PRAYERS

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In this blog, I share what the Lord shares with me. I reference scripture a lot in support of what is being said. I realize that what is in each entry is NOT a complete 'word' on what is being said, but is rather enough information to stimulate our spirits to dig deeper (remember the Bereans Acts 17:10-11) thereby gaining a fuller understanding for ourselves.

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Saturday, September 24, 2022

9-24-2022  Who is God, the Father?

 

I open with that this is part one of a ten part syllabus which is designed to help people understand who God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost are.  Also, basically, how and why we need salvation, what is ‘our’ responsibility, in living for Christ Jesus (how we interact with the world) and some differences and commonalities between Christian denominations and world religions.  We also take a look at the importance of the bible and the structure in which Father’s church should function. 

This is not an in-depth study, but something to provide some basic information to help our understanding of who God is.

We also need to understand some terms: atheism, polytheism and monotheism.

The dictionary defines as ‘atheism’ as belief that no gods (of any kind) exist.  Polytheism is defined as the belief in many gods.  Monotheism is belief in only one God. 

Atheism contends that there is no greater power than us humans and we humans control our own destiny.  Both mono and polytheism believe in a power, or many powers, greater than us humans who exercise influence over our lives. Both Greek (Zeus) and Roman (Jupiter) had their group of lesser gods and demi-gods who lived on Mt. Olympus and Odin and other Scandinavian gods lived in Valhalla are examples of those greater powers.  Other religions believe in many gods with one main god in charge of all activities.  Whereas Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism are prime examples of the “one God” concept.

Also we need understand that there is a difference between ‘religion’ and ‘faith’.  Religion is defined as ‘commitment to’ and/or ‘observance of’ a system of beliefs, practices or attitudes.  Faith is defined as allegiance or loyalty to that which cannot be proved.  Actually, there’s nothing wrong with religion, but the danger is that the actions can be performed without one actually ‘believing’ in a higher authority.  Whereas in faith, the belief in a higher authority generates those actions.

First, we must believe that God is (Heb. 11:6) or nothing else that we say really matters.  Knowing about God solely becomes the basis for a concept, a religion.  But God wants to get up close and personal with us (Rev. 3:20).  He doesn’t want us to ‘just’ know about Him but to come to really get to ‘know’ Him. 

Getting to know God takes time and great effort on our part.  I say ‘great’ effort because allowing Jesus to come into our heart, our confession of faith, is just the beginning of a life-long, glorious walk in spiritual growth.  I say ‘spiritual’ because it isn’t exactly a physical transformation (though that is part of it) but more of a change of attitudes and living style, conforming to the image of God.  After all, we are made in the image of God (Gen. 2:27-28).  And just what IS that image?  First, God is Spirit and those who worship Him must do so in Spirit and truth (John 4:24).  More than once, you’ll hear that ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8).  So, if we love God, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15). 

Okay, so just what is the image of God?  God is love (1 John 4:6-8) so His image is love.  We abide in that image of love by keeping His commandments (John 14:15).

There are many lists of “The Names of God” available.  One can search the internet and find them.  Just search “Names of God”.  If one has access to a Greek and/or Hebrew concordance, you can see the translation of those names or you can search them on the web.  The names of God reveal many of the qualities and characteristics of the God we serve.

Let’s take a look at ten of the aspects, qualities or characteristics of the God we serve.

Alpha and Omega

God always is, always was and shall always be and He is the only true, living God.  The phrase Alpha and Omega is used only four times in the Christian bible and all in the Book of Revelation where Jesus declares Himself (in chapter one) to the apostle John then in chapter twenty-one and twenty-two where He, again, declares His eternal existence.

However, God does declare His eternal existence throughout the Old Testament, as well, where David declares that God is from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 41:3).  Or where the book of Deuteronomy declares God is our eternal refuge (Deut. 33:26-27).  Or, even, as Isaiah declares that there are no other gods before or after God (Isa. 43:13).  Luke reminds us that the Word of God is eternal (Luke 21:33).  Paul reminds the Corinthians that there is only one, true God (1 Corinth. 8:4-6).  Paul also encourages the Thessalonians to serve the one, true living God (1 Thess. 1:7-9).  Not only has God created everything, but He will destroy and make it new – in His time (Rev. 21:1).  He has been before anything and will continue forever.

God is the one, true and eternal God and, of course, as you read through the scriptures for yourself, you will find many more examples declaring the same.      

Creator

You may believe that all creation came from a singularity which, all of the sudden, from a tiny existence, started just expanding into the universe that we are aware of today.  But as Christians, we believe God created all things by His Word!  Read Genesis chapter one.  God said and it was so!  I, personally believe, that science proves how God brought all things into existence through His Word.  

What is it to be a creator?  To bring things into existence, invest with new form, produce through imaginative skill.  Thank you Webster’s.

The Hebrew word used in the bible is bara (H1254) means to create, cut down, dispatch, make, do or choose.  In other words, God ‘chose’ to make something so He spoke the Word and so it became!  Science goes on to tell us that eventually the universe will implode (contract back into nothingness) while God says that He will take away the old universe, He will make a new one (Rev. 21:1).

“In the beginning God”, the first four words in our bible.  All things start with God!  God created the heavens and the earth, then all that is in them, then He created man (Gen. chptr 1 & 2). 

In his Psalm, Maschil tells us all things are God’s because He has created them (Psalm 89:8-12).  Later, Paul tells the Ephesians that God created all things by Jesus Christ (the Word – Eph. 3:9).  The apostle John also confirms that God made all things through Jesus (John 1:1-3).

God is Creator!

Righteousness

The dictionary says that righteous is acting rightly or being upright, arising from an outraged sense of justice or morality.  Eg. Being obedient to laws or moral codes. Being fair and correct.

Interestingly, the Hebrew (OT) words translated as righteous (H3477 yashar, H6662 tsaddiya, H 6663 tsagaq and H6664 tsedeq) add worthy, upright and straight to Webster’s dictionary definition.

The Greek (NT) words (G1341 dikaiokrisia, G1342 dikaios, G1343 dikaiosume and G1344 dikaioo) add holy, innocent and free to the definition.   

