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Ground Hog Day Devotional

SIH STSTA ICON“Are We Spiritual Groundhogs?”
(GroundHog Day Devotional 2016)

Our modern day Groundhog Day observance is a tradition that has existed, in several different forms, throughout several centuries.

Many people believe that Groundhog Day finds its roots in an observance called “the Feast of Lights” which was celebrated in the beginning of February centuries before Christ. It was a day set aside by pagans (probably the druids originated it) to worship of the sun which would begin to gain strength and warm the earth in the Spring and Summer seasons.

As time progressed, The Feast of Lights was gradually brought into the Catholic church and celebrated under the title Candlemas Day. The candle is the chief point that unified the two observances. Candles are used by Catholics to picture Christ as the light of the world, whereas to those who were pagan, the lit candle can represent the light and heat of the sun.

The Catholic holiday of the Candlemas is observed on February 2nd. It is set aside to celebrate Mary’s purification at the temple following Christ’s birth. In this celebration, many candles are lit and used during the worship service. In prior times, Candlemas also was believed to predict the coming weather. If the day of Candlemas was a bright sun shiny day, it was believed that more winter was yet to come. However, if the day was overcast it was believed that Spring was just around the corner.

This celebration of the Candlemas was brought into the secular world as Groundhog Day. Our modern day tradition holds that on February 2nd the groundhog arises from its winter hibernation, comes out of its hole and looks for his shadow.

If it is a sunny day and he sees his shadow, he believes it is an indication there will be six more weeks of winter weather and so he proceeds back down his hole to continue his time of slumber. However if, on a cloudy day, he doesn’t see his shadow he then believes that spring weather has arrived and comes out of his hole and prepares to enjoy the mild weather that will come to pass.

For much more information about the origin and observance of GroundHog Day please see the following links:
http://www.groundhog.org/about/history/
http://projectbritain.com/year/candlemas.html
http://wildhunt.org/2015/02/earthspirits-a-feast-of-lights-aims-to-drive-the-winter-away.html

For the Christian, we all should recognize the heathen origin of the celebration, but also recognize the great opportunity it gives us to share Christ with others. As Christians who possess the truths of God, we have the privilege, and responsibility, to use this worldly celebration as an opportunity to bring honor and glory to our Lord. How can we do this? We do this by using the public attention placed on this day, as a tool to present the truths of God’s Word to the celebrants without believing in, or partaking in, the pagan worship surrounding it.

That is what this devotional is all about. It is using a secular celebration as an opportunity to present God’s Word to a lost and dying world…

 

THE SCRIPTURE:

Joh 8:12 – “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

2Co 4:6 – ”For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

THE STUDY:

The Groundhog Day celebration centers on the groundhog’s reaction to the sunlight. The tradition says, if the sun is shining brightly the groundhog’s shadow will appear and the groundhog will go back into his hole for another six weeks. However, if it is a cloudy day blocking the sun, then the groundhog will remain above ground and enjoy the spring season that has begun.

Much like the groundhog who comes into contact with the sun, most of us have come into contact with God’s Word which clearly reveals to us the light of knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…

2Co 4:6 – ”For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

The question that lies before us is “How do we react in the presence of the light of Christ that has shined upon us?

The Word of God directly addresses the consequences of embracing the light of Christ and making it a living part of our lives…

Joh 8:12 – “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

Let’s take a very quick look at what this passage teaches to us about our reaction to the light of the knowledge of Christ that we have received…

I am the light of the world: he that followeth me…

If we chose to follow Christ, the light of the world, we will gain two wonderful gifts that are worth more than all the world’s riches put together.

he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness,

First of all, by stepping into the light of Christ, we will receive liberation from the bondage of sin in our life.

Christ is the One who has died on the cross to secure our forgiveness and deliverance from our sins. As we submit to Christ as Lord of our life, and turn from our sins and place our faith in Him, we will “not walk in darkness”. This means that we will no longer live a lifestyle that is dominated by sin and rebellion against Him. He will grant us liberation from sin’s power in our life. Someday, He will deliver us from the presence of sin in our life by taking us home to be with Him at our death or His second coming.

he that followeth me… shall have the light of life.

The second blessing we will receive is the blessing of spiritual life in Him. Folks, as a part of fallen, sinful mankind, due to our sinful condition, we are born in a state of alienation from God. The Bible describes this as being “spiritually dead”. When we willingly turn from our sins and turn to Jesus, by faith, He promises to spiritual life which includes being brought into fellowship with God and knowing we will spend an eternity in His presence this is possessing Christ, the “light of life”.

