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  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Education / Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20 Welcome Guest
    Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20
          Have you always had questions about different passages and books of the bible? Me too. Let's explore everything together and find out what God's Word actually says. Are you ready for a life-changing experience? Are you? Then come on!
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    Tue, Dec 31st - 10:10PM

    STUDY IN LUKE



    "And He said to His disciples, Therefore I say to you, Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, neither for the body, what you shall put on for clothes. The life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them: how much more are you better than the fowls? And which of you with your thinking can add to his stature one cubit?  If you then are not able to do that thing which is least, why do you take thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they do not toil, they do not spin; and yet I say to you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God clothes the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?  And do not seek what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, neither be of a doubtful mind. For all these things the nations of the world do seek after: and your Father knows that you have need of these things. But rather seek the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added to you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that which you have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which which was not old, a treasure in the heavens that fails not, where no thief approaches, neither moth corrupts. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (12:22-34)."

       Here is a message meant for disciples of Christ. "Taking thought" is worrying, being anxious and overly concerned about worldly things; a constant problem among people even today. This not to be the prevailing behavior among God's children. God gives us several illustrations to help us properly understand what the correct relationship with food, clothing, and necessities of life must be. One of the great sins of people is their desire for better and better things, such as food and clothing, houses and furnishings, position and recognition, property and wealth.  It becomes covetousness.  It infiltrates both the poverty stricken and the extremely wealthy as well as the middle class. 

       The first illustration was that of the life and the body. The life and the body mean much more than the food we eat or the clothes we wear. Just stop and think for a moment.  What means the most? A well cooked steak or one's life? A dress or one's body? The answer here is quite clear. Each person's concern therefore needs to be their life and their body. It is not to be delicious foods and the latest trends in clothing. The person needs to give their time, energy, and effort to taking care of his life and body, not the delicious and fancy things of this world.  Why concern for my body?  A healthy body will extend my time on earth, and a well-kept life will assure me of living forever in the presence of the Living God. Christ Jesus did not say that we are not to think and plan for the necessities of life. He said we are not to worry and be anxious over the necessities of life. 

       The second illustration was that of the ravens/crows. They were fed by God. Jesus said we are to think about the birds, learn from what happens to them. They do not sow or reap their food, do not store up their food, yet God provides food for them and they are able to pluck up the food that they need to survive and reproduce. The believer is to learn that he/she is of much more value than these birds.  The believer is a higher being, on a much higher level of creation.  The believer is more noble and excellent, a spiritual being capable of a personal relationship with God. The believer is a child of God. God is not the Father of birds, He is the Father of believers. The believer is an heir of God. He is to receive all that God possesses in that glorious day of redemption (Romans 8:16-17; Titus 3:7; I Peter 1:3-4). But again, God is not going to put up with laziness and slothfulness, nor with lack of planning and initiative and effort.  Jesus planned ahead and preached industriousness.  The Bible is clear that people must faithfully work at their employment, even working for extra in order to have enough to give and to help meet the needs of others who are in desperate need.

       The believer who truly trusts Christ Jesus shall never be forsaken by God. This does not mean the believer will never suffer nor that the believer will never have to face martyrdom. Suffering is sometimes necessary for the growth of the believer's faith and as a testimony to the world. God takes care of the believer no matter what circumstances confront him.

       The third illustration was that of a man's height.  "Stature" means height, quality, or status gained by growth; but sometimes it also means age. "Cubit" literally means measure of space, or distance (approximately 18 inches); but it can also mean a measure of time or age (John 9:21).  Thus this verse can read either "who can add one cubit to his stature" or "one minute to his life span." Worry is something that actually steals time from our lifetime through self-induced stress.  All statures and all bodies are not normal and perfectly formed. The world is corruptible and imperfect.  But there is a glorious hope in God: a hope that acknowledges that God does love and care and has promised a new heavens and earth that shall indeed be perfect. In that perfect heavens and earth all bodies shall be normal and perfectly formed.  It will be the time when God wipes away all tears from our eyes (Revelation 21:4). Remember that the rich fool could not add one minute to his life.  There was a night appointed for his death and he could not change that time by one minute. Yes, some people do have imperfect or abnormal bodies.  How can they keep from becoming anxious and worrying? First, there is that glorious hope for all people who believe. There is the assuring promise of God to work all things out for good to those who truly love God. There is also the strong challenge to be content with one's state or lot in life. There is also the challenge to trust God's care. 

       The fourth illustration was that of the lilies and the grass. They are clothed by God.  Jesus said to "Consider" these things. We are to learn from what happens to them. Lilies do not toil for money to buy clothing or food. Lilies do not produce cloth. Lilies are more arrayed than even King Solomon was in all of his glory. Lilies pas away almost overnight, yet God cares enough for them to clothe them.  The believer is to learn that he/she is of much more value to God than the lilies. Clothing creates some complex issues among people today.  The concern for popularity. People fear not having the right clothing necessary to make them popular.  This can create a concern so great that the person refuses to attend a certain function without the "proper" clothing to wear. There is the concern over style and fashion. A person can easily be concerned with the very latest in style and fashion, zero tolerance of their clothing being "out dated." There can be concerns over acceptability.  Most adults would fall into this category.  Clothing actually involves our feelings. Time and thought and effort are expended in order to stay in style, at least enough to be "acceptable." Jesus said to not worry or be anxious over your clothing. Seek first the kingdom of God; center your life and thoughts and efforts upon God and His righteousness and not upon popularity, fashion and acceptabllity; then God will add all of these things to you. 

       Christ pointedly said to not be all wrapped up in seeking food and drink, nor in doubting God's care.  This was not a challenge, it was a command given. Believers are to center their minds and lives upon the Lord and the work God has given them to do.  Why?  It is to keep all things in their proper perspective.  Focusing oneself upon obtaining food and drink is worldliness.  The Gentile nations of the world do this by centering their efforts around getting more and more of the things produced by this world. Life to them is only about possessions, houses, furnishings, position, promotion, recognition, money, latest styles, keeping up with everyone else around them. Believers are not to fall into the same trap. Believers are to be different, seek after the Kingdom of God and not doubt God's care and provision.  Why?  God knows that the believer has needs. God has stated that He knows these things about each and every person on the planet at any given moment in time.  

       For the believer it is to be all about service to God. By not seeking after things the believer can focus upon the kingdom of God instead. God has given each believer something specific to do. The believer therefore is to leave their welfare in the hands of God.  Jesus promised that He would provide the necessities of life to the person who seeks God first. Jesus also said that He would give the kingdom to His "little flock." These are the people who truly seek God's kingdom first and trust Him to care for them. Unfortunately, "little flock" indicates that there will be far fewer people who will first seek God before running after the things of this world.  "For many are called, but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14)." "Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and there are few that find it (Matthew 7:14)." "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17)." God gives treasures that do not age, fail, nor are corrupted; neither can they be stolen. Very simply put, once our needs have been met, we do not need more.  We can do nothing more with it unless we waste it or we store it up somewhere. It does not matter what kind of profession or job we might have. Once we have met our needs, we are to begin meeting the needs of other people. We are directed to work diligently, not so that we have more to spend upon ourselves but that we might have more to give to others in need.  The believer is to fill his/her "bag" (billfold, wallet, bank account) with the gifts or giving of money and deeds of helps for these things never age and are eternal. The treasures of God's approval and of souls won to Christ in heaven will never fail nor corrupt nor be stolen. All materialistic things on this planet age, fail, corrupt, return to dust, and can be stolen. Finally, Jesus warned His disciples that their hearts would be where their treasure was.  If their treasure was in bank accounts and storehouses and barns, then that is where their hearts would also be forced to be.  But if their treasures were all stored up in heaven then that would be where their hearts would be as well. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof; but he that does the will of God abides forever (I John 2:15-17)." And I will leave you with that thought. Everything that is in this present world shall pass away, to be replaced with a new world.  So why store up stuff in a place that will lose all of it in the end?  That is not logical at all.  Grace and peace be with you.  Oh, and you might wish to check out the new study I have begun on my other blog, "Koinonia."  It is on finding what true worship is and why it is so vitally important to all congregations today.

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Tue, Dec 31st - 10:10PM

    STUDY IN LUKE



    "And He said to His disciples, Therefore I say to you, Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, neither for the body, what you shall put on for clothes. The life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them: how much more are you better than the fowls? And which of you with your thinking can add to his stature one cubit?  If you then are not able to do that thing which is least, why do you take thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they do not toil, they do not spin; and yet I say to you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God clothes the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?  And do not seek what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, neither be of a doubtful mind. For all these things the nations of the world do seek after: and your Father knows that you have need of these things. But rather seek the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added to you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that which you have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which which was not old, a treasure in the heavens that fails not, where no thief approaches, neither moth corrupts. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (12:22-34)."

