29 February 2020

A Few Thoughts About Answers to Prayer

Prayer is talking to God
B1 Formal: Solomon in 1 Kings 8:22-53
B2 Informal: Nehemiah 2:3-5 (Nehemiah was in the king’s presence and didn’t have any time to be on his knees. Essentially, in his soul he prayed, “God help me”).

Why pray?
B1 Needs of spiritual, physical, and/or emotional nature
C1 Of others
C2 For ourself
B2 Our counselor
C1 For consolation
C2 For complaining. This would include our story of persecution, abuse, difficulties, hardships, etc.
B3 Seeking
C1 God’s will
C2 Wisdom
B4 Ministering. Help
C1 For preaching the Gospel
C2 For teaching
C3 For preaching (pastors, deacons, deaconesses, etc.)
C4 For the sick and troubled
C5 For the hurting
B5 Situations
C1 Patience
C2 Forgiveness (our need of forgiveness and help to forgive others)
C3 Judgment and other decisions about ourselves or others
C4 Dedication (of meetings, places of worship, etc.)
B6 Towards God
C1 Being thankful
C2 Blessing God
C3 Praising God

Hindrances to prayer
B1 Unforgiven sin (my sin or in not forgiving others)
B2 Treating wife badly (which is sin)
B3 For our lusts instead of needs
B4 For cursing someone
B5 Trying to manipulate God for any answer

False views about prayer
B1 Name it, claim it
B2 Have to word it perfectly
B3 Have to pray until it is answered (the way I want it answered. This is “praying through”)
B4 Believing if we pray enough prayers, He will answer. There are no price tags (number of prayers) for an answer
B5 Believing that if we have enough people or the right people (super-spiritual) people pray, it will be answered

Attitudes towards God regarding prayer
B1 Honoring God
B2 Being humble
B3 Being honest
B4 Being accepting and seeking God’s will
B5 Being teachable
B6 Being confessing of sins
B7 Being mindful of others first
B8 Being generous instead of covetous
B9 Being in expectation
B10 Seeking God’s kingdom (wanting to learn God’s ways, promoting God’s ways, living in God’s ways. His ways are His beliefs, rules, and way of life in His kingdom).