Matthew tells us that straight is the gate and narrow is the way to life (Matt. 7:13-14).  Scripture shows many acknowledging God’s righteousness.  Even that old gentile, Pharaoh, admitted God is righteous (Exod. 9:27).  The heavens declare it (Psalm 97:1-6).  The apostle John declares it (John 17:25).  Even the angels declare God’s righteousness (Rev. 16:5).

God’s righteousness means that it is His way or the highway but, in His love, He always had and has our best interests at heart.  Salvation is available to any and all who believe (in Him - Rom. 1:16) because He doesn’t desire anyone to perish (eternally – 2Peter 3:9).

God will judge us according as to how we live (Ezek. 18:30).  John tells us that everyone who has ever lived shall be brought before God’s throne and judged.  Those who refused God in their lifetime, are judged for the works they did will be cast into the eternal death (second death – Rev. 20:11-15).  But those who received God into their heart – those who looked forward to the coming Messiah and those who have accepted His existence) will enjoy eternal life (Rev. 21:1-4)

Just

The dictionary defines just as being based on fact or reason, morally correct.

The Hebrew word (H4941 misphat) is likened to righteousness but also is to legally sentence or charge.

The Greek word (G173 – endikos) means in the right or equitable (note, also similar to righteous).

God declares Himself just (Isa. 34:21).  God’s laws and commandments are just (Rom. 7:12).  The prophets declare God just (Neh. 9:32-33.  And Jesus declares that He is just through the Father (John 5:30).

God made the earth by His power, established the world by His wisdom and stretched he heavens at His discretion (Jer. 10:12) and that makes everything ‘His ballgame’.

God metes out reward or reprimand for everything we do (Rom. 13:1-4, 1 Corinth. 3:8) and chastens (corrects) us for our own benefit (Heb. 12:6-10).

Yes, He does bring his judgment, or even wrath, upon the world because of disobedience so remember though He desires that NO ONE suffers eternal damnation, His actions are to get us back on the right track (Heb. 12:1-11).

Jealous

The dictionary defines jealous as        intolerant of rivalry, hostile towards a rival, vigilant in

guarding a possession, untrustingly watchful.

Note that the four Hebrew words used for jealous also include envy and they are (H7065

Gana, H7067 ganna, H7068 ginah and H7072 gannow.

The two Greek words add indignation and zeal to the definition and they are G2205 zelos

and G2206 zeloo. 

God tells Moses that He is a jealous God (Exod. 24:14).  So He doesn’t want us to have anything to do with what would seem to be another God (Deut. 6:14-150.  Paul asks the Corinthians why did they provoke God to jealousy by observing pagan customs (1Corinth. 10:18-22).  This is why Mark says to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength (Mark 12:29-31).

God does get jealous when we chase after ungodly things.

Gets angry with sin

What?  God get angry?

The dictionary defines anger as a strong feeling of displeasure, rage, fury or wrath.

Following are seven Hebrew words used for varying degrees of anger: (H599) anaph, (H639) aph, (H1149) benac, (H2194) zaam, (H2734) charah, (H3708) kaac and (H7107) qatasph.  Their definitions range from indignation, wrath, rage (expressed as flared nostrils), red-faced (is the blood boiling?), super worried, extremely sorrowful, breathing with passion. 

Greek words used are (G3710) orgizo  angry, frustrated, (G3711),  orgilos angry (as in vengeance) and (G5520 ) cholao           angry (irritated). 

In English we use the word ‘angry’ referencing from just being a bit miffed to outright rage.  The Israelites and the Romans, as well as many of today’s languages, use a different a word to express a different level of anger.

So, does God get angry?  He sure does.  At sin!  He suffers a long a time with us when we don’t do what is right, but eventually He does lower the boom at our insistence at going in the wrong direction.

Israel had been in captivity at the time God raised Ezekiel up.  Israel had put a huge wedge in their relationship with the eternal God so He explains to Ezekiel why He has levied His anger upon them (Ezek. 43:7-8).  Paul reminds the Ephesians that God brings His wrath upon the children of disobedience (Eph. 5:6).

So why would He get angry?  God does not want sin co-existing with His people so He destroys Sodom and Gomorrah because of grievous sin (Gen. 18:16-21 & 19:1-29 foc V 25). 

When entering Canaan, the promised land, Israel is commanded to utterly destroy everything occupying the promised land for God has chosen Israel to be obedient and to destroy those who hate Him (Deuteronomy 7:1-10).  However, Israel did not do exactly as God commanded.

When Israel overthrew Jericho, Achan takes money and garments, against God’scommand.  As a result, Achan is executed and Israel loses the battle to their foe, A-I (Josh. 7:1-26).          

Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, lie to the Holy Spirit about what they had promised to give to God and that lie (disobedience) cost them their lives. (Acts 5:1-10

Just as we might get angry with our children because of their disobedience, God does llikewise when we are disobedient.

Longsuffering

God puts up with a lot from us.  Read the Old Testament and see what God had to deal with as He tried to keep Israel in line.  He suffers with us as individuals helping us to get our act together.

The dictionary defines longsuffering as enduring patiently for a long time

Two Hebrew words are used in describing longsuffering:  (H 639)  aph is breathing with passion.  (Think frustration “Oh, no.  he’s not doing that again!).  (H750)      arek which means slow to anger.  (That means waiting a long time before ministering justice for a negative action).

The Greek words used are (G3114)    makrothumeo  which is to bear, be patient or patiently endure.  (G3115) makrothumia   is longsuffering, patience.

God is longsuffering (not forgetful, not ignoring and not unconcerned).  He gives us every opportunity to get our act together before taking conclusive action.

David tells us that God is compassionate, gracious, longsuffering and merciful (Psalm 86:15.  Peter tells us that god is not slack, but longsuffering towards us with the intent that none should perish, but all would come to repentance.  Peter also tells us that God is longsuffering so that no one would have to suffer the consequences of turning away from Him.  And He reminds the people that Paul also told them of these things (2 Peter 3:9-15).

Paul explains to Timothy just how longsuffering God is and He has given us an example of this through Jesus (1 Tim 1:1-16).  God was ready to destroy the world, but He waited for Noah to finish building and loading the ark before bringing the waters (1 Peter 3:20). 

So, yes, God puts up with a lot from us as, He gives us opportunity after opportunity to let Him into our lives, or make corrections before rendering judgment.

Forgiving

And we thank God that He is so longsuffering because that is the basis of His expressing forgiveness towards us.  Amen?