       Here is a message meant for disciples of Christ. "Taking thought" is worrying, being anxious and overly concerned about worldly things; a constant problem among people even today. This not to be the prevailing behavior among God's children. God gives us several illustrations to help us properly understand what the correct relationship with food, clothing, and necessities of life must be. One of the great sins of people is their desire for better and better things, such as food and clothing, houses and furnishings, position and recognition, property and wealth.  It becomes covetousness.  It infiltrates both the poverty stricken and the extremely wealthy as well as the middle class. 

       The first illustration was that of the life and the body. The life and the body mean much more than the food we eat or the clothes we wear. Just stop and think for a moment.  What means the most? A well cooked steak or one's life? A dress or one's body? The answer here is quite clear. Each person's concern therefore needs to be their life and their body. It is not to be delicious foods and the latest trends in clothing. The person needs to give their time, energy, and effort to taking care of his life and body, not the delicious and fancy things of this world.  Why concern for my body?  A healthy body will extend my time on earth, and a well-kept life will assure me of living forever in the presence of the Living God. Christ Jesus did not say that we are not to think and plan for the necessities of life. He said we are not to worry and be anxious over the necessities of life. 

       The second illustration was that of the ravens/crows. They were fed by God. Jesus said we are to think about the birds, learn from what happens to them. They do not sow or reap their food, do not store up their food, yet God provides food for them and they are able to pluck up the food that they need to survive and reproduce. The believer is to learn that he/she is of much more value than these birds.  The believer is a higher being, on a much higher level of creation.  The believer is more noble and excellent, a spiritual being capable of a personal relationship with God. The believer is a child of God. God is not the Father of birds, He is the Father of believers. The believer is an heir of God. He is to receive all that God possesses in that glorious day of redemption (Romans 8:16-17; Titus 3:7; I Peter 1:3-4). But again, God is not going to put up with laziness and slothfulness, nor with lack of planning and initiative and effort.  Jesus planned ahead and preached industriousness.  The Bible is clear that people must faithfully work at their employment, even working for extra in order to have enough to give and to help meet the needs of others who are in desperate need.

       The believer who truly trusts Christ Jesus shall never be forsaken by God. This does not mean the believer will never suffer nor that the believer will never have to face martyrdom. Suffering is sometimes necessary for the growth of the believer's faith and as a testimony to the world. God takes care of the believer no matter what circumstances confront him.

       The third illustration was that of a man's height.  "Stature" means height, quality, or status gained by growth; but sometimes it also means age. "Cubit" literally means measure of space, or distance (approximately 18 inches); but it can also mean a measure of time or age (John 9:21).  Thus this verse can read either "who can add one cubit to his stature" or "one minute to his life span." Worry is something that actually steals time from our lifetime through self-induced stress.  All statures and all bodies are not normal and perfectly formed. The world is corruptible and imperfect.  But there is a glorious hope in God: a hope that acknowledges that God does love and care and has promised a new heavens and earth that shall indeed be perfect. In that perfect heavens and earth all bodies shall be normal and perfectly formed.  It will be the time when God wipes away all tears from our eyes (Revelation 21:4). Remember that the rich fool could not add one minute to his life.  There was a night appointed for his death and he could not change that time by one minute. Yes, some people do have imperfect or abnormal bodies.  How can they keep from becoming anxious and worrying? First, there is that glorious hope for all people who believe. There is the assuring promise of God to work all things out for good to those who truly love God. There is also the strong challenge to be content with one's state or lot in life. There is also the challenge to trust God's care. 

       The fourth illustration was that of the lilies and the grass. They are clothed by God.  Jesus said to "Consider" these things. We are to learn from what happens to them. Lilies do not toil for money to buy clothing or food. Lilies do not produce cloth. Lilies are more arrayed than even King Solomon was in all of his glory. Lilies pas away almost overnight, yet God cares enough for them to clothe them.  The believer is to learn that he/she is of much more value to God than the lilies. Clothing creates some complex issues among people today.  The concern for popularity. People fear not having the right clothing necessary to make them popular.  This can create a concern so great that the person refuses to attend a certain function without the "proper" clothing to wear. There is the concern over style and fashion. A person can easily be concerned with the very latest in style and fashion, zero tolerance of their clothing being "out dated." There can be concerns over acceptability.  Most adults would fall into this category.  Clothing actually involves our feelings. Time and thought and effort are expended in order to stay in style, at least enough to be "acceptable." Jesus said to not worry or be anxious over your clothing. Seek first the kingdom of God; center your life and thoughts and efforts upon God and His righteousness and not upon popularity, fashion and acceptabllity; then God will add all of these things to you. 

       Christ pointedly said to not be all wrapped up in seeking food and drink, nor in doubting God's care.  This was not a challenge, it was a command given. Believers are to center their minds and lives upon the Lord and the work God has given them to do.  Why?  It is to keep all things in their proper perspective.  Focusing oneself upon obtaining food and drink is worldliness.  The Gentile nations of the world do this by centering their efforts around getting more and more of the things produced by this world. Life to them is only about possessions, houses, furnishings, position, promotion, recognition, money, latest styles, keeping up with everyone else around them. Believers are not to fall into the same trap. Believers are to be different, seek after the Kingdom of God and not doubt God's care and provision.  Why?  God knows that the believer has needs. God has stated that He knows these things about each and every person on the planet at any given moment in time.  

       For the believer it is to be all about service to God. By not seeking after things the believer can focus upon the kingdom of God instead. God has given each believer something specific to do. The believer therefore is to leave their welfare in the hands of God.  Jesus promised that He would provide the necessities of life to the person who seeks God first. Jesus also said that He would give the kingdom to His "little flock." These are the people who truly seek God's kingdom first and trust Him to care for them. Unfortunately, "little flock" indicates that there will be far fewer people who will first seek God before running after the things of this world.  "For many are called, but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14)." "Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and there are few that find it (Matthew 7:14)." "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17)." God gives treasures that do not age, fail, nor are corrupted; neither can they be stolen. Very simply put, once our needs have been met, we do not need more.  We can do nothing more with it unless we waste it or we store it up somewhere. It does not matter what kind of profession or job we might have. Once we have met our needs, we are to begin meeting the needs of other people. We are directed to work diligently, not so that we have more to spend upon ourselves but that we might have more to give to others in need.  The believer is to fill his/her "bag" (billfold, wallet, bank account) with the gifts or giving of money and deeds of helps for these things never age and are eternal. The treasures of God's approval and of souls won to Christ in heaven will never fail nor corrupt nor be stolen. All materialistic things on this planet age, fail, corrupt, return to dust, and can be stolen. Finally, Jesus warned His disciples that their hearts would be where their treasure was.  If their treasure was in bank accounts and storehouses and barns, then that is where their hearts would also be forced to be.  But if their treasures were all stored up in heaven then that would be where their hearts would be as well. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof; but he that does the will of God abides forever (I John 2:15-17)." And I will leave you with that thought. Everything that is in this present world shall pass away, to be replaced with a new world.  So why store up stuff in a place that will lose all of it in the end?  That is not logical at all.  Grace and peace be with you.  Oh, and you might wish to check out the new study I have begun on my other blog, "Koinonia."  It is on finding what true worship is and why it is so vitally important to all congregations today.

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Tue, Dec 31st - 10:10PM

    STUDY IN LUKE



    "And He said to His disciples, Therefore I say to you, Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, neither for the body, what you shall put on for clothes. The life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them: how much more are you better than the fowls? And which of you with your thinking can add to his stature one cubit?  If you then are not able to do that thing which is least, why do you take thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they do not toil, they do not spin; and yet I say to you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God clothes the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?  And do not seek what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, neither be of a doubtful mind. For all these things the nations of the world do seek after: and your Father knows that you have need of these things. But rather seek the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added to you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that which you have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which which was not old, a treasure in the heavens that fails not, where no thief approaches, neither moth corrupts. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (12:22-34)."

       Here is a message meant for disciples of Christ. "Taking thought" is worrying, being anxious and overly concerned about worldly things; a constant problem among people even today. This not to be the prevailing behavior among God's children. God gives us several illustrations to help us properly understand what the correct relationship with food, clothing, and necessities of life must be. One of the great sins of people is their desire for better and better things, such as food and clothing, houses and furnishings, position and recognition, property and wealth.  It becomes covetousness.  It infiltrates both the poverty stricken and the extremely wealthy as well as the middle class. 

