Fear the LORD; Opened Eyes

“Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.”  Proverbs 3:7-8
“And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished out of their sight.”  Luke 24:31

Let us pray that we fear God and nothing or no one else, because that is relying on His wisdom and not our own. Let us also ask Him to always keep our eyes opened to the truth of the identity of Jesus Christ who died on the cross, was buried, and He bodily arose and came out of the grave.

May we also pray for the eyes of the many who are hopeless, helpless, hurting and lost might be opened to see who Jesus is as well; that they might be delivered from sin and hell.

To The Almighty GOD…

“The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.”  Proverbs 14:32
“And when they saw Him, they worshipped Him: but some doubted.”  Matthew 28:17

Father, I praise You. I worship You because of Your love, mercy and grace You have shown through Your Son Jesus the Christ who died on the cross for the sins of the world, was buried carrying away all our sin, its darkness, pain, shame and despair, and all our condemnation; then He rose bodily from that grave justifying forever all who come to Him. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Lord, give me wisdom concerning the peril of the wicked. I pray that I might see the wicked will be judged by their own wickedness, and by Your Just ways and word. For those who have been clothed in the Righteousness of Jesus Christ we have hope in death of Your presence and glory with You. Forgive our sins, O God, and renew a right spirit in us. There is much darkness in this world right now; I pray that we shall be a bright light reflecting the holy Light of Christ our Lord. For in Him is no darkness at all.

I pray, O Lord, for renewed strength today of faith. Continued growing faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Doubters will turn away, unless they will come to believe.

Turn our hearts, O Lord, away from being filled with the world, the flesh and the devil and fill us with Your Spirit that we may walk with You and glorify Your holy name.

I also ask, Lord, that You would plow the soils of the hearts of men, women, boys and girls who do not know You; that I will be faithful to sow the seed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that You will give the harvest. Bless the name of the Lord. Amen.

2 Thessalonians 1:1-12

To show that the suffering we endure for our faith is evidence of righteousness, and that contrary to what some believe judgment awaits all who reject God and His Gospel.
INTRODUCTION:
When your hope has been dashed, and smashed to pieces what do you do? Most times we give up, or not, and push forward. We say, “What is the use? Jesus is coming soon I can quit my job; I can quit trying to lead people to Jesus. He is going to come and all this just won’t matter anymore.” God forbid that we feel this waay, and worse practice these thoughts and feelings.
The Church at Thessalonica was praised by Paul for their faith and love. The last verse of 1 Corinthians 13 mentions faith, and love. Why did Paul not recognize and admire their hope? They had lost hope. At least some of them had quit their jobs thinking, maybe saying, “What is the use?” Some false teachers were telling them they were already in the “Tribulation period”. Their faith and love; they had plenty; but hope had been lost in the persecution they were experiencing, and because of the false teachers and their teaching. When your hope is taken away there is just not much left worth living for. Paul is writing to reestablish hope in them.
Sometimes hope is dashed when we look and see evil prospering. God will have His day on the evil wicked of the world. They will not be able to stand the judgment of the wrath to come.
We who are in Christ Jesus, need not lose hope. The very evidence of our endurance in the midst of persecution is evidence of God’s righteous judgment. He gives endurance to those who are His – He strengthens us to persevere to the end (Matthew 24:13).

“Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:1-2 (KJV)

This is the same introduction as the first letter, therefor, not too much need to comment, except to say Paul was very high on the grace of God. He depended on it. His life, and ours must depend on it for eternity.

