Legalism or Loving Obedience?

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I received an email yesterday morning from a Christian sister in back home affiliated with a church my mother and I had attended until we were convicted of certain truths in God’s word that made it impossible for us to remain in the church. I love this sister, and other brothers and sisters in that church, and others we attended while on our quest to find a church that taught strictly Bible truth, including prophecy, and not one lukewarm and watered down by the teachings and traditions of man. At this church, we reached an impasse on God’s law, specifically His Ten Commandments, but also on the state of the dead, hell and prophecy, which I will address in other posts. This is the email I received from her and my response, which is timely because I wanted to write a post on this subject. I would love to hear from others Christians concerning your thoughts on the need to obey our Lord.

“Greetings, Ellen! I hope this message finds you and Jean well. It has been a long time, and I have been thinking about both of you. Are you still of the same beliefs — the legalism? God is definitely on the move! Things are happening and we should all be shouting the Gospel from our rooftops. No, no one is doing that, but it feels like we should. Prophecies are falling into place. I sincerely hope that you write back and let me know how Florida is treating you and Mom.”

My response, expanded upon a bit for this post:

“Dear Sister … So good to hear from you. I pray all is well with you. Jean and I have been incredibly blessed in our move to Vero (which interestingly means truth) Beach. Our new Church family is as dear, Bible loving and spirit filled as our Beverly Church family — who we still stay in regular communication with.

I’m not sure what your question means — the legalism. If you are referring to our keeping the ten commandments, as Jesus did and commanded us to do (“If you love me, keep my commandments” John 14:15, “And by this we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” 1 John 2:3, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” 1 John 3:22, etc., etc.), then yes, of course we are. He put His laws into my heart, and in my mind He has written them; I can do nothing else. Now, as we near the end, is no time to be found in rebellion against God, as far too many professed Christians are as they blithely go down the wide road to destruction feeling quite comfortable remaining in their sin, as Jesus warned they would.

Satan is wroth and will do everything in his power to destroy the remnant church (“which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17). The “testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”, which so many Christians are blatantly turning their backs on in this time, in addition to the commandments of God. Since the three angels messages of Revelation 14 were made clear to me — becoming a heavy burden that God has placed on my heart for the souls of many — sharing that has become my soul’s primary purpose. There is nothing more important for people to understand now, before it is too late and they have chosen to worship the beast and accept his mark rather than receive the seal of God.

Revelation 14:12 in particular speaks very loudly about where we should be at this time: “Here is the patience (perserverence) of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” This is a much higher standard than many Christians believe they can slide by on. In addition to keeping the commandments, we are not called to a simple childlike faith in Jesus, but to the mature Christian faith of Jesus, which is what we are going to need to get through the soon coming time of tribulation. Jesus will lead us through the tribulation, just as he led Daniel through the lion’s den, and Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego through the fiery furnace, protected the Israelites through the last seven plagues in Egypt, brought them through the Red Sea, and nourished them through forty years in the wilderness ; but we need the faith of Jesus to not fall away before He is able to protect us and lead us through to His appearing. We need to be having our own Gethsemane experiences of prayer, pure devotion and affliction to be strengthened to that level in our faith.

Satan is doing everything in his power to cause as many as possible to fall away before that Great Day. We are told in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 ”that day (the Appearing) shall not come except there come a falling away first, and the son of perdition be revealed”. Satan has been so effective, as Jesus said he would be, in deceiving the whole world and if possible, even the very elect. There are many Christians who will sadly find themselves waking up to the wrong resurrection.

Jesus was talking to us in Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” and 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” These are the ones who do not keep the law — the lawless ones, the workers of iniquity, the ones who rebelliously refuse to keep His commandments (sin is transgression of the law), calling themselves Christians — “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:” 2 Timothy 3:5.

Where do people think all those do good, feel good, say good emergent, spiritualistic, jibber jabbering, worldly, preaching another Jesus, prosperity teaching mega church pastors are leading all their followers? Does that look like a narrow gate, or a broad way? Christians today are not kneeling at the cross of Jesus in repentance, begging God’s forgiveness through His blood, and asking for the power of the Holy Spirit to work through them to do His will not their own on a daily basis, surrendering all to Him. That is what we need to be doing every day — forsaking the world and following Him and Him alone. Our redemption draws neigh — we should be looking up to Him, not to the fallen world around us.

