The Ways of Yahweh

I Hear You Knocking, But You Can’t Come In!

Image result for pictures of Jesus knocking at the doorDo you know that Jesus stands outside the door of your heart, knocking to get in so that He can fellowship with you? Do you also know that there are consequences for refusing to open to Him? Hear His words —

Rev 3:20  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Allow me to paraphrase this a bit – “if any man hears my voice and opens the door of his heart to me, I’ll come in and dine with him and he with me.”

dine = deipneō; From G1173; to dine, that is, take the principal (or evening) meal: – sup (X -per). “I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me – This is an image denoting intimacy and friendship. Supper, with the ancients, was the principal social meal; and the idea here is, that between the Saviour and those who would receive him there would be the intimacy which subsists between those who sit down to a friendly meal together. In all countries and times, to eat together, to break bread together, has been the symbol of friendship, and this the Saviour promises here.” [1]

Having a relationship with God entails the same dynamics of any personal relationship. In order to get to KNOW someone we must talk with them, ask questions and share our thoughts and feelings as well. Getting to know someone requires lots of time and effort. It isn’t quick and easy like speed dating, or the Bachelor TV show (ridiculously idiotic concepts in my opinion) in which both parties are flung into intimate settings and intimate relationships far too quickly, exposing their hearts to unnecessary hurt from not having adequate safeguards in place. Dear Reader, the purpose of Marriage is to provide the necessary protection for your HEART, so that you won’t suffer unnecessary hurt from sudden rejection and/or abandonment by one who hasn’t made a COMMITMENT to love and stay with you! Love today isn’t much more than physical attraction. In many cases couples merely live together and are intimate without a promise of fidelity or a commitment to stay, leaving hearts unprotected. Granted, there’s no guarantee that a husband or wife will uphold their wedding vows; divorce has been around a long time but it has never been God’s will – 1Co 7:10  And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband…

Mat 19:3  The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 
Mat 19:4  And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 
Mat 19:5  And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 
Mat 19:6  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 
Mat 19:8  He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered (allowed) you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 
Mat 19:9  And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. 

Marriage between one man and one woman is God’s will for most – [2]. 1Co 7:2  Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Gen 2:24  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 

In God’s eyes, MARRIAGE is a COVENANT between two people which BINDS them together forever, not for as long as it’s convenient or pleasant. Marriage is not only a safeguard for your heart, but is the perfect environment in which to raise children. God’s will for a married man and woman is to “be fruitful and multiply” [3]. That’s always been His will and it STILL IS. Nothing has changed with God for He “is the same, yesterday, today, and FOREVER.” [4]

Marriage has another purpose; it unveils the mystery of oneness between God and His Church – Eph 5:31  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. Eph 5:32  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Marriage may seem old fashioned or outdated to modern society, but it’s HOLY to Almighty God; a sacred union to be respected and guarded at all times, in every generation!

I believe there’s more than one reason I write about ‘marriage’ today, and it’s that the Marriage Supper of the Lamb of God is now ready, awaiting only for His Bride to come and dine with Him!

The Parable of the Wedding Feast —
Mat 22:1  And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, 
Mat 22:2  The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 
Mat 22:3  And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 
Mat 22:4  Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. 
Mat 22:5  But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 
Mat 22:6  And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. 
Mat 22:7  But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 
Mat 22:8  Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 
Mat 22:9  Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 
Mat 22:10  So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. 
Mat 22:11  And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 
Mat 22:12  And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 
Mat 22:13  Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Mat 22:14  For many are called, but few are chosen. 

The ‘chosen’ or ‘elect’ of God are those whom He ‘foreknew’ would keep His commands; these seek to please God regardless of the cost to themselves. The ‘called’ are those who’ve been ‘invited’ to the marriage supper, but REFUSE to come – But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise… They were TOO BUSY attending to their own affairs!

Likewise, those who refuse to ‘open’ when Yeshua comes knocking on the door of their hearts seeking relationship with them, are REFUSED entrance to His Kingdom —

Luk 13:23  Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, 
Luk 13:24  Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 
Luk 13:25  When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: 
Luk 13:26  Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. 
Luk 13:27  But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. 
Luk 13:28  There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. 
Luk 13:29  And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. 
Luk 13:30  And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last. 

That last verse, Lk 13:30 is explained by Mat 21:31 (Jesus saith unto them) Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. Those who think they’re more righteous than certain sinners (as mentioned above) because they have an outer show of religion but whose hearts are full of wickedness, will find themselves LAST or ‘least’ in the kingdom, while the repentant ‘sinners’ who they looked down on, will be FIRST in the kingdom. ‘first’ = in rank, influence, honour / ‘last’ = of rank, grade of worth, last, i.e. lowest

Mat 5:17  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 
Mat 5:18  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 
Mat 5:19  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 
Mat 5:20  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. What were the Pharisees if not hypocrites? Mat 7:5  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.  hypocrite = hupokritēs; From G5271; an actor under an assumed character (stage player), that is, (figuratively) a dissembler

Men can fool other men with an outward appearance of righteousness through doing so called ‘good deeds’ and keeping various religious sacraments and rites, but they can’t fool God. God sees and judges the thoughts and intents of men’s hearts [5]. He readily forgives the penitent and contrite of heart [6], but hypocrites (who pretend to believe but really don’t) will be thrown into outer darkness with unbelievers, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth [7].

A STERN WARNING to PASTORS, BISHOPS, PROPHETS, APOSTLES, & TEACHERS:
Mat 24:42  Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 
Mat 24:43  But know this, that if the goodman (overseer; pastor, etc.) of the house (God’s household) had known in what watch the thief (false teacher, heretical doctrine) would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered (allowed) his house to be broken up. 
Mat 24:44  Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 
Mat 24:45  Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 
Mat 24:46  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 
Mat 24:47  Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 
Mat 24:48  But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; [8]
Mat 24:49  And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 

Note the contrast between a good and evil servant. A good servant ‘watches’ over God’s household, nurtures it, and doesn’t allow it to be ‘broken into’ – diorussō penetrate burglariously: – break through (up). He won’t allow a ‘thief’ to break in and steal the sheep through false doctrine. An evil servant does the opposite as he smites his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with the drunken! ‘smite’ = metaphorically to wound, disquiet one’s conscience; ‘eat and drink’ = metaphorically to devour, consume; ‘drunken’ = metaphorically one who has shed blood or murdered profusely. You can wound someone’s conscience by teaching them to sin against it – telling them to ignore what their conscience is convicting them of, and by living a sinful life-style thereby setting a bad example to those who look to you for guidance in matters of faith! You can murder someone’s soul by teaching that God’s commands aren’t valid for today, and therefore can be set aside. Who do you think God will hold responsible when those so taught end up in Hell? Who’s responsible for watching over God’s household, and sounding the alarm when he sees the wolf coming? The servant or overseer of God’s Household!

Mat 24:50  The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 
Mat 24:51  And shall cut him asunder (cut up by scourging, scourge severely), and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 
Joh 10:12  But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

Mat 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 
Mat 7:22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 
Mat 7:23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 

The workers of iniquity won’t make it into God’s Kingdom. Iniquity = anomia; From G459; illegality, that is, violation of law or (generally) wickedness: – iniquity, X transgress (-ion of) the law, unrighteousness. Thus, the scripture here speaks of those who profess to know God but teach others to disobey and/or disregard God’s instructions; a very grave offense. Conversely, the truly righteous who DO His will shall enter the marriage and be glad – Rev 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready!

 AMEN! The Lamb’s wife is preparing herself to live and reign with Him forever! She isn’t idle while waiting for Him, nor does she engage in IDOL worship with idol worshipers, but fully devotes herself to living according to His righteous decrees even when it isn’t convenient.

Debra R. Stout, September 3, 2017

Footnotes:

[1] Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
[2] Some choose to remain single, like Paul – 1Co 7:6  But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. 
1Co 7:7  For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. 
1Co 7:8  I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.
1Co 7:32  But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord… 
[3] Genesis 1:22
[4] Hebrews13:8
[5] Hebrews 4:12
[6] Psalm 51:17
[7] Mt 22:13, Mt 24:51
[8] This passage is, in fact, “a parable,” though it is not expressly so called. The design is to show that his disciples should act as if they were each moment expecting his return. This he illustrates by the conduct of a servant who did not expect his master soon to return, who acted with great impropriety, and who was accordingly punished. ~ Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
*Words of Christ are in red text throughout.

 

THE POWER OF IMAGINATION

Related imageNever underestimate the power of imagination. While imagination is a gift from God, like every other gift, it can be used for good or for evil. When we imagine something, we create pictures and scenes in our minds that haven’t happened and aren’t real, but which affect our emotions, moods, even our words and actions. At some point we may end up doing what we’ve been meditating on. Paul addressed this when he wrote, “.. whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely….think on these things.” [1] Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; [2] This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. [3]

King David learned how his imagination could be used for evil when he didn’t turn his eyes away from the beautiful naked Bathsheba as she bathed on a nearby rooftop. David allowed lust for her to grow in his heart to such a degree that it overrode his love of God’s Torah which states, Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour’s wife, ……[4] and drove him to have her husband killed in battle so he that he could marry her. The results for David and his new wife were disastrous; the child of their union died shortly after birth. Sin (breaking God’s laws) never yields good results. David allowed his lust to move him out of a place of trust for God’s provision (a wife) to covetousness which led him to murder by proxy of war [5]. Despite David’s slip ups, he was a man after God’s own heart. I love what he wrote, Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD…[6] I think this is a good prayer to say every morning.

Our imaginations have power to bring about those things which we actively imagine. When we project pictures and scenes upon the screen of our imaginations, we begin an act of creation – of creating something new, something that hasn’t existed before. Just like God whose image we’re made in, God first IMAGINED the world before He CREATED it [7]. God gave us imagination so that we could envision and create things, all inventions have come about this way, but He wants us to use it for GOOD, not evil. Each imagination is as varied as the number of persons on the planet; no two persons are exactly alike. Granted, some have more lively and intense imaginations than others, but all have the capacity to dream or to imagine. Though what we imagine isn’t actually real, we may start talking and acting as though it was, which can have an effect upon us and others. We do in this sense, create our own realities. The Devil knows this so he constantly looks for ways to get a hold of our imagination to harness its power for his own nefarious purposes. Sadly, it’s not hard for him to do since we often submit our wills, minds, and emotions to him without realizing it. When you watch a movie your emotions are manipulated are they not? It’s a fact that movie directors and writers, know that if a movie doesn’t pull strongly on people’s emotions, the movie won’t be viewed much. This is why steamy novels and pornography are so popular because they arouse men’s fleshly appetites, and fill man’s innate desire for pleasure. Now, God gave us that innate desire for pleasure, but the Devil perverted it, as he has every other good gift God has given us. God gave sex to mankind that was pure, without lust in it, before the Serpent (the Devil) tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The Serpent used Eve’s imagination against her by getting her to IMAGINE how eating the forbidden fruit could make her wise like God [8]. What curses they incurred for disobeying God’s command; plunging themselves and all mankind into an abyss of sin and misery. Their mistake was listening to the words of the Serpent instead of God’s words. All we need to know about living well is written down for us in the Bible. If we compare what we hear, see, and think, to what the Word says, we won’t become confused or get deceived about what’s right and wrong. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. [9]

Our imaginations are easily captured by what we see and hear through television and computer images; technology is advancing to take this ability to newer and higher levels than ever before. We are to be very careful about what we watch I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? [10], about what we hear “He that walketh righteously…… stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; “[11] God understands that our eyes and ears are gateways through which evil may enter into our hearts. Seeing that what enters our hearts can have serious ramifications, it’s imperative that we stay alert to what’s being projected onto the screen of our imagination at all times, whether by outside sources or ourselves. The images we project can come from four different sources; from God, our flesh nature, the world, and from the Devil or demons. If from God, the images will be light and good but if from the Devil, the world, or the flesh, they’ll be negative and dark; sadness, pain, sorrow, depression, suicide, revenge, murder, greed, lust, etc. [12] Thus, it’s to the Devil’s advantage to get us thinking “vain thoughts” [13] and projecting “evil imaginations” onto our minds so that he can defile our hearts and work wicked deeds through us. This is why Jesus said, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. [14] Jesus judges not only our deeds, but the THOUGHTS of our hearts as well. Man’s philosophy is that it doesn’t matter what you THINK, but only what you DO, but God’s Word says otherwise, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” [15]. Thus, what we meditate on tends to play out at some point in our lives, and or, may cause disease in our minds or bodies. Holding onto anger and grudges leads to bitterness which damages relationships and your health. It’s a scientific fact that excessive anger in a person often manifests in his or her physical body as high blood pressure, migraine headache, and heart failure. [16] Excessive fear may cause heart attacks [17]. In place of revenge, you can choose to forgive and let God meet out justice [18]. In place of worry, you can choose to trust God’s promises, and when facing lack of any kind, you can choose to trust God for his provision.