“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; so that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure…” vv. 3-4

Paul has noticed something missing at Thessalonica – hope. They were quitting, just giving up. The persecution they were experiencing even affected their work – their way of making a living. Those who owned businesses were being shunned because of their faith [We would call it a “Boycott”].
They needed hope. Hoe is the life-blood of progress. People who have hope can accomplish just about anything. The only hope for mankind – all of humanity – is faith in Jesus through whom God gave the gift of salvation – eternal life. If we understand hope; hope is the motivation of faith and love.
People who are without hope – especially a Church that is without hope is dead or dying. We preach and teach that Jesus is coming soon, but where is our hope? If we had hope, would we not be telling everyone to get ready? At least as many as we possibly can? Understand, our hope – “The Blessed hope” – is not wishful thinking which has no substance. Faith is the substance of our hope (Hebrews 11:1). God said it, I believe it, so that settles it. One I like better than that one “God said it; that settles it whether you and I believe it or not.” Our hope as Christians is backed up with what God has said; His promises and prophecies will not fail.

“Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer…” v. 5

God uses persecution to build us and make us stronger in faith, and to root out those without faith. Those who endure persecutions because of their faith show the “righteous judgment of God”, and those who do not persevere show it as well. God truly knows those who are His.
Many complain about trials and persecutions in their lives, but does an athlete complain about running till his/her legs ache, lifting weights until his/her arms hurt? If a mountain climber does not hurt he probably has not climbed a mountain for a while. We can think, “Well these people voluntarily do that.” A-men. Do not we the people of Faith volunteer as well? If we are to be strong in faith let us face the weights, the running, and the mountains for the glory of our God, and His righteousness.

“…Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you…” v. 6

Those who fall away are many times the very ones who will cause the faithful trouble. There are some who seem to remain faithful to the Church, but never endure any persecution, because they live outside the Church like everyone else. They are trouble to the Church, whether they actually lift a finger against her or not. It is a righteous act for God to cause them trouble.

“…And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels…” v. 7

While the rest of the world will be suffering from God’s judgment the Church will be at rest. During that period of seven years we will be in the presence of our Lord and Savior enjoying His glory. Where will you be when He comes?

“…In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power…” vv. 8-9

In Hebrews 10:31 the word of God tells us, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.” Hebrews 12:29 says, “For our God is a consuming fire.”
Just as surely as Jesus is coming for His Church, He is coming also to take vengeance on the unbelieving – those who obey not the gospel. Many cannot see a loving God doing this. This loving God made a way possible for unholy men and women to become holy, and the unbelieving spit in His face, stomped His blood under their feet, and still proclaim with much hate toward Him, “I don’t need that. God is love. He won’t cast me into Hell.” If this holy, loving God will not cast unbelievers into Hell, then His Word is not trustworthy, there is not salvation, and there awaits nothing but damnation for us all.
Notice the forms of judgment mentioned: Flaming fire, Vengeance, Punishment, Everlasting destruction, Separation from the presence, glory, and power of the Lord.

“…When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” v. 10

What glory that will be when He is glorified in us. What is that glory? That others believe Him through our faith and testimony.

“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power: that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” vv. 11-12

Hope can often be restored by letting people know you are praying for them, and how you are praying.

How was Paul praying? 1.) That God would count you worthy of this calling; 2.) Fulfill the good pleasure of His goodness; 3.) The work of faith with power; 4.) That Jesus name be glorified in you; 5.) You in Him; 6.) According to His grace; 7.) Fulfilled through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, and His coming in the clouds.

It is solely by His grace. There is no other way of salvation.

We can rest in God’s grace that He will deliver us from the wrath to come, when we are in Christ. We have that hope, that promise in Christ Jesus.

If our lost loved ones, friends, and neighbors die in unbelief there will be no rest for them. After Jesus comes, any hope of salvation is gone.

1 Thessalonians 2:13-20

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13

The Thessalonian Church had received God’s Word, not as some new philosophy, but as the word of truth. They received it as it was a living word from the Living God.
They realized the philosophy and teachings of man has no power, no life, and often leads to guilt with no answer, no way out. They, even more, realized the Word of God offered hope for the hopeless man and woman.
The Word of God to the Thessalonian Church was life changing, “Effectively works in you who believe.” There is great thanksgiving for the people who are in such a case.1

“For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.” 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16

