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What’s Driving Us?
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God….But he that is spiritual judgeth all things.” 1 Corinthians 2:12,14a,15a
It is what spirit we are of that drives how we think and what we do, rather than what we know. Thus, people often find themselves being driven to do things they know is not right. This is evident in the number who know the truth, yet depart from it to follow sinful ways.
The Bible declares the fact of the spirit of our sinful, natural man, which acts independently of, yea, even contrary to, the Spirit of God, ignoring the wisdom of God’s way, in order to gratify the sinful desires of the flesh. Also, there is the spirit which is of God, working within those whose hearts are right with God, affording them the ability to judge all things, due to discerning things that are eternal as well as the temporal.
In a perfect world of perfect minds, people would choose to judge all things in the light of God’s omniscient wisdom, which is comprehensive of all things, rather than resort to the spirit of sinful flesh, which only sees the things of this present world, as well as only seeks those things that bring present gratification to fleshly lusts.
But in this sinful, imperfect world, the spirit of the inherently spiritually dead, depraved, natural man, is in objection to everything that disagrees with just living for the gratification of worldly desires.
Christians BEWARE! Should we fail, or cease to fight the good fight of faith in judging all things by the spirit afforded us by God, the spirit of our natural, sinful man will divert our attention away from the light of the Lord, unto the blindness of seeing only what the flesh wants to see, being the ways of this world that are at enmity with God.
Live Eve was, those raised up in a Christian environment are prone to be naïve and vulnerable when broadsided with temptation that ignites the spirit of the fleshly man. And as they suddenly are being driven by the spirit of the natural man, the truth that they do know will be overridden in their thinking.
What spirit is driving you? Are you judging all things that reveal godliness to be profitable in this life and the life to come, or are you taking a “new look” at what the world’s ways have to offer?SHARING
Freedom & Responsibility
Picture in your mind the soldier at Valley Forge, as he holds his musket in his bloody hands. He stands barefoot in the snow, starved from lack of food; wounded from months of battle, and emotionally scarred from the eternity away from his family. He is surrounded by nothing but death and the carnage of war.
He stands tough, with fire in his eyes and victory in his heart. He looks at us across the centuries in anger and disgust and tells us: “I gave you my birthright of freedom born in the Constitution and now your children graduate too illiterate to read it.
“I fought in the snow barefoot to give you freedom to vote, and you stay at home because it rains. I left my family destitute to give you freedom of speech, and you remain silent on critical issues, because it might be bad for business. You “badmouth” the country because you are irritated at something the politicians do. I orphaned my children to give you a government to serve you, and you are apathetic when democracy is stolen from the people.”
It is the soldier, not the reporter, that gives you freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, that gives you freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who allows you to demonstrate. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves the flag, whose coffin is draped with the flag, that allows the protester to burn the flag. Shame! Shame!
“Lord, hold our troops in Your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts of heroism they perform for us in our time of need. Press close to them the hope of just coming home safe.” (copied)
Freedom is not free. The slogan is simple, “You may differ but you can’t divide.” Freedom is responsibility. There is no other definition that correctly displays the real meaning of being free.
“…Christ hath made us free…” “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Galatians 5:1,13. With the liberty in Christ, comes the responsibility to use it for Christ.
As Americans, we all cherish the Bill of Rights. As Christians, we enjoy the privilege to stand for what we believe. But with this freedom comes the responsibility: “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” Galatians 5:15. As we see the folly of those who spit on or burn the flag, let us also be advised against the folly of doing those things that undermine the local New Testament Church.SHARING
The Little Foxes
“Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines.” Song of Solomon 2:15a
Human nature is a complex mixture of inconsistency: “Strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.” (Matthew 23:24)
Every Holy Spirit convicted, repentant, converted, born again sinner, saved by grace, has a deep consciousness of the sinful adamic nature. Every servant of God has a constant warfare with his or her own sinful nature, that must be denied in the course of seeking and carrying out God’s will. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Galatians 5:17
Whenever we apply this conviction of our sinful imperfection, it will serve us well to keep us vigilant against Satan and sin. But as imperfection is, so imperfection does. Being imperfect, we often imperfectly apply this conviction to what we are and do.
In the course of imperfectly assessing and managing our own imperfection, we may very well allow things to go on in our lives that we know do not measure up to what they should be. These are the little foxes that spoil the vines. These are the little errors that throw off the big equation.
