18 February 2020

A Few Thoughts About Why People Do Not Believe the Gospel

Some believe that if Christians answered every question, met every need, bring justice to the world, have a comfortable setting with great music, then people will believe.
B1 Most questions are already answered, but they will not accept that answer. People think their answer is better. Sometimes they have a favorite answer already, or they don’t like or agree with the answer given.
B2 The world is unjust and evil. Many times what is a need is really only a desire. The real needs of shelter, food, safety might be already met, but they have a need of more money, or better food than they have, or ______.
B3 People define justice differently. Today many (maybe most) define justice as the “equals.” Everything must be provided for free as health care, nutrition, safety, education, etc. But different solutions are offered. Some want the socialist answer of central planning. Some want the libertarian solution of minimal government. The standard is not fixed and agreed upon.
B4 The Lord Jesus provided for all these in His ministry of earth, yet very few believed.

Others find the reason for rejection resulting from their particular bias, that is, their idea of God, their idea of punishment, their idea of Christianity, their idea in worldview and lifestyle, etc.

Some find the reason for rejection is that God only choose a small number to understand, be regenerated, then given faith to be born again. I say this sarcastically. It is the idea of selective predestination and regeneration preceding faith.

Personally, I find the Scriptures to show that it is pride and love of sinful pleasures.
B1 Pride:
C1 “I’m a good person.”
D1 Luke 18:10-12 NKJV Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 'I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.'
D2 Romans 10:21 WEL But to Israel he says, “All day long I have stretched out my hands to a people who refuse to believe and defiant people.”
C2 Resist (because of pride)
D1 John 3:36 WEL “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, but he who refuses to believe the Son will not see life, on the contrary the fierce anger of God remains on him.”
D2 Hebrews 3:18 WEL Or to whom was it that he swore that they wouldn’t enter into his rest? Wasn’t it with those who refused to believe?
C3 Peer pressure (because of fear)
D1 John 9:22-23 NKJV His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, "He is of age; ask him.
D2 Acts 5:12-13 NLT The apostles were performing many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers were meeting regularly at the Temple in the area known as Solomon's Colonnade. 13 But no one else dared to join them, even though all the people had high regard for them.
C4 A greater love for something (because of pride in something)
D1 John 12:42-43 WEL Nevertheless, even of the leaders many believed in him, but because of the Pharisees, they did not confess, lest they should be thrown out of the synagogue, 43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
D2 2 Timothy 4:10 NRSV for Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.
B2 Love of sinful pleasures:
C1 John 3:19-21 NRSV And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.
C2 Revelation 9:20-21 NKJV But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. 21 And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Some other verses that may apply see here.

We must not reject: Romans 1:18-22 NIV The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…

We must accept: Romans 10:9-13 NIV If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, "Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame." 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

17 February 2020

A Few Thoughts About Why People Do Not Believe the Gospel

Some believe that if Christians answered every question, meet every need, bring justice to the world, then people will believe.
B1 Most questions are already answered, but people think their answer is better. Sometimes they have a favorite answer already, or they don’t like or agree with that answer.
B2 The world is unjust and evil. Many times what is a need is really only a desire. The real needs of shelter, food, safety might be already met, but they have a need of more money, or better food than they have, or ______.
B3 People define justice differently. Today many (maybe most) define justice as the “equals.” Everything must be provided as health care, nutrition, safety, education, etc. But different solutions are offered. Some want the socialist answer of central planning. Some want the libertarian solution of minimal government. The standard is not fixed and agreed upon.
B4 The Lord Jesus did all this in His ministry of earth, yet very few believed.

Others find the reason for rejection resulting from their particular bias, that is, their idea of God, their idea of punishment, their idea of Christianity, their idea in worldview and lifestyle, etc.

Some find the reason for rejection is that God only choose a small number to understand, be regenerated, then given faith to be born again. I say this sarcastically. It is the idea of selective predestination and regeneration preceding faith.

Personally, I find the Scriptures to show that it is pride and love of sinful pleasures.
B1 Pride:
C1 “I’m a good person.”
D1 Luke 18:10-12 NKJV Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 'I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.'
D2 Romans 10:21 WEL But to Israel he says, “All day long I have stretched out my hands to a people who refuse to believe and defiant people.”
C2 Resist (because of pride)
D1 John 3:36 WEL “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, but he who refuses to believe the Son will not see life, on the contrary the fierce anger of God remains on him.”
D2 Hebrews 3:18 WEL Or to whom was it that he swore that they wouldn’t enter into his rest? Wasn’t it with those who refused to believe?
C3 Peer pressure (because of pride and fear)
D1 John 9:22-23 NKJV His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, "He is of age; ask him.
D2 Acts 5:12-13 NLT The apostles were performing many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers were meeting regularly at the Temple in the area known as Solomon's Colonnade. 13 But no one else dared to join them, even though all the people had high regard for them.
C4 A greater love for something (because of pride in something)
D1 John 12:42-43 WEL Nevertheless, even of the leaders many believed in him, but because of the Pharisees, they did not confess, lest they should be thrown out of the synagogue, 43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
D2 2 Timothy 4:10 NRSV for Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.
B2 Love of sinful pleasures:
C1 John 3:19-21 NRSV And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.
C2 Revelation 9:20-21 NKJV But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. 21 And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Some other verses that may apply see here.