These people were standing for Christ at the peril of their lives. It is Jesus who does the changing in our lives, so it is also He who empowers us to stand in tribulation.
Paul likens the Thessalonians to the Judean Christians who were persecuted for their faith.
No religion is persecuted so harshly as ones personal relationship with Jesus Christ is when it is lived in His presence and power.
The religious establishment are the ones’ who killed Jesus. This by no means is saying that He did not die for our sins. They are also the ones’ who “Do not please God, and are hostile to all men.” This religion also allowed no room for different groups of people, and allowed no one but themselves to be saved. They just keep on heaping their sins, piling them up one upon another, condemning themselves. They bring God’s wrath upon themselves, because they will not accept the salvation God offers to all. “God patiently waits as sinners rebel against Him and He watches as their measure of sin and judgment fills up. When the time is up, God’s patience will end and judgment will fall.” Warren Wiersbe.

“But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.” 1 Thessalonians 2:17-18

Many times there are hindrances which come into our lives and ministries. Paul experienced this. He says the hindering was by Satan, for only he would hinder the work of the gospel, but I am sure Paul realized that Satan cannot do any more than God will allow him to.
The saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”, is not absolutely false. In Paul’s case especially, he longed to be with them, to teach, and guide them in God’s program for their lives.
While we look at this andknow that Satan was hindering Paul from coming to Thessalonica; we can also know that while he was in Corinth writing this letter, Paul was doing a great work there. We can learn a great lesson here. While Satan may be hindering in one place we need to be at work where he is not. Satan can be in only one place at a time.

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For ye are our glory and joy.” 1 Thessalonians 19-20

Giving of gifts can be a very joyous occasion. The giving of a gift should be as joyous to the giver as it is to the receiver.
What a joy it is to see people come to faith in Christ, especially those where you have been used by the Lord to help that person come to Jesus.
The hope, joy, and crown of rejoicing of a soul-winner will be to see all those he has had a part, “In the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming.” That is our glory and joy. What do you have to give to the Lord when you appear before Him at His throne?

 

The LORD, My Praise

“In Thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.
Deliver me in Thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline Thine ear unto me, and save me.
Be Thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: Thou hast given commandment to save me; for Thou art my rock and my fortress.
Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For Thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: my trust from my youth. By Thee have I been holden up from the womb: Thou art He that took me out of my mother’s bowels: my praise shall be continually of Thee.”  Psalm 71:1-6  (KJB)

With The Precious Blood Of Christ

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”  1 Peter 1:18-25  (KJB)

Our Rejoicing

“But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.
Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?
For ye are our glory and joy.”  1 Thessalonians 2:17-19  (KJB)

The Thirsty Soul

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.” Psalm 42:1-5  (KJB)

In You, O LORD, Do I Hope

“For in Thee, O LORD, do I hope: Thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.                                              For I said, ‘Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me.’  For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me.  For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.  But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied. They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is.
Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me.  Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.” Psalm 38:15-22 (KJB)

Justified By Faith

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:1-5 (KJB)

The Suffering Shepherd

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent. But You are holy, O You that inhabits the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in You: they trusted, and You did deliver them. They cried unto You, and were delivered: they trusted in You, and were not confounded. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see Me laugh Me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that He would deliver Him: let Him deliver Him, seeing He delighted in Him. But You are He that took Me out of the womb: You did make Me hope when I was upon My mother’s breasts. I was cast upon You from the womb: You are My God from My mother’s belly.” Psalm 22:1-10 (KJB)

Messiah and His Words

To let the readers of Broken Pieces know… I have been doing mostly a reading and study of the gospels for the year of 2019. I read through and studied Matthew through John January through March, then I read and studied them again April through June, then the Acts through Jude; following that I  read the Prophets Isaiah through Malachi.

For the month of December I am reading and doing a study in the gospels once again, but dealing mostly with the gospel of Luke from December 1 – 24. Here is what I did.  I would read chapter 1 and 2 in Matthew on December 1, and chapter 1 of the gospel of Luke.

