THOUGHTS & COMMENTS
In fact, I end up reading these studies many times to learn from what I have written. Don't I know before I write what I am writing about?
In fact, the statement: "He doesn't know what he's talking about" could very easily be applied to me.
Also by doing this it helps me to find them later for further consideration.
[to try. provoke, solicit, discipline]
13Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: (James 1:)
Well then, let's try another cop-out;
"The devil made me do it. Satan is tempting me."
That's a good one. It's safe and throws the blame off of us and puts it where it logically belongs. And since we all use it, we know that everybody will accept it as an excuse when we use it. Why, even the judge accepts it as an excuse. In court they call it "temporary insanity."
Interesting, isn't it? There are so many, especially the governments and the schools, who do not believe in God any more. In fact, they often do not even allow His Name to be mentioned. But the devil they accept, and even blame when they, themselves can find no one else to place responsibility for their own bad behavior.
However, we run into a problem with blaming Satan, as did Adam and Eve in the garden. One problem is the verse following the one above where we tried to blame God for our misdeeds.
14But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (James 1:)
And when we add to this what Jesus said about the Judgment:
12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (Rev 20:)
Ok then, if we can't throw off the blame for our bad behavior, for our self-seeking attitude; if we can't lay claim to being tempted; then - who is being tempted?
22Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; 23Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: 24But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it. (Num 14:)
13Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? 14Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts? 15And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.
17And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness.
18And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust. (Psalms 78:)
28Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. 29And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; 30That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 31And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. (Luke 22:)
23But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me? (Luke 20:)
12And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 13And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. (Luke 4:)
The above is but a sampling of Scriptures that relate to "Tempting," and in almost every instance, it is not us being tempted; but rather us tempting God.
I believe I know what you're thinking: "I don't tempt God!"
Let us see if that is so:
One of the definitions above for tempt is to try (according to the Greek). I think of a child trying to see how far he can go before his mother finally reaches the end of her rope and disciplines him, at which time he starts backpedaling to avoid the punishment that he knows is forthcoming. Does that sound about right to you?
Have you ever made a promise to God, and not kept it? For instance, have you ever said something like, "If you heal my daughter, I'll go to church, or stop smoking, etc."?
Here's another one (speaking of smoking); have you ever continued smoking, or eating something that is detrimental to your health (like sugar to the diabetic, fat for the heart patient, etc.) and expect God to heal you of your illness when it lays you low?
Or how about this one; the Jews in the wilderness expected God to supply all their desires (He was already supplying all their needs) while they continually rebelled and murmured against Him. They believed they should be allowed into the Promised Land without a struggle, and without Faith in God's willingness and ability to get them in. And for their temptation of Him, God allowed them to die in the wilderness.
Do you expect the most for the least? Do you "sacrifice" your Sunday mornings going to Sunday School and expect God to give you an Eternal Life of Bliss as a reward? Do you seek your own desires diligently, and expect God to obey your every "command" the moment you make it known? Are your prayers (if you pray) full of requests like a child's list to Santa Clause rather than a list of Praise and Thanks for the little things God has done for you? Are you expecting your "good works" to outweigh your "bad," thus allowing you to avoid the pit; when God said our best works are as "Filthy Rags" in His sight?
Who is tempting whom?
Perhaps the question might be more appropriately phrased:
Who is Serving whom?
Matilda, Jack and Mary are regular attendees of the local church. It is a Sunday morning and we find the three siting in the third row of pews as the Pastor summarizes his message.
"Alright, you are dismissed, and I hope you all will return for this evening's message."
"That was a fine message today, as usual, Pastor. It hit home with me, just like you were reading my mind."
"Why, thank you Jack. Will you all be here tonight?"
"I'll do my best. But you know how it is and all."
"Yes, I know. You have a nice afternoon, and I will see you next Sunday."
"That's a for sure, Pastor."
"Wasn't that awful, Mary? It's almost a crime how he and his family have such poor taste in clothing."