So, if you consider that legalistic, then yes, I am still legalistic and have no intention of changing, because I believe Jesus when he said: “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17. I also know that “With God all things are possible” and “Christ in me, the hope of glory”, so it is possible through the power of His spirit working in me to keep them and sin not, and because I love Him — he suffered, bled and died to redeem me from the pit, from eternal destruction — that is my greatest desire, which desire is not even my own but of the Holy Spirit. We can never be saved by keeping the Commandments, but our desire to keep them evidences that we are saved; that we love our Lord and will do whatever He asks us to do by the working of His Spirit in us. I also know: “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” Hebrews 10:26-27. I have no interest in being an adversary of God because of my pride and selfishness. I would much rather surrender all, and trust and follow Jesus in obedience, as He said we must do.

Remember Mathew 5:18, where Jesus clearly tells us “For verily (truly) I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled (realized, brought to completion).” This obviously can’t happen until the end in Revelation 20 when Satan and all those not written in the book of life are cast into the lake of fire, heaven and earth are consumed (all sin and iniquity is utterly and forever destroyed) and then occurs Revelation 21:1 “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away …” At that point sin is no more and all that remains are the righteous redeemed of Christ — we who have become like unto Him.

“Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” Romans 6:4-6. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29. “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.” Romans 12:2.

We need to daily do as Paul admonished us: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” 2 Corinthians 13:5. Never forget, we can be disqualified, blotted out of the book of life (Revelation 3:5), and in unwitting rebellion accept the mark of the beast, which leads straight to the lake of fire — do not pass go, do not collect $200 (Revelation 14:9-10). To the glory of God, are we exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit in our lives in ever increasing ways? God’s purpose for us is nothing less than Christlikeness. We should all daily pray our own version of the Prayer of Saint Richard of Chichester:

“Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits thou hast given me, for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me. O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly, day by day. Amen.”

Do we put first this command of Jesus: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). If we are to love God completely, it will involve our whole being — our intellect, our emotions, and our will. The better we come to know God by spending time studying His word (“may we know Thee more clearly”), the more we will love Him (“love Thee more dearly”). And the more we love Him, the greater our willingness to trust and obey Him in the things He calls us to do (“follow Thee more nearly”). That should be our greatest desire for every day we are given here.

Much love your way, and prayers that your eyes and ears will be opened. As Jesus said: “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Rev. 2:29. Time is short. Love, Ellen

This is a great, very short video that punctuates this post, entitled “Jesus said it, Christians hate it”. This young man is not afraid to speak truth.

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Amazing Facts about Our Eyes

eye lense

An Amazing Fact: To simulate one-hundredth of a second of the complete processing of even a single nerve cell from the human eye requires several minutes of processing time on a supercomputer. The human eye has 10 million or more such cells constantly interacting with each other in complex ways. This means it would take a minimum of 100 years of supercomputer processing to simulate what takes place in your eye many times every second.

The visual cortex is the part of the brain that processes visual information. It is located in the occipital lobe in the back of the brain. Though computers are getting faster, there is still a level of complexity in processing that doesn’t even come close to the fascinating combination of input from the retina into the visual cortex. The average number of neurons in an adult’s primary visual cortex in each hemisphere is estimated at 140 million. In reality, your eye does not see; it is your brain that “sees!”

Let’s think for a moment about the partnership of the brain and the eye. This helps us understand just how intricate these two organs work together. The brain receives images from both retinas, combines these two pictures, calculates depth of field, recognizes lines and boundaries, analyzes color, determines luminosity, controls the pupil’s diameter, controls eye movement with muscles, reassembles all the pieces into a visual image that is then compared with visual memory, reverses the upside-down image, and even fills in blank spots to make sense of the picture!

As one studies the details of eye/brain function, it affirms the role of a Great Designer in the creation of vision. It would seem utterly impossible to imagine all of these pieces and processes randomly coming together by chance and working. Thank God for our eyesight!

