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Proverbs 17:13 (ESV)
“If anyone returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house”.
It is sin to repay evil for evil ( Thess 5:15). But it is even worse to repay evil for good, for that shows a mean-spirited and a wicked, devilish heart.
Soberly consider all those that have treated you well in your life. How have you treated them in return?
Now consider those that have despised the good deeds you have done for them. How have you reacted?
Do not seek your own justice by returning evil for evil. That will just make you an evildoer as well.
God will avenge in your behalf and Almighty God avenges best.
Deuteronomy 6:15 (ESV)
“For the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth”.
God is jealous in two senses.
First, He is jealous concerning His worship. He does not tolerate rivals.
Second, God has a protective jealousy concerning those that He loves…those he has called His children.
He will not indefinitely sit idle when His beloved ones are mistreated.
So He says: “To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste”. Deuteronomy 32:35 (KJV)
The one who returns evil for good shall surely fall by the hand of God.
7 Won’t God avenge his chosen ones, who are crying out to him day and night, and yet he exercises patience with them?
8 I tell you that he will avenge them quickly. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
These are the words of Jesus Christ. The Lord’s question should cause a professed disciple of his to wonder why he would ask such a question.
Jesus’ statement does not imply that he himself felt that true faith would be abundant among humankind when he returned. In fact, he questioned whether there would be any at all.
Yet, according to the Pew Research Center, in 2015, there were 2.3 billion Christians of all ages living in the world. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, reported that the number of Christians in the world edged past 2.5 billion in 2019. This represents almost one third of the Earth’s population.
Given Jesus’ question, something doesn’t add up does it?
Note also what he is quoted as saying found in the gospel of Matthew:
13 “Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in by it.
14 How narrow is the gate, and difficult is the way that leads to life. Few are those who find it.
Here he says that “few” are those who truly find and who truly travel the pathway of righteousness.
Paul spoke prophetically about this phenomenon in his first letter to Timothy:
1 But the Spirit says expressly that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons,
2 through the hypocrisy of liars, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron;
He is saying that many in the last days would succumb to teachings that do not equate with true Christian discipleship and that their conduct would not demonstrate true faith.
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul specifically described one of two contributing factors that would result in a scarcity of true faith.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
3 For the time will come when people will not tolerate healthy doctrine, but with itching ears will surround themselves with teachers who cater to their people’s own desires.
4 They will refuse to listen to the truth and will turn to myths.
The second main contributor is the infiltration of false teachers into the church brotherhood.
The apostle Peter warned about them:
2 Peter 2:1-2, 12, 17-19
1 Now there were false prophets among the people, just as there also will be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves.
2 Many people will follow their immoral ways, and because of them the way of truth will be maligned.
12 These people, like irrational animals, are mere creatures of instinct that are born to be caught and killed. They insult what they don’t understand, and like animals they, too, will be destroyed,
17 These men are dried-up springs, mere clouds driven by a storm. Gloomy darkness is reserved for them.
18 By talking high-sounding nonsense and using sinful cravings of the flesh, they entice people who have just escaped from those who live in error.
19 Promising them freedom, they themselves are slaves to depravity, for a person is a slave to whatever conquers him.
These false teachers have a confusing and a divisive effect that stumbles many seeking true faith.
3 If anyone teaches false doctrine and refuses to agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, and godly teaching,
4 he is a conceited person and does not understand anything. He has an unhealthy craving for arguments and debates. This produces jealousy, rivalry, slander, evil suspicions,
5 and incessant conflict between people who are depraved in mind and deprived of truth. They think that godliness is a way to make a profit.
Even though many profess to be Christ’ disciples, the reality is that few truly are. They have not heeded the apostle Peter’s warning found in 2 Peter 2:1.
The apostle Peter pointed out that it is the one who earnestly seeks God that is manifesting true faith.
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.
Jesus’ question regarding the presence of true faith when he returns, emphasized how scarce it would be and how hard it would be to maintain it.
Will you fight to be one of the few?
What does it mean to fear God?
Does the Bible contradict itself on this matter?
Ecclesiastes 12:13 exhorts:
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. KJVlite
Over and over in the Bible we are exhorted to fear God, to have the fear of the Lord, to live in godly fear.
So the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today.
And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul
How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!
The Lord favors those who fear Him,
Those who wait for His lovingkindness.
The fear of the LORD leads to life, then contentment; he rests and will not be touched by trouble.
But why should we fear God? Isn’t God love?
1 John 4:18 clearly tells us that: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
Is this a contradiction?
Godly fear isn’t the same as fear of a tyrant, or a dictator. We don’t need to fear His anger, unless we fear punishment due to a bad conscience and an unrepentant heart because of sin. (Romans 2:5-9)
To fear God is absolute reverence and awe for Almighty God, the Creator of all things, including we ourselves individually.
This causes us to fear to sin against Him, because we want nothing else in this world than to be pleasing to Him, and to bring honor to His name. We fear to cause Him sorrow or grief, knowing how incredibly wicked willful sin is, how much God hates it, and how much it hurts Him when we sin.
Please re-read the passage above from Deuteronomy 10:12.
Proverbs 8:13 states very succinctly what the fear of God means:
The fear of the LORD is to hate evil. I hate pride, arrogance, the evil way, and the perverse mouth.
Some attempt to pit Ecclesiastes 10:12 and 1 John 4:18 against each other and claim the Bible contradicts itself. There is no contradiction.