       The first illustration was that of the life and the body. The life and the body mean much more than the food we eat or the clothes we wear. Just stop and think for a moment.  What means the most? A well cooked steak or one's life? A dress or one's body? The answer here is quite clear. Each person's concern therefore needs to be their life and their body. It is not to be delicious foods and the latest trends in clothing. The person needs to give their time, energy, and effort to taking care of his life and body, not the delicious and fancy things of this world.  Why concern for my body?  A healthy body will extend my time on earth, and a well-kept life will assure me of living forever in the presence of the Living God. Christ Jesus did not say that we are not to think and plan for the necessities of life. He said we are not to worry and be anxious over the necessities of life. 

       The second illustration was that of the ravens/crows. They were fed by God. Jesus said we are to think about the birds, learn from what happens to them. They do not sow or reap their food, do not store up their food, yet God provides food for them and they are able to pluck up the food that they need to survive and reproduce. The believer is to learn that he/she is of much more value than these birds.  The believer is a higher being, on a much higher level of creation.  The believer is more noble and excellent, a spiritual being capable of a personal relationship with God. The believer is a child of God. God is not the Father of birds, He is the Father of believers. The believer is an heir of God. He is to receive all that God possesses in that glorious day of redemption (Romans 8:16-17; Titus 3:7; I Peter 1:3-4). But again, God is not going to put up with laziness and slothfulness, nor with lack of planning and initiative and effort.  Jesus planned ahead and preached industriousness.  The Bible is clear that people must faithfully work at their employment, even working for extra in order to have enough to give and to help meet the needs of others who are in desperate need.

       The believer who truly trusts Christ Jesus shall never be forsaken by God. This does not mean the believer will never suffer nor that the believer will never have to face martyrdom. Suffering is sometimes necessary for the growth of the believer's faith and as a testimony to the world. God takes care of the believer no matter what circumstances confront him.

       The third illustration was that of a man's height.  "Stature" means height, quality, or status gained by growth; but sometimes it also means age. "Cubit" literally means measure of space, or distance (approximately 18 inches); but it can also mean a measure of time or age (John 9:21).  Thus this verse can read either "who can add one cubit to his stature" or "one minute to his life span." Worry is something that actually steals time from our lifetime through self-induced stress.  All statures and all bodies are not normal and perfectly formed. The world is corruptible and imperfect.  But there is a glorious hope in God: a hope that acknowledges that God does love and care and has promised a new heavens and earth that shall indeed be perfect. In that perfect heavens and earth all bodies shall be normal and perfectly formed.  It will be the time when God wipes away all tears from our eyes (Revelation 21:4). Remember that the rich fool could not add one minute to his life.  There was a night appointed for his death and he could not change that time by one minute. Yes, some people do have imperfect or abnormal bodies.  How can they keep from becoming anxious and worrying? First, there is that glorious hope for all people who believe. There is the assuring promise of God to work all things out for good to those who truly love God. There is also the strong challenge to be content with one's state or lot in life. There is also the challenge to trust God's care. 

       The fourth illustration was that of the lilies and the grass. They are clothed by God.  Jesus said to "Consider" these things. We are to learn from what happens to them. Lilies do not toil for money to buy clothing or food. Lilies do not produce cloth. Lilies are more arrayed than even King Solomon was in all of his glory. Lilies pas away almost overnight, yet God cares enough for them to clothe them.  The believer is to learn that he/she is of much more value to God than the lilies. Clothing creates some complex issues among people today.  The concern for popularity. People fear not having the right clothing necessary to make them popular.  This can create a concern so great that the person refuses to attend a certain function without the "proper" clothing to wear. There is the concern over style and fashion. A person can easily be concerned with the very latest in style and fashion, zero tolerance of their clothing being "out dated." There can be concerns over acceptability.  Most adults would fall into this category.  Clothing actually involves our feelings. Time and thought and effort are expended in order to stay in style, at least enough to be "acceptable." Jesus said to not worry or be anxious over your clothing. Seek first the kingdom of God; center your life and thoughts and efforts upon God and His righteousness and not upon popularity, fashion and acceptabllity; then God will add all of these things to you. 

       Christ pointedly said to not be all wrapped up in seeking food and drink, nor in doubting God's care.  This was not a challenge, it was a command given. Believers are to center their minds and lives upon the Lord and the work God has given them to do.  Why?  It is to keep all things in their proper perspective.  Focusing oneself upon obtaining food and drink is worldliness.  The Gentile nations of the world do this by centering their efforts around getting more and more of the things produced by this world. Life to them is only about possessions, houses, furnishings, position, promotion, recognition, money, latest styles, keeping up with everyone else around them. Believers are not to fall into the same trap. Believers are to be different, seek after the Kingdom of God and not doubt God's care and provision.  Why?  God knows that the believer has needs. God has stated that He knows these things about each and every person on the planet at any given moment in time.  

       For the believer it is to be all about service to God. By not seeking after things the believer can focus upon the kingdom of God instead. God has given each believer something specific to do. The believer therefore is to leave their welfare in the hands of God.  Jesus promised that He would provide the necessities of life to the person who seeks God first. Jesus also said that He would give the kingdom to His "little flock." These are the people who truly seek God's kingdom first and trust Him to care for them. Unfortunately, "little flock" indicates that there will be far fewer people who will first seek God before running after the things of this world.  "For many are called, but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14)." "Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and there are few that find it (Matthew 7:14)." "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17)." God gives treasures that do not age, fail, nor are corrupted; neither can they be stolen. Very simply put, once our needs have been met, we do not need more.  We can do nothing more with it unless we waste it or we store it up somewhere. It does not matter what kind of profession or job we might have. Once we have met our needs, we are to begin meeting the needs of other people. We are directed to work diligently, not so that we have more to spend upon ourselves but that we might have more to give to others in need.  The believer is to fill his/her "bag" (billfold, wallet, bank account) with the gifts or giving of money and deeds of helps for these things never age and are eternal. The treasures of God's approval and of souls won to Christ in heaven will never fail nor corrupt nor be stolen. All materialistic things on this planet age, fail, corrupt, return to dust, and can be stolen. Finally, Jesus warned His disciples that their hearts would be where their treasure was.  If their treasure was in bank accounts and storehouses and barns, then that is where their hearts would also be forced to be.  But if their treasures were all stored up in heaven then that would be where their hearts would be as well. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof; but he that does the will of God abides forever (I John 2:15-17)." And I will leave you with that thought. Everything that is in this present world shall pass away, to be replaced with a new world.  So why store up stuff in a place that will lose all of it in the end?  That is not logical at all.  Grace and peace be with you.  Oh, and you might wish to check out the new study I have begun on my other blog, "Koinonia."  It is on finding what true worship is and why it is so vitally important to all congregations today.

    ~Eric


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    Mon, Dec 30th - 9:20PM

    STUDY IN LUKE



    "And one of the company said to Him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.  And He said to him, Man, who made Me a judge or a divider over you?  And He said to them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a person's life does not consist in the abundance of the things which they possess.  And he spoke a parable to them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And this man thought to himself, What shall I do, because I have no room in which to store my fruits?  And he said, This will I do: I will build greater storehouses; and there will I store all my fruits and goods.  And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have much goods laid up for many tears, take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry!  But God said to him, You fool, this night your soul shall be required of you: then whose shall those things be, which you have provided?  So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God (12:13-21)."

     In this passage we find someone making a judicial request of Christ.  It was a request of splitting a materialistic inheritance.  Christ refused to comply.  Christ in this instance rejects the notion of becoming consumed by the materialism of the world around us.  This man depicted in the parable did not have the incessant yammering of commercials beating at his attention day in and day out.  Yet he still was enslaved to materialism every bit as much as any of us today.  In Jewish law two-thirds of an inheritance went to the older son and one third to the younger.  This man felt that he deserved one half.  It was common back then for Rabbis to settle legal disputes.  Obviously this man making the request of Christ was of the congregation listening to Jesus' words.  He may even have been a follower.  Some sort of familiarity existed between them that allowed this man to approach Christ and make such a request.  This man wanted material wealth, money, property.  Jesus refused quite forcefully by addressing him as "Man."  He treats him like a stranger or alien to the Lord.  Christ's refusal to become involved in worldly affairs ought to be a flashing red light for all believers today.  We are not to become embroiled in settling property and money disputes.  Without realizing it, this man exposed a serious flaw in his spiritual life.  Christ had just finished preaching a sermon on trusting God for the necessities of life, for God cares and will provide for our needs.  Apparently, this man had not been listening very closely.  He had been bodily close, but he was too preoccupied with thoughts about his inheritance to really focus upon the Word of God.  Are we just like this man today when sitting and listening to a sermon on Sundays?  Are we preoccupied with what we will be doing afterwards rather than paying strict attention to God's Word being spoken to us?   Listening to the Word being preached does not always mean that we "hear" the Word, nor that we learn from it.  The Word of God, salvation, and spiritual maturity do not rub off on a wandering mind or on a worldly life.