So the next time your flesh or the Devil tempts you to “imagine a vain thing” (vain=empty, useless) CAST it down right away; don’t allow it to linger in your mind, for if you do, you’ll be ensnared (caught as in a trap) by it and fall into sin. Jesus though pure in every way, still had to pray fervently with watching’s and fasting’s, that He might not succumb to temptation – as a man. Remember that while Jesus was the Son of God, He was also a MAN who was “tempted in like manner” (in every way) as we are, yet never once succumbed to temptation or sinned [19]. You should know that Jesus LEFT HIS GLORY (divine powers) in Heaven [20] in order to take on a body of FLESH such as mortal men have for a couple reasons. One was so that He could show us it’s possible to do the works He did, and to overcome temptation, by the power of the Holy Spirit alone. Of course, the main reason He left his glory in heaven, was so He could die on a Cross for you and me [21]. If He had retained all of His divine powers and come in a spiritual body, He would not have been able to die – a spirit cannot be killed so Jesus had to take on a flesh and blood body. It was the same with the Angels who “left their first estate” in Heaven to become mortal flesh so that they could “take wives to themselves” of the beautiful women they saw [22]. These “fallen angels” mated with human females producing offspring of hybrid giants called Nephilim, “men of renown” whom many ancient civilizations revered as ‘gods’ [23]. For some this is new and controversial material, but Scripture, along with copious historical data, supports these statements.

Summary —

Yahweh God made man in His image and likeness, so man has power to imagine and to create, just like God. Since what we meditate on will at some point play out in our lives, it’s imperative that we manage what we allow to be projected onto the screen of our imaginations [24]. While we can’t always control what we hear and see, we can choose what we meditate upon; we don’t have to allow evil thoughts or desires to linger in our minds and hearts [25]. We can choose to drink from the polluted waters of worldly wisdom and eat from the fleshpots of carnal pleasures, or from the pure streams of God’s Holy Spirit and Word. God has given us the power of freedom of choice, so that what we experience, be it life or death, is really up to us [26]. With freedom and power comes responsibility. May we chose wisely and use all that we’ve been entrusted with, for good and not evil. In the end, we will all give an accounting to Yahweh God for our choices.  

Debra R. Stout, July 24, 2017

FOOTNOTES:

  1.  Phil 4:8
  2.  2Co 10:5
  3.  Jos 1:8
  4. Deu 5:21
  5. 2 Sam 11:2-4
  6. Ps 19:14
  7. Gen 1:26-27
  8. Gen 3:5
  9. Ps 119:105
  10. Job 31:1
  11. Isa33:15
  12. Mt 15:19, Mk 7:21
  13. Ps 94:7, Jer 4:14, Mk 7:21
  14. Mt 5:28 ‘heart’ denotes the centre of all physical and spiritual life
  15. Prov 23:7a
  16. http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/features/how-anger-hurts-your-heart  http://migravent.com/blog/5-anger-styles-that-trigger-migraines/
  17. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/295664.php
  18. Rms 12:19, Deut 32:35
  19. Heb 4:15
  20. Jn 17:5
  21. Heb 2:9, 14, 16
  22. Gen 6:2
  23. Gen 6:4, Num 13:33, Deut 2:20-21, 1 Sam 17:4
  24. Pro 4:23  Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. 
  25. ….. let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Eph 4:26
  26. I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing – Deut 30:19

 

 

Godly Sorrow; A Loving Gift

Related imageIn the words of the great Apostle Paul, godly sorrow leads to life –

2Co 7:10  For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.  What was he talking about? There are many fallacies in our modern age about the subject of ‘pain’. We’re constantly being told that all pain is ‘bad’ for us; has no good purpose whatsoever. But is this true? Apostle Paul didn’t seem to think so. Let’s explore what he meant by ‘godly sorrow’ —

2Co 7:8  For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.
2Co 7:9  Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
2Co 7:11  For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

The Biblical Illustrator [1] sheds some light on what godly sorrow  is—

Godly sorrow

  1. The mental state here exhibited. This sorrow was not of an ordinary kind. He afterwards defines it as sorrow “after a godly manner,” or “according to God.” The emotion was connected with certain local circumstances and events; but it must be regarded as forming an integral part in those arrangements of Divine mercy which are associated with the transformation and the final well-being of the human soul.
  2. This verse is a graphic record of the practical nature of repentance, which is a change of mind from unbelief and alienation against God and His law, to faith and love towards both; and a change of habit and of life from the pursuit and practice of sin, to the pursuit and practice of holiness.
  3. Its blessings. “Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation.” Elsewhere it is mentioned as being “repentance unto life,” because connected with everlasting happiness (2Pe_3:1-18).

The power of sorrow

Distinguish between sorrow and repentance. To grieve over sin is one thing, to repent of it is another. Sorrow is in itself a thing neither good nor bad; its value depends on the spirit of the person on whom it falls. Fire will inflame straw, soften iron, or harden clay.

  1. The fatal power of the sorrow of the world. It works death—
  2. In the effect of mere regret for worldly loss. We come into the world with health, friends, and sometimes property. So long as these are continued we are happy, and therefore fancy ourselves very grateful to God; but this is not religion; it has as little moral character in it, in the happy human being, as in the happy bird. Nay more, it is a suspicious thing; having been warmed by joy, it will become cold when joy is over; and then when these blessings are removed we count ourselves hardly treated, as if we had been defrauded of a right; rebellious hard feelings come; people become bitter, spiteful, discontented. This is the death of heart; the sorrow of the world has worked death.
  3. When sin is grieved for in a worldly spirit. There are two views of sin: as wrong, or as producing loss, e.g., of character. In such cases, if character could be preserved before the world, grief would not come. In the midst of Saul’s apparent grief the thing uppermost was that he had forfeited his kingly character; almost the only longing was that Samuel should honour him before his people. And hence it comes to pass that often remorse and anguish only begin with exposure. A corpse has been preserved for centuries in the iceberg, or in antiseptic peat, and when air was introduced it crumbled into dust. Exposure worked dissolution, but it only manifested the death which was already there; so with sorrow.
  4. The Divine power of sorrow.
  5. It works repentance, change of life, alteration of habits, renewal of heart. The consequences of sin are meant to wean from sin. The penalty annexed to it is, in the first instance, corrective, not penal. Fire burns the child, to teach it one of the truths of this universe—the property of fire to burn. The first time it cuts its hand with a sharp knife it has gained a lesson which it never will forget. Sorrow avails only when the past is converted into experience, and from failure lessons are learned which never are to be forgotten.
  6. Permanence of alteration. A steady reformation is a more decisive test of the value of mourning than depth of grief. The characteristic of the Divine sorrow is that it is a repentance “not repented of.” And in proportion as the repentance increases the grief diminishes. “I rejoice that I made you sorry, though it were but for a time.” Grief for a time, repentance for ever. And few things more signally prove the wisdom of this apostle than his way of dealing with this grief. He tried no artificial means of intensifying it. So soon as grief had done its work the apostle was anxious to dry useless tears—he even feared lest happily such an one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
  7. It is sorrow according to God. God sees sin in itself: a thing infinitely evil, even if the consequence were happiness instead of misery. So sorrow, according to God, is to see sin as God sees it. The grief of Peter was as bitter as that of Judas. But in Peter’s grief there was an element of hope, because he saw God in it all. Despair of self did not lead to despair of God. This is the peculiar feature of this sorrow; God is there, accordingly self is less prominent. It is not a microscopic self-examination, nor a mourning in which self is ever uppermost; my character gone; the greatness of my Sin; the forfeiture of my salvation. The thought of God absorbs all that. (F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

There must be sorrow for sin working repentance. Upon this point we must—

  1. Remove certain erroneous ideas with regard to repentance and sorrow for sin. Among popular delusions we must mention the suppositions—
  2. That mere sorrow of mind in reference to sin is repentance.
  3. That there can be repentance without sorrow for sin.
  4. That we must reach a certain point of wretchedness and horror, or else we are not truly penitent.
  5. That repentance happens to us once, and is then over.
  6. That repentance is a most unhappy feeling.
  7. That repentance must be mixed with unbelief, and embittered by the fear that mercy will be unable to meet our wretched case.
  8. Distinguish between the two sorrows mentioned in the text.
  9. The godly sorrow which worketh repentance to salvation is sorrow for sin—

(1) As committed against God.

(2) Arising out of an entire change of mind.

(3) Which joyfully accepts salvation by grace.

(4) Leading to future obedience.

(5) Which leads to perpetual perseverance in the ways of God. The ways of sin are forsaken because abhorred. This kind of repentance is never repented of.

  1. The sorrow of the world is—

(1) Caused by shame at being found out.

(2) Attended by hard thoughts of God.

(3) Leads to vexation and sullenness.

(4) Incites to hardening of heart.

(5) Lands the soul in despair.

(6) Works death of the worst kind. This needs to be repented of, for it is in itself sinful and terribly prolific of more sin.

A twofold soul sorrow

  1. The honest administration of gospel truth often inflicts sorrow on its subjects. The apostle made the Corinthians “sorry with a letter.” The gospel is a sword to cut, an arrow to pierce, a fire to burn.
  2. The sorrow is of twofold distinct types. Let us contrast these sorrows.
  3. The one is concerned with the principle of wrong; the other with the results.
  4. Some groan under a sense of their sins because of the injuries which they have already inflicted and their ultimate doom. It is a selfish regret, an unvirtuous emotion.
  5. But others mourn over the moral wrongness of the act; not because of the curse that has or wilt come upon them. The sorrow of Judas represents the one, the sorrow of Peter the other.
  6. The one is concerned for others, the other for self. “Godly sorrow” seems to engulf all personal considerations. The claims of God, the interests of society, the good of the universe, these are the subjects that unseal its fountains.

Godly sorrow

  1. Its nature—Sorrow according to God.
  2. It is sorrow for sin as an offence against God. Not that the penitent is unaffected with the evil of sin as respects his fellow-creatures and his own soul. It is, however, as an offence against God that he chiefly laments it; he views it as rebellion against God, as transgression of His law, a disbelief of His truth, a rejection of His grace, ingratitude for His goodness, and insensibility to His love. “Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done evil in Thy sight.” A consideration of his sins, as what occasioned the sufferings and death of Christ, is what especially affects his heart. He looks upon Him whom he has pierced, and mourns for Him.
  3. It is according to the will of God as revealed in Scripture. Not that God delights to see any of His creatures unhappy. He knows that godly sorrow is essential to our-happiness.
  4. It is produced in the heart by the Spirit of God. Man, in his natural state, knows nothing of this sorrow.
  5. It accords with the design of God respecting man. This is evidently none other than to bring us back to Himself.
  6. Its effect. It “worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of.” Repentance signifies a change of mind; a change of the understanding from darkness to light, and of the will and affections from sin to holiness. Such a change is attended with the most happy results. We do not wonder, therefore, to hear the apostle declare that it is “not to be repented of.” Whether we consult Scripture or experience, whether we search the Church below or above, not a saint can we meet with that regrets his repentance or his salvation. Conclusion: But is this the case with the impenitent?
  7. Is not the want of “repentance to salvation” often accompanied with such bitterness of reflection, even in the present world, and especially at the approach of death, as makes those who feel it unutterably wretched?
  8. “The sorrow of the world worketh death.” Having no connection with the love and fear of God and faith in His mercy it never ends happily, whatever may be the causes which produce it, it terminates at no time in a change of heart and conduct. (D. Rees.)

True repentance is a godly sorrow

  1. In speaking of the nature of godly sorrow we are led to remark that it is not only sorrow on account of sin, but sorrow of a peculiar kind. The sorrow of which the apostle speaks is godly sorrow which leads men to mourn with a right spirit, and has an eye towards God, against whom sin has been committed (Psa_51:4; Luk_15:18). Godly sorrow not only mourns before God for outward sins, but also for those evil thoughts which can be known only to Him who sees the heart. It will be also an increasing sorrow in proportion as the subject of this gracious repentance is led into all truth, as he is brought to know more of the depths of iniquity, and the evil of sin; as he is enabled to discern more of the workings of his heart, and more of the spirituality of the Divine law. But it will be a feeling accompanied with peace, because it will be recognised as an evidence of grace.
  2. Some of the means by which this godly sorrow is excited, which will farther illustrate this truth. It is difficult sometimes to trace the immediate cause of godly sorrow, because the first workings of this principle are often silent and gentle in their operations.
  3. Affliction. When men are at ease in their possessions, and are intoxicated with the bustle of worldly care, they can indulge in sin with little restraint, and neglect the salvation of their souls as a matter of little concern. The mercies of God seem only to supply fresh encouragement to sin. Hence He is sometimes pleased to awaken the sons of prosperity by means of afflictive dispensations.
  4. Not unfrequently His goodness leadeth to repentance.
  5. Another means which God is pleased to employ in producing godly sorrow is the reading or the preaching of His own Word. In some, as in the case of Josiah, the terrors of the law have prepared the way for spiritual peace. In others the effects have more nearly resembled those which were produced by the sermon of St. Peter on the day of Pentecost.

The effect of this godly sorrow. It worketh, saith the apostle, a repentance “unto salvation” not to be repented of either in this world or the next. Let it then be distinctly remembered that the blessing is not of a temporal character; but the salvation mentioned in the text has reference to higher blessings, and calls for increasing thankfulness because it respects the deliverance of the soul. (W. Mayors, A. M.)