B1 Why doesn’t God answer my prayer?
C1 He always answers prayer—it may be yes, no, or wait
C2 Wrong reasons for prayer (treat wife badly
C3 Ignoring and disobeying God’s Law. For the Jew, it was Mosaic Law. For the Christian, it is the rules in the New Testament. Proverbs 28:9
C4 A person doesn’t believe God can answer, will answer, or doesn’t believe what God has in the Bible, etc. Hebrews 11:6 & James 1:6-7
C5 At the correct time. Compare Titus 1:3 & Luke 18:7
C6 Pray only for show and praise of people. See Mark 12:40
C7 Unconfessed sin and/or not having believed the Gospel and place trust into Jesus Christ. See Proverbs 15:29 & 1 Peter 3:12
C8 Being an arrogant person. See Luke 18:10-14
C9 Not persevering in prayer, that is, quit too soon. See Luke 18:1-6
C10 He does answer, but it is different than what we prayer for. See 2 Corinthians 12:8-9.
C11 It is not His will See 1 John 5:13-14
B2 I prayed if I should marry this man. I did. He was abusive. So why did God do this?
C1 There were red flags and cautions to you and/or others, but they were ignored. Sometimes the desire to marry and believe the best is greater than exists.
C2 Sometimes we are deceived by a facade of godliness.
C3 Sometimes we get in a hurry and rush. Compare Psalm 40:1.
B3 I prayed for deliverance for my family member, friend, myself, etc. but nothing has happen.
C1 God may want to teach the person some things that cannot be learned any other way.
C2 God may want to use this person to teach others.
C3 (Daniel 10:12-14 NET Then he said to me, "Don't be afraid, Daniel, for from the very first day you applied your mind to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard. I have come in response to your words. However, the prince of the kingdom of Persia was opposing me for twenty-one days. But Michael, one of the leading princes, came to help me, because I was left there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come to help you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to future days." (Emphasis was added).
B4 Why do we pray in Jesus’s name?
C1 Our recognition that Jesus is God and Messiah
C2 To honor Him
C3 To be recognizing that the Father’s will and the Son’s will are in unity.
C4 See John 16:26, 1 John 5:13, Ephesians 2:18
B5 Does God answer prayers of unbelievers?
C1 For salvation See Luke 18:13-14
C2 As a witness to His love
C3 As a call to the Gospel and service See 1 Samuel 3:10
B6 When should we not pray?
C1 When it is time for action instead of praying any longer (the prayer is answered so start). See Exodus 14:15
C2 When we know the answer is “No.” 2 Corinthians 12:8
B7 How does prayer sanctify something?
C1 Us when our sin is exposed See Psalm 50:1-2
C2 When we agree to God’s will See Luke 1:38
C3 When we ask for God’s wisdom See James 1:5
C4 God says so See 1 Timothy 4:4-5
B8 Can we pray directly to God?
C1 Because Jesus is our High Priest. See Hebrews 10:19-22
C2 We can pray directly to God to honor His name See Psalm 115:1
B9 What happens if I don’t pray?
C1 We miss out on fellowship with brothers, sisters, and God Himself. See Matthew 18:20 & Psalm 130:5-6
C2 We disobey God. Why wouldn’t someone want to communicate with the one who loves us?
C3 Might lead to reject of God and by God See John 15:16
C4 God’s blessings See James 4:2
C5 Might not be delivered from temptation Matthew 26:41
C6 Might brings God’s wrath See Jeremiah 10:21
B10 How often should someone pray?
C1 Every day for guidance and safety See Psalm 5:3
C2 Every day for leaders 1 Timothy 2:2
C3 Every day for all brothers and sisters. We are one family. 1 Thessalonians 1:2
C4 Every day for all things See 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
B11 Why have a prayer meeting?
C1 It was done by the first Christians and indeed all since then See Acts 1:14
C2 For other’s needs See James 5:13-20
C3 For the Gospel to be spread Colossians 4:3-4
C4 For when our brothers and/or sisters sin 1 John 5:16-17

Psalms 5:2-3 BSB Attend to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to You I pray. 3 In the morning, O LORD, You hear my voice; at daybreak I lay my plea before You and wait in expectation.

24 February 2020

A Few Thoughts About Marriage, Money, and Budgets

Some quotes:
B1 Arguments about money hamper many marriages. If you consider that about a third of adults with partners report that money is a big source of conflict in their relationships, it's no wonder that financial problems are the leading cause of divorce. What you may not know is that the challenges can actually start even before you say "I do." (Source)
B2 One of the most common sources of conflict in marriage is money, how to spend it, and how to save for things that really matter. It doesn’t make sense when you think about it logically. Money is simple. Keeping a budget is something an 8-year-old can do. (Source)
B3 Finances are the leading cause of stress in a relationship, according to a survey of people in a relationship or partnership released Wednesday by SunTrust Bank. Some 35 percent of all respondents experiencing relationship stress said money was the primary cause of friction. (Annoying habits came in second, at 25 percent.) Among respondents with relationship stress aged 44 to 54, 44 percent said money was the primary cause. (Source)
B4 The number one issue couples fight about is also a topic many couples avoid discussing — money. According to a new survey by Ramsey Solutions, money fights are the second leading cause of divorce, behind infidelity. Results show that both high levels of debt and a lack of communication are major causes for the stress and anxiety surrounding household finances. (Source)