       There is a significant contrast between the mind and attitude of this man and of Christ Jesus.  The man's mind was set on the things of this earth and the world of commerce, on property and money, wealth and selfishness.  The Messiah's mind was set on the higher and more noble, on salvation and life, on heaven and eternity.  The mission of the Messiah was not to give people property, but to give them life, both abundant and eternal.  Property is worthless without life.

       Christ was making a declaration concerning worldliness for life does not consist in things.  Christ's warning was strongly stated: "take heed, beware." The word "beware", phulassesthe, means to guard oneself from some enemy.  Obviously Christ wanted to alert them to their enemy: worldly lust of possessions.  Christ also went on to tell them to not be covetous.  It is a very big sin in our world today, especially around Christmas time.  People desire to be given more and more stuff, to purchase more and more stuff.  Some even believe that they deserve more and more stuff.  But a person's happiness and comfort, soul and body do not depend upon what he/she has; many poor people are happy and comfortable with healthy souls and bodies.  Life does not consist in possessions, a beautiful home, the latest clothes, the newest auto, property, money, or stocks.  

       The covetous person is aggressively self-centered.  Christ shares a parable with the crowd around Him about a man who was also aggressively self-centered.  The wealthy man in the parable said "I" six times and "my" five times.  His attention was only upon himself, not considering others at all.  Here are the specifics of the parable:  

    1.  The man was blessed materially, tremendously blessed, but he did not thank God for the blessing.
    2.  The man called the fruits of the ground and the possessions he had, "my fruit" and "my goods."
    3.  The man called his soul, "my soul" with no indication that he had given his soul to God.
    4.  He became puffed up, prideful with what he had done.  He began to think of bigger and bigger, of I, I, I.

    His big mistake was his selfishness, self-indugence, and extravagant living.  The only reason he had to hoard all of these fruits and goods was so that he could eat, drink, and be merry at his leisure.  He obviously wished to live in comfort with plenty to eat and drink each and every day.  He gave no thought to helping others.  He was oblivious to the needy world all around him, he was blind.  We also see that he put off partying until all of his new and bigger storehouse were built and filled up.  Was he a workaholic?  Maybe.  He obviously was consumed with not having any of his fruits or goods go to waste but be stored safely away for his own use.  A shocking thought here, did this man ever actually do what he was thinking obsessively to himself?  Or did he never even get a chance to do it before his life was over?  

       Covetousness (pleonexia) is a craving, a desire for more.  It is greediness, a dissatisfaction with what is enough.  It includes the cravings for both material things and fleshly indulgence.  It is desiring what belongs to others; snatching at something that belongs to others; a love of having, a cry of "give me, give me!"  It is a lust so deep within a person that the find their happiness in things instead of in God.  It is so deep that it desires the power that things bring more than the things themselves.  It is an intense appetite for gain; a passion for the pleasure that things can bring. It goes beyond the pleasure of possessing things for their own intrinsic value.  

       The covetous person fails to fear God.  They fail to take into consideration that they do not know when their own death will arrive, they presume that they will live a full life of 70-90 years.  We see in our passage of scripture that God finally spoke up and commented that the man was being foolish.  God knew exactly when this man would die, and it was that very night.  No one else knew these specifics.  What good would all of the man's efforts be to him upon his death?  No more eating, drinking, making merry.  This man was scheduled to die that very night just as every person on this planet has an appointed time when they will die.  From the moment of our birth, we begin the journey towards our death.  God pointed out that not only was the man's physical body to die, but his very soul would be required as well.  His soul was to pass from this physical world into the spiritual dimension of existence. 

       Finally, we must consider the fact that wealth is not a permanent possession; someone else gets it when we die.  We leave this world just as we entered it: naked.  No material thing leaves with us, it is all left behind.  We must not ignore that the Bible reveals that the life of person's body is their soul, and that the spirit lives forever.  We are not simply erased when we die.  "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out (I Timothy 6:7)." "So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of My mouth.  Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and do not know that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked (Revelation 3:16-17)." 

    That is all for today, beloved.  All of the above passage of Scripture was pointedly spoken to the man who requested a judgment in his favor.  It speaks to us today to flee from being covetous, to not lust after material possessions or fleshly desires.  We are to focus our attention upon Christ Jesus and closely follow Him wherever He directs us to go, and whatever He directs us to do.  Christ will give us the words to speak to others about Him.  We simply need to trust Him and open ourselves up to Him and not get in the way of what He desires to do through us.  Grace and peace be with you all.

    ~Eric


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    Sun, Dec 29th - 4:03PM

    STUDY IN LUKE



    "In the mean time, when there were gathered an uncountable multitude together, insomuch that they walked upon each other, He began to say to His disciples first of all, Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.  For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.  Therefore whatsoever you have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which you have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops(121:1-3)."

       Jesus continued to speak to His disciples about the Pharisees immediately after confronting them at the meal table of that lawyer at the end of the last chapter.  It became obvious that the religionists believed that they were the followers of God, to lead people to God by means of their ceremony and ritual, their form of worship and teaching, as well as their doctrine and preaching.  But Christ Jesus said that what they were actually doing was hypocrisy, for religious form is not God's way of salvation from sin.  "You hypocrites, well did Esaias prophecy of you, saying, This people draws close to Me with their mouth, and honors Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me.  But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men (Matthew 15:7-9)."
    "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and avoid them.  For they are such that do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple (Romans 16:17-18)."  The disciples of Christ were the ones in particular who were to fear hypocrisy so that it would never enter into the fledgling church later on.  Why?  They were to become the teachers of the new church, the preachers of the new faith.  Thus they were to live the truth in order to proclaim the truth.  The clear message from Christ was that all that they did was to be done in the light, unhidden.  Things were not to be done behind closed doors where deals could be brokered and bribes could pass hands.  Right Mother Catholic Church?  The disciples' words were to be exposed.  God will ensure that all that is ever said in secret will become known to all people.  This includes our very thoughts, which God knows very well.  "For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad (Luke 8:17)."  "I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them (Ezekiel 11:5)."

      We also find reference made to leaven, that which is inserted into dough.  When leaven is inserted at least four things happen to the dough.  Leaven penetrates, seeps, and works its way through all of the dough.  It can't be seen, but it still does its work inside of the dough.  Leaven spreads.  Slowly it spreads, but once it is present, it can't be stopped.  It continues to spread until the whole amount of dough is leavened.  Leaven swells the dough. It puffs dough up, making dough look much larger than it really is.  It does not add to the dough, it only changes the appearance of the dough.  Leaven ferments and sours the dough, changing its very nature.  Can  you see how leaven very effectively represents sin?  Once sin enters into a person it penetrates and works its way through all of the person.  It can't be seen, but it continues to do its wicked work inside of the person.  Sin spreads slowly, but once it begins it can't be stopped by any physical force.  Sin will spread until the entire person has been changed.  It swells a person up, makes them believe that they are actually bigger than they really are.  But sin does not add to the person, it only changes their appearance and their basic nature.  

    "And I say to you My friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.  But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: Fear Him, which after He has killed has power to cast into hell, yes, I say to you, Fear Him.  Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?  But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows. Also I say to you, Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God.  But he that denies Me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but to him that blasphemes against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven. And when they bring you to the synagogues, and to magistrates, and powers, take no thought how or what thing you shall answer, or what you shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what you ought to say (12:4-12)."

     Christ's second message was for His friends.  He told them not to fear men, but to fear God alone.  It is a logical reason.  Men are able to kill us physically, but at that point they no longer have any power or control over us.  However, God is able to cast our soul into the lake of fire for all eternity.  Jesus said to not fear the lack of necessities.  The friend of God is never forgotten or overlooked, no matter the circumstances.  There is a preciousness found here in the thought that every sparrow, no matter how common or forgotten or ignored, is very dear to God.  There is power found here in that God knows every single sparrow on the earth, and not a single one falls but what God knows about its injury or death. The pain and suffering experienced by the bird is felt by God.  Suffering is due to the corruption and evil in the world, and corruption and evil always cause pain for God.  

