Tag Archives: Salvation

The Lord Knows His Own

2 Timothy 2:16-19 King James Version (KJV)

16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

It is so easy to get into a discussion or argument over doctrine or belief system. We argue over what is true and what is a lie. We discuss the facts of the day and come up with different conclusions. It is hard to know what is right and what is wrong anymore. The media doesn’t help us, the politicians make it worse, and our vain discussions get us nowhere.

A perfect example is the recent happenings in Minneapolis, where a man named George Floyd was murdered, yes murdered, by a police officer and it was caught on camera. There is absolutely no doubt about what happened and how it happened. No doubt of the officers guilt. No doubt the other three officers should have done something to stop this man from murdering someone in front of a crowd. They are guilty also. The result of this flagrant violation of a police officers power has been riots in the streets of cities across the nation. Crowds of people looting, destroying public and private property, attacking police and defying the rule of law. The chant Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police. More and more people have sympathy for their cause. Even governors and city councils are starting to bend under their reform cries. Their cause is trumpeted by the media.

But what do we here about the damage they have done? Hundreds of businesses across the nation have been completely destroyed, hundreds more damaged. Police officers have been shot, had concussions from bricks thrown at them, and been ignored in their plea for calm. The demonstrators demand justice, but they don’t want justice! If they truly wanted justice they would want all those who are damaging property to have justice also. They would want them in jail also. Justice cannot be for just one, it must be for all. Because of a few bad cops, they want to abolish all. The media has spun that to mean just take money, some money, from the police force and distribute it different. But there are many in this movement today who want to see the police gone. If that happened, anarchy would come. We are seeing that now, but not acknowledging it. We prefer not to think it can happen. But it is! Where is the reporting on this? What is the truth and what is vain babblings?

Then there is COVID-19. This flu-like disease has closed businesses all over the country, bringing an end to a strong economy. It has closed sports, leisure, travel, dining and all kinds of establishments. It has caused tens of thousands to go to unemployment status. The reporting kept spelling doom so we all believed it. People tested positive with no symptoms. They said it spread by contacting any saliva, even the smallest drops. Maybe a cough, a sneeze, wiping a runny nose left a bit here or there. As more investigation is done into this malady, I start top wonder if this has not always been around and just never tested for. I start to wonder if closing businesses was the best answer. The strange and vain babblings of the media and our politicians goes on and on about this disease, and we have done little to stop it. What are we to believe?

Paul here addresses a different babbling then this mess our media serves up to us, but it does give us pause to think about what is true and what is not. Paul is addressing one particular instance or heresy that he came across in the early church. We have to recognize that there were more errors being preached than these two guys. The Judaisers were around spreading false doctrine, others upended Pauls’ doctrine with their tales as well.. These two were telling people that the resurrection was past meaning there we not going to be a resurrection of our bodies. It was a spiritual resurrection only according to them. Of course the repercussions of that meant there was no life to look forward to after this one. This drove many away from God because if we have life in Christ in this life only, we are hopeless!

Paul then outs things straight and he says one of the most profound things we should all cling to. The Lord knows them that are His. Simple yet worthy of our utmost respect. I don’t know about you, but I am quite often guilty of passing judgment on others. It’s easy to decide who is going to heaven and who isn’t by their behavior and language. It’s also easy to take those vain babblings and spread gossip about someone just because I think it is true. I am like those reporters on the riots and COVID-19. I hear something and I run with it. I ignore what is good and what is bad and make judgment on what I want to talk about.. I get into heated arguments on all kinds of subjects, even on doctrine of the kingdom, and make judgments on those things. I wonder how they could possibly be right? How can all these violent protestors be right? How can they possibly be headed for heaven? How can a politician who looks out for his personal interests above the interests of the country be saved?

I can argue about these things all day, but in the end of the day all of it is vanity, vain babblings, The Lord knows those that are His! Why should I worry! Should I witness? Of course! But I must realize that I do not know the heart of a man. I would have been wrong in finding a King for Israel when Samuel chose David. I probably would not have chosen fishermen and tax collectors as followers if I was Jesus. I would look at the person but God looks at the heart of a man. God cares about the heart of a man. In these last days, men will become more judgmental, more prideful, more dishonest and more skeptical. They will continue to call good evil and evil good. It will become harder and harder to follow Christ and even the very elect will be turned away. Stay true to God and do not get into the fray of who is right and who is wrong. God knows those that are His. Just make sure you are one of His!

