The Good Life!

What’s wrong with “the good life?” Isn’t God glorified in my success?

This would mean that the seed He plants is designed produce material wealth. The truth is: what we call “the good life” is really a slow death with decaying things. The real “good life” begins with seed that produces everlasting things, which don’t decay. (Once we forget Genesis 3 our thinking has erred.)

“And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. –Luke 8:7‭, ‬10‭-‬11‭, ‬14 KJV

“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 passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
1 John 2:15‭-‬17 KJV


 

Pray For Me

Everybody needs prayer, as a matter of fact we should always pray for each other.
 
But, some ministries put their disciples in a constant posture of needing prayer for the wrong things. It’s like always being hungry for fulfillment and never, never being satisfied.
 
With these ministries focusing on fleshly needs every week, they are feeding the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, “which are not of the father but of the world.”
 
While Jesus said the quote below: they (the flock) are constantly led to focus on the exact things Jesus said not to give a thought to.
 
“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. —Matthew 6:31‭-‬34 KJV
 
Because these ministries see it necessary to stir up the fleshly desires the world lusts for, their members become dissatisfied babes, constantly craving more things, and a better life here on earth. Their disciples are spiritually unstable and powerless because they are constantly entangled in worldly cares.
 
(I went to see T.D. Jakes at a church where you can find “your best life now”, and he asks all who are in desperate need to come down close to the alter. Half the church got up (3,000+ ??.) The medicine ain’t working, it’s causing more sickness!)
 
Jesus said, our care, cravings, and affections, should be for heaven–spiritual things. Sounds to me like, mastering, and memorizing the word of God might be one of those things to care about? Thirst and hunger for God’s food and water! DRINK and FEAST! If we need to know what seeking heaven means.
 
There are even promises attached to this task:
 
“Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation. –Psalms 91:14‭-‬16 KJV
 
Chronic sickness is not normal when you know the Great Physician. 
Mat 11:28  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Ask of God, ask in Faith; James 1:6

Been wrestling with James 1 since a Bible study a couple of weeks ago. Because James ask us to do the impossible to “count it all joy when we fall into all kinds of soul trying situations.”

What I want to focus on is the If any man lacks wisdom let him ask of God in faith and no doubting because the man that waivers is double minded and should not expect anything from God.

What I’ve come to understand is that it’s not that we don’t ask from God, it is that WE DON’T BELIEVE THAT HE CAN answer our prayer. We are prone to focus on the problem the difficulty and doubt that God is even able to do what we request, and the possibility that he is unwilling to answer our prayer for whatever reason mixes in.

For example because we are insignificant, or unworthy, our wants are unimportant distractions to God, or we are asking with the wrong motives, have lack of information on exactly what we should be praying about, or doubt God is even willing to answer our prayer. So the thought of his unwillingness in our minds clouds or interferes with our faith in his ability to answer our prayers. James is saying DON’T DOUBT THAT GOD IS ABLE if he is willing to answer our prayer!

So, when we make a request we should not doubt that HE IS ABLE to answer that request.

So we see the kid David going out to kill Goliath,  Daniel in the lion’s den, and his 3 friends

” If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods…Daniel 3:17‭-‬18

We see the woman with the issue of blood, the Centurion Soldier with the dying child: ” just speak the word and my child will be healed”, all come to Jesus WITHOUT A DOUBT that he was ABLE to do the miracle they needed in their life. They wanted a miracle and didn’t doubt. We ask for smaller things and doubt God’s ability to give them to us.

So James is saying to us have that same type of faith in God’s ABILITY to answer the request, and do the thing we come to him in prayer with. In this case asking for wisdom to count up all tribulation in our life to JOY because:

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.-James 1:2‭-‬8 KJV

It is evil to limit God’s power in our heart while facing him in prayer, or give up on our requests because we faint and doubt. This child belongs to another father, not our Father in heaven who has demonstrated his all powerful abilities. Read all of James 1.

But the one doubting…he has been condemned, because it is not of faith; and whatever is not of faith is sin.—Rom 14:23

“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Luke 18:1 KJV

disasters?

God of Disasters?

First, we must keep perspective: that this life ends in death for everyone (nobody escapes). So, God’s concern is what happens to us in the end at the great judgment day.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? —Mark 8:36‭-‬37 KJV

Why?

1People are stubborn to repent; even the chosen must be coerced to abandon evil, the world system, and their own lusts to love and pursue God. (Remember, we are created in God’s image to glorify him–sin is the opposite if that glory.)

Psa 34:6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

Psa 119:67, Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. (also read 2Peter 3)

Heb 12:1,  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

2. Judgment upon the wicked to punish, and prevent them from perpetrating more evil against their fellow man. (See the plagues against Egypt in Exodus 7)

Rev 9:20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

3. Training in patience and other spiritual virtues for the children of God (see Heb. 11 & 12)

Rom 5:3-5, And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Rev 3:10, Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Thayer: keep: to attend to carefully, take care of.

Strong:To keep eye upon.

VWS: Not the words which Christ has spoken concerning patience, but the word of Christ which requires patience to keep it; the gospel which teaches the need o£ a patient waiting for Christ. On patience, see on 2Pe_1:6; see on Jam_5:7.