Repentance

  1. The remembrance of sin is the cause of godly sorrow in the heart of a true penitent. The sinner is to be considered in two different periods of time. In the first he is under the infatuation of sin; in the last, after-reflections on his sinful conduct fill his mind.
  2. The sinner is affected with the number of his sins. When we reflect on our past lives sins arise from all parts and absorb our minds in their multitude.
  3. The true penitent adds to a just notion of the number of his sins that of their enormity. Here we must remove the prejudices that we have imbibed concerning the morality of Jesus Christ; for here also we have altered His doctrine, and taken the world for our casuist, the maxims of loose worldlings for our supreme law. We have reduced great crimes to a few principal enormous vices which few people commit.
  4. A third idea that afflicts a penitent is that of the fatal influence which his sins have had on the soul of his neighbour. One sin strikes a thousand blows, while it seems to aim at striking only one. It is a contagious poison which diffuseth itself far and wide, and infects not only him who commits it, but the greatest part of those who see it committed.
  5. The weakness of motives to sin is the fourth cause of the sorrow of a penitent. Motives to sin are innumerable and various; but what are they all? Sometimes an imaginary interest, an inch of ground, and sometimes a crown, the conquest of the universe, the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them (Mat_4:10).
  6. I make a fifth article of the penitent’s uncertainty of his state. For although the mercy of God is infinite yet it is certain the sinner in the first moments of his penitence hath reason to doubt of his state, and till the evidences of his conversion become clear there is almost as much probability of his destruction as of his salvation.
  7. Perhaps hell.
  8. In fine, the last arrow that woundeth the heart of a penitent is an arrow of Divine love. The more we love God the more misery we endure when we have been so unhappy as to offend Him. The union of all these causes which produce sorrow in a true penitent forms the grand difference between that which St. Paul calls godly sorrow and that which he calls the sorrow of the world, that is to say, between true repentance and that uneasiness which worldly systems sometimes give another kind of penitents.

  “Godly sorrow worketh repentance.”

  1. What is repentance? Many of you would answer “sorrow for sin,” but clearly this text draws a distinction between the two. The “repentance” of the Bible is, as the word distinctly expresses, a change of purpose in regard to the sin for which a man mourns. Let me remind you of one or two passages which may show that the right notion of the word, “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance,” i.e., without change of purpose on His part. Again, “The Lord repented of the evil which He had said He would do unto them, and He did it not,” i.e. clearly He changed His purpose. So repentance is not idle tears nor the twitchings of a vain regret, but the resolute turning away of the sinful heart from its sins. It is “repentance toward God,” the turning from sin to the Father.
  2. This change of purpose and breaking off from sin is produced by sorrow for sin; and that the production of this repentance is the main characteristic difference between the godly sorrow and the sorrow of the world. A man may have his paroxysms of regret, but the question is: Does it make any difference in his attitude? Is he standing, after the tempest of sorrow has swept over him, with his face in the same direction as before; or has it whirled him clean round? My brother! when your conscience pricks, is the word of command “Right about face!” or is it, “As you were”?
  3. The means of evoking true repentance is the contemplation of the Cross. Dread of punishment may pulverise the heart, but not change it; and each fragment will have the same characteristics as the whole mass. But “the goodness of God leads to repentance,” as the prodigal is conquered and sees the true hideousness of the swine’s trough when he bethinks himself of the father’s love.

Salvation is the issue of repentance.

  1. What is the connection between repentance and salvation?

(1) You cannot get the salvation of God unless you shake off your sin. “Let the wicked forsake his way,” etc. It is a clear contradiction in terms, and an absolute impossibility in fact, that God should deliver a man from sin whilst he is holding to it.

(2) But you do not get salvation for your repentance. It is no case of barter, it is no case of salvation by works, that work being repentance. “Could my tears for ever flow,” etc.

  1. What is the connection between repentance and faith?

(1) There can be no true repentance without trust in Christ. Repentance without faith would be but like the pains of those poor Hindoo devotees that will go all the way from Cape Comorin to the shrine of Juggernaut, and measure every foot of the road with the length of their own bodies in the dust. Men will do anything, and willingly make any sacrifice rather than open their eyes to see this—that repentance, clasped hand in hand with faith, leads the guiltiest soul into the forgiving presence of the crucified Christ, from whom peace flows into the darkest heart.

(2) On the other hand, faith without repentance in so far as it is possible produces a superficial Christianity which vaguely trusts to Christ without knowing exactly why it needs Him; which practises a religion which is neither a joy nor a security. “These are they which heard the word, and anon with joy received it.” Having no deep consciousness of sin, “they have no root in themselves, and in tinge of temptation they fall away.” If there is to be a life-transforming sin and devil-conquering faith, it must be a faith rooted deep in sorrow for sin. Conclusion: If, by God’s grace, my poor words have touched your consciences, do not trifle with the budding conviction! Do not let it all pass in idle sorrow. If you do, you will be the worse for it, and come nearer to that condition which the sorrow of the world worketh, the awful death of the soul. Do not wince from the knife before the roots of the cancer are cut out. The pain is merciful. Better the wound than the malignant growth. Yield yourselves to the Spirit that would convince you of sin, and listen to the voice that calls to you to forsake your unrighteous ways and thoughts. But do not trust to any tears, any resolves, any reformation. Trust only to the Lord that died for you, whose death for you, whose life in you, will be deliverance from your sin. Then you will have a salvation which “is not to be repented of.” (A. Maclaren, D. D.)

SUMMARY:

Godly sorrow leads to repentance. Don’t let yourself be fooled by the vain philosophies of men who say that all pain is bad and should be avoided through denial and/or medication so you can’t feel it. The psychologists prescribe you with this or that pill to blunt your GUILT and your God-given sense of SHAME which you feel after you sin! I say ‘after’ because sinning for the moment can feel good and pleasurable, but later on results in remorse and unsavory consequences, even to the loss of conscience and ultimately, death. The sorrow which leads to repentance, is a GOOD kind of pain, as it will save your soul from destruction. Don’t shun or try to numb the pain and guilt that come from consciousness of sin, but accept them as God’s loving gifts to lead you to true, biblical repentance and life.

Debra R. Stout, June 2, 2017

FOOTNOTES:

[1] This whole section was taken from The Biblical Illustrator, a component of e-Sword®Version 11.0.6, a FREE electronic Bible Study program. To download a copy go to www.e-sword.net  This is awesome software that makes bible study quick and easy, so there’s no excuse for bible illiteracy!

*The graphic is of the penitent tax collector vs. the self-righteous Pharisee (the smug looking man putting his tithe in the collection box). The Pharisee thanked God that he wasn’t a sinner like everyone else,“I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week and I give you a tenth of my income.” Luke 18:11-12  The tax collector stood at a distance and didn’t even dare to lift his eyes to heaven because of his shame. Instead he beat his chest in sorrow and prayed, “O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.” Luke 18:13

 

WHEN GOD SAYS “NO”

Image result for FREE pictures of ancient sacrificial altarsHave you prayed very hard for something you want, only to find yourself waiting and waiting while nothing happens? You didn’t get the thing you prayed for and wondered why? After all, you’re a good little Christian who attends church services regularly, you may even be involved in the ministry of your church. You might be spending countless hours in intercessory prayer for others, and yet, your desired answer hasn’t materialized. You begin to question the Lord, or wonder if you’re praying amiss. Fact is, you might be, but it’s more likely that you’re not seeing the thing you’ve prayed for because the Lord has simply said “No” to your request.

Now, I know from personal experience that there are some things in life which we feel we just CAN’T live without if we’re to be happy and fulfilled. Many years ago I made a difficult decision that deeply affected several people possibly for the rest of their lives. The situation called for it, nevertheless I was emotionally distraught over it, and while my pain has lessened with time, it hasn’t gone away; it may never go away completely. In the midst of my crisis however, the Holy Spirit spoke very clearly to me that He was ‘doing something’ which I wouldn’t understand now. He spoke this scripture verse to me verbatim, “You do not know what I do now, but you shall know hereafter.” [John 13:7] How did I know it was a word from God? His words always fill you with His peace, and I know the voice of the Holy Spirit who lives inside me. Despite that word, years later, that decision came back to ‘test’ my devotion to the Lord, to see if I would keep Him FIRST place in my heart, or succumb to bitterness and anger over the loss I’d suffered, and possibly “draw back” from Him. It wasn’t an easy test; I so badly WANTED what I had given to Him (someone I loved dearly) to be a part of my life, but it was not to be – GOD SAID “NO.” At least for now, that’s His answer, and I must accept it if I’m to remain in the center of His will, and be at peace with Him and myself. When we fight against God’s decrees He may withdraw from us or we may find ourselves withdrawing from Him, and for those who know Him intimately, that brings pain far worse than the loss of any person or thing on this earth! No human relationship can meet the deep needs of your soul and spirit like the Lord Himself. In His presence is fullness of JOY, and everything that you need. Need doesn’t exist in God, for He fills all things with Himself. On another note, it’s perfectly acceptable to God for us to express our feelings whatever they are, to Him. He actually wants us to bring everything which concerns us to Him in prayer —-

Php 4:6  Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Php 4:7  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

When we pour out our hearts to the Lord, we release our emotions in a safe place, to a safe Person, Who takes our inner turmoil and restores our souls with His peace. This is something I’ve experienced many times in my spiritual sojourn. Psa 147:3  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. 

So, the truth of the matter is that we can live without those things we feel we MUST have in order to be happy. God will test us from time to time, to see if He’s first in our lives and if we’ll trust Him, or throw a fit and rant and rave at Him for not giving us our ‘dues’ so to speak. Who hasn’t on occasion, yelled at God in anger for some imagined neglect on His part, of his or her needs? While there’s ”no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” [Rms 8:1] one still needs to repent and ask God’s forgiveness when he realizes his error in falsely accusing Him of wrongdoing.  God is simply incapable of being mean, petty, selfish, cruel, unfair, etc.; for ”God is Love” in the purest and fullest sense. God deeply CARES about our needs and wants, but He sees the BIG PICTURE and the Future which we can’t see. Oftentimes, what we want so badly and get, brings us nothing but trouble, heartache, and loss. God allows us to have this experience again and again if necessary, until we LEARN TO COMPLETELY TRUST HIM WITH OUR LIVES.  He always has our best interests at heart, and “works all things together for good for those who love Him, and are called according to His purpose” [Rms 8:28].

God has a higher purpose for those who have received Him as their savior than just getting saved. Most haven’t been taught what that higher purpose is or what it entails. Apostle Paul wrote about it in Philippians, Romans, and Hebrews, but it seems this vital teaching gets little, if any, attention these days. God’s higher purpose for His called ones, is to conform them to the image of His Son Jesus Christ –

Rom 8:29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  God won’t be satisfied until He sees His image fully formed in those whom He has chosen to rule and reign with Him when His Kingdom is established on Earth. But not all will qualify for that position. Those who are ‘chosen’ must undergo the strictest training and testing now, to prepare them to rule then; there’s no getting around this. The ‘many’ are all whom God has called, they comprise the general body of believers, while the ‘chosen’ are those who are willing to pay any price to “follow the Lamb wherever He goes” [Rev 14:4]. Their entire lives are “living sacrifices” unto God – Rom 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. This means that they hold nothing back from God. All that they are and all that they have, want, or need, is laid upon the altar as a sweet smelling offering unto Him, to do with as He pleases! That is full consecration, and it’s what Yahweh is looking for in each of His called ones. Yet, not all who are “called” will advance to “chosen” status – “Many are called, but few are chosen” [Mt 22:14].

Tests and trials, often in the form of delayed or unanswered prayers, are required in order for the believer to grow up (mature) into the fullness of what God has for him. As a child I recall hearing that old adage, ‘God knows best.’ At that time I didn’t give it much credence, but now I know it was a true saying. God does know what’s best for each of us, and IF we let Him be Lord of our lives, we’ll end up with His BEST. Sadly, that’s often not the case because we insist on running our lives our way, refusing to let Him correct and mold us. God is supposed to be the Potter and we the clay, not the other way around.

If you have ever had a difficult time accepting God’s “no’s” and fully submitting to his dealings in your life (and who hasn’t?), I highly recommend two books to you, “The Secret of the Stairs” and “Waterspouts of Glory” by Wade E. Taylor. The first is an in depth exposition of the biblical book, The Song of Solomon. Both are anointed by the Holy Spirit, and contain pure, deep spiritual truths which you’ll want to read again and again. I wouldn’t (couldn’t) part with my ‘used’ but almost ‘new’ copies which I found at Amazon for less than ten dollars each. These books give insight into the “why’s” of God’s dealings with those who are being conformed to His Image, chosen to one day rule and reign with Him in His Kingdom.  Anyone who’s been ”called” can qualify to be one of God’s “chosen,” but there is a price to be paid. Dying to SELF and crucifying the flesh is required of those who wish to attain to the highest and best, the HIGH CALL of God in Christ Jesus –

Php 3:14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 

Mat 16:24 – 26 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 

Powerful words are they not? Fact is, not all will qualify to rule with Christ, for not all are willing to pay the price. If you are, God bless you as you seek Him with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength. May you submit to ALL of his dealings in your life however painful, that you might become one of His “chosen.” Heb 12:6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. All of God’s dealings are for our ultimate good and His higher purpose, and because God is Love, we can trust Him completely to do what’s best for us.