       We also find there is God's providence.  God sees, knows, cares, and oversees all the events and happenings on earth.  There is also God's knowledge.  God knows every little happening and all that is, even to the most minute detail.  He knows when a bird falls to earth.  He knows every hair of a person's head, He numbers them.  There is God's power.  God is able to control the events that happen to the believer, no matter how detailed and minute.  He can control and work them out for good to such an extent that there is no need for the believer to fear.  There is God's love.  Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ and of God.  "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ...For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35, 38-39)." 

     People are to fear the spirit of disloyalty, of denying Christ.  Three things need to be noted here.  People shall be judged before the angels of God.  Angels will witness either our acceptance or rejection by God.  The judgment will be executed by the Son of Man Himself.  He alone is the One Man who lived and experienced all the temptations and trials of life, yet He did not sin.  He alone has been through it all and conquered all.  He alone has been found worthy to judge mankind.  He alone knows what a person is, what a person believes, what a person can and can't do, what a man does and fails to do, 

       We all are to fear the unpardonable sin.  Blasphemy against Christ, the Son of Man, can be forgiven.  If a person is guilty of cursing Christ and later still wants genuine forgiveness, they can ask for forgiveness and God will forgive them if they repent from their sin.  Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is not forgiven.  This sin means setting one's heart and mind and life against the Spirit of God.  It means the words spoken against the Spirit come from a heart set against the Spirit and the work of the Spirit.

       We all are not to fear persecution and trials.  Why not?  Because the Holy Spirit of God dwells within the believer and empowers the believer.  God through His Spirit within us will empower us to bear and endure the persecution and give to us the words He wants us to speak.  Simply put, God is to be totally trusted in the hour of trial and persecution, trusted for the strength to bear whatever people may do to us.  It does not mean we should not be praying and thinking, but it maeans that God is to be trusted with our defense. Only God knows the heart of our persecutor/s and thus He alone knows what needs to be said to touch their hearts or else to serve as a witness against them in the future.  But we are to act as Christ acted when He was arrested and tortured: do not fight back physically or verbally.  

       Fear of our fellow man is a terrible thing.  It is a subject that we need to look at closely today, beloved.  Jesus stated that fear can cost a person his eternal destiny, even if the person is a friend or a follower of Christ's.  What does the fear of people cause?  It causes a person to become disturbed within heart and mind: there is the loss of peace.  It causes a person to lose fervor: there is the loss of commitment to Christ.  It causes a person to be either sidetracked from or to give up what they know to be God's will: there will be a loss of mission and meaning and purpose to life.  But there are several reasons why other people are not to be feared.  People can only destroy our physical bodies, not our souls.  Their power is limited in a finite way; they can go no further.  They have no means to touch a person's soul or life.  People can only send us out of this world, not out of heaven.  Philippians i:23; 3:20-21 address this aspect of death.  People can only separate us from this physical world, not from eternal life.  Spiritual death is not a part of the experience of the believer in Christ Jesus.  These physical bodies of ours will one day taste death but our souls shall not taste the type of death the unbeliever will experience.  John 5:24 informs us that the believer has already passed from death to life and lives forever.  In facing death I am merely transferred from this world, from the physical dimension of being, into the heavenly or spiritual dimension of being.  People can only cut us from the unbelievers and believers of this earth, not from the love of God and the saints in glory.  There is a song that states that when all the earth has passed away there will always be the love of God.  

       There are two primary reasons why we should not fear people and persecution.  First, God has given us a great and glorious cause: to reach people for Christ.  Some people do not want to be reached,therefore, they rant and rail and react and become our persecutors.  But some do want to be saved, and the fact that they can receive eternal life is so glorious that it is worth whatever price we have to pay in order to see them saved.  Second, God has given us a great hope. "For our conversation is in heaven; from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like His glorious body according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things to Himself (Philippians 3:20-21)."  There is a remedy to keep us from fearing.  God can destroy us utterly, both body and soul.  Jesus did not teach that our body and soul will cease to exist.  He said they would live a worthless experience, be ruined and suffer in ruin forever.  Jesus was speaking to believers in this entire passage at the beginning of chapter twelve.  God is to be feared much more than people or other creatures.  Fear of people pales into absolute insignificance to God's terror.  The terror of mankind is for a short time while God's is eternal.  So, before caving in and surrendering to the coercion and persecution of people we must compare that against eternal damnation from God.  Man can't create souls and man can't destroy souls.  Do not be deceived: God is not a respecter of persons, He does not pick favorites that can do no wrong.  All who sin against Him must either ask, and receive, forgiveness from Him or else be condemned to an eternity of separation from God.  

    That is all for this Sunday afternoon, beloved.  I hope that you are able to glean a few kernels of truth from what has been posted.  Christ has already warned all believers to be prepared for the coming persecution of all believers.  Each of us must choose to walk closely with Christ and live our lives out in Truth.  Be prepared for the coming tribulation across all of this world, determine in your heart now how you will respond when the choice is put to you: recant your belief in Christ or else die.  Grace and peace be yours this blessed day!

    ~Eric


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    Sat, Dec 28th - 9:10AM

    STUDY IN LUKE



    "Then one of the lawyers answered, and said to Him, Master, saying this You reproach us as well.  And Jesus said, Woe to you also, you lawyers! for you load people with burdens grievous to be carried, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens wit as much as one of your fingers.  Woe to you! for you build the sepulchers of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.  Truly you bear witness that you allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and you build their sepulchers.  Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute; That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation.  From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple; truly I say to you, It shall be required of this generation. Woe to you, lawyers! for you have taken away the key of knowledge: you did not enter in yourselves, and them that were entering in you hindered.  And as He said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge Him vehemently, and to provoke Him to speak of many things.  Laying wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him making an error in what He spoke, that they might accuse Him (11:45-54)."

       The fifth charge Jesus laid upon the religionists of the day was that they burdened people with rules and regulations.  We can see in the above text that a lawyer, who had remained outside of the initial discussion, suddenly was forced to speak his mind to Jesus.  All that Jesus had been speaking about this lawyer was applying to people other than himself.  It hadn't occurred to him that Jesus could possibly be talking about him.  Then suddenly the thought struck him that Jesus could be including lawyers as well in His reproach and he felt obligated to speak up.  Christ left the lawyer with no doubts as to what He meant by His words.  Christ spoke to all who put religion, ritual, ceremony, heritage,  and anything else before God.  A person's duty, even the duty of religionists, is to turn their heart and being over to God.

       Christ charged the religionist with creating man-made rules and regulations.  He was referring to the Scribal law which was considered even more important than the Word of God itself.  In the minds of the religionists, the law of God was sometimes hard to understand, but not the rules and regulations of the religionists. Thus, any breaking of the Scribal law was considered to be deliberate and much more serious.  Christ also charged the religionists with failure to help a person in keeping the law.  Instead of helping people the religionists condemned them.  "And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and did not prepare himself, neither did according to his lord's will, shall be beaten with many stripes (Luke 12:47)."  "Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does not do it, to him it is sin (James 4:17)."  Christ Jesus stated that the Law, the Word of God, was adequate by itself.  People did not have to add rules and regulations to it. 

       The sixth charge laid against the religionists was that they honored the true prophets of God as long as they were dead.  They were willing to honor the past.  They presented great shows of respect for the prophets of old by renovating, adorning, and looking after their sepulchers and relics.  They took great pride in their heritage.  "Therefore bring out fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say within yourselves, We have Abraham as our father:  for I say to you, That God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones on the ground (Luke 3:8)."  "They answered Him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how can you say, You shall be made free (John 8:33)?"  "Then they reviled Him, and said, You are his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples (John 9:28)."   The religionists rejected the present.  They rejected the teaching and godly lives of the prophets and apostles whom God sent.  They reverenced the past: Abraham and Moses, Isaac and Jacob, Jeremiah and Zachariah; but they rejected God's very own Son in their midst.  By rejecting Christ they demonstrated that they were just as their father's were: murderers.  "And the Pharisees went out, and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him (Mark 3:6)."  "And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy Him: for they feared Him, because all of the people were astonished at His doctrine (Mark 11:18)."  

     The judgment passed on religionists will be more severe than upon others.  The blood of all of the prophets, from Abel to Zacharias, will fall  upon these sorts of people.  Why the blood of all?  Because Jesus' people had the greatest privilege and opportunity known to mankind.  A Chosen People of God, sent to teach the rest of the world about God, had been provided with the Word of God in the Old Covenant.  This was then crowned by God's own Son coming in human flesh to redeem all of mankind from sin.  To reject Him was to reject all of the prophets.  Christ came as the One Prophet who embraced all prophets, the One to whom all prophets had looked forward to.  