Honoring Widows

1 Timothy 5:3-7

3 Honour widows that are widows indeed.
4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.
5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day..
6 But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.
7 And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.

In our society today more and more children are caring for their elderly parents. Because most businesses now do not offer the pensions they used to, seniors are finding it harder to afford living on their own. The cost of living keeps rising and the social security checks just don’t rise as fast. This poses big problems for those who did not do a good job saving up during their lifetime, and that is the majority of our seniors today. Fourteen percent of adults living in someone else’s home are the parents of the homeowner, up from seven percent in 1995.

At the same time, more and more adult children are living with their parents due to various reasons. Lack of jobs, affordability of housing and coping skills are all causing young adults to move back home. And in many cases, grandparents are taking custody of their grandchildren due to a lack of social structure in the home of their children. This is the case with my wife and I. We have our fourteen year old granddaughter living with us because our daughter was in a situation that defied all sensibility and put our granddaughter at risk. We are thrilled to have her and she loves being with us but it does put a strain on our household budget.

I bring all this up because we now live in a society that doesn’t really see its widows. We rarely use that word – at least I hardly ever hear it. It seems there is a negative connotation associated with the word widow and that is so wrong. Women live much longer than men on average so it is very likely we will have a lot of widows around, But the fact that women are aging much better and looking very good well into their 80’s leads us to think of them as still vibrant and able to care for themselves. They just don’t look like widows, if you know what I mean. I know a lot of ladies who are widows that lead very god lives and seem to be doing very well in society. I know they are hurting deep inside, but they do well to rise above that and be active in the community.

In Jesus day, it was a different picture. The woman was a housekeeper and her husband provided everything for her. There was no social security or welfare she could fall back on if her husband died so she was left to fend for herself and it was very difficult. People felt sympathy for them, but most households had enough to do just to keep their own house running smoothly. It was hard for them to give of their sustenance to help someone else out. So, the widows had to trust God to provide for them.

We read a couple stories in the Bible about widows that really show God’s provision and faithfulness. In 1st Kings 17, we can read the story of Elijah coming to the widow of Zarapeth. She was fixing bread from the last bit of meal that she had. Elijah asked for the bread she was making. She felt that once this bread was eaten, her and her son would die because they were out of food. But Elijah blessed the bread and the widow found that her meal never ran out. The widow was provided for.

In 2nd Kings 4 Elisha went to a widow’s house and she was about out of oil. She just had a cruse of it left. Elisha told her to go get all the vessels she could find and bring them to the house. She did that and the cruse filled every vessel she brought into the house so she did not run out. Again, the widow was provided for.

Throughout the Bible we read that God cares for the widows. Psalm 68:5 tells us that God is the Father of the fatherless and the protector of widows. Psalm 146:9 says God upholds the fatherless and the widow. Jeremiah 49:11 says the widows should trust in God. And James 1:27 says it is pure, undefiled religion to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to stay unspotted from the world.

It is fascinating to me that widows are so often mentioned along with the fatherless. And they are both mentioned as ones whom God has a special heart for. What intrigues me is that God is our heavenly Father and he is also the bridegroom waiting for His bride. To me this is not mere word play, but a truth that we should all pay close attention to. The fatherless can be seen as those who do not have Jesus Christ as their Savior, thus never becoming adopted into His family as children and heirs. And the widows can be seen as those who have not married the bridegroom after they have divorced this world. They have not come under is authority and become obedient to Him. These are people in desperate need of attention. They need provision from the word of God to help sustain them and lead them in the right path.

It would be easy for us to overlook these scriptures about widows because the landscape of our society has changed. But God always has a purpose and a vision for the future and He wants us to pay close attention to everything he has to say. We cannot ignore this charge to care for the widows. Whether they be true widows who have lost their husbands, or whether they be spiritual widows who have left this world behind and married the Bride. Both need our attention and our help.

