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Precious Baby – Christmas Star – A Candymaker’s Witness

In Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Birth, Christ, Christ Birth, Christmas, Christmas Star, Jesus on December 15, 2018 at 8:00 am

Precious Baby

A bit of Christmas trivia for you. Many people do not think about it, or either do not know, but Jesus may not have been born on December 25th but it is the day we have chosen to honor His Miraculous birth. Many scholars have debated the facts over the years regarding dates, age, and time frame but here are a couple of widely accepted details.

There is a good chance Jesus was born in April or September, not December. He was also not born in 1AD but instead was born sometime between 7-2BC according to scholars. To me that is quite a gap in time and many people debate those five years but I tend to believe it was about 3-2BC when Christ came to this earth to redeem it from the power of darkness. Additionally, the wise men were not present at Jesus’ birth they came to Jesus, directed by the heavenly star, which marked the birthplace and their travels took them some time as they came from faraway lands. When they arrived, Jesus would have been about two years old, which is why Herod had all the babies two and under killed [Matt. 2:16-18] in an attempt to kill the Messiah. Nevertheless, the precious child was born and we praise God that He was willing to come to this earth and bring us the ability to have joy and peace in Christ at Christmas time.

The balance of this post will include details from a lecture done by Barry Setterfield regarding Jesus’ birth and the study of the Star of Bethlehem. Although none of us can truly pinpoint every detail of Jesus’ birth and the Wise Men’s journey, I find the following teaching to be quite creditable.

The Christmas Star Lecture

Barry Setterfield – Teaching 1993

Based on 28 years of research by historians, astrologers, and astronomers who studied of the Star of Bethlehem.

All of the following dynamics tie into pinpointing when Jesus was born and when the Wise Men would have arrived to worship Him.

Mary and Joseph both came from the line of David.

A woman giving birth would have been considered unclean because of the blood involved. If the woman was in a house during this time, the whole house would have been considered unclean and this was during a time of religious ceremonies. Hence, the use of a stable for birth.

Shepherds were in fields at night only twice a year, in spring and fall. Therefore, Jesus was born in the spring or fall of 3BC. [My note: This could be why some believe Jesus was born in April.]

Autumn 3BC Jesus was born. Between the 10th and the 25th of September.

Jesus is born September 12th then on His eight day He was circumcised, which would have been September 20th the Jewish Day of Atonement thus Jesus was shedding His first blood on the Day of Atonement. Then on September 25th, the Feast of the Tabernacle would have taken place.

If Jesus were in fact born around this time, September 10th – 25th, then His conception would have been close to the 25th of December, the previous year.

The Wise Men, the men who set out to find the New King of the Jews.

The star in the sky that announced Jesus’ birth remained in the sky for a couple, to several, years and moved guiding the Wise Men. When the Wise Men got to Jesus they went into the “house” to worship Him, house not stable [Matt. 2:11]. Above Bethlehem the star, the planet Jupiter, stopped moving and stood still for six days over the Christ Child, the day it stopped moving would have been December 25th 2BC – on that day the Wise Men arrived.

A Candymaker’s Witness

Original source/author unknown

A candymaker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would be a witness, so he made the Christmas Candy Cane. He incorporated several symbols for the birth, ministry and death of Jesus Christ.

He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy. White to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus, and hard to symbolize the Solid Rock, the foundation of the Church, and firmness of the promises of God.

The candymaker made the candy in the form of a “J” to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. It could also represent the staff of the “Good Shepherd” with which He reaches down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs, who like all sheep, have gone astray.

Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candymaker stained it with red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life.

Unfortunately, the candy became known as a Candy Cane – a meaningless decoration seen at Christmas time. But the meaning is still there for those who “have eyes to see and ears to hear.” I pray that this symbol will again be used to witness TO THE WONDER OF JESUS and HIS GREAT LOVE that came down at Christmas and remains the ultimate and dominant force in the universe today.

This year try hanging your candy canes, on your tree, upside down so that they form the letter “j”. It will be a small way to remind all who see them the real reason we celebrate Christmas.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

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If

In Advice, Anxiety, Biblical Principles, Confusion, Decision Making, Godly Counsel, Peace, Prudence, Renewal, Suffering, Truth, Wisdom on December 11, 2018 at 1:34 pm

For the next few weeks we will forgo our regular blog studies of Proverbs and Church Growth to pursue postings that center around Christmas and New Year’s. These entries will appear on Saturdays instead of earlier in the week as is the norm.

There will be one except this week with the posting today, which is a special posting of a poem I believe you will find inspiring and enlightening. This entry is being dedicated to a special friend who at this time in life could really benefit from the wisdom found within this poem – you know who you are.

“If” By Rudyard Kipling

If

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too:

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;

If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim,

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same:.

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings,

And never breathe a word about your loss:

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much:

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Source: A Choice of Kipling’s Verse (1943)

Rudyard Kipling 1865–1936

More about the poem "If" and Rudyard Kipling.

Were you to write the biography of Rudyard Kipling as a graph, the first thing that would strike you would be the steep vertical zigzags. The chart would have to start on a high point: his birth in India to a loving set of parents. His childhood would continue for a short period along an upward slope in the wonderland where he was born, and then plunge dramatically at the age of six when he was sent to England for his education. His first five years in England were scarred by the terrible abuse that he endured there from his foster mother. His only break during that period was the holiday month of December, when he would head to London to stay with his mother’s family. After that period he was transferred to a school in Devon where he shone, becoming the editor of the school paper and embarking on his path as a writer, becoming a major success. He was struck by misfortune once more when the bank where he kept his savings collapsed leaving him penniless. He moved to America and continued writing, publishing The Jungle Books together with much else. He again hit a low when he became embroiled in a fight with his brother-in-law which landed both in court and in local papers, forcing his move back to England. On a trip to America in 1899 his daughter Josephine died of pneumonia at the age of seven, leaving him heartbroken. The wheel continued to turn however, and in 1907 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his outstanding work. An avowed proponent of British involvement in World War One, he encouraged his son John to enlist. When he failed the physical, Kipling used his connections to get him in, only to watch him die in the battle for Loos leaving him awash in guilt.

