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that are not true in Scripture!
So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear,
slow to speak, slow to wrath.
Truth about Misconceptions
am convinced that the Bible always tells us the truth.
But sometimes it tells us the truth about misconceptions and
lies. When we read the book
of Job, the truth was that Job was a righteous man.
God said so. But Job
had three so-called friends who seemed confused at times, but they were
very confident that Job had to have sinned for God to allow him to lose
everything but his life. He
had lost his family, his possessions and his health.
That just didn't happen to a righteous man as far as Job's three
friends were concerned. One
went so far as to charge Job with sins that he must have committed even
though Job had not committed these sins.
Eliphaz the Temanite says, “Is
not your wickedness great, and your iniquity without end? For you have
taken pledges from your brother for no reason, and stripped the naked of
their clothing. You have not given the weary water to drink, And you
have withheld bread from the hungry. But the mighty man possessed the
land, and the honorable man dwelt in it. You have sent widows away
empty, And the strength of the fatherless was crushed (Job 22:5-9).”
He obviously did not consider Job to be mighty or honorable.
And yet he was.
know that lying is not right. Our
assurance of salvation depends on the the truth that God does not lie.
But often we lie because we don't know the truth.
Sometimes we lie because of the way we have been raised or
because we are repeating what someone we respect has said.
Job's three friends were miserable comforters (Job's words) but
they thought they were trying to help him.
The unfortunate thing is that they simply didn't know God and
they didn't know Job and they didn't know what they were talking about.
How often do we speak from what we think is wisdom when we don't
really know what we are talking about?
sit in cafes studying and often others are there carrying on
conversations that are hard to ignore.
Often the conversations do not deal with ideas.
Often they deal with people that are not there.
I listen to people who feel that someone they know went to the
wrong doctor or they didn't go to the doctor soon enough.
They often talk about how someone is being mistreated or they
don't know how to handle their money.
In any case, they are talking about other people's problems
without really knowing what they are talking about.
I have often said that if you want to know God's will for your
life, ask someone. They will
be able to tell you since we tend to be so sure about other people's
lives and failures. However,
if you ask them if they are sure that they know the will of God in their
own lives, they will likely say that they are not sure.
know that God sets standards of holiness and they should not be
violated; however, when people have problems, how can we be so sure we
know why they are having them? Job's
three friends sat with him for seven days without saying anything.
That may have been the wisest thing that they did.
God does not overlook sin, but when we do not know that a person
has committed sin, why is it so easy to charge them with sin?
Of course, the Lord was charged with sinning by men who didn't
care about truth. But I
suspect, Job's three friends did care about truth but they spoke based
on preconceived assumptions when they should have been listening. What
they were saying is what makes sense to most people. Job was supposedly
suffering for some sin and if he would just confess and forsake it, God
would bless him. Unfortunately,
they did not know that Job was suffering for righteousness as a
testimony to Satan.
to hear and Slow to Speak
we should be swift to hear and slow to speak.
That way we wouldn't be miserable comforters and we might even be
able to support one who is suffering for righteousness sake.
Of course, if as we listen, we do find out that there is a drug
problem or alcohol problem that needs addressing, we should be honest
and try to find a way to address the problem in a compassionate way.
am thinking that most of us are like Job's three friends.
We assume that we know when we don't have a clue.
That is why we must listen to the Holy Spirit before we are
saved. Most people think
that being good will get them into heaven.
It won't because the law deals with the bad we do, not the good.
Some think the Lord died for his own sin and not for the sin of the
world. Most Jews still think
his tomb is empty because the disciples stole His body to perpetuate the
myth that He was the Son of God. We
need to start listening because what we think is right in spiritual
matters is usually wrong. (See
lies have we told, what gossip have we spread that the Lord will
truthfully record in his books as having been nothing but innuendo and
lies? I hope that the Lord
helps me to do more listening and less speaking so that I can edify
others, and so that I don't needlessly destroy them or their
for the week of July 2, 2017
Should a New Christian Look Like?
