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Women and the Bible

Women are a crucial part of society. However, what exactly is the role of women? There seems to be a shift. Is it for the better, or is it for the worst? More importantly, for Christians, is it Biblical? This article looks into women and the Bible.

What is a Woman?

A woman is an adult female created by God as a helper to the man (Gen. 2:18). After the male, Adam, gave names to all of the animals (Gen. 2:19-20), all of the creatures had mates but him. Therefore, God’s work of creation was not complete until He created a mate for Adam.

Therefore, he removed one of Adam’s ribs, thereby forming the woman (Gen. 2:21-22). God could have created her from the dust of the ground as He did with man. Instead, He made her from the man’s flesh and bone, illustrating that marriage between man and woman is united into one.

Throughout the Scriptures, God addresses this special relationship earnestly. It is a joining together of the couple’s hearts and lives. A couple’s goals for marriage must be more than friendship; they must be willing to take the vow for oneness, thereby being united as one.

What is God’s Purpose for Women?

It is evident in Genesis 2:18 the purpose for which God created woman; as a helper for man. After God created the woman for Adam, He blessed them, commanded them to multiply, and have dominion over the earth (Gen. 1:28). There were in the Garden of Eden, and everything was perfect. Life in the Garden of Eden was the same as living in heaven, and if Adam and Eve had obeyed God, they could have lived there forever.

However, after Adam and Eve sinned against God, God handed down judgment, and things were no longer perfect. Let’s look at  this in Gen 3:16-20

16 To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”

17 “Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:“Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.”Women and the Bible

18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field.

19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are,And to dust you shall return.”

20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. NKJV

What we see in the passage is that with Judgment, suffering arrived. We also see clearly the defined roles for Adam and Eve.

They were still to multiply. Eve was to have the children and bear them in pain. They were still provided with food, but Adam had to labor for it to provide for his family.

Together, as one, they were to function as a family. However, they had clearly defined roles. God is a God of order and not of confusion. With this judgment, we see God’s divine order for the family.

While this order is from God, man, in his imperfection, took this order way beyond God’s intended boundaries. This action has resulted in treating women as second-class citizens and a little above slavery. Men abused their God-given authority; they have deserted their families, leaving them to fend for themselves. In some third-world countries, women are not even allowed to operate automobiles or educate themselves. The west adopted a more civil behavior over time. However, the overhaul double standard culture continued.

This behavior goes way beyond God’s intention of male and female relationships and families. God did not tell Adam that Eve was beneath him in any way. They simply had different roles; “and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, cf. Matthew 16:5).

It is simply out of God’s will, and there is a consequence for every action. Once again, man has allowed Satan to have his way and interfere with his relationship with God. Satan has and still is doing all he can to destroy the family unit God proposed.

So what happened? Women have rebelled. In the US, there have been such actions as the women’s rights, feminist, and women liberation movements, movements to bring attention and action against the ill-treatment of women.

While these movements may have had good intentions initially, they too have become tools of Satan to destroy God’s family structure. He is like the fly in the ointment; it started out for good, then the fly drops in and ruins the whole batch.

The present phase of the women’s movement in the west is women’s empowerment.

Women’s Empowerment: Is it Biblical?

What is Women’s Empowerment?

Women’s empowerment is the process of empowering women, raising their Women and the Bible - Women's Empowermentstatus through education, awareness, literacy, and training. This seems reasonable, right? So what is the problem?

The Problem

All of these movements collectively have the same problem; they threaten God’s divine order for the family. Instead of the woman being a helper to the man, the ultimate goal has become to overpower the man; to usurp man’s God-given authority.

The theme is: anything a man can do, I can do better. Women have proceeded Women and the Bible - Women's empowermentto tackle any male-dominated trade and profession. This objective has started a dangerous shift in culture and society.

In education, according to the Wall Street Journal, 60 percent of college admissions are women, and schools of higher learning are struggling to keep the male population at 40 percent. One university reported that 55 percent of males graduate in four years, while 70 percent of women graduate.

These statistics, if continued, will cause women to become the primary breadwinners of families, and this is out of divine order.

In sports, women reporters demand access to men’s locker rooms to interview players, and young women aspire to join boys’ baseball and football teams.

In 2017, The Boy Scouts of America made the decision to allow girls to join their organization. This action was quite disturbing for the Girl Scouts of America.

Boys are invading girls’ sports, claiming that they are females trapped in male bodies. How preposterous! This nonsense is sheer madness! This manifestation is only the tip of the iceberg for males and their psyche. In the west, more and more men are being looked upon as incapable of fulfilling the leadership role that God gives to them.

When boys are left without the correct guidance and direction, too many of them become confused about their expected role in life, which is the role of a loving leader. Not only does this confusion hurt men, but it also hurts women and all of society.

Males are the dominant species by nature; it was given to them by God. Men are equipped physically and mentally to be protectors and providers. It is their nature to provide and protect. Therefore, having their wives as the principal breadwinner has consequences, if not immediately, ultimately on society overall.

The radical feminist, many of whom are man-haters for whatever reason, deny the God-given roles of men and women and that a woman should be independent of a man. However, this is so contrary to Scripture: 1 Cor. 11:8-10, 11-12

8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.   11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. 12 For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God. NKJV

Women and the Bible - Women's Empowerment

It is essential to understand that this has nothing to do with ability but everything to do with God’s divine order. Sure, women can perform many things that men can. However, it’s not God’s plan for them to do so. Men and women have defined roles.

The Scriptures are very defined and balanced of the husband and wife relationship.

In Eph 5:22-24 it reads:

22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

The wife is to submit to her husband because he is the head of the wife and family.

However, the passage continues in Eph 5:25-31, which reads:

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

Even though the man is the head over the woman, he is not to treat her poorly; he is not to abuse his authority. Verse 28 makes that clear. A husband is to love his wife as his own body. That says a lot on the part of the man. It is God’s Word and he must adhere to it. After all, Scripture says in Col 3:19, “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” NIV

1 Peter 3:7  goes even further.

7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. NIV

Peter’s admonition to husbands is that if they were not considerate and respectful to their wives, their prayers would be hindered. Therefore, husbands, if you want your prayers to be answered, love and respect your wives as you do with your own body.

God’s plan values both men and women, and we should adhere to it.  Men and women were created to complement one another, not compete against each other.

In a marriage, the unity of males and females is essential to a well-ordered society. It has been proven that as the family goes, so goes the nation. Marriage between males and females can bring offspring into a balanced, nurturing, loving environment where both husband and wife contribute unique qualities. Children learn good manners, care for others, self-discipline, and self-sacrifice in this environment.

Men and women are to build each other up, not tear each other down. Both have their roles to play in God’s purpose for humanity. But Satan does everything he can to disrupt the family structure God designed. Again, as the family goes, so goes the nation.

God warned us that a reversal of traditional gender roles would occur at the end of this age through the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah 3:12

12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

This verse is part of a judgment for the latter days that begins in chapter two. The connotation of this verse is that to be under the rule of women is not favorable and leads to unfavorable consequences.

Is women’s empowerment Biblical? Yes, it is. Jesus empowered women in ministry. Something unheard of in His time. However, he didn’t empower them to the point that they usurped the authority over men.

This article, along with other articles on this website, brings to light how far the world has moved and is still moving out of the will of God.

I pray that soon, our eyes will be opened to Satan’s schemes (Ephesians 6:11).

Amen

Comments, questions, and concerns may be left below.

Blessings!

 

 

 

The Danger of Impatience

We recently posted an article on this website entitled Patience and the Bible that shared Biblical instruction to Christians regarding patience. It included how we are to be patient with each other and with God, for He blesses us when we wait on Him. This article shares the danger of impatience when we do not wait.

What is Impatience? 

Impatience is the inability to be patient and a state of intolerance. This state causes individuals to be irritated or even angry when more time is required than they are willing to accept to accomplish a task or goal.

The Danger of Impatience with each other

The  Scriptures encourage us to be patient with each other. One place this encouragement is found is in Eph 4:1-3

1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. NIV

In verse 1, Paul calls on Christians to live the life they are called to live. This calling is a call of service to God. Christians are called to be representatives, ambassadors for Christ on this earth (2 Cor. 5:20).

Verse 2 tells us how to live out this calling; by being humble, gentle, and patient. As Christians, we must be patient with one another in spite of our various faults. We must be willing to forgive and bear with one another, which involves empathizing, sympathizing, and having compassion with others.

So what happens when we do not exercise patience?

When we do not have patience (impatience), it wreaks havoc on relationships. It can lead to confusion, strife, heartache, and termination of a relationship. We must be patient with one another. The closer the relationship, the more patience may be required.

The Danger of Impatience with God

It is essential to realize that not only do we need to exercise patience with our human relationships, but we must have patience in our relationship with God as well.

This truth has been increasingly difficult to implement in today’s fast-paced world. We want results yesterday, if not sooner. However, God does not work according to our timetable. He moves in His own time according to His wisdom.  As the expression goes, we live in a microwave society, but we have a crock-pot God.

King Saul

However, not having patience with God can have dire consequences. One clear example is the one of King Saul, who was the first King of Israel. However, early in his kingship, he got into trouble because of his impatience.