There is an answer
B1 Some basics
C1 All money, belongings, real estate, etc. is God’s: Psalms 24:1 GW A psalm by David. The earth and everything it contains are the LORD'S. The world and all who live in it are his.
C2 He supplies our needs: Philippians 4:19 NIV And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
C3 We need to be content with what we have: 1 Timothy 6:6 NIV But godliness with contentment is great gain.
C4 Covetousness is condemned: Luke 12:15 NLT Then he said, "Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.
B2 Priorities
C1 God’s kingdom, His worldview, His way of life occupy the highest and first priority: Luke 12:29-31 NLT And don't be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don't worry about such things. 30 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. 31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.
C2 We are not to conform to the world’s covetous ways: Romans 12:2 GNB Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.
C3 Life and body are more important than food and clothing: Luke 12:23 Williams Your life is worth more than food, and your body more than clothes.
D1 The Greek word for life is ψυχή psychḗ and is usually translated as soul or mind.
D2 Believer's Bible Commentary by WILLIAM MACDONALD notes:
The emphasis of the NT is that the cause of Christ should have first place in our lives. Food and clothing should be subordinate. We should work hard for the supply of our current necessities, then trust God for the future as we plunge ourselves into His service. This is the life of faith.
When the Lord Jesus said that we should not worry about food and clothing, He did not mean that we were to sit idly and wait for these things to be provided. Christianity does not encourage laziness! But He certainly did mean that in the process of earning money for the necessities of life, we were not to let them assume undue importance. After all, there is something more important in life than what we eat and what we wear. We are here as ambassadors of the King, and all considerations of personal comfort and appearance must be subordinated to the one glorious task of making Him known.
D3 Philippians 3:8 GNB Not only those things; I reckon everything as complete loss for the sake of what is so much more valuable, the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have thrown everything away; I consider it all as mere garbage, so that I may gain Christ

Some ideas
B1 Have a budget. It’s not hard. You might want to consider Pear Budget.
B2 Plan priorities together. Agree with each other. This is no time to be the bully.
B3 God gets something first. Give to your local church first.
B4 Then give to the regular bills of housing, food, utilities, etc.
B5 Entertainment should be last. We can always find something relaxing for free.
B6 We don’t have to eat the greatest and best. We don’t have to eat out as often. Eat as a family.
B7 Ways of saving money
B8 Live minimalistically

Love each other:
B1 The acts of love: 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,
B2 All our doings are to be done in love: 1 Corinthians 16:14 GNB Do all your work in love.
B3 Serving each other, yes husbands are to do this too: Galatians 5:13 GW You were indeed called to be free, brothers and sisters. Don't turn this freedom into an excuse for your corrupt nature to express itself. Rather, serve each other through love.

God cares: Luke 12:6-7 NLT What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. 7 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

Give thanks to God: Ephesians 5:20 NLT And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

23 February 2020

A Few Thoughts About Evil

In order to understand righteousness or evil, we must have a standard of right and wrong. If there is no standard, then it is impossible to decide. A short answer about God’s standards. God’s summary of the standard of right is Luke 10:27, the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20), and all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Definitions of evil:
B1 English:
C1 Can be something wrong, something harmful (disasters, health problems, etc.), misfortune, character, something unpleasant (odor), or an entity of power (demon), etc.
C2 Some synonyms: There are many, see here (need to scroll down).
B2 Hebrew:
C1 The most common word is רַע raʻ as it is used 663 times. It means, much like English, things unpleasant, etc. so in weather, animals, harm, emotions, distress, misery, etc.
C2 In the book of Proverbs, for example, it is used in various ways. This link is a list of the uses in Proverbs.
B3 Greek:
C1 One Greek word is πονηρός ponērós. It is used 76 times and means annoyance, hardship, physical ailments and weaknesses, and evil in character, words, and deeds, etc.
D1 Not only are they evil, they become more evil over time. This is a result of deception. 2 Timothy 3:13 GNB and evil persons and impostors will keep on going from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived themselves.
D2 There is a contrast: Matthew 13:49 GNB It will be like this at the end of the age: the angels will go out and gather up the evil people from among the good
C2 One other Greek word we will read about is κακός kakós. It is used 51 times and means something bad, so regarding morals, agriculture (bad fruit), breaking a law (as in wicked deed, etc.), not nice actions against people (hate, lying, stealing, etc.).
D1 Mark 7:21-23 GNB For from the inside, from your heart, come the evil ideas which lead you to do immoral things, to rob, kill, 22 commit adultery, be greedy, and do all sorts of evil things; deceit, indecency, jealousy, slander, pride, and folly—23 all these evil things come from inside you and make you unclean."
D2 2 Timothy 4:14 WEB Alexander, the coppersmith, did much evil to me. The Lord will repay him according to his deeds,