"I'll tell you what's a crime. It's having to miss the Superbowl just to come and hear the Pastor give his awful speeches."
"You and your sports. Men are all alike, only thinking of yourself. It's missing my favorite soap opera that's really a tragedy. Especially today with Old Aunt Marigold having her third set of twins. Good heavens, the sacrifices we must make for the sake of church."
"Speaking of church; what did you think of the sermon today?"
"What's that, Mary?"
"The Pastor's sermon, what did you think of it?"
"It was ok, I guess. Why do you ask?"
"I don't know. I just noticed that he seemed a little agitated. I was wandering if you caught anything in his message that might say why."
"Can't say as how I did. The only thing that really caught my attention was his tie, and how the song books are in need of replacing."
"I noticed Miss Jenkins was a bit off with her piano playing today. And I think she dyes her hair, or maybe even wears a wig."
"What I mean is, did either of you notice what the sermon was about? I noticed he used the word 'hell' a lot, and I don't think he swears."
"Oh, he's always talking about heaven or hell. I think the Elders should talk to him about that. If he keeps preaching like that he might scare off some folks."
"Betty tells me her church has started having entertainment instead of preaching. She says she likes it a lot better."
"That sounds like a good idea. Maybe we should get together with some of the other members of our church and see if we can get the same thing here."
"Yeah, and maybe a big screen TV so we can watch the Superbowl."
"Oh, you men and your sports."
Whatever we are, that we will reproduce. And whatever we reproduce, we will stand accountable for (Matt Chapt 25: Talents). Yet we are fully expected to bring forth something, or face dire consequences. (Also Matt Chapt 13: Sower & seeds)
13Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, (1Pet 1:)
The loins are the reproductive part of the human body. "After its own kind." Whatever we plant, whatever we cultivate; that we will bring forth.
8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Phil 4:)
Negative, doubting thoughts will not bring forth fruitful, joyous, positive results. And we know that whatever a person sets their mind to do, in faith, they will accomplish - if they endure. Meanwhile, the world is full of tares and wolves whose life purpose is to stop forward movement using every means at their disposal.
The curses I receive are not by (or from) those who oppose me or what I preach. In fact, just the opposite. What I receive is a quiet head-shaking as if to say "you poor, misguided soul" by those who are preaching and believing the very same thing I believe - except they don't realize it, nor search the Scriptures themselves to verify or vilify what I say.
Being an outcast is much easier to endure than being set aside and pitied. When a person is totally shunned and ignored one can seek out others who are also cast out, or he can war against those who shun him. When set aside there is always the prospect that with just a little effort, with just a little sacrificing of one's values; with just a little lack of expressing one's beliefs, he or she can "fit in" and no longer be rejected.
It's the blessings that keeps the outcast going. Not only the blessing of knowing that one is doing the right thing; but also the comfort that only God can supply while doing His will. That "Joy beyond understanding" that let's us know we are on the right track.
And when it is all said and done, it will be the blessings of hearing "Well done, faithful servant." I hope to hear the "Well done," but lacking that, I strive to hear Him say of me "Faithful servant."
For one thing we know Moses led his people out of captivity. They were no longer in bondage.
But neither were they in the Promised Land.
In fact, all but two of the millions who came out fell short of that which was required to enter in, and died in the wilderness. And although Moses himself was faithful to the end (which we know him to be a type of Christ), he did not enter in either.
Yet we know Moses did enter in after his death (though not in life) because he appeared with Jesus and Elijah on the Mount of Olives (argue that if you please, then check out 2Pet 1:18 and Rev 14:1. I'll believe Peter and John before I will any so-called Theologian.)
Moses was buried by God, and apparently taken unto God just as was Jesus. Elijah and Enoch were two others taken by God.
Entering into the Promise Land it appears is not a part of the process of being taken out of bondage. In fact, the Jews, while in their wilderness experience were first introduced to the concept of Sin (disobedience) through the Law. "For where there is no Law, there is no Sin" [paraphrased] (Rom 7:7,8; 1Cor 15:50).