Let’s take a look at this tragic event. 1 Sam 10:1-2

10 Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, “Has not the Lord anointed you leader over his inheritance?  NIV

The Danger of Impatience - King Saul

Samuel, the earliest of the great Hebrew prophets (after Moses) and the last judge of Israel, anointed Saul king over Israel and proceeded to give him instructions (vss. 2-7).

The last of these instructions are contained in verse 8:

8 “Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.NIV

Gilgal is where the Israelites were to fight the Philistines, a long-time enemy of Israel. Saul was to journey there and wait seven days on Samuel, who would offer sacrifices to God on Israel’s behalf and instruct Saul on what to do from there. Samuel’s words were the same as those from the Lord. As a prophet, He was God’s spokesman.

Let’s take a look at what happened, 1 Sam 13:7-9

7 …Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” NIV

Samuel’s instructions to Saul were to wait on him to offer sacrifices and receive further instructions. However, he did not wait for Samuel and commenced to offer the sacrifices himself.

Let’s see what happens next in verses 10-14

10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.

11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel. Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”

The Danger of Disobedience - King Saul

13 “You acted foolishly,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” NIV

Saul’s impatience cost him dearly because He would not have a dynasty in his name, as with David. His sons would not follow him as subsequent Kings because of his impatience. Imagine losing such a powerful anointing from God. Jesus, our Lord, and savior could have come through his line instead of David’s. What an honor that would have been. If only he had been patient and followed the instruction of the Lord.

Instead of keeping the Word of God, he focused on the circumstances around him and took matters into his own hands. It was a tragic mistake.

Let’s look at one more example of impatience and the subsequent consequences.

Abraham and Sarah

God promised Abraham that he would have a son. Not only would he have a son, but also his descendants would be numerous, as numerous as the stars in the sky (Gen. 15:1-5). However, this promise was not fulfilled right away, and they grew impatient.

Sarah, Abraham’s wife, suggested that he sleep with her Egyptian maidservant to conceive a son through her (Gen. 16:1-4). However, there was trouble in paradise when the maidservant despised Sarah after she conceived. This situation caused much confusion in Abraham’s house, and Sarah mistreated the maidservant. As a result, Hagar, the maidservant, fled from the household (vss.5-6).

The Danger of Impatience - Sarah and Hagar

Hagar was met by an angel of the Lord who instructed her to return to Abraham’s household and submit to Sarah. The angel also told her that she would have a son, and he was to be named Ishmael, and her descendants would be “too numerous to count.”

Eventually, Sarah did have a son, Isaac. Because he was the promised son, it was he who would receive the promised inheritance. This situation caused even more strife in the household. As a result, this strife continues between the Arabs (Ishmael) and Jews (Isaac) to this day. They are in a constant battle over the occupation of land in the Middle East.

Just think, had it not been for Sara’s impatience, perhaps there would be peace in the Middle East or, at the least, more peace.

Here we have seen two Biblical examples of the dangers of impatience. A kingdom dynasty lost, and perpetual war and chaos between two nations over land, both initiated by impatience.

The Lesson

The takeaway is when God gives us instruction, obey it, and when God makes us a promise, believe it. Because when we do not obey and when we do not believe, the consequences can be severe and perpetual.

Bottom line: we must trust God!

Amen

It would be much appreciated if you left any question, comment, concern, or experience with impatience below.

Blessings!

 

 

 

Sex and the Bible

Sex used to be a dirty word, a word that represented taboo. However, with the arrival of the sex revolution in the sixties, it became a word of freedom and self-expression. But here’s a question, what does the Bible say about sex? This article explores sex and the Bible.

Sex and the Bible

What does the Bible say about sex? A lot! Sex is treaded throughout the Scriptures and not in a negative way. Sex, as with anything else, can be used in a good way and can be misused in a wrong way.

First, the right way Let’s look at Gen 2:20-25

20 “And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.”

21 “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;”

22 “And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”

23 “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

25 “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”

This passage involves the first married couple. After Adam had named all of the animals and beasts, there was no one compatible for him. However, God, in His wisdom, recognized that Adam should not be alone and created woman. We see in verse 25 that they were both naked but not ashamed. This verse illustrates that husbands and wives are permitted intimacy that others are not. This fact is contrary to what the sexual revolution ushered in—more on this to follow.

The man and the woman were naked; however, they were not ashamed. Why? Because they had no reason to be ashamed. They were flawless beings, totally blameless. They had done no wrong. Therefore, they felt no guilt or shame at all. They belonged to one another: their bodies belonged to the other, and together they belonged to God. They could stand before God and before each other in faultlessness, perfectly innocent, and free of any sense of shame, guilt, wrong, or failure. There was no sin, guilt, or shame, nothing at all to hide from each other or God.

Before Adam and Eve sinned, sex was part of the created order, and God declared that creation was very good” (Gen. 1:28, 31).

After Adam and Eve sinned, sex was affected. Gen 3:6-7

6 “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” 7 “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” NIV

After they sinned, they knew both good and evil and became ashamed of their nakedness. They knew both good and evil because they had eaten the fruit of good and evil. They had turned away from God, disobeyed His Word, and rebelled against Him. The consequence of sin had taken effect, and as a Sex and the Bible - Genesis 3:6-7consequence, sin had stripped them naked. The evil side of sex was exposed.

Sex was no longer just good but also had an evil aspect, an aspect that is ever-present in these present times.

In spite of this consequence, throughout the entire canon of Scripture, the Bible confirms that even though sex was affected by the fall, it is still to be celebrated and protected. In the Book of Proverbs, the wise father instructs his son to enjoy his wife in Prov. 5:18-19

18 “May your fountain be blessed,

and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.”

19 “A loving doe, a graceful deer —

may her breasts satisfy you always,

may you ever be captivated by her love.” NIV

A man is to find all of the joys of physical pleasure with his wife, and his fountain (his life) will be blessed.

Sex and the Bible - Prov 5:18-19

This passage is an endorsement for sex and marriage. There is no shame with sex between a husband and wife. It is to be honored and enjoyed wholly as the gift it is.

Let us look at more Scriptural instructions regarding sex. 1 Cor. 7:3-5

3 “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 5 “Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” NIV

Sex and the Bible - 1 Corinthians 7:3-5
Do not deprive one another!

This passage involves marital conjugal rights. Notice the mutuality: the wife is not to deny her husband’s sexual desires, nor is the husband to deny his wife’s. Any deprivation must be mutually agreed upon and only for “a time” to avoid becoming tempted by Satan with infidelity. Marital intercourse serves as protection against a wandering eye and a sinful heart. Therefore, sex within a marriage should be free, generous, and reciprocal.

After all, the Scripture says in Heb 13:4, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” Fidelity is the prescription!

The next Scriptural instruction regarding sex is regarding procreation.

Gen 1:27-28:

27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them”

28 “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” “Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” NIV

God created a male and a female and told them to “be fruitful and increase in number.” This command did not change when they sinned against Him. Sex continued, and so did procreation.

Done correctly, sex is a blessing that often results in children, but it is not its only purpose. It is also for the glory of God and the solace of humanity when it is handled correctlyit ectly cr did nnhem to beiife.

Next, the wrong way – The Scriptures are very balanced. Therefore just as they address the correct way of handling our sexual appetites, they also address the incorrect way.

Fornication – Fornication is the umbrella where all sexual immorality lies. However, it is generally used to refer to sex outside of marriage or premarital sex. Modern translations used the phrase sexual immoral and sexual immorality in place of fornication.

Fornication is denounced in the Scriptures in many places.

For example, Eph 5:3
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” NIV

Sex and the Bible - Sexual immorality Eph 4:3-5

4 “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.”

5 “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”

In this passage, Paul addresses the things forbidden in the lives of followers of God. Fornication is the first item on the list of uncleanness. This “is improper for God’s holy people.” Individuals who engage in uncleanness will not have an inheritance in God’s kingdom.

1 Cor. 6:18

18 “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”

Sexual sin is a defilement of one’s own body. In this passage, Paul explained it as a sin that has an effect on the body like no other, a sin that is contrary to one’s own body.

Adultery – Adultery is another form of sexual immorality and is the sin of a married individual that has sex with another individual other than their spouse. This sin is denounced in the Ten Commandments. Ex 20:14 reads:

14 “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

It doesn’t get any clearer than this.

Incest – Incest is the sin of sexual relations between close relatives. This practice is condemned in the Scriptures as well. Lev 18:6

6 “‘No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the Lord.” NIV

Sexual intercourse between man and his wife during the wife’s menstrual cycle:
This act is condemned as unclean in Lev 18:19, which reads:

19 “‘Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period. NIV

Homosexual intercourse – Sexual contact between individuals of the same sex is condemned in such passages as Lev 18:22

22 “‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” NIV

1 Cor. 6:9-10

9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders (10) nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. NIV

Again we see that the sexual impure will not gain acceptance in the kingdom of God.

Bestiality – Bestiality is the performing of sexual intercourse with animals by both either men or women and is condemned in Lev 20:15-16:

15 “‘If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he must be put to death, and you must kill the animal.

16 “‘If a woman approaches an animal to have sexual relations with it, kill both the woman and the animal. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their heads. NIV

Rape – The violent act of an individual forcing sexual acts upon another individual is condemned in Deut 22:25-27

25 But if out in the country a man happens to meet a girl pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. 26 Do nothing to the girl; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders his neighbor, 27 for the man found the girl out in the country, and though the betrothed girl screamed, there was no one to rescue her. NIV

Lust – Lust is entertaining extreme desires for another individual’s body sexually in the imagination in a way that would be immoral in real life, and Jesus condemned it in Matt 5:28:

28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. NIV

Conclusion

Oh, how far the world has strayed from these teachings! Just spending an hour in front of the television will confirm this statement.