This same loving Creator sees you. “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous” (1 Peter 3:12). Isn’t it good to know that we are watched by One who can see all things?

KEY BIBLE TEXTS
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Psalms 32:8

https://www.amazingfacts.org/bible-study

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Revelation: The Bride, The Beast & Babylon

An excellent movie for those who desire to understand end time prophecy, especially the book of Revelation, which Jesus tells us clearly from the start: “Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Revelation 1:3. The time is at hand, we are the remnant church, and all must clearly understand these teachings to avoid the terrible admonishment in Revelation 14:9-10: “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.'” There are many professed Christians who will worship the beast and receive his mark because they refused to listen to the warnings Jesus has given us for this time.

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God Doesn’t Believe in Atheists

This is incredibly funny. Whether you are a believer or an atheist, it is worth watching — unless you are a believer or an atheist with no sense of humor. We all need a good laugh these days.

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Have you ever wondered what a church full of Pharisees would be like? 

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Have you ever wondered what a church full of Pharisees would be like?

(Adrian Rogers)

1. They would all attend every service.
2. They would all tithe.
3. They would all work in the church.
4. They would all go to Hell!

“Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!” Matthew 23:15 

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http://www.gracegems.org/

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A Proper Focus

A truly beautiful, God centered, bipartisan report on Trump’s State of the Union address, with a proper focus on the President of the Universe, by Steve Wohlberg at White Horse Media (very brief, only 6 minutes or so, but powerful). I did not see the State of the Union address, or listen to any media coverage of it, and I am truly grateful I waited to listen to this.

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Are you a Stony Ground Hearer?

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Are you a stony ground hearer? Are you a true or false convert? Have you fallen away from the faith?

We are told to test ourselves and examine our fruits. “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” Matthew 7:15-18.

We need to honestly examine ourselves to ensure that we are bearing good fruit, especially in these days of great apostasy and false teaching in the church, intended to lead as many astray as possible before the soon coming Day of the Lord. (“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10 and “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Do we exhibit repentance, thankfulness, good works and obedience (keeping His commandments, as an expression of love and gratitude to our Lord — “If you love me, keep My Commandments.” John 14:15 — not a self-centered idolatrous attempt at salvation, which is only by God’s grace through faith in Jesus alone and not of works, lest anyone should boast), the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance), and the fruit of righteousness (”being filled with the fruit of righteousness, that is through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God”)?

Are we running the risk of having these dreadful words directed at us?: “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” Matthew 7:22-23

Are we being led by the Spirit or by the flesh? “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. ” Galatians 5:19-21.

Can we look into ourselves and say, like Isaiah: “And I say, `Woe to me, for I have been silent, For a man — unclean of lips [am] I, And in midst of a people unclean of lips I am dwelling, Because the King, Jehovah of Hosts, have my eyes seen.’ And flee unto me doth one of the seraphs, and in his hand a burning coal, (with tongs he hath taken [it] from off the altar,) and he striketh against my mouth, and saith: `Lo, this hath stricken against thy lips, And turned aside is thine iniquity, And thy sin is covered.’ And I hear the voice of the Lord, saying: `Whom do I send? and who doth go for Us?’ And I say, `Here [am] I, send me.’” Isaiah 6:5-8 Young’s Literal Translation (YLT).

I particularly like Young’s Literal Translation of this scripture because Isaiah says: “for I have been silent…”, and I believe this is the sin of many Christians in these end times — we are being silent, when we should be shouting the Gospel from the rooftops. There are too many headed for the judgement of condemnation and the second death in the lake of fire. Our heart should be heavy and burdened for them such that we cannot keep silent. We cannot say that we love our neighbors as ourselves if we would allow them to race headlong into God’s judgment and condemnation without making sure they know there is another way, and that way is Jesus. Could we watch a neighbor’s house burn knowing they and their family were inside without doing everything in our power to warn them and save them from burning to death? We should be as, if not more, burdened for their eternal salvation. As Charles Spurgeon said: “Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you’re not saved yourself, be sure of that!” Spurgeon speaks truth, and the silence of so many professed Christians today begs these questions be honestly looked into and answered. Am I a stony ground hearer? Am I a true or false convert? Have I fallen away from the faith?