1 John 4:18 is stated to a specific group who obediently accept Jesus as Messiah. Refer to verse two of the same chapter:
1 John 4:2
By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,
These words are specifically spoken to those truly in union with Christ by accepting him. It is not a general statement to all humankind.
These words are directed toward those who love God and keep His commandment out of love for Him. They have no reason to fear.
That cannot be said of all people. There are those who should properly be in fear because they do not obey him out of love.
For them, Paul's words found in Romans 2:5-9 apply:
5 But according to your hardness and unrepentant heart you are storing up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6 who “will pay back to everyone according to their works:”
7 to those who by perseverance in good works seek glory and honor and immortality -- everlasting life.
8 But to those who are self-seeking, and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness -- wrath and anger,
9 affliction and distress, on every human being who does evil, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
The Bible does not contradict itself on this matter nor any other matter.
Are You An Ingrate? Are you dealing with an ingrate or with ingrates? Are you truly grateful to God?
It was an angel whom God blessed and elevated to the high station of serving directly before Him who became the first 'ingrate'. He did not appreciate what God had given him....he did not appreciate his Maker.
Almighty God prophesied against that angel when speaking to His prophet Ezekiel. Through the prophet, He laid out His case against this angel who would become known as Satan, the devil:
13 You lived in Eden, the garden of God, and wore gems of every kind: rubies and diamonds; topaz, beryl, carnelian, and jasper; sapphires, emeralds, and garnets. You had ornaments of gold. They were made for you on the day you were created.
14 I put a terrifying angel there to guard you. You lived on my holy mountain and walked among sparkling gems.
15 Your conduct was perfect from the day you were created until you began to do evil.
16 You were busy buying and selling, and this led you to violence and sin. So I forced you to leave my holy mountain, and the angel who guarded you drove you away from the sparkling gems.
17 You were proud of being handsome, and your fame made you act like a fool. Because of this I hurled you to the ground and left you as a warning to other kings.
18 You did such evil in buying and selling that your places of worship were corrupted. So I set fire to the city and burned it to the ground. All who look at you now see you reduced to ashes.
19 You are gone, gone forever, and all the nations that had come to know you are terrified, afraid that they will share your fate.”
Do you take for granted the things you receive from others and the people who provide them to you? If the answer is yes...then you are indeed a ingrate and you are following the example that the devil set in his fall.
The following is an article on the subject of ingratitude. This article delves into ingratitude in all aspects of daily living and speaks to the ungrateful spirit in the would-be servants of God from the devil's fall to those who claim to be disciples of Christ. It is most worthy of your careful consideration.
The Sin of Ingratitude
Ingratitude is an integral part of society. If you ask most people if they are ungrateful, they will probably reply, “Of course not!”
However, this attitude is so ingrained in their lives, they cannot openly admit—or even realize—that they are ungrateful.
But how can you tell if you are ungrateful? Are there things that identify ingratitude? And if so, what can you do about it?
Webster’s Dictionary defines “Ingratitude” as: “Forgetfulness of, or poor return for, kindness received.” It can also be defined as not appreciating or valuing what you have, or have been given. Unexpressed gratitude is also ingratitude!
In today’s fast-paced world, most people seem to not have time for thankfulness. Work, traffic, family, soccer practice, doctor appointments, and countless other things are their main priorities. They seem to have no time to thank others.
But consider the following. Have you ever given someone a gift and not received thanks for it?
Have you ever been in a grocery store or restaurant and were not thanked for your business? Have you ever felt unappreciated by family or friends or at your workplace? If so, how did it make you feel? Probably not very good.
Have you ever thought about where this mindset of ingratitude comes from? This is vital to understand before one can overcome this problem.
Past to Present: One Nation—Ungrateful
If you live in America or any other nation descended from ancient Israel, you live in one of the most abundantly blessed lands in the world. This country enjoys plentiful food, shelter, electricity, running water, wealth, air conditioning, heating, transportation, sanitation, and many other blessings. If you live in one of these countries, take a moment to look around and fully take in all of the many blessings.
However, these lands are filled with chronic grumblers and complainers. Although there are countless blessings, there seem to always be countless things to gripe about—be it traffic, the economy, food prices, problems at work, difficulties with family, desire for additional material possessions, ill health, etc. Never before in the history of man has the world shown this horrible characteristic as it does today!
The Bible records the experiences of another nation—the ancient nation of Israel—who also constantly complained and murmured. No matter what God did for them, it was never enough.
After 430 years of slavery to the Egyptians, the Israelites, through God’s miraculous intervention, were released from bondage. As they left Egypt, God allowed them to collect riches, cattle, food, gold, jewels and supplies. God performed many miracles as they traveled through the wilderness. He selected them as His people, promising to take them to a land “filled with milk and honey.”
Notice God’s plain words to the Israelites: “And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey” (Ex. 3:8).
But this was not enough for them!
Upon approaching the Promised Land, the Israelites were instructed by God to send spies to survey the land. It was located between other nations that were enemies of Israel.
After forty days of spying the land, they returned. And presented to Moses, Aaron and the congregation of Israel the fruit from the land, saying, “We came unto the land whether you sent us, and surely it flows with milk and honey…Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great” (Num. 13:27).
Caleb, one of the spies, asked Moses for permission to take the land. But the other spies—except for Joshua—lied to the people, claiming that it was infested with strong, powerful giants.
Notice the reaction of the crowd:
“And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt!…
“And wherefore has the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? Were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt” (Num. 14:2-4).