The dictionary defines forgiveness as to stop feeling resentment towards, pardon or excuse.

The Hebrew word, genrerally used for forgive is (H5375)    macaw which is to forgive, lift up, pardon, spare or bear up (carry our burdens upon Himself).  The Greek word is (G5483) charizomai which is to forgive, lay aside, send away.

When we repent our sin, God is faithful to forgive us those sins and start anew with us.  We are become a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinth. 5:17).  God forgets those sins which have become covered by the blood of Christ (1 John 17). 

WE need to be thankful that Jesus stands the gap for us.  When we confess our sins, accepting the blood that Jesus shed on Calvary, Father no longer sees our righteousness, but the righteousness of Jesus and accepts it as cleansing for us  (1 John 2:1-2).  We become acceptable to be in the presence of God through Jesus (Eph. 1:3-7).

Not only does God forgive us our sins, He puts them behind His back and casts them into the sea (Isa. 38:17, Micah 7:19).

When Father forgives us our sins (Ex. 34:6-7), we become complete in Christ.  Our old man is buried in water baptism and we become a new person (Col. 2:8-13, 2 Corinth. 5:17).  Father also tells us that we ought to forgive our brother as God has forgiven us (Matt. 6:14-15, Luke 17:3-4).  Note the consequences if we don’t forgive.

Love

God is love (1 John 4:8).

The dictionary defines love (basically) as an affection based on admiration and benevolence, warm attachment or devotion, unselfish concern, physical attraction.

Phileo (G 5368) or Reya (H 7453) is the type of love as having affection for, being a friend or having a personal attachment to. 

Several other Hebrew words used for love are: (H157) ahab  to have affection for which can be caring or physical;  (H160) ahabah are affections or feelings.  I mention (H2836) chashaq carries the connotation o taking ‘delight in’ and H1730) dowd which indicates beloved, as in a relative.

And several Greek words to keep in mind are:  (Gr 26) Agape love is having affection or benevolence towards another, (Gr 5388) Philoteknos is the type of love we have for our children, (eg. “motherly love”), (Gr 5362) Philandros is the type of love a husband and wife share and (Gr 5360) Philadelphia is a brotherly love.

Love carries a multitude of applications and is all of these – and more.

We’ve already stated that God IS love, but just what does that mean?

God loves us so much that He desires us to have eternal fellowship in Him (through Jesus) and with Him (John 3:16). 

We also have a parent/child relationship with God.  When the disciples tried to keep the children from being prayed for, Jesus said not to suffer (prevent them) them for the kingdom of heaven is like them (Matt. 19:13-15), because we must come with the attitude of a child (absolute trust) to enter into God’s kingdom (Matt. 18:1-6).  Proper correction of a child is an expression of our love towards them (Prov. 13:24, Rev. 3:19).  Father will guide our steps (Psalm48:14) and teach us (John 14:26).  And should we stray, when we repent, as with the prodigal son, God will welcome us back with open arms (Luke 15:11-32).  Our job is to keep God’s commandments (to love, Mark 12:28-31).  Why?  Because while we were still wallowing in our sin, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:1-8).

God wants a relationship with us.  Think about it!  He came to visit Adam and Eve in the Garden (Gen. 3:7-9).  Do we think that this was the only time God visited them?  God also spoke with Moses on the mount, face to face (Exod. 33:11).  God also got up close and personal with Abraham and called him His friend (James 2:23).  Jesus shares things with us and calls us (not just His disciples) His friend (John 15:15.

But how close are we willing to walk with our Lord?  At the last supper, the apostle John laid his head upon Jesus’ chest (John 13:23).  When we invite Him in, Jesus is more than glad to come in (Rev. 3:20).  The veil to the Holy of Holies was torn in two, down the middle, when Jesus died.  The importance?  Father was giving us direct access to Himself through Jesus (Mark 15:37-38, Heb. 10_19-20)!  Again, how close are we willing to dare to walk with our Lord and Savior? 

God is Final Authority

Also, because God has created all that is, He IS also the final authority (has the last say) in all things (Col. 1:15-16).

The dictionary says authority is the power to influence or command thought, opinion or behavior.

We have two Hebrew words translated as authority and each is only used once:  (H8633) toqeph which also means might or power (rule over) and   (H7235) rabah which carries the connotation of gathering up or increasing (drawing ohers into your fold).

Several Greek words are translated as authority.  (G831) authenteo dominate or usurp over,   (G1849)  exousia jurisdiction, power, delegated influence, strength  (G2003) epitage decree, commandment  (G5247) huperoche superiority, excellency. 

Usurp is to ‘sieze’ or ‘grab’ something with force.   One thing I’ve learned is that God does not force His way on us or into our lives so usurp is not a part of how God operates.  However, I have experienced ‘strong’ suggestion (at His hand), but to agree or disagree with God has always been my choice.  That’s why Jesus says He knocks and ‘if/when’ we open the door, He will come in and be with us (Rev. 3:20).

Nonetheless, whether we think so or not, God does have the final say in all things.  As we said, He has created ALL things.  Can the creation be greater than the Creator (Rom. 9:19-26)?

The first four words in Genesis are “In the beginning God” (Gen. 1:1).  The apostle John tells us that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God and nothing was made without Him (John 1:1-3).  Paul tells the Colossians that’s why nothing can be greater than God (Col. 1:12-17). 

Asaph tells us in his psalm the world is God’s and He knows everything about it (Psalm 50:7-12).  Jesus tells us Father knows all about us and our needs (Luke 12:22-32).  And He knows our heart (Luke 16:15). In another psalm, Asaph tells us that God raises up and takes down authority (Psalm 75:5-7).

And a very good thing is that Satan can’t get to us without God’ permission.  He had to get God’s permission to attack Job (Job 1:6-2, 2:1-7).  He attempts to discourage us because he knows that his time is limited (Matt. 8:29).

James asks a question.  “Do you believe in God?”   The devils not only believe, but KNOW that God is and the tremble (James 2:19).  The (devils) ‘know’ that God is the final authority.  What’s our problem?  

These are just ten things to help one to understand who God is.  But as I said, search out a list of His names and their meanings and receive a deeper understanding of who our God is.