Fornication has become the activity of the day.  All sorts of sexual immorality have been tolerated and accepted as the norm. Societies may have changed, but God has not, for His Word says, “I the Lord do not change…” (Mal. 3:6) NIV

Sex and the Bible - God has not changed

The world’s attitude regarding sex and other Biblical teachings is concerning. The Bible has become a victim of cancel culture. Please read the article, The Bible and Cancel Culture for more on this topic on this website.

The time is drawing near when the world will be judged for God’s Word also says in Mal. 4:1:

1 “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them.” NIV

This Scripture and others are very clear of the demise of the unrighteous. They will be severely punished.

But as mentioned before, the Scriptures are balanced and are also clear of the blessings of the righteous. For example, in Mal 4:2-3

2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. 3 Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things,” says the Lord Almighty. NIV

The choice is ours.

Amen.

It would be appreciated if you would leave your questions, comments, or concerns below.

Blessings!

 

 

 

 

Wisdom and the Bible

Wisdom is one of the most valuable abilities we can acquire. What makes wisdom so valuable? The Bible makes it clear. This article explores wisdom and the Bible.

What is Wisdom?

Wisdom is the ability to reason and act by applying knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. Therefore, it is safe to say that wisdom does not come overnight. It takes time to gather knowledge, experience, and understanding to the point of using it successfully.

Wisdom and the Bible

So, what does the Bible say about wisdom? There are 234 Scriptures that address wisdom in the King James translation. The word “wisdom” is first used in the King James Version in Ex 28:3 while God ministers to Moses.

3 And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office. KJV

So straight away, we see that wisdom comes from God. God gave the workers who produced Aaron’s garments wisdom to carry out their tasks. We all have unique skills, and God desires to fill us with His Spirit so that we will utilize those skills for his glory (1 Cor. 12:4-11, 1 Cor. 14:12).

The Bible also tells us how to get wisdom. James 1:5-7

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; NIV

Since wisdom comes from God, it makes sense that we should ask Him for it. We need wisdom to succeed over trials, and if we lack it, we should ask for it. Moreover, we must have faith and not doubt that it will be given when we ask. Otherwise, we will not receive it.

One of the most outstanding examples of God answering a prayer for wisdom is none other than that of King Solomon. To see this example, we look at 2 Chron. 1:7-12

7 That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

8 Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. 9 Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

Wisdom and the Bible - King Solomon
           Solomon received a powerful anointing from God!

11 God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had, and none after you will have.” NIV

Notice in verse 11 that it was God that made Solomon king. Still today, God sets up and brings down kingdoms.

What we witness here shortly after becoming King of Israel, Solomon received a golden invitation from God: Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” What a blessing!

Of all the things Solomon could have asked for, he asked for wisdom. Solomon realized that he could not possibly lead the great nation of Israel successfully without, as the Scripture reads: “wisdom and knowledge.”
Wealth and riches would be useless if he were an inefficient king.

However, because Solomon’s heart was in the correct place and did not ask for “wealth, riches, and honor,” God bestowed them upon him even so. Solomon was the wisest king that ever lived before or after him.

Next, we look at the fulfillment of God’s promise to Solomon. 1 Kings 10:4-9

4 When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, 5 the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.

Wisdom and the Bible - King Solomon-Queen of Sheba
The Queen of Sheba was greatly impressed with King Solomon’s vast wisdom and wealth!

6 She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. 7 But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. 8 How dhappy your men must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 9 Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king, to maintain justice and righteousness.” NIV

Again, in verse 9, we have an acknowledgment that it was God who placed Solomon on the throne of Israel.

We also see that God keeps His promises, and His word is true and accurate. As seen earlier, if we lack wisdom, we must ask God for it, and He will grant it to us.

It is crucial to understand that there are two kinds of wisdom; the wisdom of God and the wisdom of the world. These two variations of wisdom are defined in Scripture.

James 3:13-18

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. NIV

In this passage, verse 13, we see that the one who is wise leads a good life, does good deeds, and has humility. This humility comes from the wisdom of God.

On the other hand, verses 14-16 describe a different form of wisdom; one that is “earthy” and unspiritual” and
“from the devil.”
one that manifests itself with “bitter envy and selfish ambition” in the heart.

Verse 17 returns to the wisdom from God with a further description.

The Bible and Wisdom - James 3:17
               The wisdom from above is the best wisdom!

First, it is “pure.” The Greek word hagnos (hag-nos’) means to be purified from fault and corruption; it means moral purity; to be wholly separated from impurity and wrong-doing and set apart unto God. It is not half-good and half evil but wholly pure and clean.

Purity is first in importance and God’s first thing to a man who seeks true wisdom. A wise teacher, minister, and layman alike is an individual that lives a pure life and teaches that we must be purified before God.

Next, true wisdom is “peace-loving,” which comes from the Greek word irenikos (i-ray-nee-kos’). The word means to bind together, to join, and weave together. It indicates that a wise individual is woven, bound, and joined together: with himself, his fellow man, and God.

Additionally, the wise individual does all he can to keep the peace and make peace where it is disrupted, whether between two individuals or two groups, a family, a community or a nation. A wise individual of true wisdom works to reunite individuals with God and each other.

True wisdom is “gentle.” The Greek word epieikes (ep-ee-i-kace’) is translated as gentleness, forbearance, reasonableness, consideration, agreeableness, courtesy, patience, and softness. It means that there is something superior to mere justice. It is a gracious gentleness. The wise person should be gentle and forbearing when interacting with other people.

True wisdom is “considerate and submissive.” The Greek word eupeithes (yoo-pi-thace’) means reasonable, willing to listen to reason and appeal, being ready to change when wrong. True wisdom is not stubborn or hard.

The wise individual listens to the voice and reasoning of God and other believers, and when he is wrong, he changes his behavior.

True wisdom is ‘full of mercy.” The Greek word eleos (el’-eh-os); means to have feelings of compassion, affection, pity, and kindness. It is a desire to support and caringly pull unto oneself and care for them. Two things are essential to having mercy: seeing a need and the ability to meet that need. God sees our needs and feels for us (Ephes. 2:1-3). Therefore, He acts, and He has mercy on us.

The true wisdom individuals extend themselves to aid those in need, no matter how low they are or how far they have fallen. The individual who lives and demonstrates true wisdom is moved with compassion. So much that he reaches out to help every human being who has a problem and need.

Next, true wisdom is full of good fruits. The Greek word karpos (kar-pos’) literally means plucked fruit representing results—in this case, good results. This means that the wise individual actually reaches out and helps those in trouble. He does not experience compassion and then pushes them out of his mind; he acts to meet needs.

True wisdom is impartial and sincere. The Greek words adiakritos (ad-ee-ak’-ree-tos) and anupokritos (an-oo-pok’-ree-tos) express this, respectively.

Therefore, the wise individual is impartial and shows no bias or discrimination to anyone. Also,

the wise individual is undivided in their convictions and judgments. Knowing the truth, precisely what God’s Word says, and they will not consider false ideas or teachings. There is no hypocrisy by being wholly committed and complete in following and teaching the Word of God.

This description in Scripture is what true wisdom is.

Bottom line: an individual who has the true wisdom from above (God) lives a clean and pure life.

How do we know if we have wisdom?

By now, we know that if we desire true wisdom, we can ask God for it. However, how do we know if we have it? Let’s look at Prov. 9:10

 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Wisdom and the Bible - Proverbs 9:10Fear of the Lord in this Scripture does not mean that we must be afraid of Him. The Greek word translated as fear is yare’ (yaw-ray’), which means reverence. We must have honor and reverence for God. True wisdom comes from honoring God and knowing truth about Holy matters.

True wisdom begins with honoring and knowing God. He provides perception into living because He created life. To know God, we must not only know the facts about him; we must have a personal relationship with him. If we genuinely want to be wise, we must know God better and better. The more we know about Him, the wiser we become.

The Bible distinguishes Christ as the “wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24; 2:1-7).

When we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and honor God through Him, we receive the Holy Spirit, and knowledge and wisdom flows. The result is growth—spiritual growth. Please see the article, How to Grow in Christ on this website for more on spiritual growth.

Please feel free to leave any comments, questions, and concerns below. You will receive a response.

Blessings!

 

 

 

 

Patience and the Bible

Patience is a virtue. But how many of us really have it? How important is it? A virtue is an attribute that represents good moral behavior. Therefore, it is deemed high on the list of Christian behavior. Therefore, there must be something about it in the Bible. This article takes a look at patience and the Bible.

What is Patience?

Patience is the ability to wait. Additionally, it is the ability to wait for an extended amount of time without getting irritated or bored. It can involve tenacity during times of delay, tolerance of aggravation while not responding in contempt or anger. Patience exercises tolerance when under strain and when confronted with long-term difficulties.

Patience and the Bible

As mentioned in the introduction, there must be something about patience in the Bible since it is an attribute of good moral behavior. So, what does the Bible
say about patience?

