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Tidbits from the Book of James – Part 6

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Ahhh. Here it is, the teaching about the power of our tongues. The smallest member of our body, yet it holds the greatest power to hurt or to help. It is indeed the most difficult to control, and can only get harder as we get older if we are not growing in our walk with the Lord. If we think about it, we will come to the conclusion that pride is most often the instigator of an unruly tongue.

And words on getting wisdom from the Heavenly Father. If we seek and take hold of that wisdom, will it not strengthen us to have better control of our tongues?

James 3

1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.

4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.

5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:

8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.

10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?

12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.

Matthew Henry explains verses 13-18 very well:

These verses show the difference between men’s pretending to be wise, and their being really so. He who thinks well, or he who talks well, is not wise in the sense of the Scripture, if he does not live and act well. True wisdom may be known by the meekness of the spirit and temper. Those who live in malice, envy, and contention, live in confusion; and are liable to be provoked and hurried to any evil work. Such wisdom comes not down from above, but springs up from earthly principles, acts on earthly motives, and is intent on serving earthly purposes. Those who are lifted up with such wisdom, described by the apostle James, is near to the Christian love, described by the apostle Paul; and both are so described that every man may fully prove the reality of his attainments in them. It has no disguise or deceit. It cannot fall in with those managements the world counts wise, which are crafty and guileful; but it is sincere, and open, and steady, and uniform, and consistent with itself. May the purity, peace, gentleness, teachableness, and mercy shown in all our actions, and the fruits of righteousness abounding in our lives, prove that God has bestowed upon us this excellent gift.

13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2018 in God's Truth

 

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Tidbits from the Book of James – Part 5

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Today’s tidbit is concerning faith and works. Works have absolutely nothing to do with our Salvation, other than as fruit of our Salvation; works will not get us to Heaven. But, once we are saved, we ought to want to work for Christ, and our works are evidence of our faith in Jesus unto Salvation. Our works are our fruits of our Salvation. So faith without works is dead. All born-again saints will stand before Jesus and have our works (after Salvation) tested by the fire. Those works born out of wrong motivation and not glorifying Christ will be burned up. Those works done for the sake of Christ and the Gospel will come out of the fire and we will receive our crowns for them. I look forward to laying those crowns at the feet of Jesus in gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice He paid for me so that I can live eternally with Him as my Lord and King.

James 2:14-26

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? (This is a great example of when a brother or sister says to us that they have a need and we respond with, “I will pray for you.” That is all good and well. We are to pray for our brethren. But what about actually using some of the increase that God has blessed us with to put our prayers into action and help them by supplying their need, as the Holy Spirit leads. God blesses us and provides well for us in order for us to help those less fortunate, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.)

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

Those are wrong who put a mere notional belief of the gospel for the whole of evangelical religion, as many now do. No doubt, true faith alone, whereby men have part in Christ’s righteousness, atonement, and grace, saves their souls; but it produces holy fruits, and is shown to be real by its effect on their works; while mere assent to any form of doctrine, or mere historical belief of any facts, wholly differs from this saving faith.

A bare profession may gain the good opinion of pious people; and it may procure, in some cases, worldly good things; but what profit will it be, for any to gain the whole world, and to lose their souls? Can this faith save him? All things should be accounted profitable or unprofitable to us, as they tend to forward or hinder the salvation of our souls. This place of Scripture plainly shows that an opinion, or assent to the gospel, without works, is not faith. There is no way to show we really believe in Christ, but by being diligent in good works, from gospel motives, and for gospel purposes.

Men may boast to others, and be conceited of that which they really have not. There is not only to be assent in faith, but consent; not only an assent to the truth of the word, but a consent to take Christ. True believing is not an act of the understanding only, but a work of the whole heart.

That a justifying faith cannot be without works, is shown from two examples, Abraham and Rahab. Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. Faith, producing such works, advanced him to peculiar favours. We see then, in verse 24 , how that by works a man is justified, not by a bare opinion or profession, or believing without obeying; but by having such faith as produces good works. And to have to deny his own reason, affections, and interests, is an action fit to try a believer.

Observe here, the wonderful power of faith in changing sinners. Rahab’s conduct proved her faith to be living, or having power; it showed that she believed with her heart, not merely by an assent of the understanding. Let us then take heed, for the best works, without faith, are dead; they want root and principle. By faith any thing we do is really good; as done in obedience to God, and aiming at his acceptance: the root is as though it were dead, when there is no fruit.

