In Some Ways, Life is Getting Easier

The Bible tells us to not love this world.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
I John 2:15-17 NKJV

I see this laundry list of bad attitudes and behavior exhibited more and more.

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be

  • lovers of themselves,
  • lovers of money,
  • boasters,
  • proud,
  • blasphemers,
  • disobedient to parents,
  • unthankful,
  • unholy,
  • unloving,
  • unforgiving,
  • slanderers,
  • without self-control,
  • brutal,
  • despisers of good,
  • traitors,
  • headstrong,
  • haughty,
  • lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
  • having a form of godliness but denying its power.

And from such people turn away!
II Timothy 3:1-5 NKJV

It is evident many have been given over by God to a debased mind.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all

  • unrighteousness,
  • sexual immorality,
  • wickedness,
  • covetousness,
  • maliciousness;
  • full of envy,
  • murder,
  • strife,
  • deceit,
  • evil-mindedness;
  • they are whisperers,
  • backbiters,
  • haters of God,
  • violent,
  • proud,
  • boasters,
  • inventors of evil things,
  • disobedient to parents,
  • undiscerning,
  • untrustworthy,
  • unloving,
  • unforgiving,
  • unmerciful;

who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
Romans 1:28-32 NKJV

Plus, I know this is as good as it going to be. It’s going to get worse. These are just the beginning of sorrows.

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
Matthew 24:3-8 NKJV

Therefore, it is easy for me to not love the world and the things in it! I know earth isn’t my eternal home.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Hebrews 11:8-10 NKJV

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
Hebrews 11:13-16 NKJV

I’m watching and praying to escape!

Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.
Luke 21:29-36 NKJV

Are you following God's plan for your life? 
   You should.
      Your plan sucks.
      It really, really sucks.
      Suckage Maximus.

Most people are WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

Jesus is coming.
   Are you ready to meet Him?
   Give your life to Jesus Christ.
   Time is running out.

Do Not Be Afraid – Only Believe

Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, comes to Jesus and makes a statement of faith.

Now when Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered to Him; and He was by the sea. And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.” So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him.
Mark 5:21-24 NKJV

But while they are on way to his house, Jairus gets devastating news.

While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”
Mark 5:35 NKJV

Jesus makes an incredible statement.

As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”
Mark 5:36 NKJV

Jesus later raises Jairus’ daughter from the dead. You can read the whole story here.

The thing that is standing out to me this time about this story is there is often quite a bit of time between when we pray for something, and when we see the prayer answered. During this time, we have to be careful not to speak against our prayers. It is a time of waiting on the Lord.

Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!
Psalms 27:14 NKJV

Father, help me control my words.

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips.
Psalms 141:3 NASB

You have tried my heart;
You have visited me in the night.
You have tested me and found no evil;
I have resolved not to sin with my mouth.
Psalms 17:3 BSB

This I choose!

“Do not be afraid; only believe.”
Mark 5:36 NKJV

Are you following God's plan for your life? 
   You should.
      Your plan sucks.
      It really, really sucks.
      Suckage Maximus.

Most people are WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

Jesus is coming.
   Are you ready to meet Him?
   Give your life to Jesus Christ.
   Time is running out.

 

Who Are You Imitating?

Whether it is sharpening a chain saw, changing a flat tire, or making one of my favorite junior high school cafeteria meals – chili and cinnamon-carmel rolls, oftentimes the best way to learn to do something right is to learn from someone who knows what he or she is doing. Learn the skill by imitating them.

As people we are prone to imitation. From clothing fashions to owning pet rocks we often imitate others. I think it is a natural part of being a human being. But who are we imitating? Is it those who are ultimately eternally successful?

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Hebrews 6:10-12 NKJV

Jesus told some people they were imitating the devil.

“Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”
John 8:43-44 NKJV

John warns against imitating evil.

Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.
III John 1:11 NKJV

Over a year ago I was challenged by one of those The-Apostle-Paul-Is-Evil people to examine his evidence for believing Paul’s writings should not be in the Bible. I honestly investigated, and eventually decided not to rip Paul’s letters out of my Bibles. There were several reasons I decided to keep Paul’s writings, and one of them was imitation. I looked at the lives and fruit of people who believed in Paul’s letters and those who didn’t. Those who believed Paul’s letters are of God seemed to be getting more souls saved and had more of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. I decided to imitate them.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV

I’m going to put the last two verses of Ephesians 4 and the first verse of Ephesians 5 together in a single paragraph.

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
Ephesians 4:31-32, 5:1 NKJV

Selah! (Like it says in the Amplified Bible, pause, and calmly think of that!)

Are you following God's plan for your life? 
   You should.
      Your plan sucks.
      It really, really sucks.
      Suckage Maximus.

Most people are WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

Jesus is coming.
   Are you ready to meet Him?
   Give your life to Jesus Christ.
   Time is running out.

 

The Failed Intervention of Jesus

Jesus causes family division.