Israel was so blatantly ungrateful that they wanted to go back to Egypt—where they had undergone many hundreds of years of brutal slavery. They did not appreciate the astounding blessings that God provided or the many powerful miracles He performed for them.
Notice God’s response to their attitude: “And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people PROVOKE Me? And how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have showed among them? I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them…” (Num. 14:11-12).
However, Moses reasoned with God, prompting Him to change His mind.
Numbers 14 continues, “And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to your word…Because all those men which have seen My glory, and My miracles…have not hearkened to My voice; surely they shall not see the land which I swore unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked Me see it…
“How long shall I bear with this EVIL CONGREGATION, which murmur against Me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against Me.
“Say unto them, As truly as I live, says the LORD, as you have spoken in Mine ears, so will I do to you: your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness…you shall not come into the land, concerning which I swore to make you dwell therein…But your little ones, which you said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised…and the people mourned greatly…saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD has promised: for we have sinned” (Num. 14:20, 22-23, 27, 29, 31, 39-40).
God called the Israelites an “evil congregation” for their sinful ingratitude. To God, an ungrateful attitude is sin—evil—which provokes Him to anger!
Although God did not strike Israel with pestilence at that time or disinherit them, He did cause them to wander in the wilderness for 40 additional years, until those that demonstrated this attitude died!
Their murmurings and unthankful attitude condemned them from ever seeing the Promised Land!
Most are familiar with the phrase, “Those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” This applies to the modern-day descendants of Israel—the United States, Britain, Australia and other democratic, primarily English-speaking people scattered throughout the world. These nations are foretold to relive history—and experience many soon-coming horrific events for much the same reasons as ancient Israel!
Deuteronomy 28 has been called the “Blessings and Curses” chapter. It records a sobering warning to those who will heed it. This prophecy, given almost 3,500 years ago, recounts what is foretold to happen to proud, arrogant and ungrateful nations!
The first 14 verses describe the many wonderful blessings that are to be poured upon the nations that obey and worship God. The remaining part of the chapter lists the countless curses that are reaped for disobeying God:
“Because you serve not the LORD your God with joyfulness, and with GLADNESS OF HEART, for the abundance of all things; therefore shall you serve your enemies which the LORD shall send against you, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon your neck, until he have destroyed you.
“The LORD shall bring a nation against you from far, a nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favor to the young: and he shall eat the fruit of your cattle, and the fruit of your land, until you be destroyed…
“And he shall besiege you in all your gates, until your high and fenced walls come down, wherein you trusted, throughout all your land: and he shall besiege you in all your gates throughout all your land, which the LORD your God has given you” (Deut. 28:47-52).
Ingratitude is just one of many sins that the people of this country have committed—and will be led into captivity for! This is the warning from the pages of your Bible! Under captivity, all the grumbling, murmuring and complaining that consume people’s lives will be of no importance.
Ingratitude is a DEADLY SIN! The consequence for this sin is grave—and not to be taken lightly!
Ingratitude in Christ’s Day
Most are familiar with the many Bible accounts of Christ’s miracles. He walked on water, turned water into wine, fed thousands of people from a small amount of food, cast out demons and healed many people. But, although He healed many, how many do you think actually came back to thank Him? You will be surprised.
Luke’s gospel records one such miraculous healing. In this account, Christ healed ten lepers. Verse 12 records, “And as He entered into a certain village, there met Him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: and they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
“And when He saw them, He said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
“And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And He said unto him, Arise, go your way: your faith has made you whole” (Luke 17:12-19).
Of the ten lepers, only one returned to thank Christ. Think of that statement. Only one of the ten thanked God for healing them of an awful disease!
Notice Christ’s rhetorical question. Understanding the characteristics of human nature, He perfectly understood why the others had not returned to thank Him.
But why is mankind so intrinsically ungrateful?
The Most Common Sin
From television commercials, programs, movies, shopping malls and homes, a widespread attitude of SELFISHNESS is sweeping the nations of this world. Adults, children and teens are becoming more ungrateful each day.
A main accelerator of this ingratitude is commercialism. Society has been caught up in the “you-work-hard-so-you-deserve-a-new-car-and-a-vacation-in-Barbados” mentality.
This, in turn, has caused many to believe the ideology that, if they do not acquire these extravagant luxuries, life is somehow treating them unfairly.
Before calling for a national day of fasting, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln stated, “We have been the recipients of the choicest blessings of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation ever has grown; BUT WE HAVE FORGOTTEN GOD! We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.”
This is a tremendously powerful statement! Since the time President Lincoln gave this speech, the wealth, prosperity and peace experienced by the United States is far greater—along with the attitude of pride, selfishness and ingratitude.
But if this same speech were given today, there would be quite an uproar!
The apostle Paul wrote, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, UNTHANKFUL, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (II Tim. 3:1-4).
These attitudes are becoming increasingly evident in these “last days.” (By these verses, even an atheist can recognize that we are living in these days by simply turning on the television!)
In contrast to Lincoln’s day, or even to fifty years ago, today’s ungrateful attitude is worse by far. If that generation forgot God, and the many blessings He provided for America, then this de-generation doesn’t even know God exists!
In this world of being obsessed with what’s “in”—from the newest fashions, to the latest songs and to absurd political correctness—GRATITUDE HAS BEEN ALL BUT DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL!
To find the source of this attitude, one must look in the pages of the Bible to find the most selfish, proud, arrogant, self-centered and ungrateful being that ever existed—Satan the devil.
