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God and Evil

Evil – What a word! We basically know what it is, but how much do we know about it? What is its origin, and why is it here? Let’s take a look as we explore God and evil.

What is Evil?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary,morally reprehensible: sinful, wickedan evil impulse:arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct a person of evil reputation.

According to Nelson’s Bible Dictionary, “A force that opposes God and His work of righteousness in the world (Rom 7:8-19). The word is also used for any disturbance to the harmonious order of the universe, such as disease (Ps 41:8). But the Bible makes it plain that even these so-called “physical evils” are the result of a far more serious moral and spiritual evil that began with the FALL of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3).”

“The ultimate source of evil in the world is Satan, also called “the devil” (Luke 8:12) and “the wicked one” (Matt 13:19).

Nelson’s definition states that the ultimate source of evil “in the world” is Satan. However, evil existed long before the fall. Satan bought evil with him and tempted eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of Good and evil; thus, evil entered the world. So, where did evil come from, and what is its origin?

God and Evil

The one true God is a God of righteousness and love, loving-kindness, grace, and mercy. He is the Creator of all things. But – did He create evil?

God and Evil - Did God Create Evil?

Let’s look at what’s contained in Scripture.

Isa 45:5-7

5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.

7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

This passage shines a light on the sovereignty of God. He is the Creator of all things, including evil. From the rising to the setting of the sun, from one end of the earth to the other, all people were to know that there is no God but the Lord Himself (Jehovah, Yahweh). He alone is the Creator, for He alone has created both light and darkness. Moreover, He alone is sovereign, controlling both good and evil, peace and calamity.

Why did God Create Evil?

God and Evil - Why did God Create Evil?

God desires His creatures to love Him, to have a real love for Him. He could have created creatures that loved Him automatically. However, they would have merely been robots incapable of real love simply because love is not real without the ability not to love. This reality is why God gave man free will to choose to do right (love Him) or to do wrong-evil (disobey Him). His desire is for us to do right but out of love and choice, not out of obligation.

Evil is a by-product of good and existed before Adam and Eve were created. Therefore, when God placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden and made a law not to take of its fruit, Adam and Eve had a choice to love God and obey or disobey Him and commit evil, which is sin. Before making their choice, they knew nothing about evil; they were innocent. Had they not eaten its fruit, there would have been no evil in the world.

Evil serves the purpose of establishing real, genuine love relationships between creation and the Creator.

Does God do Evil?

God and Evil - Does God Commit Evil?

This question raises some controversy. The most common response is, no, God is not evil; therefore, He cannot commit evil. There is some truth in that response. However, it contradicts Scripture that says He does. For example, the Scripture above quotes God as saying, “I create evil.”

Let’s look at one more, Jer. 18:5-8

5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;

8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil
that I thought to do unto them.

Here is a message to Israel through the prophet Isaiah. He used the illustration of a potter to depict His relationship between His people and Himself.

The message is that He has the sovereign right and power to save or condemn as He chooses. As the potter holds the clay in his hands, the Lord holds His people in the palm of His hand. The metaphor is a descriptive way of saying the Lord can do with His people as He wills.

There is also a clear illustration of God’s mercy and grace: if a nation repents or turns away from their evil, He will repent from the “evil”
He “thought to do unto them.
There are other Scriptures with God conveying similar thoughts, but the message is clear enough. However, further explanation is required which follows.

There are two kinds of evil, destructive or calamity and moral evil. The Old Testament uses two Hebrew words translated as evil: ra’ah and rash’a’. The Hebrew word used in Isaiah 45:7 is ra’ah, which means calamity, destruction, distress, and hardship.

This evil is the kind of evil the Lord unleashes in His judgment against the unrighteous, those who disobey and break His moral law (sin). The calamities of the world are the result of the original evil sin committed by Adam and Eve. God allows this but it is not moral evil. For more information on this, please read the article, Why Does God Allow evil to exist, on this website.

God does not commit moral evil or sin. Look at what the Scripture reads in Zeph. 1:12,

12 And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.

The Hebrew word used in this Scripture is rash’a, which is moral evil.

Conclusion

God and Evil - Does God Commit Evil?

In summary, the Lord does commit evil, but not for evil or immoral purposes (sin). He uses evil only for righteous purposes to bring calamity to the unrighteous, so they may recognize and honor Him. He does not commit moral evil as that kind of evil comes from Satan. As the Scripture reads in James 1:13, “And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else.” NLT

God never has nor will He ever tempt anyone to sin; only Satan.

Please feel free to leave any questions, comments, or concerns below.

Blessings!

 

 

 

Promises of God from the Bible

When someone makes a promise to us, how seriously do we take it? When God makes a promise to us, how seriously do we take it? Do you know what God’s promises are? This article contains promises of God from the Bible.

What is a Promise?

According to Nelson’s Bible Dictionary, a promise is “A solemn pledge to perform or grant a specified thing.” Therefore, a promise is an earnest commitment to perform what is vowed to execute. When we receive a promise, we should be assured that we will receive what is promised. This assurance is especially true of the promises of God.

Promises of God from the Bible

In this article, we will look at some of the promises of God from the Bible. 2 Peter 1:2-4 reads:

2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Through our knowledge of God and Jesus, we receive grace and peace, and as soon as we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we become rich. This richness is enclosed within the promises of God. God’s promises apply to us when we make this change in our lives. This promise includes His divine power that enables us to live a life of glory and virtue, allowing us to escape the world’s corruption caused by evil desires. God has promised us the divine nature.

Rom 5:6-11 reads:

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.

8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. NIV

God promises reconciliation. When we received Jesus Christ as our personal savior, He forgave us of all our sins and bought us into a personal relationship, and from that point on, we are a child of God; we have a heritage. We are reconciled to God through the death of Christ

He made us a promise found in 1 John 1:9, which says:

9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

God promises to forgive our sins and cleanse us if we confess them. To “confess our sins” means to agree with God that an act or thought was wrong, to seek forgiveness, and to commit not to let it happen again (repent). For more on repentance, please read this website’s article, Repentance and Sin.

Heb 13:5

5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” NIV

We have His continued presence in our lives. God promises never to leave us or desert us. Therefore, we must focus on Him instead of our material wants and needs; we must be content with what we have.

Promises of God from the Bible

John 14:16

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— NIV

God promises us the Holy Spirit “forever.” The Holy Spirit empowers us and gives us direction and wisdom in our lives.

God promises to supply our daily needs. Matt 6:25, 31

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?

31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ NIV

1 John 5:14-15

14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

15 And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him. NIV

God promises answered prayers to Christians that pray according to His will. How can Christians pray this way? How do we know what God’s will is? This occurrence happens as a part of their growth in their relationship with Jesus Christ. When Christians willingly align our will with God’s will, the Holy Spirit in us will teach us to understand God’s will more fully. The Holy Spirit discloses God’s will as it is taught in the Bible. The Holy Spirit, in turn, aids us in praying in line with God’s will (see Rom 8:26-27). Jesus was an example of this: He taught His followers to pray for God’s will to be accomplished on earth (Matt 6:10), and he chose God’s will over his own in accepting the bitter cup of His death on the cross (Matt 26:39-42).