Act 15:11 But we
believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be
saved in the same manner as they."
matter where you go and whom you talk to, there is always an emphasis on
something besides the grace of God when it comes to being a Christian.
We know that most of the teaching in church meetings has to do
with what a Christian should do. Normally
the verse in Matthew 7:20 is
quoted which says, "Therefore
by their fruits you will know them."
We are told that we are not able to determine who is saved
because only God knows the heart. However,
we can be fruit inspectors, which means that we can know who is saved by
their fruits. Of course that
is a type of double-speak. The
first problem with that is that all of us have bad fruit in our lives
(the result of our Adamic nature) and all Christians have good fruit in
their lives (the result of the new nature received when we are born
again). The second problem
with that interpretation is that the verse has to do with knowing false
prophets, not with knowing who is saved and who is not.
we know that a person who repents, brings forth fruits meet for or in
keeping with repentance which is the change in mind necessary to have
faith in Christ. How much
fruit isn't explained. We
know that a person who has faith has been created unto good works
according to Ephesians 2. Whether
there are still some bad works is not stated in Ephesians 2 but
practically speaking we know that there are. The end result of all of
this is to convince Christians that they have to "measure up"
in some way to the "good works" standards of those that they
respect in order to "feel" accepted and saved.
Often we create doubts in the lives of those truly saved by our
emphasis on "doing" since they are never sure if as a new
believer their "doing" measures up.
we are first saved, we don't know everything but we do know that Christ
died for us and we can say "I see, I see."
That is, "I understand, I understand."
But it doesn't take long before there are those who will say that
if you are saved, "then here is what you should do."
In the early church, there was a belief on the part of Jews that
Christianity was a sect of Judaism and that new Christians should act
like Jews. It was not.
It was a new thing. There
were now Jews, Gentiles, and the church of God (See 1 Corinthians
10:32). Christians did not
have to be practicing Jews nor should they be practicing Pagans which
most Gentiles were in that day.
our passage, the question of whether Christianity was a sect of Judaism
was being addressed. Peter
was clear that Christianity did not require keeping the ceremonial law
of the Jewish religion. But
then what was James doing when he laid out these four things that
Christians could not do? Was
he not saying that salvation was "mostly" grace but there were
some works involved in order to be saved?
I do not believe that is what he was saying.
I think Peter dealt with the Jewish problem and James dealt with
the Pagan problem which was a major part of the culture in that day.
These four things were all associated with Pagan practices.
Peter said that Christianity was not a sect of Judaism and James
said that grace did not give the license to sin that Paganism allowed in
is defined as a new birth. It
is described as being raised from the dead in John 5:24 and in Romans
6:5. It is obtained through
repentance in 2 Peter 3:9. It
is obtained by faith in John 3, Romans 3, and Ephesians 2 and throughout
the book of Acts. But nothing besides faith in Christ is necessary to be
saved. And when we as
Christians start adding conditions, we are sadly preaching another
Gospel. However, we need to
distinguish between salvation, fellowship and service.
Of course, there are conditions to be met if we are going to be
in fellowship one with another and if we are going to work together.
Separation from Judaism which includes seventh day worshippers
and separation from the immorality of Paganism are two of those
thank God every day that it is by grace that I am saved through faith.
I thank God that when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ we are
saved. I am thankful that
when I depend on Christ and not on works or on myself, I have peace that
cannot be disturbed or taken away from me.
I hope everyone reading this has that peace as well
for the week of July 9, 2017
1:16 For I am not ashamed of
the gospel of Christ, for it is the power (like dynamite) of God to
salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the
definition of Salvation--Salvation
is being saved or protected from harm or being saved or delivered from a
dire situation. In religion, salvation is stated as the saving of the
soul from sin and its consequences.
