Not to be Taken Lightly

Staff – images from pixabay.com

 


Unknown Horror – images from pixabay.com

A Frightening Experience

 

Vapor – images from pixabay.com

When I was a teenager a friend and I (who had been exposed to Church teachings) were rebellious; we did some questionable things many teens do; the most fear evoking thing was an exploratory dabbling in the occult.  We played with the Ouija Board, self-induced hypnotic trances and played with automatic writing. Several events scared the wits out of us. Satanic or Demonic experiences I am not sure but we did know about Jesus and perhaps our families were praying for us because we did survive and break free from the influence.

The Spiritual World is a Battle Field

 

Battle – Public Domain
Fighting – Public Domain

Do not take the spiritual world for granted: The Good from GOD and the Evil from demons and Satan. As Christians we have Jesus to thank for helping us ward off the attacks of Satan and Satan’s cohorts. Sadly people possessed or  directed by evil entities may yet do harm as a consequence of sin or unbelief. We (we Christians) can call on Jesus for the strength to be strong and respond to the challenge. The evil ones fear GOD and know Who Jesus is. Ultimately (sooner or later) Jesus with all the power of GOD will judge and mead out  what is to happen to Satan and the Fallen Angels.

Ephesians 6:10-18 ESV

Knight – Public Domain

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, …

So while we are subject to Spiritual Warfare  we can emerge victorious


Song:Spiritual Warfare – The Battle Belongs to The Lord

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMZ8D6nTKhg


Luke 10:17 ESV

The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!”

 

The Apostles and Disciples called out demons the way Jesus had; can we do the same? In some circles this is debated so, I will leave the subject for further study,  advanced counseling from mentors, and local Church leaders.

James 4:7 ESV

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Victory – images from pixabay.com

 

Leviticus 19:31 ESV

Palmistry – Public Domain

“Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.

Next Week: When Each Day Becomes Precious

ESV: English Standard Version – Crossway

Join a Church, Bible Study . . .  read the whole Bible in order to learn the full meaning of GOD’s Word.

Who is Your Shepherd?

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String instrument – images from pixabay.com
Shepherd – images from pixabay.com

 

Secular Leaders – images from pixabay.com

 


Matthew 6:24 ESV

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Whom do you follow?

Seek God – images from pixabay.com

Will he or she lead you to good, evil, life or death? Do they appeal to this temporal life: pleasure, riches and luxury. Or, do they lead you to eternal life with GOD? There is much wisdom accumulated from the most ancient of times but not all pertains to your eternal welfare.  Maybe it is just good for a time ; the time of our lifetime.

SONG: Chris Tomlin – I Will Follow

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ohvhmGSfxI

 

1 Corinthians 10:21 ESV

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

Pray for Guidance – images from pixabay.com

What seems good to a child will not seem good when you are an adult . . . we all live an learn.

1 Corinthians 13:11 ESV

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

Sands of Time – images from pixabay.com

Why not avoid some of life’s painful lessons by giving your parents,  teachers, elders and religious mentors a listening to.  Why not closely pay attention to the wisdom of the Bible – GOD’s Word. Stories, parables, allegorical example and literal truth from thousands of years of experience but, more important, from GOD.

 

My first extensive reading of the Bible was Proverbs and followed by Ecclesiastes.

Bible Wisdom – images from pixabay.com

Proverbs 12:15 ESV

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.

Proverbs 19:20 ESV

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.

No, at first I did not understand it well nor did I get the messages however, when calamity overwhelmed me and GOD got my attention I accepted Jesus.  From that moment The Holy Spirit helped me to understand and change.  Christians seemed to appear from nowhere and they helped me is so many ways.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-22 ESV

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; …

Facing the End – images from pixabay.com
New Life – images from pixabay.com

Church revival and church growth starts with you and, you will make a difference in a troubled world if you do so, by demonstrating love and good to a troubled world.

Next Week: The Love of GOD vs. Human Love

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Have You Reached Your Last Straw?


Music” is a Link to Christian Music – images from pixabay.com

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Destruction – images from pixabay.com

Universal Suffering

Nothing Left – images from pixabay.com

Homeless, Jobless, Severe Injury or Illness, Addiction, Loss of a Loved One or Loved Ones?

Slave to Booze – images from pixabay.com
Even RX Drugs – images from pixabay.com

All of us have faced challenges or will in our lifetime, how will you cope with them?

Drug Addiction – images from pixabay.com

Christians are not immune to calamity, injury, loss, illness and death, why? How do Christians claim to be at peace in the most trying circumstances? How is it that some Christians are able to even face death without loosing their faith? (all Christians are saved even if they falter in their last hours.)