Source of evil:
B1 When God created, He created a measure of free will. This is not a sovereign free will as some Calvinists define, rather a limited free will. We can resist. Also, I might want to do something but am unable.
C1 An article that explains my position: 5 Arguments For The Existence Of Free Will by Evan Minton.
C2 A followup of the above article responds to objects: Responding To Free Will Critics by Evan Minton.
B2 Love is a choice, not an emotion or feeling (see the above articles).
B3 The Lord Jesus states: John 14:15 GW If you love me, you will obey my commandments.
B4 Faith is believing God.
C1 The Greek word for faith (as is most frequently translated) is πίστις pístis. This is a noun.
C2 The Greek word for believe (as is most frequently translated) is πιστεύω pisteúō. This is a verb.
C3 Both have the idea of what is most reasonable. It is not blind faith. The root word for both is πείθω peíthō. I know that we are not to apply too much from these Greek words being related, nevertheless do show a relationship.
B5 The first sinner started loving himself. He is known as satan now.
C1 Ezekiel 28:12-17 ESV Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. 14 You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. 16 In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you.
D1 Most interpret this as referring to the King of Tyre and only him.
D2 I have some problems with that interpretation.
D3 The king of Tyre was
E1 Never in the Garden of Eden
E2 Never the example of perfection.
E3 Never full of wisdom
E4 Never perfect in beauty
E5 Never covered with every precious stone
E6 Never an anointed guardian cherub
E7 Never on the holy mountain of God
E8 Never walked through the midst of stones of fire
E9 Never blameless
D4 It seems more reasonable to understand this as satan, the power behind the throne of the king of Tyre.
D5 Note how he loved himself (verse 17)
C2 Isaiah 14:12-14 ESV How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! 13 You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’
D1 Most understand this to refer to Nebuchadnezzar and only him.
D2 Personally, I think it refers to Nebuchadnezzar and the power over him, that is, satan.
D3 The being described here fell from heaven. In supreme arrogance, he states that he will ascend into heaven. His plan apparently, is conquering, sitting his throne above all thrones, and ruling as the Most High.
D4 To me, it is kinda tough to think this of Nebuchadnezzar.
Evil humans
B1 The first human sinner was Eve, but she
C1 Admitted that she was deceived
C2 Made no excuses
C3 Received only one curse—pain in childbirth
B2 The second human sinner was Adam, and he
C1 Passed blame to Eve and then to God
C2 Did not admit his guilt
C3 Was the cause of the universe coming under God’s curse
C4 Note the Scriptures say Adam and man: Romans 5:12 NIV Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned
B3 Sinners are punished to eternal torment, not because of Adam’s sin but our own sin (See here). The sin nature is passed on through the generations. Adam and Eve were no longed sinless. They had the curse of God. Death was coming to them. They could not have sinless children, because they were not perfect, nor sinless.
C1 They had the curse of God and a sin nature. Compare: 1 Corinthians 15:22 NIV For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
C2 We don’t die for Adam’s sin. Compare: Ezekiel 18:14, 18-20 NIV But suppose this son has a son who sees all the sins his father commits, and though he sees them, he does not do such things: ... 18 But his father will die for his own sin, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother and did what was wrong among his people. 19 "Yet you ask, 'Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?' Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. 20 The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.
B4 There is truth, and there are lies. God lives in, speaks in, judges in, acts in truth. There is truth, and there is imagination. Truth is reality. Imagination is a substitute truth. Truth was resisted and rejected, so God punished. Humans did not believe God.
C1 Genesis 6:5 WEB Yahweh saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
C2 Romans 1:17-21 WEB For in it is revealed God’s righteousness from faith to faith. As it is written, “But the righteous shall live by faith.” 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known of God is revealed in them, for God revealed it to them. 20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse. 21 Because, knowing God, they didn’t glorify him as God, neither gave thanks, but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened.