Faith is the root, good works are the fruits; and we must see to it that we have both. This is the grace of God wherein we stand, and we should stand to it. There is no middle state. Every one must either live God’s friend, or God’s enemy. Living to God, as it is the consequence of faith, which justifies and will save, obliges us to do nothing against him, but every thing for him and to him.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2018 in God's Truth

 

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Tidbits from the Book of James – Part 3

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Great tidbits on dealing with wrath/anger in times of trial and stress, being doers and not just hearers of the Word, liberty but not to sin, and what religion really means.

James 1:19-27

19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: (During our trials, or in times of dispute with others, our flesh’s first reaction is to become angry, but anger is most counter-productive at those times. We must remember to take a breath and have a little talk with Jesus and ask Him what He may be teaching us during these times. If we are in a dispute with someone, it is best to walk away and take some time to chill so we do not say things we will regret and cannot take back. I have had my share of flying off the handle and before I know it, ugliness has come spewing forth from my mouth and I have had to go back and ask forgiveness. In any event, it behooves us much to cool down and get with God before allowing our anger to cause us to sin.)

20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. (This is just common sense. If we give way to our wrath, God’s righteousness cannot abide in us, as with any sin we allow in our lives.)

21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. (Here our Lord implores us to lay apart, and to cast off as a filthy garment, all sinful actions and habits. It includes sinful thoughts that lead to sinful actions as well as our words. His Spirit and His Word empower us to then “receive with meekness” His engrafted Word. Engrafted=Cause to grow together; Fix or set securely or deeply.)

22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: (In a glass, blurry, unclear)

24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. (If we were to have the privilege of listening to a sermon given by an angel from Heaven every day of the week, but, we heard it only, that would never get us to heaven. Hearing without the doing makes us mere self-deceivers; and self-deceit is the worst deceit of all. When we dedicate private time to God’s Word it will reveal to each of us our corrupt nature, what our priorities are, and it will tell us plainly what we are. Once our sins are revealed, it is of utmost importance that we go to Jesus for forgiveness and cleansing and make the needed changes. If we go away, and ignore what God has revealed through His Word, instead of washing them off and applying what He shows us, we hear in vain. This is speaking of those who do not hear the word as they ought.)

25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (In hearing the word, we look into it for guidance and direction, and as we study it, it points to our spiritual life. As we are shown the things we need to work on, we make the needed changes in our character so as to continue to be more and more like Jesus. So, when we stay in the Word of God and let it influence us spiritually we are, and shall be, blessed in all our ways.)

26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. (Oh boy, we sure could say a lot about the smallest member of our body and the tremendous harm that we are capable of doing–oh the power of our words! It takes a strong walk with the Lord and the power of His Holy Spirit to help us bridle our tongues.)

27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (Ahh, this word religion can really be misinterpreted, usually by those who are convicted by the Holy Spirit about it. They will use it to justify their lack of a true relationship with Jesus. How often do we hear, “I do not believe in organized religion because of the hypocrites, or I was hurt so badly at my last church.” But they have no problem going other places where there are hypocrites and mean people who hurt us. For are there not hypocrites, and all types of characters, every where we go? And they do not stop us from going there!

But that is not what God is speaking of here. The reason for going to church is so that we may sit under the teaching and preaching of a true man of God who preaches from God’s one true Word, the King James Bible, without watering it down for ‘itching ears.’ Once we are saved, we need to grow stronger in our relationship with Jesus, and a truly Godly church and Pastor will help us do that. The purpose of God’s church is to save souls from hell, and to teach His Children so that they can go and tell the Good News to others. We also have the prayers, love, and support of our brothers and sisters in Christ during tough times. True religion teaches us that we must do every thing as if we are we are in God’s presence, for once we are born-again, His Holy Spirit comes to live in us and He experiences everything we do. That is why we try to keep ourselves “unspotted” from the world and try to do good things like visiting the fatherless and widows and help them in their affliction.

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2018 in God's Truth

 

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Tidbits from the Book of James – Part 2

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James 1:9-18

9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: (Though some are just common and perhaps poor in the eyes of the world, they have much to rejoice about if they are high and lifted up as rich in their faith in Jesus and heirs as adopted children of God.)

10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.