Satan knows that a direct affront to a Christian’s conviction and faith most likely wouldn’t work, but would only put us on the defense against his wiles. So, he works on getting us to allow for some imperfections, that there are no real justification for them, BUT they are gratifying to, or fit well with our imperfect nature. Eventually these allowances will grow unto making more allowances, unto “a little leaven leavening the whole lump” 1 Corinthians 5:6.
Do not err, beloved brethren! It only takes a spark to get a fire going. “Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.” Romans 14:22
Be circumspect and reject inconsistencies and strive for perfection: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
“…be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” 2 Peter 3:14bSHARING
The Foundations Being Destroyed
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” 2 Timothy 4:3
Not all lusts are base, but some are self-exalting. Man has always used his religion to enhance himself. Today, religion is on the move. It is seeking relevance in society through what is esteemed to be progressive minded. Sound doctrine and “the old paths” are acknowledged as an ancestor of today’s religion, but ill-fitted for modern application.
Contradictions have always existed between man’s wisdom and God’s. Man considers his own wisdom to be increasing; and the more “understanding” man thinks he has acquired, the more base and out of step he considers Biblically sound doctrine to be. Modern theology deems Biblical laws and doctrines to be intolerable. But this new self-enlightenment on man’s part, is nothing more than the old lack of spiritual discernment glorifying itself above the Truth of God: “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3:7
Man esteems not the preaching of the Word, but that which proclaims itself to be the authority over the Word. Many proclaim to have knowledge superior to, and understanding that exceeds what the common man reads in the scriptures. While this may be new and intriguing amongst professed fundamental churches, it is the old ways of the Roman hierarchy creeping in, who have always maintained to have authority that preempts the written scriptures.
This breakdown and destruction of the foundations (Psalm 11:3) is occurring, not so much through bold and open defiance, but with the subtle legalization of that which is illegal. “Reverend Doctor so-and-so” holds the congregation in awe as he instructs them in how the wording of the written scripture is so much better expressed and more easily understood in some modern version of the Bible than it is in the Holy Bible (KJV). But what they don’t detect, is that he is leading them astray regarding the authority of inspiration to change the wording of the Bible in any way. The Bible itself condemns the writing of new versions. God gave His Word by verbal inspiration, and it is forever settled in heaven.
To admit any new version, is to agree to the principle of accepting all new versions. To accept any new version is to accept that the Holy Bible is not sacred. To accept a changed version is to say the Holy Bible needs to be changed. To accept man’s new versions is to concede that man is a greater authority than the written Word. Once this concession is made, the precedent is established for churches to practice what is deemed to be correct by man, rather than defer everything to the written Word of God. WHO IS ON THE LORD’S SIDE????
DO NOT ERR, BELOVED BRETHREN! “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” Titus 1:9 We must separate ourselves and reprove that which is not the walking uprightly according to the truth of the gospel. To not stand firm on the inerrant, holy Word of God, is to depart from the ways of the Holy Spirit which inspired the Word.SHARING
Be Ye Kind
There once was a school that had but one rule. (Oh, what a wonderful place that would be!) It is now known as Washington and Lee University and Robert E. Lee was at one time the headmaster of this institution. During his tenure, the story is told that only one rule was enforced. It was simply: Be kind.
This world of sinners can be a cruel place to live. Churches full of sinners are often no less cruel. Meanness abounds. Because of this, it is always refreshing when you cross paths with someone who exhibits true kindness.
Kindness is not a sentiment. It is an action. It is the action of our loving Father and it should be the action of all of His children.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
• Kindness is the opposite of meanness. We all have a “mean streak.” It is called sin nature. We want our way. Selfishness and “one to another” living cannot coexist in the same home.
•Kindness is rooted in tenderness. Soft hearts can make a great difference in a hard world. A kind word. A tender tone. They do not begin in the tongue, but in the heart…“tenderhearted.”
•Kindness is demonstrated most in our response to others who have done us wrong. “Forgiving one another.” It is not kindness to be kind when others are kind to us. That is just common courtesy. It is kindness to treat others lovingly when we have been treated hatefully.
•Kindness is a characteristic that makes us most like our Lord. “Even as God.” Only God is our example and only God can enable us to act and react kindly.
Of all the truth in this one little verse, I believe the greatest is to be found in the words, “for Christ’s sake.” Here lies the open secret to real kindness. We all want to be kind. How many times I have scolded myself for not having reacted as a Christian. But, how? There is only one way. We must not look at others. All eyes must be on Jesus.
I should not treat others kindly because they deserve it. At some point, I will reason that they do not deserve it! I should treat others with kindness because that is what Jesus would do. No, that is what Jesus has done. He has treated me with kindness when I did not deserve it.