For starters, patience is not a natural attribute but is a gift given to us as the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Let us look at confirmation of this in Gal 5:22-23:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. NIV

Patience is a gift from God, and it is only through His Holy Spirit we can exercise patience. In any event, it is vital in our Christian walk to have patience. Because of this fact, in the King James translation, patience is included in thirty-four Scriptures.

There are three areas in our Christian walk where we must use patience.

First, we must be patient with one another. Scripture says in Eph 4:2

2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. NIV

Patience in this context addresses the quality that allows us to deal with one another’s faults and failures and refuse to avenge wrongs. None of us is perfect in this world, so we as Christians must be patient with one another despite our faults. “Bearing with one another in love”
is putting patience in action. This action underscores the readiness to forgive and involves empathizing with the other individual. To demonstrate patience requires love, which should be the guiding principle for all Christians’ actions, even when natural differences and clashes occur. Bearing with one another presumes that, on occasion, loving others will be a burden. Christians must be willing to carry the load without expecting a reward, thanks, or return in the spirit of patience.

The second area in our Christian walk where we must exercise patience is with ourselves.
Scripture says in James 1:2-4

2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

The Scripture says that when we experience various trials and circumstances, we are to have joy. This concept is one of the remarkable paradoxes of Christianity. When we suffer, we should have joy? In our naturalness, joy is the last response during a time of difficulty. Those of us Patience and the Bible - Joy in tiralswho trust in the Lord are to demonstrate a dramatically different, positive response to the difficult events of life. This requirement is why we need the Holy Spirit intervening in our lives.

This joy is not in anticipation of trials, but it is joy during trials. The source of this joy is assurance in the result of the trial (cf. Rom. 8:28). Additionally, it is the recognition that trials represent the opportunity for growth.

On the other hand, the majority are happy when they evade trials. However, the Scripture inspires us to consider it “pure joy” in the face of trials and difficulties. This Rejoicing is not mere happiness. Happiness is based on earthly circumstances. However, joy is Spirit-oriented instead of event-oriented since it is God-centered and acknowledges his presence in our experiences.

Exercising patience in this area of our lives can be most arduous because we face trials all through life. Therefore, we must realize that we cannot do this successfully on our own. We must remember that patience is a “fruit of the Spirit” and rely on the Holy Spirit to empower us.

Last but by absolutely no means least, the third area where we must exercise patience is with God. Boy is this ever where we need patience! Why?

There will always be times when we are required to make decisions, and we do not know what to do. If God gives us a signal in our spirit to wait, we should do so. However, most are unwilling to wait and want God to act on our timetable. However, the Scriptures instruct us differently in Prov. 3:5-7

5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.

We must remember that the Lord is omniscient and knows everything about us and our circumstances. If He requires us to wait, it is for the reason that He knows what is best for us.

Patience and the Bible - Trust in the Lord
                     Patience involves trust!

God is a better judge of what we should do than we are. Therefore, we must trust him fully in every choice we make. This circumstance is where our faith comes in. This does not mean we should abandon thorough thinking or ignore our God-given ability to reason, but we should not trust our own ideas exclusively. We must not be wise in our “own eyes” but be willing to listen and be corrected by God’s Word and wise counselors. We must take our decisions to God in prayer (Philippians 4:6); use the Scriptures as our guide, and then follow God’s leading. He will direct our paths by both guiding and protecting us.

Let’s look a further Scriptural confirmation.

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

Is it possible not to worry? Everybody has concerns and worries. Whether it is on the job, at home, or school, there is the temptation to worry. However, the Scripture advises us not to be anxious and change our worries into prayers. If we want to worry less, then we must pray more! Whenever we begin to worry, we must stop and pray.

Ps 27:14

14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. NIV

Waiting for God can be challenging, and it can seem that He is not hearing us and will not answer our prayers. That is why we are encouraged to “be strong and take heart.” God frequently uses periods of waiting to revive, recharge, and enlighten us. During times of waiting, it is good to discover what God may be trying to teach us in them.

Ps 40:1-2

1 I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

David’s testimony here is that he cried out to the Lord and waited patiently,
and He heard his cry. The lesson here is that when we pray to God and wait on Him, He will hear our prayers, and He will answer. The key: wait patiently!

How do we live obediently and patiently?

While it is easy to say what we need to do, we also need to know how to do it. We must not only be hearers of the Word but doers (James 1:22).

Below are some pointers to consider achieving the goal.

We must have faith. This verb alluded to earlier is of utmost importance. In order to wait on God, we must have FAITH that He will keep the promises He has made to us. As shown in the earlier Scripture (Prov. 3:5-6), if we trust Him, He will direct us, He will answer our prayers. For more on faith, please read the article, What is Faith about, on this website.

Next, A willingness to be obedient. To follow the Spirit’s guidance, we must have a spirit of obedience that will allow us to obey God and wait patiently.

We must have respect for God’s Timing. When we make a request to God, we want immediate action. However, our timing can be off. God is omniscient and knows the best time to fulfill our request, if at all. Additionally, the Holy Spirit directs us concerning the appropriate timing for our requests, and if it is not God’s will for us at the time, He also gives us the grace to wait.

We must love God. Obedience to God is proof that we love Him, and because we love Him, we are willing to wait for as long as necessary. In contrast, God demonstrates His love for us by holding back from us what we selfishly desire because it is not what is best.

We must have courage. In some cases, it takes courage to obey God and exercise patience while waiting for Him to direct our paths. As time passes, we can begin to feel desperate, as if we are heading for a brick wall and on the verge of a collision. Nevertheless, we must remember that our omnipresent God is by our side at all times.

We must have a determination to wait. Part of exercising our faith is to have the determination and the resolve to wait on the Lord for answers and direction. This determination should be maintained throughout our Christian walk.

Conclusion

Patience is crucial to living a life of obedience to God. We are required to listen, obey Him, and at times give up our individual desires and opinions to pause for His direction.

When we exercise patience, we see God at work in our lives, and we witness Patience and the Biblethat God’s way is best. We also have God’s favor when we have waited for His direction because He has what is best in store for us.

Therefore, let us pray for patience so that we can receive the full blessings of God as we wait for Him to bestow His best upon us.

Amen

Questions, comments, concerns, as well as experiences with patience, are welcomed below.

Blessings!

 

 

 

 

Money and the Bible

Money—we all have different opinions and feelings about it. However, no matter our feelings or opinions, money is an essential element of our lives. Therefore, it is no wonder that the Bible addresses money as much as it does.

Money and the Bible

There are approximately 2,000 Bible verses about money and possessions, and there are many more subtle variations concerning them. So, what is the relationship between money and the Bible? The purpose of this article is to illuminate that relationship.

What is Money?

Money is a medium of exchange that can be used to purchase, pay off a debt, and even be traded. It is a worldwide item, and its medium of exchange, its value, differs from country to country.

Money is a more convenient way to obtain goods and services than trading items. What would we trade when we visit the supermarket, drug store, beauty parlor, or barbershop?

The thing to remember about money is that it is amoral. It does not act on its own. Therefore, it can do no right or wrong, commit any crimes, or do good deeds. Money is only a tool that accomplishes what the possessor wishes.

It is too often said: “money is the root of all evil.” However, as the Scripture accurately states: “For the love of money is the root of all evil…” (1 Tim 6:10). More on this later.

What Does the Bible Say about Money?

The Bible records 38 Of Jesus’ parables; 16 nearly half address money and possessions. Close to 25% of Jesus’ words address stewardship. To sum up, there are approximately 2,000 Bible verses that address money and possessions.

The first and foremost thing to recognize concerning money and stewardship is that God owns everything.

Let’s look at what God said to the Israelites in Ex 19:5

5 “Now, therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:”

Hag 2:8

8 “The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” NIV

Therefore, it is vital to understand that we do not own anything. It is God who owns, and we are managers, stewards of what He blesses us with through His grace. While we are to manage the money we accumulate, we are not to love money and seek it with a burdensome desire.

1 Tim 6:9-10 says:

9 “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.  NIV

10 For the love of money
is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
NIV

When we seek to get rich, we open ourselves to temptations that will lead to our ruin.

Recognizing and accepting God’s ownership ship of all and our duty of stewardship is the heart of understanding Biblical stewardship.

The next thing to recognize regarding what the Bible says about money is that stewardship and discipleship go hand and hand. There is a link between faith and stewardship. Our faith, if it is genuine, will determine how we approach money and possessions.

Matt 6:24

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. NIV

Money and the Bible - Matt. 6:24

If we serve Christ and are his true disciples, we cannot allow ourselves to become influenced by the pull of money to pursue wealth and selfish pleasures; that would be serving money. Understand that we cannot serve both.

The choice is ours, and what we choose determines where our heart is as Jesus said in Luke 12:34: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Choosing riches can keep us from entering Heaven. Mark 10:23-25

23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Being rich wasn’t this man’s problem; prioritizing his riches over God and His kingdom was his problem as it is for most of the rich. They choose money for their god.

As Disciples of Christ, we must keep our hearts in the right place. It is very easy to fall into the trap of placing our hope in money. This false hope is especially true for those individuals who have an excessive amount of it. Because they either forget or fail to acknowledge where wealth really originates. We are warned against this in the Scriptures.

Deut 8:17-18

17 “You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth”…NIV

As Disciples of Christ and good stewards, it is vital to keep these things in their proper progression; God is the source, and money is the resource. We must worship the creator and not the creation. For more on God as our resource, please read the article, God: the Source of all things, on this website.