11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. (The rich may rejoice because they are under the care and protection God gives if they are saved by the blood of Jesus, which usually leads to a humbling attitude of gratitude. But, we are to understand that the temporal wealth that this world offers is a withering thing. So, let the rich rejoice in the grace of God, which makes and keeps him humble; and in the trials and exercises that teach him to seek happiness in and from God, not from enjoyments of the world that pass and fade away as the grass that withers. Let the rich man not put his faith in his riches, but in God alone.)

12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (Now not all who suffer are blessed; but those who persevere through the trials, not blaming God and whining, “why me.” We can get through those times knowing that it is our duty, and be thankful for tough times to bring us closer to our Lord. It is not the afflictions that make us miserable, if they come through no fault of our own choices. Those of us who make it through the testings that come to make us more like Christ, will be crowned with the Crown of Life by Jesus himself. Jesus promises us this crown if we have Him in our hearts and if we nurture our love for Him as we mature. Every saved soul that truly loves God, shall have its trials in this life fully rewarded for eternity in Heaven where love is made perfect. The commands of God, and His dealings with us as He prepares us for our future with Him forever, will try our hearts, but in time they will show us to be strong in character and count as our testimony to bring others to Salvation.)

13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: (Though we all have those fiery trials throughout our lives, we must never think that the temptations to sin comes from God. He is pure and Holy and cannot sin. We must remember that there is evil in this world that we must battle every day of our lives. Because we are saved, does not mean that we will not sin anymore. Our saved spirits will battle our selfish, evil flesh until we see our Lord. We are just sinners saved by His grace. Jesus gave us the victory over that evil in His death, burial and resurrection. All we need do is go to His Word and speak it against the evil tempter as Jesus did when He was tempted by him.)

14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (Temptations come to us in our thoughts that, if we spend time thinking on them, bring about a lust to sin. The temptations themselves are not sin. It is when we spend time thinking on the temptations and then put action to them that they become sin. We must immediately recognize the evil temptations and cast them out through the power of Jesus’ name and the power of His Holy Word, replacing those evil thoughts with God’s pure and powerful/alive Word.)

15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (God never changes. He is the same today as He was yesterday and thousands of years ago and will be for eternity. So we know that any good thing comes from Him, but we also know that all thoughts that would lead us to sin come from God’s enemy and our enemy, the devil. God has, has always had, and will always have power over that sinful creature who only wants to destroy anything and anyone belonging to God. It is up to us if we let him have his way in our lives or not.)

18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (In Israel, the first sheaf of harvested grain was always offered to God – Exodus 34:22; Leviticus 23:9-14. Those firstfruits were a preview of what was yet to be gathered. James explained that he and other Jewish Christians were a kind of firstfruits. They were the first yield of a much greater harvest that was yet to be gathered as a result of the spread of the Good News/Gospel. We are products of those firstfruits.)

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2018 in God's Truth

 

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Tidbits from the Book of James-Part 1

The Epistle of James always helps remind me of many of God’s wonderful guidelines on how to live Godly in this sinful world. These tidbits can bring needed, though uncomfortable, conviction to the believer’s heart. That’s why some tend to shy away from it. I did that for a time myself. Each time I read this Book, God does a little something different in my heart. I will attempt, over the next however long the Spirit leads, to share what He shows me.

First, let us consider and understand who James was. He was the half-brother of Jesus and he did not accept Christ as Saviour until after Jesus rose again. (I have often considered the heartache Jesus must have felt when He began His ministry and many of His family members disowned Him for His claims of Christ-hood. But that is for another time.) James did become an elder of the church in Jerusalem and he was respected as a leader among and Council member of the early churches in Jerusalem – Acts 15:6-21. James may possibly be the first New Testament book to be written.

This Epistle offers words of encouragement to us as we try to be firm in our Christian faith while we are persecuted for it. He urges us to focus on the victory that we will attain through what Jesus did. James also provides practical advice to unite all believers so that our fellowship will not be threatened by a lack of love, un-christlike speech, and bitter attitudes.

James teaches us to develop our faith by seeking wisdom from God. He reminds us that we have a choice: we can either give in to sin and suffer tragic consequences, or we can stand firm and therefore experience maturity of our faith by accepting the trials that will inevitably come. He maintains that our trials will produce patience and they will ultimately perfect and complete us as Christians. The prevalent theme of James is how to develop an enduring faith.