Now we are a day past Christmas, and my posts will be on the gospel of John, so I share with you all today the following…

“Then said some of them of Jerusalem, ‘Is not this He, whom they seek to kill? But, lo, He speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?’ ” John 7:25-26 (KJB)
He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear not, because ye are not of God.” John 8:47

The question was being asked by some of the people, “Do the rulers know indeed that this Jesus is the very Messiah?” I wonder that as well.  Did they know? Were they just fearful of the change He would or could bring if He was indeed the Christ  – the Messiah?

I pray everyone reading this today realizes that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel, and the only Savior and Lord God of the world, and of all the created order.

If they knew they were stubbornly being stiffnecked, hard headed people indeed.  That was much like those who refused to hear the words of Moses and the Prophets of old.

Jesus makes it clear in John 8:47 that those who hear – meaning those who hear the word and take His words into their hearts and minds, doing them they are of God. Those who do not hear and do them (James 1:22) these are not of God; they are in fact enemies of God and have no hope.

Where do you fit in this word of the Messiah?

Patience and Comfort of the Scriptures

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4 (KJB)

I will let another speak today. the commentary of Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown…

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning — “instruction”
through, etc. — “through the comfort and the patience of the Scriptures”
might have hope — that is, “Think not that because such portions of Scripture relate immediately to Christ, they are inapplicable to you; for though Christ’s sufferings, as a Savior, were exclusively His own, the motives that prompted them, the spirit in which they were endured, and the general principle involved in His whole work – self-sacrifice for the good of others – furnish our most perfect and beautiful model; and so all Scripture relating to these is for our instruction; and since the duty of forbearance, the strong with the weak, requires ‘patience,’ and this again needs ‘comfort,’ all those Scriptures which tell of patience and consolation, particularly of the patience of Christ, and of the consolation which sustained Him under it, are our appointed and appropriate nutriment, ministering to us ‘hope’ of that blessed day when these shall no more be needed.” See on Rom_4:25, Note 7. (For the same connection between “patience and hope” see on Rom_12:12, and see on 1Th_1:3).” From the JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN COMMENTARY

 

The Power By The Spirit

“But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.” Micah 3:8 (KJB)

The prophet of God is called to give the  “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) whether that be good and positive, bad and negative. The preacher of today if called by God is called to do the same.

At times the preacher is given a message of comfort, hope, encouragement, and strengthening of faith. At other times he is given a message of judgment, and can cause, by the Spirit of the LORD, great fear and trembling and should lead the people to repentance, and faith toward Jesus Christ.

Micah’s message seems to be a doom and gloom message at the beginning, but as you read on into the message there is hope, blessing, encouragement, and words to strengthen one’s faith.

If the prophet is only defying the truth of God’s word, leaving out the warnings, the judgments, the negatives; then that prophet/preacher is not worth listening to; and you better go somewhere else. They are not a man of God.

We can certainly judge what the preacher says and/or does not say when we read the Scriptures. The Bible is our guide; our only source for judging what is true and right; or what is lies and deceiving.

When in doubt you can trust the words  of the Lord Jesus when He said, “Judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).

When You Ask…

“And it came to pass after ten days, that the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah.

Then called he Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces which were with him, and all the people from the least even to the greatest, and said unto them, ‘Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto whom ye sent me to present your supplication before Him; ‘If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull down, and I will plant you, and not pluck up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you. Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom ye are afraid; be not afraid of him, saith the LORD: for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand. And I will shew mercies unto you, that he may have mercy upon you, and cause you to return to your own land.’ ” Jeremiah 42:7-12 (KJB)

First of all when you ask do not already have your mind made up what you are going to do.

That is apparently what the remnant of those left in Judah to care for the land, and the cities. With hypocritical hearts and minds they feigned wanting the will of God, so they go to the prophet Jeremiah asking him to seek the LORD’S counsel on His will.

The above verses are God’s answer to Jeremiah for the people.  It is a message of hope and promise if they will stay in the land. It is a promise that they need not fear Babylon their captors. What they need to do is do what the LORD says, and they will be protected and greatly blessed.