His life was one replete with trials and hardships, sorrows which one could never fault anyone for crumbling beneath but which time and time again he overcame. This poem, published three years after he won the Nobel Prize, encapsulates the lessons that he learned and that he considered to be the keys to his success. Part of it is engraved on the entrance to Wimbledon to remind players of what it is that makes a man.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

How Do We Make Godly Decisions? – Study of Proverbs 4:25-27 – Focus On Wisdom’s Path (The God Path)

In Advice, Anxiety, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian Living, Confusion, Decision Making, Discretion, Evil, God's Voice, Godliness, Godly Counsel, Proverbs, Prudence, Renewal, Repentance, Truth, Uncategorized, Wisdom on December 5, 2018 at 10:00 am

Please forgive my delay in posting, I have had an especially challenging week. Please keep me in your prayers and know that if God should speak anything into your heart as you pray for me regarding my life please feel free to share that with me. God speaks through His people.

This blog will alternate with each post between two subjects. One week will address why churches are not growing, and the coming move of God. The alternate week the blog will continue with the in-depth study through the Book of Proverbs.

The Scripture passages are identified with bold upright font and the author’s notes are identified with italic regular font.

Note – All words or phrases found in quotation marks are actual parts of the Hebrew definition.

25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

Focus On Wisdom’s Path (The God Path)

If you do not look at where you are going you will surely lose your way. We must continually look at and keep our focus on what God wants our life to be, looking straight toward what we want to be, solely focused on our priorities in life – provided those priorities come from an honorable godly focus. There are so many things in life that wish to drag us away from being someone we can feel good about or proud of in a godly way, so many temptation and personal desires that conflict with God’s Plan and Purpose for our life and our personal long-term life goals. V.25

We are all too often allowing our eyes to stray from what is important or worst toward things they should not pursue. This is why the wisest man to ever live, King Solomon, shared the wisdom God had provided him and has counseled us to keep our eyes “straight before thee” where they should be focused on what is good, decent, honorable, and pleasing to God. V.25

We have to actually think about our actions in life, not just flow through life acting on any desire and whim, if we are to be a person of substance, a person of honor, a person of discipline, a godly person, if we want to be a wise person. We have to ask ourselves before we act, ‘What affect will this action I am about to take have on my life, on the life of those I love or on the life of those around me? Can I tell God that in taking this action I honored the life He gave me?’ It is with the answer to those question that we should determine what course of action to take or not take. V.26

In the Hebrew language the word “established” in verse twenty-six has the meaning of ‘standing erect in faithfulness.’ Only through making quality decisions consistently can we establish and enjoy a life of wisdom – a life filled with peace, joy, contentment, and happiness. V.26

We must make a decision to live our life based on wise quality decisions, the practice will not just fall on us. If we want to do something, we must make the decisions necessary to discipline ourselves to accomplish the task. If we wish to be healthy, we must make the choices that benefit our health. If we desire to have quality relationships, we must make choices that promote mutual love, mutual respect, mutual dignity, mutual satisfaction, and mutual honor in our relationships. If we want to maintain a job, a relationship, a marriage, or an activity, we must conduct ourselves with faithfulness to what is required to keep and maintain any or all of those aspects of life. V.27

Faithfulness is something even Christians have begun to disregard in our society. If we want to maintain a job, we must be faithful to show up, show up on time, and do what we are assigned to do. If we wish to maintain a relationship or marriage, we must be faithful to devote our time and energies to that relationship or marriage, investing our heart, our time, our life, establishing and maintaining trust, taking care not to betray the relationship in words or deeds. If we wish to partake in an activity then we must be faithful to show up and do said activity, so the other people involved can know they can depend upon us to be there and be a part of the activity. In order to be faithful, we must remain focused on what is important and keep our hearts, minds, eyes, and spirit way from what is not. V.27, 28

We have to actually do something to keep ourselves from evil, as verse twenty-eight warns us to do. We know that in the Bible “evil” is considered anything that God does not want us to do. With that established why does God instruct us to “remove thy foot from evil” – is there the presumption we are sinning? Yes, a life not ordered in godly wisdom is a life filled with sin. V.28

We are instructed to ‘remove ourselves from sin’ and that often requires not giving into our own desires because the heart is deceitful above all things.

Jeremiah 17:9–10 (KJ-AV)

9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

In the Hebrew language the word “remove” used in verse twenty-eight, when we are instructed to ‘remove our foot from evil or sin,’ means “to turn off (literally or figuratively)” from partaking in sin. We are to “decline, depart, eschew (which means avoid)” anything that God would find displeasing for us. We are to “go aside” to avoid temptation, and “grievously lay away or leave undone” things that displease God. Note that in the definition it is made clear that to “lay aside or leave undone” things that we want to do will be “grievous” for us yet, it is what God requires. We are to “put away or put down” what is displeasing to God and “ remove” those things from our life. God wants us according to the definition to “ revolt against, to be sour to, to withdraw from and to be without” all that we know not to be godly wisdom or His Will for our life. V.27 – Note – All words or phrases found in quotation marks are actual parts of the Hebrew definition.

Throughout this study if you need the wisdom of God on a matter, and you wish to receive the counsel of another Believer in Christ, please use the “comments” link to send your question to me.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

In Blessings, Gratitude, Praise, Thanksgiving on November 22, 2018 at 9:00 am

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Today remember to give thanks to God for all the blessings in your life.

Think you have no blessings, look again, you woke up this morning, so you have at least one blessing in your life.

New posting next week to gobble gobble on.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Why My Church is NOT Growing – Part 13 – Response to Apathy and Indifference

In Apostasy, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian Living, Church Growth, Exhortation, Renewal, Revival, Truth, Uncategorized on November 15, 2018 at 8:00 am

This blog will alternate with each post between two subjects. One week will address why churches are not growing, and the coming move of God. The alternate week the blog will continue with the in-depth study through the Book of Proverbs.

Jesus clearly warns His people in the Book of Revelation, chapters 2 and 3 against being a cold, loveless, lukewarm, compromising, corrupt, and/or dead church. Instead, we are to put off all callousness, hardness, coldness, and lukewarm-ness and be alert, enthusiastic, and sensitive to the Spirit of God as well as others. Remember the warning in 1 John 2:9 (NKJV) “He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.” We must practice love toward those within the household of faith.

We find within the Body of Christ a sense of removal from the world around us. We are different from, but still a part of, this world and our society. The idea that we as a Body are not called to impact our society and world is simply ridiculous. Scripture clearly teaches us that we are to be a light in the darkness and a light to the world around us.