He is before anything and He will be here after He has re-created all things.  He is Righteous.  Everything He does is for our own good. He is Just as He does all things for the right reasons.  He does get Jealous when we try to put anything before Him.  Yes, He does get Angry with sin.  He is hurt when we are not faithful to Him and He eventually lets us know it.  He is Longsuffering.  He does put up with a lot from us yet He will Forgive us what we have done – when we ask. 

Because He loves us so much.  He even gave Himself (see the section on Jesus, the Son) so we could be with Him through eternity.  And no matter what lies the enemy (the devil) tells us, God does have final Authority in all things.

Amen

 

Saturday, August 27, 2022

 

8-27-2022 Unholy Triumvirate

Ephesians 6:10-13, John 10:10

Apparently the Ephesians were having a hard time dealing with spiritual warfare, so Paul encourages them: Finally brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God that you might stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, the rulers of darkness of this world and against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Therefore, take unto yourselves the whole armor of God that you might be able to stand in the evil day and having done all that you can do to stand, stand! (Eph. 6:1-13)

Jesus had been telling His disciples that He would have to go to Jerusalem, die and rise again.  Peter then took Jesus and said “Be it far from you, Lord.  This shall not happen to you.”  Then Jesus replied “Get behind Me, Satan.  You are an offence to Me for you don’t desire the things of God, but those of men (Matt. 16:20-23).”

Jesus recognized who it was that motivated Peter’s comments – Satan.  So He acknowledged exactly whom He was addressing.  Just as the devil entered Judas Iscariot’s heart to betray Jesus (Luke 22:1-4) he had, that quickly prompted Peter’s comments.  They sounded good – to keep Jesus safe, but it would have interfered with Jesus’ ultimate plan to save us from our sin.  Did Satan possess Peter?  Was Peter evil?  Of course not!  Just momentarily ‘misused’!  (get the picture?)

In John chapter ten Jesus tells us the parable of the Good Shepherd who takes care of His sheep.  In the parable Jesus cites one, anyone, who is NOT the shepherd, is he who sneaks into the sheepfold and comes to steal, kill and destroy – the sheep of the Good Shepherd.

Jesus tells us, clearly, that He (Jesus) IS the Good Shepherd (John 10:11).  He does take care of His sheep! 

Father spent years of my life showing me the reality behind this parable.  How often are we blinded until the Holy Ghost reveals to us exactly what is right before our eyes?  When He (the Holy Ghost) is come into our lives, He will lead us into all truth (John 16:13) and understanding -of the deep things of God (1 Corinth. 2:7-16).

Again, we don’t fight against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, powers and rulers of darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:11-18).  So, praying in the Spirit, we put on the armor of God, fervently seeking God so we can stand against the wiles of the devil.  Understand that praying in the Spirit is either or both praying in our God-given Spiritual language or praying in our ‘natural’ language focusing totally on the Lord.

First I want us to be on the same page about some of the words used in Ephesians six and John ten.

Principalities

The Greek word used for principalities in Ephesians is arche (G746) it is also basically a magistrate, power, principle or rule in respects to order, time, place or rank.  That is, it is one who has been given authority in a specified area. Think mayor, governor, president, king, etc.

Powers

The Greek word used for powers is exousia (G1849) which means authority, liberty, jurisdiction, right, strength in light of force or mastery.  Again, one who has overall authority, but not necessarily limited to a specific place.

Rulers of darkness of this world

The Greek word used here is kosmokrator (G2888) which stems from kosmos (G2889) or world and krateo (G2902) which is to take, keep, lay hold of or retain. Kosmkrator is a ruler and he rules the darkness or  akotos G4655) which stems from akia (G4639)which is shade or shadow.  Ergo, the phrase rulers of the darkness of this world.  More specifically, one who has authority which he exercises that authority secretly or through deception.

Wickedness in high places

Here, wickedness is the Greek word poneria (G4189), which is wickedness or iniquity which stems from poneros (G4190) which means evil, bad, grievous, harm, etc.   And ‘high places is epouranios  (G2032) which is celestial, sky, the heaven(ly).  Satan is the prince and power of the air (G109) (Eph. 2:2), or or we might say the ‘breeze’ (or spirits) that blows across the sky.  But, note again, not for the good of those subject to that authority.

John 10:10 declares that our enemy has three intents on his heart, so let’s take a look at steal, kill and destroy.

Steal

Luke 8:11 – steal the word from our heart.  Satan’s job is to do just that!  Steal the precious Word of God from our heart.  Actually his job is to keep us from getting God’s Word into our heart, but once God’s Word begins to settle in, the devil does his best to steal it away.  We may face problems which seem too difficult to overcome or we may even decide that the things of this world look better than the love of God.  Sound familiar (read Matt. 13:3-13)?

What can I say?  Klepto (G 2813) is a prime word which means to steal.  Suggest anything to you?  (hint – kleptomaniac?)

Kill  

Matt. 2:16-18 – Herod orders death of the children.  Satan’s attempt to keep Jesus from taking root in anybody’s heart was to destroy Him early in His earthly existence (within two years after His birth – Matt. 2:11-16).

John 13:2 – devil puts it into Judas’ heart to betray Jesus.  He brings the authorities to the mount to arrest Jesus.  Some may say Judas thought he would force Jesus’ hand as a king, but Satan intended to kill Jesus, thus stopping God’s plan for salvation.   

Matt. 27:19-24 – “give us Barabbas”.  To assure Pilate that all the people of Israel wanted Jesus to die, Satan aroused the crowd.

Matt. 27:48-54 – physical death of Jesus on the cross.  This is why Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified on the cross.  Satan thought he had won!  Jesus was dead.  Yet Jesus gives us the promise of eternal life through His resurrection on the third day!  Hallelujah!

Kill?  Thuo (G2380, is to kill, slay or sacrifice.  Think about this from Satan’s viewpoint.  Then Jesus’.  In case you are having difficulty – Satan’s intent was to kill, Jesus’ intent was eternal sacrifice so we could live.

Destroy

1 Peter 5:8 – devour

Apollumi (G622) is to kill, destroy, mar, die, perish, etc.  Webster’s defines destroy as to eliminate organic existence, demolish, annihilate.  Can we add ‘obliterate’?  Peter tells us that Satan also wants to devour us.  Not just ‘kill’ us, but totally destroy us or any evidence of our existence.  Think about it.  How many people today believe that God does not exist?  God told Moses “I AM that I AM” (Exod. 3:14).  God always was, is and will always be (Rev. 1:8).  How many reject this truth, even as an idea?  When people don’t believe in God, Satan has fulfilled his goal of total annihilation (eternal death)!