Before his rebellion against God, Satan (first named Lucifer) was a perfectly created archangel. The prophet Isaiah records, “How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are you cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isa. 14:12-14).
Lucifer’s heart was lifted up with arrogance—vanity. He was ungrateful to God for giving him life. Neither was he grateful to God for creating him so perfectly. Instead, he rebelled against God, choosing to believe that he was better than his Creator—that his way was greater than God’s Way.
As the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2), he broadcasts this same attitude into us.
How to Be Grateful
It has been said that ingratitude is the most common sin.
Although it is a part of our nature, there are ways that you can avoid being one of the many that commit the sin of ingratitude.
Below are just a few simple ways to show your gratitude toward God and fellowman:
Thank God daily: God commands us to go to Him in prayer with praise and thanksgiving. Do you thank Him daily?
The Bible is filled with examples of God’s servants showing their gratitude towards Him.
I Chronicles 29 records King David being deeply moved at the people’s generosity in preparing God’s Temple. David was inspired and expressed his earnest and sincere gratitude in honor of the great God. He exclaimed: “Blessed be You, LORD God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and You are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come of You, and You reign over all; and in Your hand is power and might; and in Your hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? For all things come of You, and of Your own have we given You” (vs. 10-14).
Paul writes, “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks” (I Thess. 5:16-18).
Psalm 92 records a special Sabbath psalm used to praise God: “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto Your name, O most High: to show forth Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night…For You, LORD, have made me glad through Your work: I will triumph in the works of Your hands. O LORD, how great are Your works! And Your thoughts are very deep…You, LORD, are most High forevermore. For, lo, Your enemies, O LORD, for, lo, Your enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered” (vs. 1-2, 4-5, 8-9).
You should never run out of things to thank God for! Go to Him in prayer and continually thank Him for all the blessings He has provided you!
The Bible records God’s faithful servants continuously doing so. We also find that the Bible commands us to always give thanks and praise to God.
Why? Why does God command that we praise Him with thanksgiving? Does He require this because He needs our praises? NO!
This command is repeated throughout the Bible because WE need it! In order for us, as Christians, to be more like God—the most thankful Being in the universe—WE need to learn to be thankful and give praises every day!
Another vital way to demonstrate gratitude towards the great God is through tithes and offerings. The prophet Malachi records God’s words: “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me. But you say, Wherein have we robbed You? In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse: for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring you all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Mal. 3:8-10).
Although God provides absolutely everything that we have, He promises to provide more—through pouring out blessings from heaven—if we merely do our part by paying tithes and offerings! Through our heartfelt dedication in supporting His end-time Work, He promises us much more than we can possibly desire!
Say “Thank you” often: Many people fear thanking others. They often fall into the mentality that, by thanking, they are somehow in debt or owe something to that person. But the truth is far from this!
Throughout history, great men have been known for specifically thanking others. It is not a sign of weakness—it is a sign of MEEKNESS!
Think of the things that people do for you—from opening a door for you, to giving you a ride to the store, or providing a kind and reassuring word. We live in an age when common courtesy and politeness are all but extinct!
Say “thank you” and “please” often. You should never run out of people to thank. You would be surprised how happy those little words can make others feel!
Count your blessings, not your worries: Look around you. When was the last time you lost a loved one to starvation or rampant disease? When was the last time you gave up eating to make sure your children had food? When was the last time you had to sell your children because you did not have the money to survive or even provide for them? Chances are you have never experienced these things. Unfortunately, these are grim realities that many around the world face each day. Thank God each day for all the terrible things that you have not had to endure!
It is common to fall into the routine of constant “grumbling” and complaining about problems and worries. When you find yourself complaining about finances, traffic, problems at work, family issues, car troubles, or whatever other difficulty or trial you may be experiencing, remember that everything God does and allows is for a reason. Although difficult, it is for a greater good—if you overcome them!
Consider the following analogy:
Each ingredient used in making a cake is not always sweet or good to the taste. By themselves, their tastes can range from bitter, to salty, to sweet, to chalky. But the end result—the cake—is delicious and sweet!
King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, recorded, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Eccl. 3:1).
Although it is difficult to do, when you are experiencing trials, look for the good that God wants you to learn from them.
For example, if you are having car problems, and will need an expensive repair, perhaps you are mishandling, or wasting money on other things, and God wants you to re-examine your budget. Many of the difficulties that you encounter can help you realize whether or not you are living properly. You can learn from these experiences!
When people grumble, they are complaining about a situation that God has allowed—and sometimes even caused—them to be in!
Paul admonishes us to “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:14-15).
Finally, consider Paul’s example of dealing with trials and afflictions: “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
Notwithstanding you have well done, that you did communicate with my affliction” (4:11-14). We must learn from experiences—both good and bad!
Things to Be Grateful For
The following lists just a few things which we should show gratitude for. Upon reading them, picture how your life would be without them:
Loving family and friends: After creating man, God declared, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him” (Gen. 2:18).
God created humans with the need for family. If you are married, appreciate your husband or wife. If you have children, appreciate all the fond memories that you are building together. Problems and arguments will occur from time to time, but at those moments, imagine your life without your loved ones. Realize how different it would be.
Employment: Without employment, how would you earn a living? How would you eat or feed your family? How would your rent or mortgage be paid?
Every day, it seems headlines report some type of corporation “laying off” hundreds, even thousands of employees. Be thankful to God for the job He has provided for you. Although you may experience hardships with co-workers or employers, acknowledge that without your job, you would not have a means to support your family or yourself.