We must not: Romans 1:18-22 NIV The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…

We must: Romans 10:9-13 NIV If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, "Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame." 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

15 February 2020

1 Year Bible—Hebrews

The Superiority of Jesus

Jesus Is God Chapter 1:1-4
Superior To Angels Chapter 1:5-14

Jesus Provides the Only Salvation Chapter 2:1-4
Jesus Is Fully Human and His Purpose Chapter 2:5-18

Jesus Is Superior to Moses Chapter 3:1-6
Jesus Warning About Unbelief Chapter 3:7-19

God’s Promised Rest Is Coming Chapter 4:1-13
Jesus Is The High Priest Chapter 4:14-Chapter 5:10

Warning To Not Fall From the Faith Chapter 5:11-14

Encouragement to Grow Doctrine Chapter 6:1-12
God’s Promise Is Sure Chapter 6:13-20

The Great Priest Melchizedek Chapter 7:1-10
Jesus Is Greater Than Aaronic Priesthood Chapter 7:11-28

The Priestly Work of Jesus Chapter 8:1-6
Jesus Is the Priest of The New Covenant Chapter 8:7-13

The Earthly Tabernacle Chapter 9:1-10
Jesus Is Priest of Heavenly Tabernacle Chapter 9:11-28

Earthly Sacrifices Do Not Cleanse Sin Chapter 10:1-4
Messiah’s Sacrifice Cleanses From Sin Chapter 10:5-18
Messiah’s Blood Was the Acceptable Sacrifice Chapter 10:19-25
Our Faith Must Continue Chapter 10:26-39

Faith Defined and Examples Chapter 11

Let Us Persevere To The End Chapter 12:1-3
God’s Discipline Chapter 12:4-13
Warning To Not Falter Chapter 12:14-17
We Do Not Come To The Mountain of Fear Chapter 12:18-21
We Come To The Mountain of Joy Chapter 12:22-24
Do Not Reject God’s Warning Chapter 12:25-29

Various Rules and Requests Chapter 13:1-19
Blessing and Prayer Chapter 13:20-25

Notes

The Superiority of Jesus
In everything, in every way, over every person, every angel, every creature. Superior in essence, life, wisdom, love, holiness, work, etc.

Jesus Is God Chapter 1:1-4
B1 The Son of God is heir of everything, everything.
B2 The Son of God is creator of everything. He did not create Himself.
B3 The Son of God is the exact substance (essence) of the Father and the Spirit. Essence is the stuff that God is. God is spirit.
B4 Those who saw Jesus in the flesh, saw God in the flesh.
B5 The creeds state: Jesus is one person with two natures. He is God as God is, and He is man as man is. See the Chalcedonian Creed. A shortened history with a few comments is here. You are encouraged to read the Athanasian Creed, too.
Superior To Angels Chapter 1:5-14

Jesus Provides the Only Salvation Chapter 2:1-4
B1 Since He is so great, the salvation that He has given us must not be disregarded.
B2 Dangers of disregarding it are all the punishments and effects of sin.
Jesus Is Fully Human and His Purpose Chapter 2:5-18
B1 Jesus
C1 Is one person, not two.
C2 Is one person, not some type of hybrid.
C3 Is a divine nature and is a human nature.
C4 Is a permanent state. As Schaff writes (Source): The union of the divine and human nature in Christ is a permanent state resulting from the incarnation, and is a real, supernatural, personal, and inseparable union—in distinction from an essential absorption or confusion, or from a mere moral union; or from a mystical union such as holds between the believer and Christ. The two natures constitute but one personal life, and yet remain distinct.
C5 Is one self-consciousness: As Schaff again writes: The self-consciousness of Christ is never divided; his person consists in such a union of the human and the divine natures, that the divine nature is the seat of self-consciousness, and pervades and animates the human.
C6 Is doing one ministry. This ministry is not just the God nature or the human nature. It is one ministry (caring, attending, serving). It was His purpose. He was successful. He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.
C6 Jesus’s human did not exist until the incarnation. His human nature is not an independent nature.
C7 Divine nature is His personality (character traits).
C8 Before incarnation was in the form (what we would see) of God, who in the incarnation took the form of a human man.