Listen to this teaching, looking honestly at yourself to see whether you are truly in the faith.

Mark 4:3-8, 13 “Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:  And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.  And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.

And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

Something we should ask regularly. We tend to turn a blind eye to our own rebellion and sin. Job 13:23 “How many are my iniquities and sins? Make known to me my rebellion and my sin.

Psalm 119:59 I considered my ways And turned my feet to Your testimonies.

Jeremiah 31:19 ‘For after I turned back, I repented; And after I was instructed, I smote on my thigh; I was ashamed and also humiliated Because I bore the reproach of my youth.’

Lamentations 3:40 Let us examine and probe our ways, And let us return to the LORD.

Haggai 1:5-7 Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, “Consider your ways!

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Matthew 7:5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

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Do you see yourself as being good?

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Do you see yourself as being good?

Most would probably say that they are basically good people who make mistakes, like everyone – not perfect, but better than many, and certainly better than those Liberals/Conservatives/Democrats/Republicans/Blacks/Whites/Hispanics/Muslims/ Catholics/Protestants/Christians/Atheists/LGBTs/Homophobes/ Terrorists/Fill in your blank.

Where do you think you will go when you die?

Most people, if they believe in an afterlife, expect to go to Heaven or some variation thereof, because they see themselves as good people. Few people consider themselves worthy of the Lake of Fire and eternal destruction, and many today refuse to even acknowledge the existence of Satan, which was his plan and makes him very happy. Evil pervades much more effectively when people refuse to acknowledge it. The problem is that most people judge themselves good according to the fallen world’s standard of good and acceptable behavior, and by comparing themselves against other imperfect people.

The Bible tells us: “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” “Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law [the Ten Commandments].” And “The wages of sin is death.” The purpose of the law is to show us our sinfulness, our rebellion and transgression against our just, perfect and Holy Creator; and our need of a savior. God’s Law is perfect, holy, just and good. God is perfect, holy, just and good. The Law represents the character of God. God said “be holy for I Am Holy.” “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:27-28

Whether we say we believe in God or not, we will all stand before Him on His Righteous Judgment Day, when He will judge each of us according to His Holy Law, the Ten Commandments, which every one of us has broken. And those who think they have done well, keep in mind: “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:9. In case you don’t know or remember the Ten Commandments, they are (Exodus 20:3-17):

1. You shall have no other gods before Me. (This includes ourselves, other people, and those lovey dovey fairy godmother goddess imaginings some people have.)

2. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. (An idol is anything that takes our focus and reliance off of God. John Calvin said, “Man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.” Those who bow down and worship statues of Mary, Joseph, Peter or other Apostles, Buddha, altars, crosses, beads, flags, golden calves are obvious; but also those who worship actors, musicians, sports figures, religious leaders, politicians, business leaders, nationalism, wealth, guns, cars, clothing/fashion – such are also guilty of idolatry. America is so ingrained in idolatry, we even have a tv show called “American Idol.”).

3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. (Who today has never said OMG, if not worse – we are guilty of blasphemy.)

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. (This is the only commandment that begins with “Remember”, and it is the one most people forget, or don’t keep on the day or the way God has commanded – most are guilty of breaking the 4th commandment.)

5. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. (This is the only commandment with a blessing attached to it.)

6. You shall not murder. (Jesus said: “Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”)

7. You shall not commit adultery. (Jesus said “Whosoever looks on a woman/man to lust after her/him has committed adultery with her/him already in his/her heart.” Many of us are guilty of adultery of the heart, if not outright physical adultery.)

8. You shall not steal. (The quantity or value does not matter – taking anything that does not belong to us makes us guilty of being a thief.)