The question before us is this… what is our reaction to this light of the knowledge of Christ that we receive?

Will we act like the groundhog and run from the light, hurrying back down into the “hole” of sin’s bondage? Will we deny our need of salvation from our sins to continue in spiritual sleep of death?

Or, will we step into the light of the knowledge of Christ by embracing it? Will we turn from a life of disobedience and sinful darkness, to a new life in the light of Christ by placing our trust in Him and His work and submitting to Him as Lord of our life?

How we react to the light of Christ is by far the most important decision we have, or will ever make… for it holds eternal consequences for us.

Questions, Comments, or Suggestions? Email me at: rob.barkman@settledinheaven.org

http://www.settledinheaven.org
http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com
http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

To Love As Jesus Loved: “Charity Doth Not Behave Itself Unseemly”

SIH TOTT ICON“And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away…  

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

(1 Corinthians 13:3-8, 13)

 

 

As we continue looking at events in the life of Christ that set a wonderful example for us of Scriptural love. In this devotional, we will see Christ’s loving attitude being shown to a woman who was caught committing adultery…

 

 

Christ’s Life:

 

The Characteristic of Scriptural Love: Does Not Bring Shame Upon Others

 

Christ’s kindness and love is shown to us as He defends a woman being publically humiliated for a sin she had committed (John 8:1-11)…

 

Let’s take a fleeting look at His great love shown to this woman…

Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?   This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.

 

Although there was no question concerning the woman’s guilt… “this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

However, the scribes and Pharisees who brought this woman before the crowd were not concerned about keeping Moses law in an effort to glorify God. They were doing this for ulterior motives, to find fault with Christ. “This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.”  

In other words, they were simply using this woman for their own purposes. They didn’t care about her nor justice being done. They were bringing her to a public shame for the sake of tricking Christ and finding fault with him.

 

But Jesus stooped down, and with [his] finger wrote on the ground, [as though he heard][ them not].

So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.   And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

And they which heard [it], being convicted by [their own] conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, [even] unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

 

Jesus was very deliberate in His response to these men. Please notice that He did not “jump down their throat”, even though He would have had every right to do so. Instead, He remained silent while writing on the ground. It was only after they continued to press Him that He responded verbally. When He did speak, it was a very simple straightforward question… “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.Then He bent down and continued to write.

Following this, we see that those who were quick to judge and bring shame upon this woman, being convicted by their conscience left one by one.

What just happened? Although it is not clearly told to us, I believe that as the Lord wrote on the ground, He was writing the ten commandments. This reminded all the accusers that they too had sinned against God. This is what caused their conscience to be convicted and, in turn, resulted in them leaving the scene.

 

When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.(John 8:1-11)

 

Here is now a wonderful display of our Lord’s great grace. Following the sending away of her accusers, the Lord then does not issue a decree of deserved punishment upon her, but lovingly forgives her instead.   The forgiveness that was issued by Christ was an indication that the Holy Spirit had worked in her heart, and the woman had exercised faith in Christ. The Lord then instructed her, as a believer, to live a changed lifestyle for His glory… “go, and sin no more

Stop and think about it, the Lord stopped the public, shameful treatment of the woman and also pointed out the sins of her accusers without putting either to public shame…

By silently writing on the ground, instead on listing the personal sins of each individual one by one, He was able to reveal to each man his guilty condition while yet allowing their individual sins to be private.

By dealing with her, only after the crowd had dispersed, He was able to address her sin in a private way and work an act of grace in her heart and life.

When dealing with sin, the norm for Christ was to work in a very private way between Himself and the sinner. The only times He exposed the sins of others in a public forum was when the sinner had actively led others astray (False teachers, false prophets, and other heretical religious leaders). In those cases, He revealed their sinful condition publically, in the hopes of discouraging those who were predisposed to follow them.

 

Our Lesson To Be Learned:

Just as Christ refrained from bringing others to public shame, we should seek to do likewise. Many times this will involve approaching those who have sinned against us privately as the first step to a reconciliation process. It is only after their rejection of this attempt are we to begin to reveal their sin to others (Matthew 18:15-17).

Also, keep in mind, although this woman was guilty of the sin with which she was charged, the Lord still graciously, lovingly, forgave her. Many times, we will be called upon to do the same. Although we are sinned against and justly deserve “a pound of flesh” in return, we are to choose to forgive the guilty party instead of vindictively exposing their sin in a public fashion.