The next point the Bible addresses regarding money is contentment.
In the world we live in, we are encouraged to always strive for more, for bigger and better: to have more money, a bigger house, a better car, etc. We are constantly inundated with advertising that entices us to pursue more and better material things. However, instead of making us feel better, it only leads to discontentment in the long run.Money and the Bible - 1 timothy 6:6

Discontentment is an insidious sin that leads us to covet more or something different, yet it leaves us unfulfilled and disappointed in the end. The Scripture reads in Eccl 5:10:

10 “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” NIV

The wise King Solomon (the author) discerned that those who obsessively seek after money never find the happiness it assures. Excess riches attract slackers and thieves, as well as insomnia and anxiety, and ultimately end. It does not matter how much an individual may earn. If they attempt to find happiness by accumulating wealth, they will never have enough.

Living in discontentment can lead to unwise decisions and behaviors such as taking on unnecessary debt, being unfaithful to a spouse, or making rash decisions at work to get ahead.

In the verses prior to this passage, a rich young ruler asked Jesus what was required for him to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him to give his possessions to the poor, follow Him, and he would have treasure in Heaven. However, the rich young ruler left in a state of sadness. He chose his possessions over the kingdom, which led Jesus to utter this response.

Contentment, on the other hand, is learning to be completely satisfied in Christ regardless of whether we have a little or a lot of money.

Contentment is not an easy goal to attain, but we can be contented. It is something we have to strive for with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Contentment brings blessings as 1 Tim 6:6 reads:

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Godliness is the reality and power of a real bond with God. Godliness does not come and go with the temporal nature of material wealth; godliness, with contentment, is
the wealth, regardless of an individual’s money and possessions. Contentment is peace. Godliness allows us to be satisfied with what we have materially and our relationship with God.

Paul expressed this beautifully in Phil 4:12-13

12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him, who gives me strength. NIV

It did not matter if Paul had abundance or not much; he was able to maintain life as usual because of contentment manifested through his relationship with God and Christ. This example carries an essential lesson Money and the Bible - Philippians 4:12for us as Christians to learn!

Trust in the Lord, be content, after all, as the Scripture tells us, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:19

The next point the Bible addresses regarding money is greed. Greed is dangerous. Just as faith is the engine for Christianity and life, greed is the engine for sin and death.

We are so warned in the Scriptures about greed. Col 3:5 reads:

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and
greed, which is idolatry.
NIV

Greed is something we all have to deal with on some level. But the Scripture says, “put to death.” It is part of our sinful nature, and Christians must rid themselves of the things of the “earthly nature.”

At some point in our lives, we are not satisfied with how much money we make; we want to acquire more things, and we allow our desire for more money and possessions to choke out our interest in God? These actions represent idolatrous behavior.

The next money issue the Bible address is debt.
What does the Bible say about debt?

Rom 13:7-9 reads:

7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. NIV

While the Bible does not forbid being in debt, it does advise us to handle it with care, “leave no debt outstanding.  That phrase means to pay our bills. The best way to accomplish this is not to take on more than we should. Too often, we take on debt out of greed and not of necessity.

There are other numerous Scriptures in the Bible concerning money; too many to place in this one article. However, the ones that are quoted here cover the basics.

Any questions, comments, concerns, or experiences with money can be left below.

Blessings!!

 

 

 

Elements for Effective Prayer

How is your prayer life? Have you been receiving responses to your prayers? Have your prayers been answered, or have your issues just eventually worked themselves out? Perhaps your prayers haven’t been answered at all. After you contemplate these questions, depending on the answers, perhaps your prayers are not effective at all. The purpose of this article is to share the elements for effective prayer that will enable your prayers to be answered.

Elements for Effective Prayer

The elements for effective prayer involve our actual prayers and our lives—our lifestyles, our thinking, and our motivations.

The first and foremost of the elements for effective prayer is to pray sincerely to the true God.

This element requires faith. Scripture confirms this by stating in Heb 11:6, But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

If we want to get answers from the true God, we must believe that He is the true God and seek Him diligently—attentively—conscientiously—thoroughly, and tirelessly. Faith pleases God, and He rewards us for it.

Therefore, we must pray to Him continually to give us the faith we need. We must learn to believe in the promises of God. Learn to believe that God is real and has perfect love, perfect wisdom, and perfect power. We must realize that He will keep all His promises!

The bottom line is, we simply cannot please God without real, genuine faith. The Bible makes it crystal clear that God will not hear and answer prayers unless He is approached in faith. James 1:6-7 reads, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.”

The true God is the Father of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 8:5-6

5 “For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.” NIV

We must honor and show our love to the true God by obeying Him as Jesus said in Matt 19:17

“There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” NIV

This is how God rewards us, both in this life and the life after.

The next of the elements for effective prayer is to study the Scriptures.

If we truly believe in the true God, then we must believe what He says, and the only way to know what He says is to read His Word. But not just read it but study and meditate on it. This action goes beyond going to church and occasionally reading the Scriptures for inspiration and comfort.

The Scriptures themselves instruct us on how to approach the Word of God in 2 Tim 2:15, Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” We must study in order to be approved by God and correctly explain the Word of truth to others.

To know and understand God; to believe in His promises, we must study His Word regularly and pay close attention to the examples of answered prayers. The Scripture must be studied slowly and carefully while paying The Word of Godattention to the promises and answered prayers. So when observing specific promises, we must ask God to fulfill them in our lives. When observing that Jesus and others asked for certain things, understand that these are examples to follow. In all
of our prayers, we must follow the example of Christ and the Apostles. May our prayers be the same as theirs as we face similar hardships and struggles.

Therefore, we must leave behind the memorized, often empty, prayers of conventional religion and begin to truly study the teachings and examples relating to prayer in our own Bibles. We must allow the inspired Word of God to teach us how
to pray and what to ask for. In addition, believe the teachings and the promises found within the pages of Scripture.

The next of the elements is to sincerely repent of sin.

This action is the fundamental step for having a relationship with God. Even though God answers the prayers of anyone who openly cries out to Him in time of need occasionally, He is not bound by His Word to do this. That is why individuals will ask, where was God when… However, the question to ask ourselves is, do I worship the true God? Am I diligently seeking Him? Am I
doing His will?

Elements for Effective Prayer - Repentance
The facts about repetance

It is wise for us to be honest with ourselves on that question. It is very easy to devalue or reason around and philosophy this unambiguous scriptural doctrine about obeying God’s law. However, if we want real
answers to our prayers, we need to fully repent of breaking the Ten Commandments (the Law), defined as sin. 1 John 3:4 tells us, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”

This repentance is in addition to accepting  Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. Acts 2:38 reads:

38 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” NIV

When we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, acknowledge that we are sinners, and confess our sins, that is fine. But confession is only half of the equation because we must repent of them as well. Scripture says in Prov. 28:13, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”
Therefore, sin must be confessed and forsook (abandoned) to receive mercy, blessings, and answered prayers.

Then, in the course of the assistance of the promised Holy Spirit, we will need to surrender
more and more each day to allow Jesus Christ to live His obedient life in us. Remember what the Apostle Paul declared: ‘I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Bonafide repentance entails a total surrender of our minds, hearts, and wills to God the Creator and requires the acceptance of the death of His Son in payment for sin. For sin demands death. That is why Christ had to “pay” the death penalty on our behalf. As the Apostle Paul wrote: “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

May we not allow Christ’s death to be in vain. As we grow
in grace and in the knowledge
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
(2 Peter 3:18), He will live His life in us more and more fully throughout our Christian lives.

By walking with Christ in this manner, we can be assured of having more powerful
answers to our prayers.

The next of the elements for effective prayer is forgiveness..

Forgiveness is another vital key to answered prayer; our willingness to genuinely forgive others. The fact is our loving Father in heaven simply does not hear those who come to Him with a spirit of bitterness, hatred, or revenge in their hearts. Immediately after giving us the “Lord’s Prayer”—the prayer describing the basic pattern for praying to God, Jesus went on to instruct His followers: “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”
(Matthew 6:14–15).

Therefore, we must draw near to God in a humble, repentant, and forgiving

Elements for Effective Prayer - Forgiveness
We must forgive others for us to be forgiven and our prayers answered

attitude. If not, as Jesus said, God will not forgive us! A spirit of humility and mercy is a crucial element in whether or not God will hear us as we pray. His inspired Word tells us in Isaiah 66:2: “But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.”

The next of the elements for effective prayer is to seek God’s will.

Another key to successful prayer is to be as sure as possible to align our
requests with God’s will.

Let’s look at how important this is in Matt 7:21

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. NIV

Our very entrance into heaven hangs on doing the will of the Father. Jesus said that only those who do the will of His Father in heaven are only those who will enter the kingdom of heaven.

Doing God’s will implies a relationship with God — the ability to communicate with him, know his will, and perform it. Such “fruit” reveals one who will enter the kingdom of heaven.

Further, 1 John 5:14-15 says,

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

We can have the assurance that God hears our prayers if we ask according to His will. God has made known His will to us in His Word. His will for us includes all the great things of life, including answered prayer.
We must nourish our minds on God’s Word by saturating them and our hearts with it, persistently reading and studying with an open mind, contemplating on and honestly seeking God’s will as illuminated in His inspired Scripture. Subsequently, we will learn how to walk with God, pray to God, and fellowship with God.