Sometimes salvation is a past deliverance from the consequences
of sin, sometimes it is a present deliverance from the grip of sin,
sometimes it is a future deliverance from a world of sin.
Salvation is not only seen as an event in the Bible that changes
our destinies and our goals in life, but it is often seen as a person.
That person is the Lord Jesus Christ.
is a MUST
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name
under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
Salvation is By Grace through Faith
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not
of yourselves; it is the gift of God.
Salvation is for Time and for Eternity
5:9 And having been
perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake
out of sleep; for now our salvation (the Lord's coming) is nearer than
when we first believed.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all
men, teaching us that,
denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly,
righteously, and godly in the present age,
looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great
God and Savior Jesus Christ (our future).
9:26-28 He then would have
had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at
the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of
Himself. And as it is
appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who
eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for
1 Peter 1:8-10
whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet
believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.
Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched
carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,
Great Provision and the Great Division
3:16-18 For God so loved the
world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him
should not perish but have everlasting life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world through Him might be saved.
"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does
not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the
name of the only begotten Son of God.
from Death unto Life
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and
believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come
into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin (Satan),
yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were
delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of
1 Timothy 1:15
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
of us who believe the Bible know that we need to be saved.
We need to be sure that we are trusting in the Lord and that we
don't just believe about the Lord. Eternal
destinies are at stake.
for the week of July 16, 2017
Confidence in the Lord in
the Midst of Adversity
The sons of Eliab were
Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. These are the Dathan and Abiram,
representatives of the congregation, who contended against Moses and
Aaron in the company of Korah, when they contended against the LORD; and
the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up together with Korah
when that company died, when the fire devoured two hundred and fifty
men; and they became a sign. Nevertheless the children of Korah did
To the Chief Musician. A
Psalm of the Sons of Korah. A Song For Alamoth. God is our refuge and
strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be
carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be
troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
Which Promises are Mine?
The Psalms seem to be the outpouring of the heart in worship and praise
by King David and by others, All
of us seem to get encouragement from the Psalms.
I am never sure when I read the Psalms how many of the passages
apply to the Lord, how many apply personally to the writer, how many
apply to Israel as a nation, and how many can be applied to me
personally. There are a lot
of promises that seem to be applicable to the writer and to Israel that
do not seem to be our promises today.
For example, David says in Psalms 37:9,
“For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the
LORD, They shall inherit the earth.”
We know that in the long view this is true.
Evil doers will be cut off and will never enter the millennial
kingdom. But as a practical
matter, those who do evil often prosper today and they seem to
“inherit” the earth. In
the short run, in the world we live in day by day, this does not seem to
be a comforting promise. The
wicked are those who hate God and whose lives prove it.
In the short run they run all over the righteous, but in the long
run they end up being condemned. The
only protection that the righteous have from the wicked is the Lord, and
yet today we see many who are martyred because of their faith.
Many new testament believers were also martyred because of their
faith. Was the Lord
delivering them from those who were evil?
In the eternal sense, yes! But
in the practical short-run sense, the answer is no!
Even the Lord was delivered into the hands of evil men and only
by death and the resurrection was he delivered from them.
The Example of the Sons of Korah
The sections we are looking at in this meditation are remarkable,
however. The sons or
children of Korah knew what it was to have the earth open up and swallow
up their parents along with Dathan and Abiram and their families.
These all rebelled against the Lord in the wilderness and were
immediately judged for it. And
now descendants of Korah are saying
that they will not fear though the earth be removed.
We don't know what great calamity or battle was was the cause of
this Psalm. But what we do
know is that the sons of Korah had their confidence in the Lord.
The children of Korah had apparently stood against their parents
and with the Lord in the initial rebellion.
Instead of being angry with the Lord for the destruction of
their ancestors, the current generation of the children of Korah had
confidence in the Lord during their current trial.
The Lord is Good
Nahum reminds us that the LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of
trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him (Nahum 1:7).