James 1:5

5 If any one of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask God who gives generously to everyone, and does not reproach one with it afterward,

God promises wisdom. Wisdom enables us to see things from God’s perspective. We have the wisdom of God dwelling within us. It is important to note that God’s promises do not submit to our plans. This verse does not support our asking God for wisdom to bring about our will. Instead, we should humbly ask him for wisdom to remain in his will.

Phil 4:4-7

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. NIV

God promises us peace. When we rejoice in the Lord and present our concerns to Him, He promises to give us a peace that is beyond human understanding. No one can understand having peace when things are going south.

Ps 37:4

4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. NIV

He promises to give us the desires of our hearts. To delight in someone means to experience great pleasure and joy in someone’s presence. This state occurs only when we know that individual well. Therefore, to delight in the Lord, we have to know him better. Knowledge of God’s great love for us will certainly give us delight.

Ps 103:1-3

1 Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

2 Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits — 

3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, NIV

God promises us healing in times of sickness in addition to forgiving our sins, not that we deserve it, but because of His love, mercy, and grace.

Rom 8:38-39

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,

39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. NIV

God promises in His Word that nothing can separate His love for us. We have the cherished gift of the unconditional love of God.

John 10:27-28

27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. NIV

He promises us eternal life.

John 14:1-3

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.

2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.

3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. NIV

Last but certainly not least, God promises us heaven.

Conclusion

God’s promises assure us that if we trust Him, we can live the best life on this earth. However, that doesn’t mean our lives will be perfect and trouble-free. But He will be with us and work everything out for our good as the Scripture reads in Rom 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” NIV

Amen

Promises of God from the Bible

Please feel free to leave any questions, comments, concerns, or any experience with a promise of God below.

Blessings!

 

 

 

Why is Discipline Important?

Discipline is a word that many may frown upon. However, without it, there would be chaos in the world. Why is discipline important? That is a question this article will answer.

Why is Discipline Important?

If we desire to be our best, do our best, and live a fulfilling life, there is a price to pay. Although the Christian life is not easy, it is still the best life to lead. Self-discipline is the key to living such a life.

The reason life today, in general, is so chaotic is because of the lack of self-discipline. It is the reason why prisons are so full; students drop out of school because they are not disciplined enough to run the course. It is the reason individuals get into debt because they lack the discipline to avoid yielding to the temptation to covet more and more; they want something better, bigger, or just keeping up with the Jones, their neighbors.

Why is Discipline Important?

Self-discipline is vital to living the Christian life. Let’s look at Scriptural confirmation of this in 1 Cor. 9:24-27

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.

27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. NIV

The passage addresses the Christian life by using the metaphor of a race and that we should approach this race with the intention of winning because winning is the only way to obtain the prize. Therefore, we should live our lives in a way that we win the prize of eternal life, the crown that will “last forever” (vss. 24 & 25).

In light of this, we are not to live our lives aimlessly, but we are to fulfill His will and accomplish what He has promised us (vs. 26).

To accomplish the goal and win the prize, we must exercise self-control in all things, all aspects of our lives.

Why is self Discipline Necessary

Self-discipline is necessary because it is better for us to exercise discipline on ourselves than to be disciplined by somebody else, namely God. Additionally, God calls us to a life of holiness and discipline.

1 Peter 1:14-16

14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.

15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;

16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” NIV

We must not allow the world to draw us back into the mold we used to be contained in, living in ignorance. Instead, we should be holy. Not that we should be sinless, but have a heart for God in that we desire to please Him, Why is Discipline Importantbe committed to Him, bringing everything into control, every desire by the power of the Holy Spirit so that we may live a godly life that is pleasing to Him.

Understand that we are confronted daily with a three-fold enemy, the world, the flesh, and the devil. The world system in which we live is opposed to the Christian life and the flesh—our naturalness and the desires that we have must be brought under control, or they enslave us (e.g., drugs, sex, and appetite).

Our sins are forgiven when we are born again and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. However, we are not removed from sin. Therefore, we can still be enticed by the things that war against our souls.

1 Peter 2:11 reads, Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

Only the Holy Spirit can help us resist and bring the things that war against us under control and resist enslavement.

Understand that if we do not accept Jesus, we are enslaved by something—doubt, unbelief, or some desire that we would have to lie down to become a Christian.

The Consequences of Living an Undisciplined Life

The consequence of living an undisciplined life is indulgence. Individuals who live an undisciplined life will find themselves indulging in things that are not right or good or things that are good but are out of control. Excess of a good thing is a bad thing.

Additionally, we will defend our indulges, such as, “I just can’t help myself,” or “I don’t feel like it.” In a word, enslavement. Although we disagree with the enslavement of people, we enslave ourselves.

Our health is affected; for example, overindulging in food or overeating leads to ill health.

Why is Discipline Important? - Overindulgence

Indulgence leads to financial problems because we cannot resist buying things and spending more than our resources. The malls will become our second home, and we develop slothful-lazy habits, doing only what we have to get by, leading to bad habits and sloppiness. We become Reckless with our speech—saying things we should not say, talking about things we should not speak about, and making criticisms we should not make

An undisciplined life is a poor testimony. Therefore, we must be disciplined in all areas, including how much time we spend in God’s Word, our giving to God, and our prayer life.

What is Required to Live a Disciplined Life?

We must have a definite, realistic, and specific goal (e.g., to please God, a positive goal in life). Having a specific goal helps us to keep focused and allows us to stay on track. When the goal is achieved, it motivates us to achieve goals that are even more significant.

We must learn to Identify and detach. This exercise involves identifying the things that war against our souls and detaching ourselves from them. Scripture instructs us in 1 Peter 2:11,

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.”

We must pursue discipline with diligence and be fully committed to discipline ourselves. Focus on the goal. We must not go by our feelings. There will be times when we don’t feel like disciplining ourselves, keeping ourselves in check. We may not feel like studying the Word, praying, or worshiping. However, focusing on the goal will aid us in maintaining our commitment, and we must be consistent.

Practicing self-denial is a good practice. Matthew 16:24 quotes Jesus as saying,

24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Why is Discipline Important? - Matt. 6:24

We must not allow “self” to control our lives but allow the Spirit of God to control it. We must yield to the Spirit’s control. We have to deny ourselves whatever interferes with our relationship with God.

We must learn to say no and not yield to peer pressure when we know the choice before us is the wrong one.

We have to allow ourselves to fail. We are not perfect and will fail at times. However, when we do, we must ask for forgiveness and refocus on the goal.

What are the Rewards of a Disciplined Life?

When we lead a disciplined life, the rewards are multifaceted and include:

  • – A lifestyle that is orderly and more spiritual
  • – A sense of achievement
  • – Contributes to good health—less stress, worry, concern, and insecurities.
  • – More productive because we save time by living an orderly life
  • – It contributes to our personal, intimate relationship with God (loving His Word, sharing our testimony).

The greatest reward will be eternal life with the Lord. We must keep our eyes on the prize!

Amen

Questions, comments, concerns, or experiences living a disciplined life may be left below.

Blessings!

 

 

 

Coping with Stress

Do Christians have stress? You bet! Christians may have Jesus as Lord and Savior and walk with God, but they still have stress. So please read on as we explore Christians and coping with stress.

What is Stress?

Stress is our body’s response to pressure. There are many different situations or life events that can cause stress. It is often triggered when we experience something new, something unexpected, threatens our sense of self, or feel we have little control over a situation. We all experience stress on some level and deal with stress differently.