Philippians 2:15 (NKJV)

that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

Ephesians 5:8–11 (NKJV)

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

We are not to sit by and watch our society and world thrive in darkness. We are instead to expose evil by sharing its godly superior. Truth must win out over a lie. God’s ways are to be held up over the ways of Satan or man. We cannot tell ourselves that the issues of the day in our society are of no importance one way or the other to us. Of course, they are important, important to us, important to our future and the future of all the other Christians who will follow behind us. We cannot just pretend that issues are neither right nor wrong, for they are, because God has said they are in His Word. Whether or not we have a particular interest in, opinion on, like or disliked for a topic or issue is irrelevant. What is relevant is what God’s Word has to say about the issue or topic and what God’s Word has to say is what we are supposed to be saying.

We must let go of all apathy and indifference that has permeated our lives personally and our walk with Christ, and instead embrace His Will and His Way of doing things. We must also let go of all apathy and indifference that has permeated our willingness to speak up and reach out in our society or world and instead hold up the Standard of, the Way of, and the Purpose of God as found in God’s Word.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

How Do We Make Godly Decisions? – Study of Proverbs 4:20-24 – Guarding the Heart

In Advice, Anger, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian Living, Decision Making, Discretion, Encouragement, Godly Counsel, Proverbs, Prudence, Renewal, Spirituality, Truth, Uncategorized, Wisdom on November 8, 2018 at 8:00 am

This blog will alternate with each post between two subjects. One week will address why churches are not growing, and the coming move of God. The alternate week the blog will continue with the in-depth study through the Book of Proverbs.

The Scripture passages are identified with bold upright font and the author’s notes are identified with italic regular font.

Note – All words or phrases found in quotation marks are actual parts of the Hebrew definition.

20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. 22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. 23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. 24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.

Guarding the Heart

‘Keeping one’s heart with all diligence’ is such a massive job and entails so much the ability to do verse twenty-three justice in one segment is simple not possible. However, I will make the primary point of the importance of guarding our heart. For an in-depth examination of verse twenty-three you might find a book I wrote about the verse enlightening. It can be purchased in either softback book or Kindle eBook form from Amazon. It is titled, “ The Heart Why Does It Hurt So Often? – Proverbs 4:23

Every aspect of our life is affected and effected by what is going on in our hearts. If our hearts are not healthy we are not healthy. The above book examines how we can both get, and keep, our hearts healthy. One of the first and most important things we need to know about ‘keeping our hearts with all diligence’ is that it is we who must be a watchman over our own hearts.

Here is an excerpt from the book, “The Heart Why Does It Hurt So Often? – Proverbs 4:23

“Heart Watchman

“with all diligence” – What a phrase, but not one that can be separated from “for out of it – the issues” and retain its proper meaning or communicate its proper understanding.

Hebrew Definitions:

“keep”

5341. נָצַר nâtsar, naw-tsar’; a prim. root; to guard, in a good sense (to protect, maintain, obey, etc.) or a bad one (to conceal, etc.):— besieged, hidden thing, keep (-er, -ing), monument, observe, preserve (-r), subtil, watcher (-man).

“with all diligence”

4929. מִשְׁמָר mishmâr, mish-mawr’; from 8104; a guard (the man, the post, or the prison); fig. a deposit; also (as observed) a usage (abstr.), or an example (concr.):— diligence, guard, office, prison, ward, watch.

8104. שָׁמַר shâmar, shaw-mar’; a prim. root; prop. to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard; gen. to protect, attend to, etc.:— beware, be circumspect, take heed (to self), keep (-er, self), mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save (self), sure, (that lay) wait (for), watch (-man).

In the first half of the Hebrew definition for “with all diligence”, there is language in the definition that communicates the need for us to be much like a prison guard in how we approach the need to “keep” our hearts. Both “keep” and “with all diligence” have the concept of being a “watchman or keeping a “watch” in their definitions.

There are individual who are called to be Watchmen over the Body of Christ, also often referred to as Prophets/Prophetess, just as there were men who were called to be Watchmen over Israel, and we are called to be Watchmen over our own hearts. Therefore, we will take time to look at some Scripture about what it means to be a Watchman so we can understand the severity of the task.

Ezekiel 33:7–9 (NKJV)

7 “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. 8 When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.

Questions to Ask Ourselves

What does it mean to you when I state that the heart is the center of our being and the retainer of our spirit?

The Scriptures are filled with information about the heart and through this sheer volume and content of the Scriptures we can deduce that the heart is not only the center of physical life but also of spiritual life. Spiritually we are often asked to examine our hearts because the heart is the inner most being.”

– End of excerpt –

When we fail to keep watch over our hearts, when we fail to keep them with all diligence we are acting in one of the most unwise ways possible, which is why King Solomon warned his son so strongly to ‘keep or guard his heart with all diligence.’ I urge you also to, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Verse twenty-four can also be associated with keeping one’s heart healthy as well as standing alone in the principle of godly talk versus ungodly talk. What we say, what comes out of our mouths, has an effect in the spiritual realm and thus an affect upon our hearts.

From the Hebrew definition we find that we are warned in verse twenty-four against using our words in the form of “perverted, distorted, or crooked (dishonest)” talk, words that would cause other people or ourselves “to turn aside or depart” from God’s Ways, God’s Will, and God’s Wisdom.

People often talk just to talk. Don’t! Actually have something fruitful or useful to say when you speak.

Throughout this study if you need the wisdom of God on a matter, and you wish to receive the counsel of another Believer in Christ, please use the “comments” link to send your question to me.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Why My Church is NOT Growing – Part 12 – Apathy and Indifference

In Apostasy, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian Living, Church Growth, End Times, Exhortation, Renewal, Revival, Spiritual Remnant, Uncategorized on November 1, 2018 at 9:00 am

This blog will alternate with each post between two subjects. One week will address why churches are not growing, and the coming move of God. The alternate week the blog will continue with the in-depth study through the Book of Proverbs.

“We crucify ourselves between two thieves: Regret for yesterday and fear of tomorrow.”

Fulton Oursler [1893-1952], American Journalist and Author

Apathy and indifference are often signs of great fear, fear of making another mistake and/or fear of the unknown. This fear renders individuals without the freewill to choose. Their wills have been given over to the unknown, or better stated, to fear of the unknown. Yet, living in regret of the past or fear of the future has never prevented one catastrophe.