“I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.
Luke 12:49-53 ESV

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.
Matthew 10:34-36 ESV

Often we are faced with a very difficult choice. In the choice between family and God, I choose God.

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Matthew 10:37-39 ESV

In Mark 3, early in His ministry, we find that Jesus sets the example of family division. Jesus was surrounded by people. He needed a boat to keep from being crushed by the crowds.

But Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him. So He told His disciples that a small boat should be kept ready for Him because of the multitude, lest they should crush Him.
Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.
Mark 3:7-9,20 NKJV

His family decided Jesus needed an intervention, and they took action.

When His family heard about this, they went out to take custody of Him, saying, “He is out of His mind.”
Mark 3:21 BSB

(Today they might also say things like, “He needs professional help,” or, “He needs medication.”)

They showed up where Jesus was teaching, but I think lost their nerve to go into the crowd and directly confront Jesus. Instead, they sent word, and the crowd relayed the message.

Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.”
Mark 3:31-32 NKJV

Jesus then basically disowns his natural family. I wonder how his mother and brothers felt when he said this:

But He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?”
Mark 3:33 NKJV

Jesus then establishes who is a member of His real family:

And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.
Mark 3:34-35 NKJV

Their intervention had failed. I image that His mother and brothers shook their heads, turned and walked away, and consoled each other with phrases such as, “Well, at least we tried.”


This insight, the “failed intervention,” came by a deliberate meditation method I often use.

  1. I have “a feeling” there is something more in a passage or passages, so I write the verses in my notebook. This causes me to slooooow doooown and notice every word.
  2. I then read and reread the verses, attempting to see them very clearly in my mind. I may write related scriptures and thoughts that occur to my mind. My goal is to make a mental movie script. I try to imagine gestures, movements and facial expressions. To immerse myself in the verses, I am being both the author and director of a screenplay being created and expanded in my mind.

I find this a great way to invest perhaps hours meditating on the Bible. This is a similar post, the result of thinking about combining the “end times teachings” of Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21:
Movie Script 1 “Sign of the Times”


Are you in Jesus’ family?

And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.
Mark 3:34-35 NKJV

Do the work of God – Believe in Jesus!

‘Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
John 6:28-29 NKJV

Are you following God's plan for your life? 
   You should.
      Your plan sucks.
      It really, really sucks.
      Suckage Maximus.

Most people are WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

Jesus is coming.
   Are you ready to meet Him?
   Give your life to Jesus Christ.
   Time is running out.

 

Walk in Forgiveness!

Are you perfect? Do you want to be forgiven? Then forgive!

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.
Mark 11:25-26 NKJV

How often should we forgive someone? 490 times?

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Matthew 18:21-22 NKJV

I don’t remember very much from my Lutheran confirmation classes back in the 1970’s, but I do remember the pastor spent a lot of time explaining the difference between the Greek mind and the Hebrew mind. His discussion of the Seventy Times Seven passage went something like this.

“We have Greek minds. We all have a Greek-mind style education. We are trained to interpret the scripture like this, ‘487 sins against me, 488 sins by that person, 489, 490. I do not have to forgive that person anymore. He has sinned against me 490 times.’

“But to the Hebrew mind, some numbers have special meaning. Seven is the number of perfection to the Hebrews. So what Peter was really asking Jesus was, ‘Lord, do I have to forgive my brother the perfect number of times?’, or, ‘Lord, do I always have to forgive my brother when he sins against me?’

“Jesus could have just answered, ‘Yes,’ or ‘Yes, forgive your brother seven times,’ which would mean, ‘Yes, always forgive your brother.’ But Jesus went much further. Ten is the number of completion. So Peter’s Hebrew mind interpreted what Jesus said like this, ‘Peter, forgive your brother perfection times perfection times completion times!’ To the Hebrew mind, perfection times perfection times completion is larger than infinity is to the Greek mind.”

Therefore, always, always, always, always, always, always forgive your brother when he sins against you! Always forgive!

Jesus continued with the parable of the unforgiving servant.

Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.
“But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.
Matthew 18:22-35 NKJV

If we want the Father to forgive us, we have to forgive others!

Are you following God's plan for your life? 
   You should.
      Your plan sucks.
      It really, really sucks.
      Suckage Maximus.

Most people are WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

Jesus is coming.
   Are you ready to meet Him?
   Give your life to Jesus Christ.
   Time is running out.

Tests, Trials, Temptations – Reminding Myself

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
James 1:2-4 NKJV

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
James 1:12-15 NKJV

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
I Corinthians 10:12-13 NKJV

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
James 5:7-11 NKJV

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now 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.
Romans 5:1-5 NKJV

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
II Corinthians 12:7-10 NKJV

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Galatians 6:7-10 NKJV

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Matthew 5:10-12 NKJV

Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31 NKJV


Related Posts

Are you following God's plan for your life? 
   You should.
      Your plan sucks.
      It really, really sucks.
      Suckage Maximus.

Most people are WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

Jesus is coming.
   Are you ready to meet Him?
   Give your life to Jesus Christ.
   Time is running out.