Jesus Is Superior to Moses Chapter 3:1-6
Jesus Warning About Unbelief Chapter 3:7-19
B1 First principle taught: Do not harden our hearts by unbelief: Hebrews 3:7-8 NRSV Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, "Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, as on the day of testing in the wilderness,
B2 Second principle taught: We are to encourage our brothers and sisters in the Christian life: Hebrews 3:13 NRSV But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
B3 Third principle taught: There is a relationship between obeying God and belief, and there is a relationship between disobeying God and unbelief. We cannot claim to be a believer and disobey His rules: Hebrews 3:18-19 NRSV And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, if not to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

God’s Promised Rest Is Coming Chapter 4:1-13
Jesus Is The High Priest Chapter 4:14-Chapter 5:10

Warning To Not Fall From the Faith Chapter 5:11-14

Encouragement to Grow in Doctrine Chapter 6:1-12
B1 Do not deny Christ and abandon the faith (lose salvation): Hebrews 6:4-6 GNB For how can those who abandon their faith be brought back to repent again? They were once in God's light; they tasted heaven's gift and received their share of the Holy Spirit; 5 they knew from experience that God's word is good, and they had felt the powers of the coming age. 6 And then they abandoned their faith! It is impossible to bring them back to repent again, because they are again crucifying the Son of God and exposing him to public shame.
B2 Not all accept this interpretation.
B3 I have assurance, yet still believe it is possible, though incredibly rare, to deny faith. Think of Charles Templeton, Dan Barker, and Bart Ehrman.
B4 They had faith, enlightenment, heaven’s gift, partakers of the Holy Spirit, God’s goodness, and God’s power and blessing.
B5 They left the love of God to follow the love of the world: 2 Timothy 4:10 CSB because Demas has deserted me, since he loved this present world, and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. [Emphasis is added]
B6 Mediator of the New Covenant: Hebrews 9:15 NRSV For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, because a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant.
C1 The word loved is agape (ἀγαπάω agapáō).
C2 The word world is age (αἰών, aion)
God’s Promise Is Sure Chapter 6:13-20

The Great Priest Melchizedek Chapter 7:1-10
Jesus Is Greater Than Aaronic Priesthood Chapter 7:11-28

Chapter 8-9
B1 The Priestly Work of Jesus Chapter 8:1-6
B2 Jesus Is the Priest of The New Covenant Chapter 8:7-13
B3 The Earthly Tabernacle Chapter 9:1-10
B4 Jesus Is Priest of Heavenly Tabernacle Chapter 9:11-28
B5 As High Priest, He
C1 Sits at the right hand of the Father
C2 Ministers in the heavenly Temple in the Holy of Holies
C3 Is a priest because of a better covenant than the Mosaic Covenant.
C4 Offered His own blood, because the blood of animals is not sufficient: Hebrews 9:11-12 NRSV But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation), 12 he entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.
C5 Purifies our conscious: Hebrews 9:14 NRSV how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God!
B6 As humans we need to know
C1 All must die, then the judgment: Hebrews 9:27 GNB  Everyone must die once, and after that be judged by God.
C2 Jesus died only once for sins. There is only one sacrifice. It is finished. And, He will return to deliver us from this world: Hebrews 9:28 GNB In the same manner Christ also was offered in sacrifice once to take away the sins of many. He will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are waiting for him.

Earthly Sacrifices Do Not Cleanse Sin Chapter 10:1-4
Messiah’s Sacrifice Cleanses From Sin Chapter 10:5-18
Messiah’s Blood Was the Acceptable Sacrifice Chapter 10:19-25
Our Faith Must Continue Chapter 10:26-39

Faith Defined and Examples Chapter 11
B1 Faith is believing God. This is seen by obedience as explained above.
B2 We have examples to encourage us.

Let Us Persevere To The End Chapter 12:1-3
God’s Discipline Chapter 12:4-13
Warning To Not Falter Chapter 12:14-17
We Do Not Come To The Mountain of Fear Chapter 12:18-21
We Come To The Mountain of Joy Chapter 12:22-24
Do Not Reject God’s Warning Chapter 12:25-29

Various Rules and Requests Chapter 13:1-19
Blessing and Prayer Chapter 13:20-25

Isaiah 25:9 WEB It shall be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God! We have waited for him, and he will save us! This is Yahweh! We have waited for him. We will be glad and rejoice in his salvation!
Isaiah 61:10 WEB I will greatly rejoice in Yahweh! My soul will be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation. He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

14 February 2020

A Few Thoughts About Love on Valentine’s Day

Love is a choice
B1 1 John 4:10-11 NRSV In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.
B2 Deuteronomy 30:19-20 GNB I am now giving you the choice between life and death, between God's blessing and God's curse, and I call heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Choose life. 20 Love the LORD your God, obey him and be faithful to him, and then you and your descendants will live long in the land that he promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."
B3 Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Vine - Love

Verb, agapao, G25
and the corresponding noun agape (B, No. 1 below) present "the characteristic word of Christianity, and since the Spirit of revelation has used it to express ideas previously unknown, inquiry into its use, whether in Greek literature or in the Septuagint, throws but little light upon its distinctive meaning in the NT. Cp., however, Lev 19:18; Deut 6:5.