How do we deal or cope with stress?

Not to be trite, but with prayer. As Christians, we must go to our life manual

Elements for Effective Prayer
Pray diligently!

(the Scriptures) for the answers to the issues of life.

Phil 4:6 reads:

6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Be careful or anxious for nothing.

Coping with Stress - Phillipians 4:6

An attitude of joy and gentleness, combined with a constant consciousness of Christ’s return, should diffuse any worry or stress. Christians should not abandon life’s responsibilities to avoid worrying or stressing about them. However, the focus is on Christians’ attitudes in daily life as we face opposition and hardship. (See Jesus’ words to Martha in Luke 10:41.) Christians are to be responsible for the needs of themselves and their families and also care about the needs and concerns of others, but we are not to worry, fret, or have excessive concerns.

In Matt 6:25-34, Jesus said not to worry about our lives, such as what we eat or drink, our bodies, adding time to our lives, or what will happen tomorrow. Despite what is happening around us, we do not need to worry or stress about anything because God holds us securely.

Worrying is a serious state to find oneself because it is a subtle form of distrust in God. When we worry, we are saying that we do not trust that God will provide, and we doubt that He cares or that he can handle our situation. It leads to a helpless and hopeless feeling that causes us to be paralyzed. Nevertheless, the Scripture offers prayer as a remedy to worry and stress.

Prayer contends with worry by allowing us catharsis (ca THAR sis). We can literally offload our stress onto God. Paul said to take all the energy used in worrying and put it into prayer. This action includes praying about everything. No request is too small, complicated, or inconsequential to God. Paul encouraged the believers to pray “in everything” — good times and bad — giving petitions and thanksgivings to God. It can appear to be impossible not to worry about anything, but Paul explained that this could happen if Christians genuinely give their worries to God. Worry and prayer cannot coexist.

Therefore, the fact of the matter is that we are too blessed to be stressed, so let us pray!

The word translated as prayer is a general term meaning worshipful conversation with God, while petition denotes prayer with a feeling of need. These two words frequently appear collectively in Paul’s writings.

Thanksgiving centers on the attitude of an individual’s heart when approaching God. Prayer battles worry by generating in us a thankful spirit. Christians should approach God in prayer, being thankful for the opportunity even to approach him and for his tremendous blessings already bestowed upon us and for the certainty that he will answer us. When Christians focus on God’s great love for us and the many prayers He has already answered, we have no reason to worry if He will continue to answer.

“Requests” refers to directly requesting God’s help regarding specific needs. Prayer opposes worry by building trust.

Mind you, Paul was addressing believers when he penned these words. Prayer is an audience with God Himself and is an awe-inspiring privilege available to those who have accepted Christ Jesus Christ as Lord. God does want us to talk to him. Paul reproved the Thessalonians to “pray continually”
(1 Thess. 5:17 NIV).

Communication with God through prayer permits us to know him better and to identify his will and guidance for our lives. What’s more, we can talk to God about anything. Although He already knows our necessities and feelings, our sharing them with him builds our relationship. It allows us to depend on God as we work through decisions or need support and encouragement in the middle of a trial. It permits us to give God and God alone the praise when His answers arrive.

However, we must keep in mind that presenting our needs to him does not guarantee that God will answer every prayer. Remember Jesus prayed that the cup might be taken from him, but it did not happen; Paul requested that the thorn in the flesh be removed, but God chose to work through Paul despite his problem.

We are to communicate our requests to God in prayer, but we must center on God’s will, not ours. When we communicate with God, we are not to command what we want; instead, we discuss what he desires for us with Him. If we align our prayers to his will, he will listen; and we can be confident that if he listens, he will give us a specific answer.

We all have worries, such as on the job, at school, or home. But Paul advises us to turn our worries into prayers. The best way to worry less is to pray more! Whenever we begin to worry, we must stop and pray.

It also helps us to control our thoughts. To continue with our Philippian text,

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, 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.

Coping with Stress - Philippians 4:8

Verse 7 informs us that sincere prayer with thanksgiving yields the peace of God. This peace is a peace that no one can understand. It is not otherwise the norm to have such peace in the midst of calamity, sorrow, or pain. We simply cannot generate such peace on our own. True is the Scripture in James 5:16, which reads in part, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  

This peace will “keep our heart and minds” because we have accepted “Christ Jesus” as our Lord and Savior. Peace keeps our minds and hearts from being attacked by whatever is happening around us.

What we put into our minds determines our words and actions, including how we cope with stress. The Scripture tells us to put positive thoughts into our minds and “think on these things.”

Therefore, we must replace worry and negative thoughts with positive ones, read

God’s Word and pray, asking God to help us focus our minds on what is good and pure.

Amen

Questions, comments, and concerns may be left below. You will receive a response.

Blessings!

 

 

The Bible and Words

Words – How important are they? Do they matter? What are the effects of words spoken, and what are the effects of words heard? The Scriptures shed light on these questions. This article looks at the Bible and words.

The Effects of Words Spoken

The  Bible reads in Prov. 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” The tongue can yield life or death depending on how it is used. It is said that speech is the picture of the mind.

The Bible and Words - Prov 18-21

Because of this, we are warned in the Scriptures regarding the use of our tongues. Eph 4:29 reads, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
In other words, if we don’t have anything good to say, don’t say it at all.

We, as Christians, must be careful about what we say. As part of the body of Christ, we are to be filled with his righteousness and holiness. Therefore, we must not allow any “corrupt communication” to come out of our mouths. Corrupt” means tasteless and worthless (such as gossip and slander), and it involves foul talk (such as coarse language and cursing). This kind of speech is worthless, spreads worthlessness, and leads hearers to think about worthless matters.

The Bible and Words

Not only should our words be kept clean and truthful, but also we should use words that help build others up according to their needs. We must be sensitive to the situation and the needs of anyone with whom we communicate. We must be wise in choosing our words because even good words, when used inappropriately, can be destructive instead of beneficial.

We should not speak unclearly with words that could have many applications. Instead, our words should be sincere and specifically suited to the current individual, time, and place. Our speech should edify and enlighten, not tear down. Unless we are helping the other person, our words are meaningless. What we say should benefit those who are listening. Through our words, God can move to help others and bring his grace to them.

The Effects of Words We Hear

The words we hear can affect us in many ways. Because of this, it is crucial for us to monitor what we hear.

Prov. 15:4 reads, “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. NIV

This Scripture perfectly describes the effects of the words we hear. The tongue that brings healing is a good, positive tongue. A good tongue yields blessings. It delivers healing words to a wounded conscience by comforting it, to a sin-sick soul by convincing it that not all is lost, to harmony when it is broken by differences, compromising matters in conflict, and reconciling parties that are in disagreement. This description is a tongue that heals, described as a tree of life, with the leaves containing healing goodness.

The Bible and Words - Prov 15:4

On the other hand, a deceitful tongue is negative and wounding, for it deliverers perverseness, passion, falsehood, and filthiness, which crashes the spirit. Additionally, it injures the conscience of the deliverer and causes either guilt or grief to the hearers. Both are to be considered to crush the spirit. Hard words certainly break no bones, but they have broken many a heart.

There are numerous examples of good and bad tongues in the Scriptures. Let’s look at a couple of them. Numbers 6:22-27

 22 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

23 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,

24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:

25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.