When we ask God’s counsel for something do we already have our minds made up of what we are going to do?  It does not matter what God says in His word we often do what we want to do.  That is a sad commentary on the life of a Christian, and it robs us of the promise, protection, and provision of the LORD our God.

When we ask, let us ask that the will of God be done.  Let us ask for the courage, faith, and power of the Spirit of God in us to walk in His way; not our own. When God says “Stay”, let us stay.  When God says “Go” let us go.

Our rest, our hope lies only in the Son of God who is Jesus Christ, God who became flesh, and dwelt among us. He died on the cross for ours sins, was buried, and He rose again.

“Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord, shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

I Am With You

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

‘Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, ‘Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book. For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of My people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.’ And these are the words that the LORD spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah.

For thus saith the LORD; ‘We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace.

Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.

For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of Hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: but they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.

Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make afraid. For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.’ ” Jeremiah 30:1-11 (KJB)

 

God was not at all pleased with the nation of Israel.  He was sending them into captivity to bring out a people who were holy, and wholly given to Him, had a heart  for Him, His word, and were obedient to all that He commanded.

The above words of the prophecy have not yet been fully fulfilled. They will be at the end of Jacob’s trouble.

“David their King” is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. They have had no king since the return from Babylon; with the exception of maybe puppet kings of Rome.

This should give every Christian assurance.  God is working in us as well to complete what He has began in us (Philippians 1:6).

The Eyes, the Ears, and the Face of the Lord

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?  But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.” 1 Peter 3:12-16 (KJB)

 

Also consider reading 2 Chronicles 16 and note verses 7 – 10 especially: and Romans 8.

The Best Gifts

But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. 1Corinthians 12:31
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1 Corinthians 13:13 (KJB)

The Corinthian Church was laden with Christians who were competing for who they considered the best preacher, teacher, and the best spiritual gifts.  One gift in particular was one that was causing the greatest stir.

Corinth was a troubled Church.  The apostle Paul sent this letter, because he was not able to come and see them.  The purpose of the letter is to address and endeavor to correct the problems of jealousy, envy, immoral conduct, and selfishness.

The apostle had dealt with the issue of tongues.  It was a sign gift, probably for the unbelieving Jews to see the Old Testament fulfillment, but they would not understand (Isaiah 28:11; 1 Corinthians 14:22).  Now that I have dealt with that let us consider the best gifts.

The best gifts are those that edifies the Church.  They build up, they encourage, they motivate the Church; and lead the Church in building up the name of Jesus Christ.

The greatest thing to have is love; it is the “more excellent way” as Paul describes godly love in chapter 13.  Many people, Christian and non-christian knows of 1 Corinthians 13, but know little or nothing of the chapters preceding it, or the three chapters following.

Spiritual gifts are good, even great; but if you do not have love you are empty.  The love spoken of by the apostle is not the feel  good love many think of.  It is love that acts when a wrong is witnessed, or a need is seen as one drives by a neighbor’s home, and you stop to help.  It is the love that acts without thought of recovering the cost of the effort.

There is also faith and hope and love, Paul says, “but the greatest of these is love”.

Father in Heaven fill me with Your Spirit so that I might love like You do.  That I might love my neighbor as I love myself.

When You Reach the Bottom in Despair

“O LORD, rebuke me not in Thy wrath: neither chasten me in Thy hot displeasure.  For Thine arrows stick fast in me, and Thy hand presseth me sore.
No soundness in my flesh because of Thine anger; neither rest in my bones because of my sin.  For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.  My wounds stink, are corrupt because of my foolishness.  I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.  For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh.  I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.
Lord, all my desire is before Thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee.  My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.  My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off.  They also that seek after my life lay snares, and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long.  But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.  Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.
For in Thee, O LORD, do I hope: Thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.  For I said, ‘Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me.’  For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me.  For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.  But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.  They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow good.
Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me.  Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.”  Psalm 38:1-22 (KJB)