The Body of Christ is filled with apathy. Apathy and indifference according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary are defined as:

apathy

Function:

noun

1 : lack of emotional responsiveness <hid her sorrow behind a dull brooding apathy>

Synonyms impassivity, insensibility, phlegm, stoicism, stolidity, unresponsiveness

Related Words inertness, passivity, supineness; aloofness, detachment, indifference, unconcern; lethargy, torpidity, torpor; listlessness, numbness, stupefaction, stupor

Contrasted Words ardor, fervor, passion, responsiveness, warmth; alertness, awareness, concern, solicitude

Antonyms zeal; enthusiasm

2 : lack of interest or concern <public apathy toward the school crisis>

Synonyms disinterest, disregard, heedlessness, indifference, insouciance, lassitude, lethargy, listlessness, unconcern, unmindfulness

Related Words callousness, hardness, insensitivity, obduracy, unawareness; coldness, halfheartedness, lukewarmness; calmness, dispassion, dispassionateness

Contrasted Words attentiveness, concern, heedfulness, interest; awareness, mindfulness, sensitivity, solicitude; ardency, fervency, passion, warmth, zeal

indifferent

Function:

adjective

2 : of no importance one way or the other

3 : marked by no special liking for or dislike of something

6 : being neither right nor wrong

Having pondered the meaning of these two words, apathy, and indifference, let us examine how we see them played out within the Body of Christ.

There is a lack of emotional responsiveness both to the Person of God and to what our brothers and sisters in Christ are experiences or going through in life. We stand at the threshold of Greatness beyond measure in Christ Jesus and often just walk away without feeling anything or feeling very little. We are not to lose control of our emotions in a negative way, but we are not to be unresponsive either. We are to love Jesus with a passion, and passion prompts some level of emotional response.

We are called upon by Scripture to share in our fellow Believers’ joys and sorrows. Romans 12:15 (NKJV) instructs us to, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” More times than not what people receive from their fellow Believers when they share their joys and sorrows is detachment and unconcern. This ought not to be. We should be interested in and happy for those who are celebrating a success among us. Equally so, we should be sensitive to their hardships, dealing with them with warmth, love, and affection.

There is equal apathy and indifference when it comes to the things of God, what is going on spiritually within the Body of Christ, the issues that concern of our country, and the events going on in the world around us. There is a sense of lethargy and numbness among Christians. The Bible however calls us to pursue God, the things of God, and our life in God with passion and zeal.

1 Corinthians 14:12 (NKJV) Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.

Galatians 4:18 (NKJV) But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always, and not only when I am present with you.

Revelation 3:19 (NKJV) (Jesus speaking) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

We are to have a passion and a zeal for the spiritual gifts and talents that God has given us, so that those gifts and talents can be used to build up and edify the Body of Christ. That desire to pursue God in life, and the godly life, should always be present in us. When we find out we are on the wrong side of what God wants for us we should be willing, and quick, to repent.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

How Do We Make Godly Decisions? – Study of Proverbs 4:14-19 – Wicked and Evil or Wise and Shining

In Advice, Anxiety, Apostasy, Bible, Bible Study, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian Living, Decision Making, Evil, Godly Counsel, Proverbs, Prudence, Truth, Uncategorized, Wickedness, Wisdom on October 24, 2018 at 1:32 pm

This blog will alternate with each post between two subjects. One week will address why churches are not growing, and the coming move of God. The alternate week the blog will continue with the in-depth study through the Book of Proverbs.

The Scripture passages are identified with bold upright font and the author’s notes are identified with italic regular font.

Note – All words or phrases found in quotation marks are actual parts of the Hebrew definition.

14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. 15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. 16 For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. 17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. 18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. 19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

Wicked and Evil or Wise and Shinning

Wickedness and evil behavior however severe or minor in the eyes of man is something to be avoided at all cost. God warns us to turn from evil before it consumes us or consumes parts of our life. (verse 14-15)

There are those who hunger after evil even to the point of losing sleep if they cannot find a way to partake in the evil they desire. Almost like a drug that someone is addicted to, evil calls after the wicked person. There are people who simply enjoy causing hurt for other people – hard to conceive for those who truly love God, but it is true. (verse 16-17)

You can see evil on a wicked person. There is a darkness on their countenance and vacancy to their eyes, an aura of darkness around them that cannot be described in words. Similarly, it is true of a Believer when they are actually living for God, there is a light that shines from their countenance, a light in their eyes, an aura of godly spirituality that is seen and detected by most people, sensed with mixed reactions. (verse 18)

Some people are draw to, and interested in, the light they see in this type of Believer, while other people are uncomfortable around the godly spirituality they can sense coming from the person. This tends to be true whether either type of person can detect exactly, or understand fully, what it is they sense coming from the dedicated Believer.

When you look into the Hebrew language at the meaning of the words and phrases in verse 19 it is extremely interesting and supports a principle we find in many other parts of Scripture. “As darkness” and “not at what they stumble” denotes the concept of those people who regularly do evil, sin, not understanding why “misfortune” and problems seem to continually plague them. The definitions define the person’s life as a life in continual decline, “decaying” and filled with “misfortune.” (verse 19)

The godly Believer continues to grow and shine brighter and brighter as their spiritual life with God progresses, they grow and slowly change for the better, whiles the evil person continues in a life of misfortune and trouble, they rarely change or grow as a person, have little desire to grow or change, and their life is slowly decaying away. (verse 18-19)

Which type of person will you choose to be?

Throughout this study if you need the wisdom of God on a matter, and you wish to receive the counsel of another Believer in Christ, please use the “comments” link to send your question to me.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Why My Church is NOT Growing – Part 11 – The Acceptance Factor

In Abuse, Apostasy, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Candy Cane, Christian Living, Church Growth, Exhortation, Godliness, Godly Counsel, Remnant, Renewal, Repentance, Revival, Rhema Words, Spiritual Activism, Spiritual Remnant, Truth, Uncategorized, Wisdom on September 20, 2018 at 9:00 am

This blog will alternate with each post between two subjects. One week will address why churches are not growing, and the coming move of God. The alternate week the blog will continue with the in-depth study through the Book of Proverbs.

Please note this will be my last posting until mid-October. I have something I must attend to. Please keep me in your prayers.

A church that finds the appropriate balance between lovingly accepting people while at the same time remaining true to God’s Word and Principles will grow.