 

Jesus – images from pixabay.com

First: They (Christians) have eternity guaranteed by Jesus.

John 5:24 ESV

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

 

Wisdom

Second: God uses worldly challenges in order to demonstrate grace and faith to the unsaved; the power of Christians when tempted to yield has a limit.

2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me

 

Prostitution- image from pixabay.com

Last: All people are tempted to sin in the same way – this includes Christians denying Christ under threat – this is why everyone needs GOD and can see GOD in eternity when trusting in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

GOD is Good – images from pixabay.com

Having Christ sets you on a path to recovery now and for eternity. Life will not be perfect but it will be better.

Romans 8:28 ESV

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

We are Free – images from pixabay.com

 

 

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Holiness

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The Holy City of Jerusalem – images from pixabay.com

What is Holiness and who can be Holy?

Even the best humans have the seeds of corruption within them so can any human claim to be holy? Well, it is a relative process; we Christians do not but into many things that are described as relative.

Moses – images from pixabay.com

For instance, while all killing is not murder, murder is murder period. We do kill animals, fish and birds for food. We do not attempt to qualify murder by saying, “The slaying was murder-like.” for example.  Yes in a war things get all messed up, because all people Christians included, seek ways to justify what goes on by claiming they are right and justified.  Defending one’s family in a war or criminal situation seems clear to many but, not even that is accepted by all – war or self defense is a last resort. So how can people ever agree who is holy and how to become holy?

Leviticus 11:45 ESV

For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”

God is Holy – images from pixabay.com

Acts 2:38 ESV 

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

GOD is Holy. Jesus is Holy. The Holy Spirit also.

We can become an improved version of ourselves by becoming more Christ-Like every day thus moving  from the starting place as “sinner” toward a saved person – saved by GOD’s Grace – eliminating sins as we are convicted of them. So, after all, since even as a “Saved Christian” we are not sin free here on Earth but we are set apart (more holy less sinful) and by accepting Jesus as Lord, GOD does not see our sin because of Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection; we are counted as “HOLY” even now.

The explanation is contained in the Bible.

The Holy Bible – images from pixabay.com

1 Peter 1:13-25 ESV

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, …

An important distinctions between holy, sacred, sanctified and saint may arise when discussing holiness: see the following website on usage in the English Language:

https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/84837/whats-the-difference-between-hallow-sacred-holy-and-saint

Do Not Delay Accept Jesus and Begin the Process of your Transformation.

Jesus – images from pixabay.com

 

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Difficult Questions

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Should I use Violence to Defend

Use Martial-arts? – images from pixabay.com

One of the most difficult dilemmas you may be faced with is whether to use violence for defense.

Carry A Gun? – images from pixabay.com

Some of you may mumble, “that’s a no brainer; of course I would”. There may be a small minority who would choose death before causing harm to anyone for any reason.  Scanning my morning digests of articles in academic journals I spotted one that read: Modern civilization doesn’t diminish violence

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171027104843.htm

Another article read: Does population size affect rates of violence? The bottom line read:  . . . Ultimately, Falk and Hildebolt found that people living in small-scale societies are not inherently more violent that those living in “civilized” states, and that war deaths scale similarly with population sizes across all levels of human society.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171026164552.htm

Use Weapons? – images from pixabay.com

As a Christian these suggested findings point to the nature of humans truthfully described in the Bible.

Matthew 15:19 ESV

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

Protect a Loved One? – images from pixabay.com

Ignoring GOD’s explanation does not change things; scientific studies can attribute this part of our nature as evolving from our more precarious primitive state. There was, and there may still be, people who believe that given the right opportunity humans will allow their peaceful traits to prevail: where is the evidence for that? In affluent societies where there is ample supplies and opportunities to be successful even the privileged can fail to manifest the “good” we humans supposedly have at our core: The recent perpetrator who was wealthy, seemingly lacking for nothing committed the Las Vegas mass murder. See: Brother says Las Vegas gunman was a wealthy real-estate investor

http://www.denverpost.com/2017/10/03/gunman-who-killed-50-at-las-vegas-concert-was-retired/

The NIV Bible expresses our nature in a more stark way:

Isaiah 64:6-7 New International Version (NIV)

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
No one calls on your name
    or strives to lay hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us
    and have given us over to[a] our sins.

Isaiah is describing human attitude toward GOD.

 

 

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Universal Human Rights

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Jesus – images from pixabay.com

GOD desires that all people should be                   saved from eternal damnation.