Did you catch the progression of this passage?  Steal – kill - destroy? 

The unholy triumvirate

Are we getting the idea on how Satan operates?

Now, let’s take a look at our ‘unholy triumvirate’ and see how they fit into the scheme of things.

What do I call the unholy triumvirate – the spirits of:  manipulation, control and predator

Manipulate

Webster’s says that to manipulate is deal with hands, to skillfully manage or utilize, control or play upon, to change by artful (sly), unfair or insidious means.

This spirit works things around to its own liking.  What does it want?  Who?  How?  What? when?  Where? Get the drift?  It wants anything and everything to go its way.  To please what it wants.  And to use any and all means necessary to accomplish this.  It wants to be ‘king of the world’ and do nothing to gain it.  That is except to manipulate the things or people to gain what it desires.  It beguiles people showing a pretense of friendliness.  One gets more of what they want with a lump of sugar than a pile of poop.  This spirit is friendly (as long as things go its way) and even likeable.  Again, as long as things go its way, it’s a happy camper.  If you remember the Popeye cartoon and his buddy Wimpy.  Wimpy’s catch phrase “I’ll gladly pay you tomorrow for a hamburger today.”  Wimpy never intended to pay up!  But he was such a sweet, pleasant, likeable, rotund guy, who could refuse him?

Remember the phrase “beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing’?  How about “all that glitters is not gold”?  Pyrite is just a cheap imitation of that precious metal. 

We need to ask God for discernment so we can know that with which we deal!

Control

Webster’s  says that control is to check, test or verify by evidence or experimentation, exercise direct influence over, have power over or rule.

The spirit of control is what drives the manipulating spirit.  He lies underneath and behind what is obvious.  Control doesn’t mind if we spot the manipulator.  He’ll lay low for a season then rise up and then change his approach to continue his work.  Control orchestrates then the manipulator implements.  They go hand in hand, but they are separate.

Predator

And Webster’s defines a predator as one that preys (upon), destroys or devours.  The predator’s ultimate goal is to destroy with his coup d’etat being to keep souls away from God.   After all, what is the ultimate destruction?  Burning in the fires of eternal hell.  Think about feline predators.  Ooh, I guess all cats (of any size) are actually predators in this sense.  They scout out their prey, stalk it waiting for the right moment, then pounce!  The cat’s goal is dinner, to literally and totally devour its prey.  The predator spirit operates in the same manner.  It scouts out its victim, stalks it, but then, it seduces the intended prey with that which will get its attention.  For the predator spirit, the goal is not immediate death, just to keep the attention of the victim by focusing on false promises until literal death does come in.  And that, of course, leads to the ultimate death (eternal separation from God).

And the predator spirit completes this triumvirate by prompting the spirit of control to do his thing.  Hiding in the shadows watching as things unfold.

 

Consider that these spirits can influence our lives through obsession or possession. 

According to Webster, obsession is persistent, preoccupation with an unreasonable idea or feeling.  Or, basically, anything that takes up too much of your time and/or attention. 

Possession, again according to Webster’s, is the act of having or taking control or occupying without regard to ownership.  Something owned or occupied.  An individual’s normal personality being taken over by another.

So basically the difference between obsession and possession is influencing as compared to actually taking over.  Influencing is external pressure where taking over becomes internal occupancy.

Several examples come to mind.  Satan did not enter into Peter, but clearly influenced his judgment as Jesus was telling the disciples that He must die (Matt. 16:21-23). Scriptures say that Satan did enter into Judas as he conspired, against Jesus, with the church counsel (Luke 22:3-4).   Later, Paul encountered  the woman with a diving spirit.  This gal was harassing Paul until he finally turned around and commanded the spirit to leave her (Acts 16:16-18).  There was also the crazed demonic at the Gergesenes where Jesus commanded the spirits (legion) to come out of the man and allowed them to enter the pigs (Matt. 8:28-22).  And then there were the ‘sons of Sceva’ who tried to cast out a demon in the name of Jesus who Paul preached.  The demon said “Jesus I know.  Paul I know.  But whoooo arrrre you?” the brothers were unsuccessful and the possessed man sent them out naked and bleeding (Acts 19:13-16). 

I mention these situations so you understand demons can be violent or subtle and one clearly needs to walk in the authority and power of Jesus before tackling any such situation.

Also understand, some people believe in God and angels and some don’t.  Some people believe in the devil and demons and some don’t.  A person is entitled to his/her belief, but just because one rejects the existence of spiritual beings doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.  In fact, one of Satan’s biggest covers is that people don’t believe that he exists.  Nor that they believe in God!  What one doesn’t believe in can’t hurt, right?  Denial is Satan’s biggest cover.  It gives him the freedom to do what he wants, where he wants or when he wants – because people a) don’t believe he is or b) don’t believe or trust in God (the Father) for protection.

This enables the predator spirit to activate the controlling spirit who puts the manipulating spirit into action.  All too often, we jump on the person who is influenced or actually possessed by these spirits forgetting that we don’t fight against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, the rulers of darkness of this world and against spiritual wickedness in high places. 

The victory is in Christ Jesus who has overcome the world (John 16:33).  For all things are put under His feet (Eph.1:22-23).  And He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5).  God so loves us that He gave His only begotten Son to stand the gap so we could have eternal fellowship with Him (John 3:16).

Amen

Saturday, August 13, 2022

 

8-13-2022           Jesus to the Rescue

Hebrews 12:1-29

I had another entry in the works for this time, but as I read this chapter in Hebrews, Father changed ‘my’ plans.  Listen closely to what Paul tells the Hebrews.

I’ve paraphrased some of the verses for easier reading as well as made comments (in blue).

1          Therefore, because we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let’s set aside all our burdens and sins which easily weigh us down, let us patiently run this race before us.

Paul tells us that we have ‘things’ to do as we walk with our Lord!  Basically, it’s not just jumping on the slide and enjoying the ride!  So let’s not get ‘antsy’ and jump ahead of the ball game.  Rather, patiently, follow the Lord’s lead.