Food, clothing, shelter: Although man has systematically pillaged, destroyed and raped the land that provides the materials needed for food, clothing and shelter, the United States and the other modern-day descendants of Israel have an abundance of these great blessings. Other nations, however, do not.
Appreciate these things!
God understands that, as physical humans, we need physical substances for survival.
Notice: “And why take you thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, o you of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?…For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things” (Matt. 6:28-32).
If God cares for and clothes even the flowers, how much more will He provide for those that obey Him? This is what His Word declares.
Are you grateful for this promise? Or do you take it for granted?
God’s truth: How much do you appreciate God’s Word—the Holy Bible? God has provided a way for us to know and understand His laws through this great Book of Instruction. Notice President Lincoln’s statement concerning it:
“I believe the Bible is the best gift that God has ever given to man. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated through this Book. I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”
The apostle Peter stated to Christ, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).
Do you feel the same way?
Dealing With Ingratitude
One of the most awkward and difficult situations for a person is dealing with an ungrateful person. Someone once said, “The quickest way to earn someone’s contempt is to do too much for them.”
An example of this was when some who had received food stamps for years, then had their benefits revoked by the government. This caused quite a commotion—many claimed to be victims of injustice. When in reality, they had long received something they did not earn.
Many times, people find themselves in a position of having done things for others for such a long time, that the other party begins to feel that they deserve it. While there are many principles that can be applied in such situations, there are two basic rules that can be applied to better handle this problem.
“The Golden Rule”: Many millions of professing Christians claim to follow the Bible.
But why don’t they follow the laws and principles from it? And why, if so many do enjoy being appreciated or treated with gratitude, are there so many ungrateful people?
Matthew records, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (7:12, NKJV). Most know this as “the Golden Rule”—to treat others how you wish to be treated.
Many quote this verse, but rarely practice it. Yet this principle is vital in combating the pulls and lusts of “the flesh” This includes ingratitude.
When someone does something for you, think to yourself, “If I did this for someone, wouldn’t I like to receive a ‘thank you’?”
Chances are, you would. You must fight against your human nature and show gratitude.
Paul records, “For what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I” (Rom. 7:15).
Paul, who was an apostle and had personal encounters with the glorified Christ, wrote that even he had difficulties combating the inner self. This evidences that it is DIFFICULT to wage a war against the wicked, evil and sinful self! But with humility towards God, and asking for His help, it is possible!
The Principle of Cause and Effect:
The principle of cause and effect is all around us. If the floor is wet, someone may slip and fall. If a car runs over a nail, the tire will become flat. This is common sense.
This principle can be described another way: Every action has a reaction. In examining today’s society, many do not recognize that this principle applies in their lives—through more ways than just the physical.
After Lucifer’s rebellion, he became the “prince of the power of the air,” and the “god of this world.” Since then, Satan’s way of life—the GET way—has pummeled humanity with his selfish, proud, rebellious and ungrateful attitudes. This is the CAUSE!
The EFFECT is the attitude present in society at large. Tuned into “the prince of the power of the air,” humanity has had a materialistic, selfish, “me-first” existence. They are following their god.
This is CAUSE and EFFECT!
People always notice when others are rude to them—a purely selfish action. They often think, “Look at how rude people are towards me…I am not being appreciated…I did not receive a ‘thank you’ for kindness that I performed.”
This cycle has always been in effect throughout mankind’s history. After 6,000 years of injustice, misrule and destruction, ingratitude is merely one of the many “effects” mankind has brought upon itself!
The Choice is Yours
Always remember that ingratitude is a deadly sin. God directly calls it evil! An ungrateful attitude is something that most are unaware that they have, but everyone else sees! It is a deep character flaw. Although few will tell you about it, ingratitude sticks out like a sore thumb.
Often, it goes unchanged and untreated, because of people’s ignorance of it. It is something that, after many years of “perfecting,” needs to be completely removed!
Remember Israel’s example. They grumbled, complained and showed ingratitude because they were afraid of being unable to overcome the “giants” that might have kept them from the Promised Land. But in reality, the only “giant” that held them back from enjoying this great blessing from God was their ingratitude! An entire generation—except for two men—died without seeing this land!
Learn from this example. An ungrateful attitude exists in our human nature. But simple steps can be taken to overcome it. By honestly analyzing yourself, and applying biblical rules and principles of etiquette, you can ENSURE that you are not committing this most common—and DEADLY—sin.
Remember Paul’s three commands for true Christians:
(1) “Rejoice evermore.”
(2) “Pray without ceasing.”
(3) “In everything give thanks.”
Do not let this sin keep you from God’s many promises! Do not let it steal your happiness. The choice is yours!
Watch Your Footsteps Carefully…Watch How You Walk
The word “Christian” does not simply mean “admirer of Christ,” nor “recipient of Christ’s blessings,” nor even “one who believes in Christ.” It means much more than that.
“Christian” means “follower of Christ.” Jesus came as a man and left us an example to follow.
1 Peter 2:21
“For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in His steps”.
Before disciples of Christ became known as ‘Christians’, the course of disciples of Christ was known as “the Way”:
14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets,
The term ‘Way’ is very revealing as it shows they understood their discipleship under Christ to be a course to follow.
Sin has a hold on all people, and we have all fallen short of God’s will in our lives.
Even the those of us who attempt to lead a godly life, if we are honest with ourselves, have to admit that we are imperfect sinners and must therefore pay constant attention to our thoughts and our behaviors.