Please feel free to write me with any questions or concerns you may have about this article.

Debra R. Stout © May 21, 2017

THE WILES OF THE DEVIL

Do you sometimes find yourself distracted to the point that you’re neglecting prayer and bible study? I know I do.

God has been showing me this month some ways the Devil keeps his children from spending time with Him. One of his tricks is distracting them by whatever means he can. Scripture tells us not to be fooled by his wiles (cunning arts, deceit, craft, trickery) – Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 

For example, you’re about to read your bible and pray, when the phone rings and it’s a fellow believer whom you desire to speak with so you put your bible down and take the call. It’s so subtle you can easily miss it. By the time you’re done talking an hour or so later, you have chores which need doing. So, you don’t read your bible that day and the devil wins because he robbed you of spiritual, life-giving food!

Joh 6:51  I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
Joh 6:47  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
Joh 6:48  I am that bread of life.
Joh 6:49  Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
Joh 6:50  This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
Joh 6:52  The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
Joh 6:53  Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
Joh 6:54  Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
Joh 6:55  For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
Joh 6:56  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
Joh 6:63  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

The Jews were offended by Jesus’s words because they didn’t understand that they need to be understood in the spiritual sense and not literally. As Jesus said, the words He was speaking were spirit, and can only be understood by those having spiritual ears with which to hear. Jesus Christ gives spiritual ears to whomever He chooses. When some Pharisees were questioning Him about where He came from and by what authority He did miracles, etc. Jesus answered by asking them some questions….

Joh 8:43  Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Joh 8:47  He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
Deu 29:4  Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.
Mat 13:9  Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Mat 13:10  And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Mat 13:11  He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Luk 24:44  And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
Luk 24:45  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures….

What Jesus meant by “eating His flesh” was that we feed on Him in the spiritual sense by being in His presence, praying, worshiping Him, and meditating on His words [1]. Jesus never meant for anyone to eat his actual flesh! Jesus often spoke in parables to hide the mysteries of the Kingdom from the impious while revealing them to whom they were “given.” The mysteries of the kingdom aren’t given to everyone but only to those whom God chooses. When you come to Jesus, receiving Him by faith as your Savior and Lord, you’re given spiritual understanding. Joh 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God… “received” = to receive a person, give him access to one’s self [Thayer’s Greek Definitions]

The Bible states that the Temple of God is not a structure made by human hands. 1Co 3:16  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? In the spirit of a believer is where Christ via the Holy Spirit dwells. It’s from there that believers can (and should) hear God’s “still, small voice” [1 Kings 19:12; Acts 2:37]. If they don’t or can’t, there’s a problem somewhere. It could be that the Spirit of Christ hasn’t taken up residence in them (because they’ve not really received Christ or his words). Those who haven’t a love of the truth (God’s word) will be given a “strong delusion” to believe a lie – 2Th 2:11  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 2Th 2:12  That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. Other causes may include demonic interference of one form or another, or unrepentant sin. Some are afflicted with a ‘spirit of deafness’ which causes an inability to hear spiritual truth. Then there’s emotional and mental turmoil which can cause enormous distraction in a person. Abuse and a wounded spirit, which only the gentle, loving Spirit of Christ can reach and heal, can be a hindrance to hearing God’s voice clearly. Whatever the case may be, Jesus came to ”set the captives free” [Isa 42:7]. Isa 57:15  For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones

Another means of distraction are daily chores and errands which obviously have to be done. We all have them, but our first priority ought to be Related imagespending time alone with our Lord in communion – not the sacrament of Communion, but communion with His Spirit. SACRAMENTS can be an alluring and subtle means of distracting men from Christ by placing a non-scriptural emphasis on PHYSICAL elements. The Devil has tricked millions into believing the lie that merely partaking of physical bread and wine gives them spiritual life. Catholics believe that when a priest blesses the communion wafer and wine, they become the actual body and Blood of Christ. They call it Transubstantiation, but there’s nothing in the Bible to substantiate that doctrine! It’s a doctrine of men [Mark 7:7-13; Titus 1:14] not of God. Hear what the Scriptures have to say about it —

Col 2:20  Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances
Rom 6:9  Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
Rom 6:10  For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
1Pe 3:18  For Christ also hath once suffered for sins,
Heb 10:12  But this man (Jesus), after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

That last verse alone disproves the doctrine of Transubstantiation. Since Christ now sits on the right hand of God the Father, He isn’t coming back to earth every Sunday to be crucified all over again and offered as a sacrifice! He died ONCE for our sins at the appointed time, and that was/is sufficient. End of argument. The biblical doctrine of Salvation is that we are saved by faith and not by works – Tit 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost….

Eating a wafer and drinking wine without having a personal relationship with Jesus, cannot and will not save you from your sin, nor can it impart life to you. Only God through Jesus Christ can impart spiritual and eternal life, and it’s in communion with Him that we receive that Life, not through observance of religious works. Burning candles for the departed, wearing Scapulars, keeping man-made holy days not found in the Bible, etc., do not and cannot impart life. Such observances often serve to distract people from God by replacing relationship with Him, with rituals and talismans. A scapular has no more power to keep you safe from evil than does the sprinkling of water. Burning a candle for a deceased love one, or praying to a statue does no good whatsoever. Putting your faith in such things will lead you away from the Truth. Praying for and to the dead, and bowing before statues, is strictly forbidden in Scripture, Lev 6:1  Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God. [See also Exo 20:3-5; Isa 46:7; Isa 44:9-20].

“Praying for the dead is not a biblical concept. Our prayers have no bearing on someone once he or she has died. The reality is that, at the point of death, one’s eternal destiny is confirmed. Either he is saved through faith in Christ and is in heaven where he is experiencing rest and joy in God’s presence, or he is in torment in hell. The story of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar provides us with a vivid illustration of this truth. Jesus plainly used this story to teach that after death the unrighteous are eternally separated from God, that they remember their rejection of the gospel, that they are in torment, and that their condition cannot be remedied (Luke 16:19-31).” [2]

Distraction can take many forms. Martha, a disciple of Jesus, got distracted by her concerns —

'Christ in the House of Martha and Mary', Jan Vermeer van Delft, 1654Luk 10:38  Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
Luk 10:39  And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
Luk 10:40  But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
Luk 10:41  And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
Luk 10:42  But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

From this passage we can see that Jesus put a priority on spending time  listening to Him. He often spent hours, even whole nights in prayer, thereby setting us an example to follow Heb 5:7  Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared…

My prayer and hope is that believers become astute at hearing from God through spending time alone with Him, who like Mary, put devotion to God’s words first in their lives. May we lay aside our distractions and concerns awhile each day to hear the words of our Savior, for in doing so we’ll find shelter from the storms, as well as safety from the Tempter’s wiles.

Debra R. Stout © April 25, 2017

Footnotes:
[1] To meditate means to ponder, that is, (by implication) converse (with oneself, and hence aloud) or (transitively) utter: – commune, complain, declare, meditate, muse, pray, speak, talk (with) Psa 119:15.       [2] https://www.gotquestions.org/praying-for-the-dead.html

THE CHASTENING OF THE LORD

God began to speak to my heart the evening of March 10, 2017, as I sat still and quiet in my recliner. He began to tell me why the ‘fiery trial’ had come to me (earlier in the day I had asked Him WHY so many things were going wrong in my life).

He began by telling me that this trial was sent to refine or purify my soul; as silver or gold is smelted, the junk rises to the surface where the Refiner can then skim it off, leaving pure metal in the pot. He told me that I have two choices, to embrace it and advance, or fight it and stay the same. If I embrace it, the process will be easier to go through, but if I fight it, the process will be harder, and need to be repeated in the future. He said He won’t allow junk (impurities) into His Kingdom. Then He mentioned my impurities and said that they must go! 

He then directed me to Hebrews 12:5, and after meditating on it, He showed me that my walk was uneven; one day walking in the Spirit, another day, in the flesh! He wants our walk to be even and level, living in the Spirit day by day. 

Fiery trials are sent to cleanse the heart and soul of impurities, like wrong thoughts, words, and actions. As metal is purified by fire, so is the heart and soul of a man. When gold or silver was refined in ancient times, it was heated to a very high temperature which caused the impurities (called dross) to rise to the surface. It then could be skimmed off the top of the liquid metal, leaving an unmarred surface that reflected the image of the refiner, a picture of Jesus as the Refiner’s Fire. This trial came to me so that my impurities (which lay hidden most of the time) would surface, so that I would see them, repent, and ask God to remove them. Sometimes these types of trials commence a ‘crisis of faith’ – something else the Lord pointed out to me twice on the same day several days before this trial arrived at my door. Not by accident, I found the phrase, ‘crisis of faith’ in a book title I wasn’t even searching for, and in a book [1] I had in my personal library at home about Moses when God commanded him to lead the Jews out of Egypt. Moses’ encounter with Yahweh brought him to a ‘crisis of faith’ in which he had to choose between believing God and moving forward, or letting his doubts rule and refusing God’s call. If Moses had done the latter, he would have forfeited God’s plan for his life, and God would have found someone else to free the Israelites. Moses would have lost out on his divine destiny. Fortunately, Moses chose to believe and obey God. In like manner, God told me that I could either stay where I was (stagnate), or embrace the purifying process and advance! He said that if I receive and embrace it, the process will be easier to endure, but if I fight against it, it will be harder. The purifying process, like the refiner’s smelting, will be repeated UNTIL all the impurities have surfaced and been removed! In other words, if I fight against the loving, fiery trials the Lord sends for my ultimate good, it will delay my reaching perfection and cause me more pain in the long run. It’s like when a child stubbornly refuses his parents discipline and suffers severer punishments, and or worse consequences further down the road as a result. It’s easier to just submit to God’s discipline when he sends it.

God disciplines those He loves –

Heb 12:5  And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 
Heb 12:6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 
Heb 12:7  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 
Heb 12:8  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 
Heb 12:9  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 
Heb 12:10  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 
Heb 12:11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 
Heb 12:12  Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 
Heb 12:13  And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 

And make straight paths for your feet,…. By “feet” are meant the walk and conversation of the saints, both in the church, and in the world, Son_7:1 and there are paths made ready for these feet to walk in; as the good old paths of truth, of the word and worship of God, of faith and holiness: and to make these paths “straight”, is to make the word of God the rule of walking; to avoid carefully joining anything with it as a rule; to attend constantly on the ordinances of Christ; to go on evenly in a way of believing on him; to walk in some measure worthy of the calling wherewith we are called, and by way of example to others.

Lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; a lame member, as the Syriac version, a lame member of the body of Christ, the church; or a lame person, as the Arabic version, a weak believer; one that is ready to halt, either through the corruption of nature, or through the weakness of grace, or through want of light and judgment, and through instability and inconstancy; lest such an one should, through the irregular walk and conversation of others, be stumbled and offended, and go out of the way, and leave the paths of righteousness and truth. God takes care of, and has a regard to such, and he would have others also, Mic_4:6. The Ethiopic version reads, “that your halting may be healed, and not offended”: that you yourselves may not halt and stumble.

But let it rather be healed; the fallen believer be restored, the weak brother be confirmed, the halting professor be strengthened, and everyone be built up and established upon the most holy faith, and in the pure ways of the Gospel. [John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible]

“In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths” – Prov 3:6

The word ‘acknowledge’ is ‘yada’ – to ‘know, regard, recognize, perceive, experience, observe, be aware, comprehend, understand, learn, be instructed, and more. See Strong’s H2045

In all thy ways acknowledge him,…. Or “know him” (l); the Lord: set him before thee; have him always in view; consider him as ever present with thee, observing every step thou takest; and take not one step without his leave, and without his advice; ask wisdom of him who gives liberally; consult his word, and make the Scriptures thy counsellors, or the men of thy counsel, as in Psa_119:24; take him as your guide; observe the footsteps of his providence; follow the Lamb wheresoever he goes; walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; when things go cross and adverse, and not to your mind, submit to his sovereignty; and be still and know that he is God, that does all things right, for his own glory and his people’s good, Psa_46:10; and when things succeed, give him the glory of all; own his hand in it, and the bounty of it; acknowledge that all you have, in providence and grace, come from him;

and he shall direct thy paths; man cannot direct his own; no, not a man: this is a blessing from the Lord; who steps of his people, keeps the feet of his saints, and directs them aright in things temporal and spiritual, Jer_10:23. (l) דעהו “scito eum”, Pagninus, Montanus. [John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible]

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” – Psalm 119:105
Pro 4:24  Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 
Pro 4:25  Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 
Pro 4:26  Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 
Pro 4:27  Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil. 

