God's Truth In Love

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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.

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Why My Church is NOT Growing – Part 5 – What is Repentance?

In Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian Living, End Times, Exhortation, God's Voice, Godliness, Learning, Prophecy, Prophet, Prophetess, Renewal, Repentance, Revival, Rhema Words, Spirituality, Truth, Uncategorized, Wisdom on May 16, 2018 at 9:15 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.

What is repentance and how do we as individuals and a Body find our way to its door? The word repentance is found twenty-six times in the King James Bible, twenty-five of which appear in the New Testament and one appearance in the Old Testament.

Geek Language Definition for the word “repentance” as found in 2 Corinthians 7:8-12

3341. metavnoia meátanoáia, met-an´-oy-ah; from 3340; (subj.) compunction (for guilt, incl. reformation); by impl. reversal (of [another’s] decision):— repentance.

3340. metanoevw meátanoáeáoµ, met-an-oá-eh´-o; from 3326 and 3539; to think differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider (mor. feel compunction):— repent.

3539. noievw noáieáoµ, noy-eh´-o; from 3563

noevw noáeáoµ no-eh´-o; to exercise the mind, (observe), i.e. (fig.) to comprehend, heed:— consider, perceive, think, understand.

In the meaning of the word “repentance” as found in the Greek Language, we see the need for a reversal of a previous decision we have made. That reversal of our choices can only come after we have compunction about a choice we have previously made. That second-guessing and reconsideration whether brought about through guilt, fear, shame, regret, or some other less than desirable feeling can be a powerful source for bringing about a needed change. Yet, people flee at the first sign of just such emotions.

Feelings tell us something is wrong in our environment. While we should never be led around by our feelings, we should respect our feelings enough to evaluate their meaning. “Compunction” carries with it a moral sense concerning the feelings one is experiencing. When feelings carry with them a moral overtone, they should be given even more consideration and respect.

We must actually take the time to ponder our potential reversal of a previously committed decision. There is no room for lazy living, in a godly spiritually successful life. We have to use our minds, observe our lives, consider the consequences and effects of our actions, perceive the heart of God on a matter, and thoroughly think it through to understanding. Then we will be in a place where we can apply a true commitment to repentance regarding the matter.

Hebrew Language Definition for the word “repentance” as found in Hosea 13:14

5164. µj’nœ

noÆcham, no’-kham; from 5162; ruefulness, i.e. desistance:— repentance.

Once the matter has been carefully pondered and clearly thought out we must make the leap, we must change our course of action. Repentance cannot just be about the sorrow of sin; it must be about committing to change. Change is the evidence of repentance. God does not bring us to a point of sorrow over sin or poor choices only to leave us making the same choices. He does so that we might find the motivation, grace, and willingness to change.

Encarta ® World English Dictionary Definition and Synonyms for the words “repent” and “repentance”.

re·pent

1. be sorry: to recognize the wrong in something you have done and be sorry about it

2. change ways: to feel regret about a sin or past actions and change your ways or habits

-re·pen·tance, , n

-re·pen·tant, , adj

-re·pent·er, , n

re·pent2

growing on ground: growing or lying along the ground

repentance (n)

regret, sorrow, remorse, penitence, atonement, shame, contrition, penance, contriteness

True repentance should come with a desire to atone or amend for previous actions or behaviors. This is not always possible, nevertheless, whether possible or not the desire should exist. This desire is further evidence of a truly repentant heart. If possible, we should take action to right a wrong or mend a broken relationship, restoring fellowship between Believers whenever possible. This will add to the joy we find in repentance.

Scripture Text – 2 Corinthians 7:8-12 NKJV

“8For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. 9Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. 12Therefore, although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you.”

Our sorrow should lead us somewhere. If it does not lead us to life, it will kill us. That is heart of this book. To bring us, all of us, the Body of Christ to a place of life, a place of repentance, a place of joy.


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 3:19-20 – Wisdom Important to God?

In Advice, Anxiety, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian, Christian Living, Christianity, Confusion, Decision Making, Discretion, Encouragement, Exhortation, God's Voice, Godliness, Godly Counsel, Humanism, Learning, Peace, Proverbs, Prudence, Renewal, Truth, Uncategorized, Wisdom on May 9, 2018 at 5:24 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.

19 The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. 20 By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.

Wisdom Important to God?

If anyone ever needed to ask themselves if wisdom was important, the answer can be found in these two verses.

When God set about ordaining creation, piecing together the earth and all that was within the earth, establishing it in perfect order, He utilized wisdom in doing so.

When God erected the heavens, He did so by utilizing wisdom.

When God divided the seas or when He pours out His rains upon the earth, He did, and does so, by the use of knowledge grounded in wisdom.

If wisdom was important enough, and is important enough, for The Lord God Almighty to utilize then it is important, vital, for any member of His creation to utilize, that includes 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 4 – Personal Repentance

In Apostasy, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christ, Christian Living, Christianity, Encouragement, End Times, Exhortation, God, God's Voice, Godliness, Godly Counsel, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Learning, Persecution, Prayer, Prophecy, Prophet, Prophetess, Remnant, Renewal, Repentance, Revival, Rhema Words, Spiritual Activism, Spiritual Remnant, Spirituality, Truth, Uncategorized, Wisdom on May 2, 2018 at 6:12 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.