If there is one thing that false religions have learned it is the art of acceptance. Multitudes of people have been dragged into sin and evil out of a desire to be accepted. It is a form of validation we all need to some degree.

Knowing that we are all in need of acceptance, the question then becomes what form of acceptance should be given and what degree of acceptance should the church give. There is a delicate balance between upholding the Word of God while at the same time loving and accepting people. We do not have to validate someone’s sin in order to accept him or her. We can accept them without accepting their sin. We will make that our jumping off point.

The church is called to love people regardless. Loving them does not mean we keep silent about their sin or that we ascribe to a “don’t ask don’t tell” mentality. It means we treat the individuals with the same kindness and respect we would anyone, and we share God’s truths with them as He allow us and opens the door for us to do so. We never reject them because of their sin or because they do not agree with us, and we also never validate their sin or partake in their sin as a means of showing love.

When pressed to accept something in someone’s life which is in contradiction to God’s Written Word we should express our care and love for the person but also express a refusal to embrace that aspect of the person’s life or that particular belief they ascribe to. We explain, with Scripture, why we believe something different than they believe and reaffirm our desire to accept and love them despite the fact that we do not agree with them.

There are those individuals who are hard to accept not because of their choices in life, lifestyle, beliefs, or sin but because they are wounded, difficult, because of their attitude, or perhaps a physical, mental, or emotional handicap which makes relating to them more challenging. In these cases, we must call more upon our own character and spiritual development to step up to the task of acceptance. The ability for change or modification by the individual may not be an option or at least not an option initially. A person with a handicap cannot change their circumstances. A person with wounds cannot change until emotional, mental, and spiritual healing has begun. A person with a challenging demeanor or attitude will mostly likely never change without a community of people who offer them love and acceptance. Therefore, in all such cases it will be up to you to allow God to stretch you spiritually, mentally, and emotionally in order to exhibit His balanced and appropriate form of acceptance.

More individuals would embrace the church if the church would embrace them. If we refuse to accept individuals because we do not agree with them, we are limiting our capacity for love. When we refuse to accept another person, it is because in some way, we have judged that person, or we have judged that person’s actions. Furthermore, our lack of acceptance of them to some degree, despite their sin or issue, is a form of condemnation. Judging that results in condemnation, is not discernment judging [1 Thess. 5:19-21, 1 Corn. 2:14 & 12:3, 1 John 4:1-6, Ps. 119:18, and 1 Kings 3:9-14], it is sinful judging [John 7:24, Rom. 14:1-13 and Matt. 7:1-6]. No one can hear us until they can see us, and no one can see us until they feel a certain level of acceptance from us.

Individuals who have never felt accepted have found a home within the Christian Community and some individuals within the Christian Community have never felt accepted. Fear can hinder a person’s ability to accept another person. If they fear the person’s lifestyle, sin, demeanor, ideas, and/or points of view, they will not be able to accept the person. However, if they can accept the seventy-five percent of the individual that they do like and agree with, they will find themselves to be in a better position to influence the other twenty-five percent of the person or to grow themselves as a person.

Acceptance never makes room for sin, but acceptance makes room for sin to be abandoned. The next time you see the individual whom no one else seems willing to accept and embrace, make room in your heart to do so yourself. You just may find that the Kingdom of God is expanded by one because you did.

Please note this will be my last posting until mid-October. I have something I must attend to. Please keep me in your prayers.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

How Do We Make Godly Decisions? – Study of Proverbs 4:10-13 – Wisdom Sustains

In Advice, Anxiety, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian Living, Confusion, Decision Making, Discretion, Godly Counsel, Learning, Peace, Proverbs, Prudence, Renewal, Revival, Spirituality, Trust, Truth, Wisdom on September 13, 2018 at 9:00 am

This blog will alternate with each post between two subjects. One week will address why churches are not growing, and the coming move of God. The alternate week the blog will continue with the in-depth study through the Book of Proverbs.

The Scripture passages are identified with bold upright font and the author’s notes are identified with italic regular font.

10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many. 11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. 12 When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. 13 Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.

Wisdom Sustains

Note – All words or phrases found in quotation marks are actual parts of the Hebrew definition.

Verse ten states that the person who consistently uses godly wisdom as a guide for how they live and manage their life will see that life extended by “many” years. In the Hebrew language “many” means both to “increase in respective time” and to “bring in abundance” – that covers quantity of life and quality of life.

Verse twelve makes it clear that the person who consistently applies godly wisdom will have little need for their choices and actions to be corrected by God or man, nor will they find themselves stumbling a great deal in life. It is not possible to live a perfect life, but it is possible to live a godly life ruled by godly wisdom that has little encounter with failure or correction.

Verse thirteen speaks to the fact that godly wisdom applied is “thy life” for all truly real purposes. You may ask how could godly wisdom applied be someone’s life, what does it mean? Take a look at the Hebrew definitions for the phrase “thy life” – examine them one by one as see the “thy life” found within.

· "alive; hence, raw (flesh)” – godly wisdom applied will literally keep us alive.

· “fresh (plant, water, year)” – godly wisdom applied will keep us and our life fresh and renewed each year in personal growth and spiritual thirst.

· “strong” – godly wisdom applied will keep us strong mentally, emotionally, spiritually, relationally, and physically.

· “life (or living thing), whether literal or figurative:— + age, alive, appetite, company, congregation, life (-time), live (-ly), living (creature, thing), maintenance, + merry, multitude, + (be) old, quick, raw, running, springing, troop. to live” – godly wisdom applied will rightly order every area of our life and relationships.

· “whether literal or figuratively; causatively to revive” – godly wisdom applied will restore us and sustain us through the challenges of life.

· “keep (leave, make) alive, × certainly, give (promise) life, (let, suffer to) live, nourish up, preserve (alive), quicken, recover, repair, restore (to life), revive, (× God) save (alive, life, lives), × surely, be whole.” – godly wisdom applied will restore our life to God’s Purpose and repair the life damage we have caused and suffered, it will “give promise” to our life.

There is no doubt that the use of godly wisdom on a consistent bases in our life will sustain our life to God’s glory.

What does it mean to “sustain” something or someone? Sustain according to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary is defined as follows.

Note – All words or phrases found in quotation marks are actual parts of the Merriam-Webster’s definition.