The following commentary is from F. B. Meyer’s Through the Bible Day by Day…

A long drawn-out sigh of pain. Some think it should be classed with Psa_32:1-11; Psa_51:1-19, as belonging to the time of David’s fall and repentance. It is filled with a sense of God’s judgments and the profound consciousness of sin. Perhaps David was suffering physically, or he may be describing his spiritual maladies in terms borrowed from that source. His friends stood apart and his enemies were near. But it was wise to refrain from man and to wait only on God. When we are buffeted and derided, the true attitude is our Lord’s. As the dumb sheep before her shearers, He opened not His mouth!
In Psa_38:15 the tone becomes calmer. The soul begins to recover its center of gravity in God. Notice the fourfold repetition of For, Psa_38:15-18. Faith marshals her arguments. Out of “stony griefs” she builds “Bethels.” Like Samson, she finds honey in the lion’s carcass. But God will not forsake. He never for a moment withdraws His close attention. The Refiner sits by the crucible, and will cool down the heat the moment it has done its work.

Jesus Christ is the only hope for all Adam kind.  We have sinned.  When we get to the place of despair over our sin, its pain and disease, its death, and destruction; its theft, and hatred; then we will call on the name of the Lord, and He will hear us.

Jesus came and died on the cross in our place; He was buried carrying away all our sin, death, condemnation, shame; and then He left those things in the grave, and arose to show His victories.  He lives today.  Call on Him and be saved. Be born again.

Elijah-How One Man Made a Difference-Part 4

Truth in Palmyra

1 Kings 17:17,18

And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?

 This may very be a real “Say what?” moment. Things have been tough on both Elijah the Prophet and the widow woman he has been living with. Elijah has spent a year camped out by a brook, alone save for a providing bird. The woman had been living alone with her son, watching the land grow dry and her food run out. Then Elijah had come along and things may have seemed to be looking up.

The woman’s son…

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The Secret Life of the Hypocrite

“As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honor is not seemly for a fool.
As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage.
The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honor to a fool.
As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
The Great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.
As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? More hope of a fool than of him.”  Proverbs 26:1-12 (KJB)

The Secret Life of the Hypocrite –  Proverbs 26:1-28

Verses 1 – 12 —  Matters concerning the foolish individual.

Verse 1 –  The honor of a fool, a foolish person, is about as likely as “Snow in summer”, and as unneeded or as unwanted as “Rain in harvest”.  See 1 Samuel 12:17.  Verse 2 –  See Psalm 32:9.

vv. 4-5 –  These seem to be a contradiction; however it is a matter of judging when to be silent and when to speak.  Use discernment.

v. 12 –  Romans 12:16; Proverbs 29:20

Verses 13 – 16 —  A description of the slothful, lazy individual  (22:13).

v. 13 –  Excuses and difficulties, even dangers of the job are ever the slothful man’s heart and tongue.  Note the location of the lion [on the streets].  Lions do not inhabit streets, but rather the plains, woods, and fields. (20:4)

v. 15 –  Proverbs 19:24

Verses 17 – 23 —  The character of the “talebearer”.

From the Believer’s Bible Commentary – “I am more deadly than the screaming shell of a howitzer. I win without killing. I tear down homes, break hearts, and wreck lives. I travel on the wings of the wind. No innocence is strong enough to intimidate me, no purity pure enough to daunt me. I have no regard for truth, no respect for justice, no mercy for the defenseless. My victims are as numerous as the sands of the sea, and often as innocent. I never forget and seldom forgive. My name is Gossip!” Alanta Journal

“Prov. 26:17-22 These proverbs describe a person who uses his words carelessly. Examples include interfering in other people’s arguments (v. 17), deceiving people as a joke without concern for the consequences (vv. 18–19), and gossiping, especially where gossip provokes conflict (vv. 20–21). Verse 22 directly warns the reader that gossip is seductive, and the proverb serves as a bridge to the next section (vv. 23–28), on the liar.”  ESV Study Bible note

“He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; when he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart. Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.
Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.  A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.” Proverbs 26:24-28

Verses 24 – 28 —  The deceitful, lying hypocrite.  Care will be taken by the wise individual when hearing the words of someone who might gain by the telling of lies.  Whether the lie be flattery, or denial of a charge one must hear with judging ears, and mind.

