Thank YOU!

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You know what’s more shocking than the increasing reports of the depths of evil to which humans can sink?

It’s the rare encounters with genuinely “good” people who typically reflect God’s love and light into the growing darkness.

Not so much the flashy religious ones who make a scene about how moral and kind and industrious they are. But the quiet ones who just show up when you most need a shoulder to cry on. Or who offer a steady hand to help with an unpleasant job.
It’s the ones who gently correct error with an attitude of humility. And the ones who calmly hold onto the promise that God will eventually vindicate His children who are misunderstood, unappreciated, rejected and mistreated by the inhabitants of this current world.

These people really do exist. Be sure to thank them when you meet them. Not for their sake. But for your own.

1Thessalonians 5:12-13 (ESV)
We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.

Galatians 6:6 (ESV)
Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.

Hebrews 13:1-2 (ESV)
Let brotherly love continue.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

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Exposed

*Luke 12:1-5 (ESV)*
In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.
Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.
But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!

 

I believe this passage is pretty self-explanatory, but do think it is important to recognize that Jesus spoke of the “leaven of the Pharisees” as their continually self-perpetuating, infections sin…  of hypocrisy.  

Basically, this indicates that they were engaged in play-acting.  And in particular, the warning was related to their religious activity and true attitude toward God.

However, Jesus also promised that there will come a time when every dusty corner of our hearts will be emptied of all secrets.  Therefore, it is beneficial for us to develop a genuine respect the God who will judge rightly all we have ever said, done and even though.

Give It To Me Straight.

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Image courtesy winnond @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Truth:

~The Native language of God
~The Acquired language of God’s adopted children
~The Second language of those who are merely moral
~A Foreign language to those who prefer their own version of reality

 

 

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

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Image courtesy Stuart Miles @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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

Thoughts on Christian Culture 5: Arrogance

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Image courtesy Naypong

Two faces of pride:

~ I am always right.
~I cannot believe I did something wrong.

The first response refuses to acknowledge sin.
The second one wallows in self-pity.

Either way, the focus remains on personal performance instead of the need to seek God’s forgiveness.

A Savior Is Born (23)

A musical celebration of the Advent of the Christ.

 

This is the reason we acknowledge the birth of Jesus of Nazareth as the Savior of the world.

*Zechariah 9:9-13 (NKJV)*
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.

I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; The battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.’

***As for you also, Because of the blood of your covenant, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.***

***Return to the stronghold, You prisoners of hope. Even today I declare That I will restore double to you.***

For I have bent Judah, My bow, Fitted the bow with Ephraim, And raised up your sons, O Zion, Against your sons, O Greece, And made you like the sword of a mighty man.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The fulfillment of God’s promise of deliverance. THIS is the reason we celebrate the birth of Messiah, the Anointed, who came to save us from the pit of death into which we fell.

Privilege Requires Responsibility

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Image courtesy Stuart Miles @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Luke 16:10-12 (ESV)
One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?
And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So now this passage has gotten stuck in my head.

If you’re interested in my thoughts, it would be good to begin by reading the preceding 9 verses of Luke 16.

(Commentary)

~ Jesus was talking to people (natural-born Israelites) who were preoccupied with receiving the promised perfect Kingdom of God (Luke 17:20-21; Acts 1:6-8)

~The problem is that they had mismanaged the information God had entrusted to them regarding that Kingdom, and were about to lose their former privileged position as Kingdom stewards (Matthew 21:33-43)

~According to Matthew 21:45-46, the religious leaders understood the reprimand contained in Jesus’ message to be about them…and they did not respond well.

~ Romans 10:2-4 specifically details their error to be misapplication of the Law as a means of personally attaining necessary righteousness that is accessible through faith in Christ alone. By adopting this alternative view, the leaders of Israel subsequently rejected the Christ who came to establish the Kingdom.

~Because of their negligence and hostility toward Jesus, He predicted:
Matthew 21:43 (ESV) Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.

~Not too long after Jesus’ crucifixion and ascension, Jerusalem was destroyed (70ad) and the Kingdom message of the Gospel was entrusted to the Gentile-dominated Christian Church.

~Personally, I have not yet found any biblical evidence to support the idea that the Kingdom was permanently taken from all who originally were given the trust.

Actually, much of the OT prophetic writings indicate that there would be a time that God allows the contrary people to be punished for their disrespect and that they would be dominated by their enemies, yet at least some would eventually accept their Messiah and be purified by Him.
Paul also discussed this hope in his letter to the Roman Christians.

~Anyway, there are probably many personal applications regarding responsibility and integrity that we could derive from the Luke 16 passage.

•for instance, if I cannot manage to properly care for a rental car or house, when I’ve signed a well-defined agreement…why should anyone believe that I would do better as an owner, making up my own rules?

James (3:1-12) wrote that those who do not “bridle their tongues”, ought not be trusted to accurately teach the Word of God to others.

•If a business employee will steal from, or lie to, either their employer or clients, why would anyone think the individual should be trusted as a business owner?

•If a man does not visibly demonstrate respect for the wife, daughter, or even girlfriend, of another man…even when that man isn’t in the room…how could he be trusted to care for a family of his own?

That’s all for today. Thank you for reading along 🙂