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Speaking falsely in any matter, lying, equivocating, and in any way devising and designing to deceive our neighbor; or speaking unjustly against our neighbor, to the prejudice of his reputation. “These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.” Proverbs 6:16-19)

10. You shall not covet (envy, lust or desire after) your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant (employees), nor his ox (tools of his/her trade), nor his donkey (transportation/vehicle), nor anything that is your neighbor’s (his or her boat, ski mobile, jewelry, clothes, cellphone, camera, computer, etc.”)

Once most people with a modicum of self-preservation recognize that they have pridefully rebelled and sinned against Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth and all that is in them, and what the penalty for their transgression is, they begin to fear, which is good because: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10. As said the prophet Isaiah when He saw God: “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5).

Steps to Salvation:

Confess your sins (all that you can remember – God knows all our sins, but wants us to recognize and acknowledge them, which to His glory will lead us to be truly contrite);

In faith by God’s Grace accept His free and unmerited gift of the sacrifice of His perfect, sinless Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins (”The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23. “Truly, truly, I say to you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death to life.” John 5:24), and Christ’s resurrection on the third day overcoming death, whereby we also know we shall overcome death;

Repent (turn 180 degrees, do an “about face” from sin) and follow and obey Jesus (Jesus told us: “If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15. The Test of Knowing Him: “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” 1 John 2:3-4 );

Be Baptized and ask for the Holy Spirit (”If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Luke 11:13, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38 – The Holy Spirit leads us in all understanding, convicts us of sin and of our adoption as sons of God, strengthens, counsels, teaches, seals, commissions and guides us, and gives us the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Baptism is our public proclamation that we are followers of Christ. Water baptism by immersion is the biblical method of baptism because of its symbolic representation of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ);

Read your Bible and Commune with Jesus in Prayer every day – the more you read His word and spend time in communion with Him, the more intimately you will come to know Him and His will for you. I personally spend most of my time with Him in praise and worship, interceding for all who need prayer, thanking Him for all the ways He blesses me every day – even for those things that don’t necessarily feel like blessings, because I know tribulation works patience and patience, experience; and experience, faith. As followers of Christ, we are told that we will suffer affliction, trials, tribulation and persecution for His name’s sake, and we do; but compared with what He suffered for us and the glory that is before us through eternity, the light affliction we are called to endure is nothing.

Humble contrition is essential to repentance.  Repentance is essential to conversion. Conversion is essential to spiritual rebirth. Spiritual rebirth is essential to salvation (Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” John 3:3-7). Salvation is essential to eternal life (”The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand. He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:35-36). “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Revelation 14:6-20 Gives the Three Angels Messages to the Church of this Present Age. All should take heed and make sure they are indeed fearing (honoring, revering, worshipping, in awe of the majesty, glory and power of) God and giving glory to Him, getting out of Babylon (the Roman Catholic Church and apostate Protestantism) and not worshipping the beast or accepting the mark of the beast in their hand (representing actions/deeds) or their forehead (representing thoughts/beliefs), and in the first harvest. No one wants to be in the wine press of God’s wrath, especially when there is no reason for it other than pride and rebellion.

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name.

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great wine press of the wrath of God. And the wine press was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the wine press, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.”

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What was The Thinker Thinking?

The Thinker_Rodin

The Thinker by Auguste Rodin is thinking about something much different than what we might believe. What was Rodin thinking when creating the so-called “Thinking man?”

Philosophy

Auguste Rodin’s “Thinking Man” is not really a work that was supposed to be about human philosophy but rather Rodin’s Thinking Man is contemplating something…and something that’s not very good. Rodin’s Thinking Man is not thinking, “I think, therefore I am,” but what I am thinking is not good because of what I see. The Thinker is a bronze statue or sculpture showing a life-sized figure sitting on a stone pedestal with his head resting on his fist. Apparently, he’s deep in thought over something he’s seeing, so it’s an image misappropriated to philosophy, because in actuality, The Thinker is thinking about the fate of human souls apart from God. Rodin based his work on The Divine Comedy of Dante, and the “Thinker” was intended to be sitting near the entrance of, while looking directly at, the gates of hell, so the “thinker” was originally intended to represent Dante at the gates of hell, pondering the eternal state of those who are in the lake of fire.