My note: There is no promise to keep Christians “away from, or out of” the tribulation which will come on the world. The promise is to watch over or keep an eye on believers during this season, to assure their hope and salvation.

Jas 5:7, Be patient [longsuffering, patiencs that outlasts all trials] therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord [our harvest]. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

Barclay: “The early rain was the rain of late October and early November without which the seed would not germinate. The late rain was the rain of April and May without which the grain would not mature. The farmer needs patience to wait until nature does her work;…”

My note: The focus of James’ letter is on the birth and maturity of the sons of God. No one likes rain, because it hides the sun and all of its enjoyments. However, in this world it is necessary for life; seeds to take root, and to assure their maturity and ultimate “precious fruit”.

The Saints understand this and are therefore patient (long-suffering) during strategic periods of rain. James goes on and gives numerous examples from Bible history.

  • I believe the “husbandman” James refers to, symbolizes God as he allows trials (rain) to germinate the seed of faith in new believers (early rain), and strengthen (deepen the roots of) mature believers latter in the their spiritual life, outlasting trials (latter rain,) to bear proper fruit in its season.
  • The “husbandman” is also a symbol for believers own patience:
    “Rom 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us. “

Luk 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted [recovered], strengthen thy brethren.

A Lover’s Last Will and Testament

These days marriage is mostly seen as similar to a business partnership. In the Bible and real life, it is a Covenant. (This is true whether we know it or not.)

Marriage is a Covenant ordained by God in the garden of Eden when he made Eve for Adam, and had plans for many children.

Hebrews tells us a covenant is the same thing as a Last Will and Testament. “For where a testament (covenant) is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.–Hebrews 9:16‭-‬17 KJV

If we know anything about the consummation of marriage, the blood Covenant of marriage sees the death of both the INDIVIDUAL man and woman as “the two become one flesh”. In that way, marriage becomes The Last Will and Testament for those two lovers—incomplete without the other. The Will is a union much stronger and more beneficial than either individual. The Testament/Covenant is the promise, after the death, to fuse, be consumed up, super glued into a New One/entity.

Mat 19:5 And He said, “For this reason a man shall leave father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Gen. 2:24) So that they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what GOD HAS JOINED together, let not man separate.

Misunderstanding this truth, in this era of selfish gratification, or being ignorant of this law, has caused an epidemic of emotional and psychological malfunction, as divorce has become as normal as marriage itself, and sexual unions have mutated into something unnatural and unmanageable in a healthy way. We as a culture are attempting things which are not meant to exist and cannot peacefully exist.

(Divorce has its place in our sinful world [Jer. 3, 1Cor. 7], but it should be a hard place.)

“We don’t make to rules on planet earth, we find them and obey them. Or suffer the consequences.”

There’s more to this story…

The Power of God in Us: hyperbole or some kind of mind game?

2Pe 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature…

If God used power to give these things to us, where are they? Where are these powerful precious possessions? “I don’t have them in my possession–is this idea just hyperbole or some kind of mind game?”
 
No! you do have them, they are in your Bible. They are contained in knowledge.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
The word of God is a treasure chest of powerful nutrients which renew the man and transform the soul.
1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
The word of God is everlasting nutrition. The changes it effects in the person last forever.
 
We are to learn it and learn it right:
2Ti 2:15 Be eager [or, diligent] to present yourself approved to God [as] a worker with no need to be ashamed, cutting straight [fig., teaching accurately; or, interpreting correctly] the word of truth. ALT
The TRUTH (no lie), The Whole TRUTH (nothing held back), And Nothing But The TRUTH (nothing added)
Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
Psa 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Psa 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Psa 1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
Psa 1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
Psa 1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

God’s Recipe for Reaching Your Full Potential

 

2Pe 1:1-9  Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

First of all we notice that this is a recipe by which a final product is produced. One ingredient is added to another and when complete the desired product is created. There is addition and multiplication and a final Total.

The FINAL PRODUCT IS FULL KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

GOD”S PART the powerful raw ingredients:

  • vv 1-2 Grace and Peace multiplied through the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord, upon which our faith rests.
  • v. 3 his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called [summoned] us to glory and virtue
  • v.4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature [one of God’s purposes for giving us everything mentioned above], having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

God has given us (for our possession) grace and peace, all things that pertain to life and godliness, exceeding great and precious promises by which we can have share of God’s nature. And escape the corruption in the world. This is God’s purpose/plan for saving us, and he used his power (v.3) to make sure it happens.This is not a wish!

We can see that God himself has given us everything necessary to produce the final product.

Our Part, the Cooking:

2Pe 1:5  And beside this, giving all diligence [stay busy producing what God intends],

add to your faith [faith received by lot (grace) in verse 1] virtue [vigor, energy, likely the utilization of God’s power in v.3. “Put on the whole armor!”}; and to virtue knowledge [intelligence, understanding]; And to knowledge temperance [self-control opposed to instinct driven impulsive behavior]; and to temperance patience [brave waiting, endurance]; and to patience godliness [god likeness, behavior designed to please God, like he intended when he made Adam and Eve]; 

2Pe 1:7  And to godliness brotherly kindness [Philadelphia; genuinely loving fellow Christians because they are cherished by you.]; and to brotherly kindness charity [Agape; loving others because they are God’s valuable creation.]