       The seventh charge laid upon the religionists was that they had taken away the key to the truth about God.  They had taken away the key that unlocked the Scriptures and the way to God.  The religionists stressed the external, the ceremony, the religious form, over the heart and repentance, the Scripture and obedience.  How many "Christians" today continue to play this game with God?  How many of us still place the utmost importance upon performing communion exactly the correct way?  Or perhaps we do not place any emphasis upon reading God's Word or even involving it in our corporate worship services?  Are we allowing God to move within us, working out what we have read and studied within His Word?  Have we opened up our hearts to Christ, giving Him control over us?  Or do we keep certain parts of our lives under our direct control?  Do we resist the Holy Spirit's call to us to come and enter into an intimate relationship with Him?  Do we think that by unfailing tithing and attendance on Sundays we shall be guaranteed a place in heaven one day?  Are we still too focused upon the external world and ignoring our internal world to the point of missing out on entering heaven?  Many understand the necessity to cultivate a physical, external garden.  How many of us understand the necessity of cultivating an internal, spiritual garden where we will meet with Christ?  Cultivation can be very demanding labor, requiring hours of work.  Perhaps this aspect of it is what drives many people to choose to never attempt to do it.  Perhaps they believe that gardens are not important.  

       At any rate, the religionists of Jesus' day turned people away from the Scripture to their own ideas and thoughts, rules and regulations.  "Jesus answered and said to them, You do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God (Matthew 22:29)." "For we are not as many, which corrupt the Word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ (II Corinthians 2:17)." "As also in all his epistles (Paul's), speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction (II Peter 3:16)."  There were some persons entering into the truth until the religionists got their hold on them.  The religionist stopped them from entering in to the ultimate truth.  "For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.  But you are departed out of the Way; you have caused many to stumble at the law; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the LORD of hosts (Malachi 2:7-8)."  The conclusion was that of hostility.  The religionists could not accept the truth being presented before them.  They were angered and offended by Christ Jesus and so they proceeded to try and trap Him in verbal exchanges so that they would have reason to have Him arrested and killed.  

       That is all for today, beloved!  I hope that you do not find yourself as a religionist.  But, if so, perhaps you will see your way clear to rediscovering the Way, the Truth, and the Life!  Christian life is not composed of arguing over what color carpet goes in the sanctuary, or how many chairs are to be set up there, or who gets to sit where during worship services.  It is not about arguing over what types of shrubbery are to be used in landscaping the church property.  It is not arguing over who will become Deacon, or Elder, or church board member.  These are external things.  The Christian life is all about starting internally, deciding what to do about Christ Jesus.  Taking care of the internal matter one may then proceed to doing good, external, works that are pleasing to God.  Sacrificing all of the external things in our lives does not impress God, however, obedience to Christ will be pleasing to God .  Grace and peace be yours on this final Saturday of 2013.  Walk in the Way of Christ, live in the Truth of Christ, and gain the assurance of the abundant Life of Christ.

    ~Eric


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    Fri, Dec 27th - 10:20AM

    STUDY IN LUKE



    "And as He spoke, 
       a certain Pharisee requested that He dine with him; and He went in and sat down to eat.  And when the Pharisee saw this, he marveled that He had not first washed before dinner.  And the Lord said to him, Now you Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inner soul is full of ravening and wickedness.  You fools, did not He that made that which is outside make that which is on the inside also?  Instead give alms of such things as you have; and behold, all things are clean to you.  But woe to you, Pharisees! for you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these you ought to have done, and not leave the the other undone.  Woe to you, Pharisees! for you love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are as graves which are unseen, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them." (11:37-44)

       Most people today feel they are religious.  For that reason, the religious person must focus closely upon what Jesus says in this passage above, and in the ensuing verses to follow.  The religious person needs to examine his/her heart and life and make sure their religion is, in fact, genuine.  Jesus was severe in His charges against false religionists, here are those revealed in the above verses:  

     1.  They are ceremonially clean, but have unclean spirits.
     2.  They obey God in tithing, but ignore justice and love.
     3.  They crave prominence and honor.
     4.  They mislead others to become spiritually unclean and corrupted.

       We find in this passage of scripture a Pharisee inviting Jesus to come and have dinner with him.  This group of religionists had been following Jesus and listening to His teachings.  The question that bubbles up at this point is whether or not this "certain" Pharisee genuinely wished to speak face to face with Christ about important matters, or was he simply getting Him in off of the street so that a group of Pharisees and scribes might have a better "go at Him" out of the public eye?  What do see here is that Jesus entered the man's home, and rather than stopping to have His feet washed and to cleanse His hands,  He went straight to the food and sat down to eat.  This astonished the Pharisee for it was a serious violation of religious law.  It had nothing to do with cleanliness, but with ceremonial purity.  It was taught that the hands had been in contact with a sinful world, therefore, the person was to wash their hands before eating to prevent impurity from entering into their body.  This Pharisee was thinking that Jesus had just seriously violated the law of purity.  Jesus, knowing the man's thoughts, began to reply.  

       The first charge laid against the Pharisees was that they were ceremonially clean, but still spiritually unclean on the inside.  They were all about the exterior show while ignoring their hearts within.  The analogy given indicates what their perspective on cleanliness was.  Clean the outside of dirt and stains while ignoring what corruption might lie within.  That is how we wash dishes, but it can't be the way that we cleanse ourselves of sin.  Jesus accused the Pharisees of being full of ravening, which means plunder, seizing, extortion, robbery, taking by force.  He also said that they were full of wickedness.  Most all religionists deny that they plunder and do wickedness.  Jesus pointed out to the religionists of His day that they were plundering the way of God, trying to seize God's kingdom their own way instead of following the way of God.  The religionist commits extortion against God by robbing God of the salvation He has already set up.  The wickedness comes in the form of disobeying God and refusing to follow Christ Jesus who is the way of righteousness established by God (Romans 10:3-4; Philippians 3:9).  Instead of coming to God by the Messiah, the religionist comes to God by his own righteousness.  The religionists try to make themselves clean by keeping the religious ceremonies and worship.  This approach does not work.  

       Two important points concerning religionists jump out at us here.  1) Jesus Christ is God's righteousness.  "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God.  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes.  For Moses describes the righteousness which is of the law, That the person which does those things shall live by them (Romans 10:3-5)."  "That I may be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith (Philippians 3:9)."  2) A person, religious or not, can't establish their own righteousness.  They can't make themselves clean enough to approach God: not by works, nor by religious ceremony and worship, nor by cleaning up the exterior part of their lives.  "For I say to you, That except your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven by any other means (Matthew 5:20)."  "Therefore by the deeds of the law shall no person be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20)."  

       When God made humanity He made both the physical and the spiritual natures, the external and the internal.  Jesus said that the outside is not all that is unclean.  More importantly is whether or not the inside of a person is clean or not.  If the spiritual nature remains unclean it remains unacceptable to God.  I find it interesting that today non-believers label Christians as being the "fools."  But Christ called these religionists fools.  They were only interested in outward appearances and remained ignorant and/or oblivious of the condition of their souls.  A person has to give God a clean "heart" and a clean body, a spiritual heart as well as a religious body.  The "heart" is the source of evil.  It has to be cleansed by Christ, even the heart of a religionist.  "For from within, out of the hearts of people, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders (Mark 7:21)." "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)"

     The giving of one's heart to Christ cleanses everything.  The one thing that any person can give to others, and to God, is their heart.  If they give their heart to God, then they will become clean in all things.  They will be giving instead of taking, giving to God and giving to other people.  Christ Jesus said that a person is to give all that they are to God and become cleansed within.  They are to give all they have to God, by which they will demonstrate that they are clean within.  "That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.  For with the heart a person believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation (Romans 10:9-10)."

     A second charge laid to the religionists was that they obeyed God in tithing, but ignored justice and love.  Tithing was the command of God and was meant to be a joyful experience (Deuteronomy 14:22-23).  The religionists wanted to be sure that they did exactly what God wanted, so they went beyond what God required.  They tithed every little thing, even plants from their gardens and potted plants from inside their homes.  Jesus didn't disagree with going beyond the tithe, He was not even discussing tithing for He was using it to illustrate His point.  That point was that religionists stressed outward duties such as tithing and ceremony, ritual and ordinances, works and form; but they neglected the internal duties such as justice and love of God.  Why are these so important?  