The author’s thoughts follow each definition in [brackets].

1 : “to give support or relief to” – [godly wisdom applied will support the quality and quantity of your life and bring relief in times of distress.]
2 : “to supply with sustenance : NOURISH” – [godly wisdom applied will bring nourishment to your body, mind, spirit, and soul.]
3 : “KEEP UP, PROLONG” – [godly wisdom applied will extend the length of your life and improve the quality of your life.]
4 : “to support the weight of : PROP; also : to carry or withstand (a weight or pressure)” – [godly wisdom applied will makes facing the challenges of life so much easier, and your response to them is less likely to be filled with anxiety.]
5 : “to buoy up £ sustained by hope” – [godly wisdom applied will keep you afloat in life’s rough waters and give you hope.]
6a : to bear up under b : SUFFER, UNDERGO £ sustained heavy losses” – [godly wisdom applied will keep you from despair during your darkest days in life.]
7a : to support as true, legal, or just b : to allow or admit as valid £ the court sustained the motion” – [godly wisdom applied will anchors your life in something much greater than yourself, it anchors your life in God, in God’s Principles and Truths.]
8 : “to support by adequate proof : CONFIRM £ testimony that sustains our contention” – [godly wisdom applied will end up being self-proving, as you will see the proof of godly wisdom’s worth through its results over time.]

Godly wisdom will be a tool by which God sustains you and your life. Will you let it sustain you? Will you let Him sustain you?

Throughout this study if you need the wisdom of God on a matter, and you wish to receive the counsel of another Believer in Christ, please use the “comments” link to send your question to me.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Why My Church is NOT Growing – Part 10 – Abuse and The Church (Spiritual and Psychological Abuse)

In Abuse, Advice, Apostasy, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian Living, Church Growth, Evil, Exhortation, Holy Spirit, Renewal, Repentance, Revival, Suffering, Trust, Truth, Uncategorized on September 7, 2018 at 5:13 pm

This blog will alternate with each post between two subjects. One week will address why churches are not growing, and the coming move of God. The alternate week the blog will continue with the in-depth study through the Book of Proverbs.

One of the worst forms of abuse, in my belief, is spiritual abuse. This is when someone uses the things of God to control, manipulate, abuse, use, degrade, etc. other people. This has been done in extreme forms such as, ‘If I do not get X amount of money from my people God will take my life, close our church, etc.’ ‘If you do not read your Bible daily, God will not have fellowship with you.’ ‘If you are not in church each time the doors are open you are not a committed Christian.’ On and one we could go. I am sure each of you has your own example. The examples provided are damaging forms of spiritual and psychological abuse pure and simple.

A desire for a leader to obtain unquestionable dedication, which is free from accountability to the ones asked to give said dedication, is spiritual abuse. Does the Word of God call us to submit to the authorities He has placed in our lives? Yes. Who are those authorities however, and do we submit regardless? We do not submit regardless. We are accountable to God first, then to other people. We submit to our spiritual leaders when they are following the Will of God as found in God’s Word. We do not submit to sin or follow a leader into sin. How many cults, which started out with religious undertones, ended in disaster? Too many to recall. Why? Because people followed, even in the face of sin, because they believed they were to submit to authority without questioning authority.

A more hideous form of spiritual abuse is to distort and misuse the Word of God in order to get what one wants or justify one’s actions. So many people sit in church with their Bibles closed looking at an overhead screen trusting that the text on that screen matches what is actually in God’s Written Word. It only takes subtle and slight changes to God’s Word to distort its entire meaning and purpose. No matter how long you have known someone and no matter how much you trust them, you should have your Bibles out and open when they are speaking or teaching so that you can confirm that they are rightly dividing the Word of God. Especially grievous to the heart of God is this form of spiritual abuse that uses the Word of God, and God will deal with this abuse quite harshly.

When a person uses another person’s love for God to advance their own cause, regardless of what that cause might be, to get their way, to attempt to mislead or deceive the heart that trust in God both people are in danger. The abuser’s target is in danger of being spiritually and psychologically abused resulting in spiritual and perhaps psychological damage, and the perpetrator is in danger of the wrath of God that does come upon those individuals who use spiritual things to hurt God’s children.

Abuse in the Body of Christ, in all its forms, can stop when we become willing to both speak up and be spoken to when necessary. Accountability is a responsibly not an option. It is the basic fabric that holds the cloth of Christ’s Body together. Without the courage to question our leaders, we will find ourselves impotent and frustrated. Without the willingness to be questioned, we will find ourselves isolated and insolent.

This concludes the addressing of this difficult subject of abuse found within the church and how that abuse effects the growth of individual congregations as well as the universal church, which is the Body of Christ. We will continue to reflect on reasons why churches are not growing from various angles aside from the abuse angle.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

How Do We Make Godly Decisions? – Study of Proverbs 4:5-9 – Wisdom and The Ornament of Grace

In Advice, Anxiety, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Confusion, Decision Making, Discretion, Godly Counsel, Holy Spirit, Proverbs, Prudence, Renewal, Trust, Truth, Uncategorized, Wisdom on August 29, 2018 at 9:00 am

This blog will alternate with each post between two subjects. One week will address why churches are not growing, and the coming move of God. The alternate week the blog will continue with the in-depth study through the Book of Proverbs.

The Scripture passages are identified with bold upright font and the author’s notes are identified with italic regular font.

5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. 6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. 7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. 8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. 9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

It certainly appears that God, through King Solomon, makes it a point to repeat over and over in Proverbs the need for obtaining and applying godly wisdom. How easily we must forget this important aspect of life, otherwise, God would not have seen the need to mention it so often within just one of His books of the Bible, not to mention all the other books of the Bible He saw fit to bring the subject up in (verse 5).

Wisdom, the gathering of godly knowledge, godly understanding, godly insight, learning from your experiences with God, learning about God, His character, His expectations of us, and the application of all of these rolled into one, wisdom, will dramatically change your life for the better if you stick with the practice. Here are just some of the things God has stated in these verses that it will do for you.

Note – All words or phrases found in quotation marks are actual parts of the Hebrew definitions of the word or phrases found in the verses we are examining.

If you continue in that practice mentioned earlier of obtaining godly wisdom and applying godly wisdom and understanding, it will preserve and keep your life. Meaning according to the Hebrew language it will place a “hedge of thrones about” you that will “guard, protect, and attend to” the care and preservation of your life, from the forces without and the forces within that would seek to harm or destroy you (verse 6).