Turn not to the right hand nor to the left – Avoid all crooked ways. Be an upright, downright, and straight-forward man. Avoid tricks, wiles, and deceptions of this kind. [Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible]

Ponder the path of thy feet,…. Consider well what path it is, whether right or wrong; or weigh it in the balances of thought, as Aben Ezra; or rather in the balances of the word, and see whether it agrees with that or not. The Septuagint version is, “make straight paths for thy feet”; to which the author of the epistle to the Hebrews seems to have respect, Heb_12:13;

and let all thy walls be established; so as to walk on steadily, constantly, uniformly, and not be easily moved out of the ways of religion and truth. Or, “let all thy ways be prepared”, or “directed”, or “disposed” (c); according to the rule of the divine word. Some render it as a promise, “and all thy ways shall be established” (d); when care is taken to look well into them; see 2Ch_20:20. (c) יכנו “dirigantur”, Tigurine version, Mercerus; “recte apparentur aut disponantur”, Vatablus. (d) “Stabilientur”, V. L. Pagninus, Montanus; “constabilientur”, Schultens. [John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible]

Ponder the path, etc., Pro_4:26. “Weigh carefully.” Act in haste and repent at leisure! Ask God to keep you back from presumptuous sins; and bear in mind the wise exhortation of Ecc_5:2. [Through the Bible Day by Day, F.B. Meyer]

In other words, consider well the course of your life, or the course of action you’re about to take (ponder the path of your feet). Let all your thoughts, words, and actions (ways) be prepared, directed, and ordered (established), by the Word of God. Ignoring it will yield negative consequences, and could result in ruin. May God’s sons escape such a fate.

May they all make their paths straight, and not despise the chastening of the Lord!

Debra R. Stout © March 11, 2017

Footnotes:

[1] “Experiencing God” by Henry T. Blackaby & Claude B. King, Chapter 3

Seek the Lord and Be Restored!


Related imageHos 10:12  Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. 

sow = H2232 זרע BDB Definition:
1) to sow, scatter seed

Act righteously and ye shall reap the reward; a reward not of debt, but of grace. (Pro_11:18) in mercy — according to the measure of the divine “mercy,” which over and above repays the goodness or “mercy” which we show to our fellow man (Luk_6:38). [Jamieson-Fausset-Brown]

Gal 6:7  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 
Gal 6:8  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 
Jer 4:3  For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. 

fallow ground = H5215 נר / ניר 1) tillable or untilled or fallow ground. ‘break up your fallow ground‘ this is ground that lies untilled, not ploughed, nor sown, on which nothing grows but the produce of nature, as weeds, thorns, briers, &c. is common to men and beasts, and is trodden upon, and, so is hard and unsusceptible of seed; which, if it accidentally falls upon it, makes no impression on it, and is not received by it; and the breaking of it up is by the plough. The “fallow ground” fitly represents the hearts of unregenerate men, which are unopened to the word, and unbroken by it; nor have they the seed of divine grace sown in them; but are destitute of faith, hope, love, fear, and the like; there is nothing grows there but the weeds of sin and corruption; and are like a common beaten road; are the common track of sin, where lusts pass to and fro, and dwell; and so are hardened and obdurate, as hard as a stone, yea, harder than the nether millstone; and who, though they may occasionally be under the word, it makes no impression on them; it has no place in them, but is like the seed that falls by the wayside, Mat_13:4, unless divine power attends it; for the Gospel is the plough, and ministers are the ploughmen; but it is the Lord alone that makes it effectual to the breaking up the fallow ground of men’s hearts, Luk_9:62, but when the Lord puts his hand to the plough it enters within, and opens the heart; it is quick, powerful, and sharp; it cuts deep, and makes long and large furrows, even strong convictions of sin; it throws a man’s inside outward, as the plough does the earth; and lays all the wicked of his heart open to him; and roots up the pride, the vanity, and boasting of the creature, and other lusts; and so makes way for the seed of divine grace to be sown there:

and sow not among thorns; or, “that ye may not sow among thorns” (o); for, unless the fallow ground is broken up, it will be no other than sowing among thorns; and unless the hearts of men are opened by the power and grace of God, they will not attend to the things that are spoken; preaching and eating the word will be like sowing among thorns; cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, the pleasures of life, and the lusts thereof, which are comparable to thorns, because pricking, perplexing, and distressing, and because vain and unprofitable, choke the word, and make it unfruitful; see Mat_13:7, now this exhortation in the text does not suppose power in man to break up and open his heart; but to show his want of renewing grace; the necessity of it; and the danger he is in without it; and to awaken in him a concern for it; see Eze_18:31. The words may be applied to backsliding professors, since backsliding Israel and Judah are the persons addressed; and this may be done with great propriety and pertinence to the simile; for fallow ground is that which has been broke up and sown, and laid fallow. It is usual to till and sow two years, and lay fallow a third: and backsliding Christians look very much like fallow ground; so faithless, so lukewarm, and indifferent; so inattentive to the word, and unconcerned under it; so barren and unfruitful, as if they had never had any faith, or love, or good work in them; so that they need to be renewed in the spirit of their minds; to have a new face of things put upon them: and to have a clean heart, and a right spirit, created in them. [John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible]

Break up your fallow ground – Fallow ground is either that which, having been once tilled, has lain long uncultivated; or, ground slightly ploughed, in order to be ploughed again previously to its being sown. Ye have been long uncultivated in righteousness; let true repentance break up your fruitless and hardened hearts; and when the seed of the word of life is sown in them, take heed that worldly cares and concerns do not arise, and, like thorns, choke the good seed. [Adam Clarke]

Is it not time that we should look into our hearts and lives, break up the fallow ground, now covered with thorns and thistles, and begin to sow in righteousness? Let us ask God to drive the plowshares of deep soul-searching and conviction across the hard and sterile acres of our hearts, and sow them with His good seed. [F.B.Meyer; ‘Through the Bible Day by Day’]

*The ‘good seed’ is the Word of God. We need to sow the Word of God DEEPLY into our hearts, which can be done after we ‘break up our fallow ground.’ Our ‘fallow ground’ is soil that needs to be tilled or furrowed so that SEED can be SOWED into it, and we can reap a crop of righteous fruit. We won’t REAP if we don’t SOW. We need to tend the soil of our hearts, lest it become overgrown with ‘thistles and thorns,’ the cares and worries of this life –

Luk 8:11  Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 
Luk 8:12  Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 
Luk 8:13  They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. 
Luk 8:14  And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. 
Luk 8:15  But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. 

Break up your fallow ground ….one sowing sufficeth not. It must be no surface-sowing. And “the soil of our hearts must ever be anew cleansed; for no one in this mortal life is so perfect, in piety, that noxious desires will not spring up again in the heart, as tares….” [Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible]

*Tilling the soil of our hearts would include pulling out the thistles and thorns of wrong or evil thoughts, motives, and pursuits. When we examine our hearts and find these things growing in them, we need to pull them up, and sow the seed of God’s Word in their place! Then we’ll reap a crop of good fruit from our righteous acts when it is ready or ripe. Just like natural crops must ripen before picking, we patiently wait for our spiritual seeds to mature before we see fruit appear –

Gal 6:9  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 

For it is time to seek the Lord – This should be immediately done: the season is passing; and if you do not get the seed in the ground, the early rain will be past, and your fields will be unfruitful. [Adam Clarke’s Commentary]

seek … Lord, fill he come — The prophet bids them “seek diligently,” and perseveringly, “not leaving off or desisting,” if they should not at once find, but continuing the search, quite “up to” the time when they should find. His words imply the need of perseverance and patience, which should stop short of nothing but God’s own time for finding.

“If Israel of old were so to order their ways in expectation of Him, and that they might be prepared for His coming; and if their neglecting to do this made them liable to such heavy judgments, how much severer judgments shall they be worthy of, who, after His Coming and raining upon them the plentiful showers of heavenly doctrine, and abundant measure of His grace and gifts of His Holy Spirit, do, for want of breaking up the fallow ground of their hearts, suffer His holy word to be lost on them. The fearful doom of such unfruitful Christians is set down by Paul” Heb_6:4-8.

The present is ever the time to seek the Lord. “Behold now is the accepted time; behold now is the Day of Salvation” 2Co_6:2. As Hosea says, “it is time to seek the Lord until He come,” so Paul saith, “unto them that look for Him, shall he appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation” Heb_9:28. [Albert Barnes]

Rain righteousness upon you – God will give you the early rain in due time, and in proper measure. Here are the metaphors, and the application cannot be difficult.. Here are ploughing, fallowing, sowing, harrowing, watering, reaping, threshing, and feeding on the produce of well-directed labor. All may be applied to the human heart, and the work of God upon it. Correction, contrition, conversion, receiving the grace of Christ, bringing forth fruit, etc. [Adam Clarke’s Commentary]

SUMMATION: The ‘Good Seed’ is the Word of God, the bible. The ‘soil’ represents the hearts of men. The Ploughmen are ministers and preachers who sow the seed. ‘Fallow ground’ is soil that has been left unattended and has hardened so that it can’t receive seed. It’s a condition primarily of unregenerate hearts, but can also occur in those who’ve accepted Christ. The hardened soil of men’s hearts has to be ‘broken up,’ (furrowed/plowed) before the good seed can be sown in them. Whether it be for the first time, or numerous times; however often men discover that ‘thorns and thistles’ (cares of this life) are growing in their hearts!

A PERSONAL NOTE: I feel that the Lord impressed me today with two passages of Scripture from two different prophetic books, Hosea and Isaiah. Both mention SEEKING God and being RECONCILED to Him and to one’s fellow man; a two-pronged message. I feel that the terms ‘seeking’ and ‘reconciliation,’ were highlighted to me as I read those texts, and go hand-in-hand. 2017 may be a year in which many estranged relationships are healed as people reconcile with one another. I sure hope so.

Debra R. Stout, December 31, 2016

THE ENDTIMES SODOMITE SPIRIT; PROUD, BOASTFUL, ANTICHRIST, AND ‘GAY’

H1341 ge^ gay’ For H1343; haughty: – proud.

Interesting isn’t it? The Hebrew term for ‘haughty or proud’ is GAY, the very term the homosexuals use to designate their sexual preference and life style! Is this just some strange coincidence?

Most ‘gays’ I’ve met are very ‘haughty’ and BOAST of their sexual perversions whenever possible.

NYC PrideThe word “gay” seems to have its origins around the 12th century in England, derived from the Old French word ‘gai’, which in turn was probably derived from a Germanic word, though that isn’t completely known. The word’s original meaning meant something to the effect of “joyful”, “carefree”, “full of mirth”, or “bright and showy”.

However, around the early parts of the 17th century, the word began to be associated with immorality. By the mid 17th century, according to an Oxford dictionary definition at the time, the meaning of the word had changed to mean “addicted to pleasures and dissipations. Often euphemistically: Of loose and immoral life”. This is an extension of one of the original meanings of “carefree”, meaning more or less uninhibited.

Fast-forward to the 19th century and the word gay referred to a woman who was a prostitute and a gay man was someone who slept with a lot of women (ironically enough), often prostitutes. Also at this time, the phrase “gay it” meant to have sex.

With these new definitions, the original meanings of “carefree”, “joyful”, and “bright and showy” were still around; so the word was not exclusively used to refer to prostitutes or a promiscuous man. Those were just accepted definitions, along with the other meanings of the word.

Around the 1920’s and 1930’s, however, the word started to have a new meaning. In terms of the sexual meaning of the word, a “gay man” no longer just meant a man who had sex with a lot of women, but now started to refer to men who had sex with other men. There was also another word “gey cat” at this time which meant a homosexual boy.

By 1955, the word gay now officially acquired the new added definition of meaning homosexual males. [1]

How I arrived here was by looking up the definition of ‘Barabbas’ in Luke 23:18 — the meaning of his name is of Chaldee [2] origin H1347 and Gk (G5 Strong’s). When you go to H1347 in Strong’s Concordance, you also see another term from where ‘geh’ (pronounced ‘gay-eh’) is taken! The Gk ‘gay-eh’ also means; LOFTY, arrogant, and PROUD!

In the Greek, Barabbas is only rendered as “son of Abba” meaning, son of a father or master [3]. Could that master be Satan in his case? Could it be that Barabbas was a TYPE of the AntiChrist, or the Son of Satan? While there have been and are now MANY antichrists in the World, there may be ONE final, major Antichrist, who will be none other than the Incarnation of the Devil in human form who inhabits a human body – alluded to as The AntiChrist, whom the Lord will destroy supernaturally with the Spirit of His mouth when He comes [4]. This same AntiChrist will set himself up as god in the last Jewish Temple built, and will speak vain words against the one, true GOD and His people, and will lead the disbelieving multitudes into perdition along with him and the fallen angels [5].

Barabbas was a thief and a murderer [6] and one ‘who stirred up trouble’ – a trouble maker, a rabble rouser. Read Luke 23:13-25 for the full account. All terms easily identified with any antichrist, or the AntiChrist whom Scripture defines as “a man of lawlessness,” “proud,” “arrogant,” and maybe GAY? There’s a bit of an enigmatic verse in the book of Daniel about his attitude towards women – Daniel 11:37, “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the DESIRE OF WOMEN, nor…..”

“regard” H995 – understand, attend, consider, perceive, regard, feel, etc.
“desire” H2532 – delight: desire, goodly, pleasant, precious; that which is desirable.