"Agape and agapao are used in the NT (a) to describe the attitude of God toward His Son, John 17:26; the human race, generally, 3:16; Rom 5:8; and to such as believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, particularly, John 14:21; (b) to convey His will to His children concerning their attitude one toward another, 13:34, and toward all men, 1Th 3:12; 1Co 16:14; 2Pe 1:7; (c) to express the essential nature of God, 1Jo 4:8.

"Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. God's love is seen in the gift of His Son, 1Jo 4:9-10. But obviously this is not the love of complacency, or affection, that is, it was not drawn out by any excellency in its objects, Rom 5:8. It was an exercise of the Divine will in deliberate choice, made without assignable cause save that which lies in the nature of God Himself, Cp. Deut 7:7-8.

"Love had its perfect expression among men in the Lord Jesus Christ, 2Co 5:14; Eph 2:4; 3:19; 5:2; Christian love is the fruit of His Spirit in the Christian, Gal 5:22.

"Christian love has God for its primary object, and expresses itself first of all in implicit obedience to His commandments, John 14:15, 21, 23; 15:10; 1Jo 2:5; 5:3; 2Jo 1:6. Self-will, that is, self-pleasing, is the negation of love to God.

"Christian love, whether exercised toward the brethren, or toward men generally, is not an impulse from the feelings, it does not always run with the natural inclinations, nor does it spend itself only upon those for whom some affinity is discovered. Love seeks the welfare of all, Rom 15:2, and works no ill to any, 13:8-10; love seeks opportunity to do good to 'all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith,' Gal 6:10. see further1 Cor. 13 and Col 3:12-14." * [* From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, p. 105.]

In respect of agapao as used of God, it expresses the deep and constant "love" and interest of a perfect Being towards entirely unworthy objects, producing and fostering a reverential "love" in them towards the Giver, and a practical "love" towards those who are partakers of the same, and a desire to help others to seek the Giver.

Love is an action
B1 If we love, there are attitudes and actions that will reveal itself.
B2 These attitudes and actions are in private, as well as, in public.
B3 Love is according to God’s standard, not any other standard.
B4 Love listens without interruption.
B5 Love gives time.
B6 Love can be in a warning.
B7 Love is NOT controlling, micro-managing, etc.
B8 Love has these characteristics:
C1 Very patient
C2 Kind
C3 Not envious
C4 Doesn’t brag about itself
C5 Is not haughty
C6 Doesn’t behave improperly
C7 Is not self-seeking
C8 Is not easily aggravated
C9 Doesn’t keep a list of wrongs
C10 Doesn’t rejoice in injustice
C11 Rejoices in truth
C12 Bears all things
C13 Believes all things
C14 Hopes all things
C15 Calmly endures all things
C16 Never ends
C17 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a WEL Love is very patient and kind; love is not envious; love doesn’t brag about itself, is not haughty, 5 Doesn’t behave improperly, is not self-seeking; love isn’t easily aggravated, doesn’t keep a list of wrongs, 6 Doesn’t rejoice in injustice, but rejoices in the truth, 7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, calmly endures all things. 8 Love never ends
C18 Abusers claim they do this, but the abused knows differently.
C19 Abusers demand this of the ones they abuse, but they will not do so themselves. They choose their own standard instead of God’s standard.
C20 Abusers go to hell. (Note, I did not place a comma after the word abusers. Cheers).
C21 Real love by God’s standard is like this: Psalm 31:7 NIV I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. (Note, God notices the troubles and comforts. The abuser is just the opposite).

Love is selective
B1 The highest priority of love is the love for God.
B2 Next, priority is our spouse, then family, then believers, then nonbelievers.

Love is not just mental, but physical, emotional, and spiritual.
B1 See my thoughts here.
B2 Mark 12:32-33 NRSV Then the scribe said to him, "You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that 'he is one, and besides him there is no other'; 33 and 'to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,' and 'to love one's neighbor as oneself,'—this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."

Love must be genuine: Romans 12:9-10 ESV Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
B1 A spouse who abuses verbal, sexually, emotionally, physically, spiritually, etc. does not love. Any abuse is not love. Abuse is genuine hate.
B2 A spiritual leader or teacher who abuses, micro-manages, or controls does not have love.