John 3:16-17 ESV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Jesus fulfilled the penalty of death for all sin and all who, sinned, sin now and will sin; by accepting this work you receive eternal salvation and will dwell with GOD in Heaven.  Humans fall short and even in the name of religion perpetrate evil upon one another. You can still be forgiven; even  begin again as a new creation in the eyes of GOD.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

GOD’s Love for us is the basis for Universal Human Rights.

Human rights for all – images from pixabay.com

If you need clues concerning the value of all humans in the eyes of GOD read these:

Proverbs 31:8-9 ESV

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

and,

Psalm 82:3 ESV

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.

and,

Isaiah 1:17 ESV 

Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

Civility – image from pixabay.com

There have been humans who promote non violence but it was and remains a struggle but, With GOD all things are possible.

Non-violence – images from pixabay.com

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Unexplained Behavior

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Evidence of Evil – images from pixabay.com

Do you wonder how some people can seem to do awful things? …

. . . and seemingly do them without affecting their conscience? Do you think perhaps they do not have a conscience?

Complex Mind – images from pixabay.com

Common wisdom indicates that initiating a pattern of ignoring pangs of conscience leads to ever greater tolerance to what is offensive. For example: doing nothing when someone is observed to be abusive toward another gradually leads to a more tolerant view of the nature of abuse.

Leviticus 5:1 ESV

“If anyone sins in that he hears a public adjuration to testify, and though he is a witness, whether he has seen or come to know the matter, yet does not speak, he shall bear his iniquity;

You are Responsible – images from pixabay.com

The Moral Compass within us is vital

Inner War – images from pixabay.com

Knowing good and evil may have begun with Adam and Eve partaking in the forbidden fruit long ago that, enabled us to recognize the standards of good and evil of GOD but, it is very much still a part of the human experience – in our nature.  This ability provides us with discernment and with discernment coupled to free will we have a great responsibility to do right. As Christians we have an even greater responsibility to do right, promote good and, oppose evil than those ” who are perishing”.

Ephesians 6:12 ESV

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Remain vigilant, ready to  good and oppose evil at all times.
Help not Hinder – images from pixabay.com

2 Thessalonians 3:13 ESV

As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.

 

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911 and What People do to Each Other

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Special 911 Issue

Pentagon 911 – image from pixabay.com

We respectfully remember those, murdered by our enemies, fallen in war and met their demise because of self sacrifice; remembrance as it should be. Today we pay our respect to those lost and damaged by doers of evil on September 11, 2001. *During the September 11 attacks in 2001, 2,996 people were killed and more than 6,000 others wounded.

*Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_September_11_attacks

We should also keep in mind those we loose in less dramatic but more personal events: illness, accidents, ignorance or plain neglect.  Here are some statistics that suggest we people can and should do a better job (be more careful) in protecting and caring for one another:

Road Danger – image from pixabay.com

Auto Deaths: *National Safety Council estimates that as many as 40,000 people died in motor vehicles crashes . . . . http://fortune.com/2017/02/15/traffic-deadliest-year/

 

Ship Wreck – image from pixabay.com

Transportation other than auto: 2010 (not counting injuries) 2066 https://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/by_the_numbers/transportation_safety/index.html

 

 

Bad Health – image from pixabay.com

Illnesses : 2002 all causes per 100,000 individuals =  916.1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_causes_of_death_by_rate

 

 

Neglect – image from pixabay.com

Neglect (famine) Preventable poor health care, unhealthy choices made such as smoking: Statistic complex beyond the scope of this blog. You can do some of your own research if you are interested.

 

Disaster – image from pixabay.com

Natural Disasters: “Between 1994 and 2013, EM-DAT recorded 6,873 natural disasters worldwide, which claimed 1.35 million lives or almost 68,000 lives on average each year. In addition, 218 million people were affected by natural disasters on average per annum during this 20-year period.  . . .” (Excerpt) http://reliefweb.int/report/world/human-cost-natural-disasters-2015-global-perspective

Conflict, War . . . 

War – image from pixabay.com

Humans in general cause harm to other humans in many ways directly or indirectly; sadly it is in our very nature.

Genesis 4:8 ESV

Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.

Psycho Terror – image from pixabay.com

We humans cannot overcome our inherent  nature on our own no matter how hard we try.

Jeremiah 17:9 ESV

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

 Where does our hope lie? GOD has given us the way:

John 3:16 ESV 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  . . .”

images from pixabay.com

 

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Is Honesty the Best Policy

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Honesty – image from pixabay.com

Is it possible to be honest all the time?