    Justice - is the way we treat other people.  Religionists and their church organizations are the recipients of the tithe and offerings of God's people.  The monies and gifts are too often coveted for oneself and the building of one's organization more than for ministering to the poor, the oppressed, and the lost.  Too often monies are kept for extravagant buildings and livelihoods and personal comfort.  God wants these monies used to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the orphan, care for the widows and reach the lost.  Such misuse of the tithe reveals an unjust heart.  It is cheating the needy people of this world.  It means overlooking what is right and just in a world that just staggers under the weight of millions upon millions of people who are in desperate need.
    Love of God - is both the the love He has given us in Christ and the love we are to have for Him and others.  Having experienced God's love, people can then love themselves and others with equal measure.  Knowing that God loves us allows us to then love God back with our entire being, and directs our heart to seek justice for those who are less fortunate than us.  "Let love be without hypocrisy.  Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which good (Romans 12:9)."  "Masters, give to your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that you also have a Master in heaven (Colossians 4:1)."  "Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy (Psalm 82:3)."  "To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice (Proverbs 21:3)."  "Thus spoke the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment and show mercy and compassions every person to their brother: and do not oppress the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against your brothers and sisters in your heart (Zechariah 7:9-10)."

       A third charge laid to the religionists was that they crave prominence and honor.  Jesus pointed out how they loved the most prominent positions and seats.  In the synagogue they sat at the front, facing the congregation.  Do we have any of this behavior going on in our churches today?  Do we suffer from small groups of individuals who seek to be seen and known for their outward works?  The religionists also loved the titles that honored and recognized them.  In Jesus time it was "Rabbi."  Today it is the various titles we give to honor a person above others.  Now, Jesus did not say that position or title is wrong.  It is the love, the craving, of these that is condemned by God.  It requires that we be open with ourselves and search our hearts honestly on a regular basis.

       The fourth charge laid to the religionists was that they were misleading others and made them unclean and corrupt.  Jesus was speaking about how they were teaching others the wrong way to gain acceptance from God.  It was considered an act of uncleanliness to walk over a grave, to do so meant you had become unclean and corrupt.  Jesus was telling these religionists that people were walking by and over them being unaware of the defilement and corruption they were picking up.  The religionists were like graves, as people declared dead and buried, but their graves were unmarked.  People could not look at them and tell that they were misleading people and corrupting them.  It is a case of "dead people walking" and those people who heed what they teach become spiritually dead as well through the deception.  "Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity (Matthew 23:28)."  "Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron (I Timothy 4:1-2)."  "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate (Titus 1:16)."

    That is all for today beloved.  It had been a few weeks since I last posted to my blog and I apologize.  Christian growth classes have been very demanding this year requiring more of my time. I shall try to post again tomorrow and continue this passage where we learn of God's feelings about religionists, both in His day and in ours today.  May you walk in grace, experience peace, and love all people equally.  

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Sat, Dec 7th - 9:49PM

    STUDY IN LUKE



    "And when the people were gathered thickly together, He began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall be no sign given to it except the sign of Jonas the prophet.  For just as Jonas was a sign to the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.  The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.  The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas, and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.  No person, when he/she has lit a candle, puts it in a secret place, neither under a basket, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.  The light of the body is the eye: therefore when your eye is single, your whole body also is full of light; but when your eye is evil, your body is also full of darkness.  Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.  Therefore, if your whole body be full of light, no part of you being dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle does give you light (11:29-36)."

     Signs.  In the last few weeks I have seen people online asking this same question still.  Why doesn't God give us signs today?  If we were shown signs we would believe!  Of course, this is all a pile of hooey, for they would react the same way people did back when Jesus walked the earth and performed miracles as signs.  Here is a huge crowd of people gathering all around Christ Jesus, clamoring for signs from God.  Once they all settled down He began to preach God's Word, and what He had to say was very strong and very pointed.  His generation of people had a serious charge leveled against them.  Why did Jesus identify them all as being "evil"?  Because they were seeking for a sign.

    1. Nothing is wrong with seeking a sign, seeking for some proof that Jesus is who He claims to be.  Nothing wrong with looking for evidence that Jesus is the Son of God.  The problem arises when the point is in seeking more and more evidence.  What greater sign could God have given these people than to reveal Himself to them all?  The greatest sign was to have God stan in the presence of people so that they could see and hear and touch Him.  "And the Word [Jesus Christ] was made flesh, and lived among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.  John bore witness of Him, and cried, saying, This was He of whom I spoke, He that comes after me is preferred before me: for He was before me.  And of His fullness have we all received, and grace for grace (John 1:14-16)." "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show to you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested to us;) that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ (I John 1:1-3)."  

    2. What greater evidence did God need to supply than to come and meet all of the needs of men while in the form of Christ Jesus?  The greatest evidence is seeing Jesus demonstrate the love and power of God by feeding the hungry, by calming both nature and the fear of people, by preaching teaching as no other man has ever done, by healing all manner of sickness and infirmities, by casting out evil spirits, and by raising the dead back to life.  

    3. What greater sign could God give that He was bringing salvation to all of mankind?  God came in person, as the Son of God, as Jesus Christ, to personally save all people.  He came and lived as a man, living a perfect life which secured righteousness for all people, to have Himself die for people, to raise Himself from the dead.  These Jews, and all people since then, are completely unjustified in seeking, in demanding, additional signs.  God gave the greatest sign that could ever be given. Anyone who rejects the signs already given will reject any sign, no matter what the sign might be.  Lack of signs is not mankind's problem.  Our problem is twofold:

    a)  People just do not believe and do not want to believe.  They want to live like they want, to do their own thing.  People want no Lord over them, not One who demands all they are and have.  People's hearts are hard, and they are obstinate in their unbelief.  

    b)  People do not understand the love and the faith of God, in other words, the true religion of God.  They fail to see what God is after and has always been after: faith and love, not signs and works.  God wants people to simply believe and love Him because of who He is and because of what He does for them.  The true religion of God is not a religion of works and signs, but of faith and love in Christ Jesus, His own Son.

     Christ addresses this complaint by stating that the one and only sign will be the sign of Jonah the prophet from back in the Old Testament.  The sign's effect will be to condemn people of this generation, which is evil.  Why?

    1.  This evil generation did not seek out Jesus, the One who knew the truth, the One with all Wisdom.  Christ pointed this out by reminding them all of how Queen of Sheba (II Chronicles 9:1) demonstrated how a person is to seek the truth and how important it is to seek Christ.  She traveled very far to seek out the wisest man that she knew of in order to learn from him all that she could.  She was as diligent and determined as possible in order to reach the source of the wisdom which she sought.  
     a)  She had a long and perilous search.  She had to travel far in her search for truth.
     b)  She had extreme responsibility.  She was a queen with a demanding schedule of duties as the Head of State.  Yet she let nothing stop her search for the truth and for wisdom.
     c)  She had uncertainty in her search.  Her search was a gamble for she could not be absolutely certain that Solomon was as wise in the truth as he was said to be.  Reputations become ex-
         aggerated when spread by word of mouth, and she knew this quite well.  She had no personal invitation to visit Solomon.  Fame often forces people to become inaccessible in order to 
         enhance their fame of being busy and laden with heavy responsibilities and so she had no way of being sure he would even see her nor grant much time to be with her.
     d)  She also had to bear terrible prejudice.  She was a woman in a man's world.  In her day women were nothing more than chattel property, possessed and used by men for their own 
         pleasure as they so desired.

     Christ has stated that this Queen of Sheba will be used as a testimony in the day of judgment.  Her diligence in seeking will stand as a testimony against all who fail to seek after Christ.  Her standard of seeking will leave all others without any excuse.  Despite all odds, this Queen sought out the truth.  Important to us is the fact that Christ Jesus claimed to be greater than Solomon.  He claimed to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He claimed to life itself!  He claimed to be the One whom all people must seek and find or else face eternal condemnation.  

     Since His first Advent, all people are definitely left with no excuse.  The most improbable person (Queen of Sheba) went to the farthest extremes possible to seek after the truth from a mere man, Solomon.  How much more should people be seeking after the truth from the Messiah, Truth Himself, since He came and revealed truth to us?   "And the Word was made flesh, and lived among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth (John 1:14)."  "Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no person comes to the Father, but by Me (John 14:6)."  "Jesus said to him, Have I spent so much time with you, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? he that has seen Me has seen the Father; and how do you say then, Show us the Father?  Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me?  the words that I speak to you are not My words: but the Father that lives in Me, He does the works.  Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me: or else believe Me for the very works sake (John 14:9-11)."  "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (I Timothy 2:5)."  "And for this cause He is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15)."  