Look at the cross of Christ and your heart will be tender. Listen to the kindness of the Saviour in the middle of His mistreatment and you will know how to respond.
“Be ye kind.” Ye means me. What a difference could be made by kind people in a mean world! Somewhere today, you and I will cross paths with some hurting person, some wounded soul. May they see and hear the kindness of Christ in us.
“And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.” Genesis 22:7-8
This was a most difficult question for Abraham at the moment. How could he tell his son that he was the one to be sacrificed?
So, rather than resort to trying to come up with some satisfactory explanation, he directed Isaac to trust in and wait upon the Lord.
This is where Abraham had to go for his reckoning: “By faith, Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” Hebrews 11:17-19 Abraham did not attempt to deal with this on the circumstantial level, but only by complete trust in God’s righteousness.
There was the testing moment when Abraham had to lay hold on and bind his son, put him on the altar they had built, and draw the knife to slay Isaac. Again, this moment could only be endured by sheer faith in God’s promises, that Isaac would be alive to perpetuate the promised seed.
Whatever agony Abraham experienced and whatever fear beset Isaac, yet they were both relieved and elated when God supplied the substitute to take Isaac’s place.
When our understanding doesn’t seem to be enough for our every question and perplexity, we are counseled to ask that we might receive, and to trust without doubting, in waiting upon the Lord in full confidence of God’s righteousness.
Because Christ is our substitute and means of deliverance, rather than suffer loss and deprivation, we are assured of being made overcomers beyond our understanding.
“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32SHARING
“For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.” Romans 14:2-3
Personal convictions are very important in the life of a Christian. To believe in God’s righteousness is to care about our lives in His sight. But it must be remembered that personal convictions are just that, they are personal. Whenever we try to make our personal convictions the public norm, we run into problems. We must remember that our personal convictions are to be between us and our Master. We must do all we can to make sure they are approved of by Him, for the judgment’s sake and our testimony of faith. For if God approves them not, they are just weights that easily beset us.
For the most part, personal convictions are made up largely from our own person: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know even as also I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 It must be remembered, that at best, our person is still incomplete and is still yet to discover more things than we now know.
Personal convictions do not necessarily imply Christianity proper. People of heathen religions have personal convictions. The Pharisees had personal convictions, and because of these, they were given to finding fault against Christ and His disciples. Job’s friends had personal convictions, and due to their convictions, they deemed Job to be “unholy” and under Divine judgments for ungodliness. Peter had very high convictions about loyalty to Christ, unto death. And it was his personal convictions that got in his way of doubting himself enough to fully surrender himself to the admonitions of Christ, and thus Satan took advantage of him. When we become driven by our own personal opinions, we are wide open prey for Satan to sift us as wheat.
Due to personal convictions, some view a ministry to be too strict, while others view the same ministry to be too lenient. There is no way to form a bond of unity out of a mix of people’s personal convictions.
Real unity, and things done in a way that is expedient for the Lord’s work, comes to pass from the fruit of the Holy Spirit working within. People who live right and make decisions that honor God and build up His work, do so, not because of self-assertiveness, but by forsaking their own thoughts and ways, unto becoming directed by the Holy Spirit in what they are doing. Due to parties with strong personal convictions, the church can be sharply divided. But due to submission to the Holy Spirit, unity, growth, and fellowship abounds. BE CAREFUL! By personal convictions, we can be a more conscientious Christian, or become a law to ourselves, hardened in our own conceits!SHARING
Men Who Paid Freedom’s Price
Our nation’s founding fathers knew how to count the cost of liberty.
On July 7, 1776, there was signed in the City of Philadelphia one of America’s historic documents: the Declaration of Independence. It marked the birth of this nation which, under God, was destined for world leadership.
We often forget that, in declaring independence from an earthly power, our forefathers made a forthright declaration of dependence upon Almighty God. The closing words of this document solemnly declare:
“With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
The fifty-six courageous men who signed that document understood that this was not just high-sounding rhetoric. They knew that if they succeeded, the best they could expect would be years of hardship in a struggling new nation. If they lost, they would face a hangman’s noose as traitors.
Of the fifty-six, few were long to survive. Five were captured by the British and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes, from Rhode Island to Charleston, sacked, looted, occupied by the enemy, or burned. Two lost their sons in the army. One had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six died in the war, from its hardships or from its bullets.
Whatever ideas you have of the men who met that hot summer in Philadelphia, it is important that we remember certain facts about the men who made this pledge: they were not poor men, or wild-eyed pirates. They were men of means; rich men, most of them, who enjoyed much ease and luxury in their personal lives. Not hungry men, but prosperous men, wealthy landowners, substantially secure in their prosperity, and respected in their communities.