Then Jesus brought us even farther out of bondage, yet into another wilderness experience. The bondage we have been brought out of is that bondage of the Law, which, in itself, could free no one of sin, nor promise Life in the Hereafter.
Moses' Law was written on stone, and could be broken. Moses himself proved that by breaking the Tablets as a representative of those laws having been broken before he could even deliver them to the people.
Another set was written in stone, and I would think that such a valuable stone would have survived for a long time. Instead, we no longer hear of that second set, but the first (the broken stones) God preserved in His Ark of the Covenant (demonstrating that He was fulfilling His part of the Covenant, even though the Jews had broken it early on).
Jesus created the reverse for us. Now that the Law is to be written on our hearts, the stone (our heart) must first be broken so that the Law can be written and observed. If it is not being written; if the heart has not been broken, then the Law has not been applied.
Consider the Sower and the Seed. Consider that some of the seeds actually took root and sprang up in a lively fashion, then died. The heart of stone had not been fully broken up and made fertile, and the Seed of the Holy Spirit (Who instructs us in the Law, and the Way we should go, and directs us to our Lord) could not mature into a full, productive Plant that will survive the winnowing (sifting of the Harvest).
5For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, (2Pet 3:5)
"My mind is made up, don't confuse me with the facts."
These statements don't mean much, usually. If you're talking about the weather, or sports, or a checker game, the worst you may have to endure is getting wet, missing the game, or having someone not play with you again because you are regarded as a cheat.
But how about if it is your wife or husband trying to tell you that they can no longer deal with some form of abuse. Or if your boss is saying that if you don't change your work habits you will lose your job?
Or what if it's your doctor informing you of a deadly cancer that has to be dealt with immediately?
Jesus and the Apostles had to deal with such an attitude, and often. In their case it was a lot more severe. When the people didn't like what they were hearing, they tried (and did) kill the speaker.
In the beginning of the Church there were but a few letters which essentially constituted the Bible, that few people got to see. Mostly it was word of mouth by which the people learned. I can well imagine how corrupted the Message got as one person reinterpreted the Word according to what they wished it to say.
Until the 1500's the only Word a Christian could hear was from those who were twisting it to their benefit. And these tried their best to hide what the Bible said by reading it in a language not understood by the lay person, and killing anyone who tried to make it otherwise.
This is no longer the case. Anyone can get the Bible in many different translations, and many different forms. And if they don't want to buy a Bible, they can download it from the web, or get it on tape from the library.
The only way to not know what the Bible says is to be Willfully Ignorant.
And that most people are. From what I have seen, a huge number of "Born Again" Christians do not bother to read their Bible at all.
Most people only know what they see in the movies, TV, and what their preacher tells them the Bible says. And most of them pay no attention to the message anyway.
If the church they go to says that smoking will send you to hell, then they stop smoking and assume they are Heaven bound. If the church teaches that it's wearing ribbons in your hair that's a sin, they drop the ribbon and take up smoking again.
The Bible can be made to say anything you want it to say. In fact (this is my confession for the day) in my youth I used the Bible to convince my girl friend that it was ok for us to have sex. Of course I really had to dig for such evidence, and she had to want to believe such a thing mighty badly herself to pull off such a sham. But it can be done when people are "Willfully Ignorant."
The churches, with the help of the media, are trying very hard to "dumb down" and nullify the Bible. And I don't know which is trying harder and doing a better job of it; the church, the media, or the government. Whatever, they are tackling subjects to obliterate from the Bible that I, in my best of times, would have never attempted.
And the people are eating it up!
"Christians" are supporting the destruction of the church, both financially and spiritually, harder than is the World. TV "ministries" make a bundle while children starve; churches raise ever fancier buildings while the message drowns from being watered down. Recycle bens swell from castaway Bibles that are either not allowed, or at best never used in churches.
Are you a "Christian?" Are you biting your nails in anticipation, waiting for the church and the government to put your favorite sin on the "Acceptable" list?