Consider our thoughts: Are they always so pure and noble, loving and forgiving as we make ourselves out to be? If we are honest, we have to say “no”.
Consider our words: Are all our words a blessing? If we are honest, we have to say “no”.
Consider our conduct: Are all our deeds always unselfish? If we are honest, we have to say “no”.
Living as footstep followers of Christ is an ongoing, constant struggle because of the sin that resides within us.
Are we really following in Jesus’ footsteps?
Because of the perversion of real Christianity, you may never have heard of this kind of Christianity, but it is the only kind that God’s Word speaks of.
Pick up your Bible today, and rather than reading what Jesus did in your place, read how you can follow in Jesus’ footsteps to become like Him!
Ask yourself, “Am I really a Christian, according to the Bible?” If this is the life you want, then pray to God in the presence of Christ that God give you His Spirit and then start following in Jesus’ footsteps.
We have this Scriptural admonition as a reminder and as a warning:
12 Watch out, brothers, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God.
13 But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.
14 For we have become companions of the Messiah if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start.
The Holy Scriptures long ago counseled worshipers of the living and only true God to watch their steps in order to maintain pure worship and in order to remain in good standing before Him:
“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong”.
What does Ecclesiastes 5:1 mean?
That it is an evil act to make mindless offerings to God and it displeases Him.
When this was written, the Temple built by Solomon was the house of the Lord; it was the place of divine worship, where the word of God was preached, and his ordinances were administered. When they approached the Temple to worship or to offer sacrifices, they were to approach in proper/suitable condition. Many did not; seeing such as just some formalistic ritual they were required to go through.
This is why God made this comment about them:
13 The Lord said: “Because these people approach Me with their mouths to honor Me with lip-service—yet their hearts are far from Me, and their worship consists of man-made rules”
Likewise, the worship of many self-professed disciples of Christ is nothing more than lip-service.
The Book of Proverbs offers much good counsel on how to live and maintain a Godly lifestyle.
26 Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established.
27 Don’t turn to the right or to the left; keep your feet away from evil.
12 When you walk, your steps will not be hindered; when you run, you will not stumble.
13 Hold on to instruction; don’t let go. Guard it, for it is your life.
14 Don’t set foot on the path of the wicked; don’t proceed in the way of evil ones.
15 Avoid it; don’t travel on it. Turn away from it, and pass it by.
16 For they can’t sleep unless they have done what is evil; they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble.
17 They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.
Paul also offered similar counsel to the 1st century Christian congregation:
15 Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—
16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil.
17 So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
18 And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit:
Everyone is following something or someone. Even if it is themselves and their individual will.
Some people follow in the footsteps of their family and carry on family traditions.
Others follow their own intuition drawing from a variety of man-made philosophical viewpoints. Or from the counsel of family members, associates, or religions. They do whatever they feel is right in their gut.
However, a true disciple of Christ (Christian), by Biblical definition, do not follow any of these paths.
How can we tell if we really are followers of Jesus Christ?
We can tell if we’re Jesus’ followers if we live out His truth and walk in the light as He is in the light.
This means that we cannot think and behave like those alienated from God and still be pleasing to Him. There is no fellowship between “light” and “darkness”. There is no fellowship between Christ and the devil.
2 Corinthians 6:14
“Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness”?
If we continue to have fellowship with those alienated from God and Christ, we will remain in spiritual darkness and cannot be true footstep followers of Christ.
Passing on the knowledge he personally received from Jesus, Paul wrote this:
1 John 1:5-7
5 Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him.
6 If we say, “We have fellowship with Him,” yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth.
7 But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
So, to be true to that calling mentioned by Peter that can be found at 1 Peter 2:21, we must not just worship with our lips. But we must adhere to the Word of God and follow the example set by our Lord, Jesus Christ.
"Redeeming The Time"
Paul wrote a warning to the Ephesian church that they should "watch carefully how they walked" and that they should be "redeeming" time.
The following is his statement in context:
1 Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children.
2 And walk in love, even as Christ also loved us, a and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance.
3 But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be mentioned among you, as becomes saints;
4 nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not appropriate; but rather giving of thanks.
5 Know this for sure, that no sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words. For because of these things, the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience.
7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord. Walk as children of light,
9 for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth,
10 proving what is well pleasing to the Lord.
11 Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them.
12 For the things which are done by them in secret, it is a shame even to speak of.
13 But all things, when they are reproved, are revealed by the light, for everything that reveals is light.
14 Therefore he says, “Awake, you who sleep, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Therefore watch carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise;
16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
18 Do not get drunk with wine, which is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
19 speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your heart to the Lord;
20 giving thanks always concerning all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father; (NHEB)
The Greek word 'exagorazo' is used in the actual translation where the engish word "redeem" now appears in Ephesians 5:16.
Exagorzo literally means to "buy out of the market place." The picture is of a merchant who diligently seeks to buy up the best bargains in the market place, taking care not to miss out on fleeting opportunities.
At Ephesians 5:16, 'redeem' is used in the present tense which calls for us to make it our lifestyle, our daily, moment by moment practice, to buy up for ourselves (to our eternal advantage) the strategic opportunities which God providentially places in our path.
If we are walking wisely (Eph 5:15-note), filled with God's Spirit (Eph 5:18-note), we will be spiritually alert to those divine opportunities in the "marketplace", and will begin to view people and circumstances not just as encounters (or irritations) in time but as opportunities to impact our eternity.