Solution to evil:
B1 Punishment
C1 1 Corinthians 6:8-10 WEB No, but you yourselves do wrong, and defraud, and that against your brothers. 9 Or don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor extortioners, will inherit the Kingdom of God.
C2 Revelation 21:8 WEB But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
B2 Believe the Gospel and trust in Jesus Christ
C1 Romans 1:16 LEB For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
C2 Ephesians 1:13 PickNT about whom, to be sure, we had heard the true Word—the Gospel of your salvation; by whom, since you also believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
C3 Acts 20:21 PickNT solemnly proclaiming to both Jews and Greeks the repentance toward God and the faith into our Lord Jesus.
C4 Luke 18:13-14 PickNT The tax collector, staying a good ways off, did not even venture to look up to heaven, but started beating on his chest, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' 14 I say to you that this one went back home justified rather than that one; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."

22 February 2020

1 Year Bible—James

James the half-brother of the Lord Jesus

Chapter 1
B1 Temptation/testing
C1 The Greek word is πειρασμός peirasmós. It means trials, temptations, etc. The word has the idea of testing a drug to see if it works as intended, thus, the various applications. Vocabulary Of The Greek Testament (Moulton & Milligan 1929) states: “trials” made of drugs to see their effect in certain diseases.
C2 The idea can be taken either way. A temptation is a trial, or a trial can be a temptation.
C3 We can be joyous mainly in the sense of producing endurance strengthening our spiritual muscles. Endurance has the idea of constancy, loyalty, etc. Romans 5:3-5 EMTV And not only that, but we also rejoice in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces endurance; and endurance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
C4 When we are tested, in trials, being tempt, remember
D1 Pray even if we do not want to
D2 Share our burden with brothers and sisters. We need to help each other. We are in the Christian life together.
D3 Read the Psalms. Some speak to this issue. For example:
Psalms 13:1-6 GNB92 How much longer will you forget me, LORD? Forever? How much longer will you hide yourself from me? How long must I endure trouble? How long will sorrow fill my heart day and night? How long will my enemies triumph over me? Look at me, O LORD my God, and answer me. Restore my strength; don't let me die. Don't let my enemies say, “We have defeated him.” Don't let them gloat over my downfall. I rely on your constant love; I will be glad, because you will rescue me. I will sing to you, O LORD, because you have been good to me.
D4 Ask for wisdom (James 1:5-8)
B2 Both rich and poor suffer alike. Let us be humble.
B3 If we endure (with God’s assisting grace), then at the Bema Seat we will receive a crown of life.
C1 2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV2011 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
C2 The words judgment seat are the Greek word βῆμα bēma. The is a seat/throne on a raised platform for the official to judge.
C3 The Bema seat judgment occurs shortly after the Rapture.
B4 We cannot blame God for our temptation.
C1 The devil asked for permission to persecute Job. God gave him permission. The devil, however, did NOT have to do so.
C2 Jesus was tempted also.
C3 Regardless of what we face, God teaches us and strengthens us.
B5 James 1:22-25 ESV2011 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
C1 We learn what we say and what we do must match.
C2 We learn what we do must be consistent in public and private.
C3 We learn that the perfect law, that is, the law of liberty is now our law, not Mosaic Law, nor the law of our sinful nature.
D1 If the Law of Liberty refers to the Gospel, then when we believe we are free from the requirements of Mosaic Law and its punishment, for Jesus suffered and shed His blood for our sins.
D2 The Law of Liberty might refer to the rules Jesus gave us to obey either directly or through His Apostles and recorded in the New Testament.
Chapter 2 deals with
B1 Treating everyone equally, especially believers. We know
C1 There is only one race—the human race.
C2 There are priorities. God is to have first priority, then spouse, then family, the local congregation, then the greater body of Christians, then everyone else.
C3 We should love and live in God’s ways. This is seen in our thoughts, desires, words, and deeds according to the characteristics in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.
C4 God treats people equally, too according to His priorities: 1 Timothy 2:4 NIV who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
C5 Galatians 6:10 NIV Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
B2 In verses 14-17, it is taught that what we say and what we do must match in private and public.
B3 Works are not for salvation but are proof of a changed life by God’s grace. 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! Some examples are the Abraham, Rahab, Prodigal Son, and King Manasseh.
Chapter 3 deals with
B1 If we teach the Scriptures, we are held accountable for what we teach.
B2 Rules of what we say.
B3 The 2 types of wisdom. The difference between God’s wisdom and any other.
Chapter 4 deals with
B1 The dangers of covetousness (lust). How covetousness leads to problems, arguments, fighting, scabbing, and a lot of disunity.
B2 There are only two worldviews, namely, God’s worldview and all others. We are servants of God and only His view is correct. The world is all other views. The foundation of that worldview is me first, God last.
Chapter 5 deals with
B1 The danger of riches, that is, trusting in money instead of God. Our love changes from God to stuff.
B2 Christians suffer. We must bear with this as the whole family of God does in every generation and in every part of the world. We need to pray and support each other.
B3 The need to pray. We are talking to God. We were created for fellowship with God and to serve Him forever. The Psalms show a wide variety of prayers. God is a wonderful Counselor/Adviser.