As I grew from childhood into adulthood I took the instruction from my family and church seriously concerning telling the truth (even though I saw a wink from a family member now and again). Movies and television programs (especially for young people) proclaimed the merits of being honest as a way to a better life.

My Father Explained What a White Lie Was

Truth or Lie – image from pixabay.com

My mom smacked his shoulder and they both laughed when my dad began to explain to me what a “Little White Lie” was. In school, in church and on Kid’s TV I did not get an explanation so I remained puzzled.  This conundrum followed me into my teens when my idealism peaked and matters such as misused truth, deception, hypocrisy, politics and human to human manipulation troubled me a great deal. Mostly I just struggled to navigate daily life always weighing these issues trying to reconcile the ideal with the reality I found. During my time serving in the U. S. Army the contrast between the touted ideal and reality was at its greatest contrast – I will not go into details save soldiers have a history of decadent behavior when off duty for one thing.

Deception – image from pixabay.com

In College I was Immersed in Postmodernity . . .

. . . and was unaware of it for many years.  I am a lifelong learner so eventually I acquired philosophical knowledge and a keen sense of comprehensive thinking (I am a product of a liberal education in that I do question everything and attempt to make sense of what I discover). Mankind experienced great failures in science and morality and this was perplexing so a philosophical upheaval set humanity on a strange course (see the following):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_relativism

In a logic class I learned about faulty reasoning and fallacies: this gave me a great deal of understanding but did not solve the dilemma concerning “absolute honesty”.  One variable is how one defines honesty and whether it is in an ideal or in a practical sense in which we refer.  Words (languages) are powerful and can be used to a person’s advantage without too much trouble especially to the unsuspecting.  I could introduce situations where lying saved a life or lives but that may be an exception and it will do little or nothing in the quest to solve of the core issue at hand: how do we really define honesty and can we be honest all the time?.

Excuses – image from pixabay.com

Midway in my life – 35 years old – I became a Christian: “My dilemma is solved I thought”

Not so fast.  Rather than offer my analysis let us inspect what GOD has to say in The Holy Bible and thus allow you to ponder the questions about honesty for yourself. I already expect the comments will reflect whether or not, you are a follower of Jesus Christ (have The Holy Spirit as a helper), you believe in GOD at all or are a secular humanist:

Exodus 20:16 ESV 

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Proverbs 12:22 ESV 

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

Matthew 5:37 ESV 

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

Colossians 3:9 ESV 

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices

 

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Is God’s Direct Punishment Now Rare on Earth?

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«Добро пожаловать» ‘WITAMY’ ‘VITAJTE’ ‘ÜDVÖZÖLJÜK’ Welcome

Strike – image from pixabay.com

God may not mete out punishment today as read in Biblical examples but . . .

. . . our disobedience and sinning has consequences all on their own; we may reap negative results now, or maybe later, but GOD will not be mocked: GOD has a high standard and ultimately GOD will judge everyone. This World is still under the rule of Satan and will remain so until Jesus returns and implements the end times prophecies.

Romans 6:23 ESV 

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am sure glad  that I am a Christian living under GOD’s Grace

Yes Christians are in this world that has much to tempt us; yes our minds and bodies are weak and we all have sinned.

Romans 3:23 ESV 

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

 


Receive Grace – image from pixabay.com

“Dziękuję Ci za wypłatę kar za moje grzechy, ocalając mnie przed sądem Bożym z wyprzedzeniem”.

“Ďakujem Ježišovi za zaplatenie pokuty za moje hriechy, a tak ma zachránil pred Božím úsudkom vopred”.

“Thank you Jesus for paying the penalty for my sins thus saving me from GOD’s judgement in advance”.

«Спасибо вам, Иисус за то, что заплатил за мои грехи, чтобы спасти меня от суждения Бога».


The more I sin the more forgiveness and the greater measure of GOD’s Grace I get, right?

Sin City – image from pixabay.com

Not so fast. (ST) Apostle Paul writes:

Romans 6:1-2 ESV

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

 

I will just do more good than bad and thus please GOD so that I can enter Heaven

Donate – image from pixabay.com

 

Volunteer – image from pixabay.com

 

 

 

 

Wrong.  We do not save our self with works, we do good to demonstrate GOD’s Love and our gratitude for what Jesus had done – and is doing even now – as HIS work applies to all believers from all times. The good we do, can enhance our heavenly rewards and make things better on this planet but trust in Jesus is the only way to salvation.

Romans 11:6 ESV 

But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

 About heavenly rewards

Rewards – image from pixabay.com

1 Corinthians 3:13-15 ESV 

Each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

ESV = ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION BIBLE 

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