The lesson is that if we genuinely desire to do the will of the great God who created us and gives us life and breath, we should vigorously “seek” Him with all our hearts.

Finally, the lesson is that if we genuinely want to do the will of the great God who created us and who gives us life and breath, we should vigorously “seek” Him with all our hearts, mind, and strength.

Ultimately, we must act on His will and “walk with God,” as did Abraham, David, Jesus, and the many others whom God sets for us as examples in inspired Scriptures.

The next element for effective prayer is to be persistent.

Before God intervenes supernaturally, He desires to know that we sincerely want whatever we ask for and that we will respect and worship Him for answering our prayer.

To put it another way, God uses our need or desire as a means to pull us closer to Him spiritually, to cause us to focus on His will and on what is actually best for us and for anyone else who might be involved. What would it signify if we carelessly requested something and then, in effect, forget that we ever did? That might indicate to God that we are not very interested in His doing what we ask! On the other hand, it could be that all of our desires are shallow, possibly constantly changing and that we would not feel a profound sense of appreciation and worship even if He always answered such shallow prayers! God desires praise and the Scriptures encourage it. Elements for Effective Prayer - Praise GodPs.  107:8 says, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” God deserves praises for His overall goodness and mercy.

We show our sincerity by being persistent and knowing, through faith, that He is going to answer them.

God desires for us to be persistent. He wants us to talk with Him, walk with Him, and connect with Him continually day after day in this age and ultimately throughout eternity! As the Apostle Paul instructs, “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

The next element for effective prayer is to pray with fervor.

James 5:16 reads:

16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

The Christian’s most powerful resource is communication with God through prayer. However, it helps significantly to pray with fervor—with great intensity of feeling. One of the reasons we may not receive answers to our prayers is we do not put our hearts into our prayers. God knows when this condition is present, and He does not hear these prayers.

Look at what He said in Hos. 7:14

They do not cry out to me from their hearts but wail upon their beds. They gather together for grain and new wine but turn away from me. NIV

God looked upon the prayers of the Israelites with disdain because they were not praying from their hearts.

Therefore, let us put our hearts into our prayers. Let us be fervent. Let us be passionate as we pour out our hearts to the awesome God who loves us dearly.

The next and final element for effective prayer is to pray in the name of Jesus.

In the Old Testament, only the high priest was permitted to enter the Most Holy Place of the tabernacle or temple—, which was entering into the very presence of God. In addition, he was commanded to go there only once a year, which was on the Day of Atonement (cf. Leviticus 16). Outside of this one single day, any individual entering this sacred room would be immediately put to death by God Himself! In the same way, mankind, as a whole, has been removed from direct contact with God.

However, with the arrival, death, and resurrection of Jesus came the advent of a New Testament. Because Jesus died for our sins, true and faithful Christians have direct access to God the Father (Hebrews 9:12-15). Instead of fearing death for going before God, we are instructed: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”! (Hebrews 4:16).

By the name, the office, and authority of Jesus Christ, we can approach God directly in prayer and worship. We no longer require any human priest as an intercessor. Because we already have the most excellent
High Priest—Jesus Christ (v. 14). As He taught His faithful followers: “Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:23–24).

We have the assurance that God hears our prayers if we are in Him, that is, in Christ. We can approach God in Christ and Christ alone. Christ alone is the righteous One, the only perfect Person; therefore, He single-handedly has the right to stand before God. Any person who desires to draw near to God must do so in the name of Jesus Christ. An individual must have faith in the name of the Son of God and approach God in His name. The name of Jesus Christ is the only acceptable name to God, the only name that can receive anything from God.

Lastly, for our own good, we should study and review all of these vital keys! They are the ingredients for powerful prayers and will increase our prayer power.

We must constantly pray to God (1 Thess. 5:17), connecting and walking

The Holy Bible
The Inspired Word of God

with Him. Subsequently, as the end of this age approaches and the extraordinary trials
and tests of the whole Christian life come upon us, as they surely will, we will know precisely what to do and how to do it.

Amen

Questions, comments, and concerns are fully welcomed below. You will receive a response.

Blessings!

 

 

 

 

The Unstoppable Gospel

The gospel of Jesus Christ; just how strong is this gospel? Is it really for real? There is an account in the Scriptures that answers this question. This article sheds light on the unstoppable gospel.

What is the Gospel?

The gospel is known as the good news. The Greek word translated as gospel is euaggelion (you-ang-ghel’-ee-on) which means good message. It is the blissful good news of salvation in Jesus Christ.

The gospel is not a separate plan of salvation, but the fulfillment of God’s original plan of salvation which began with  Israel, was “finished” in Jesus Christ (John 19:30), and is made known through the church.

The gospel is the saving work of God through His Son Jesus Christ and a call to have faith in Him (Rom 1:16-17). Jesus is much more than a messenger of the gospel; He is the gospel. The good news of God was at hand in His life, teaching, and atoning death. For that reason, the gospel is both a historical event and a personal relationship.

How did the Gospel Spread?

The gospel was spread initially by the twelve apostles. However, it was not an easy task as they faced much resistance.

Case in point, Peter preached his first sermon at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41), healed a lame man on another occasion as he entered the temple (Acts 3:1-11), and then preached his second sermon (Acts 3:12-26).

While Peter was preaching his second sermon, he, along with John, was taken into custody by the priests and the Sadducees for preaching about the resurrection of the dead through Jesus (Acts 4:1-2). The Sadducees did not accept as true the bodily resurrection of the dead.

At this point, five thousand had believed and accepted Christ (vs. 3).

In the subsequent verses, the next day, they were bought before the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin, also known as the council, was the highest ruling body and court of justice among the Jewish people during the time of Jesus. The Sanhedrin was given partial authority over a selection of religious, civil, and criminal matters. The Sanhedrin was applying this limited power when it charged Jesus with blasphemy but had to send him to Pilate, the Roman official, for an official trial and sentencing.

The council wanted to know by what power or name had the apostles performed the miracle of healing the lame man. Peter took advantage of this audience and preached Christ to the Sanhedrin. Afterward, the apostles were sent out, and the council conferred with one another.

They realized that they couldn’t deny the miracle, but in an effort for them not to spread the word any further, they were commanded to not speak or teach in the name of Jesus.

They refused, saying in verses Acts 4:19-22, But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. 20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 21 The unstoppable Gospel - Gamaliel-Sanhedrin“After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.” NIV

The apostles continued to perform “many signs and wonders.” Multitudes of people from many cities went to Jerusalem to be healed. But again, the apostles were arrested and imprisoned. However, and an angel of the Lord showed up, released them, and told them to speak in the temple about the new life in Christ (Acts 5:19-20).

Is there a pattern shaping up here?

The apostles obeyed the angel, and when the high priest and other officials heard of what was happening, they went to the temple and arrested them. Again, they preached Christ to the council (Acts5:29-32). At this point, the council was a wit’s end, and they began to confer about slaying the apostles.

Enter Gamaliel

In verse 34, one of the councils named Gamaliel rose up and requested the apostles be removed from the room.

For a bit of background, Gamaliel was a first-century Jewish rabbi and a leader in the Jewish Sanhedrin. Gamaliel is mentioned in Scripture one or The Unstoppable Gospel - Gamalieltwo times as a prominent and well-respected teacher.

Gamaliel was a Pharisee
and a grandson of the well-known Rabbi Hillel. Like his grandfather, Gamaliel was known for taking a somewhat moderate view of the Old Testament law in contrast to his contemporary Rabbi Shammai, who held onto a more stern understanding of Jewish traditions. Josephus, the historian, portrays Gamaliel as coming from a well-heeled family, which meant he had a more significant influence with the assemblies of the Jewish leaders

The apostle Paul studied under him and ultimately penned the majority of the New Testament. It was under the sponsorship of Rabbi Gamaliel that Paul attained an expert knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures. Paul’s educational and professional qualifications allowed him to preach in the synagogues wherever he traveled (Acts 17:2). His understanding of Old Testament history and law helped his presentation of Jesus Christ as the One who had fulfilled the Law (Matthew 5:17).

Gamaliel’s Gospel

Ultimately, Gamaliel had a substantial effect on the early church. Let’s look at what he had to say. Acts 5:34-39:

The Unstoppable Gospel - Gamaliel Acts 5:34
Leave these men alone! Let them go!

34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed them: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” NIV

For starters, Gamaliel referenced previous groups whose leaders were put away, and their movements faded out.

Theudas – was a Jewish rebel of the 1st century AD. He convinced many people, about four hundred, to take their belongings and follow him to the Jordan River. Because he told them he was a prophet and that he would, by his command, divide the river and provide them an easy passage over it. Unfortunately, many were deceived by his words.

On the other hand, Fadus, the governor, did not allow them to take advantage of this wild scheme. Instead, he sent a troop of horsemen out against them who slewed many of them and took many alive including Theudas who was beheaded, and his head was carried to Jerusalem.

The movement was scattered and was never heard of again.

Judas the Galilean – was responsible for a widespread revolt against the Romans when the first census was taken in Judea for tax purposes. He perished in this revolt, and his followers were scattered.