It is easy to understand that godly wisdom applied to a person’s life will enable God’s divine protection from evil forces and the evil actions of other people but understanding how it protects us from ourselves is a bit more difficult to understand.

When we seek, obtain, and apply godly wisdom, and it must be godly wisdom, not the wisdom of the world or man, it instills in us an alarm that sounds via the Holy Spirit when we should “beware” or ‘be circumspect” or “take heed to ourselves” or be cautious to “keep ourselves” on the “narrow path” being ever so careful to “observe” our motives, desires, and actions to ensure we are walking in wisdom. We are required by God to be our own “watchman” with the aide of the Holy Spirit, to see to it that we are walking in the Wisdom of God. To “obey” God and His godly wisdom is to allow Him to “keep” us by His Wisdom. This is what it is to be preserved and kept by wisdom (verse 6).

Verse seven makes it clear that in order to walk in that care and protection a person must make godly wisdom “principal” in their life. For something to be principal means it holds the highest of rank, according to the Hebrew “the first, in place, in time, order or rank – among our firstfruits.” Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines principal as, “a matter or thing of primary importance.”

Godly wisdom must take priority over our own ideas, our own desires, our own thoughts about what is best, worldly wisdom, ideas or principles set down by man regardless of how worthy those principles might be, and godly wisdom must take priority regardless of what other people think is best for us. In order for godly wisdom to preserve and keep you properly it must be your number one source of instruction for how you will choose to live your life and make your decisions (verse 7).

Once we have truly embraced godly wisdom and are applying it consistently to our life, we can expect to see the benefits that God has ordained for those who listen to Him and apply His Wisdom. Wisdom will bring promotion and honor to the life that embraces living by its principles (verse 8).

The Hebrew language makes it clear that to be promoted by Wisdom through God is to “rise and be raised in a variety of application both literally and figuratively – to bring up and exalt, to extol honor.” That “honour,” honor that comes from God as a result of applying wisdom will “bring a weighty richness” to life that results in God’s ‘glory being able to shine through your life’(verses 8 and 9).

Application of wisdom results in living a “noble” life where you “prevail” thanks to God’s “ornament of grace” that He has placed upon you because you have chosen to “obey” Him in obtaining and applying godly wisdom (verses 6, 7, 8, and 9).

An “ornament of grace” how splendid! Grace become “attached to” a person who embraces godly wisdom and applies godly wisdom (verse 9).

Throughout this study if you need the wisdom of God on a matter, and you wish to receive the counsel of another Believer in Christ, please use the “comments” link to send your question to me.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Why My Church is NOT Growing – Part 9 – Abuse and The Church (Mental and Emotional Abuse)

In Abuse, Advice, Anger, Anxiety, Apostasy, Christian Living, Church Growth, Confusion, Depression, Exhortation, Grief, Hate, Hatred, Persecution, Renewal, Repentance, Spiritual Activism, Spiritual Activists, Suffering, Trust, Truth, Uncategorized on August 22, 2018 at 9:00 am

This blog will alternate with each post between two subjects. One week will address why churches are not growing, and the coming move of God. The alternate week the blog will continue with the in-depth study through the Book of Proverbs.

Mental abuse is much more subtle. Harder to spot and much harder to get help with once realized. This type of abuse can be found in the hard and harsh corrections, which have gone in the name of Christ. Abuses disguised either as a form of church discipline or under the guise of being motivated and directed by God to correct a person and proceeding to do so in a horribly cruel manner. Threats and insinuations that are meant to wound more than help. Often bringing about confusion and despair to the hearer instead of repentance, help, and healing.

Yes, there are times when a harsh or hard to listen to Word is spoken in the name of Christ for the edification of the Body of Christ. These postings is one of those times. However, when that word leaves the hearer[s] mentally beaten and bloody with no hope for or direction to change it is useless and can even be an instrument of the devil to further damage the church.

Shunning when used improperly, which it often is, is very much a form of mental and emotional abuse. People look to their local congregations, as a source of community, which they should, and it should be. However, if someone with enough clout and persuasion becomes displeased with a person they can sow seeds of discord with other people and bring about a shunning or rejection of this person. Rejection by a person’s Christian Community can be extremely emotionally and mentally damaging. The Church is Christ representative on earth and we should seek reconciliation and unity. Using rejection as a form of manipulation in order to get what we want from another brings shame on the Body of Christ. Sowing seed of discord through gossip is sinful behavior, which Scripture condemns (Prov. 6:14,19 and 1 Tim. 5:13).

Gossip is a hideous form of emotional abuse. Gossip is a huge problem in any group but is deeply rooted in the Christian Community. People find it easier to talk about people than to talk to people when they feel threatened or concerned. If you carefully examine the content and nature of gossip you find that the gossiper is feeling quite threatened by the person, about which they are gossiping. Often these feeling of intimidation are not realistic or warranted but it is hard to get the gossiper to understand that truth. They must tear the other person down, so they can feel better.

Additionally, you have the classic, ‘I share this, so we might pray for…’ gossipers. I have never had one of these people ask me when they were done sharing their information if we could pray right now for that person. I have my doubts whether they have ever prayed for that person. I find it is best, and I have gotten to where, I cut these people off immediately when they first begin to attempt the conversation. Most of the time the agenda is not one you want to share in.

Emotional abuse can come in other forms as well. Manipulation is a common form of emotional abuse. People have a very tough time being forthright about their wants, needs, and desires. Instead, they choose various forms of manipulation to get what they want. From something as subtle as asking leading questions to find out what one wants to know, instead of asking directly, to acts of extreme manipulation such as attempting to interfere behind someone back and rearrange their circumstances for their own good. These types of manipulations leave people emotionally scarred by the treatment.

Next, we will address spiritual abuse. In my view the worse possible form of abuse found within the Christian community, as to affect someone spiritually is to enter God’s area and sphere of influence and sinning against a person in this area is by far the worse.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

How Do We Make Godly Decisions? – Study of Proverbs 4:1-4 – Two Father’s Words

In Advice, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian Living, Decision Making, Discretion, Godliness, Godly Counsel, Proverbs, Prudence, Trust, Uncategorized, Wisdom on August 15, 2018 at 9:00 am

This blog will alternate with each post between two subjects. One week will address why churches are not growing, and the coming move of God. The alternate week the blog will continue with the in-depth study through the Book of Proverbs.