 

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

 

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org

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To Love As Jesus Loved: “Charity Vaunteth Not Itself”

SIH TOTT ICON“And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away…  

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

(1 Corinthians 13:3-8, 13)

 

 

As we continue looking at events in the life of Christ that set a wonderful example for us of Scriptural love. In every example, we will be seeing Christ choosing to exalt His Father instead of Himself…

 

Christ’s Life:

The Characteristic of Scriptural Love: Vaunteth Not (No Self-Exaltation)

 One of Christ’s great missions while on earth was to refrain from self-exaltation while seeking to bring honor and glory to His Father. This desire in the heart of Christ was gendered by His great love for His Father. He spoke about this great pursuit in our study for this morning…

Let’s look and see what Christ taught to the Jews, as He explained His desire to bring glory to His Father as a chief goal of His ministry…

 

Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.

And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or [whether] I speak of myself.

He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. (John 7:14-18)

In this account, we can see the depth and authoritativeness of the teachings of Jesus caused the Jews to be amazed and to question the source of His knowledge.   Christ’s response was very revealing. He makes the statement…“My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

In other words, Christ was simply revealing the teachings that originated from His Father, the One who had sent Him to minister them.   Then as proof of this statement, Jesus says…  “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or [whether] I speak of myself.

If they are servants of His Father they will recognize these teachings and know that Christ was speaking the things of the Father.

Then Christ makes a very important declaration of His humility and the motivation of His ministry… “He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.

 In a nutshell, Christ is teaching us is that His refusal to exalt Himself, along with only teachings the things of the Father was a clear indication of two things:

1. His dedication to the Father’s glory was “true” (genuine)

2. There was no unrighteousness in Him (Christ was sinless, proven by His desire to exalt only His Father and not Himself)

 

What great love is shown by Christ when He dedicated His earthly ministry to the glory and honor of the Father. Please notice this dedication to the Father was not limited to His teachings but His actions as well….

Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am [he], and [that] I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.As he spake these words, many believed on him.”   (John 8:28-30)

 

Another teaching of Christ also emphasized the principle that humility, along with a desire to exalt God alone in our lives is proof positive of a genuine love for God and possession a relationship with Him.

And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.(Luke 18:9-14)

 

Our Lesson To Be Learned:

Folks, do we really love our Lord and those around us? If so, we will live our lives for God’s His honor and glory alone. We will do this by using the gifts He has given to us to minister to those in need. As the Apostle Peter reminds us…

As every man hath received the gift, [even so] minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.If any man speak, [let him speak] as the oracles of God; if any man minister, [let him do it] as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”   (1 Peter 4:10-11)

 

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org

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SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

Spiritual Gifts: When Did The Accrediting Gifts Go Out Of Existence? (Part 5)

 SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

“Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)

 

In our previous studies we have seen that there are three basic types of Accrediting Gifts which include several gifts under each type. In the above passage, we find each type of Accrediting Gift is represented by one gift from each type …

 

Type Of Accrediting Gift Gifts Included In This Type Representative Gift Mentioned In1 Cor 13:8
Supernatural Revelation Of The Truth The Word Of Wisdom, The Word of Knowledge Word of Knowledge (or Knowledge)
Supernatural Indicators Of The Truth Faith, Gifts Of Healing, Working Of Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning Of Spirits Prophecy (or Prophecies)
Supernatural Proclamation Of The Truth Divers Kinds Of Tongues, Interpretation Of Tongues Diverse Types Of Tongues (or Tongues)

 

Please note the above verse (1 Cor 13:8), which includes one representative gift from each group, makes it plain that each type of Accrediting Gift will come to an end at some point in time. We now will turn our attention to the question at what point in time will these gifts go out of existence?

 

In this study, we will see that this question is answered by the Word of God using several different lines of teaching which all present the same answer for us. This will be the lines of teaching that we will be studying:
I.        The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect”
II.        The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span
III.        The Death Of The Apostles
IV.        The Supernatural Beginning / Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings
V.        The Prophecies of False Miracles In The “Last Days”

Lesson:

The Prophecies Of False Miracles In The “Last Days”:

Please note MANY PASSAGES will be referred to in this lesson. As in all the lessons, the KJV text of each passage can be found at the end of this study. Please take the time to refer to them to come to a more clear understanding on the biblical teachings on these things.
As Christians, it is of utmost importance that we familiarize ourselves with Satan’s deceptive practices (2 Corinthians 2:11). Satan, the father of lies (John 8:43-45), uses deception as a chief tool to mislead people from the truths of God’s Word (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12; 2 Corinthians 11:13-14). When we understand how Satan works we can more successfully guard against falling for His lies and counterfeit gospel message.
Let’s take a very quick look at some of the ways that Satan opposes Christ’s workings in the days in which we are living.