On the other hand, Paul writes if a widow is living in pleasure then she is dead while living. In Paul’s day, this would be looked upon as slandering her husbands name. Today we often see widows go on to remarry or lead very good lives after their husband dies. So once again the picture has changed. But if a person who has died to this world by accepting Christ and lives a life of fun and games that are not spiritual, they face the same fate. They have not come under the arm of a protective Savior, but rather have decided to turn their backs on the one who saved them. This is a very dangerous place to live. Once we turn our backs on this world, we should never return to the ways of the world. Christ calls us to come out from among them and be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17). We are to have no part of that former life or of a life filled with gaiety. We are to become obedient to Christ and His commandments if we expect to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 7:21)

Do you know any widows who are struggling in their faith? This is a call to all of us to provide the truth to them. The bread of life and the oil of joy for the spirit of heaviness. Just as Elijah and Elisha provided for widows in their day, so we should bring the word of God to those who are trying to find their way once they have died to the world. We are not to condemn them, just as Christ did not come to condemn (John 3:17). We are to love them and nurture them, bringing them alongside so they can taste and see that the Lord is good. This is our calling!

Time For A Change!

21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

If I have heard Him, and been taught by Him, then it’s time.  I should not wait any longer. He is the truth, and He can not lie.  It’s time for me to put away the old things in my life, and all the corrupt thoughts and lust of my past.  Put it away for good.  We all know that’s easier said than done, right?  It seems just when I get my head clear f that baggage, it pops back up again.  Then I feel like I’m stuck on stupid, as my friend says.

Here’s what I see as a key way to get that old man put behind me.  Ignore him.  Every time those bad thoughts come wandering my way, just ignore them and focus on God.  If I spend my time worried that the old thoughts are back, I just give them a place in my head. So when they come rushing in, and they will, I just don’t fret or stew about it, I go about my business and praise God, focusing on the praise instead of the delusion in my mind.  Once I can master that, the thoughts will eventually fade away and become irrelevant.  I believe they will always come.   It’s how I cope with them that matters.

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

I need to renew my mind  Romans 12:2 says “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.”  This is so critical once we have been born again.  Our minds need to be put right,  We have been in the world for so many years (I got saved when I was 24) and that old worldly mindset needs to go.  The mind has such power over he rest of our body and soul.  If we can be renewed in the spirit of our mind, the  rest will follow.  And that is done through reading and studying the word, getting grounded in a good church where we can fellowship with other believers, and learning how to pray and praise.

The new man is created in righteousness and holiness.  Those that think they can get saved and just go about their merry little lives the same way they were before being saved are deceived.  It is very clear in this passage that God asks us to change.  We should not be the same person after we accept Christ, if we have taken the time to learn Him, hear Him and be taught  by Him, as our first verse says.  His desire is to bring us to the place where we take His love to a lost and dying world.  And we can only do that effectively when the old man is gone, and the new man has taken up residence.  Has he come  alive within you?

Learn Christ

17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,

Paul starts out this section by asking the people not to walk as the Gentiles walk. He describes this as walking in the vanity of their minds.

I remember walking like that. I was raised in the church. My mom was the Church secretary for the First Congregational Church in West Boylston Massachusetts for most of my formative years. She was also the board secretary. So we were at every church function that ever happened. I was in the choir, I was an acolyte, I got confirmed and everything seemed to be going the right direction. But in my senior year in high school I started to experiment with drugs. Back in those days we did LSD on sugar cubes. That’s how I started. I got in with a great bunch of guys and we were there hippies of the senior class. This was in 1969-1970. We were true flower children
During the summer of 1970 high was the only word I knew – LSD, pot, speed, booze.. My mind was so messed up.  I drugged up shortly after I started college, I got mononucleosis.  I missed five weeks of college, which meant five weeks of chemistry and physics labs. I had no desire to go back even though they offered to let me start over again on full scholarship. I was a smart kid. I turned it down and took a job in the factory where my mom was then working. But high remained the main word. It was definitely the vanity of my mind. I thought I was doing so good and I was so messed up. I was so thankful for that day that I accepted Jesus Christ in my life and got turned around. What was your experience before you knew Jesus?

18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

There’s no doubt that my understanding was darkened. I was so alienated from the life of God. I had many people try to get me to church but they had no success. I classified myself as an agnostic. I believed there was a higher power but I didn’t think it was the God they were talking about. And that was the ignorance that was in me my heart.  I was definitely blinded. I had been raised in the Bible and worked in the church, even assisting in Sunday School, but it did not follow me because I became blind to it.

I was no doubt past feeling.  My heart was cold and unyielding. I had a few girlfriends but most of them were just passing girls who satisfied my lust. I never developed any close relationships that lasted. It was all fun and games and it was for my pleasure. I was definitely greedy in that area. It was not a fun way to live when I look back on it, but it sure seemed fun then.