What this seems to be saying is that he won’t have regard for women’s needs and feelings – he won’t be ‘attentive’ to them. Thus, he’ll treat them harshly being insensitive to their needs and desires. He’ll be seriously lacking in ‘understanding’ of their delicate natures. It may be saying that the Antichrist will greatly disrespect women just as the adherents of Islam behave today towards them. Many Islamic women are treated like slaves, denied of basic human rights. The United Nations should be outraged, but is it?

According to biblical scholar Stephen Miller in his commentary on Daniel, the phrase has never had consensus in its interpretation even as early as Montgomery in his 2nd century commentary on Daniel. Miller states that the phrase could be interpreted in either of four ways:

“the one desired by women”
“the desire of women”
“that desired by women”
“the desire for women”

If we consult a Hebrew lexicon, the word that is translated “desire” in 11:37 is “hemdah” (transliterated). Of course, as with many words in Hebrew, the interpretation is made difficult because the same Hebrew word can have varied meanings, and often context is the primary determining factor for the translator. In none of its varied meanings, however, does “hemdah” refer to sexual desire. The Expository Dictionary of Bible Words states:

hemdah is a noun found twenty-five times, with the primary sense of “that which is pleasant, or valuable.”

“If it was God’s intent to so hide the beauty of woman, He would have given Eve her “eye covering” burqa on her way out the door. It seems that Islam has found a way to veil what God never intended to cover.

Islam fits the profile. It has no regard for the desires, the precious things, of woman.” [7]

….the grammatical construction disallows changing “desire of women” to “desire for women” (13). In parallel instances, such as Haggai 2:7 and 1 Samuel 9:20, the noun following “desire of” is the source and not the object. What the prophecy is clearly saying is that the Antichrist will disregard something that women desire.

At last we come to the only convincing interpretation. It recognizes that since “the desire of women” appears in a list of deities spurned by the Antichrist, the name must refer to another object of worship that he refuses to honor. To be precise, the name might signify either a god (or gods) that women desire or the desire of women to be gods. Of these two possibilities, the second is a better fit both to the context and to modern reality. It is the desire of women to be gods that the Antichrist will slight.

The context. The angelic messenger has just predicted that the Antichrist will speak marvelous things against the God of gods (verse 36). As we argued, he was alluding to the tragedy in the Garden, where Satan used the same lies to corrupt Eve. He succeeded by exploiting the woman’s desire to be godlike in her knowledge of good and evil. Although the result was downfall of the human race, that desire has never been extinguished. The fire of self-worship still burns in the hearts of all women who refuse to worship the true God.

Yet while recognizing the pride of women, we should not minimize the pride of men. The male heart is also prone to divine aspirations. After all, the future pretender to supreme deity will be a man, not a woman. But the Book of Daniel is concerned not to leave the wrong impression. To avoid suggesting that men are worse than women, the book adds a little reminder that apart from the grace of God, every woman is also an incorrigible egotist with a lurking desire to take over command of the universe.

Modern reality. In recent times, the desire of women to be gods has resurfaced in an especially pronounced form: the drive for so-called women’s liberation. At issue between feminists and Christians is not whether women are equal to men. The Bible says that in Christ “there is neither male nor female” (Gal. 3:28). At issue rather is whether a woman ought to be like a man, whether she should be seeking to exchange a woman’s God-ordained role in the home and church for a man’s role.

Imagine what feminists will think when the Antichrist sets himself up as the supreme god and denies equal billing to any goddess! They will regard the exclusion of women from the highest flights of conceit as discrimination. Whatever hope he offers them of attaining a lesser degree of godhood will hardly satisfy their ambition. Yet he will ignore their objections. That is, as the oracle says, he will not regard the desire of women. [8]

Some have interpreted that scripture as, ‘he will not understand nor have regard for the delight which a woman can give a man from having relations with a woman. A homosexual would have no desire for a woman, nor take pleasure in having sexual relations with a woman. Still others say Daniel 11:31, has nothing at all to do with the sexual preference of the AntiChrist. Another opinion is that the phrase, “desire of women” is speaking of Jesus Christ since all women wanted to be His mother, the vessel through which Christ would be born into the world, but where this fanciful interpretation came from I can’t tell, since I’ve not found one scriptural reference that supports it.

The traditional interpretation is that he will not be married, or be a homosexual. Even if we were to understand its application in this manner there are other alternatives to consider. For example: He will have no regard for women, practically speaking can mean to allow abortion. This certainly makes one have no regard for woman. He will disrespect the most basic function of woman, not caring for the unborn or the scars he will leave on young women. To not regard woman may mean he is against her role in marriage and childbearing (promoting abortion) denying the function God gave to women. He will divide the family unit and the woman’s role in it, reverse the roles of men and woman. Thus, No regard for women does not necessarily mean he must be homosexual or unmarried. He may promote same sex partnership other than traditional marriage. Many have pointed out that in the religion of Islam men have no regard for women, which will be of no consequence since it also says, “he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers.” So even if he is a Muslim he will not have the respect of the religion he was brought up in. [9]

When you put the Greek definition along with its Chaldee origin, you have the incarnated son of Satan – a proud, arrogant, boastful man speaking vain words against the true God; defiant of all laws and gods, who might also be ‘gay’ or sexually perverted in some manner. He may not be specifically homosexual, but may lead a sexually immoral life style, or promote it in general.

The Greek ‘diastrepho’ From G1223 and G4762; means to distort, that is, (figuratively) misinterpret, or (morally) corrupt: – perverse (-rt), turn away. G4762 means ‘to twist, turn around, or reverse.’ This is interesting since the general plan of Satan for the World is to twist, reverse, pervert, and turn upsidedown, God’s ORDER of all created things. Men become as women and vice versa is one example where God’s natural ORDER of things is being REVERSED and perverted!

A phrase often applied to the AntiChrist, “son of perdition,” is a curious one. The term, “son of perdition” isn’t limited to a MALE person! Look at the following Scriptures and definitions —

G5207 uihos; Apparently a primary word; a “son” (sometimes of animals), used very widely of immediate, remote or figurative kinship: – child, foal, son.

Just as the phrase, “sons of God” [10] is not gender specific but used to refer to all who’ve been Born Again of God’s Spirit and thus are children, or “sons of God.”

“sons” G5043 teknon; means offspring, children, child, male child, or daughter. See both Strong’s and Thayer’s Definitions.

Perdition means utter destruction, perishing, ruin, and eternal misery in hell.

Whether or not the final AntiChrist will be homosexual, what we know for certain is that Yahweh our God, will eventually pour out His judgment and wrath upon any nation which indulges in filthy sexual perversions, as He has done throughout history. He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with sulfur and fire because of its sexual perversions – Genesis 19:1-28.

In Leviticus 18, God identifies incest, homosexuality and bestiality as the sins which cause the land to “vomit out its inhabitants” (v25). Even in this dark context homosexuality is singled out for special condemnation as “an abomination” (v.22).

In what is probably the most challenging Biblical passage of all, Deuteronomy 20:16-18, God tells the Hebrew people to completely wipe out the Canaanite inhabitants of the Holy Land. His explanation why is detailed in Leviticus 18:24-30.

“‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. ‘For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants. ‘But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the alien who sojourns among you (for the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations, and the land has become defiled); so that the land will not spew you out, should you defile it, as it has spewed out the nation which has been before you. ‘For whoever does any of these abominations, those persons who do so shall be cut off from among their people. ‘Thus you are to keep My charge, that you do not practice any of the abominable customs which have been practiced before you, so as not to defile yourselves with them; I am the LORD your God.’”

It is certainly not within our right to judge God. We can only rest in the assurance that, by definition, whatever God does is justified. Importantly, however, his use of genocide to punish sexual perversion is instructive as to His perspective of the relative gravity of human sins, as is His admonition not to tolerate these forms of sexual conduct by any persons in the society, even “the sojourner among you.”

Of course, this does not condone hatred or violence against homosexuals. [11]

God brought about the fall of the Roman and Greek empires; both known for their sexual excesses and perversions. “The Greek “gymnasium,” where young men engaged in sporting events in the nude, was a center of homosexuality and one of the reasons sodomy became known throughout the entire western world as “Greek love.” In his article, Homosexuality & the Maccabean Revolt, Catholic scholar Patrick G.D. Riley notes:

“The all-male athletic club known as the gymnasium was notorious in the ancient world as a nestingplace for pederasty. Socrates himself was susceptible to it, as we learn in the Charmides. The lovers of boys came to the gymnasium in crowds, as Plato notes in that dialogue and in the Euthydemus. Plutarch mentions it in the Erotikos. Hence the gymnasium, with its sexual seductions, was bound to arouse alarm when it arrived in Jerusalem and “attracted the noblest young men” of Israel (2 Macc. 4:12). What follows that phrase bears this out. The original Greek of the text of 2 Maccabees continues with a pun: hypotasson hypo petason, which literally means “subduing [these noble young Jews] under the petason,” the broad-brimmed hat of Hermes worn by naked Greek athletes. But in the Church’s traditional Latin translation, known as the Vulgate, St. Jerome renders this in lupanaribus ponere, that is, ‘to put in brothels’

…Joined themselves to the Gentiles. In the Greek, this has a strong connotation of sexual union. The verb, zeugizein, means “to yoke in pairs,” a graphic metaphor for sexual union. It is used in a love-passage from second-century B.C. Alexandria, hence contemporary with the Maccabees, in a context implying copulation. Since the Greek gymnasium was traditionally exclusive to males, and since the histories present the Jerusalem gymnasium as male-only, the sexual union can only be homosexual. (New Oxford Review, September 1997). [12]

Will America, who is currently passing all kinds of legislation protecting the imaginary rights of gays, lesbians, transvestites, and transsexuals’ to aggressively oppress religious institutions by causing them to embrace the ‘gay’ life-style; marry gays/lesbians against their religious beliefs, and so on – not be judged for its immorality and sexual perversions as have other nations before her? When the state makes it a crime to worship according to one’s faith, isn’t that the quintessence of religious oppression? The Secularists are forever trumpeting the “Separation of Church and State” clause while hypocritically making LAWS and REGULATIONS regarding religious institutions. The original intent of that clause, penned by our nation’s forefathers, was to keep the state OUT OF RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS and from MAKING LAWS which oppress religious freedoms; ie., to worship as they please without government interference! For the history of how the ‘Separation of Church and State’ clause came to be, see [13].

According to God’s Word, the Bible, Christians are not to agree with, work with, or promote the “works of darkness” (which would include sexual perversions) – but rather “expose them” – Eph 5:11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. [14]

This goes especially for all the ‘affirmative churches’ who not only welcome but endorse the ‘gay’ life style as normative, who assure gays that they’re OK the way they are (they don’t need to repent) for God won’t judge their sin, and who ordain gay and lesbian ministers. While we should not hate gays/lesbians, nor engage in violence against them, we don’t have to endorse their vile acts. Deu 23:17 There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. Deu 23:18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God. sodomite” H6945 qâdêsh; BDB Definition 1) male temple prostitute

Yeshua is soon to return, wouldn’t it be wise to be ready and be sure you’re not on the wrong side of the issues?

Debra R. Stout, March 25, 2016

 

END NOTES:

[1] http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/02/how-gay-came-to-mean-homosexual/

[2] Chaldee Language —

Employed by the sacred writers in certain portions of the Old Testament, viz., Dan_2:4-7, Dan_2:28; Ezra 4:8-6:18; Ezr_7:12-26; Gen_31:46; Jer_10:11. It is the Aramaic dialect, as it is sometimes called, as distinguished from the Hebrew dialect. It was the language of commerce and of social intercourse in Western Asia, and after the Exile gradually came to be the popular language of Palestine. It is called “Syrian” in 2Ki_18:26. Some isolated words in this language are preserved in the New Testament (Mat_5:22; Mat_6:24; Mat_16:17; Mat_27:46; Mar_3:17; Mar_5:41; Mar_7:34; Mar_14:36; Act_1:19; 1Co_16:22). These are specimens of the vernacular language of Palestine at that period. The term “Hebrew” was also sometimes applied to the Chaldee because it had become the language of the Hebrews (Joh_5:2; Joh_19:20).

[3] Barabbas – G912 a aßßa
Thayer Definition:
Barabbas = “son of a father or master”
1) the captive robber whom the Jews begged Pilate to release instead of Christ

[4] 2 Thess 2:8 -12; Rev 19:21

[5] Daniel 11:31-45, Rev 19:20

[6] Luke 23:19 & 25, John 18:40

[7] http://www.jacksmithprophecy.org/2012/10/09/no-regard-for-the-desire-of-women-islam-fits-the-profile/

[8] http://www.themoorings.org/Bible_prophecy/Antichrist/religion_and_name.html

[9] http://www.letusreason.org/proph34.htm

[10] Jn 1:12, Rm 8:14, Rm 8:19, Gal 4:6, Phil 2:15, 1 Jn 3:1 &2

[11] http://www.scottlively.net/2014/12/26/the-forgotten-last-days-warning-about-homosexuality-in-the-bible/

[12] http://www.scottlively.net/2014/12/26/the-forgotten-last-days-warning-about-homosexuality-in-the-bible/

[13] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state_in_the_United_States

[14] G1651 ἐλέγχω elegchō
Thayer Definition:
1) to convict, refute, confute
1a) generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted
1b) by conviction to bring to the light, to expose
2) to find fault with, correct
2a) by word
2a1) to reprehend severely, chide, admonish, reprove
2a2) to call to account, show one his fault, demand an explanation
2b) by deed
2b1) to chasten, to punish

Of Sheep, Thieves, and Shepherds; Sheep Know The Truth When They Hear It

Joh 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Joh 10:28 and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. 