Today we will look at James 1:1-8

James 1:1-8

1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. (James could have given himself more credit by making sure we know that he is Jesus’ brother here, or he could have even boasted about his leadership in the reputable Jerusalem church. Instead, he proudly referred to himself as a “servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Servant here means “bondservant,” like slaves who had been released from their obligation, but willingly remain servants to their masters out of respect for them. Likewise, James gladly offered his life to be bound to serving God, who gave him his freedom. He expressed his willingness to obey, laid aside his own rights to follow God’s will, and he pledged his loyalty to the Lord regardless of personal loss, humiliation, or danger.)

2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; (Woah, hold on there you say! Count it all joy?! Yes, we are to count it all joy when several trials and temptations come, and sometimes several of them come at once. Remember when Paul and Silas were beaten and cast into stocks in the inner prison? What did they do? They sang praises to God and were set free. I have experienced the release and help that Jesus gives when we praise Him during tough times. There is nothing like to to build your faith.)

3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. (So all Christians learn as we grow that trials usually come so as to build our character and patience. This is never fun to experience, but if we praise God during the trials and ask Him what He is trying to teach us, He gives us the grace we need to grow as we move through them. I used to pray, God please give me patience. And then I would freak out because almost immediately something would happen that I really did not like, and as I whined about it to a more mature Christian, I would be reminded that every time we ask for patience we can expect a trial to develop that patience in us. Now I ask for grace as He teaches me the patience I still need.)

4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (As Christ-like women, we come to realize that we all have the potential and that it is our God-given destiny to continually be maturing in our walk with our Lord. This is a goal that only God can help us reach.)

5 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. (I am also understanding more the importance of growing in Godly wisdom. And all I have to do is ask for it. I used to think that the Scripture that says to ask and you shall receive was about asking for things and happiness, etc., but I have come to understand that while we do ask for those things, it is also speaking of wisdom in dealing with things that come up throughout our daily lives, as well as sharing the Lord with others and live out our faith.)

6 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.

7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. (When we ask, we are to ask believing, like it is already happening. Oh how many times do I ask the Lord for answers in fervent prayer and then take it back and fret about it and get myself into a tizzy. How silly that is. If I ask something of the Lord, I need to trust Him with it without doubt; if I take it back and start fretting about it then I am not trusting Him.)

8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. (Double-minded=wavering in mind : undecided, vacillating. It is a human weakness and a characteristic of the hypocrite. One might say one thing while acting completely opposite, making one “unstable in all his ways.” God has no use for a double-minded person. Jesus spoke of double minded behaviour in Matthew 6:24 “No man 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. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” We are to know what we believe and why we believe it, hopefully because God says it in His Word, and we are to stand firm in those Godly beliefs, not wavering.)

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2018 in God's Truth

 

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Saul, Saul, Why persecutest thou me?

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Oh I just love the Book of Acts so much! It stirs my soul to act and to share!

Every time I read Acts Chapter 9 I like to try to place myself in Saul’s shoes. Reading it this time, I was so blessed to be able to discuss Saul’s conversion with my sweet hubby, Ron. The excitement was thick in the air as the Holy Spirit moved and we talked about how Jesus spoke to Saul and what Saul must have experienced and what thoughts must have went through his mind when Jesus spoke to him and chose him to do His work in the early church. We shared how we would think and react if it were us.

SIDE NOTE: Let me tell you ladies, if you and your soul mate are not sharing time together in God’s Word, you are truly missing out on one of God’s greatest blessings! As we grow together in our walk with our Saviour, it not only draws us closer to our Lord, but closer to each other in our marriage relationship as well. After Jesus, my Honey Bunny is my very best friend. There is nothing like it on this earth! But isn’t that what God’s Word says it should be – Genesis 2:22-24 “And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, (and dare I say, his family? Are we to abandon our families? Of course not, but the husband and wife are now one, and each will definitely and rightfully take precedence over the rest of the family.) and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” And in Ephesians 5:31 “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” Sometimes we women think we need other women, we like to call our besties, to talk to who ‘understand’ when we need to vent or rant and won’t judge us. I have learned the truth to be that more times than not, that is an excuse for women to meet and gossip and say hurtful things about others behind their backs, and justify it by saying we just need to vent. When we have aught against another, we are to take it to that person or leave it up to the Lord, whichever He leads us to do. If we are blessed to be married to a man who is a truly Godly man, he will call us on our back-biting and offer to pray with us for God’s direction in the matter, and support us in doing the right thing. And, of course, it does go both ways.