This passage contains the Lord’s instructions for blessing those who wished to become Nazarites. Aaron, the priest, and his sons were to speak these words of blessing upon the perspective Nazarenes.

Gen 9:24-27

24 When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him,

25 he said, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.”

26 He also said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem.

27 May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be his slave.” NIV

Here we have a negative tongue delivering a curse. In this passage, Noah cursed Canaan, his grandson, when he discovered what his son had done.

Therefore, we see that words can be used to bless, and words can be used to curse. However, we are encouraged to them for blessings instead of cursing. James 3:9-10 reads,

9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 

10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. NIV

Here James acknowledges the dual use of words with our tongues. He knew that followers of Christ could be capable of both praise and cursing because of what he had witnessed with the disciples. As Peter promised Christ, “I will not deny you”
(Matt 26:35 NRSV), but later, he denied Jesus with oaths and curses (Matt 26:69-75). In 1 John 3:18, the apostle John says, “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (NIV). Previously in his life, John was willing to call down fire to destroy a Samaritan village (Luke 9:51-56).

Since words expose an individual’s heart, it displays the same probability to help or destroy. The tongue reflects the inner person (Matt 12:34).

May we take every opportunity to use our words for positive actions instead of negative ones.

Questions, comments, and concerns are welcomed below.

Blessings!

 

 

 

All about the Truth

As amazing as it may be, the truth has become controversial. What is the reason for this astounding reality? This article will illuminate all about the truth.

All about the Truth - Definition of truth

What is Truth?

What is truth? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, truth is the body of real things, events, and facts: actuality. Also, the state of being the case. A transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality.

Therefore, truth is the body of real things—reality, but, oh how far we have been removed from this definition. Since the creation, there has always been the lie, which is the opposite of the truth. It is the body of false things. However, the truth has been at the forefront and objective, and the lie in the minority.

However, with the advent of the post-modern movement, the lie is now equal to or, in some cases, placed ahead of the truth. The truth has now become subjective, subject to what an individual feels truth is.

So, how big of a problem is this? Huge! Truth should be the base of our functions. Outside of time, truth is the only stable element in our lives. Without truth as a base, there is no credence for anything.

Truth is the stabilizer; there is no spin to the truth, and the truth is non-negotiable.

All about the Truth - Judgment

Our words are very important. We must be able to trust each other. Otherwise, our words mean nothing. Words are powerful, and we are judged by the words we speak. Jesus said in Matt 12:37, “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” In the context of this Scripture, Jesus is referring to the judgment.

No word is immaterial to God, as every spoken word discloses what is in the heart. Since God knows our hearts, our words are crucially important to Him. Therefore, our words will be a basis for judgment because words reveal who a person truly is.

Additionally, Jesus also encourages us to speak the truth. In Matt 5:37, He is recorded as saying, “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. NIV

All about the truth - Yes or No

Here, Jesus plainly emphasized that we should tell the truth: When we say yes, we mean yes, and when we say no, we mean no. Otherwise what we speak is from the devil. In other words, say what we mean and mean what we say.

Nowadays, we truly see how the world is by the actions and words spoken. We are living in an age where we are overwhelmed with information, but not all of it is necessarily true. We live in turmoil because we do not know what to believe.

We actually have a body of falsehoods known as conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories increase during periods of widespread anxiety, uncertainty, or hardship, as through wars, economic depressions, and natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes, and pandemics. Unfortunately, they do not provide aid during these events at all; they only add more confusion and uncertainty to the events that are supposed to be addressed because they are not truthful but are theories. Only the truth can bring absolute clarity and closure to a situation or issue.

The World of Unbelief

Thanks to the subjective approach to the truth, we now live in a world of unbelief. The former President of the United States could not be trusted to tell the truth. According to the Washington Post, President Trump’s false or misleading claims totaled a whopping 30,573 over four years. Lies, lies, and more lies!

So if we cannot trust the President to tell the truth, what about the rest of the government? Politicians on both sides of the aisle engage in “alternative facts.” Alternative facts—what an oxymoron!

Moreover, unbelief spreads to science. Citizens in the US refuse to follow science, such as scientific proof that wearing masks and being vaccinated prevents the spread of COVID19.

Many in the US claim that the virus does not exist, even though, at the time of this writing, close to a million individuals have died from it in the US and over six million worldwide.

It gets better. Unbelief spreads to religion. In the subjective climate we live in, it is easy to discard God and the Scriptures [For more info on this topic, please read the article, The Bible and Cancel Culture on this website]. Is there really a God; is the Bible really truth? Is there such a thing as sin? Why does it matter whom I have sex with or who I marry?

Unbelief spreads to our bodies: “my body says I’m a male, but I feel like a female” (and vice versa). See the article, Transgenderism and the Bible.

In the world of unbelief, people simply will not accept facts and are walking around in their own reality.

The Answer

How do we find the truth with all the deception and unbelief permeating the world? Unbelief is a spirit and one of Satan’s powerful and effective weapons used in spiritual warfare. He has been using it since the creation of man (Gen. 3:4-5). But praise God, He has supplied us with spiritual weapons of our own to counter Satan’s assaults.

Let’s look at what the Scriptures tell us in 2 Cor. 10:4-5

4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

All About Spiritual Warfare

Therefore, we do not use worldly weapons but God’s mighty weapons. We use these weapons to beat down human interpretations and strongholds and demolish false arguments. Casting down every thought and proud obstruction that stops individuals from knowing God. We “bring into captivity” their rebellious thoughts and ideas and teach them to obey Christ.

Therefore, let’s take a look at these weapons in Eph 6:10-15

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  

16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. NIV

This passage describes the armor we are to use with the metaphor of a soldier. We are, in fact, soldiers of spiritual warfare.

All About Spiritual Warfare

It encourages us in verse 10 to “be strong in the Lord,” as we cannot be strong in ourselves against this enemy.  Verses 11 and 12 identify the enemy and his location.

Notice in verse 14 where it mentions “the belt of truth.” This truth is the weapon to use against the spirit of unbelief. Truth will stand against falsehoods any day of the week! But how do we buckle this belt of truth around our waists?

Discernment

We must acquire a spirit of discernment to counter the spirit of unbelief.

So what is discernment?

  • Discernment is about making the right judgments.
  • It’s looking beneath the surface to see what is actually there.
  • It’s having the ability to hear what an individual is saying and yet hearing what they don’t say.
  • It’s taking nothing for granted by evaluating, investigating, and distinguishing; looking deep down below the surface to find the truth.

Spiritual discernment is an essential tool in our arsenal to fight against the spirit of unbelief. It is vital to knowing the will of God for our lives. We must know whether we hear from God, other sources, or ourselves when making crucial decisions.

Spiritual discernment is essential to differentiate truth from error and avoid being deceived by sin, and it leads us to question the consequences rather than focus on the immediate pleasure. It allows us to see beyond what we hear, see, or feel.

The fact of the matter is that it is hazardous in the times we live in not to have spiritual discernment because it is our most significant protection.

How do we acquire spiritual discernment?

The first step is prayer, such as the one David prayed in Ps 119:65-66

65 Do good to your servant according to your word, O Lord.

66 Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in your commands. NIV

We must, as David did, pray to God to bestow “knowledge and good judgment” upon us, and He answers us through the Holy Spirit, who is the source of spiritual discernment.