Paul also gave the same admonition to the church at Colossae:
"Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time".
To redeem something means to buy it back, to regain possession of it. The immoral way of life and the immoral conduct that surrounds us will rob us from using our time in pursuit of righteousness.
This is particularly important now because the execution of Divine Judgment is very near.
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest".
"And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed".
Are you making the most wise use of the remaining time?
Prophecy's effects can be compared to a stone dropped into the center of a pond. Visualize the concentric circles that form from the epicenter and spread out across the pond. Over time these rings cover the entire pond.
Each ring is an identical harmonic reproduction of the initial ring. So that no matter where you are positioned spatially in the pond, you see the same thing.
You can see prophecy's fulfillment everywhere. But there is a critical 'epicenter' to it. These epicenters are circumstances involving 'special' judgements in addition to those common to all mankind.
Following are a few renderings of 2 Thessalonians 2:8 which reveals how the man of lawlessness is brought to an end.
2 Thessalonians 2:8
BBE And then will come the revelation of that evil one, whom the Lord Jesus will put to death with the breath of his mouth, and give to destruction by the revelation of his coming;
EasyEnglish Then people will see the man who completely refuses to obey God. But when the Lord Jesus will come, he will kill that man. Jesus will kill him with the words that Jesus speaks. Jesus will kill him with the very bright, powerful light that shines from Jesus himself.
ISV Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will destroy with the breath of his mouth, rendering him powerless by the manifestation of his coming.
NHEB Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth, and destroy by the manifestation of his coming;
The Easy English gives the fullest interpretation as it points out how the Lord brings this "man of lawlessness" to his end. That is by revelation of the truth.
"Jesus will kill him with the words that Jesus speaks. Jesus will kill him with the very bright, powerful light that shines from Jesus himself."
"Words" will kill the man of lawlessness. Words that the Lord will provide. We certainly don't have an expectation that we will hear His voice from Heaven doing any speaking. Or at least, not prior to His arrival.
He speaks through his servants he has assigned to do so at the appointed time. As now we live near the close of this period of time, and also knowing that the "hour of test" must also occur before the end of this period, time has to be extremely short. And before this, the man of lawlessness is to be killed.
Since Christ will judge angels and flesh, and both the living and all who have died, the application of Biblical prophecy has to be more far reaching than the activities of a small modern day group as Jehovah's Witnesses.
3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?”
4 Jesus answered them, “Be careful that no one leads you astray.
5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will lead many astray.
6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled, for this must happen, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be famines and plagues and earthquakes in various places.
8 But all these things are the beginning of birth pains.
Christ foretold of great tribulation that would occur before His return in kingly power. His sign included plagues or pestilence on a global scale.
He also spoke of nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom and of famines and food shortages on a global scale.
As you look at what is happening in the world today, it cannot be denied that these things are occurring just as He said they would.
Couple Jesus' prophecy with what the apostle Paul said concerning the attitudes and behaviors that would be prevalent in the "last days":
2 Timothy 3:1-5
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
These things occurring were given as a warning sign of the times we are living in.
For certain, most of the world will deny the sign because most of this world lives in a state of denial.
But if you reexamine what is written at Matthew 24:3, Jesus wasn't speaking to the world in general but to His disciples "privately". Nor was Paul who shared his prophetic warning as it was written in a private letter to the disciple Timothy.
A true disciple will listen to these warnings and will not deny that they are occurirng now.
Whom Is Your Mother?
Old Covenant Slave Mother vs New Covenant Free Woman
21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Hagar.
25 For this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
Comparatively, the son of Abraham by the free woman (Isaac) is likened to those seeking to be justified by faith in Yeshua (Jesus) as the promised Messiah, without becoming Jewish first or seeking a Zionist national identity.
When reading Paul's words, the son of Abraham by the slave woman (his son Ishmael) was likened to those seeking to be justified by human means, by the works of the Law, by circumcision, by legal Jewish identity.
Paul confronted those who wanted to enforce the Jewish Law covenant upon the newly formed Christian congregation. The Christian congregation and the covenant it was formed upon was comprised of not just natural Jews, but of people of other nations who were not bound to obey the Law of Moses.
Yet there was a constant insistence then and also now by natural Jews to enforce an old terminated covenant centered on one physical nation, Israel. They sought to be right with God by continuing the things of the past while ignoring His will in the matter.
Paul explains that he is referring to two opposing covenants, illustrated using (unnamed) Sarah, and (named) Hagar.
Paul's words emphasize a competition between two covenants. One is legitimate and the other is not.
Paul also wanted his readers to understand that to expect right standing with God according to the flesh, according to Jewish social status, and a physical national identity is to be identified with a covenant of slavery, the covenant with Hagar and her offspring.
Zionist and so-called Christian-Zionist possess this slave mentality by insisted on creating an earthly nation with Jerusalem as it capital. This is exactly what Paul is warning against.
The original old covenant with a single nation is the covenant with Hagar and her offspring. It relates to the Torah of Moses because that is where practicers of Judaisms in Paul’s day looked for the origins of the Nation of Isra'el as a people, because with the Law, God covenantally “married” as it were, his bride Isra'el.
At the time Paul wrote this letter, earthly Jerusalem certainly was not free. The Roman government had a choke-hold on the complete region. It could not have been the Jerusalem above Paul refers to.
What he does say specifically is that the Jerusalem that is above is free (in opposition to the slave-city earthly Jerusalem), and that this heavenly Jerusalem is our mother.