The Bible makes it very plain that in the time period described as the “last days” false accrediting miracles will be used by Satan to mislead many from the Biblical gospel message (Matthew 24:23-24; Mark 13:21-23; 2 Corinthians 11:13-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12; 2 Timothy 3:1-8; Revelation 13:11-14; 16:13-15; 19:20).
These false miracles are very effective tools of deception for Satan, This is because of man’s fallen, carnal nature which is not satisfied with the exercise of faith in the Lord and His Word, but is only satisfied by witnessing supernatural miracles being performed (Matthew 16:3-4). This attitude flies in the face of true Scriptural faith that rests in “the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1-3).
Please note that… The “last days” is the time period in which we live today. It finds its beginning with the first coming of Christ (Hebrews 1:1-3).   Knowing that the “last days” began with the first coming of Christ, we can know with certainty that the existence of false deceptive teachings, and false accrediting miracles, existed since the days of Christ on earth and will continue to exist until He comes back again at His second coming.

This is why John teaches us that antichrists existed in his day as well as would exist in today’s time (1 John 2:18-19)

Folks, the existence of false miracles is not something new, but has existed for many, many years. We find the exercise of false miracles periodically performed throughout New Testament church history.

The most important aspect of this teaching, for this study, is that these deceptive practices exist in today’s time. Because of this, we must take these prophecies seriously and always put the current day “miracles” to the test of God’s Word (Isaiah 8:18-20; Matthew 7: 15-20; 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 1 John 4:1-3]. There is no excuse for a Bible believing Christian to not seek out the truth concerning these practices. To naively accept modern day miracles as being of God is to show a lack of understanding of clear Scriptural prophetic warnings from God Himself.

We should all be like the Berean Christians who, after receiving teaching from God’s Word, took the time to check it’s accuracy by comparing it with the Word of God (Acts 17:10-12).  This same principles applies to the modern day accrediting miracles that are taking place around us. That is the purpose of this entire series of studies, to help us to clearly understand the teaching of God’s Word concerning spiritual gifts. This will give us the foundational information we need to properly judge that which is taking place around us.

False teaching and the use of false accrediting miracles is a big deal in the eyes of the Lord. It is such a heinous sin that, in the Old Testament scriptures these practices are deserving of death (Deuteronomy 13:1-8) and at the final judgment will result, apart from the Lord’s gracious forgiveness, in eternal death (Matthew 7:21-23; Revelation 19:20) . It is easy for us to understand why this is such a horrible practice… it is misleading many to eternal destruction and separation from God. And that is why there is such a grave need for all of us to take it upon ourselves to judge the validity of these practices.

You might be wondering why I have included this section under the heading of “When Did The Accrediting Gifts Go Out Of Existence?”. My thoughts centered on the need for us to understand that false miracles do exist in today’s time. There are those who argue that simply seeing these things take place proves that the Biblical accrediting miracles are still taking place in todays’ time and, therefore, they have not yet gone out of existence. My answer to them is this lesson.

Just because supposed miracles are taking place around us, there is NO SCRIPTURAL reason to assume that they are divinely originated, nor that they are of the same type of gifts as the accrediting miracles that were performed by the Apostles and other local church members of the New Testament accounts. There is another very Scriptural and plausible answer to these things…. they are simply the deceptive workings of Satan that the Bible clearly teaches will exist in our day and age.

Yes, I believe that all of the false accrediting miracles fall into three basic groups which all find their source in Satan and his workings…

1. If they are miracles that actually take place and supercede the natural laws of nature, then I believe they are the result of demonic enabling and oppression (or perhaps, possession). (Mark 5:3-4)

2. In many cases, I believe they are, in actuality, not genuine miracles at all, but simply illusions that are performed (much like that of a magician) purposefully to mislead others. If that is the case, they find their origin in Satanic workings. They are the result of Satan blinding and twisting the minds of the illusionist seducing them with the promises of fame and the riches of this world. (2 Tim 3:1-8)

3. Finally, there are some “miracles” that are performed by those who are misled, sincere in their beliefs and caught up in their emotions. But once again, these find their ultimate origin in Satan, who has kept them from the truths of the Word and is actively at work in their mind and psyche. It is this group of people that “two-fold more the child of hell” misled and unknowingly headed for the Lake of Fire, while believing they are secure in Christ. (Matt 23:15)

May the Lord graciously protect us from these workings of Satan as he lies in wait to make merchandise of our very souls through counterfeit teaching and miracles (2 Peter 2:1-3; Rev 18:12-13)