     This evil generation did not repent with Jesus' preaching.  We are left with the teaching that an entire generation can be adulterous and wicked, so wicked that it's life style and dominant character can be called "evil and adulterous." (Matthew 12:39).  The Ninevites gave a prime example of repentance and just how essential this is.  Each person must repent or else be condemned by their  own rejection of the truth.  There is a day of judgment out in the future, inexorably approaching us.  The Ninevites are the example of people turning from the depravity of sin back towards God.  They had fallen into the pit of sin, yet they heard the Word of God from the mouth of Jonah and repented.  Thus, their repentance leaves all of us without any excuse.  They have shown that anyone can turn back to God from sin no matter how terrible the sin is.  There are no valid excuses for not turning back to God.  

     The resurrection of Christ Jesus is to be a clearly seen sign.  It is as clearly seen as a brightly lit candle.  The facts about candles are plain.  A lit candle is not hidden from sight, nor is it placed under neath objects to hide its light from being seen.  A candle is lit and placed up where it will give maximum light so that people can see in the darkness.  Jesus Christ stated that just as a lit candle, the resurrection would not be done in secret nor would it be a secret.  His resurrection would be accomplished openly and publicly, so that all who were to come into the kingdom of heaven might see the light and be convinced that Jesus was the true Messiah.   Each person is given the choice of seeing the resurrection with a healthy eye or a diseased eye.  The healthy eye is the single eye, it concentrates on seeing the light, the way of God and righteousness.  The diseased eye is the evil eye, the eye which centers on the world and material things, the flesh and passion, pleasures and stimulation, self and wealth.  The resurrection of Christ from death in the tomb was dramatic, it was not secret, it was not done by slight of hand, it was not hidden from observation.  Just as a candle casts light all around itself, Christ's resurrection casts divine light in all directions from itself, revealing all things in truth.  Nothing remains hidden in the light of the resurrection.  The only conceivable thing that can prevent someone from seeing it is an unhealthy or evil eye.  And an evil eye forces the entire body to be full of darkness, full of evil and death.  

     We are given a warning in this passage: Beware of a diseased eye, of a body full of darkness.  Each person thinks that they seek light and have light, sees the truth and has truth.  Every one thinks that what they see (believe) and embrace is the truth.  Instead, we all are to make sure that what we see is seen with a healthy eye.  We are to make sure that what is in us is light and not darkness.  The resurrection of Christ is the light of God.  Seeing any other light or truth is darkness.  God gives us a promise too: a healthy eye will give fantastic light for it will have seen the resurrection and has not allowed any part of darkness to enter into the person.  Doing these things, then the person's whole being shall be full of light.  Jesus Christ is the light of the world; He is the Light to which people must open the door of their dark hearts.  He is the light which people must take into their sinful lives and world of darkness in order to reveal to themselves the true nature of their being.  Only this way can the transformation begin inside of the hearts of people, one at a time.  

    That is all for today, beloved!  Next time I will write about the harsh charges brought against religionists.  I pray that the wintry weather tonight into the day on Sunday will not be able to deter the holding of worship services across the Eastern seaboard.  I fear that it will for many of us, but I am praying that it will bypass this entire area.  Grace and peace be with you all.  

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Tue, Dec 3rd - 10:17PM

    STUDY IN LUKE



    "He that is not with Me is against Me: and he that does not gather with Me scatters.  When the unclean spirit is gone out of a person, he walks through dry places, seeking rest; and not finding any, he says, I will return to my house where I came out. And when he comes, he finds it swept and garnished.  Then he goes, and takes to himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first. And it came to pass, as He spoke these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said to Him, Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts that You have nursed upon.  But He said, Yes rather, blessed are they that hear the Word of God, and keep it (11:23-28)."

       Christ Jesus claimed to be the pivotal/decisive figure of history.  Gathering and scattering are things that a shepherd does each day with his flock. The illustration is used to point out to us that each person who does not stand with Christ does not gather, but scatters the flock.  Where a person stands relative to Christ determines the success and impact of his/her life.  Christ is the only figure who determines a person's destiny.  There is no neutrality with Christ, either you are with Him or against Him.  You either fight against evil/wickedness or against righteousness, either fight for the kingdom of God or for the kingdom of evil.  It is virtually impossible to stand still, for standing still is doing nothing for God.  To remain neutral is to work for evil by allowing evil to continue and to grow without any opposition.  A silent voice is a voice for evil.  Bear in mind these Scriptures:  "A double minded person is unstable in all their ways (James 1:8)."  "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  You can't serve God and mammon (Luke 16:13)."  "See, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil (Deuteronomy 30:15)."  "And Elijah came to all the people, and said, How long do you stop between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him.  And the people answered him not a word (I Kings 18:21)."  "They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from there (II Kings 17:33)."

       In verses 24-26 I see an illustration given concerning an empty house.  Christ stated that a person must turn away from self-reformation to Him and be infilled with His very presence.  Several things are to be noted in this part of the test passage.  What happens when an evil spirit is cast out of a person?  It roams restlessly, seeking a new home to dwell within.  After unsuccessfully locating another person in which to dwell, the evil spirit decides to return to the original person it inhabited, only to discover that the person has been "cleaned up."  Their life isn't as messy as it once was.  So the evil spirit goes and finds seven other spirits more wicked than itself, returns to the original person, and they all possess the person.  It is insufficient to simply cast out an evil spirit from a person.  A vacuum has been created within the individual that must be filled with something else.  If nothing "good" fills this vacuum, then the evil spirit will return in time to gladly fill the vacuum.  Evil spirits enjoy possessing people, making them do their will, making them act against God and His church.  

       This all reflects what happens when a person attempts to reform themselves and "clean up" their life by turning over a new leaf.  But we must pay attention to what the end results of such attempts to change our lives actually is.  The evil spirit returns,  bringing with it even more evil spirits.  Instead of filling the vacuum with God's Word, with spiritual righteousness gained from Christ, emptiness remained within the person providing no valid defense against spiritual attack by unclean spirits.  The "house" was swept and clean, well furnished, but was not occupied by anything to prevent an invasion of evil.  So, what happens when evil spirits return and find our "house" spiritually empty and unoccupied by Christ Jesus?  Evil sweeps in like a tsunami, crushing any personal defenses that may be erected hastily.  The person is re-possessed and returns to even greater indulgences of a carnal nature than before.  More evil comes with the return, causing the person to sin even more terribly than ever before, seeking to destroy themselves in the process.  The person is forced to accept the indwelling of the evil spirits.  Here is illustrated the importance of becoming infilled with the Spirit of Christ Jesus, for it is not a reformation or changing of the external person, but it is a transformation or regeneration of a person's heart.  It is the filling of the human heart, and of society, with Christ Himself.  What follows this are acts of Christian love and care for others.  This is how society gets transformed for the betterment of mankind, not through political activism.  

       What then is necessary?  To hear the Word of God and to keep it.  Luke is the only Gospel writer to mention this particular incident.  Some woman following Christ is deeply touched by His teaching and healing and very presence.  She blurts out that a woman who could give birth to Christ was to be blessed.  But Jesus retorted by saying, Blessed are all of those people who hear the Word of God and keep it!  He did not deny that Mary was blessed for having carried Him to full term.  He simply pointed out that the greater blessing comes to those who hear and keep God's Word.  Again, some verses to ponder along these lines:  "But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues in it, he not being a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed (James 1:25)."  "Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they might right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates to the city (Revelation 22:14)."  "Now therefore, if you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure to Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine (Exodus 19:5)."

       That is all for today beloved.  Next time I shall look at what Jesus said concerning providing signs for the people.  What was to be the only sign to prove that Jesus was the Messiah?  That is next time.  Grace and peace be yours today.  Choose to walk in the paths of righteousness provided only by the grace of Christ Jesus.  Seek to become workers of reconciliation and peacemaking in this world filled with darkness, prejudice, selfishness, and hatred of those who are different.  Choose to fight the good fight, do not engage in heated words of debate and argument.  Study to show that you are worthy to be called a disciple of Christ Jesus.  May the Holy Spirit light your path through life.

    ~Eric


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    About Me

    Name: Eric Rajaniemi
    ChristiansUnite ID: ejroyal
    Member Since: 2007-09-08
    Location: Bedford, Virginia, United States
    Denomination: Born-again, Church of the Brethren
    About Me: I refrain from any denomination as much as possible since my faith has to do with Jesus Christ and not denominations. My wife and I are charter members of Lake Side Church of the Brethren for they desire to follow the New Testament precepts. We hav... more

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