Joh 10:2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
Joh 10:3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
Joh 10:4 When he hath put forth all his own, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
Joh 10:5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
Joh 10:14 I am the good shepherd; and I know mine own, and mine own know me,

“Mine own know Me” but they “know not the voice of strangers.” Strangers G245 allotrios; means another’s, that is, not one’s own; foreign, not akin, hostile: – alien, other (man’s, men’s), strange (-r). To “know” G1097, means – get a knowledge of, perceive, feel; to understand, to become acquainted with. It’s also a Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman; thus the term indicates an intimate knowledge of, or being ‘close’ to someone. This Greek term is synonymous with the Hebrew “yada” which has a rich range of meaning, including ‘care, recognition, observation, instruction; familiar friend, kinsfolk, kinsman, have respect for, understand, comprehend, and more. The idea in these passages, is that the sheep of Jesus Christ recognize his voice. They not only recognize His voice, but understand and comprehend what His will is, and do it. Obedience is the key to entering the kingdom of heaven, not prophesying, working of miracles, signs or wonders –
Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
‘iniquity’ G458 anomia; without law, lawless, transgressor, unlawful, wicked. According to this definition, those who live in consistent disobedience to God’s words, are considered to be ‘lawless transgressors’ and ‘wicked.’ Transgressors won’t enter the kingdom of heaven, Jesus said. It’s a critical point, one not to be taken lightly, for Jesus always means what he says. Of course, what is meant are willful and consistent transgressors; those who make a lifestyle of reckless living, going against God’s revealed will in the Bible, not godly persons who repent when they transgress. To sum up, those who mistakenly think that they have a ticket to heaven because they speak in tongues, prophesy, cast out demons, work miracles and other mighty works, but consistently lived in disobedience to God’s words, will be sorely disappointed. Charisma, charm, intelligence, having a license to preach, being a deacon, pastor, or choir master – won’t gain you entry into the kingdom of heaven either. Obedience to God’s word, is the key to entering the kingdom of heaven. ~ Debra R. Stout © February 26, 2016
 
For a more in depth look—
Joseph Benson’s Commentary of the Old and New Testaments  John 10:1Verily, &c. — The Pharisees supported themselves in their opposition to Christ with this principle, that they were pastors of the church; and that Jesus, having no commission from them, was an intruder and an impostor, and that, therefore, the people were bound in duty to adhere to them against him. In opposition to this, Christ here describes who were the false shepherds and who were the true, leaving them to infer what they were. He introduces his discourse with, Verily, verily, I say unto you — To show, not only the certain truth, but the deep importance of what he uttered. He speaks by way of parable or similitude, taken from the customary way of managing sheep in that country. It is supposed that he was now in the outer court of the temple, near the sheep which were there exposed to sale for sacrifice, the sight of which reminded him of the language of the ancient prophets, “who often compared the teachers of their own time to shepherds, and the people to sheep. Accordingly, in describing the characters of the scribes and Pharisees, he made use of the same metaphor, showing that there are two kinds of evil shepherds, pastors, or teachers; one, who, instead of entering in by the door to lead the flock out and feed it, enter in some other way, with an intention to kill and destroy; another, who, though they may have entered in by the door, feed their flocks with the dispositions of hirelings; for when they see the wolf coming, or any danger approaching, they desert their flocks, because they love themselves only. The Pharisees plainly showed themselves to be of the former character, by excommunicating the man that had been blind, because he would not act contrary to the dictates of his reason and conscience to please them. But though they cast him out of their church, Christ received him into his, which is the true church, the spiritual enclosure, where the sheep go in and out and find pasture.” He that entereth not by the door into the sheep-fold, &c. — “I assure you, that whosoever, in any age of the church, assumed the office of a teacher, without commission from me, and without a sincere regard to the edification and salvation of men’s souls, was a thief and a robber; and in the present age, he is no better who assumes that office without my commission, and particularly without believing on me, and without intending my honour and the good of the church.” — Macknight. Add to this, those do not enter in by Christ, and indeed can have no authority from him, nor ability to become pastors of his flock, who do not first take care to secure, by faith working by love, an interest in, and union with him, or, to be found in him, not having their own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith; to be in him new creatures: Philippians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 5:17. But climbeth up some other way — Enters the sheep-fold as a pastor of Christ’s flock, without the necessary prerequisites and qualifications, without first obtaining a saving acquaintance with Christ, and genuine love to him; without being called to, and qualified for the work by him, and of consequence, without authority from him; who, influenced by unworthy motives, by a view to wealth, or honour, or ease, or a maintenance, or some secular employment or advantage, gets himself appointed a minister of Christ’s church, through the interest of rich and powerful friends and connections, or the aid of natural abilities, and mere human learning; or some endowment or accomplishment which is not connected with, and does not imply true piety, and a manifest call from the Lord Jesus; the same is a thief and a robber — In God’s account; entering the fold “to fleece and butcher, not to feed the flock; robbing Christ of his honour, and starving the souls of his people, in order to enrich himself, and aggrandize his family.” — Scott
 
John 10:2-5. He that entereth in by the door is the shepherd, &c. — “This mode of speaking, with us, conveys the notion that the shepherd is the only person who enters by the door; yet the door-keeper, and the sheep themselves, enter also the same way. The original expression is manifestly intended to denote the constant, not the peculiar, use which the shepherd makes of the door, as opposed to the constant use of thieves and robbers, to force their entrance by breaking or climbing over the fence. The comparison is made, not to the folds used by the common people in remote parts of the country, but to those belonging to the rich in the neighbourhood of a populous city, where the walls and other fences need to be stronger, and the entrance more carefully kept, on account of the greater danger from thieves.” — Campbell. To him the porter openeth — As the shepherd will always choose to enter in by that which is the regular appointed way, so, as soon as he approaches, the door-keeper opens the fold; that is, God in his providence, and by the influence of his Spirit, makes way for such a one to exercise his ministry among his people, and gives success to it. For as it is not unworthy of Christ to be styled the door, by which both the sheep and the true pastors enter, so neither is it unworthy of God the Father to be styled the door-keeper. See Acts 14:27; and Acts 16:14; Colossians 4:3; Revelation 3:8. It was supposed by Sir Isaac Newton, that as the words were spoken near the temple, where sheep were kept in folds to be sold for sacrifices, Christ here alludes to what was peculiar in those folds; that as they were kept locked, they not only excluded the thief, but the shepherd, till the door-keeper opened them. “But I cannot think,” says Dr. Doddridge, “whatever occasion Christ might take from the sight of sheep to represent his people under that image, and himself as a shepherd, he would describe them like sheep shut up in a pen to be sold for sacrifice: nor does the shepherd’s leading them out, &c., agree with this circumstance. In countries where there were so many savage beasts, it might be ordinarily necessary to have the folds better secured than among us; and the chief shepherd might often leave a servant to watch them while thus shut up, and come himself to lead them out to pasture in the morning.” And the sheep hear his voice — The people of God, knowing him to be a true pastor, hearken unto him. All the circumstances here mentioned exactly agree with the customs of the ancient eastern shepherds. They called their sheep by name, went before them, and the sheep followed them. So real Christians hear, attend to, understand, and obey the voice of a shepherd whom Christ hath sent: and he counteth them his own, dearer than any friend or brother; calleth them by name — That is, instructs, advises, directs, encourages each by name, and leadeth them out in the paths of righteousness, beside the waters of comfort. And when he putteth forth his own sheep — Leads them out into the pastures of the ordinances, invites them to the enjoyment of the privileges, and urges them to the practice of the duties of true Christianity; he goeth before them — In all these particulars, and in all the ways of God, teaching them in every point by example, as well as by precept; and the sheep follow him — They tread in his steps; for they know his voice — Having the witness in themselves, that his words are the truth, the wisdom, and the power of God. Reader, art thou a shepherd of souls? Then answer to God: is it thus with thee and thy flock? And a stranger will they not follow — One whom Christ hath not sent, who does not answer the preceding description. Him they will not follow; and who can constrain them to it? But will flee from him — As from the plague. For they know not the voice of strangers — They cannot relish it. It is harsh and grating to them. They find nothing of God therein. In other words, as sheep will not follow a strange shepherd, so the people of God will not hearken to false teachers, or to such as do not declare, plainly, fully, and with a divine unction, the very word of the truth of the gospel: but will avoid them, for they can easily distinguish them from the true messengers of God by their fruits, that is, by their doctrine and practice, and the inefficacy of their preaching to convert, sanctify, and save the souls of men.

New Years Greeting & Message

Dear Friends of the One, true God, Yahweh ~ debra looking up_2014_3_paintstrokes

It’s 2016 now, and I’m excited about the possibilities of what lies ahead for myself and each of His children this year and beyond. I think it will be a year of fresh, new beginnings, not just rhetorically but actually. There are things, even relationships in my life which are coming to an end (and needed to), and others that are just beginning. Change is sometimes good. I think we have to let go of those things and relations in our lives which haven’t been bearing good fruit in order to make room for the good things God has in store for us. God will uproot and pluck up anything in our lives which hinders us from fulfilling His purposes. I believe this year will also be a time of ‘uprooting’ and ‘replanting’ for some, in order to get them to a place where they’ll be more fruitful and better able to align themselves with God’s purposes in the earth. 

For me, and I’m sure for many, it’s a time for reflection on the previous year and my actions throughout and what I could do differently or better perhaps. The future isn’t ours to see but as Christians we can trust our fates to our Father’s good and perfect will. I’m sensing His Presence and loving embrace DESPITE my many faults and failures to measure up to His perfect standard, the Bible. I’m humbled that He’s chosen me to be one of His ambassadors (2 Cor 5:20), having entrusted me, and all who’ve placed their trust in Him, to take His Light to the World. Not an easy task due to strong opposition and continual bombardment of evil from our arch enemy Satan, yet our God has promised that the “gates of Hell shall not prevail” against His Church (Mt 16:18). May we stand firmly upon that truth this year as we’re likely to see an increase of terrorist attacks and persecution of Christians and Christianity world-wide creating a climate of fear, “men’s hearts failing them for fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world” – Luke 21:26. But we who believe need not fear because there’s an army of heavenly hosts around us night and day, Luke 2:13, Ps 91:11.

Let us go forth then into the fray with God as our heavenly, and only, Commander in Chief! The Commander of the Hosts of Heaven, the Sovereign God who sets up kings/kingdoms and uproots them, Jer 45:4 Thus says the LORD: Behold, what I have built I am breaking down, and what I have planted I am plucking up–that is, the whole land. Jer 12:17 But if any nation will not listen, then I will utterly pluck it up and destroy it, declares the LORD. Jer 18:8 and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it.

I can’t help but think there’s a word for America in those Jeremiah verses. America needs a massive Revival and wholehearted return to the moral and spiritual standard of God’s holy Word, if she is to survive the next decade as a sovereign nation. Our enemies are at the gates….who will raise the standard against them? Who will be bold and brave enough to stand for the right? May it be all of us who believe.

God Bless You As You Follow Him ~

Debra R. Stout, Jan. 2, 2016

Leaning To Your Understanding May Land You In Dire Straits & What It Means To Follow God With A Perfect Heart

Reflections on 2 Chronicles; Chapters 18 & 19

Jehoshaphat, king of Judah walked in the way of his father King David by not seeking the Baalim (pagan gods), but unto the God of his fathers. He walked in all the commandments of Yahweh. Thus, the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. All of Judah, some Philistines and Arabians, gave him much wealth and flocks. The king built castles and cities of store.

At the start of Chapter 18, King Jehoshaphat makes one terrible mistake in judgment when he “joins affinity” with wicked Ahab, king of Israel. To “join affinity” (H2859 châthan), means there was a marriage which joined their two nations. This is why he said in verse 3, “I am as thou art, and my people as thy people; and we will be with thee in the war.

A Seer named Micaiah, the son of Imla, was asked to prophesy to the king whether the king should go up to Ramoth-gilead or not. At first Micaiah prophesied what the king wanted to hear, being pressured by the king’s messenger to agree with Ahab’s prophets – “Behold, the words of the prophets declare good to the king with one assent; let thy word therefore, I pray thee, be like one of theirs, and speak thou good” (Vs 12)

“prophet” – Strong’s H5030 nâbîy From H5012; a prophet or (generally) inspired man: – prophecy, that prophesy, prophet. [Brown-Driver-Briggs] – spokesman, speaker, prophet, false prophet, heathen prophet

Micaiah’s answer was that he would speak what God said, Vs.12. However, that’s not what happened! Micaiah didn’t speak what God showed him, but prophesied falsely to king Ahab (Vs 14) – “Go ye up, and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand. “

But king Ahab knew in his heart that it wasn’t the true word of the Lord, so he demanded the truth from the seer. (see Vs 15 below)

“seer” – [Strong’s] H237 chôzeh; Active participle of H2372; a beholder in vision; H2372 châzâh; A primitive root; to gaze at; mentally to perceive, contemplate (with pleasure); specifically to have a vision of: – behold, look, prophesy, provide, see.