To follow the will of God is to prosper; to rebel against the will of God is to be destroyed. – Mencius

Again, this will be challenging but it is what God wants said, THE CHURCH MUST REPENT, which means individuals must personally repent!

Each day when we arise, we make a choice within our spirits regarding whom we will follow. As the days turn to years the choices are many and the reasons for our choices varies but nevertheless they are our choices. Either we will follow our own will, the Will of God, the will of another person, or we will drift aimlessly through our days with no sense of direction or purpose. Whom we chose to follow, as well as choosing not to follow anyone and just drifting through life, affects and effects both other people affects and effects the Body of Christ as a whole.

Much like ripples on a pond our choices are ripples through life, ripples which begin with our personal choices, then reach out to our spouse and/or family members, from there out to our local congregations, next the Body of Christ, and ultimately to the world as a whole multiplying as they go. One wrong or selfish choice can affect the lives of a dozen people or more. Yet, do we look at each choice that way. Do we consider this truth when we are deciding whom we will follow each morning when we open our eyes to greet the new day? We should, and we can.

Joy has slipped from the lives of individual Christians and from the Church as a whole because for too long we have chosen to do things our way instead of choosing to do things God’s Way. We have awakened morning after morning choosing to do our own will, the will of another, or even the will of Satan himself instead of doing the Will of God. That choice day after day has drained the joy from our lives and that draining of joy has extended much like those ripples on a pond, to the entire Body of Christ to some degree. Where we were once excited about fellowship with Jesus and fellowship with each other now we are lifeless and somewhat empty. That can all change.

We as individuals have an option to repent, repent from self-will and once again make God number one in our lives. Our joy can be restored through our repentance. Once our joy is resorted we can begin to see the ripples on the pond extend to our spouse and family, our local congregation, and then to the overall Body of Christ.

We as a group, the Body of Christ, also need to extend that repentance to our local congregations, in respect to how we have done things, how we have neglected people or even mistreated them at times. Then we will begin to feel the impact of that repentance on the overall Body of Christ. Once that has taken place we will begin to see people once again attracted to the Church and attracted to what God has to offer their lives.

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 3:13-18 – Fruit Beyond Measure

In Advice, Anxiety, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian Living, Christianity, Confusion, Decision Making, Discretion, God's Voice, Godliness, Godly Counsel, Peace, Proverbs, Prudence, Renewal, Spiritual Fruit, Spirituality, Truth, Uncategorized, Wisdom on April 25, 2018 at 3:47 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.

13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. 14 For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. 15 She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. 16 Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. 17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.

Fruit Beyond Measure

Throughout the Proverbs the point is repeatedly made that wisdom and understanding are among the greatest, if not the greatest, character traits we can seek after in life. The merchandise of both wisdom and understand is more valuable than anything a person can obtain in life, “merchandise” being “profit from trade” according to the Hebrew definition of the word. Therefore, to trade in wisdom and godly understanding is to have a profitable life.

Wisdom and understanding will provide for you substance in life far beyond the value of silver, gold, rubies, or anything an individual can desire in life. Nothing else satisfies a person more than the substance of a life lived by the instruction of wisdom and godly understanding regarding how to live and conduct oneself.

The use of wisdom and godly understanding will lengthen the life of a person and bring honor to the life they live. They both bring peace to an individual’s life and a pleasantness that nothing else can provide. All of these things we have previously explored.

Wisdom and godly understanding produce a growth in a person that nothing can match. They bring a fruitfulness and happiness to life that is beyond measure. According to the Hebrew definition of the word “happiness” that happiness involves prosperity, being blessed, and living a life where relief is provided through the use of wisdom and godly understanding. So again, I repeat, wisdom and godly understanding bring a happiness to life that is beyond measure.

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 3 – Church Repentance

In Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian, Christian Living, Christianity, Church Growth, End Times, God's Voice, Holy Spirit, Prophecy, Renewal, Repentance, Revival, Rhema Words, Spiritual Remnant, Truth, Uncategorized on April 18, 2018 at 3:15 pm

I have been waiting on God to ready the message and the messenger.

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.

This will be challenging but it is what God wants said at this time, THE CHURCH MUST REPENT!

The church has so compromised the Principles of God, the Ways of God, the Purposes of God, and the Will of God, that for most God has grown remote and silent. Religion has replaced sincere godly spirituality. Program has replaced the moving of the Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 2:1–3 (NKJV)

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.

The church has treated people, the lost and its own, in such a poor manner that the passion of God, the passion for God has been drained from its walls. A shallowness in love and intimacy sits side by side with cold love and events or programs meant to serve those individuals holding them instead of those individuals in attendance.

Matthew 24:9–12 (NKJV) Jesus speaking

9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

The church is filled with leaders who are filled with selfish ambition and are ministering to meet their own needs instead of being servant leaders there to meet the needs of a dying world and decaying church. The leaders serve those individuals within their congregations with influence, money, or both often afraid to speak God’s Truth boldly for fear of offending their congregation and losing members. Of these leaders that I speak they are hirelings.