Don't fret. It won't be long. And if your church is going too slow, look around, you'll find one that will guarantee Heaven without having to give up your sin.
It is my suspicion that people who are truly hoping for such a thing (and not just making an off-hand remark) are either unfamiliar with the Scriptures, or are hoping their insufficient works, though not worthy of a "Mansion," will at least get them into heaven.
I don't think such a doctrine will carry much weight at Judgment. But for the sake of those who hold such hope, I hope so.
As I read the Scriptures, Jesus expects the same from us as He did from Himself and the Apostles. Of course we could always say, "but it's impossible to be like Jesus!" And that is true. Unfortunately for those who are using such an excuse to do less than their all (and fortunately for those who are giving their all) there were twelve men who demonstrated that mortal men, with the help of the Holy Spirit, can do just that. Then add to this all the Christians who have given their all unto death for the Name of the lord.
The closest I can come to "little shack" is the Tabernacles (or "booths") the children of Israel lived in during their wilderness journey.
There were three other references I find regarding living places (other than the physical Temple) and they are: the Place Jesus said He was going in order to "Prepare a place for you" (us); the "Many Mansions" in God's House; and the New Jerusalem.
Now I don't want to start an argument, and there is certainly not enough space on this page to "prove my point," but the above references are not at all what are popularly believed.
The "Many Mansions" are actually "Many Dwelling Places" in which God will reside when He ultimately "Dwells With Men." He now indwells us in the form of the Holy Spirit, in those He calls His "Bride," the Church. The difference is that these bodies will no longer see corruption, death and sin throughout Eternity.
[ It's amazing to me how the Theologians, the Intellegencia of the Biblical world can spiritualize everything from a bird to the heavens - yet when they come across something that makes no sense at all if not spiritualize, they run into a block wall. It's as if they are bound and determined to be wrong. And those who are assigned to follow in their footsteps seem to be afraid to look outside those walls the originator of a theory, or the Doctrines of whatever church they happen to be serving, dictates.
It reminds me of what is happening in our schools with evolution, sex-ed, homosexuality and abortion. People just blindly follow what they are told to do because it's their "Job."]
This article is getting too much in depth. If you would like to read more, see the studies on the Tabernacle, the Garden of Eden, and the Bride of Christ when they are finished.
In the meantime, if you are looking to be a part of God's plan for Mankind, I would suggest you forget about little grass shacks, and endeavor to be a part of the Big picture, that is, the Bride of Christ who will be wearing nothing less than pure white robes of Righteousness.
"Jack is all talk and will never make it." "Jill is a fine example of a Christian and is sure to go a long way."
I think of the game of checkers, or chess. We play our strong pieces out in front with which we attack our opponent. But it is very often the piece sitting in a corner all through the game that shoots forth and wins the match.
Or the soldier (or student, or ball player) who lays back trying to be obscure, that in a clinch boldly saves the day while the forerunners fall to the wayside.
When I was in High School I used to run the 440 and 660 yard dash. I was fairly good at it and usually won. My game plan was to get out in front and keep a steady pace. As I say, it usually worked.
But sometimes in the race there would be what I call an "antelope" who would settle himself in the back or middle part of the pack - then at the end he would display a burst of speed and pass me like I was some old jogger out for a stroll.
In horse racing, I believe they call them a "Dark Horse."
Those forerunners; the ones in the limelight; the ones who win the most battles are not the ones Jesus is interested in. We think they are, but unless they finish their race, unless they win their war and not fall to the wayside, they might as well have not run at all.
We won't know who the winners are until the finish line is crossed; and then it will be according to the Judgment of God, not our own.
The Bible expresses it thusly:
11I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. 12For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them. (Ecc 9:)
24Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (1Cor 9:)
1Wherefore 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, 2Looking 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. 3For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. (Heb 12:)
11He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. (Rev 2:11,26; 3:5,21; 21:7)
13But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Mat 24:13; 10:22)
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