The Scripture passages are identified with bold upright font and the author’s notes are identified with italic regular font.

1 Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. 2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. 3 For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. 4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.

Two Father’s Words

In these verses both the earthly father and the Heavenly Father are represented. Earthly fathers can falter and fail but our Heavenly Father’s wisdom is always above reproach.

In these writing God was and is imparting His Wisdom to His children through the avenue of King Solomon sharing wisdom with his earthly son. As previously stated, King Solomon was the wises man to ever live, having obtained his wisdom directly from God when God told Solomon to ask Him for anything Solomon wanted, and God would give it to him. Solomon asked for godly wisdom and he got godly wisdom and much more.

The wisdom in this book, Proverbs, is fail-proof. As verse two indicates it is its own form of doctrine. Wisdom is a spiritual law, a law with cause and effect, it works regardless. Therefore, we must embrace the wisdom of our earthly fathers and most importantly our Heavenly Father.

It is not enough just to obtain wisdom, we must also apply wisdom. We are to ‘keep the commandments’ once we know them. Unapplied knowledge is useless knowledge, it is knowledge for knowledge sake, worthless.

Note – All words or phrases found in quotation marks are actual parts of the Hebrew definition.

In verse four it states to “Let thine heart retain” wisdom. When the Hebrew definition of the word “retain” is researched one finds that to retain wisdom is to allow it “to sustain” you, “by implication to obtain, keep fast” what you have learned from wisdom, and “ figuratively to allow wisdom “to help” you, as you “follow close” to its instruction. Wisdom will “hold you up, “maintain” your life, and help you “stay up” and keep from falling.

Verse four makes it clear the results of obtaining and adhering to wisdom is that one will “live” – truly live – as God intended.

I will leave you with the Hebrew definition of the last phrase in verse four, “and live” so you might have a greater understanding of the living one can do when they obtain, retain, and adhere to godly wisdom.

“and live” in the Hebrew language is defined as follows:

2421. חָיָה châyâh, khaw-yaw’; a prim. root [comp. 2331, 2421]; to live, whether literally or figuratively; causative to revive:— keep (leave, make) alive, × certainly, give (promise) life, (let, suffer to) live, nourish up, preserve (alive), quicken, recover, repair, restore (to life), revive, (× God) save (alive, life, lives), × surely, be whole.

I do not know about you, but I know I certainly want to be given the promise life from God, and to be revived in my life and spirit. I want to have my life preserved by God while allowing Him to recover, repair, and restore to life the damaged areas. Most of all I want to “surely be whole” in every conceivable way.

Throughout this study if you need the wisdom of God on a matter, and you wish to receive the counsel of another Believer in Christ, please use the “comments” link to send your question to me.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Why My Church is NOT Growing – Part 8 – Abuse and The Church (Physical Abuse)

In Abuse, Advice, Agape Love, Anger, Anxiety, Apostasy, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christ, Christian, Christian Living, Christianity, Church Growth, Compassion, Confusion, Courage, Evil, Exhortation, Forgiveness, Grief, Hate, Hatred, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Masculinity, Mercy, Persecution, Renewal, Repentance, Suffering, Trust, Truth, Uncategorized on August 9, 2018 at 11:16 am

This blog will alternate with each post between two subjects. One week will address why churches are not growing, and the coming move of God. The alternate week the blog will continue with the in-depth study through the Book of Proverbs.

Physical abuse also takes place within the walls of our congregations. I have personally read outlines for physical disciple of wives. I have heard the stories of children being physically abused under the guidelines of church discipline. There is no place within the church for the physical abuse of another human being.

In an outline for how to discipline your wife, it was stated that if a woman would not submit to her husband then a certain amount of physical discipline could be used. You could inflict pain but where not to bring about too much bruising, no lacerations, and you were not to break bones. This physical abuse would be increased in nature until the woman “repented” and submitted regardless of how long it took or how many sessions of discipline were necessary to bring about the woman’s change of attitude. These sessions could not however result in broken bones or cuts on the woman’s body.

How horrid that a person would believe that they had the right to inflict physical pain on a woman until she agreed to agree with them! How could one possibly believe that this is real submission? Conformity maybe, submission no.

I once counseled a woman who would not enter a church building. When we started our relationship, she hated the church and all its members. When we were done she still had not entered a church building but was willing to give God another try and Christians a second glance.

Why did this woman have such a hard attitude? She had loved God very dearly and was an extremely dedicated church member, as was her husband who was an elder in their local church. Each Sunday they went to church, worshipped God, and serviced in their congregation. Each Sunday after church they went home where her husband proceeded to beat her. Like clockwork every Sunday after church he would beat her that way she would be healed up enough by the following Sunday to attend church and play the role of his faithful wife always at his side.

My heart broke when she told her story. It was obviously true and very difficult for her to disclose to me, yet, she found the courage to do so. As time went on this woman’s pain eased and her understanding that not all Christians were this way increased.

At a conference once, a woman was struggling with guilt. She felt inside herself that she had allowed her child to be abused but she was wrestling with the biblical principle that she was to submit to her spiritual leaders. In her church children were brought up to the front, next to the pulpit, and physically struck with a belt by the pastor for various infractions at both church and home. The number of licks they received from the belt depended on the degree of their offense. This woman was riddled with confusion and guilt, this was after all how their congregation handled discipline. Everyone else did it and everyone was afraid to question their Christian spiritual leader since this might be viewed as be rebellious or as a refusal to submit. The church and local congregations should play no role in the physical discipline of children.

It takes courage to speak up when we know physical abuse is going on in our congregations. It is easier to tell ourselves it is not our business. How can that be true however? Do we not carry a certain amount of Christian responsibility and accountability with our brothers and sisters? According to Scripture we do. We are required to hold each other accountable for our actions. There must have been someone at some point who suspected this woman was being abused or even knew firsthand she was being mistreated. Many people sat in the pews on those days when the children were humiliated and physically abused in the name of God and correction. There had to some of people who knew in their spirits that this behavior was wrong, yet, they remained silent. We cannot do such, we must speak up! We cannot allow leaders to go off the rails because we are concerned other Christians will think us out of line or rebellious. Our responsibility is to Truth and too upholding the principles of Scripture not to uphold man or man’s ideas.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.