Okay, so I must needs get back to the point at hand. 😉 I just had to share what God is teaching me in this matter, and what a blessing God gives us when we place our husbands at the head of our homes as God intends and allow His Holy Spirit to mingle in both our spirits together.

So, in Acts Chapters 6-8, we read how Stephen, filled with the Holy Ghost preached truth to the religious leaders and he became the first disciple to die for the cause of Christ. Saul first shows up in Acts Chapter 8:1 tells us that “And Saul consenting unto his death…” What a truly powerful testimony Saul/Paul had to lead lost souls to Christ! And each one of us who has been saved from hell by the sacrifice Jesus gave on the cross has a testimony to do the same. Telling others what Jesus has done for us is the best way to win souls to the Saviour!

Acts 9:1-31

1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,

2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.(Saul was highly educated – Acts 22:3 “I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.” He became what they called a Zealot who persecuted Jesus’ church/followers. He was deceived by the jealous religious leaders about who Jesus and His followers really were, and he believed that he was doing God’s work and was zealously devoted to it.)

3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: (Can you even imagine!)

4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? (WOW! The thoughts that Saul must have had! Here he and his soldiers are marching along on their mission to round up any of Jesus’ followers whom he considered dissenters stirring up trouble. Suddenly, a bright light and the voice of the Lord Jesus confronts him. Was it the power of Jesus’ voice that threw him to the ground or the sense that this was a divine presence from God? Maybe both.)

5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? (Saul called Him Lord. He must have thought, “This is surely the one and only Supreme God of Heaven!”) And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. (As soon as Saul realized that what he had been doing was against God’s will, he asked what the Lord wanted him to do.)

7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. (God had literally blinded Saul perhaps as an awakening to how the religious leaders had blinded him to the truth. I am sure by now, Saul is considering how he had been so deceived all of his life.)

9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. (He most probably had so much remorse about having wrongly persecuted and killed so many of God’s children. I would find it unbearable.)

10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.

11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. (What a merciful God we serve!)

13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. (Everyone knew who Saul was and how he was zealous to persecute Jesus’ followers even to death. I am sure any one of us would have been pretty scared too, “But Lord, you know how this man’s goal in life is to persecute and kill your people. If I show myself to him, won’t he take me in too for beating and prison, maybe even death?)

15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: (God had sent Jesus to his chosen people, the Jews first, but they rejected and crucified Him. Now He chose one Saul to go to the Gentiles and teach and preach what Jesus came and did for the whole world. God knew that once Saul knew the truth, he would be just as dedicated and devoted to God’s true work as he was to what he wrongly thought was God’s work.)
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. (And maybe there would be times that Saul would think on what he would face for the rest of his life as part of the consequences for how he had wrongly persecuted God’s church. Who knows, just a rambling thought. But we know that God’s enemy is the ruler of this world and all those who live as this world are God’s enemies as well, and will persecute God’s chosen ones.)

17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. (I am sure Saul had to have some alone time with God’s Holy Spirit and close disciples to help him in turning his thinking around.)

20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. (He wasted no time in sharing the Good News of Jesus and what He had done in his life. What a testimony Saul had!)

21 But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?

22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

23 And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: (Oh, but of course they would do that! Jesus’ teachings were a threat to their power.)
24 But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. (I am sure God revealed their plans to Saul and the disciples.)

25 Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.

26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.

27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. (The apostles were the 12 who were closest to Jesus when He was here. There were many disciples who followed Him and taught others who He was.)

28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.

29 And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. (The world hated Saul just as it did Jesus.)

30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.

31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. (Praise God! Saul was no longer seeking to lock them up and kill them!)

 

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2018 in God's Truth

 

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The Parable of the 10 Virgins and their Lamps

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We will only find this parable in Matthew, chapter 25. A few days before He was crucified, Jesus taught three different parables on the importance of His children’s preparation for the day when He will return: the wise and foolish virgins (verses 1-13), the talents (verses 14-30), and the separation of the sheep from the goats (verses 31-46).