The hypocrite’s life ends up not being so secret.

Jesus – The Anchor of the Soul

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.  And this will we do, if God permit.  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.  For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes often upon it, and brings forth herbs fit for them by whom it is dressed, receives blessing from God: but that which bears thorns and briers rejected, and nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.  But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.  For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.  And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: that you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
For when God made promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.’  And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.  For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.  Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil; where the Forerunner is for us entered, Jesus, made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”  Hebrews 6:1-20

REFERENCES: 2:5; 3:1; 10:29; Acts 8:14; 18:21; Psalm 65:10; Leviticus 16:15; Genesis 14:17-24; John 14:1-6

The Greatest of These

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And though I have prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me nothing.
Charity suffers long, is kind; charity envies not; charity vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Charity never fails: but whether prophecies, they shall fail; whether tongues, they shall cease; whether knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  And now abides faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these, charity.”  1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (KJB)

References : John 3:16; 15:13; Luke 10:30-37; Matthew 7:22; Luke 17:6; 1 Corinthians 8:2; 10:24; Romans 15:1; 2 Timothy 2:24

Words of the Prophets – Ezekiel (4)

Come Up Out Of Your Graves

 

“The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, and caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
And He said unto me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, ‘O Lord GOD, Thou knowest.’
Again He said unto me, ‘Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: and I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.’
So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
Then said He unto me, ‘Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.’
So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
Then He said unto me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.’ Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O My people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it,’ saith the LORD.”  Ezekiel 37:1-14  (KJB)

The Mouth; Wisdom or the Lack of It

The Mouth; Wisdom and Wickedness – Proverbs 11:7-14

Jesus said, “Hear and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”  Matthew 15:10b-11

In this study there is more in dealing with the mouth and the tongue.  This is a very important matter with God, or there would not be so much of Scripture dealing with it.  In chapter ten we dealt with “The Mouth of the Wise and the Righteous”.

Verses 7 – 8  –  A contrast is given of the hope of the wicked; and the hope of the righteous.  It could be highly implied within these verses that the wealth spoken of is unjustly acquired.

From the ESV study Bible notes:

“Proverbs contrasts this with the hope of the righteous (see 10:28) to warn against being fooled by the apparent security in dishonest gain and to assure those who fear the Lord that their hope, manifested in seeking the path of wisdom, will not be in vain (see 23:18; 24:14).”

Verses 9 – 11 –  Notice there is still the contrasting of the wicked and the righteous.  The contrast is a matter of dealing with the mouth.  Even when the righteous are slandered they know how to conduct themselves in the right fashion.  Conducting one’s self in the right fashion does not include slandering the slanderer.

The mouth of the righteous blesses people (v. 11)

Verses 12 – 13  –  The evil intent of a talebearer is to destroy another’s life, reputation, or character.

From Matthew Henry Commentary:

“Speaking spitefully of a man behind his back: A tale-bearer, that carries all the stories he can pick up, true or false, from house to house, to make mischief and sow discord, reveals secrets which he has been entrusted with, and so breaks the laws, and forfeits all the privileges, of friendship and conversation.”

Verse 14 –  It is good for leaders, Christians and for all to have godly counselors.  Those who would be godly counselors would also keep watch over their tongues, lips; their mouth.

The ESV Study Bible notes:

“The role of counselors is to aid a person in making wise decisions (cf. 15:22; 24:6). While this is particularly important for those who lead a people, Proverbs also stresses its broader application to people’s decision making in all sorts of situations—cf. 11:5 and the contrasting description of how the wicked falls “by his own wickedness.””

-Tim A. Blankenship