2          Let us look to Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith because He gave up the joy He knew to endure the cross, the despising and the shame and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3          Consider that He endured that which came against Him and the sinners that we don’t become wearied or faint in our own minds.

4          For we have not shed our blood striving against sin.

Jesus is not just our ‘hope’ of salvation, but our promise.  He left heaven to come to here on earth as one of us and to give Himself on the cross so we don’t have to worry about how we are going to access eternal life.  So just because things don’t always go the way we want, hang in there, press through whatever we face for He is with us (Heb. 13:5).  We didn’t shed our own blood to attain salvation.

5          Have you forgotten the exhortation that has spoken to us as little children?  My son, don’t despise the chastening of the Lord nor faint when He rebukes you.

6          The Lord chastens those whom He loves and scourges every son whom He receives.

7          When you endure the chastening, God treats you as a son.  For what father doesn’t correct his son?

8          Therefore, if we are not chastised, which we all experience, we are not partakers.  We are bastards and not sons.

9          More so, we reverenced our fathers who corrected us, isn’t it better to obey the Father of Spirits and live?

10        Truly, they corrected us for their own pleasure, but God corrects us for our benefit that we may be partakers of His holiness.

11        Now, nobody enjoys correction for at the time for it is grievous.  Nonetheless, after we have received it, we receive the peaceable fruit of righteousness.

12        Therefore lift up those drooping hands and feeble knees.

13        And set your feet on the straight path so rather than continuing on the wrong path, you might be healed.

Father is our heavenly Father for a reason.  We are His children and as long as we act like little children, He interacts with us accordingly.  Our earthly dads correct us as to how they see fit.  My wife, more than once, had to remind me to make sure the punishment (for our children) was appropriate for the ‘crime’!  God reprimands us to get us back on track so we don’t continue down a wrong pathway. Our earthly dad punished us, yet we still obeyed what he said – or suffered more consequences.  So, if we considered our earthly dad with honor and respect, why do we “dis” our heavenly Father when He corrects us?  Why is God so mean!  It was just a ‘little’ sin!  When we get away with one ‘little’ sin, we figure we can get away with more and try to do so – ignoring the consequences.  Yes, God is longsuffering, but He does have His limits!  And let’s be honest.  Who out there ever liked punishment?  But, like I said, God is doing what is necessary to keep us on the right path so we can live a good life!  By the way, a ‘bastard’ is an illegitimate child (born out of wedlock) and is one who doesn’t really enjoy the benefits of family.  Hmmmm.

14        Be peaceable with all men, in all holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

Ooooh!  Live in peace AND be holy?  Holiness is being set apart from the world, not necessarily physically but in spirit and in actions (don’t do as the world does) for when we don’t live for the Lord, we live for ourselves or our enemy (the world).  Such a person will NOT see the Lord!  He is not loyal and runs at the first sign of danger (John 10:11-14).  He is not a son.  Just a hired hand!

15        Being careful not to fail the grace of God unless the root of bitterness rise up within you and you be defiled.

When we stray from God, the bitterness of this world can get us ‘down’ and then we stand in danger of becoming just as bitter as the world.  When we wallow in bitterness, we become like the seed on stony ground and will most likely drift away from the Lord (Matt. 13:3-9).  Who is the prince and power of the air in the world (2 Corinth. 4:4, Eph. 2:1-3, Rev. 12:7-10)? 

16        Unless any of you become a fornicator or profane person such as Esau, who sold his birthright for something to eat.

17        Understand that the blessing of the first-born was held from him for even though he sought it with tears, he found no place of repentance.

18       You aren’t come to the mount that you might be touched and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness and darkness and tempest.

Our enemy and the enemy of this world, of course, is Satan.  He comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).  Esau is used as an example here because he didn’t respect God enough to keep the blessings due the first-born son, but sold them for some food to satisfy his natural body.  God doesn’t bring us to His mount (salvation) just to destroy us, but rather to save us!  And as God is no respecter of persons, neither does He respect “crocodile tears” (fake, pretend)!

19       For the sound of the trumpet and the voice of words that entreated Israel, God would no longer speak to them.

20        For they could not endure what was commanded.  So much so that even if an animal touched the mountain, it should be slain.

When man disrespects God, God eventually gives him over to his own desires (Rom. 1:28) which will lead to his own demise.  And more so, even the things around him are affected!

21        And the sight (on the mount) was so terrible even Moses said that he was exceedingly fearful and quaked.

22        But you are come to the mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem which is inhabited by an innumerable company of angels.

23       To the general assembly, the church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and before God who judges all, and to the spirits of just men who have been made perfect.

As with Moses, when we come into the presence of our Lord (our prayer times), we need to keep God in utmost respect.  Our prayer time is likened unto Moses on the mount as God spoke with him through the burning bush (an angel).   

Jesus IS the first-born of all who confess and believe in Him (Rom. 8:29).  We stand before God, who judges all things, those who have preceded us into the kingdom, that is those who have obediently abided in God’s love.  So when we enter into eternity, we aren’t just going next door to visit with our neighbor.  We ae going before all the angels of God and all those saints who have gone before us.  Think, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, relatives and friends throughout the ages, who have already gone to be ‘with the Lord’.  Not just men of renown, but everyone who has trusted in the Lord!   

24        And to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant and to the blood of sprinkling, which speaks of better things than that of Abel.

Jesus intercedes for us, as He offers us better things than Abel because He shed His own blood for us on Calvary!  Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin (Heb. 9:22).  The blood of animals was shed over the millennia for us yet Jesus shed His own blood to cleanse us from our sin!

25        That you don’t refuse Him that speaks.  For those who refused Him, when He spoke on the earth, did not escape.  Then more so then we who turn away as He speaks from heaven.

Jesus came to this earth @2000 years ago and showed us how we should be living and what we should be doing and there were those who rejected Him then and are dead (in their sins).  God gave Israel a choice at the foot of the mount “Who is on the Lord’s side” and Israel was punished for their sin (Exod. Chapt. 32).  Now Jesus, being resurrected and ascended, speaks to us from heaven and if we reject Him, how should we live?

26       His voice once shook the earth, but He has now promised that not only the earth, but heaven as well.

27        And this Word signifies that the things made shall be shaken shall be removed, but those which cannot be shaken shall remain.