Gamaliel surmised that the apostles’ actions could possibly be the same as these other movements and would experience the same fate. However, he also understood that their actions could have been “from God,” and any actions taken against them would ultimately be actions against God. Let us continue.

The next part of Gamaliel’s gospel was a warning: “Leave these men alone! Let them go! (vs. 38). NIV These words and the subsequent brief discord that followed convinced the council to let the apostles go.

He went on to say, “For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.” Gamaliel’s thinking was correct. Any movement that is not of God is ultimately condemned.  Isn’t it interesting that all of the movements of Jesus’ time arrived and dispersed when their leaders were killed?  Any movement that is of human origin is subject to human demise. What is not of God will come to naught.

True is the Scripture, Ps 127:1 that reads, “unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” NIVThe Unstoppable Gospel - Psalm 127:1

Gamaliel concluded, “But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” What is of God cannot be overthrown. Whoever tries to overthrow what is of God is futilely fighting against God. Moreover, we are witnesses today, some two-thousand plus years later, that the gospel of Jesus Christ is still alive and well!

God can use any human, good or bad, for His purpose and He used Gamaliel to protect the apostles. At the same time, Gamaliel unwittingly prophesied the future of the gospel. This prophecy is being accomplished before our very eyes! God used Gamaliel to save the gospel.Furthermore, this gospel will continue until He returns. Jesus’ return has been prophesied as well and will be fulfilled.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the unstoppable gospel!

Amen!

Questions, comments, and concerns regarding the gospel are welcomed below.

Blessings!

 

 

 

 

Christian Holidays Pagan?

We Christians have some significant holidays celebrating Christ, but do they? Have you ever researched what Christian holidays are really about or their origin? Are Christian Holidays Pagan? This article has the results of some staggering findings.

Who are Pagans?

Pagan or paganism is a derivative from the Late Latin paganus that was used to name those who practiced a religion other than Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. Initially, Christians frequently used the expression to refer to non-Christians who worshiped multiple deities.

The Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines a pagan as “A follower of a false god or a heathen religion; one who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods.”

 Therefore, Pagans were ungodly people, heathens that God warned His people to stay away from them and their sinful practices. Deut 18:9-10 reads, “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there.” NIV

This warning is one of several handed down to Israel regarding imitating the ways of the pagans.  

What is the Origin of Paganism?

The origins of paganism go all the way back to the book of Genesis and a man named Nimrod (Gen 10:8-10), Noah’s grandson, who was a mighty hunter and built a great kingdom consisting of the great city Babylon among others.  He moved away from God, declared himself as the religious leader of the citizens, and formed his own philosophies and religions. After his death, his wife vowed that he was the “Sun god” and led the people to worship the Sun. As the people dispersed and resettled, this practice, among other idolatrous acts, was carried around the world that eventually became predominately controlled by Rome.

This eventuation subsequently led to a change in the day of worship, the Sabbath, from Saturday to Sunday.

This occurred under the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, who decreed Christianity as the principal religion of Rome. However, there were many in the Roman Empire that practiced Babylonian customs. To keep peace and maintain unity, Constantine issued the first civil Sunday law, necessitating all the Roman Empire citizens, except farmers, to rest on Sunday.

Therefore, for starters, even the day when most of the world worships is pagan based.

 For more details, see the article, The History of the Holy Roman Empire, on this website.

Changing the day of worship is only the tip of the iceberg. Let’s get to the nitty-gritty.

Christian Holidays, Pagan OriginsChristian Holildays Pagan? -

Christmas – After the death of Nimrod, his wife Semiramis became pregnant. She declared that her late husband, now worshipped as “the Sun,” impregnated her with the rays of the Sun, and the resulting son, whom she named Tammuz, was born on the Winter solstice (the onset of winter). Tammuz was ultimately revered as the reincarnation of the sun god “Nimrod,” and his birthday became acknowledged and celebrated up to presently, on December 25th. So, whose birth do we really celebrate on December 25th?

God Judged Israel harshly for this idolatrous activity. Let’s take a look at Ezek 8:12-17

12 He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, ‘The Lord does not see us; the Lord has forsaken the land.'” 13 Again, he said, “You will see them doing things that are even more detestable.”  

14 Then he brought me to the entrance to the north gate of the house of the Lord, and I saw women sitting there, mourning for Tammuz. 15 He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this.”  

16 He then brought me into the inner court of the house of the Lord, and there at the entrance to the temple, between the portico and the altar, were about twenty-five men. With their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, they were bowing down to the sun in the east

17 He said to me, “Have you seen this, son of man? Is it a trivial matter for the house of Judah to do the detestable things they are doing here? Must they also fill the land with violence and continually provoke me to anger? Look at them putting the branch to their nose! 18 Therefore I will deal with them in anger; I will not look on them with pity or spare them. Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them.” NIV

In this 8th chapter, Ezekiel reveals what the Lord showed him in a vision regarding the sins and transgressions of Israel. God revealed to Ezekiel the degree to which the people had embraced idolatry and wickedness in setting after setting.

Verse 14 mentions Tammuz. At this point, he was worshipped as the god of fertility, and the women were weeping for him when he died. Mind you that this was at the gate of the temple!

Christian Holidays Pagan? - Tammuz
Before the cross was a symbol for Christianity, it was a Babylonian symbol for fertility.

In verse 16, we see that the men turned their backs to the temple and worshipped the sun. They turned their backs on God to worship the sun!

In   verse 17, we see that God did not see this as a “trival matter” and called them “detestable.”

In verse 18, we see that God did deal with them harshly. Will He not do the same with us?

We should consider this when we worship on Sunday and celebrate December 25th—who and what are we worshipping, and whose birthday are we celebrating?

New Year’s Day – New Year’s Day was a central date for the Romans, but the most notable fact is that initially, the Roman year did not start on January 1st but in March.

This state of affairs was because March was the month devoted to Mars, who was the Roman god of war, who was believed to be the divine father of Romulus, the founder of Rome. Because of unusual conditions during wartime, in 153 BC, the consul Quintus Fulvius Nobilior changed New Year’s Day to January 1st for the first time in history.

However, Julius Caesar, in 46 BC, with his Julian calendar, permanently instituted the holiday on January 1st. The beginning of the year was devoted to a very unusual Roman god: Janus. According to mythology, Janus was the two-faced god of doors (his name Janus comes from ianua, “door” in Latin), beginnings, and passages: that is why the first month of the year, January, was named after him.

On New Year’s Day, the Romans marched in a procession to the top of the Capitoline Hill, where the priests would sacrifice a white bull to ask protection from the gods for the new year. In addition, the high priest, the Pontifex Maximus, would offer Janus a pie made of flour, cereals, cheese, eggs, and olive oil to appeal to the god’s benevolence.

The citizens would subsequently celebrate by feasting together and wearing something red, which desired to result in good luck, health, and fertility.

Easter – Easter is an irregular Christian holiday, which does not fall on a specific date as all the other festivities. Instead, it is based on the moon’s cycle: it falls on the first Spring Sunday after the new moon. The Jewish root of the Christian Easter Holiday is widely known: the Christian festivity is connected to the holiday of Passover, which has its foundation in the exodus of the Jews from Egypt.

However, many traditions connected with Easter show entirely different (and pagan) origins: actually, the word “Easter” itself derives from the name of Eostre, the Germanic goddess of spring. The celebrated Easter Eggs and the Easter bunny, which is supposed to deliver candies to the kids, were initially connected with Eostre as symbols of rebirth and fertility.

Christian Holidays Pagan? - Easter goddess Ostara
Easter goddess Eostre Ostara

The Romans had a spring holiday around March 15th dedicated to Anna Perenna, a relatively little-known goddess that was variously identified with the moon or some Etruscan mother goddess.

More importantly, she was a goddess of the circle of the year since her holiday would fall right on the first day of the year, according to the original Roman calendar. It was traditional to celebrate with meals among family and friends, especially in the woods sacred to Anna Perenna.

On this opportunity, the Romans would consume a lot of wine given that it was held that each cup would extend their life by one full year. This activity was a traditional way of honoring the goddess since she was also connected with the idea of fertility and rebirth, which was for couples to make love by the river.

 Halloween – It is well-known that Halloween traditions originated from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Still, the Romans had a version that was very similar and perhaps even stranger.

Presently, there is only one day dedicated to the memory of the dead in the US, on October 31st, while the Romans had numerous occasions to reconnect with their passed loved ones during the year. In February, the week from the 13th to the 22nd was wholly devoted to visiting the dead, taking food offers to the graves (this particular ceremony took the name of Feralia, from fero, to bring) or even eating lunch by the grave, to keep the deceased good company.

Furthermore, it was traditional for the Romans to leave behind black beans on the graves to represent their tears.

In addition, the Romans believed that in order to be at peace, the dead desired to visit the world of the living now and then. On some days, they would open the entrance of the Mundus, a bottomless pit that was believed to be the entrance to the underworld, to allow the dead to access the world of the living.

Epiphany or Three Kings Day – Every January 6th, many Christian Churches observe the holiday of Epiphany, memorializing when the Magi Kings visited the Baby Jesus, or, according to Eastern tradition, the day Jesus was baptized.

Christian Holidays Pagan? - Three Kings Day the Epiphany
Three Kings Day

The ceremonies associated with this festivity vary from country to country and entail traditional cakes, such as the Three Kings Cake, chalking the house doors with the initials of the Magi Kings, or just attending mass.

