emotions

Be Wise, Beloved

Thursday, March 16, 2017

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17 KJV).

My brethren, be very careful!

Saints, it has come to my attention these last few weeks that a certain “fad” belief is circulating throughout online “Christian” groups. An ancient and controversial discussion of science and Scripture, it has seen resurgence on social media and video-sharing websites. While I in this study purposely withhold that issue’s name, an article dealing with it is currently being prepared and will be released (hopefully) in the near future. (As a scientist, I cannot resist remarking extensively on this most serious matter!)

What concerns me most is that professing Christians—some no doubt are genuine Christians—are reposting and sharing information without being Bereans. Instead of researching and using critical thinking, they are caught up in a mad frenzy of exposing “conspiracies.” Sadly, in their zeal, they have made God’s Word vulnerable to scoffing by the lost world that is witnessing their statements and actions. As with any denominational system or theological speculation, they are so totally twisting the Bible text out of shape to fit their view. People who do not even believe the Bible are correcting Christians for misrepresenting clear Bible verses! What started off as good intentions is now an all-out war against the Scriptures—a conflict led by “Christians!!”

Today’s Scripture could not be clearer. We must use our time “wisely.” Once we become sidetracked by all sorts of wild ideas, stirred up in our emotions and hasty in our actions and words, we run the risk of not only making fools out of ourselves. No, we make our dear Lord Jesus Christ look foolish! Our Saviour is not foolish, so neither should we be. We must stay in God’s Word, and be very careful that our words and actions cause those around us to hear and see the plain truths of that Word. It is unwise to carelessly circulate information without investigating it for ourselves. If ever we are hasty in spreading false information, we will not need to wonder why no one cares to hear us talk about “God’s truth.”

Your Mind, Not Your Emotions

Sunday, February 19, 2017

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1,2 KJV).

A renewed mind, not domineering emotions, is the key to Christian living!

Some television shows and films are so well written and visually vivid that they seem to be real-life. Our emotions get involved, and these works of fiction become even more realistic. A humorous example involves a Christian couple I knew many years ago when I was a small child. This couple, friends of my parents, enjoyed watching a particular soap opera. On that television show, a man and his lover were having persistent relationship difficulties. So, the Christian couple, in their nightly prayers, suddenly found themselves asking God to repair the relationship of those two fictional television characters! These Christians decided they were just too enthralled by that show, so they gave it up completely.

Friends, as the above anecdote demonstrates, our emotions do not have a mind. It is therefore unwise to base our life on (shifting and deceptive) emotions. What we need to do is take the Word of God rightly divided, use it to renew our minds (correct our thinking), and make a conscious choice (exercise free will) to believe it. No matter what our emotions urge us to do, they are not meant to govern our lives. The Word of God and the Spirit of God are to control us. Jesus Christ said, “…The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). These life-giving words of God are the Holy Bible, as Hebrews 4:12 affirms, “…The word of God is quick [living and life-giving, active] and powerful….”

Brethren, let us walk—not by emotions and engaging in rash behavior—but with a firm understanding and trust in the Word of God rightly divided. The renewed spirit of our mind, governed by the Holy Spirit, is sure to produce a life that is pleasing in Father God’s sight.

Father God

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:3-6 KJV).

Behold, the perfect Father!

Sadly, many parents today are “without natural affection” (2 Timothy 3:3). They think nothing of a medical doctor butchering their unborn child in his or her mother’s womb! To them, it is totally acceptable to leave babies and small children at people’s doorstep! They even abandon them in parking lots, places of business, and trashcans! If they choose to keep them at home, they abuse them physically, spiritually, and/or emotionally. Older people still carrying such massive emotional baggage, deep wounds and horrific scars from their childhood, is ever so disturbing for a saint to hear.

How the God of the Bible grieves that individuals who were appointed to maintain the home and family—parents—are often nothing more than “sex-gamete donors.” They contributed sperm and eggs, but never extended a guiding hand or listening ear. For their children, there was no loving heart or vigilant eye. These offspring wandered the streets, sought acceptance in gangs and associated with other “wrong crowds,” and went on to hurt others by engaging in such lifestyles.

Our world abounds with millions damaged by cruel and uncaring parents. Their parents did not accept them, and perhaps they still reject them. Friends, yes, some of us still struggle with the memories of an awful childhood. Nevertheless, what ultimately matters is not the shortcomings of our sinful parents. We need to understand and rejoice in today’s Scripture. If we have trusted Jesus Christ and His finished crosswork as sufficient payment for our sins, Father God has “accepted” us forever in Christ. He is the perfect Father, more than able (and so willing) to take the place of us who never truly had “parents.” There is unconditional, permanent acceptance with Him! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘peeping’ and ‘muttering?’

Forgiven for Christ’s Sake #7

Sunday, July 17, 2016

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 KJV).

What is true forgiveness?

At a Bible conference, I overheard a man talking with one of my pastor friends. Steeped in denominationalism, he was chiefly confused about whether God had forgiven him. He struggled with the so-called “Lord’s Prayer” (“Our Father” Prayer). Specifically, Matthew chapter 6: “[14] For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: [15] But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” The poor man needed to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The “Our Father” Prayer was spoken to Israel (Matthew 15:24)—not us Gentiles (Matthew 10:5-7)!

