have done for Him.  It is here in His Personal Glorious Presence that the New Testament writers exhort us to be found “holy and blameless”.

The Apostle John saw Him in His Glory in Revelation 1: 12-16 and “fell at His feet as a dead man.”  Following is a description of how Lord Jesus looked:

“…one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His breast with a golden girdle. And His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire; and His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been caused to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters….and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.”  (Rev.1: 13 -16)

It is in His Presence that we are exhorted to “be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless”, (II Peter 3:14). Take a moment to reflect on this awesome meeting that you will experience as a born again child of God.  To see your Savior face to face.  The word of God says we will either be filled with exceedingly great joy and be able to speak or we will turn away in shame.  Which do you want?

Father God, help us by your Holy Spirit to be found separated from evil and faultless in the Presence of Your Beloved Son.  Help us to be found  in love with Him and behaving in this age in a manner worthy of Him. In His Name we pray. Amen.

In our next post we will explore further the meaning of this exhortation to be “holy and blameless before Him“. I hope you will join us.  Thank you for your valuable time.

Do all things without grumbling and disputing; that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,..”  (Philippians 2: 14-15 emphasis mine)

Pay Close Attention To Yourself..” and “…Prove yourselves…”

God Bless You and Yours,

Carl

 

 

 

The Refiner’s Fire (Part 2)

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“And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.”

The question to answer today is: Who are the “sons of Levi” that the Lord is going to refine and purify in Malachi.
When the Lord Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world, God, The Father, abrogated (formally ended) the temple sacrifices.  He did not accept or require them anymore. Jesus’ death on the cross settled the sin question once and for all.  God evidently also did away with the Levital priesthood and established another priesthood with the Lord Jesus as the High Priest (Hebrew 4:14).  I Peter 2:5  says “you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”.  All born again believers are members of a “holy priesthood”, not a defiled priesthood as in Malachi, and are believer-priests to God through Jesus Christ.  The spiritual house is the mystical Body of Christ that includes all born again believers on earth.
Therefore, I am of the opinion that we born again believers are the “sons of Levi” referred to in Malachi 3:3 since the refining and purifying takes place after the Lord comes to His temple suddenly and in 70 AD the Roman general Titus destroyed the temple including the sacrificial altar.
The purpose of this new priesthood is to “offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”  Just as the Old Testament priests walked up the incline to the brazen altar and laid the animal sacrifice on the altar to be consumed by fire,  we New Testament believer-priests “offer up” our spiritual sacrifices upon the altar of our consecrated, dedicated heart.  The spiritual sacrifices are the activities of the human spirit energized by the Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Paul throws light on this truth in Romans 12:1 when he says  “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”  How do you make your human body a living and holy sacrifice?  Listen to what our brother Chrysostom (Archbishop of Constantinople – 349-407 AD) wrote:
“How can the body become a sacrifice? Let the eye look on no evil, and it is a sacrifice. Let the tongue utter nothing base, and it is an offering. Let the hand work no sin, and it is a holocaust.” (Holocaust is a sacrifice totally consumed by fire.) “But more, this suffices not, but besides we must actively exert ourselves for good; the hand gives alms, the mouth blessing them that curse us, the ear ever at leisure for listening to God.”

Another example of spiritual sacrifices is given in The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken. He tells the true story of Russian pastor Dmitri who was imprisoned by the government for teaching  the Bible. For seventeen years he would rise every morning and offer a sacrifice of praise by singing his “HeartSong” to Jesus as the other inmates cursed and jeered at him. The next discipline that helped him to survive the isolation from the Body of Christ and torture was that whenever he found a scrap of paper, later in his cell with a stub of a pencil or a piece of charcoal he had saved, as tiny as possible, he would write every Bible verse,  scriptural story and song he could remember.  When finished he would put it on a damp pillar in his cell as a “praise offering to God”.  Of course, when discovered by the authorities, they would read it and beat him severely and threaten him with death.

In conclusion, I am of the opinion that the “sons of Levi” are us, the believer-priest. Secondly, we have looked at three examples of how we can offer sacrifices. One by obeying the commandments of God, another by doing good words (Ephesians 2:10) and another by praising or giving thanks to God (Hebrews 13: 15-16). The Body of Christ is now the holy priesthood. The actual “sons of Levi” as a functioning priest class,  do not exists anymore.  They had to be born again just like you and I (Acts 6: 7).  The believer-priest now  offer up spiritual sacrifices  on the altar of their dedicated heart.  May we today offer up spiritual sacrifices pleasing to God.  We can make the Creator of the universe smile.

The next post will discuss this refining process and the purpose of it.  Hope to see you then. Thank you for your time.

Lets Pay Close Attention To Ourselves For The Purpose of Holiness (I Timothy 4:16)

Carl

P.S. Pastor Dmitri was eventually released but not before the  prison population was singing his HeartSong in the morning with him. His witness had prevailed!

Soul Purification: Malice

“And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

Today is the first post in a series called Soul Purification.  The purpose is to highlight certain sins that the Holy Spirit tells us to cleanse ourselves from.   If applicable, repent of the sinful behavior and purpose in your heart to forsake it by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Don’t get bogged down in self introspection. This is the sanctification component of our daily walk and nothing new.  Keep your eyes on the Lord and REJOICE in becoming more Christ like.

Our scriptural basis for this is in I John 3: 2-3 where the Holy Spirit through Apostle John says:

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.

And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (NASB)

“Him” in the scripture being the Lord Jesus and “when He appears” is  when He comes for the Church at the Rapture and the Judgement Seat of Christ takes place. We do the purifying. 