Love words in the Bible. Just a few are given.
B1 Bible Words
C1 Hebrew
D1 One Hebrew word for love is חָשַׁק châshaq. It means to be attached, to join together, long for, etc. It is a choice.
E1 Genesis 34:8 ESV But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter. Please give her to him to be his wife.
E2 Deuteronomy 7:7 ESV It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples.
E3 Psalms 91:14 NRSV Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name.
D2 Another word is אָהַב ʼâhab. It means to have affection for, like, sexual love, etc.
E1 Genesis 24:67 NRSV Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent. He took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.
E2 Genesis 27:14 NRSV So he went and got them and brought them to his mother; and his mother prepared savory food, such as his father loved.
E3 Jeremiah 5:31 NRSV the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule as the prophets direct; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?
C2 Greek. The main word is ἀγαπάω agapáō. It means the deepest love of commitment, a love of choice, instead of just emotion. John 3:16 KJV For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

A few other verses about love:
B1 Psalm 11:5 NIV The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.
B2 Psalm 23:6 NIV Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
B3 Psalm 36:7 NIV How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
B4 John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, so that anyone believing in him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 “For God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

Questions
B1 How do I measure according to God’s standard?
B2 Have I showed loved today?
B3 Why is love to important?
B4 Why do we need to love and need love?

13 February 2020

My Devotions on 13 Feb 20

  Mark 4
What does this mean?
Why parables instead of just telling it plain and simple? Because the people who listened, in general, wanted the show, the healing, and the food. They did not want to believe that Jesus was THE Messiah. People reject Jesus as their Messiah because of pride ("I'm a good person.") and they love sinful pleasures and did not want to give them up.

Parables are a punishment to withdraw understanding. Those who wanted would have to come and ask Him to explain it. He tests those who ask by saying, “Don’t you see what this parable means? How will you understand any parable?” Why? Because He was testing their genuineness to want to learn. So, He explains.

The word is sown by people. God will bless the growth of the word, but the reception is different.

The parable of the Lamp is transparency. We are not to hide our faith (pretend we are not Christians), not to hide our sins (we are to confess and repent), and/or lie. Truth is important to God.

He also warns us about judging. We must use God's standards, not ours. Judgment, that is, testing is important; we are required to do so, but if I use the wrong standard, then I might be judged by that same standard, too. I will be found out to be a hypocrite. We must judge and test, because otherwise we will be deceived by trusting wrong people.

The more we listen to Christ's ways and teachings, the more we will learn. The more we apply and live, the more we will be able to live.

We don't understand spiritual growth. We plant; God increases. We tend; God blesses. We harvest; we are thankful and enjoy. It is the providence of God.

We are to do spiritual work as preaching, teaching, and living. God gives the increase and brings it to maturity.

God's kingdom continues to grow. This is a spiritual kingdom, not a human kingdom on earth. We are to mature in the faith and not stagnate.

Finally, the Lord Jesus wishes to go to the other side of the sea. While the men work to sail there, a violent wind storm arises, threatening the ship, for it is “full of water.” The men near to panic awake the Lord Jesus, who is sleeping. He arises, rebukes the wind and sea, that is, telling it to be calm and at peace. It complies, for Jesus is the creator. He then teaches the men, that they should have had faith. If Jesus was not worried and fearful, neither should we. Only God can give real, lasting peace. There is no peace to the wicked.

12 February 2020

A Few Web Sites that I Use Often

I have ranked them very subjectively. These are the ones I use daily to frequently. I’m not going to give reasons why or why not on how I rated them.

For search I use
B3 Bing

For browsers I use
B1 Firefox
B2 Brave
B3 Opera
B4 Web (Gnome browser)
B5 For sensitive information I use TOR

For OS I use
B1 Mint Mate (19.03 Tricia)
B2 Plus many other Linux OS that I have tried.

Highly recommended

B1 Christian Studies
B2 Theology
C1 Society of Evangelical Arminians (A long list of resources on their site see here)
B3 Churches
B4 Bibles
B5 Blogs
C5 Jimmy DeYoung (Prophecy)
B6 Apologetics
C2 Gary Habermas (A long list of resources on his site see here)

Recommended

B1 Christian Studies
C4 Swartzentrover (Large collection of commentaries, Bible studies, etc. Also goes by the name Holy Pig(?)
C6 Lumina
B2 Theology
B3 Churches
C2 Christ Reformation Church (Jeff Crippen)
B4 Bibles
C1 Bible Research (Textual Studies)
C2 Open Bible Topics (Topical studies)
B5 Blogs
B6 Apologetics
C8 Reasonable Faith (Dr. William Lane Craig)

OK

B1 Christian Studies
C1 Agape Bible Study (Roman Catholic)
C2 Biblia
C3 CCEL
C5 NTS Library (online Christian studies, books, etc.)
B2 Theology
C2 Visual Theology (Great charts, etc.)
C3 Soteriology 101 (Dr. Flowers)
B3 Churches
C2 Jesus Plus Nothing (Home church)
B4 Bibles
B5 Blogs
B6 Apologetics