Let’s look at Jesus’ description in John 14:16-17

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—

17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. NIV

All About the Truth - Holy Spirit

When we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, He gives us a “counselor” to live inside us. He is the Spirit of truth.” He guides us into the truth about God, and He will guide us “into all truth” (John 16:13).

The Holy Spirit is our “Counselor”
and our “Helper” (KJV) and will help us make wise decisions and choices. Without the Spirit, we are as lost as a blind mind walking without a cane. Paul makes this clear in Rom 8:5-8

5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Here we have a comparison of the spiritual mind against the carnal, fleshly mind without the Spirit. To be without the Spirit is to be in the flesh, carnal-minded, and an enemy of God. They are simply lost in their flesh. They cannot please God because they cannot understand God or the things of God. Paul additionally said in 1 Cor. 2:14, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” NIV

Bottom line: only the Spirit of God can provide us with the Spiritual discernment we need to know right from wrong in all areas of our lives. Without it, we are lost.

The next source for spiritual discernment is the Word of God, which is the basis of all Spiritual discernment and keeps us on the right track. Ps 119:11 reads, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” NIV

Hiding or keeping God’s Word in the heart is a deterrent to sin. One way to accomplish this is by memorizing Scripture. However, that is only the beginning because, in addition to memorizing Scripture, we must apply it and live by it (James 1:22).

Conclusion

The truth can be painful at times. However, denying it is not the answer. There are too many in the world denying the truth, walking around in their own reality. The problem with that is sooner or later, truth will prevail, and reality will come crashing down upon them.

Jesus warned about denying reality in Luke 17:26-30, where He is quoted as saying:

26 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man.

27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.

28 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building.

29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.

30 “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. NIV

All about the Truth - Judgment
We must pay attention and not get caught!

This passage is part of Jesus’ prophecy regarding His second coming. As we are witnessing today, individuals will be in denial, carrying on with life until the time of judgment arrives, just as it happened in the days of Noah and the days of Sodom.

Therefore, we should seek the truth and walk in it to be able to stand before the Lord.

I close with this final Scripture. Luke 21:36

36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” NIV

Amen

Questions, comments, and concerns are more than welcome below.

Blessings!

 

 

 

 

How to Control the Mind

There are a couple of articles on this website regarding the mind. One of them is entitled,The Mind is the Battlefield. That article explains the battle that goes on between the two spiritual forces for control of our minds, known as spiritual warfare. This article focuses on guarding our minds against the prevailing evil forces in the world we live in today. This article is about how to control the mind.

How to Control the Mind

Guarding our Gates

Guarding our Gates

A gate is an entrance or threshold into a place of great significance, a place that is in need of protection.

What is meant by guarding our gates? We do things that have a profound impact on our minds. These activities involve what we see, what we hear, and what we speak. These activities follow pathways that lead directly to our minds and souls that manifest themselves both positively and negatively.

To be specific, the gates to our minds are our eyes, ears, and mouth. By way of these gateways, either light or darkness enters our minds. This action is based on what we look upon with our eyes, listen to with our ears, or speak out of our mouths. These observations are imperative to controlling our minds.

What we see—the eyes are often referred to as the “windows of the soul.” What we set our eyes on has a strong influence on our minds and can lead us down a path of destruction. Let’s look at an example. Gen 3:6

6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

In the previous verses (vss. 1-5), Eve had the situation under control—holding Satan at bay. However, when she looked at the fruit and saw how desirous it was, her defenses weakened. Therefore, she capitulated, ate the fruit, and bought sin into the whole world.

Guarding our Gates - The Eye Gate

No other avenue can lead us down a path of destruction faster than what we allow our eyes to feast upon. To illustrate how severe of an issue this is, Jesus said in Matt 5:28, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. NIV

Looking upon someone lustfully enters the mind so significantly that it is synonymous with committing the act physically. . This observation confirms that every physical action begins with a thought, and everything that occurs in the natural first occurs in the spiritual.

This statement is not the only warning Jesus issued concerning the eyes. In Matt 6:22-23, He said,

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.

23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! NIV

Guarding our Gates - The Lamp of the Body is the Eye

What we permit through our eye gates will seep into our minds and eventually into our hearts, or soul, which contain the mind, emotions, and the will.

Therefore, we must be on guard and be careful about what we watch on the television, the movies we observe that contain all kinds of violence and sexual scenes. In addition, we must avoid pornography at all costs.

It behooves us, therefore, to make the commitment David made in Ps 101:3 “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes….” And Job, who said in Job 31:1, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.”

What we hear— Similarly, the ear is another primary gateway to the soul. What we hear can have an impact on us positively or negatively. Satan’s assault on Eve began with him speaking to her before she even looked at the fruit, thereby convincing her to eat the forbidden fruit.

Guarding our gates - The Ear Gate

Our ears should be tuned to receiving wisdom and understanding that will enable us to fear the Lord and gain his knowledge Prov. 2:1-2, 5 advises us as follows:

1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,

2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,

5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. NIV

The passage says we should turn our ears to wisdom.

The Scriptures describe Satan as “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2.2), and “the prince of this world” (John 16:11). Satan is very cunning and uses music and the media to pollute our ears and, subsequently, our minds.

Therefore, we must secure our ear gates by avoiding gossip, worldly music, idle jokes, profanity, etc. We must use our ears to seek the Word of God. We should surround ourselves with positive individuals that speak encouraging words and have the same desire and goal of heaven at last.

What we speak—The tongue is a very powerful instrument. Prov. 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death….” The tongue can build up as well as tear down. Therefore, we must be careful how we use our tongues. Satan uses our mouths to manipulate souls, but a true and faithful Christian is recognized by the words that depart out of their mouth.

Eph 4:29

29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

In other words, if we don’t have anything good to say, then don’t say anything at all.

Guarding our Gates - What we Speak
                                                                            Avoid the Gossip!

As Christians we must be careful about what we speak. We must not let any corrupt communication come out of our mouths as part of the body of Christ, filled with His righteousness and holiness. “Corrupt communication” means corrupt, trite, worthless (i.e., gossip and slander), including profanity. Such speech is useless, spreads worthlessness, and leads those that hear it to focus on useless matters.

Our words should be kept pure and truthful, and we should speak what aids in building others up according to their needs. Our speech should edify and enlighten, not tear down. Unless we are helping the other individual, our words will be worthless. What we say should benefit those who listen. Then, God can work through our speech to help others and bring his grace to them.

Conclusion

Whether we realize it or not, we are involved in a spiritual war. Every individual is involved in this war. Either we are with Christ, or we are with the enemy. As Jesus said in Matt 12:30

He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”

Those who are with the enemy do not have much of a struggle because Satan is not going to bother his own. However, for those who are with Christ have a mighty struggle to remain so as we are Satan’s enemy.

A lot of the struggle individuals must deal with is the result of not properly guarding their gates.

This task is entirely our responsibility. The good news is that we have the Holy Spirit who helps us fight against our flesh.

It behooves us to take this responsibility seriously if we are going to be effective soldiers in this battle for our souls and put on the “full armor of God” (Eph.6:10-17).

For more detailed information regarding spiritual warfare, please read the article, All about Spiritual Warfare, on this website.