The Wrath of God

Jesus told us to “not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt 10:28), and the author of Hebrews writes that it’s “a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31), “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others” (2 Cor 5:11a). Jude may have thought about the state of a person’s heart when sharing Christ because he said we should “have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh” (Jude 1:22-23). Showing God’s mercy works for those who have doubts or are convicted of their sin, but others may need to hear about God’s wrath before God’s mercy becomes relevant. When God’s Spirit convicts them of their sin, like it did us who believe, it makes them run to Christ for forgiveness and mercy. When they repent and put their trust in Christ, God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear, but a Spirit of power and love (2 Tim 1:7). This takes all our worries away concerning the wrath of God (John 3:36a). Jude understood that sometimes it takes , “snatching them out of the fire,” by showing them that they have every reason to fear God if they reject Jesus Christ, while at other times, like if they are already broken, they need to be pointed toward God’s mercy in Christ. It still puzzles me why people get apoplectic about Jesus being the only way to God instead of praising God that at least there is “a way” (John 14:6).

The Fear of God

Fear can be a good thing and it can be a bad thing. Irrational fear can subject a person to unnecessary mental torment, where they’re always expecting the worst. Fear can easily become debilitating, making work difficult, if not impossible, and destabilizing family relationships, however, fear can also keep us alive. The fear of death keeps us from taking risks that could kill us, so not all fear is destructive, and here is where the fear is really good. The fear of God is the very beginning and consummation of wisdom because the wisest thing we could ever do is trust in Christ. In this way, the fear of God is a good thing because it brings eternal life. The Bible says that the fear of God is the very beginning of wisdom (Prov 1:7, 9:10). Most misunderstand what this fear is. It’s not a fear of being struck down by God or a fear of unending punishment, but more like a driver on a freeway. The driver fears getting a ticket, so guess what happens? He slows down, or at least, drives the speed limit. It’s not that he or she fears police themselves, but they fear the blue lights, because they fear the price that a speeding ticket is going to bring in fines, court costs, insurance rates, so that type of fear is productive and keeps us from harm. Or at least it keeps our insurance rates lower, but fearing God means reverencing God, obeying God, listening to God’s Word, and fearing the consequences when we break God’s law. Believers never have to worry about a fear of being cast into hell, but they should fear (or respect) God taking them behind the woodshed. God disciplines every child He loves (Heb 12:6), and “the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights” (Prov 3:12).

Conclusion

We have already read what Jesus said to fear…and that is falling into the hands of God for all who have rejected His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus said whoever rejects Him, has the wrath of God abiding on them (John 3:36b), but Christ followers have no need to fear, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess 5:9). Besides, “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim 1:7), so perhaps The Thinker, if he could speak, would tell those who have not yet believed, to repent and trust in Christ, and they will be saved (John 3:16-17). Auguste Rodin might not have been thinking this, but have you ever asked yourself, “Why do people reject God and scorn Jesus Christ so much…and why are so many so hateful about God’s wrath when God has provided a way of escape?” Complaining about God’s wrath is like complaining about the huge gash on the Titanic, and while it’s sinking, railing at the crew all the while ignoring the lifeboats. For humanity, Jesus is the only way of escape, but instead of railing against this as being narrow-minded because there is only one way, we should rejoice that there is at least “a way.” And even though I believe this, it’s not my opinion because Jesus said of Himself: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh to the Father, but by me.” John 14:6. As the Apostle Peter said, “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). It might be narrow and the only way, but at least it is a way! A way is better than no way. Believers have no reason to fear God’s wrath because God’s wrath was placed on Jesus Christ for those who trust in Him. For those who reject Him, they have every real reason to fear.

Adaptation of Article by Jack Wellman. Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2018/01/31/what-was-rodin-thinking-man/#hdlZzPgtDp2YWmgP.99

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Is it Wrong for a Christian to do Yoga?

This show is on yoga, and its appropriateness for Christians to practice. I have personally always felt it was wrong. I wonder what other Christians think about it, especially after listening to the show. Although I do not agree with all their teachings, Ray and E.Z. do cover some great subjects on The Comfort Zone, and they are great evangelistic teachers.

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