Trials make
the promise sweet,
Trials give
new life to prayer;
Trials bring me
to His feet,
Lay me low,
and keep me there
—William Cowper

20 February 2020

A Few Thoughts About Believers Sinning After Death

The verse in question: Revelation 6:9-11 NKJV When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.

Seeking vengeance is for God to do, not people. When people seek, want, and do vengeance, then sin.
B1 Hebrews 10:30 NRSV For we know the one who said, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge his people.
B2 Romans 12:19 NLT Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, "I will take revenge; I will pay them back," says the LORD.

Thus some say the believes in Revelation 6 are sinning.

They are seeking justice, not necessarily revenge.

B1 The action of hurting or harming someone in return for an injury or wrong suffered at their hands. (Source)
B2 ISBEThe same Hebrew and Greek words are used to express the idea of “to avenge” and “to revenge” (נקם, nāḳam, or derivative; ἐκδικέω, ekdikéō, or derivative). In English these words are synonymous in that they are both used to express the infliction of punishment upon the wrongdoer, but “to take revenge” may also imply a spiteful, wrong or malignant spirit. In the latter case, the Revised Version (British and American) preserves “revenge” (compare Jer 20:10; Eze 25:15; Eze 25:17 is an anthropomorphism), but, wherever it is synonymous with “avenge,” this word is used (compare Num 31:2, Num 31:3; Psa 79:10; Nah 1:2; Judith 13:20; Rom 13:4; 2Co 7:11; 2Co 10:6 the Revised Version (British and American); the King James Version has “revenge” in all these cases).
B3 Bridgeway Bible DictionaryWhether in Old or New Testaments, the Bible teaches that people are not to take personal revenge for what they consider to be wrong done to them. They should forgive the offender and allow God to deal with the person as he sees fit (Leviticus 19:18; Deuteronomy 32:35; Romans 12:19; Revelation 5:9-11; see WRATH)...Although individuals have no God-given right to pay back wrongdoers, civil governments have. They are to execute judgments fairly, and not give a light punishment for a serious offence or a heavy punishment for a minor offence. The punishment must be in proportion to the crime – ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a bruise for a bruise, a scratch for a scratch’ (Exodus 21:22-24; Romans 13:4;

Bible verses showing the principle
B1 Not for people to seek their own revenge:
C1 Leviticus 19:18 NIV Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
C2 Romans 12:19 NIV Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.
B2 God has ordained the government to do so. Most do not obey God’s rules regarding vengeance. Romans 13:1-4 NIV Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God's servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
B3 God will do correct vengeance whenever He wishes:
C1 Hebrews 10:30 ESV For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge his people."
C2 2 Thessalonians 1:8 ESV in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

Seeking justice against those who have broken God’s laws against us is not wrong. God has ordained law enforcement for this work. We must report it to them to stop the evil person from hurting others.
B1 Isaiah 1:17 NKJV Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.
B2 Leviticus 19:15 LEB You shall not do injustice in judgment; you shall not show partiality to the powerless; you shall not give preference to the powerful; you shall judge your fellow citizen with justice.

The Tribulation believers who have been killed are asking God to punish murders, which He will do at the correct time. They are not sinning. It is no more than reporting a crime to law enforcement.

Psalm 101:1 NLT A psalm of David. I will sing of your love and justice, LORD. I will praise you with songs.
Isaiah 61:11 NLT The Sovereign LORD will show his justice to the nations of the world. Everyone will praise him! His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring, with plants springing up everywhere.

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.