Not recommended

B1 Christian Studies
B2 Theology
B3 Churches
B4 Bibles
B5 Blogs
B6 Apologetics

Avoid

B1 Christian Studies
B2 Theology
B3 Churches
B4 Bibles
B5 Blogs
B6 Apologetics

11 February 2020

A Few Thoughts About Being Cautious Even skeptical

Defining terms:
B1 Blind faith: Belief in something that has not been proved or is not capable of being proved (Source)
B2 Skepticism: Having or showing doubt; questioning (Source)
the idea is to hear, read, see something and not accepting it without analyzing it.
B3 Cynical: (Source)
C1 Distrusting or disparaging the motives of others; like or characteristic of a cynic.
C2 Showing contempt for accepted standards of honesty or morality by one's actions, especially by actions that exploit the scruples of others.
C3 Bitterly or sneeringly distrustful, contemptuous, or pessimistic.
B4 Reasonable faith: (Source)
C1 In accordance with clear thinking and good judgment
C2 Within the limits of reason; not excessive

Some dangers of being overly trusting is becoming deceived in some way as financial, emotional, relationships, etc.
B1 Philosophy and philosophical arguments: Colossians 2:8 NRSV See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ.
B2 Authority (pastors, experts, teachers): Ephesians 4:14 GW Then we will no longer be little children, tossed and carried about by all kinds of teachings that change like the wind. We will no longer be influenced by people who use cunning and clever strategies to lead us astray.
B3 False prophets, dreams, spiritual experiences, etc.: Jeremiah 29:8-9 GW This is what the LORD of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Don't let the prophets or the mediums who are among you trick you. Don't even listen to your own dreams. 9 These people are prophesying lies to you in my name. I didn't send them, declares the LORD.
B4 Seek counsel from stupid people: Isaiah 19:11-13 NRSV The princes of Zoan are utterly foolish; the wise counselors of Pharaoh give stupid counsel. How can you say to Pharaoh, "I am one of the sages, a descendant of ancient kings"? 12 Where now are your sages? Let them tell you and make known what the LORD of hosts has planned against Egypt. 13 The princes of Zoan have become fools, and the princes of Memphis are deluded; those who are the cornerstones of its tribes have led Egypt astray.

Some ideas for advice
B1 Good advice:
C1 The best counsel comes from Scriptures for they are the only source of 100% truth.
C2 People who are successful in a field. Someone successful in the study of Augustine is a more reliable source than a person on the street. We still need to be aware though.
C3 Some believers have the gift of wisdom from the Holy Spirit.
C4 We must be a little skeptical and study ourselves.
D1 Pray: James 1:5 ISV Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to everyone generously without a rebuke, and it will be given to him.
D2 The Bible gives rules we must do and some things we must not do.
E1 Must do: 1 Thessalonians 5:21 NRSV but test everything; hold fast to what is good.
E2 Must not do: 1 Thessalonians 5:19 NRSV Do not quench the Spirit.
D3 The Bible gives principles we must do and some we must not do. For example, consider the parable of the Good Samaritan. Luke 10:29-37.
D4 The Bible gives examples of those who were successful and those who were not.
E1 Who were: Acts 4:34-37 Barnabus
E2 Who were not: Acts 5:1-11 Ananias and Sapphira
D5 Avoid signs and experiences, for the devil can give signs, too. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 NRSV The coming of the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders, 10 and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
B5 Bad advice
C1 Pride. We think we can make always make the best decision. Consider Edom: Jeremiah 49:16 NRSV The terror you inspire and the pride of your heart have deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, who hold the height of the hill. Although you make your nest as high as the eagle's, from there I will bring you down, says the LORD.
C2 Thinking there is no consequences to advice. All advice if followed has results: Galatians 6:7 NRSV Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow.
C3 Seeking guidance from spirits, fortune tellers, cards, boards, or anything occultic: Revelation 18:23 NRSV and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more; and the voice of bridegroom and bride will be heard in you no more; for your merchants were the magnates of the earth, and all nations were deceived by your sorcery. [Emphasis is added]

We need to test all things
B1 A standard is needed. 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 NASB But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.
C1 We must examine.
C2 We must hold fast (keep) what is good
C3 We must abstain (avoid and reject) every form of evil.
B2 For the Christian, it is basically the New Testament.
B3 We must study it to know what it says.
B4 We must believe what it says.
B5 We must do what it says.
B6 We must interpret the Bible in the plain, normal sense.
B7 J. C. Ryle writes in Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, w/Notes, J.C. Ryle - Luke 6:39-45

WE learn, in the first place, from these verses, the great danger of listening to false teachers in religion. Our Lord compares such teachers and their hearers to the blind leading the blind, and asks the reasonable question, "Shall they not both fall into the ditch?" He goes on to confirm the importance of His warning by declaring, that "the disciple is not above his master," and the scholar cannot be expected to know more than his teacher. If a man will hear unsound instruction, we cannot expect him to become otherwise than unsound in the faith himself.