I would like to close this section of our study with two very sobering texts. They are found in Matthew 7:21-23 and Revelation 19:20…

Mat 7:21-23 KJV

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

In this text we see that there will be those who stand before the Lord at the final judgment making an argument for their acquittal. Their three part argument goes something like this… “But Lord, we HAVE DONE the will of your Father, and we can prove it! …
1. have we not prophesied in thy name? – we delivered a Scriptural message
2. and in thy name have cast out devils? – we successfully opposed Satan and His workings among men
3. and in thy name done many wonderful works? – we performed miracles that prove we were doing the work of God

Although all of these 3 areas of ministry appeared to prove their ministry was of the Father, in actuality they were lost individuals who would be cast into the Lake of Fire as rebellious, disobedient, lying, ministers of Satan. By God’s grace may He allow us to escape such an end.

 

Rev 19:20 KJV

“And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”

In this text we find the beast (ungodly political powers of the world) and the false prophet (false religious powers of the world) are facing their final judgment. Note how the false religions of the world are said to work miracles which deceived the nations. Once again, these miracles are proven to be counterfeit miracles that only add to their eternal condemnation (as those responsible for misleading multitudes of people).

In our next lesson we will take a look at several Scriptural principles to apply as we seek to judge the messages and miracles being performed by those who claim to be followers of Christ.

 

Additional Information(Verses Mentioned In This Study):

The Prophecies Of False Miracles In The “Last Days”:

Deu 13:1-8 KJV

(1) If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,

(2) And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;

(3) Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

(4) Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

(5) And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

(6) If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;

(7) Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;

(8) Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:

 

Psa 119:11 KJV

(11) Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

 

Psa 119:105 KJV

(105) NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

 

Isa 8:18-20 KJV

(18) Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.

(19) And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?

(20) To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

 

Mat 7:15-20 KJV

(15) Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

(16) Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

(17) Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

(18) A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

(19) Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

(20) Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

 

Mat 7:21-23

(21) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

(22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

(23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

 

Mat 16:3-4 KJV

(3) And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

(4) A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

 

Mat 23:15 KJV

15) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

 

Mat 24:23-24

(23) Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

(24) For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

 

Mar 5:3-4

3) Who had [his] dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:

4) Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any [man] tame him.

 

Mar 13:21-23

(21) And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:

(22) For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

(23) But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.

 

Joh 8:43-45 KJV

(43) Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

(44) Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

(45) And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

 

Joh 17:14-17 KJV

(14) I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

(15) I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

(16) They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

(17) Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

 

Act 17:10-12 KJV

(10) And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.

(11) These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

(12) Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.

 

2Co 2:9-11 KJV

(9) For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.

(10) To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;

(11) Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

 

2Co 11:13-14 KJV

(13) For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

(14) And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

 

1Th 5:20-21 KJV

(20) Despise not prophesyings.

(21) Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

 

2Th 2:8-12

(8) And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

(9) Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

(10) And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

(11) And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

(12) That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

 

2Ti 3:1-8 KJV

(1) This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

(2) For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

(3) Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

(4) Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

(5) Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

(6) For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

(7) Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

(8) Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16) All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Heb 1:1-3 KJV

(1) God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

(2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

(3) Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

 

Heb 11:1-3

1) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

2) For by it the elders obtained a good report.

3) Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

 

1Jn 2:18 KJV

(18) Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

 

1Jn 4:1-3 KJV

(1) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

(2) Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

(3) And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

 

Rev 13:11-14 KJV

(11) And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

(12) And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

(13) And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

(14) And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

 

Rev 16:13-15 KJV

(13) And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

(14) For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

(15) Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

 

Rev 19:20 KJV

(20) And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

Why Does Evil Exist? (Part #3)

SIH STSTA ICON“Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty, The Earth Is Filled With Thy Glory”

“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].(Isaiah 45:7)

[Thou art] of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:…” (Habakkuk 1:13) 

 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  (James 1:13)

In above set of Scriptures, we find one of the supposedly contradictory texts of the Scriptures.  On one hand, from the lips of the Lord Himself, He clearly states that “I create evil”.  Then later in the Scriptures we find Habakkuk, as he speaks concerning the Lord, says [Thou art] of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:  then, to add confusion to our subject, James states clearly that God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

In this series of lessons, we will be looking into two basic questions, first, “What Is God’s Role In The Existence of Evil ?” and, secondly, “What Is The Purpose Behind The Existence Of Evil ?”