Why did Micaiah lie? I think it’s possible the messenger pressured Micaiah to lie because he didn’t want Micaiah to be imprisoned for speaking the truth, and maybe it had happened to him before? It’s also possible that Micaiah knew he would be imprisoned if he spoke the truth, since that was a common occurence in those times. King Asa had a Seer imprisoned for that reason in 2 Chron 16:10. Did the probability make it right for Micaiah to prophesy falsely? What would any of us do if we found ourselves in a similar situation? Is or isn’t it OK to lie in certain situations, say if it meant saving our own or someone else’s life? Did Micaiah’s false prophesying make him a false prophet? He didn’t do it just once, but many times, in Vs 15 king Ahab asks Micaiah, “How many times shall I adjure thee that thou say nothing but the truth to me in the name of the Lord?”

I think Micaiah was between the proverbial ‘rock and a hard place.’ He knew that if he told the truth he’d be in trouble, but if he lied by prophesying ‘good’ to the king, he would in effect be contradicting what the king said about him, “Did I not tell thee that he (Micaiah) would not prophesy good unto me, but evil?” (Vs 15) Many who have dared to contradict rich and powerful men have suffered imprisonment, and worse.

Micaiah in effect, was in a ‘no win’ situation, for whether he prophesied what Ahab wanted to hear, or what the Lord spoke, he would find disfavor with Ahab. Maybe Micaiah prophesied falsely to Ahab knowing he could possibly wind up in prison if he spoke the truth, or maybe he was following God’s example of telling the wicked what they want to hear? Doesn’t the Lord sometimes allow people to be deceived by telling them what they want to hear?

2Th 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
Isa 66:4 I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not. [KJV]

God not only allows, but “chooses” and “sends” delusions upon those who don’t listen to Him; because they don’t “love the truth!” God knew that wicked king Ahab didn’t love the truth and wouldn’t pay heed to it if he heard it, so he allowed all the king’s prophets to “lie” to him, including Micaiah. Micaiah did in fact end up telling the truth (Vss.16,18,19). If his motive was merely avoiding imprisonment, I think he would have continued lying to the king. Might Micaiah have been following God’s plan by telling wicked Ahab what he wanted to hear, knowing that he wouldn’t pay heed to the truth?

Vs. 16 – At the king’s insistence, Micaiah spoke what the Lord had actually shown him in a vision, which was that the soldiers would be scattered upon the mountains like sheep without a shepherd, that they should return to their own houses in peace (in other words, not fight). Micaiah also said he heard the Lord ask, “Who shall entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth?” (God knew the outcome of the battle and king Ahab’s fate beforehand). Then a spirit said that he would go and put a lying spirit in the mouth of the king’s prophets. So the Lord gave him permission to go and do it; thus, a lying spirit was put into all the prophet’s mouths. All the king’s prophets save one, LIED to the kings, telling them they would be successful in battle (Vss 5,11, 21, 22). It’s amazing that 400 prophets could all be DECIEVED at the same time, in the same place! God allowed a “lying spirit” to deceive the kings because they didn’t seek Him about the matter. The consequences of seeking guidance from someone other than God, can be disastrous or even fatal! We should never rely solely upon the words of prophets or man’s reasoning – Pro 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Pro 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he will direct thy paths.

Vs. 23 – When Zedekiah, son of Chenaanah, heard Micaiah’s true prophecy he “smote” Micaiah upon his cheek demanding sarcastically how the spirit of prophecy went from him to Micaiah. I love Micaiah’s answer, “You shall find out the day you go into an inner chamber to hide yourself!” Who it is that Zedekiah will ‘hide himself’ from isn’t stated, but I have a hunch it will be from the wrath of the Lord on Judgment Day, when all the wicked will try to hide themselves – Luke 23:30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. Rev 6:16 and they say to the mountains and to the rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

Vs. 25 – The wicked king of Israel has Micaiah taken to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash, the king’s son, to have him thrown into prison and fed with the “bread of affliction, and water of affliction,” until Ahab returns in peace (from battle).

Vs. 27 – Micaiah said that if Ahab returned in peace, then the Lord didn’t speak through him! The Lord had shown him in a vision that Ahab would “fall” in battle – Vs. 19.

Vs. 28 – 32 The kings of Israel and Judah went up against Ramoth-gilead despite Micaiah’s warning of dire consequences and loss if they did. Ahab tried to hide his IDENTITY from the Syrian army with some type of disguise, but instructed Jehoshaphat to “wear his royal robes” into battle! Ahab figured that when the Syrian army saw Jehoshaphat’s “royal robes” they would automatically assume that he was himself, and that’s exactly what happened. As Syrian forces surrounded Jehoshaphat (thinking that he was Ahab), he cried out to the Lord who delivered him by supernaturally causing the soldiers to “depart” from him. When the captains saw that he wasn’t Ahab, they left him alone for they were out to kill Ahab. Ahab’s “disguise” postponed the inevitable, and fooled the Syrian Army, but he could not hide from Jehovah! 

Vs. 33 – A stray arrow slipped through the joints of Ahab’s armour and wounded him fatally (not an accident, it was the Lord who directed the arrow which slew him). Ahab didn’t die right away but “stayed” himself up in his chariot until sundown, then died.

Jehoshaphat almost lost his life in this battle because he didn’t consult with the Lord about going to war, but relied upon his own understanding instead. When we haven’t sought the mind and will of God on a matter, we may not have His provision either, which makes us vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks. Ahab attempted to save his life by concealing his identity, but he didn’t escape his appointed fate. If we try to conceal our identity in Christ, we risk loosing something far more valuable than temporal, physical lifeMat 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. May we seek God’s provision and protection, and not devise our own COVERING!

Chapter 19

Vs. 1 – Upon Jehoshaphat’s return from battle, he was met by the Seer Jehu, son of Hanani. Jehu rebuked the king for aiding the “ungodly” and loving them that hate the Lord (vs 2), saying that God’s wrath (anger) was therefore upon Jehoshaphat.

Aiding the ‘ungodly’ and loving God’s enemies angers Jehovah! Jehoshaphat was OUT OF THE WILL OF GOD when he joined wicked king Ahab and went to war without God’s input or approval. God didn’t sanction either king going against Syria. When we get ‘out of the will of God’ we could suffer loss or even death, as did king Ahab (vs. 33-34).

Does the fact that 400 prophets were afflicted with a “lying spirit” (causing them to lie), make them FALSE PROPHETS? Is it possible for true prophets to receive a “lying spirit” and speak lying prophecies as a result, and retain their status as God’s true prophets?

While it’s good to listen to prophets, their words cannot be a substitute for hearing the voice of God in our own hearts!!! God wants to commune with us, and therefore we need to be able to hear His voice for ourselves. When God sees that His sheep aren’t seeking Him but using prophetic utterance as a substitute for hearing His Voice, He may allow them to get deceived in order to teach them to seek Him FIRST. He isn’t against our seeking a word of knowledge or wisdom from a prophet, but since prophets can be deceived, we can’t rely soley upon their words.

Vs. 3 – The Seer continues, saying that Jehoshaphat had also done “good” things by taking away the pagan groves (places of worship) out of the land, and preparing his heart to “seek God.”

“prepared” – H3559 kûn; to set up, establish, fix, make ready, to be directed aright, be fixed aright, be steadfast, be settled, be stable, be secure, be enduring
“seek” – H1875 dârash; diligently inquire, make inquisition, question, require, search, consult,

Upon realizing that doing things his way led him into dire straits, Jehoshaphat settles it in his heart to seek God instead of relying upon his own or someone else’s understanding. His close brush with death caused him to see his true spiritual state, of which he repented (changed his mind and heartily amended with abhorrence his past sins) and from then on followed God with a perfect heart.

“perfect” – H8003 shâlêm; complete, safe, peaceful, perfect, whole, full, at peace

Some examples of what it means to have a ‘perfect heart’; 1Ki_11:4, 1Ki_15:3, 1Ki_15:14; Gen_17:1; Deu_18:13; 2Ki_20:3; 1Ch_28:9; Job_1:1, Job_1:8; Psa_37:37; 2Co_7:1; Phi_3:12-16

In conclusion, when we realize we haven’t been seeking God or following Him wholeheartedly, we can repent, receive His forgiveness, and settle it in our hearts to seek Him anew! The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. (Psa 145:8) Amen!

Debra R. Stout © September 13, 2015

“Time Travel; God’s Way”

timemachine_modernIt is believed that Time is ‘multi-dimensional’ which would explain many mysteries, like the UFO phenomena, and others. From what I gather, we live in what’s called Linear time, which is a straight line with a past, present, and future. Because God dwells in Eternity, outside of time, he’s not subject to its limitations like we are. He’s the “I AM,” the Ever Present (Omnipresent) One; having no beginning and no end – Heb 7:3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.  Because he isn’t limited, we can travel backward and forward through time and space in the Spirit. There are quite a few examples in the Bible of ordinary mortals who were transported to another dimension, like the ‘third heaven,’ incidentally, where Yahweh’s Throne is (Isa 57:15) – 

The Apostle Paul2Co 12:2 I know a man in Christ, fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I know not; or whether out of the body, I know not; God knoweth), such a one caught up even to the third heaven.
2Co 12:3 And I know such a man (whether in the body, or apart from the body, I know not; God knoweth),
2Co 12:4 how that he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

Elijah the Prophet – 2Ki 2:11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, which parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

Note that Enoch was an ordinary flesh and blood mortal man when he was ‘taken up to heaven.’ What was special about him the Bible says, is that he “walked with God” – Gen 5:24 and Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. Did you get that? He WALKED WITH GOD! That means he was in God’s Presence every single day!  ‘took’ = H3947 לקח lâqach, to be taken from or out of, to be taken away, be removed;  snatch, take away (Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions)

Jesus’ Ascension – Luk 24:51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven.  ‘carried up’ G399 ἀναφέρω anaphero = to carry or bring up, to lead up; to lift up one’s self, to take upon one’s self (Thayer’s Greek Definitions).

And one day, awaiting Christians – 1Th 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep.
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first;
1Th 4:17 then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. ‘caught up’= G726 ἁρπάζω harpazo 1) to seize, carry off by force 2) to seize on, claim for one’s self eagerly 3) to snatch out or away (Thayer Definition)

This is time-travel God’s way, and those who belong to Christ won’t need a time-travel machine, spaceship, or flying saucer to get to heaven. Jesus will beam them up in the “twinkling of an eye!” – 1Co 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Yahweh God is All-powerful (Omnipotent) and reigns over the entire Universe. Once he caused the Sun and the Moon to “stand still” for an entire day – Jos 10:12 Then spake Joshua to Jehovah in the day when Jehovah delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel; and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; And thou, Moon, in the valley of Aijalon. Jos 10:13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, Until the nation had avenged themselves of their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stayed in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. In another biblical account the prophet Isaiah prayed and God performed a miracle whereby the Sun’s rays turned backward ten degrees on a sundial – 2Ki 20:11 And Isaiah the prophet cried unto Jehovah; and he brought the shadow ten steps backward, by which it had gone down on the dial of Ahaz.sundial-istanbul One commentator on this passage states that the ‘shadow’ cast by the sun only appeared to go backward because the Shekinah glory of Yahweh, which is thousands of times brighter than our sun, blocked out all other light sources so that no shadows could be cast.

←Ancient Sundial

See – http://biblefellowshipunion.co.uk/2008/May_Jun/ Sundial. htm

There are other ways to alter time and events in the Spirit, one is through prayer and forgiving others. This truth was brought home to me in Jan 2014 when I know that my prayers for someone coupled with forgiveness, forever changed time and events; past, present, and future. That sounds a bit ‘out there’ I know, but it happened.  The Hebrews have a very interesting view of time, they believed time wasn’t a separate creation outside of themselves as did the Greeks, but that time was human events. They also saw time more in terms of ‘quality’ versus ‘quantity,’ something people in modern society’s fast paced life miss. For a mind stretching exercise check out this link http://ldolphin.org/time.html (Warning: it could blow your mind just a little). 

While our perceptions of time vary, there’s one element of time that every Believer can enter into, but not many do, and that’s eternal time. Eternal time has a different quality and feel to it than linear time. It’s far richer and deeper, and you’ll know you’re in it when you don’t feel rushed, and when it feels like there’s an endless supply of it; more than enough to get all your stuff done! How does one enter into it? By getting into the Presence of God – remember, he lives in Eternity, outside of time. So it’s in and through him that we may enter eternal time. 

On that note, I’ll end wishing every time-traveling believer in Yeshua (Jesus), an endlessly joyous journey to the outer realms of his glorious Kingdom! 

Debra R. Stout, June 6, 2015