Ephesians 4:11–16 (NKJV)

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till 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; 14 that 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, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—16 from 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.

John 10:12 (NKJV) – Jesus speaking

12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.

Philippians 1:15–16 (NKJV)

15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: 16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains;

There is good news however, great news, God is a merciful God who will forgive the church and restore its influence on society if only the church will repent. Revival does not come without repentance. Repentance is the match that lights the flame in the heart to which revival comes. 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.

Why My Church is NOT Growing – Part 2 – Motive

In Apostasy, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian, Christian Living, Exhortation, God's Voice, Godliness, Holy Spirit, Humanism, Prophecy, Remnant, Renewal, Revival, Rhema Words, Spiritual Activism, Truth, Uncategorized on March 24, 2018 at 2:46 pm

This blog will alternate weekly 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.

Always remember however low you set the bar in life you will come in yet lower, just below that bar; so you might as well set it very high, at least then, you will make it eighty-five percent of the way.

I will start out by making it plain that this blog topic is not meant to tear down The Church but instead to build up The Church through an honest call to repentance and change. If The Church refuses to look honestly at itself then it will not be capable of turning back to what Jesus intended it to be at its conception. An honest appraisal and review will go a long way toward restoring our, meaning the Body of Christ’s, reputation with the world and our own members. Refusal to assess where we are at is a call to march toward death. The Church is hemorrhaging now from its wounds and we must be willing to stop the bleeding in order that we might survive, and even thrive.

That said let me be the first to say as a Child of God, Christian Writer, Christian Spiritual Leader, and fellow member of the Body of Christ; I have made MANY mistakes in my forty plus years of Christian life and service that have reflected poorly on The Church, God, my family, my fellow Christians, and myself. I am the first to say, ‘I have failed many times to live up to Christ’s ideals.’ Yet, my failure to live up to those ideals does not make those ideals, God’s Standards, any less true, any less God’s Principles, or any less the real ideals of our Savior, the Christ, Jesus.

Therefore, since none of us are without sin, without failings, let us approach this issue within the Church and Body of Christ with humility and hold fast to the truth that we are to have mercy over judgment. We are only to use this blog discussion to make us, as the Body of Christ, better not condemn or judge the Body of Christ or any member therein, in an ungodly way. Never forget how much mercy your Heavenly Father has shown you. We as a Body of Believers can discern the truth, face the truth, and tell the truth without crossing that line into condemning or judging. That is all this blog seeks to do and all I want it to exhort others to do. Do you love people? Do you love your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ? I love people so I need to “speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.” – James 2:12

The stories and examples given in future blog entries are real accounts which have been witnessed by me, told to me by the person it happened to, happened to me personally, and/or told to me through a third party or anonymously. No names or actual locations will be noted in the examples. Therefore, the privacy or confidentiality of no persons, including myself, will be violated in anyway.

Let this blog discussion be a tool in the hands of the Master Craftsman so that His Church might arise once again and be an example to the society in which they live.

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 3:9-10 – Give to God

In Advice, Agape Love, Anxiety, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian, Christian Living, Christianity, Confusion, Courage, Decision Making, Encouragement, Exhortation, Fear, Fruits of the Holy Spirit, God, God's Voice, Godliness, Godly Counsel, Holy Spirit, Humanism, Jesus, Learning, Proverbs, Prudence, Renewal, Trust, Truth, Uncategorized, Wisdom on March 18, 2018 at 9:11 am

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

9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

Give to God

The word “honour” in the Hebrew language gives the sense of in good times or bad times, during plenty and during lack, when it is a burden or when it is easy we are to honour God with what we have to give, with “thy substance.”

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

7225. רֵאשִׁית ˒shı̂yth, ray-sheeth’; from the same as 7218; the first, in place, time, order or rank (spec. a firstfruit):— beginning, chief (-est), first (-fruits, part, time), principal thing.

“of all thine increase” in the Hebrew language is defined as follows:

8393. תְּבוּאָה tebûw˒âh, teb-oo-aw’; from 935; income, i.e. produce (lit. or fig.):— fruit, gain, increase, revenue.

“with plenty” in the Hebrew language is defined as follows:

7647. שָׂבָע sâbâ˓, saw-baw’; from 7646; copiousness:— abundance, plenteous (-ness, -ly).

7646. שָׂבַע sâba˓, saw-bah’; or

שָׂבֵעַ sâbêa˓, saw-bay’-ah; a prim. root; to sate, i.e. fill to satisfaction (lit. or fig.): — have enough, fill (full, self, with), be (to the) full (of), have plenty of, be satiate, satisfy (with), suffice, be weary of.

If you are giving to truly honor God you will be fully satisfied with what you have, you will not crave and want things beyond God’s plan for you. If you are giving to get from God, then you hunger and crave for more and more without finding lasting contentment or satisfaction.

Prosperity, copiousness, is not just about money, it is about quality of life and satisfaction of life.

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 1 – God Moving

In Apostasy, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christianity, End Times, Exhortation, False Doctrine, False Teaching, Fruits of the Holy Spirit, God, God's Voice, Godliness, Godly Counsel, Jesus, Prophecy, Remnant, Renewal, Revival, Rhema Words, Spiritual Remnant, Truth, Uncategorized on March 10, 2018 at 8:58 am

This blog will alternate weekly 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.