When He walked on this earth @2000 years ago, Jesus shook the earth.  When He spoke to the people, lives changed and came into life.  When He returns, not only will the earth be impacted, but then even the heavens shall be shaken as well!  Many will be destroyed but those whose trust is in Jesus are on  solid ground shall remain (eternally).  Being true and faithful to our living God is most important to our eternal existence.

28        Therefore, let us, who receive a kingdom which cannot be moved, have grace, in which we serve God acceptably with reverence and fear.

In Christ Jesus, we cannot be shaken, so let us live in God’s grace, respecting Him.  So let us live our lives because we know He is God and creator of all things.  He invites all who have received Him into our lives into His kingdom.  And we have come to know Him – personally!

29        For our God is a consuming fire!

Think about it!

Amen

Saturday, July 30, 2022

7-30-2022 Sound Doctrine



II Timothy 4:1-5

Finished reading Paul’s second letter to his son in Christ, Timothy, and Father pointed out verses two and three in chapter four, specifically.  Now, Paul also reminds Timothy of some faithful brothers but he also mentions some ‘brothers’ who weren’t so faithful.

In the first two verses Paul reminds Timothy that Jesus will judge ALL men when the time comes, then he encourages Timothy to be true in all that he has learned about Christ.  Always.  He encourages Timothy to correct, rebuke and encourage others while being patient as the Holy Ghost works in their lives.

Now comes the hammer!  We should be faithful and true in all that we do because the time is coming when men will not listen to the sound doctrine of our Lord.  They will seek after their own desires.  They will seek teachers to teach them what they want to hear!  They will no longer listen to the truth but listen to fables.

Seek their own desires

Scripture does say a man who doesn’t take care of his own house or family has not been doing what God says  and is not worthy of our trust.  He is even worse than an unbeliever (I Tim. 5:8)!  He needs to have his own house in order before he can do anything else (I Tim 3:5) for anybody else. 

Look at the world around us.  Since the 1960’s we’ve been encourage to be our ‘own man (woman)’.  We’ve been encouraged to ‘do our own thing’.  The focus has been on ‘me’!  What’s good for me?  What works for me?  What’s in it for me?  Me!  Me!  Me! 

For these next three categories think Jim Jones who was the leader of the “People’s Temple” and who created Jonestown in Guyana (South America) where @900 people died by either suicide or murder after killing U.S. congressman and investigator Leo Ryan in 1978.  Or David Koresh who was the leader of the “Branch Davidians” noted for their mass suicide at the siege at Waco 1993. 

People were pulled in by some smooth talking preachers who knew how to manipulate a people hungry for something better.  These preachers sought their own desires (to be #1) and the people who followed them didn’t seek God but rather something that sounded good.  They never bothered to check with God for the truth!

Teachers to teach what we want to hear

Our enemy (Satan) uses people to draw us away from God.  He entices us with half-truths.  He tried it with Jesus as Jesus fasted in the wilderness after His baptism by John the Baptist.  Jesus fasted for forty days, being tempted by the devil (Luke 4:2) and the tempter said “If you’re the Son of God, command these stones to be made bread.”  Jesus replied “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:1-4)  What did Jesus say to the officials who asked him to hush the people as He entered Jerusalem?  Jesus replied “I tell you that if these people should hold their peace, these stones would immediately cry out!” (Luke19:37-40) 

Again the devil tempted Jesus atop from a pinnacle of the temple.  “If you’re the Son of God, throw yourself off for it is written that God has charged His angels for your safety so you don’t hurt even your foot.”  Jesus responded “It is written that you shall not tempt the Lord, your God. (Matt. 4:5-7) 

And finally the devil takes Jesus to a high mountain and shows Him all the kingdoms of the land and all their glory and then says “I’ll give You all this if You just fall down and worship me.” (Mat. 4:8-9) and Jesus answered “Get away from Me Satan, for it is written ‘you shall worship the Lord your God and you shall serve only Him.” (Matt. 4:10) 

Jesus is Emmanuel (God with us).  He, the Father and the Holy Ghost are one, so of course He knew what the devil was up to and how to respond to him. 

Today we have the scriptures (the bible) informing us how to respond to the devil’s temptations. We need to read and know it so we can, as Jesus did, respond appropriately to the devils entrapments.  We need to renew our minds daily so WE can know what is good and acceptable to our heavenly Father (Rom. 2:2).

Reject sound doctrine

Satan operated like this from the beginning.  Remember Eve in the garden?  God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and devil for they would surely die (Gen. 2:16-17). 

Our sin separates us from God so He will not hear us (Isa. 2:2).  If we haven’t confessed Jesus (as Savior) with our mouth and believed in our heart that God (the Father) raised Him from the dead (Rom. 10:9), we are still in our sins separated from God.  So, did Adam and Eve physically drop dead as soon as they ate the fruit?  No!  The bible doesn’t tell us how old Eve was when she died die but Adam was 930 when he died (Gen. 5:6).  After all, they had to populate a world by having more sons and daughters (Gen. 5:4 – referencing Adam’s children, not Seth’s).  Didn’t they? 

The immediate death was not physical but a separation from the Father as they were expelled from the garden in Eden (Gen. 3:23-24).  Though physical death lingered, it did come to Adam and Eve – and all humanity.     

Sound doctrine is important.  As Christians we believe Jesus shed His blood on the cross cleansing us from all our sin (1 John 1:7).   So, if Christ is not risen, our faith is in vain (1 Corinth. 5:14) and there is no hope for the resurrection of the dead.  BUT, we have the testimony of the empty grave (Matt. 38:1-20) that Jesus is risen and is, even now, interceding for us (1 John 2:2) so we can be with Him – forever.  In John’s letter, the Greek word for ‘propitiation’ is hilasmos’ (G2434) which means atonement or expiator which is one who atones or pays the penalty for another.  In this is our hope and promise of eternal existence with God, the Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  And that is our sound doctrine!  

Yes, there is evil all around us.  So we need to be aware of what’s going on and endure and press through those negative things that come upon us, and continue to do the work God has given us (vs 5).  Knowing that our eternity is secure because we have relationship with our Savior, re-enforced through our reading the scripture and our regular (even daily) communication with our Lord re-confirming and reassuring, in our heart that we are His and will be with Him in eternity.