 

THE STUDY:

Before we begin this portion of our study, let’s pick up with the summary from our studies so far …
1.  “Evil” describes something that causes harm or injury
2.  “Evil” can be referring to harm that is so severe, that it causes total destruction or uselessness
3.  “Evil” can, but not necessarily, involves moral wickedness
4.  “Evil” can describe sin or it can describe the results of sin
5.  “Evil” can describe the direct results of sin
6.  “Evil” can describe the indirect results of sin
7.  “Evil” can describe an act that is morally wicked
8.  “Evil” can describe, not the act, but the result of moral wickedness
9.  Evil is “the condition/act of sin, OR the direct or indirect results of sin, that are harmful, and potentially ruinous, to any part of God’s creation.”  
10.  Our Lord is in absolute control of all things, this principle is clearly presented throughout the Bible
11.  It is only because the Lord is in control of all things that we can place our unwavering faith in Him
12.  The Sovereignty Of God affects: His ability to aid us, His answering our prayers, His ability to save, His prophecies to use
13. The Lord is in control of Satan himself, who can do nothing apart from the Lord’s allowance

We will now attempt to come to an understanding about the holiness of God and the origin of evil in this world….

Our Lord Is Perfectly Holy (Separated From Sin) 

When we speak of the holiness of God, we are simply saying that God is completely separated from sin.  He is absolutely pure in character, motives, thoughts and deeds.   His holiness was made manifest to the prophet Isaiah in Isa 6:…
In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.  Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, [is] the LORD of hosts: the whole earth [is] full of his glory.  And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.  Then said I, Woe [is] me! for I am undone; because I [am] a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”   (Isaiah 6:1-5)

Notice the effects of Isaiah’s recognition of the holiness of God… “Then said I, Woe [is] me! for I am undone; because I [am] a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” 

The holiness of God is one of His attributes that clearly sets Him above all of creation.  Sin has affected every area of creation, however when Isaiah saw this vision of God he was humbled.  Why? It wasn’t God’s great power or His great majesty that brought Isaiah to his knees… it was the recognition of his absolute sinfulness in the face of the holiness of God.

The attributes of God that Isaiah recognized in his vision were also recognized by the Israelites when they were delivered from bondage in the land of Egypt…
Who [is] like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who [is] like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful [in] praises, doing wonders?”   (Exodus 15:11)

Again, we find the holiness of God being one of the main attributes that were recognized by the humbled nation of Israel.  Please note His holiness is so extraordinary, He is described as being “glorious in holiness.”  In other words, His holiness makes Him deserving of our worship, honor, reverence and submission.  It sets Him apart from all of the idolatrous gods of man and makes Him “shine” in comparison to them.

As a matter of fact, His holiness is so extraordinary that we find He cannot accept sin in His presence…
[Thou art] of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:(Habakkuk 1:13) 

In the New Testament we have testimony of the Lord’s holiness as well…
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  (1 John 1:5)

Note how John emphasized the complete, absolute holiness of God… “in him is no darkness at all”.  The illustration that John uses is an interesting one indeed.  He uses the picture of light to describe the holiness of God, in comparison to darkness that represents sin (Acts 26:18).  Just as darkness CANNOT dwell in the presence of light, so too, sin CANNOT dwell in the person of God (2 Cor 6:14).

The holiness of God is not limited to the Father but is also exhibited in the person of Christ….
For such an high priest became us, [who is] holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;”   (Hebrews 7:26)

What a blessing it is to know that the Lord that we serve is absolutely separated from sin.  He cannot do wrong, He cannot make “mistakes”, He cannot lie, nor can He treat anyone justly.

But also, getting back to our study, sin can in no way come from our God.  He cannot create it, nor can He be held responsible for its existence among man…
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.  Do not err, my beloved brethren.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”   (James 1:13-17)

James makes it crystal clear to us that, although the Lord is absolutely sovereign, He cannot be held accountable for the sinful actions of man. This is expressed in the first part of our above text…
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

But James goes farther and teaches us that the Lord cannot be held accountable for the origination of sin when he says …
Do not err, my beloved brethren.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

James helps us to understand that the ONLY type of gifts that proceed from God are “good” and “perfect” gifts.  These descriptions totally eliminate for us the possibility of sin proceeding from God.  To cover all the bases, James then reminds us that this holy God will continue to be absolutely holy throughout eternity…. Therefore, sin will never proceed from Him, nor will He ever be the author of it.