You see your church is not growing, so now what? It is time for those who can see to begin to speak to the church about why it is not growing and what God wants done about this sad reality. The next few years between 2018 and 2021 are going to be critical for The Church, The Body of Christ, Jesus’ People as God begins a powerful transforming move of His Spirit.

Are you personally ready to face Truth, to face God and what He is saying to His People? Is your group, your church, ready to embrace a move of God that will transform lives and your church permanently? If you are, then I recommend you follow this blog (at the bottom of the page is a “follow” button to sign up for email delivery), then buckle your spiritual seatbelt, take off your blinders, unplug your ears, and get ready to face Truths that will change you and your church in almost every area.

God has something to say and do – encourage every person you know to listen, and watch God do what only God can do!

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.

Graham–Vacation

In Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christ, Christian, Christian Living, Christianity, God, God's Voice, Godliness, Godly Counsel, Uncategorized on February 22, 2018 at 9:16 am

I have been and am on vacation.  Another posting will be coming soon. 

As requested I am considering alternating between the Proverbs postings and posting about church growth and what God will be doing within the Body of Christ in 2018. 

I wanted to take a moment today to express that with the passing of Rev. Billy Graham on Wednesday at the age of 99, the world has lost an honorable man and an irreplaceable saint.  I have no doubt Mr. Graham’s joy is now complete as he looks into the face of the One he served and loved for so many years, his Savior, our Savior, Jesus, the Christ.

Read more about the incredible life of this wonderful man of God.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/billy-graham/

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.

A New Year’s Thought – Living the Righteous Life

In Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian, Christian Living, Christianity, Decision Making, Discretion, Encouragement, Exhortation, Fruits of the Holy Spirit, God, God's Voice, Godliness, Jesus, Learning, Prudence, Renewal, Spirituality, Truth, Uncategorized, Wisdom on December 30, 2017 at 6:00 am

Before you take action to make all those resolution about what you are going to do or not do, who you are going to be or not be, take a moment and reflect on God’s method of change.

Read the thoughts of a young woman desiring honest change in her life, and my response to her.

Quote = “When I pray and read the Word and worship as I have been recently, i am experiencing more of a closeness and a love… like i am coming back to my first love. I do not think I am explaining it well but I want to live a righteous life and spend time with my Father becuase I love Him and want to, not because there is this list of "do’s and don’ts" to follow.” = End Quote.

You need not worry sister…you are not going to live a “righteous life” without it being a manifestation of God’s grace in your life. Any desire you have for God is a manifestation of God’s grace in your life.

Some thoughts…

A ship is not going to move along steady by being propped from the outside. In order for a ship to be balanced, it must have ballast within the ship in order for the ship to move along steadily. The same is true for us as God’s children. Nothing on the outside of us is ever going to make our lives steady and balanced. It is only through and by the grace of God that our lives ever become consistent, steady, and balance. All three of which God wants for us and all three of which He is more than willing to shed out His grace in service to perform.

Therefore, God’s grace becomes our ballast. Ballast being:

bal·last

1. stabilizing heavy weights: heavy material carried in the hold of a ship, especially one that has no cargo, in the keel of a sailing boat, or in the gondola of a balloon, to give the craft increased stability

2. something that gives bulk or stability: anything that serves no particular purpose except to give bulk or weight to something or that provides additional stability

3. foundation material: stones or gravel when used as a foundation for a road or railroad track

4. industry gravel used in making concrete: gravel used in making concrete and in earthworks

5. electrical engineering circuit limiting current flow: a circuit that limits the current flow in a fluorescent lamp

Encarta ® World English Dictionary

A play on the definitions and a connection to God’s grace.

1 – God is the weight that holds us steady when life blows and blows; only He and His grace provide us stability.

2 – Grace is simply there to bring stability to our souls, our spirits, and our lives.

3 – Grace is the foundation of our relationship with our Savior Jesus.

4 – The endless grace of God turns our liquid hearts and jelly backbones into faith stronger than concrete.

5 – God’s grace is always poured out in just the right dose at just the right time so that we might not become overwhelmed spiritually.

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.

Merry CHRISTmas everyone!

In Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Birth, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christ, Christ Birth, Christian, Christian Living, Christianity, Christmas, Christmas Star, God's Voice, Renewal, Truth, Uncategorized on December 23, 2017 at 6:00 am

Praise God for His Glorious Gift to mankind, Jesus, in the form of a precious baby.

Take a moment as you celebrate Christmas to remember the true meaning and purpose of Christmas and read the wonderful Truth found in Luke 2 and Matthew 1-2.

Luke 2:1–35 (NKJV)

Christ is Born

2 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Angels Announce Jesus to the Shepherds

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest,

And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

The Shepherds Visit Jesus

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Christ is Circumcised

21 And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

22 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

Simeon’s Prophecy

25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,

According to Your word;

30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation

31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,

32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,

And the glory of Your people Israel.”

33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Matthew 2:1–12 (NKJV)

Visit of Wise Men

2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:

6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;

For out of you shall come a Ruler

Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”

7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”

9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.

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.