Kindly leave any questions, comments, concerns, or experiences guarding your gates below.

Blessings!

 

 

 

What is the Will About?

We all have a will. But where does it originate, and how do we get it? Does God have anything to do with it? The article will inform what is the will about.

What is the Will?

So, what is the will all about? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has six (6) definitions for will. I have chosen two (2).

What is the Will About

The first is mental powers manifested as wishing, choosing, desiring, or intending

The second is a disposition to act according to principles or ends.

So, will is a verb, a word of action upon something that we have chosen to do. We willfully get up in the morning, and we willfully go about our days. Some days our wills are more robust than others with these duties (like on Fridays-TGIF), but nonetheless, our wills play a crucial role in what we do. Without the will to live, we perish, and if we have no will, we do nothing.

So, from where does the will come? The first definition I stated was mental powers manifested. Therefore, it appears that the will is in the mind, the area in the brain that processes thought, memory, imagination, and sensation. [For more information on the mind, please read the article, The Mind and God on this website.

When someone leaves behind a will, it is known as their last will and testament. Meaning this is their last desire for the distribution of their earthly goods.

Last but not least, the will comes from God. God gave man free will to choose right from wrong.

The Will of God

So, what is the will of God? “The will of God” is an expression we use to address God’s will, which is what God intends to occur. If God wills it, it happens; it manifests. One example is the creation of man.

God created man in His image and after His likeness, according to Genesis 1:26-27. While the animals were created “after their kind,” man was a higher scale of being.

The Scripture reads, “In our image, after our likeness,” which meant that he was to be connected to heaven as no other being on earth. He was to be connected to the Everlasting Being (God) Himself. Initially, man was God-like, with clear limitations.

what is the will about - Creation

In what manner was man fashioned after the image of God and His likeness? There are several ways in which man was created in God’s image.

For starters, in intelligence –  God is the Ultimate Supreme Mind. He has infinite Intelligence. Man is comparable to God, given that he is gifted with mind and intelligence as well because he is capable of thought.

In moral nature –  Man was created after God’s image, in righteousness and true holiness. He was completed with a compassionate heart, a happy and prayerful spirit, and a longing yearning to advance the general good of the universe. In this sense, he was in God’s likeness, who is distinctly upright, divinely jovial in His life, and deep compassion with all within the circle of His Being.

In dominion – God is the unparalleled Sovereign of all things in heaven and on the earth. Both angels and man are His subjects. Material Nature is part of His domain and is under His influence. In this regard, man is made in the image of God. He is the king of this world. The creation is under his dominion, and the material forces are primarily under his command.

In immortality –  God is eternal, and man was initially created to live forever. Therefore, man partakes of the Divine immortality. However, man lost his immortality because of sin. Still, through Christ, he can be redeemed. 2 Tim 1:10 reads, “but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” NIV

This summary illuminates the will of God for the creation of man. However, God’s will goes beyond that. Everything that occurs on earth is according to God’s will.

There are different aspects to His will. For example, there is His providential will which is the mystery plan He uses to govern all things in the universe. Eph 1:9-10 reads:

9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,

10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment — to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. NIV

It was God’s will initially to give his people celebrated liberties. Since the Scripture ties the word “mystery” in with “God’s will,” it discloses the assurance of the outcome of God’s plans and promises. As with our election mentioned in verse 4, the revelation of the mystery of salvation is also according to his good pleasure. “Before the foundation of the world,” God planned to send Christ to die for us, but He revealed this mystery to us in later times. In essence, it pleases God to make the mystery of his will known to us.

God’s will includes His perceptive plan. This plan is the part of God’s will that can be understood from Scripture’s precepts or teachings. Mainly what we are required to know about God’s will has already been revealed in the Scriptures. Let’s look at an example. 1 Thess 4:3-7

3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;

4 that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable,

5 not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God;

6 and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you.

7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. NIV

Okay, this is not rocket science; it is not difficult to understand. God wants our lifestyle to be separated from the world and does not want us to be involved in sexual immorality. This immorality includes pornography, homosexual sex, premarital sex, extramarital sex, incest, and beastology. These all fall under the umbrella of sexual immorality, and we must exercise self-control over our bodies.

Further, we should treat one another with respect and not harm our fellow man in any way. God does not expect impurity in our character but to maintain an honorable character.

Last but not least, let us not overlook that there is punishment for those who disregard this exhortation. Let us understand that three attributes of God are lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness (Jer 9:24), and He delights in these.

What is the Will About

The third aspect of the will of God refers to God’s plan for our individual lives. To discover God’s will for our lives, we only need to observe the Scriptures. This is the primary way to know His will. Let’s look at a few.

Mic 6:8

8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. NIV

This Scripture depicts God’s first and foremost will for us; to walk with Him in humility and righteousness, accepting His Son, Jesus, as Lord and Savior (John 12:26).

Eph 5:1-2

1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children

2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. NIV

God’s will for us is to be more like His Son. To be more like Him by following his example in Christ, imitating his qualities in our lives (1 Peter 2:21). In verse 2, we see that Christ’s model of forgiveness should be the blueprint for us to follow. The word “be”
means become. Paul recognized that this is a process. For the reason that our relationship with God is through Christ and the power given to us is through the Spirit, we are to become God-like in our character and respectful disciples in our lifestyles.

Jer 29:11

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God knows the future, and He expresses His plans for us, and they are good. This declaration does not mean we will not endure heartache, hardship, pain, and suffering but that He will see us through with a great conclusion (2 Cor. 4:17, Ps. 34:19).

Conclusion

God’s definitive will is the salvation and sanctification of his children through his Son, Jesus Christ (1 Tim:2:2-4, 2 Peter 3:9), the progression of his kingdom (Dan 2:44), and his adoration (1 Cor 10:31).

His will shall come to pass, as He said in Isa 46:10, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” NIV

But God also gave man a will—free will. This falls under the first attribute mentioned earlier, intelligence. Therefore, he can choose to follow God’s will or not, but it’s the choice to follow that reaps the most significant reward as the Scripture reads in 1 John 2:17, “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” NIVWhat is the Will About

Therefore, it behooves us to align our wills with the will of God.

Amen

Please leave a question, comment, or concern below. You will receive a response.

Blessings

 

 

 

The Mind and God

There are 92 verses in the King James Version of the Bible that contain the word mind. Therefore, there must be a connection between God and the mind. Hence, what is the relationship between the mind and God?

What is the Mind?

The Mind and God - What is the Mind?

The mind is the group of senses in control of mental occurrences. Frequently the term is additionally identified with the occurrences themselves. These occurrences include thought, imagination, memory, will, and sensation.

The Difference between the Brain and the Mind

Conventional wisdom uses the mind and the brain interchangeably. Brain and mind are words used in reference to the organ within our skulls that we use for thinking. However, the brain and mind are two separate entities that are interconnected. You can’t have one without the other. The brain is the physical organ; the mind is not physical but mental and is contained within the brain.

The Mind and God - What is the difference between the brain and the mind?

The mind utilizes the brain, and the brain reacts to the mind. The mind, in addition, changes the brain. We choose our actions; our brains do not force us to do anything. While there would be no conscious experience without the brain, experiences cannot be reduced to the brain’s actions.