Why is this important?  The scripture (verses 4-8) goes on to say

“Everyone who habitually commits sin, also habitually commits lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.  And you know absolutely that that One was manifested in order that He might take away our sins; and sin in Him does not exist. Everyone who in Him is constantly abiding is not habitually sinning. Everyone who is constantly sinning has not with discernment seen Him, nor has he known Him, with the result that that condition is true of him at present. Little born-ones, stop allowing anyone to be leading you astray. The one who habitually does righteousness is righteous, just as that One is righteous. The one who is habitually committing sin is out of the devil as a source, because from the beginning the devil has been sinning. For this purpose there was manifested the Son of God, in order that He might bring to naught the works of the devil.”  (Wuest Expanded Translation)

And verse 10 wraps up the discussion by saying:

In this is apparent who are the born-ones of God and the born-ones of the devil. Everyone who is not habitually doing righteousness is not of God, also the one who is not habitually loving his brother [Christian] with a divine and self-sacrificial love.” 

In other words, born again believers are not to walk in habitual sin, governed by our indwelling sinful nature which we were freed from when we where spiritually baptized into Christ’s death, burial and resurrection by the Holy Spirit.

Some may say, “This sounds like salvation by works.” Let me assure you it is not.  The Lord,  in John 3 said unless you are born again, you can not “see” or “enter” the Kingdom of God. It is the born again process that frees you from the power of the indwelling sinful nature, gives you a new godly nature, and brings the Holy Spirit into your person and He supplies the desire and power to do God’s will.   The Apostle Paul explains all of this in Romans chapter 6 through 8. You can not walk habitually in righteousness unless you are born again or, as we say, saved.

If you have any questions about this, please contact me via this site or give me a call.

So let’s get started with our first sin:

Wickedness (Malice)

“Wherefore, having put away once for all every wickedness and every craftiness, and hypocrisies and envies, and all slanderings, as newborn infants do, intensely yearn for the unadulterated spiritual milk in order that by it you may be nourished and make progress in [your] salvation…” (I Peter 2: 1-2) (Wuest Expanded Translation)

Here Wuest uses the word “wickedness” and in the New American Standard Bible (NASB) the word “malice” is used. Vines Greek Dictionary says the Greek word means “badness in quality” and is the opposite of excellence.  In the New Testament it is translated “malice”, “maliciousness”, and “wickedness”.

In the English dictionary malice means ” the desire or intention to do evil, ill will”.  Synonyms would be “revenge, rancor (i.e. Bitterness or resentfulness, esp. when long standing), spite, cattiness (i.e. deliberately hurtful in one’s remarks, spiteful), vindictiveness, vengefulness, malignant (i.e. very evil)”, animus (i.e. a strong feeling of dislike or hatred), enmity (i.e. a very deep unfriendly feeling).” 

The source of this, like other sins, is man’s heart:

“And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness….”

The heart of man is defined in Vines Greek Dictionary:

“By easy transition the word came to stand for man’s entire mental and moral activity, both the rational and the emotional elements.  In other words, the heart is used figuratively for the hidden springs of the personal life.  The Bible describes human depravity as in the ‘heart’ because sin is a principle which has its seat in the center of man’s inward life, and then “defiles’ the whole circuit of his actions,… On the other hand, Scripture regards the heart as the sphere of Divine influence.  The heart, as lying deep within, contains the hidden man, the real man. It represents the true character but conceals it. 

That is why Scripture says that if you want to really know what is in a person, listen to what is coming out of his mouth for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

In the Old Testament, there are several words that are translated “wickedness” but we will only say the following:

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia defines wickedness as follows:

“The state of being wicked; a mental disregard for justice, righteousness, truth, honor, virtue, evil in thought and life; depravity; sinfulness; criminality.” “Pride and vanity lead to it.”

Few examples of “wickedness” (malice) would be as follows:                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. The desire to hurt someone, either with words or physically .                                                                                                                                                                                                           2. Desire for revenge because someone did something to you or said something about you.                                                                                                                                                           3. Expressing ill will toward someone: “I hope he ends up in hell.”                                                                                                                                                                                                          4. Thinking or expressing hate to someone: “I hate your guts and always will.”                                                                                                                                                                                5. Of course, we can lump adultry, fornication, homosexuality, and other sins into this                                                                                                                                                                  6. Any desire to do evil or what is contrary to God’s Word.

In closing, habitual sin is progressive. Stay trapped in it long enough and you will call good, evil and evil, good and light, darkness and darkness, light.  As we go on in habitual sin our minds become more and more deceived. Remember, that pride and vanity lead to wickedness.  Humility is the opposite of pride and  brings  the essential grace of God.

It is God’s will that you and I not walk in wickedness and repenting of any wickedness He reveals to us is the first step to overcoming this sin. Listen to what He showed Paul so he could escape the clutchs of the old sinful nature and Paul share it with the church in Rome in Romans 6:11-14:

“Thus also be constantly counting upon the fact that on the one hand, you are dead ones with respect to the sinful nature , and on the other, that you are living ones with respect to God in Christ Jesus.  Stop therefore allowing the sinful nature to reign as king in your mortal body with a view to obeying it (the body) in its passionate cravings. Moreover, stop putting your members at the disposal of the sinful nature as weapons of unrighteousness, but by a once for all act and at once, put yourselves at the disposal of God as those who are actively alive out from among the dead, and your members as weapons of righteousness at the disposal of God, for (then) the sinful nature will not exercise lordship over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”  

As we do what these verses say and excersise our free will to say NO to sin, the Holy Spirit’s power will give us the victory over the temptation to sin. 

 May God bless you as you purpose to get wickedness out of your life and please the Lord.  Be encouraged and strengthen your heart with these precious promises from the Word of God.  May He perfect us in love (agape) for others; especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.  See I John 4: 11-12.

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”  (I Thessalonians 5: 23-24)

“Let everyone who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness”  (II Timothy 2:19)

Carl