Church Shooting – Questions about Compassion and Evil

In Agape Love, Anger, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian, Christian Living, Christianity, Compassion, Confusion, Demon, Demon Possession, End Times, Evil, Exhortation, Fear, Forgiveness, God, God's Voice, Godliness, Godly Counsel, Grief, Hate, Hatred, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Loss, Mental Disorder, Mental Illness, Persecution, Suffering, Truth, Wicca, witchcraft on December 10, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Please feel free to send me any of your own thoughts or questions, locate and click the comment link below. I will continue to address them in follow up posts. This post and/or related posts will be the only post[s] I will be making available for the next few weeks, as I believe this topic needs to stay front and center for a season.

To address some additional thoughts and questions…

Compassion for Perpetrators

Yes, if we are unable to find compassion, which is an aspect of agape love, for those individuals who are so wounded or damaged that they wound and damage other people we are no different than the world. Scripture makes it clear that it is easy to love those who love us but not so easy to love those who mistreat us.

Luke 6:32–36 (NKJV) Jesus speaking

32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

I was wounded just recently by someone I care a great for, wounded more than they most likely realize. However, I have chosen to trust God to deal with the matter and not retaliate. I realize that the individual can only treat me with the spiritual, mental, and emotional maturity they currently possess despite what my heart might desire.

Evil

Yes, evil does exist! It is a powerful spiritual force that can destroy individuals and lives. Evil is a byproduct of the fall of both Satan and the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. If we had to trace goodness back to one source that source would be God. Likewise, if we had to trace evil back to one source that source would be Satan. Evil and its father, Satan, are a very powerful force second only to God and not one to be taken lightly.

Please understand this point. Without God man is completely powerless over evil. Whether you are a child of God through the rebirth of your spirit or a child of God through creation who has yet to recognize God as their Father you would not be able resist evil without God’s help. Without God this entire world would be consumed with evil. The world is Satan’s playground, his domain in some manners and therefore we are not to be naïve when it comes to the evil that surrounds us in our society.

Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

The issue of labeling evil as demon possession, demonic influence, congenital evil, or consensual evil is in all honesty an extremely difficult thing to do. People like to place labels on things or actions but in order to truly label almost any action or behavior a person would require so much information that gathering said information would be almost impossible. This is why I find it difficult to respect people who place labels. Yes, we can offer insights and possible reasons for why someone will say or do something but to say, “we know” without doubt and place a label on that person is in my belief almost impossible – it also borders on condemning a person, the worse form of judging another person. Most people do not even talk to people enough to get a good understanding of what they think, believe, or to understand why they took certain actions much less gathering enough information to slap a label on them. Therefore, I would exhort you to be very careful before deciding what type of evil might be presence in a situation.

Evil is a topic that is challenging to undertake in such a forum as the sheer volume of what could be written on the topic is enormous. I will address just a few matters here but in no way, will I even scratch the surface of what should or could be written on the matter. I will confine myself to the previously mentions aspects of evil – demon possession, demonic influence, congenital evil, and consensual evil.

Demon possession did exist during biblical times, and does exist to date. Evil spirits aka demons where sent upon King Saul (1 Sam. 16:14). Both Jesus (Luke 7:21) and Paul (Acts 19:11, 12) acknowledged demons and demon possession casting demons out of those afflicted. There are situations where people are labeled as being mentally ill, which I believe without much doubt are cases of “demon possession” yes, demon possession. With that said, I also believe some people have been considered possessed by a demon when they were legitimately mentally ill. Overall, I believe there are a great deal of things labeled as mental illness or mental disorders that are in truth a form of evil influence or a result of sin.

People are prompted to do evil by the demonic influences around them or around someone who has access to their life, such as was the case with Ahab (1 Kin. 22:1–23). Demonic “influence” is possible for all people including Christians. For this reason it is extremely important that we examine our every thought, feeling, action, and prompting against the Truth found in God’s Word. Every thought must be taken captive, so we do not fall prey to the insidious influences that find their way into our own hearts (these influences enter people’s hearts through various means which I will not go into here, but it is not always the person’s own fault.)

2 Corinthians 10:3–6 (NKJV)

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

Matthew 15:19 (NKJV) Jesus Speaking

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.

Congenital evil has to do with those things we find that run in our families or as some would like to say, ‘are in our DNA.’ Evil can be passed on through families via the environmental influence that opens the spirit to such evil. There can also be evil in the heredity of a family, evil known as generational curses. However, through the power and blood of The Lord Jesus, The Christ, generational curses of all type can be broken whether physical curses, behavioral cures, or mental curses.

Exodus 34:6–7 (NKJV) – When Moses was being given the second set of Tablets in the Wilderness, after the Hebrew children of God had left Egypt.

6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”

Exodus 20:5 (NKJV) In relation to and inclusive in the Ten Commandments.

5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,

Restated in Deuteronomy 5:9 (NKJV)

9 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,

That leaves us the final form of evil we will address here, consensual evil. A person can become demon possessed through opening themselves up to evil in their actions. Through choices they have made to involve themselves in evil actions, in satanic activity, etc. Christian can open themselves up to evil influence in a greater degree by involving themselves in sinful behavior and even evil activities. There are those people who claim to be Christians yet partake in tarot cards, horoscopes, evil media, attempting to channel, consulting spiritualist or fortunetellers, etc. These are not actions God would have His people partaking in, He expects them to shun all evil and cling to goodness, godliness, and Truth. I exhort you not to think you can play or tamper with evil without getting burned – run from all forms of evil, run quickly and far!