One Should understand these verses as proof positive that the Old Covenant stemming from Mount Sinai represents slavery and must be replaced by the New Covenant stemming from the Heavenly Jerusalem that offers freedom, and this would be true only if we interpret the terms "old covenant" as "old nature" and "new covenant" as "new nature."
The present Zionist movement are the efforts of those attempting to defy God and continue under a yoke of slavery.
Paul mentions that Ishmael was born when Abraham succumbed to his flesh. Or in other words, in the normal way ordinary human beings produce and bear children.
On the other hand, the son of the free woman Sarah (Isaac) was born, not according to human effort, but by the Divine power of God and after Abraham and Sarah were in reality too old to physically copulate for the sake of producing children.
Galatians 4:26 King James Version (KJV)
"But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all".
2 Corinthians 3:2
“Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?”
In this chapter, Paul begins by pointing out that he, the apostle that Christ used to begin the Corinthian church, did not need a “letter of recommendation” from anybody.
What commended him was evident by the power of the Holy Spirit manifested by the works he performed.
Paul then explains that God is the real source of power behind his ministerial work:
2 Corinthians 3:3
3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
Some today believe a “letter of recommendation” is necessary to be considered a bonafide ‘minister’ of Christ.
They would have you believe that to be considered a ‘real’ minister, you will have had to have attended some School of Divinity or some Seminary and gotten from them a letter of recommendation (degree). Paul says correctly that that is not so.
Nor is it a case of we recommending ourselves. Reading verses 5 and 6, he continues:
5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
Paul is writing the Corinthians because a problem has arisen among the brothers there because they were getting themselves wrapped up in ideological arguments that were drawing them away from Christ…. and away from living a life guided by the Holy Spirit.
They had lost sight of what is important. They were arguing about ‘credentials’ and superficial things.
The same problem exist today.
Some act like the men Paul refers to as the “super apostles” in 2 Corinthians 11:5,
“I do not think I’m inferior in any way to those “super-apostles.”
These “super-apostles” were actually false teachers who appeared to be superior to Paul in their manner and authority. Paul calls them “super” in a facetious manner. They obviously presented themselves to the congregation as men with credentials that Paul didn’t possess.
2 Corinthians 11:6,
“Even though I may be untrained as an orator, I am not so in the field of knowledge. We have made this clear to all of you in every possible way.”
Divinity Schools and Seminaries can give that polished appearance of a “professional preacher’ that the indiscerning person will confuse with real spirituality.
This is not to imply that going to such a school will make a man a false teacher.
What it means is that it is a false assumption that going to such a school and receiving a letter of recommendation, is proof of confirmation by God’s Spirit and that it makes a man a bonafide minister of Christ.
Only the Holy Spirit in operation is proof of that.
CONDITIONING and MIND CONTROL
Experimenters will place a mouse into a box that is a totally controlled environment.
They do this for various reasons including what is known as 'Conditioning'.
They can introduce or remove anything into the box they choose. It is a totally controlled environment.
The controller habituates the mouse to some routine of task that the mouse realizes that if it performs, it will receive a reward (for instance a food pebble).
Generally, the mouse will be so engrossed by this routine that it will lose it's awareness of other things going on in the box.
A predator or some other threat can be introduced into the mix by the experimental controllers and the unsuspecting mouse stays unaware until it is too late to defend itself.
Such experimental methods are taught and learned as part of the Human Psychology disciplines.
These methods can be and are applied to human subjects.
You have intelligence, whereas that poor mouse did not.
Knowledge of the existence of these methodologies can help one from falling victim to them.
Key elements to conditioning are:
Controlled/conditioned environment. Conditioned stimuli. Conditioned response.
The mouse is not an intelligent creature as you are and doesn't have the advantage you have by being forewarned.
If the mouse had known that there were controllers outside controlling it's mind, behaviors, and destiny; I imagine that if it could not escape, he would at least resisted their efforts with all it's might
2 Corinthians 2:17
BBE "For we are not like the great number who make use of the word of God for profit: but our words are true, as from God, being said as before God in Christ".
EasyEnglish "But we are not like so many other people, who sell God’s message for money. No, God himself has sent us. And God sees what we are doing. So, we speak honestly because we really want people to know God’s message. We speak as those who are united with Christ".
ISV "At least we are not commercializing God’s word like so many others. Instead, we speak with sincerity in the Messiah’s name, like people who are sent from God and are accountable to God".
KJVLite "For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ".
NET "For we are not like so many others, hucksters who peddle the word of God for profit, but we are speaking in Christ before God as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God".
NHEB "For we are not, like so many, peddling the word of God. But as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, we speak in Christ".
Luke 14:28 (GNT)
"If one of you is planning to build a tower, you sit down first and figure out what it will cost, to see if you have enough money to finish the job".
Do you get messages from strangers who solicit me for money on Facebook?
After friending and exchanging salutations, they immediately beg for money for some project they have embarked upon.
Some claim they are Christians and are operating orphanages and need financial aid.
Others claim to be Christian ministers who are constructing buildings for their group to meet in.
The words above are the words of Jesus Christ. It is sound admonition.
Why would one embark upon doing something and not first sit down and calculate if they are in a position to accomplish the task?
Facebook offers a contribution button that a person can display on their own page. This enables anyone who wishes to voluntarily make a contribution to do so.
If one cannot afford the cost of such ventures, it would be much better to volunteer their services to an already established, financed orphanage or to work and build up sufficient enough funds to start and finish your building project.
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