The subject which our Lord brings before us here deserves far more attention than it generally receives. The amount of evil which unsound religious teaching has brought on the Church in every age is incalculable. The loss of souls which it has occasioned is fearful to contemplate. A teacher who does not know the way to heaven himself, is not likely to lead his hearers to heaven. The man who hears such a teacher runs a fearful risk himself of being lost eternally. "If the blind lead the blind both must fall into the ditch."

If we would escape the danger against which our Lord warns us, we must not neglect to prove the teaching that we hear by the holy Scriptures. We must not believe things merely because ministers say them. We must not suppose, as a matter of course, that ministers can make no mistakes. We must call to mind our Lord's words on another occasion, "Beware of false prophets." (Mat 7:15.) We must remember the advice of Paul and John: "Prove all things." "Try the spirits whether they are of God." (1Th 5:21; 1Jo 4:1.) With the Bible in our hands, and the promise of guidance from the Holy Ghost to all who seek it, we shall be without excuse if our souls are led astray. The blindness of ministers is no excuse for the darkness of the people. The man who from indolence, or superstition, or affected humility, refuses to distrust the teaching of the minister whom he finds set over him, however unsound it may be, will at length share his minister's portion. If people will trust blind guides, they must not be surprised if they are led to the pit.
B8 Clement of Alexandria writes in The Stromata, Or Miscellanies. Book I. Chap. X.
But strong meat belongeth to those that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb 5:14) “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness; for he is a babe,” (Heb 5:13) and not yet acquainted with the word, according to which he has believed and works, and not able to give a reason in himself. “Prove all things,” the apostle says, “and hold fast that which is good,” (1Th 5:21) speaking to spiritual men, who judge what is said according to truth, whether it seems or truly holds by the truth. “He who is not corrected by discipline errs, and stripes and reproofs give the discipline of wisdom,” the reproofs manifestly that are with love. “For the right heart seeketh knowledge.” (Pro 15:14) “For he that seeketh the Lord shall find knowledge with righteousness; and they who have sought it rightly have found peace.”53 “And I will know,” it is said, “not the speech of those which are puffed up, but the power.” In rebuke of those who are wise in appearance, and think themselves wise, but are not in reality wise, he writes: “For the kingdom of God is not in word.” (1Co 4:19, 1Co 4:20) It is not in that which is not true, but which is only probable according to opinion; but he said “in power,” for the truth alone is powerful. And again: “If any man thinketh that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.” For truth is never mere opinion. But the “supposition of knowledge inflates,” and fills with pride; “but charity edifieth,” which deals not in supposition, but in truth. Whence it is said, “If any man loves, he is known.” (1Co 8:1, 1Co 8:2, 1Co 8:3)[Emphasis is added]

God, Himself, loves us and wants us free from lies and deceptions. So let us remember the words of the Lord Jesus:
John 8:31-32 NIV To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

10 February 2020

A Few Thoughts About Sin

Sin defined
B1 Unrighteousness: 1 John 5:17 WEB All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.
C1 Unrighteousness is the Greek word ἀδικία adikía. It means violating a standard. The Bible standard is God’s laws, rules, decisions, character, etc. Anything deviating from that standard is unrighteousness.
C2 OT passage: Leviticus 24:22 NASB 'There shall be one standard for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the LORD your God.
C3 NT passage: Matthew 7:2 NLT For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.
C4 NT passage: Philippians 3:16 YLT but to what we have come—by the same rule walk, the same thing think;
B2 Breaking God’s law: 1 John 3:4 GNB Whoever sins is guilty of breaking God's law, because sin is a breaking of the law.
B3 Negligence, etc. of God’s law: James 4:17 NLT Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
B4 Unbelief: Romans 11:23 GW If Jewish people do not continue in their unbelief, they will be grafted onto the tree again, because God is able to do that.
B5 Foolish schemes: Proverbs 24:9 GNB Any scheme a fool thinks up is sinful. People hate a person who has nothing but scorn for others.
B6 Despite: Proverbs 14:21 NIV It is a sin to despise one's neighbor, but blessed is the one who is kind to the needy.
C1 The Hebrew word is בּוּז bûwz. It means to look with contempt and treat contempt someone for their looks, socioeconomic status, physical features, where they live, etc. It does not include despising murders, rapists, abusers, etc. God hates murders, rapists, abusers, etc.: Psalms 11:5 GW The LORD tests righteous people, but he hates wicked people and the ones who love violence.
C2 Proverbs 1:7 NLT Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
B7 There is danger in talking too much: Proverbs 10:19 GNB The more you talk, the more likely you are to sin. If you are wise, you will keep quiet.