Deuteronomy 18:10–12 (NKJV)

10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you.

Romans 12:9 (NKJV)

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 (NKJV)

Abstain from every form of evil.

John 17:15 (NKJV) Jesus speaking

15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.

Jesus’ prayer for his disciples is my prayer for each of you.

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.

Church Shooting – Questions about Spiritual Abuse and Hypocrisy

In Abuse, Anger, Anxiety, Apostasy, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian, Christian Living, Christianity, Confusion, Courage, End Times, Evil, Exhortation, Fear, God, God's Voice, Godliness, Godly Counsel, Grief, Hate, Hatred, Hypocrisy, Jesus, Persecution, Religious Freedom, Renewal, Revival, Spiritual Activism, Spiritual Activists, Spirituality, Suffering, Truth, Uncategorized, Wisdom on November 28, 2017 at 8:47 am

Please feel free to send me any of your own thoughts or questions, locate and click the comment link below. I will continue to address them in follow up posts. This post and/or related posts will be the only post[s] I will be making available for the next few weeks, as I believe this topic needs to stay front and center for a season.

Several thought and questions have come my way. I will attempt to address these in this and the next posting.

Persecution and Church Effectiveness

I do not agree that there is one source for the anger and hatred toward the Body of Christ, the Church. Is there hypocrisy in the Body of Christ? Yes, absolutely. Is there spiritual abuse within certain denominations? I would say there is some spiritual abuse within all denominations as well as within churches that have no denominational affiliation. Have both hypocrisy and spiritual abuse affected the effectiveness of the Body of Christ? Without a doubt. The cause of persecution directed toward the church and the ineffectiveness of the church is not “just” or “simply” hypocrisy or spiritual abuse nevertheless I will address both.

There are different forms and motivations for hypocrisy. There is worldly hypocrisy (Matt. 23:5–7), legalistic hypocrisy (Rom. 10:3), evangelical hypocrisy (2 Pet. 2:10–22), and hypocrisy satanic (2 Cor. 11:13–15). Therefore, attempting to get into each in any depth does not truly serve any purpose in addressing the concerns here. Different groups or denominations may in fact show various forms of hypocrisy somewhat distinctive to that group but despite the current popular fade I do not believe “rebranding” those denomination is the answer. Dealing with the hypocrisy, the spiritual abuse, and the spiritual deadness is the answer!

There is a general distain for organized religion in the form of denominational religion for religion sake. It does seem as though people have assigned certain perceived acts of hypocrisy to certain denominations. The denominations answer to how turned off people are by organized religion is to rebrand themselves. However, a denomination renaming themselves to hide or remove all traces of denominational affiliation is counter productive in the long run because they go from being perceived as hypocrites in a specific area to being perceived as both hypocrites and deceiver regarding who they are and what they stand for.

We are seeing a great deal of the “rebranding” today because non-denominational congregations are the fastest growing and largest congregations in America today, while denominational congregations such as Baptist, Assembly of God, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, Methodist, etc. are shrinking and dying off all together. There is a very good reason for this dynamic, one I believe is God driven (I believe this based upon something God showed myself and many other godly spiritual leaders in the 1990’s about what He would be doing with the Body of Christ during our lifetime). My response, I too left denominationalism at that time and involved myself in beginning what would become a very large non-denominational church and school of ministry.

To say that the ALL of the persecution or ALL of the ineffectiveness the Body of Christ is undergoing at this point in the history of The Church is NOT OF GOD, would be inaccurate – aspects of the persecution are God driven, some are society driven, some are sin driven, and some are driven by evil. To place a single label on any specific persecution can be vey difficult.

Spiritual abuse to me is not a denominational issue it is an individual issue with a leader. Leaders who repeatedly spiritually abuse their people should be removed, period! People should not put up with spiritual abuse, nor should they allow hatred to build for a denomination because they were spiritually abuse by an individual within a specific denomination. Spiritual abuse happens almost everywhere unfortunately from the Catholic Church to a non-denominational church and all denominations in between.

I acknowledge that the spiritual abuse is there, and I sympathize. I have seen it, counseled those who have been through it, and heard of all kinds of spiritual abuse – ranging from sexual abuse, verbal abuse, public shaming, manipulation, gossip, character assignation, exploration for greed or profit, deliberately damaging a person’s reputation with people through misrepresentations, lies, and gossip, leader driven shunning, over working people, misrepresenting the Scriptures, and so forth. All spiritual abuse causes wounds, wounds can cause anger if not dealt with correctly, anger can lead to bitterness, and bitterness can lead to persecution of a person or group. If you have been spiritually abused in any manner get godly spiritual and emotional help from a godly minister, please.

It saddens me that both of these issues, hypocrisy and spiritual abuse, have diminished the respect people once felt for Christianity as a whole and Christian people in general.

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.