God’s spokesman to us, the Apostle Paul, on this side of the Cross, tells us God has forgiven us all our sins. We do not have to beg or wonder! In Christ, forgiveness is total, free, and forever. He forgave us because of what Jesus Christ did at Calvary, not because of our religious performance (today’s Scripture). We are already forgiven in Christ. As God forgave us, we forgive others. Lost people will have their sins taken care of at two places—the cross of Christ if they trust Christ before physical death, or eternal hellfire if they do not trust Christ before physical death.

One of Satan’s schemes to destroy the local assembly is when Christians do not forgive each other as God for Christ’s sake has (past tense) forgiven them. Second Corinthians chapter 2 warns about bitterness: “[10] To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; [11] Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

Forgiveness is not pretending like nothing happened. You have been wronged, and God punished Jesus Christ for that sin. Forgiveness is sending the shame, guilt, and pain to Jesus Christ’s cross (where God dealt with our sins). We need not keep dredging up the past, beloved. We learn from our mistakes, and are thankful Jesus Christ has already provided our forgiveness forever! 🙂

Forgiven for Christ’s Sake #6

Saturday, July 16, 2016

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 KJV).

What is true forgiveness?

Father God took our offenses against Him, all of man’s sins, and He placed them on Jesus Christ. As the Passover lamb’s blood was shed and applied to Jewish doorways, so the Death Angel would pass over them while judging Egypt, the blood of our Passover lamb was shed at Calvary to protect us from God’s wrath in hellfire. “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7b). “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God…” (1 Peter 3:18). He put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26b). In Scripture, “forgiveness” means, “send away,” “forsake,” “let alone,” “lay aside.”

Romans chapter 4: “[1] What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? [2] For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. [3] For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [4] Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. [5] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. [6] Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, [7] Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.”

And, Ephesians 1:7: “In whom [Christ Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Also, Colossians 1:14: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” Finally, Colossians 2:13: “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him [Christ Jesus], having forgiven you ALL trespasses” (cf. today’s Scripture).

God’s forgiveness of us provides us with a pattern of how we are to forgive others. Friends, lest bitterness result, we must send it away by faith to Calvary’s cross where God’s Son died to put it away!

Our latest Bible Q&A articles: “Does Romans 9:14-18 support Calvinism?” and “Does Romans 9:20-21 support Calvinism?

Forgiven for Christ’s Sake #5

Friday, July 15, 2016

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 KJV).

What is true forgiveness?

Sins—wrongdoings—can and do come between others and us. Someone doing us wrong becomes a hindrance to fellowship. Likewise, as children of Adam, our sins have come between God and us. Long, long ago, before we were even born—yea, before anything was created—God looked down through time to see us, the human race. He saw all the troubles we would cause His creation. What a mess it would be! Still, He valued free will so much. He risked His purpose and plan to allow us opportunity to follow or reject Him. Above all, He would make provisions to cover those mistakes of ours. Despite everything sinful man would do to mess up His creation, He would still bring about His will.

Friends, the cross of Christ was not an afterthought or an accident. It was in the mind of the triune Godhead all along (Acts 2:23). Father, Son, and Holy Spirit simply let man and Satan in their free will carry it out in blindness (Acts 3:17). Sinful man and Satan had no idea God would use the death of His Son for good (1 Corinthians 2:6-8)! On that awful cross, the blood of Jesus Christ, needed to wash away our sins, was shed so abundantly. “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13).

While mankind was going on in his sinful ways, God sent His Son. Romans 5:6-8 explains: “[6] For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. [7] For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. [8] But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Rather than pretending like mankind had no sins, God saw those sins and He punished His Son for those sins. With the sin-debt paid in full, forgiveness was (and is) now possible… for us and others!

Forgiven for Christ’s Sake #4

Thursday, July 14, 2016

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 KJV).

What is true forgiveness?

In the Greek New Testament, “forgiveness” is aphesis, derived from aphiemi. Aphiemi is translated elsewhere in our King James Bible as “leave,” “forgive,” “suffer” (that is, “permit”), “forsake,” “let alone,” “remit,” “send away,” “omit,” and others. Notice this sampling of its usage by our 1611 King James translators.

It is used when the disciples “forsook” Jesus at His arrest (Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:50). Or, when they “forsook” their nets to follow Him years earlier (Mark 1:18). Also, when “sending away” a multitude (Mark 4:36). It was employed to describe Israel’s religious leaders “laying aside” the commandment of God to keep their religious traditions (Mark 7:8). Also, it is used to explain the husband “putting away” his wife during divorce proceedings (1 Corinthians 7:11,12). Or, to highlight the apostate Ephesian group of Jewish kingdom saints who had “left” their first love, Jesus Christ (Revelation 2:4).

Misconceptions abound when people think of or hear the word “forgiveness.” One common error is to think that forgiveness means pretending like no one did them wrong. Thus, they refuse to forgive others. Friends, contrary to popular belief, forgiveness is not “sweeping wrongs under the rug.” If we are to truly forgive, we must do it the way God did. We must think of forgiveness as God does.

Dear friends, we see true forgiveness by looking closely at today’s Scripture. The word “forgiveness” carries the idea of “leaving behind,” “sending away,” “laying aside.” But, exactly where are we to “leave” those wrongs done to and against us? To where should we “send” them “away?” Where should we “lay” them “aside?” Again, we see true forgiveness by carefully considering today’s Scripture. God did not merely instruct us to forgive others; He told us exactly how to do it. We are not left to wonder, to guess, to do our best and hope we forgave. All we have to do is look to Jesus Christ—“even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Forgiveness becomes ever so clear!

Remember, the Summer Family Bible Conference runs until tonight!