In Italy, Epiphany is very popular, particularly among children, as it is associated with a unique character of Italian folklore: the Befana. The Befana, whose name is an altered form of the word Epifania, is a little old witchy lady who lives in the mountains. The night before the holiday, she flies on a broom and delivers little gifts, mostly candies, to the good kids: the naughty kids, instead, only receive coal, although presently, the coal is made of sugar.

In reality, according to Italian tradition, she was the woman who directed the Magi kings in the correct direction to Bethlehem. However, a look back to Roman times reveals some traditions explaining where the Befana originated.

The Romans believed that during the twelve nights that followed the winter solstice, the moon goddess Diana, escorted by two obscure deities, Satia and Abundantia, who were the representations of satiety and abundance respectively, used to fly over the fields, to make them fertile.

Moreover, the year itself was observed as an old lady, possibly representing Mother Nature itself. Before dying, she would continue to make the last gift of seeds and food to the people to promise that she would be born again in spring.

She would also deliver coal, but not as a punishment for the naughty kids, instead as a symbol of warmth.

Saint John’s Eve – Saint John the Baptist maintains a few exciting records among the saints. He is the most represented saint in all the history of religious art, and he is also the only saint celebrated on his birth date rather than his death date.

He is indeed an extraordinary saint, as he prepared the way for Jesus, who was also his cousin. Just as it happened for Jesus, Saint John’s feast took place on a Solstice: as the birth of Jesus on December 25th marks the rebirth of the Sun, so the birthday of John on June 24th marks the beginning of the diminishing sun.

Saint John’s Eve is one of the most ancient Christian holidays that Christians have been celebrating on this date since the 4th century. Every country has its way of celebrating Saint John. Still, some recurring elements, such as traditional homemade dishes, such as the Irish “Goody,” bonfires, or herbs, like the so-called St. John’s Wort, are supposed to be collected on Saint John’s Eve to keep evil spirits away.

But guess what did the Romans do on that very same date. On the night of June 24th, the Romans would congregate around bonfires in the countryside and dance, feast, and drink all night long in honor of Fortuna, the goddess of luck.

She was a very well-liked goddess, especially among the poor, who would continually aim to please her with offers or sacrifices, hopeful to get at least a change of luck: but Fortuna was a tricky goddess, tough to please.

These are significant festivities and holidays based upon pagan, Babylonian practices that became Roman traditions that we still celebrate today.

It behooves us to examine what we are actually celebrating against what we are supposed to be celebrating; do we celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th or the reincarnated sun god, Tammuz? Do we celebrate St. John the Baptist on June 24th or Fortuna, the goddess of luck? Do we really know what we are celebrating on Halloween?

When we worship on Sunday, are we honoring God as He commanded (Exodus 20:8-11), or are we worshipping the Sun?

Are we guilty of what Jesus accused the Pharisees of: “They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'” Matt 15:9 NIV  Are we worshipping in vain?

Also, Matt 15:3: Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? Sunday worship is a tradition of men.

My friends, let us not be deceived, as the enemy is crafty and we can worship the beast without realizing it, and we are warned in the Scriptures: Rev 14:9-11 reads:

9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

 Please read on this website 666 Mark of the Beast for more details.

I welcome any questions, comments, or concerns below. You will receive a response.

Blessings!

 

 

 

 

What is Biblical Love?

I have often said, the two most abused words in the English language are friend and love. Love, for example, is a word we toss around indiscriminately; I love – seafood, fast cars, sports, ice cream, the spring, etc. So, when we tell someone that we love them, what does that really mean? To be clear, there are different definitions of love. There are secular definitions, and there are Biblical definitions. This article will answer the question, what is Biblical love?

What is Love?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, love is (1) a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person.” (2)
“attraction that includes sexual desire
: the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship.” (3) “A person you love in a romantic way.”

These are secular definitions for love. They are based on feelings and emotions and can change. With this love, you can love somebody this week and not love them the following week. This type of love is the leading cause of the high rates of divorce.

What is Biblical Love?

Biblical love is different from secular love. Biblical love is a love that is sacrificial.

According to the Nelsons Bible Dictionary, love is “The high esteem which God has for His human children and the high regard which they, in turn, should have for Him and other people.”

In the New Testament, one of the Greek words translated as love is agapao (ag-ap-ah’-o). This definition is the love that is defined above. It is unconditional love. It is not based on feelings alone but is broader, embracing mainly the judgment and the deliberate consent of the will as a matter of principle, duty, and moral decency.

To love with agapao love is to love no matter what they say or do. This is the love God has for us.

Let’s look at some Scriptures to confirm this: 1 John 4:8-9

8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” NIV

“God is love” love isn’t just one of God’s characteristics. Instead, love is God’s very essence. It is not simply one of God’s many activities; rather, all of his activities are instilled with love. For example, when He teaches or disciplines, He does so with love. On the other hand, because he loves, He teaches and disciplines. Since He is love, he can do nothing without love.

Therefore, an individual who does not love others has never known God.

1 John 4:10What is Biblical Love - 1 John 4:8

10 “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” NIV

What we see here is God initiated the love relationship; individuals had nothing to do with it. After all, all humans were utterly dead to God — dead in sins and trespasses (Eph 2:1). But God loved us even though we were wholly undeserving of his love.

John continued, he loved us so much that he sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. The ultimate materialization of God’s love was established by sending his Son to die to take away the sins of all who believe. With the removal of sin, God removed the obstacle between Him and his people (Rom 5:1-2; Eph 2:18) so that He could live in His people and they could live in Him.

Rom 5:7-8

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

The point: This is agape love demonstrated:” While we were still sinners,” despite our sinful, rebellious condition, God showed His love for us.

How do we Love God?

Again, the answer is in the Scriptures, John 14:15

15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  

We love Jesus by keeping His commandments.

What is Biblical Love - John 14:15
We show our love to God by obeying His Commandments

To love Jesus is not a matter of emotions. Although it involves emotions, it is not based upon emotions or feelings: feeling good today and loving Jesus, and not feeling good tomorrow and not loving Jesus. Loving Jesus is not a wavering experience, nor is it an up and down emotion. It is not a demonstrative love that fluctuates with feelings.

To love Jesus is not simply based on reason or intellectual commitment. Although it does involve the mind, it is not merely deciding that Jesus is the Son of God and adopting His teachings and morality as one’s standard in life. Nor is it not solely an individual living by His teachings and doing the best they can. It is not a matter of the mind alone and not a matter of disciplining one’s life to keep the law and its rules and regulations.
Nevertheless, to love Jesus is a matter of the heart and the spirit: an issue of an individual’s most vital part, an individual’s innermost being, all that they are. The heart is the core of an individual’s affection and will (devotion). The heart fastens and focuses our affection, will, and commitment to an object or a person. The core causes a man to will to give himself either to good or bad. To love Jesus means that an individual will focus their heart, affection, and will (devotion) upon God by giving and receiving the love of God. To receive Jesus is receiving the love of God. It means that an individual gives his affection and will (devotion) and all he is and has to Jesus Christ.

To love God this way is the greatest commandment. Matt 22:37-38

37 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 “This is the first and greatest commandment.” NIV

It is crucial to note that loving Jesus is loving God and is received by God. John 14:21 reads:

21 “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” NIV

Jesus said: “He who loves me will be loved by my Father.” When we love Jesus by obeying His commands, He will love us, and God the Father will receive us and love us as well. Therefore, by loving Jesus, we are loving God.

In summary, Jesus stated that his disciples-followers show their love for him by obeying him. Love is more than just charming words and emotional feelings; it is commitment and conduct. If we truly love Christ, we must demonstrate it by complying with what he says in his Word.

Practicing Biblical Love

We have seen what the greatest commandment is in Matthew 22:37&38;. Let’s look at the second greatest commandment in Matt 22:39-40

39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” NIV

Biblical Love - Matthew 22-39
This is the message of the entire Bible! [Romans 13:8-9]
Over and above the law, Jesus stated in 22:37-38 a second and similarly important law. This second law concentrates on horizontal relationships; dealings with fellow human beings. An individual cannot maintain a decent vertical relationship with God, a loving God, without caring for their neighbor. For this second law, Jesus quoted Lev 19:18: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The word “neighbor” is in reference to fellow human beings in general. The same love individuals have for themselves should be continued, but it should also be directed toward others.

Notice what verse 38 says: All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The entire bible is based on love!

Let’s look at further confirmation of this in Rom 13:8-10:

8 “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.NIV

This love is to be unconditional. The same Greek word (Agapao) is translated in this verse. This love for neighbors ensures a healthy relationship with God. Look at what it says in 1 John 4:7-8

7” Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” NIV

The Scripture calls for Christians “everyone …who has been born of God and knows God” (born again) to love one another. If we don’t love, we do not know God and cannot have a relationship with God because “God is love.”

The Bottom Line

Biblical love is profound. It is not just lip service but action—a commitment

The Holy Bible
The Inspired Word of God

to a friend, a spouse, a neighbor, and to God. We must obey the Commandments by loving God and loving one another; unconditionally!
Is it easy to love unconditionally? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But this is the only way we can have the Spirit of Christ in us, and as it reads in Rom 8:9,  “…Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

Amen!

Questions, comments, concerns, or experiences with Biblical love are welcomed below.