Today we will take a look at the 5 wise virgins and the 5 foolish virgins. I used to think of the 5 foolish virgins and feel angry at their foolishness. How could they claim to be true believers and wait until the very last minute to have oil in their lamps? Geesh! I have come to understand that they are not truly saved, but they are those who are putting on an act. We true believers must strive continually to let our lights so shine as to bring them to true Salvation.

Anyway, we read in chapter 24 how Jesus pointed out that He will return as a thief in the night. It will be at a time that we least expect, and many will become way too comfortable in the ways of this world, and therefore not be prepared. I sure do not want to be caught in some sinful behaviour when He calls me to meet Him. He taught that His followers will need to persevere in a lifestyle of faithful obedience as we wait for Him.

In the parable of the ten virgins, Jesus used the example of the Jewish wedding customs of His day as how to be prepared for His meeting His Bride on that day. It really is very interesting to study how the Jewish wedding ceremony compares to how Jesus will come for us at an unannounced time – The Rapture. If you would like, you may go and take a look at a very good description of this comparison here – The Rapture and the Jewish Wedding.

Jesus described the second phase of the wedding ceremony where the bridegroom and his party come to the bride’s home where the bride is waiting for him, with the ten virgins who are her bridesmaids. The time of his arrival was uncertain, maybe even after dark, so each young woman needed to have both her lamp and an extra flask of oil for it. The five wise virgins were prepared with additional oil, but the foolish ones were not. Therefore, when the bridegroom suddenly arrived at midnight, the foolish virgins’ lack of preparation was exposed, and they were denied entrance to the wedding feast. Those hypocrites who are not truly Saved by the Blood of Jesus will be denied entrance to Heaven.

Jesus’ message is clear: His Coming, like that of the bridegroom in the parable, may be delayed and the women and men who follow Him need to be continually prepared (Matthew 25:13).

The 5 wise virgins are the true believers who stay prepared for Christ’s return by keeping oil in their lamps. The 5 foolish virgins are those hypocrites who claim to be believers but they are not genuine in their hearts. Matthew Henry explains it very well, “Sincere Christians are the wise virgins, and hypocrites the foolish ones. Those are the truly wise or foolish that are so in the affairs of their souls. Many have a lamp of profession in their hands, but have not, in their hearts, sound knowledge and settled resolution, which are needed to carry them through the services and trials of the present state. Their hearts are not stored with holy dispositions, by the new-creating Spirit of God.”

“Our light must shine before men in good works; but this is not likely to be long done, unless there is a fixed, active principle in the heart, of faith in Christ, and love to God and our brethren. They all slumbered and slept. The delay represents the space between the real or apparent conversion of these professors, and the coming of Christ, to take them away by death, or to judge the world. But though Christ tarry past our time, he will not tarry past the due time.”

“The wise virgins kept their lamps burning, but they did not keep themselves awake. Too many real Christians grow remiss, and one degree of carelessness makes way for another. Those that allow themselves to slumber, will scarcely keep from sleeping; therefore dread the beginning of spiritual decays. A startling summons was given. Go ye forth to meet Him, is a call to those prepared. The notice of Christ’s approach, and the call to meet him, will awaken. Even those best prepared for death (2 peter) day of search and inquiry; and it concerns us to think how we shall then be found.”

“Some wanted oil to supply their lamps when going out. Those that take up short of true grace, will certainly find the want of it one time or other. An outward profession may light a man along this world, but the damps of the valley of the shadow of death will put out such a light. Those who care not to live the life, yet would die the death of the righteous. But those that would be saved, must have grace of their own; and those that have most grace, have none to spare. The best need more from Christ.”

“And while the poor alarmed soul addresses itself, upon a sick-bed, to repentance and prayer, in awful confusion, death comes, judgment comes, the work is undone, and the poor sinner is undone for ever. This comes of having oil to buy when we should burn it, grace to get when we should use it. Those, and those only, shall go to heaven hereafter, that are made ready for heaven here.”

“The suddenness of death and of Christ’s coming to us then, will not hinder our happiness, if we have been prepared. The door was shut. Many will seek admission into heaven when it is too late. The vain confidence of hypocrites will carry them far in expectations of happiness. The unexpected summons of death may alarm the Christian; but, proceeding without delay to trim his lamp, his graces often shine more bright; while the mere professor’s conduct shows that his lamp is going out. Watch therefore, attend to the business of your souls. Be in the fear of the Lord all the day long.”

Matthew 25:1-13

1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2018 in God's Truth

 

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