Friday, September 22, 2017

All Praise, Glory and Honor to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Ephesians 1: 3-14 ~ All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. 8He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.

God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

1 Timothy 5 ~ Lessons for Godly Women

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 

But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.

But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. 

And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to. So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.

If any woman who is a believer has widows in her care, she should continue to help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.  

For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,”and “The worker deserves his wages.” Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.

Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.

Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.
The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Who is and where is the church?

Firstly, before answering that question. Let us remember that God did not use a mediator when He gave His promise to Abraham! Galatians 3:20. Why do you want to go back to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world? You are trying to earn favor with God by observing certain days or months or seasons or years. Live as Paul in freedom of these things ~ Galatians 4:9-13.

Remember that a slave woman was man's attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God's promise. But only the son of the freeborn wife could be God's own fulfillment of His promise. Isaac was the child born by the power of the Spirit. We are not children of the slave woman; but children of the free woman. 

Those who want you to keep the law are as Ishmael the child born by human effort ~ Galatians 4:23-30. Yes, and so the Lord says, " These people they are not mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me as their worship of me is but man-made rules learned by rote ~ Isaiah 29:13.

We should then ask - Who/where is the Church? The church and Christ are one as husband and wife are united as one ~ Ephesians 5:31. And, where is the church? "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them" ~ Matthew 18:20.

"Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved fellow worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church that meets at your house" ~ Philemon 1:2. "Greet also the church that meets at their house" ~ Romans 16:5.

AGAIN "...a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one ~ Ephesians 5:31-32. Christ and the church are one and the same, united like a husband to his wife - one! It is not a building built by human hands...For He is not served by man-made rules and human hands ~Isaiah 29:13; Acts 17:25.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Ministry is about feeding the flock with the Word...

As Christians, our ministry is always and everywhere before us. We are called to feed the flock with the Word of God, who was from the beginning with God and is God - Jesus Christ.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made." John 1:1-2.

I read a blog by a Dutch PhD who was raised in Catholic Flanders. He now rejects that religion and all Christianity. It is sad because he has missed who Christ was and what He came to do. Religion is man's achievement; and thus, I can agree with this person on a couple of points including his harsh criticism of Christian missionaries in the Congo and elsewhere in the world. Missionaries in their zeal to do the works of the Lord more often than not forget what those works are and thus they end up causing more problems than they do good 'works'. 

And, that is their problem - works that man thinks he must do! Christ never demanded works from us, only that we depend on and trust in His peace, love, and rest found in His presence the Holy Spirit. In that, which is our 'work' the worshiping and glorifying of God Jesus Christ, we spread the Good News - that Through Jesus Christ (the only way to the Father) we can trust that there is and will be peace, love and rest and most of ~ eternal life! Remember, this world is passing away and all we have is to believe in Him and look forward to His Kingdom Come!

Yes, most important of all is for us to spread the Good News - the Word of God. That in the Word (not by works in this fallen world) we are redeemed, made new through His sacrifice on the cross; so that death and our sin was taken on by Him ... so that we have may eternal life in Him. 

In that realization, people will find their relationship with God not with other men ... that is secondary to a relationship with God. In their new found joy (Jesus Christ), they will in the place where they are do the works of the Holy Spirit  which is the fruit of the Spirit in us: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith ~ Galatians 5:22. And, in this way not only bring others to Christ but help the poor, orphans and widows in the place where they are by giving them the Word and those around them the Word who in their place will seek the Lord and reach out for Him and find Him.

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being ~ Acts 17:24-28.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

If Society/world puts burdens on marriage, what can you do?

What can you do? You as a woman and wife can simply serve your husband. This is a wife's greatest calling in God's hierarchy aside of His greatest commandment "Love the Lord God will all your heart, soul, mind and strength."

Submitting to your husband and not to the world/society, and not to yourself is submitting to God!
Our worst enemy is often ourselves, our own desires. Think about it. "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up... and in your marriage! 

~ James 4:1-10

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Today's Society puts weight on marriage...

Society at times seems like an oppressive weight which is burdensome to bear...

We have to pay bills, pay taxes and keep up with the Jones so that we don't cause them to lose out on building their wealth... after all, most Americans' wealth is in their private property. If you have an eye sore in your yard, your neighbor and neighborhood does too. The irony is when we take care of that eye sore, the cost of owning and living in our home goes up and it goes up for everyone!

Not that God asks us or even requires us to 'keep up with the Jones' quite often we feel it to be our duty as a citizen so that everyone's wealth is valued and thus everyone is given an equal chance at getting ahead, right? This kind of duty is NOT that which comes from the Lord but from society at large which here in the USA puts getting ahead first and foremost; don't we always ask each other, "So, what do you do"?

We tend to look at marriage in the same way "So, what do you do and are going to do for me"... its the American approach to building wealth here on earth rather than building wealth or storing up treasure in His Kingdom ~ Matthew 6; 19,20 and, 1 Timothy 6:19.

That is largely how we chose our spouse in this country. And, when our spouse appears to be letting things go, no longer attractive, no longer pleasurable or no longer willing to go along with our schemes and or ideas in terms of seeking out new alternatives to wealth building here and now we become disillusioned, we become disappointed in our choices and in our choice of mate.

That is not what marriage is about. But, in American society, this is what marriage has become about. We seek out and marry the 'right' person so that we can receive material gains. We mistakenly think that the person we choose will do this for us because they look good, have good connections, have a good job, or have good motivation for getting ahead. We are gravely wrong. Yet, society is all about the individual getting ahead and who is entitled to this and all good things with no trouble at all. 

Society is both wheat and tares and as such a mass of good and bad seed it does not have all the answers when all things fail; its answer is that you just did not do it right and what is that according to society? In our failure to do what society thinks is right, we crash under the weight of its mistaken truth.

We as Christians (wheat) know the truth because we have been given the truth which is that in Him our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ are all things possible and that He alone can make all things good in this fallen world and thus as individuals and as married couples we are to glorify Him and His Kingdom... not society!  For in Him we live, move and have our being ~ Acts 17:28.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

An Exposition on Proverbs 12:23...

The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright; as the heart of a wise and good man is filled with useful knowledge, civil, moral, spiritual, and evangelical. The wise takes care to communicate knowledge at proper times and seasons, in proper places, and to proper persons; adapting it to their case and circumstances, so as it may be for their comfort, edification, and instruction, and minister grace unto them; which is using knowledge "well", as the word (s) signifies.

Such a use of it recommends it, and makes it appear beautiful and lovely, decorates and adorns it. Thus every good man, out of the good treasure of knowledge in his heart, brings forth his good things seasonably, to the use of edifying; in like manner, ministers of the word, scribes well instructed in the things of God, bring forth both new and old, to the profit of those to whom they minister; so Christ, as man and Mediator, had the tongue of the learned, to speak a word in season to weary souls.

But the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness; their knowledge, as they take it to be, but it is no other than folly; this they throw out in great plenty, in a hurry, without fear or wit; they "babble" it out, as the word (t) signifies, as water out of a fountain; their hearts are full of it, and their mouths proclaim it.

Exposition by John Gill