So, is our sound doctrine based on the world around us?  A world that is sinking deeper and deeper into destruction?  Or in our faith that Jesus is our assurance of “forever”?

Amen  

Saturday, July 16, 2022

7-16-2022 State of Affairs

                        God's Heart

The world is in a sad state of affairs today.  Yet, Paul wrote his fellow servant, Timothy, about it 2000 years ago!

2 Timothy 3:1-17

1          Perilous times will come in the last days.

Understand that the apostles and disciples thought they were living in the last days 2000 years ago (1 John 2:18).  Just before ascending into heaven, Jesus promises the Holy Ghost to the disciples. Then, the disciples asked - …’at that time, Lord, will you restore the kingdom to Israel?’ … (Acts 1:4-8).  Jesus has already explained about the end times (in part, Matthew 24).

2-5       Men will love themselves, they will be covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, haters of those who do good, traitors, heady, high-minded, loving pleasures more than God, having a form of godliness but denying the power of God.  Turn away from those who are like this.

Wow!  Most of this list is self-evident, but in case you‘re not sure: a blasphemy is showing contempt for God and His works (Webster’s).  Strong’s adds to defame, hate, speak evil of, etc. (H5007, G987,988).  We can even say that attributing God’s work to Satan is a big nono.  Without natural affection?  God created our bodies for specific purposes, male and female.  Yes, we are to love all, but that means God’s love, agape love.  Adults having physical relationships with children or with the same gender?  God did not intend our affections to move in that direction or using our body in ways God did not intend.  Incontinency is lack of self-control (Webster’s & Strong’s G193).  Heady is violent or impetuous (Webster’s) and Strong’s means rash (G4312).  In short, these are people who do whatever, whenever and where ever they want to satisfy themselves.  God is far from their actions much less their thoughts.

6          For these are the kind who will creep into houses and lead as captives those silly women laden with sin into various types of lust.

These are the people who desire to draw others into their lifestyles and away from God.

7          These people are always learning things but never coming into the knowledge of truth.

Say what?!  Look how far ‘knowledge’ has come in the last 2000 years!  Did they have automated printing presses?  Drive around in automobiles?  Be able to communicate with those afar off in an instant via the internet?  Travel into space?  Look at all the technological advances man has made.  Now look at the last sixty years and how man has pushed God from his consciousness.  Gotta separate God from state!  God set America apart from the rest of the world and blessed us because, as a whole, we were obedient to Him.  What are we doing today? (think about it)

8-9       Just as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses (Exod. 7:10-12 – Jewish tradition), also resisting the truth.  The minds of men will become corrupt and reprobate concerning the faith.  Men will get no farther than these two men against Moses as their foolishness shall be revealed.

Man is resisting God’s direction and council.  Jesus told the Jews “You are whited sepulchers.  You look pretty good on the outside but are full of dead bones on the inside” (Matt. 23:27).  

10-11   (Paul to Timothy) You have fully known my doctrine, my lifestyle, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, patience, persecutions and afflictions which came upon me at Antioch, Iconium and Lystra.   You know the persecutions I endured and how the Lord delivered me out of all of them. 

Paul tells Timothy that he and the church knows all about him.  Paul endured all that came upon and against him, gladly, so the church could prosper.

12        Indeed, I will live a godly life in Christ Jesus and suffer persecution.

In fact He goes son to say that he will suffer anything to live for Jesus!

13        But evil men and seducers shall grow stronger and become worse in deceiving and being deceived. 

But trickery and deception will get worse, as time goes by and as that implies the truth will take a back seat in people’s lives.  “It’s all about “me”!  look around.  What’s happening today?

14-15   But, you, continue in those things you have learned and assured of, knowing who taught you.  You now that from a child, you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Some people learn from their childhood, that’s natural and/or spiritual (childhood), the things of God.  Yet, Paul encourages us to stand firm in our faith and love in Jesus Christ and not yielding to the ways of the world.  Paul laid a foundation in the lives of those whom he encountered and encouraged them not to stray from that foundation.  Amen?

16-17   All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, therefore it is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction or instruction in righteousness.  That the man of God may be perfect and thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

As Christians, we believe God inspired ALL the writers of the bible.  That the His Holy Spirit led those writers to write down what He (God) wanted us to know.  John tells us in his gospel that everything in the bible is given to us so we can understand what we need to know to come into ‘salvation’ (John 20:31).  Perfect implies complete.  We’re doing what we are supposed to be doing.  John also tells us that if everything that Jesus told the disciples were written down, the world would not be able to contain those volumes (John 21:25).  In other words, the bible tells what we need to know to enjoy eternal life with the Father through Jesus Christ, even though there may be a whole lot more to know.

So, has the world gotten any better since Paul’s time??

Now brothers, until Jesus comes to gather us together, don’t be troubled by spirit nor by word nor by letter, even from us, that the day of Christ is at hand.  Don’t let anyone deceive you for He (Jesus) shall not come until there is first a falling away and the man of sin, the son of perdition, is revealed.  The son of perdition opposes anything that is from God and exalts himself above anything else that is called God.  He sits in the temple proclaiming himself to be God (2 Thess. 2:1-4).  He tries to convince us that he is God to ultimately draw us away from the One, True and Living God.

As we read the bible and come to understand what it is really saying, we come to realize God has intended for us to live in His love.  That love helps us to interact with others in a way which is edifying to them (1 Corinth. 14:12).  That is we have their “best interests” at heart.  Not what we want or can get from them, but what they need.  Yes, we can have our own wants and desires, but as we grow in the Lord, those wants and desires line up with God’s will for us (Rom. 12:2).  We can desire things, just not what is contrary to God’s love or to take what someone already owns.

So just what is the state of affairs in the United States and in the world?  Many will come claiming to represent Christ.  There will be wars and rumors of wars.  Nation will rise up against nation.  There will be plagues and diseases.  There will be famine (natural and spiritual).  Earthquakes will occur where they had not occurred before (Matt. 24:4-8).  Not to mention the weather gone ‘bananas’.  Ask yourself “are storms getting stronger and hitting various places with more frequency?  Have the ills of the world become greater and more intensified?  Open your eyes and look!

Remember what Paul said “cling to those things we know to be true and abide in the love of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

What is the state of affairs of the world?

Amen