But they considered liberty much more important than the security they enjoyed, and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. They fulfilled their pledge. They paid the price. And freedom was won.
Someone has said, “To be born free is a privilege. To die free is an awesome responsibility.”
Yet freedom is never free. It is always purchased at great cost.
Little did John Adams know how significant his words would be when he spoke to his wife, Abigail, on the passing of the Declaration of Independence and said, “I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these states; yet, through all the gloom I can see the rays of light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means.”
To those who sacrificed for our freedom, the end was worth the painful means. Where would we, who are citizens of the United States of America, be today if there had not been those who counted the cost of freedom and willingly paid for it? Where will we be tomorrow if men and women of integrity do not come forward today and pay the price to reclaim a dying America?
“Posterity–you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.” –John Quincy Adams
“What we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a price upon its goods, and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.” –Thomas Payne, 1776SHARING
Saul’s Loss Of Grip On His Life
Saul’s Glorious Start
1 Samuel 10:9 God gave him another heart.
1 Samuel 11:6 He was backed by God when rightly engaged.
1 Samuel 11:12-13 He was sustained by grace, rising above human passions and faults.
How He Chose To Define Himself When He Was Strong
1 Samuel 13:11-13 He was unafraid to set his own boundaries and draw his own lines.
1 Samuel 14:24 He exercised judgment according to his own feelings, that lacked consideration for the interests of others.
1 Samuel 15:13 He was unafraid to declare his actions to be right, even when they were in violation of God’s command.
The Effects Of His Self Determination
1 Samuel 16:14 He was troubled in spirit; no longer being kept with the joy and peace of the Lord.
1 Samuel 17:32-58 He was sidelined by God; no longer being used of God to advance the cause of Israel.
1 Samuel 18:8-9 Bad feelings began to arise within him towards those whom God was using.
1 Samuel 18:21 He became deceitful in his dealings with the faithful.
1 Samuel 19:1 He openly announces his opposition to David; uses his status as king to be the authority to destroy David.
1 Samuel 19:9-10 His evil spirit continues to dominate and drive him.
1 Samuel 19:11 Saul has no room in his heart for reconciliation; only to go to war against David.
1 Samuel 22:17-19 Saul considers anyone who doesn’t side with him to be his mortal enemy.
1 Samuel 24 & 26 Being openly reproved, he admits wrong doing; yet would not humble himself before God unto seeking forgiveness and submission.
1 Samuel 31 Being wounded in a losing battle, he chose to end his own life.
When Saul lost sight of God’s purpose for his life, he lost his way in living his life.
Out of his own mouth: “I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.” 1 Samuel 26:21
He Was Willing To Do It All For Us
“Let this mind be in you…” Philippians 2:5
He divested Himself of all personal honor: “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant…” Philippians 2:7
His service to God was unconditional: “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death…” Philippians 2:8
He thus qualified for the highest exaltation: “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” Philippians 2:9
Christ’s experience in fulfilling God’s will was that NOTHING WORKED LIKE IT WAS SUPPOSED TO!
Instead of rejoicing over His birth, the powers that were sought His death, Matthew 2.
Instead of being supported by family members, His brethren held Him in contempt, John 7:3-5.
His own countrymen had no use for Him, John 1:11. Instead of memorializing Him, they hung Him on a cross.
The religious leaders of Christ’s day perverted their knowledge of the scriptures to becoming an excuse to destroy Him rather than receive Him as their Saviour and Lord, John 11:49-53.
Rather than the judicial authorities exonerate Him of all the baseless, hateful, false accusations made against Him, it rather betrayed His innocence due to political pressure, John 19:1-16.
Rather than the news media report the undeniable truth of His resurrection, they were complicit in changing the story to a lying narrative to further their claims of Christ and His followers to just be a bunch of Bible thumping liars and deceivers (deplorables), Matthew 28:11-15.
Thus, as far as the response of the people to Christ, they let the truth fall in the streets and then bent their tongues like bows for their lies, not being valiant for the truth.
Even though nothing worked like it was supposed to work, Christ never wavered from fulfilling the will of the Father.
THIS IS THE MIND THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT SAYS IS TO BE IN US! Be sure we will all be tested as to whether we are of this mind. This mind is not just unique to certain ones, but is the result of having the frame of mind to draw as near to God as opportunity affords. We must never think we have enough and don’t need anything more than our own judgments of our own self sufficiency.
“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12SHARING