The basis of all sin is unbelief.
B1 Abraham believed God for which God counted Abraham as righteous: Galatians 3:6 NLT In the same way, "Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith."
B2 Unbelief has serious consequences: Hebrews 3:19 NLT So we see that because of their unbelief they were not able to enter his rest.
B3 Rejection, that is, unbelief destroys: Jude 1:5 ESV Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.
B4 Disbelief brings God’s wrath: John 3:36 WEL “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, but he who refuses to believe the Son will not see life, on the contrary the fierce anger of God remains on him.”

God’s standard is this summary: Luke 10:27 NLT The man answered, "'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

The set of all God’s rules/laws is the Ten Commandments: Exodus 20

The subset of the Ten Commandments are the individual commandments. Each subset includes every sin possible. Example: Exodus 20:16 BSB You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Every type of lie, everything false, deceptive, false pretenses, etc. would be in this category. Consider this article to think about: 8 Different Types of Lies People Tell.

Results of sin:
B1 God’s anger
C1 Colossians 3:5-8 GW Therefore, put to death whatever is worldly in you: your sexual sin, perversion, passion, lust, and greed (which is the same thing as worshiping wealth). 6 It is because of these sins that God's anger comes on those who refuse to obey him. 7 You used to live that kind of sinful life. 8 Also get rid of your anger, hot tempers, hatred, cursing, obscene language, and all similar sins.
C2 Romans 1:18 NIV The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
B2 Death
C1 Affects: Spiritual, Physical, and Eternal
C2 The penalty for even one sin is death. God gives the death penalty for all sins, even if it is only one. James 2:10 GNB Whoever breaks one commandment is guilty of breaking them all.
C4 Romans 6:20-21 GW When you were slaves to sin, you were free from doing what God approves of. 21 What did you gain by doing those things? You're ashamed of what you used to do because it ended in death.
C5 Romans 6:23 GW The payment for sin is death, but the gift that God freely gives is everlasting life found in Christ Jesus our Lord.
B3 No peace: Isaiah 57:21 GW There is no peace for the wicked," says my God.

Source of sin:
The sin nature is on the whole human race. The sin nature is essentially me first, my wants, my ideas, my ways, etc.:
C1 Consider the pride of Babylon: Isaiah 47:8-10 NRSV Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sit securely, who say in your heart, "I am, and there is no one besides me; I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children"— 9 both these things shall come upon you in a moment, in one day: the loss of children and widowhood shall come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and the great power of your enchantments. 10 You felt secure in your wickedness; you said, "No one sees me." Your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, "I am, and there is no one besides me." [Emphasis is mine]
C2 And Nebuchadnezzar: Daniel 4:30 NRSV and the king said, "Is this not magnificent Babylon, which I have built as a royal capital by my mighty power and for my glorious majesty?"

Remedy for sin
B1 Sin must be punished. A sinner receives the death penalty. So, all must die.
B2 But, if a substitute is willing, that person can take the place of a sinner.
C1 He/she must be sinless, or else they die for their own sin.
C2 He/she must be willing, that is, a volunteer.
C3 He/she must be a human. A sheep or steer cannot substitute, because for human sins, a human must be punished.
C4 There is only one—Jesus, the Messiah who meets this criteria. He has always been Messiah, is Messiah, and will always be Messiah.
D1 He is sinless: 1 Peter 2:22 GNB He committed no sin, and no one ever heard a lie come from his lips.
D2 He is willing: Matthew 26:42 GNB Once more Jesus went away and prayed, "My Father, if this cup of suffering cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done."
D3 He is human:
E1 Hebrews 10:5 NIV Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me;
E2 1 Timothy 2:5 GW There is one God. There is also one mediator between God and humans-a human, Christ Jesus.
C5 Jesus is the Passover Lamb: 1 Corinthians 5:7 GNB You must remove the old yeast of sin so that you will be entirely pure. Then you will be like a new batch of dough without any yeast, as indeed I know you actually are. For our Passover Festival is ready, now that Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
B3 We must believe the Gospel and place our faith and trust into Jesus Christ alone.
C1 Illustrated by Jesus teaching about the arrogant Pharisee and the despised tax collector in Luke 18:9-14.
C2 The Pharisee trusted in what he did.
C3 The tax collector believed and did 3 things:
D1 He believed and was convicted that he was a sinner. He must have repented from thinking that he was not a sinner to confessing that he was.
D2 He knew God alone could forgive sin. He calls on God’s name.
D3 He confessed that he was a sinner.
D4 He knew he had to ask for this salvation (call on the name of the Lord). For only God can forgive sins.
D5 THE Judge, Jesus Christ, pronounced him justified.

And Can It Be That I Should Gain
1
And can it be that I should gain
An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
2
’Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies!
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love Divine!
’Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
’Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
3
He left His Father’s throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace;
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For, O my God, it found out me.
’Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For, O my God, it found out me.
4
Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
5
No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness Divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.