Inferno

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Image courtesy xedos4 @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

*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.*

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Thoughts on Christian Culture 4: Testify

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Image property of Grammarly.  I’m borrowing it for non-profit, educational purposes 🙂

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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Image courtesy Ambro @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 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.

 

Thoughts on Christian Culture 1: Gospel Saturation or Moral Paganism?

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Image courtesy smarnad @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Gospel message (including the books of Acts, Hebrews and the first several chapters of Romans) is for the entire world (Mark 16:15)
The NT Epistles are written instruction to members of the early Church. From them, we may continue to glean godly insight and wise instruction as we await Christ’s return.

~Everyone, regardless of how long they have claimed the label “Christian”, can benefit from hearing the true Word of salvation. (Revelation 14:6-7)

~It is acceptable to help others see their need through “lawful” use of the OT Law (Romans 7, 1 Timothy 1:8) …maybe will come back to this thought, later

~It is acceptable to (respectfully) share with an unbeliever the reason for your faith (1 Peter 3:15-16). Personal experience can be very convincing evidence. The OT narrative offers a record of our tendency to be wrong. Paul provided an explanation of our desperate spiritual need in the early chapters of his letter to the Romans.

~It is acceptable to work out God’s love at a social level to help counteract the injustices of society (Galatians 6:10; Philippians 4:5; Romans 13:7-9)

~It is not remotely helpful for Christians to attempt to direct the behavior of the unconverted through external moralization which is based on Christian principles. In fact, Jesus soundly condemned this practice when He spoke “woes” over those who traveled land and sea to make a single convert…only to sink that person even deeper into a state of spiritual lostness (Matthew 23:15).

Worship Around the World (Newsboys, founded: Australia)

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O most High: To shew forth Thy lovingkindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness every night

~Psalm 92:1-2 (KJV)

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet and there were loud voices in heaven, saying the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”

~Revelation 11:15 (ESV)

Someone Said (Who’s the Boss?)

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Image courtesy Stuart Miles @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Men must choose to be governed by God or condemn themselves to be ruled by tyrants.”
– William Penn

Deuteronomy 28:47-48 (ESV) Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things,
therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness, and lacking everything. And he will put a yoke of iron on your neck until he has destroyed you.

*My commentary Happily, God did not intend to leave Israel in this horrifying situation. The disciplinary response was intended to bring the people to a place of repentance for_
1. Disregard for God’s authority and
2. Ingratitude for His goodness to them.
(See v 48, above, Genesis 3 and Romans 1:21)

2 Chronicles 7:13-14, 16 (ESV) When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people,
14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

16 For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.

Jesus the Christ is the designated Head of the favored household (John 6:27-29)….When we properly acknowledge Him as such, we are made right with God.

Exposed

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Not my edit.  Design credit belongs to preachthegospel.org

I have seen this quote accredited to Charles Spurgeon on more than one occasion, and assume the photo attribution is correct.

No doubt about it, though.

Knowing Christ means encountering illumination as we have never before experienced.
And, the brighter the Light shines, the more clearly we will be able to see the dirt in the corners and under the furnishings of our lives.
Isaiah 2:5 (NKJV) O house of Jacob, come and let us walk In the light of the LORD.

John 8:12 (NKJV) Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

1 John 1:6-9 (NKJV) If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.