Folks, it is our great responsibility to recognize that, although the Lord included sin in His sovereign plan, and allows the occurrence of sin on a daily basis, He cannot be held accountable for that sin.  The responsibility for the existence of sin must be placed at the doorstep of Satan…
He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”   (1 John 3:8)

 “Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”   (John 8:44)

Not only do we know that Satan is the originator of sin and a causative force for it in this world, we also find that the Bible teaches us that the responsibility for sin’s entrance into this world must be shared with Adam….
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:  (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.  But not as the offence, so also [is] the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, [which is] by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.  And not as [it was] by one that sinned, [so is] the gift: for the judgment [was] by one to condemnation, but the free gift [is] of many offences unto justification.  For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)  Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.  For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”   (Romans 5:12-19)

 

In our study so far, we have now seen that the Lord is in control of all things.  Because we know He is sovereign we must come to an understanding that the sins He has included in His sovereign plan He allows to take place, all other sins He restrains.

We have also come to understand that, due to His absolute holiness, sin cannot proceed from God in any way.  Therefore, He cannot be the author, nor the originator of sin.  Although He has included sin in His plan for mankind, Satan and Adam are the ones responsible for the entrance of sin into God’s creation.

In our next lesson we will be answering the question… “If God, due to His holiness, cannot be the author of sin then what did He mean when He said “I create evil”?”

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

What we have seen in our study so far….

We have attempted to come to a very basic understanding of the term “evil” as used in the Bible.  We have come to see that:
1.  “Evil” describes something that causes harm or injury
2.  “Evil” can be referring to harm that is so severe, that it causes total destruction or uselessness
3.  “Evil” can, but not necessarily, involves moral wickedness
4.  “Evil” can describe sin or it can describe the results of sin
5.  “Evil” can describe the direct results of sin
6.  “Evil” can describe the indirect results of sin
7.  “Evil” can describe an act that is morally wicked
8.  “Evil” can describe, not the act, but the result of moral wickedness
9.  Evil is “the condition/act of sin, OR the direct or indirect results of sin, that are harmful, and potentially ruinous, to any part of God’s creation.”  
10.  Our Lord is in absolute control of all things, this principle is clearly presented throughout the Bible
11.  It is only because the Lord is in control of all things that we can place our unwavering faith in Him
12.  The Sovereignty Of God affects: His ability to aid us, His answering our prayers, His ability to save, His prophecies to use
13. The Lord is in control of Satan himself, who can do nothing apart from the Lord’s allowance
14. The Lord is perfectly holy and separate from sin.
15. Satan and Adam are the ones who are responsible for sin’s existence and entrance into this world

May the Lord bless you as you continue to seek His truth.

For The Free Study Guide For This Series:  .pdf format    .docx format

 

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Settled In Heaven Ministries Home On The Web: http://www.settledinheaven.org
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May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Go To The Light… and it ain’t the Ghost Whisperer Talkin!

SIH STSTA ICON

Anyone who has watched the TV show Ghost Whisperer, has heard the phrase “Go to the light” at least two to three times an episode.  (see more about this here… http://www.youtube.com/show?p=yaJn4TCMqCQ&s=5&clips=1)

Why does she tell them to “Go to the light”?  According to the show, it is because it is only “in the light” that those who have died can find final peace, forgiveness and the resulting rest in the afterlife.  In the series, however, it is never clearly explained what “the light” is.

Similarly, in the modern day “near death experience”, going to a light, or seeing a bright light during an out of body experience is commonplace.  These accounts do not include any explanation of this light with few, if any exceptions.

I’m not going to look at the Scriptural implications of the “going to the light” idea, or all the events that make up a “near death experience;” that is for another day and time.  But, I would like to look at the Bible’s teachings on a “light” that will give us forgiveness, peace, and rest; in this life and in the afterlife as well…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.  (Joh 8:12)

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (Joh 9:5)

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Mat 5:15-16)

THE STUDY:

John 8:12:

Christ describes Himself as “the Light of the World”.  He then goes on to explain why He possesses that title.  He says that “he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”  In other words, if we are a follower of Christ, we will not be spiritually blind any longer, but He will open our blinded eyes, allowing us to be understanding of His words and in receipt of spiritual life now and throughout eternity.

John 9:5:

Christ makes it plain that He will be the Light of the World as long as He is present in this world.  But what then?…..

Matthew 5:15-16:

In the context, Christ is speaking to those who have placed their trust in Him as Lord and Savior, and are now followers of Him.   He says that, in His absence from the earth, we are now the Light of the World, shining forth His Word as a candle shines forth its light.  How do we shine forth that light?  Through our words and our works we reflect the light of Christ to this world, which results in His Father being glorified.