Joshua reaffirms his trust in the Lord after years of serving Him
when he says, “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose
for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your
fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of
the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we
will serve the LORD (Joshua 24:15)."
Someone who writes anonymously in the book of Hebrews says,
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,
for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).”
Apparently the sons of Korah found God to be
faithful. Have we found that
to be true even when circumstances could cause us to doubt the Lord?
Years ago, the Lord brought me to an end of myself and I was able
to trust the Lord for eternity. Regardless
of circumstances, I intend to continue trusting Him even if the earth be
removed—even though I hope it isn't.
I am not sure if the sons of Korah trusted
the Lord because of what happened when their ancestors rebelled against
Moses and against God or if they trusted the Lord in spite of what
happened. But they did trust
the Lord. What an example
for us today!
Meditation for the week of July
You Do Not Know!
Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of
nothing'—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor,
blind, and naked—
Eyesight is a great blessing. Being
able to see the clouds, the rain, the rainbows, the stars and all of
God's creation is exhilarating. Being
able to see friends and loved ones and to notice the changes in their
facial expressions as they change moods is indeed precious.
Seeing your newborn children for the first time is a great
privilege. Seeing loved ones
for the last time who have died is something most of us remember and
treasure. When we go on
vacation, we always go to “see” something.
Being without eyesight would greatly hinder our enjoyment of the
blessings of God in this life.
However, many people do not have the privilege of eyesight.
Some are born blind and they never got to see the things I have
mentioned. Some became blind
through accidents or illness. They
did see but now they don't. However,
whether a person was born blind or became blind, one thing is certain.
Both know that they are blind.
Spiritual blindness often seems to be different.
When people are spiritually blind, they do not know what they are
missing. Usually, they don't
even know that they are blind.
Why are We blind?
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 tells
us, “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are
perishing, whose minds the
god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the
gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on
them.” Satan is the god of
this world. He is the one
who has caused the blindness. When it comes to our relationship with the
Lord, we are born blind and then Satan does his best to keep us blind.
Some people understand that they are blind and do seek the Lord
because of it, but many
people who are spiritually blind do not know it.
In fact many of them think they are fairly intelligent when it
comes to spiritual things. That is why the spiritually blind person who
comes to faith in Christ often says, “I see, I see.”
Some say, “Why didn't I see that before.”
Others say, “Now I understand!.”
The man who was born blind
in John 9 is a picture of one who is born blind spiritually.
When the Lord opened his eyes, and he was challenged by the
religious leaders as to who had opened his eyes he said, "Whether
He (the Lord) is a sinner or
not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see
John Newton considered his
salvation to be an eye-opening experience.
He penned the words, “I once was blind, but now I see, was lost
but now am found.”
What about the Church?
There are churches that goe
through the motions of worshiping the Lord.
However, some of these churches do not know their true spiritual
condition. See Revelation 3:
14-22. A church is supposed
to be a temple or dwelling place for the Lord.
But the Laodicean church mentioned above has the Lord on the
outside trying to get in. There
is no true fellowship with the Lord on the part of most in this church,
but the Lord does say that if any individual will open to door to this
church He will come in and have fellowship with that person.
But the sad thing about this church is that they do not know
their true spiritual condition. They
do not know that they are blind. They
think that they see. They do
not know that they are poor. They
think they are rich. Since
they are naked and need to be clothed in white garments which would
speak of the imputed righteousness of Christ, I suspect most in this
church are not even saved. This
church is a congregation that is all about ME instead of all about HIM.
What about Me?
I often ask myself if I am
blind as to spiritual truth and just don't know it.
I could go through a laundry list of things that I once thought
were basic Christian principles and beliefs that are no longer
considered basic. Is that
because I have always been blind or is that because the church has
become blind to basic Christian principles?
Blindness that we do not know about, is the worst kind of
blindness. I pray that the
Lord spares me from this kind of blindness.
Meditation for the week of
July 30, 2017