Church Shooting

In Agape Love, Anger, Anxiety, Apostasy, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian, Christian Living, Christianity, Confusion, Courage, Encouragement, End Times, Evil, Exhortation, Forgiveness, God, God's Voice, Godliness, Godly Counsel, Grief, Hate, Hatred, Holy Spirit, Humanism, Jesus, Mental Disorder, Mental Illness, Peace, Persecution, Prayer, Prophecy, Psychiatric Drugs, Religious Freedom, Remnant, Renewal, Revival, Rhema Words, Spiritual Activism, Spiritual Activists, Spiritual Fruit, Spiritual Remnant, Suffering, Truth, Uncategorized, Wisdom on November 8, 2017 at 6:43 pm

This will be one of the longest pieces I have written for posting in a couple of years but if you will stick with it and read the whole thing you just may find it was well worth your time. Please feel free to send me any of your own thoughts or questions, locate and click on the comment link below. I will address them in follow up posts. This post and/or related posts will be the only post[s] I will be making available for the next few weeks, as I believe this topic needs to stay front and center for a season.

Since Sunday afternoon I have prayerfully contemplated how to address this matter, when to post this piece, and the content of this posting. Ignoring what happened in that congregation, to those members of the Body of Christ on Sunday morning during their time of worship was not an option but providing an answer to the “Why?” questions regarding why it happened was also not an option. Therefore, what to do, I asked God and myself. My answer, not to attempt to provide any answers or spiritual platitudes that hurt more than they help but instead to simple reflect on several insights provided throughout the week that should be reflected upon and considered in light of the tragic events of Sunday, November 5th, 2017 in Sutherland Springs, Texas at the First Baptist Church.

Compassion, a word, or a choice.

It is my desire through this posting to allow God to use me to express some thoughts for reflection that might actually help us, us being the Body of Christ, really help us in due course and overall instead of just soothing us and placating us. The safest and simplest way to approach this topic would be to demonize the man who killed all of these people and move on. However, to handle the situation with that type of approach would be very spiritually short sided for a godly Christian spiritual leader. As Christians we like to say that we have compassion but how many of God’s people can find compassion for this man, this gunman, that killed their brothers and sisters in Christ? Compassion for what he must have been going through to turn to such a horrible and evil act. We, the Body of Christ, should have compassion for both, the victims, and the perpetrator.

The persecution of the American Church, the Body of Christ in America.

For far too long the Body of Christ has buried their heads in the sand when it came to persecution in America. The persecution, again, in America, does take another form now, then it did during the early church’s history, and a different form than it does in other countries. In America Christians have become targets of lawsuits for living out their beliefs. They have become targets for those who wish to use the legal system to try and silence Christians from expressing their beliefs in a public forum. Christians have become people targeted by a psychologized society that believes psychology has all the answers and that there is no place for God in the equation, a society that refused to accept absolutes or the individual who has firm beliefs and refuses to back down or be quite about them. Christian who still believe that talking about Jesus in their everyday lives at work, in businesses, and other public forums is a normal way to function and their God given, as well as constitutional right, are considered extremist that people avoid. And in the most extreme form of persecution we find our dear brothers and sisters of First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, who suffered a persecution unto death by someone who was so hurt, damaged, angry, and/or evil that he chose to express it through killing – just as nine of our brothers and sisters were persecuted, being killed by a gunman in June of 2015 in South Carolina at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The Body must face that they are being persecuted in various forms in America and band together to resist such persecution while at the same time showing compassion for the spiritual blindness that causes their persecutors to act as they do.

It was once said to me when I expressed concerns over the fact that a congregation only had one race and culture represented, ‘Don’t you think it is simply because we all tend to stick to our own?’ Well, for the record, no I do not think that is why you find congregations with only one race or culture represented. Yet, when persecution happens to the Church the barriers of race, culture, education, and economics are quickly dropped to band together for a greater cause, Us, The Body of Christ. I was in Charleston, South Carolina shortly after the killings that took place there and every race, class, education level, culture, and economic group of Christians were represented at that church in a powerful show of unity and spiritual support. In those tragic times we can find the time to leave our congregations and reach out to other congregations or members of The Body of Christ in general, however, this should be a regular practice at all times. There is no doubt that the Bible teaches us, and the history of the Christian Church teaches us, that God uses persecution to grow and/or change His Church and people.

The influence of evil.

I was interviewed a few years back for a book on a serial killer who had once tried to kill me along with about a dozen other people the early 1980’s. According to the author of the book I was the only person he could find to interview, most of the people were dead and a couple unlocatable. The interview was many hours long and during the course of this interview the author wanted to know how I could consistently express so much compassion for this serial killer knowing so much about his history and all the horrible things he had done, and how could I show no anger, bitterness, or resentment toward the man who had been the source of my physically body being damaged to the point that I still lived with the results causing difficulty and pain in daily life. These questions opened up the door to discuss the influence of evil. There was one profound thing that God over the years had helped me to understand, which helped me place the responsibility for evil acts where it lay – with Satan.

That truth was…

Evil causes psychological damage, and psychological damage opens the door to evil.