The mind is energy, and energy is generated during the course of thinking, feeling, and choosing. It is the source of our living, and without it, the physical brain and body would be of no use. Therefore, we are our minds; as the Scripture reads, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:” (Prov. 23:7), and mind-in-action is how we generate energy in the brain.

The Mind and God

So what does this have to do with God? For starters, God is our creator, and He created our minds as well as our physical bodies. However, there are two influences on our minds; God through His Holy Spirit and the world’s forces controlled by Satan (Eph. 2:2).

Minds are vital because they are the means by which God communicates with us, we communicate with Him, and there is a spiritual battle for our minds. This battle is known as Spiritual Warfare. For a more in-depth explanation of spiritual warfare, please read the article, All about Spiritual Warfare on this website.

When we resist the worldly influences and accept Christ as our personal Savior, God will protect our minds from the evil forces of the world. Let’s look at some examples.

Here is how we communicate with God. When Jesus responded to the question of what the Greatest Commandment is, His response was, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind (Matt 22:37).

The Mind and God - Loving God

In this Scripture, the purpose behind Jesus’ statement is that we should love God with all of our beings. “Mind” alludes to an active element of our love for God. Conventional wisdom describes faith as a trait of individuals who do not think. However, Jesus’ words point to the importance of engaging our mind as a central aspect of our beliefs. Indeed, loving God with our minds involves much more than the practice of thinking about God. If we place our minds into serving God, it will enjoy its greatest usefulness.

Next, Rom 12:2,

 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Loving God and accepting Christ as Savior is not to find out how much like the world we can be but maintain our distinctiveness. But it is, declining to “conform” to this world’s values and must go even more profoundly than the level of behavior and customs — it must be unwaveringly planted in our minds — “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” If it doesn’t happen in the mind, it doesn’t happen at all.

Here is how God communicates with us. 2 Peter 1:2-4

2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. NIV

The Mind and God - 2 Peter 1:2-3

Once we allow our minds to be transformed, God ministers to us, our minds, through His Holy Spirit.

The power of Christ reveals itself in the lives of Christians. As the Scripture reads, “Christ has given us everything needed for life and godliness.” The power that allows us to grow does not come from within us but from God. Since we do not have the basis for living as he requires, He gives us everything we need for godly living (to keep us from sin and aid us with living for Him). “Godliness” represents moral uprightness and the honoring of God. Peter used the word in this passage and also1:6-7; 2:9; 3:11. When we are born again, God, by his Spirit, empowers us with his moral goodness, making it possible for us to live for him. See John 3:6; 14:17-23; 2 Cor. 5:21; and 1 Peter 1:22-23.

This transition has its benefits. One of these is—peace. John 14:27

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. NIV

Jesus never promises that we will not have troubles. In fact, he says the opposite in Matt 5:11:

 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. NIV

However, the peace that Jesus supplies yields strength and comfort for the burdens we must carry. Jesus gave the disciples then and those of today peace that would help us through our own time of trial ahead.

We all have a desire peace. The peace the world yields is a sort of peace. It involves temporary freedom based on distraction that supposedly allows us to live with little interference. The world offers the peace of escapism found in our times of daydreams or amusements (shopping, drugs, affairs, etc.).

The peace the world provides yields a false sense of security. This circumstance goes back to Biblical times:  People say, “‘Peace, Peace!’ when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14 NKJV). In fact, the unquenchable pursuit for peace has often provoked some of the most dreadful conflicts in man’s history. The world waits with anticipation that we will work toward peace and get there someday if everyone collaborates. But will they?

However, the peace Jesus offers his followers is different. It is His peace. It is the peace He demonstrated in his daily life. The peace of Jesus’ did not flee conflict, pain, or death. In fact, the more severe the difficulties, the more evident Jesus’ peace became. His peace was the result of his relationship with the Father.

Phil 4:6-7

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. NIV

Christians are not to worry. Even though we are to be responsible for ourselves and care for others, we are not to worry, fret, or exercise undue concern. Instead, we are to pray—“in everything.” We must worry less and pray more. Prayer is to be our lifestyle, not our life jacket.

In verse 7, we have the result—peace. The peace addressed above. The peace that “transcends all understanding.”
People just cannot understand how an individual can be at peace in spite of all that is going on around them.

It is not a natural response in times of sorrow, pain, or calamity. This peace is not self-generated; it simply cannot be; for it comes from God alone; it is his gift to us in a challenging world. As with a considerable amount of God’s dealings with humanity, we cannot understand it, but we can experience God’s peace if we accept it because of his vast love for us.

These examples illustrate how God communicates with us through our minds. If we trust Him, He will bless us and give us the strength and peace we need to survive this troubled world.

Isa 26:3

3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

The Mind and God

We may not be able to avoid the strife in the world around us, but we can know perfect peace even in turmoil when we fix our thoughts on God. We become steady and stable as we focus our minds on God and his Word. Supported by God’s unchanging love and mighty power, the surrounding chaos does not shake us.

God communicates through the mind. Therefore, if you want peace, focus your thoughts; your mind on God and put your trust in Him.

Amen

Questions, comments, and concerns may be left below.

Blessings

 

 

 

 

Putin in Biblical Prophecy

Did you ever think that you would witness what is going on in Ukraine? Did you ever think that a leader in the twenty-first century would unleash such death and destruction as Putin has? Those who pay attention to the Scriptures probably aren’t surprised at all, as these actions are contained in Biblical prophecy. Putin himself is in prophecy. This article will shine the light on Putin in Biblical prophecy.

Who is Putin?

Putin in Biblical Prophecy

His full name is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. He is a former intelligence officer (KGB) and Russian politician who is the current president of Russia, a position he has held since 2012 and from 2000 until 2008. From 1999 to 2000, he was also the prime minister from 2008 to 2012.

This brief description describes modern-day Putin.

Putin in Biblical Prophecy

Russia is the most aggressive and dangerous nuclear superpower in the world today. Therefore, you can be sure that Russia is contained in Bible prophecy. However, to find it, you must know its ancient biblical name. Then, prophecies about this nation can be located in the Old and New Testaments.

In the book ofEzekiel, chapters 38 & 39 contain the final battle against Israel. Verse 8 mentions the “latter days,” which is the time we are currently living in. This chapter includes some world-confounding news concerning the mighty Russian empire and its “prince.” This prince is looked upon with much trepidation.  Let’s look at Ezek 38:1-3

1 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

2 “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him,

3 and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. NKJV

It is important to note that the fulfillment of verses 2-3 initiates prior to the Great Tribulation, the Day of the Lord, and Jesus Christ’s Second Coming (the latter days).

The Son of man is Ezekiel, God’s messenger identifying the prince. There are two (2) explicit individuals in this passage. God gives the title of the prince, making it effortless to recognize him. Nevertheless, God still has to reveal who he is in the latter days.

Putin in Biblical Prophecy - Ezekiel 38 1-2

God’s messenger warned the nations of Israel in particular about the danger of Russia and China and how events in these nations are all going to end. God explicitly warns three nations of Israel—America, the British peoples, and the Middle East’s Jewish state—Israel. For more information on The United States and Britain in Prophecy in more detail from the Bible and history, please read the article The Rise and Fall of America on this website.

Scholars agree overall that “Gog” is Russia and that “the land of Magog” includes China. The offspring of Meshech and Tubal have been found together throughout history. In Assyrian and Greek records, Meshech appears as Musku, Muski, or Mushki—all names related to the Russian spelling of Moscow, as stated in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia and Fausset’s Bible Dictionary.