The above picture was painted by my wonderful wife, Eva Barkman.  Her picture of a lighthouse can represent our Lord Jesus Christ, the light of the world, who shines forth for all to see.  Her description reflects that thought….. “A lighthouse always reminds me of our great Lord, who is the light of the world to all who will see Him (the saved).  When things get dark and depressing, it’s a blessing to have the one true light of Jesus Christ to guide your way.”

(My thanks to Eva for allowing me to use her picture in this posting… Also the “Settled In Heaven” banner at the top of this page is a combination of her “Calvary” painting and her digital captioning.

If you would like a blessing… visit her website for more of her paintings and their Scriptural applications…. http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com/ )

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved, is your life reflecting Christ to the world?  Or, I could ask the same question in a different way…. When someone looks at our life, do they see Christ?  That’s what being a witness for Christ is all about.  By bearing the fruits of the Spirit (Gals 5:22-23, Eph 5:8), we are letting our light shine in the world.   This light then reveals Christ and glorifies the Father in the eyes of all those around us.

Stop and think about it…if we do not reflect the light of Christ into this world, who will?  Since Christ is now no longer physically in this world, it is an ABSOLUTE necessity that we reflect His light, and shine it forth in the midst of a sin darkened world. (Acts 13:47, 1 Ptr 2:9)

Do we have a loved one whose spiritual condition is a burden to us?  Have you been praying for an acquaintance to come to a saving relationship with Christ?  If you answered “yes” to either of these questions then my next question to you is this… Are you displaying Christ’s light to them through your words and actions?   You can do this by telling them what Christ has done for you; then, live a life before them that honors the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.   There is no stronger witness than to have a Godly life supporting the Godly message we are delivering… this is our Lord’s way to be an effective witness for Him.

I know in today’s time we have all the “modern” ways of evangelizing the lost around us. All I can say is this…. Our Lord’s way of evangelizing is the ONLY way to be an effective witness for Him…. He made that way clear by telling us to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”. To depart from this is to depart from the will and ways of our Father in heaven.

For those who have never been saved, “Go to the light”!   Not the way the ghost whisperer means it… but, in the way the Bible means it.  We are to experience His gracious intervention in our life, abhor our sin, fall at His feet and humbly seek the salvation only He can give.  (2 Cor 4:6, Eph 5:14)

(For much more information on this subject please read, with an opened Bible, the blog page entitled “salvation”.  On this page you will find various blog entries dealing totally with salvation.)

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Free, Free Indeed! (Independence Day – July 4th Devotional)

SIH STSTA ICONWe, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”   http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/freedom/doi/text.html

These famous words make up the concluding paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, the document that declared our freedom from the British Kingdom.  As a country based upon freedom and civil rights we have been blessed greatly by God.  And although these freedoms are not permanent in nature (it seems as if some of these freedoms may be slipping through our fingers); I can easily declare that the United States of America is still the greatest and most blessed country in the world.  It is a privilege to live here.

The saddest part of our celebration of our Independence is that we have forgotten to thank our Lord for the freedom He has given to us!  If you notice, in the very same paragraph that declares our freedoms, the founding fathers declared the source of their strength as they stood in opposition to the British government…. “, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence”.  That’s right!  Our founding fathers made it plain that they had the courage to stand up and declare our freedom from Britain because they were trusting in the providence of Almighty God to protect them.

Even John Adams, as he wrote to his wife Abigail, referenced the need to worship and honor God on the anniversary of his signing the declaration (July 2nd)…

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_Day_(United_States)

As great as these freedoms are, our Lord offers us even greater, eternal freedoms that can never be lost or taken.  Why do so many of us totally disregard these freedoms, and their Giver, as well?

THE SCRIPTURE:

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (Joh 8:31-36)

THE STUDY:

Our Lord, in His Word declares that we can receive freedom from our sin in three different ways (Rom 6:7-23):

Firstly, we can receive freedom from our sin’s penalty (Rom 5:16)

Second, we can be continually made free from sin’s power in our lives (Rom 6:18)

Finally, we can be made free from sin’s presence throughout eternity (Rom 6:22)

This is true freedom which can never be taken away nor lost.  Our Lord offers this freedom from sin to anyone who will trust in Him and turn from their sin to serve Him as Lord of their life.   (Acts 26:18)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have been liberated from their sin… we should praise and thank our Lord for all the freedoms He has so graciously given to us.  Also, we should want to share His message of truth to the world so that they might share in this freedom as well.

For those who have never been freed from sin and it’s effects in your life, look to the Lord, His word and His work, for the source of true liberty from sin.  Read John 8:12-51 for more information.

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”(Joh 8:36)

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Read my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace”  “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.

Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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