As long as the psychological community continues to disavow the spiritual side to mental and emotional problems we will continue to see people who never actually get better, change, or heal. As long as the Christian community continues to either, a) ignore the emotional and mental damage done through the wounding of people or b) allow themselves to become so psychologized they no longer make the spiritual connection to a wounded person’s emotional and mental problems, we will continue to see ourselves as a Body grow spiritually weaker and weaker as our biblical worldview becomes overshadowed or at least mixed with a secular worldview. We must find the balance that allows the Church and the mental health community to both realize that they have pieces of the puzzle that will help wounded people become whole again.

Church effectiveness and respect for Christianity within our society.

People do not respect the Christian community like they once did in America. This is our fault, the Body of Christ’s fault in general. There are so many reasons this has happened over the years there is no way to exhaustively address the reasons. However, just to address a few: 1 – We have become too much like the society in which we live. If you are no different than I am in your standards and practices why should I respect you. 2 – Our behavior whether it was intended to be or not “appeared” or “appears” hypocritical to people. We need more transparency that allows us to share our own struggles, yet still promote God’s Truths and His Standards for how we are to aspire to living our lives. 3 – The Body of Christ lacks backbone anymore. What might the zealous Peter and bold Paul say about the stands we take today for Truth or lack thereof, and the boldness we lack in expressing Truth as found in God’s Word.

We lack effectiveness in our society today as well. We lack effectiveness as Christians because we have either checked out of our society or we wish to avoid the ugly side of our society. We are barely able to allow ourselves the ability to remain in relationships long enough to allow ‘iron to sharpen iron’ much less invest ourselves relationally with those who might need our help. What happen to the need to show agape love for people, that love Jesus asked us to show, love that is displayed by our actions, our investment, and our involvement with people.

Proverbs 27:17 (NKJV)

As iron sharpens iron,

So a man sharpens the countenance (character) of his friend.

John 15:13 (NKJV) Jesus speaking

13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Luke 6:35 (NKJV) Jesus speaking

35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.

Matthew 5:44 (NKJV) Jesus speaking

44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,

In the early 2000’s two young boys barely in their teens living in the Pensacola, Florida area are convicted of killing their father and burning their family home down. Allegedly a result of years abuse and the influence of a child predator who also lived in the area. On the road leading up to their home, which was located in the 1,100 block, there were eight churches before the 1300 block and 4 churches within the 1070-1200 block. All of those churches in that community but how many of those congregations were “in that community” with their time, actions, involvement, and love – especially if some people in that community were tough to love.

Now back to this shooting at the Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. The sheriff, Tackitt, in an interview stated that the pastor of this church, Frank Pomeroy, had stated in the past that he did not want the gunman, who had previously been involved in the congregation, in his church and asked the sheriff, “How do I run him away from my church?” – yet this was not the pastor present on the day when the gunman killed 26 of his congregation members (25 men, women, girls, boys, and 1 unborn child) and injured 20 more. The gunman’s mother and father-in-law were members of the church, also not present on the day of the shooting. Dare I pose the question, but I must, how might things have been different had that pastor reached out with love, invested his time, and attempted to help this damaged young man instead of searching for ways to ‘run him away from “his” church?’ Yes, pastors must protect the flock but protecting them does not have to involves ridding yourselves of all those you deem undesirable, it should instead involves helping those you see who are wounded or damaged by life.

Religion acceptable, true godliness is not – a hate breeder.

People are watching what the Christian Churches are doing to each other and to their own people. It is not just the churched that are affected when things are not handled in a godly manner, those looking from the outside or sidelines are also affected. Far too many godly people who love Jesus have left many church congregations and many have been incredibility wounded by their brush with religion. Religion seems to be very acceptable in most of today’s churches, but true godliness or aspirations to that end is not welcome. Sadly, in far too many congregation it is not acceptable to believe that God’s Truths are still a valid standard for living today. We live in an age where the loveless, the compromising, the corrupt, the dead, and the lukewarm churches (Rev. 2-3) reign and truly devout congregations aspiring to God’s Principles and acting with Jesus’ agape love are rare. Religion in every capacity has taken over and controls the leadership thus by extension the people. They do not hunger or thirst for Jesus and to grow in Christ, they do not long for revival to sweep across our land, they are just about the business of church. My biggest challenge and greatest heartache is dealing with the types of Christians, Spiritual Leaders, and churches found in Revelation 2 and 3- the loveless, the compromising, the corrupt, the dead, and the lukewarm.

These types of congregations and individuals have hurt so many people who truly love or loved God, desire or desired to be all God wanted them to be, and yearn or yearned to see the Body of Christ be all Jesus means for it to be. The religious people and congregations have caused wounds great enough that individuals have pulled back from the poison of religion without godly spirituality. Let us never forget that our LORD, our Saviour, Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ, was persecuted, maligned, and His crucifixion brought about through the Religious Leaders of His day! If devout people can be affected by a religious society this way, how much more would a wounded or damaged person be affected by this type of treatment from people who are supposed to be “the best people on earth” – Christians? I have heard it said that this man who was the gunman in this attack on this small church was an atheist, and very vocal about his atheistic views. Atheist do not go to church, seekers, the confused, the agnostic goes to church in search of something – if religion is all we have to offer them, then I fear their hate for us will grow.

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.