We can see in the text, all of these virtues come from their own level of KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST OUR LORD. These are the “all things which pertain to life and godliness” in verse 3. God has given us these virtues through the knowledge of Himself and Jesus our Lord. Remember we are, in this Christian life, learning every day who Jesus is as our Lord/ruler/king/manager etc.  Each of these ingredients, when added to our lives, gives us a greater experiential knowledge of who our Lord is to us and in this universe.

We add each of these virtues because we receive KNOWLEDGE of their value to us in his word, the Bible. In that way virtue is seen and taken hold of, first through knowledge. (No wonder God gave us his written Word!)

So, these virtues can produce a full knowledge of Jesus Christ because each one when added is a measure of experiential knowledge of the Lord Jesus.

2Pe 1:8  For if these things be in you, and abound [multiply. This is the other math in this recipe, it’s multiplication. v2 tells us God has already solved this equation, he’s the multiplier.],

they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

[God’s intended transformation is realized—FULL EXPERIENCIAL KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. We were born to be like him, and through experiencing him in every aspect of our life, through the knowledge and direction of scripture, we gain a full knowledge of him.]

2Pe 1:9  But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten [taken hold of forgetfulness] that he was purged from his old sins. 

The Knowledge described in this passage is knowledge gained through perception/spiritual sight; this knowledge is seen and acquired in the words and promises of the gospel and scripture, believed in faith, and embraced. The person who lacks the added virtues is blind to them, he cannot see the promises and hope to which the gospel points, so he has no way to value them enough to “give all diligence and add…” He like those in the parable of the sower, “received the word of the gospel with joy”, but that’s as far as his eyes could see, so he is barren and unfruitful in the true FULL knowledge of the Lord Jesus. In fact he has even left behind (forgotten) that he was purged from his old sins. Thus he can add nothing to what he has left behind.

Peter will not let his readers take FORGETFULNESS:

2Pe 1:10,15  Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in REMEMBRANCE of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in REMEMBRANCE; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in REMEMBRANCE.

This passage is an amazing promise and detailed, step by step recipe for experiencing a full knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord in this life.

There is addition and multiplication and a final Total. The FINAL PRODUCT IS FULL KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

Think about finishing the whole chapter and letter.

What’s in a name? Paul

“Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Spirit….,”

Acts 13:9 KJV, From this time forward Saul is called by the name Paul in scripture.

Observations:
Hebrew names are not sacred as some imagine: Saul is a Hebrew name, and it was discarded. Paul is a Roman name with a totally different meaning, and became his identity.

In the OT Hebrew names were changed to Gentile names by Kings like Nebuchadnezzar to erase Hebrew religious identity. Was this also God’s intention with Paul?

“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5

Paul means small. Could the name describe his unimpressive stature?

2 Cor.10:10  “because the letters indeed–saith one– are weighty and strong, and the bodily presence weak, and the speech.”

Or his spiritual posture among the saints and before the Lord?

2 Corinthians 10:1  And I, Paul, myself, do call upon you–through the meekness and gentleness of the Christ–who in presence, indeed am humble among you, and being absent, have courage.

My friend the meaning of the name is important, not the language spoken.

The Lord of Hosts and the Battle for Faith

Deu 33:24 Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be. There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, WHO RIDETH UPON THE HEAVEN IN THY HELP, AND IN HIS EXCELLENCY ON THE SKY.

God is our defender ready to go to BATTLE on behalf of those who are upright and trust Him! This is a symbol of WAR!

We never raise your arms in surrender, because we know who is on our side!

WHAT WAR? We’re at peace!

THE MOST IMPORTANT fight on planet earth is a fight for FAITH, the battle to prove the promises and faithfulness of God!

Faith is a verb! Because it is active, constantly alive, it is being met by opposing forces in this world. Faith is never at rest on this earth–“there is no discharge, [furlough, recess, sabbatical, vacation] in this war.”

Faith begins its life with persuasion and CONTINUES with action. This is how “the just live by faith: from faith as a source, to faith as a destination”. (Rom. 1:17) Faith is our road map, the precious cargo, without which the journey and destination are not only impossible, but invisible. The prize, the hope, the resurrection to life is never lost sight of, especially as we don’t know when our tour of duty will be over.

The Clear Path Marked

The testimony, life, death and resurrection of the human being Jesus, changed everything on planet earth. Being persuaded of this fact overcomes the pressure, the assault from the world on the mind and affections to love and trust worthless, temporal decaying earthly things.

1Jn 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth (trust, to be persuaded) that Jesus is the Son of God?

 

Eph 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand…
Luk 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy FAITH fail not: and when thou art converted (turn back), strengthen thy brethren.

The GREATEST fight on planet earth is a fight for FAITH, keeping in focus the things God has revealed in his word! GOD  (the LORD of Hosts) IS Our Helper and Defender!