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Invest wisely.

*Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)*
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

*1 Timothy 6:17-19 (ESV)*
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

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Thoughts on Christian Culture 6: Can You Handle The Truth?

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Can I handle it?

 

2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NKJV)
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;
and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

•Things Christians are not promised in this life, through scripture:

~family approval
~popularity among peers
~satisfying love life
~wealth
~perfect physical health
~social respectability
~political influence
~fashionable clothing
~fun career
~earthly possessions
~freedom to be whatever we want
~leisure time

These are all worldly (temporal) goals. These things can make our existence more pleasant, or convenient; and can sometimes be considered a blessing by those who manage to keep things in proper perspective.

But Christians are supposed to be looking ahead to something better.

Hebrews 11:13-16 (NKJV)
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.
And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.
But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

•We are actually told to expect:

~misunderstanding
~rejection
~active opposition
~loss of personal possessions
~spiritual discernment regarding sin
~generalized struggle with our own self-indulgent sin nature
~God’s provision in God’s timing
~prayer support (and accountability) from other believers

Matthew 6:10-12
John 15:18-19
John 16:33
Luke 11:3
Romans 7:18; 8:13
Galatians 5:13
1 Corinthians 5:11-13
James 5:16
2 Timothy 3:12

A Beautiful Woman

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1 Peter 3:3-4 (ESV)
Do not let your adorning be external–the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear–
but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

Inferno

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*Proverbs 29:8 (NKJV)*
Scoffers set a city aflame, But wise men turn away wrath. 

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Things that come to mind when reading this verse:

1. It is unwise to scoff at the righteousness of God.
2. The destruction of Sodom by God in response to the wickedness of the people. Their irrationally hostile attitude toward their heavenly visitors sealed their fate. (see Genesis 18-19)

*Genesis 18:20-21 (NKJV)* And the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave,
I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.”

*Genesis 19:24-25 (NKJV)* Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens.
So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.

3. The mocking, rejection, and crucifixion of Christ Jesus, which preceded the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 ad

Matthew 27:27-32, 39-44 (NKJV) Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him.
28 And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him.
29 When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
30 Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head.
31 And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.

39 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads
40 and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

41 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said,
42 “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.
43 “He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ”

44 Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.

4. And this:

*Psalm 33:10-12 (NKJV)*
10 The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.
11 The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart to all generations.
*12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.*

Thoughts on Christian Culture 4: Testify

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John 4:6-7, 28-29 (ESV)
(Please read omitted verses for essential context)

Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”

28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people,
29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?


We all tend to talk freely and excitedly about the things that are most appealing to our hearts and minds.

Over time, I have become ever more convinced that “sharing Christ” should not be a learned, forced methodical activity.  Introducing others to our Savior should not feel like a burden, but a privilege. As we get to know Him better, offering His love to others should become more and more of a “natural” impulse, in the same way that a spring of fresh water simply flows down a mountainside.

Of course, there are times when some are not open to hearing, and God’s Spirit may direct you to keep silent rather than try to force-feed someone who does not believe (s)he is hungry.

But this type of restraint is subject to His discretion, rather than our own fear of rejection.

Illicit Love Affair

 

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 1 John 2:15-17 (ESV) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life–is not from the Father but is from the world.

Matthew 6:24-25, 32-33 (ESV) “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”
6:32-33 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ~Jesus

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(me)
We have legitimate physical and emotional needs, and it is not inherently evil to appreciate pleasant earthly experiences.

But we tend to lose sight of that which is of eternal value when we directly attempt to satisfy deeply-rooted cravings (aka lusts, desires) for ourselves, through temporal means. And we can make very, very damaging choices with regard to the way we go about getting what we want.

Jesus warned that it is impossible to maintain a heavenly-minded perspective while being preoccupied with gaining material treasure such as food, clothing, possessions, social status and human approval (See also Matthew 6:1-8).

He demonstrated that He cannot be tempted to sin in the way we are (Matthew 4:1-11).

And He reassured us that He has indeed overcome the world on our behalf (John 16:33)

He has also enabled us to overcome by the power of His indwelling Spirit:

1 John 5:4-4 (ESV) For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.
Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

(me) The Apostle Paul reminded readers to stay the course.

Romans 14:17-19 (ESV) For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.
So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

 

Note: This is my personal consideration of these verses.  Please do take the time to check my references and prayerfully determine what is true.