20 But ye have not so learned Christ;

But that’s not my Jesus. And I have learned Him over the past 40 years and He has been so good to me. Two years after I got saved, He brought me to my wife and we’ve been married for 38 years. We have had our struggles and I have had my struggles with my past but she has stuck by my side all the way through and I haven’t always deserved it. He gave me an angel and I didn’t deserve that either. He gave me three daughters and five grandchildren. He has blessed my life abundantly.
I have also learned that he wants me in Ministry and right now this blog and my Palms and my other blog are my Ministry. I am restricted at home with cancer so I can’t go out and do the evangelistic work that I love to do. My church is losing our pastor (he’s retiring), and I am usually the fill in guy.  Some would like  me to be the pastor.  At this time I can’t go to my church because there’s mold in the building and I don’t know what’s going to happen. Please pray for my church.
I have learned that Christ wants me to love all those that he puts in my path and all those that I can reach. And I have to do a better job doing that. I’ve learned of His peace and His undying love for me.
I’ve also learned to be humble, and that I must keep my pride suppressed.  Ny wife is my helper there. I have learned to praise Him in any situation at any time of day or night. I’ve learned that He is worthy of every word of Praise that I can lift up to His name. I have learned that the world will reject Him and will reject me, but that cannot keep me from lifting up His name at every opportunity. That is what I’ve learned about Christ and there is so much more. It is a much better life and I plan to live it as long as I’m on this Earth, which will be a long long time

 

By His Grace

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Christ gave us life when we were dead in our sins. What a beautiful statement Paul makes here. I know that my life was radically changed when I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior at 24 years of age. I had been raised in the church (my  mom was the church secretary) and ran away from God in my teenage years getting into all kinds of trouble and doing things twasted not only my money, but my life. I was going nowhere fast. Well let me correct – that I was going to hell fast. But God sent a friend and he started to witness. And through a number of letters he planted seeds that eventually resulted in my salvation. Something was born in me that day that just kept growing. It was that new life that he’d given me by his grace. There is no doubt that my spirit was quickened that day

And after He quickened my spirit,  He raised me up so that I can sit in Heavenly places with Jesus Christ. Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. It’s right here with us. It’s time we started acting like this is the kingdom of heaven. Sharing our love and the love of Christ that he gave us with others so that they can know Christ. We have an obligation to go into all the world and preach the gospel.  That preaching is love for our fellow man. It doesn’t matter who they are or what culture they come from. All that matters is that they know Christ. They need to be raised up, they need to be quickened, they need to be set in Heavenly places just like we are.

That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Paul here looks into the future and he wants us to know that there are things to come there are much more amazing than we can possibly imagine. The exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us. Doesn’t it amaze you sometimes when you hear testimonies of what God has done. I have not watched the movie “Miracles from Heaven” but I understand that it’s a powerful show that talks about a miracle and how it affected a family. Those are the exceeding riches of his grace. Over and over again I hear testimony about what God has done and it brings tears of joy to my eyes to know that God still moves in kindness toward us through Jesus Christ. He loves us so much and we should be sharing that love with everybody we know.

 

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

These two verses are probably used to explain salvation more than any others in the Bible. I don’t know how much I can tell you about these you don’t already know. We are saved by God’s grace – there is nothing we have done to earn it. It’s a gift. Like any gift it has to be accepted and opened by the receiver. We just had Christmas around here. How many of you left your presents under the tree and said “Oh, I have a gift”. And then you just left it there and didn’t open it. There are many churches that preach that Christ died for their sins and they’re going to heaven. They don’t say anything about the fact that we have to accept His sacrifice personally into our lives. But Christ’s sacrifice is like that gift sitting under the Christmas tree that you haven’t opened if you haven’t ask him into your heart on a personal level. I pray that you have. It will change your life.
Paul emphasizes that it’s not works gets us our of salvation. If it was works the brought us salvation, we would boast and say “Look what I’ve done”. Many Christians do that anyway Pride sets in because of their accomplishments. “Oh, well,I’m  a worship leader”,  “I’m a “minister”,  I’m a teacher”.  In God’s Kingdom we are all the same, there is no room for boasting. Because He doesn’t save us because of the work we do. He saved us because He loves us. Loved us enough to send His own Son as a sacrifice for sin. Only by His grace can we can get into heaven. It is a gift from God, accepted by faith.