Magog was Gog’s original kingdom; he additionally acquired Mesech and Tubal, becoming their “chief prince” (rest; the Scythian Tauri and the Araxes were called Rhos, from whence Russia). Mesech was once one of the most powerful nations in western Asia.

Concerning Tubal? On the eastern side of the Ural Mountains lies the city of Tobolsk, named after the Tobol River, a name derived from Tubal. Tobolsk was once the center of the Russian government over Siberia and was considered Russia’s Asian capital.

There is also a name for all Russian people in verse 2. There has been some controversy about how the Hebrew word Rosh (Roshe) should be translated in this verse. The King James Version translates it as an adjective as “chief.” However, the correct rendering (used by the Moffatt, NIV, New King James, and other modern translations) uses the word not as an adjective but as a proper noun: Rosh. Thus, the updated verse reads, “the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.”

Rosh was the ancient name of Russia, initially called Rus. Several encyclopedias and commentaries (i.e., the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary) recognize this. So who exactly is this “prince” of Russia, Moscow, and Tobolsk? The use of these three names indicates that this is a particular ruler of all the populaces of Russia, from the east to the west. The mention of Moscow and Tobolsk aids us in seeing how vast Russian territory is in these latter days and indicates that the prince is likely to conquer more nations of the former Soviet Union.

Studying these scriptures in conjunction with current events illuminating modern-day Moscow’s imperialist direction indicates that Russian President Vladimir Putin could well be the prince of Rosh.

John records an astounding prophecy around A.D. 90 in Rev 9:16

16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.

Verses 13-21 of this chapter describe the sounding of the sixth trumpet. The sounding of this trumpet released a force to kill a third of mankind or humanity. Verse 16 states the army’s size as a massive Two Hundred Million!

Verse 14 Indicates that the four angels who loosed the army were on “the great river Euphrates” which is on the eastern border of the Holy Land. This location is further confirmed in Rev 16:12, which mentions that the Euphrates River was dried up so that the “kings of the east”
could cross it for the battle.

Additionally, it is interesting to note that Russia has built a series of dams along the Euphrates, making it possible to dry up the river. Also interesting, Iraq’s water ministry has reported that the Euphrates and the Tigris, Iraq’s two main rivers, will run completely dry within two decades unless action is taken.

Ezekiel 38:2 and other Scriptures mentioned indicate that the prince of Russia will lead the 200 million-man army, which will include China and other nations. However, the two key nations are Russia and China from the east.

Putin in Biblical Prophecy - 200 million man army

Further, only Russia alone has the oil to sustain such a colossal army. Details about this army are revealed in passages, for example, Revelation 9:13-21 (mentioned earlier), Revelation 16, Daniel 11, Jeremiah 50, and Joel 2. In Joel 2:11, this 200 million-man Asian force is actually called God’s army. This designation indicates that God is coordinating His plan at the center of all this warfare.

God is the Lord of Hosts, in charge of all armies, and He will utilize this colossal Asian force to meet head-on with the military of a united German-led Europe (to be covered in a future article) will also be on the scene at this time. It will annihilate Europe, but not the main European armies. These two armies will meet to fight at Armageddon (Rev. 16:16). They will be defeated when they battle against Jesus Christ. This annihilation will be God’s punishment on the Europeans for their sins—especially for their brutal treatment of His people Israel (e.g., Revelation 18:5-6; Jeremiah 50:29-31).

Current events demonstrate that this Asian army is already taking shape. It is displayed in Putin’s growing totalitarianism and outreach to other Asian powers. Russia has supplied China with numerous military safeguards over the last decade. It has additionally helped the Chinese to go nuclear. For decades, the Russians have been linked with China, to some extent.

Putin in Biblical Prophecy

From current events, we can further observe that China has not condemned Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, and Russia has even asked China for assistance with the war.

In addition, on April 7th, 2022, the United Nations voted to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council in a critical and historic move because of the atrocities committed in Ukraine. However, China voted against it.

Additionally, 58 countries abstained, including India, Brazil, and other oil-rich Arab states, exposing competing world orders and energy priorities.

Please take note of what it says in Ezek 38:5-6

5 Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets,

6 also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops — the many nations with you. NIV

However, there will also be other additional powers involved. Ezekiel’s prophecy pronounces the Russian-led army will include Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya … Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people …” (Ezekiel 38:5-6 KJV).

Putin in Biblical Prophecy

Gomer is believed to refer to Japan, which brandishes some of the world’s most sophisticated weaponry and technology. Ethiopia and Libya should be interpreted as “Cush” and “Phut,” as shown in the NIV translation. Some Cush and Phut inhabitants journeyed to African nations, and the rest traveled to parts of India. The context of this passage shows that it refers to modern-day Indians (and perhaps Pakistanis) rather than Africans.

These observations are noteworthy since India has approximately 1.2 billion people—and an advanced nuclear arsenal! When India and Japan are placed together with Russia and China, it is not hard to observe how an arsenal of 200 million soldiers could be fashioned. With possibly other Asian nations joining, combined populations of 3.5 to 4 billion people can quickly be reached. Under intense situations like the ones described in these end-time prophecies, it is not difficult to imagine 1 in 10 or 20 individuals going to war.

Putin may have a boyish innocent look about him, but the Bible prophesies that he will perhaps be accountable for more death and destruction than any leader in the history of man.

In 2005, Putin called the fall of the Soviet empire “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” Not only does he mourn the USSR’s collapse—he is resolute in rebuilding it and restoring the glory of imperial Russia. Putin made these goals evident in August 2008 when Russia used military force to invade the former Soviet nation of Georgia. One publication wrote the following: “Russia’s attack on Georgia in August marks the beginning of a dangerous new era in history.”

Putin in Biblical Prophecy - Russia attacks Georgia

This action was the first military strike of a rising Asian superpower. The thinking and questions that arose at that time were: will the Georgia strike ignite European unification? Will a crisis arise regarding Ukraine? Since that area is the breadbasket of Russia, most likely, it is willing to wage war over that as well.

These questions have obviously been answered.

It is essential to observe Vladimir Putin closely because it appears that he is almost sure to be the “prince of Rosh” that God stirred Ezekiel to write about 2,500 years ago! We need to observe what is going on in Russia and how Europe responds. Daniel mentions “tidings out of the east” troubling Europe (11:44). Putin’s campaigns in the Middle East, Georgia, Ukraine, and elsewhere are already deeply troubling Europe and the rest of the world.

On April 5th, 2022, General Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued this warning: “the Russian invasion of Ukraine is threatening to undermine not only European peace and stability but global peace and stability that my parents and a generation of Americans fought so hard to defend.”

Russia’s resurgence—, which we see reported in headlines often—shows that end-time Bible prophecies are rapidly being fulfilled!

Mr. Putin’s warfare will lead directly into the Second Coming of Christ. Jesus Christ knows how to deal precisely with all leaders like the prophesied prince of Russia and that’s the good news!

In the meantime, remember what Jesus said in Matt 24:42,Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” NIV We must always be prepared for the “Day of the Lord.” [2 Pet. 3:10]

Amen.

Questions, comments, and concerns may be left below.

Blessings!