Considering Proverbs 6:16-19

16 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

As Christians, we know that all sin is unacceptable; just one sin is enough to warrant the death penalty. We have all been sinners, and the only way to escape justice is through the mercy of God towards those who put their faith in Jesus Christ.

Are there sins that God hates more than others? Maybe there is some room to debate that question, but passages like the one above provides some insight into that which God hates, in any case.

When we read these passages, we have a few things to contend with.

Jesus is merciful to our country, and we have been blessed for many decades in a land that generally accepts Christianity and allows freedom of worship. However, if our country can be characterized by the above things that God hates, He will chastise our nation. Should it be any different?

We know this to be true to some degree, but the temptation is to blame others. The temptation is to blame the unbelievers, to harp over their sin, and to fight them in the realms of politics, law, and social movements.

However, we should consider our wrongs first. Could it be that the negligence of our Christian society is to blame? Even if we disagree on that front, as Christians we should know that it is always more productive to “get the beam out of our own eye” first.

Out of respect for His blood that was shed to cleanse us of our sin, and out of respect for the blood that was shed to provide us with a free nation, let us consider these things deeply and honestly—all the while remembering that Jesus knows all, He is great in mercy, and He will save everyone who belongs to Him.

First, there are certain sins that some Christians harp over as “abominations.” If we focus too sternly on certain issues that are easy to target, yet we forget that God also considers pride, lying, murdering the innocent (remember the way Jesus describes murder in the Sermon on the Mount), being quick to do wickedness, slander, and sewing conflict among fellow believers as abominable, we become hypocrites.

Second, we must consider how these abominations apply to us as individuals. Have we ever had a heart of pride? Have we ever lied? Have we ever lived a lifestyle that was sin seeking? Have we ever lied about another person? Have we ever caused conflict between other people purposefully? If we have, then we need to find a place of mercy for others who do such things. If we still have these issues to contend with, then we need to approach Jesus for forgiveness and continue to seek freedom from these issues.

Lastly, I strongly believe that the above issues reflect ideas concerning the sins of the Christian church as we see in Revelation 2-3—churches to whom Jesus said “I will remove your candlestick out of its place” unless we repent.

Here is the list included in the work on Proverbs 5:21-23 describing my thoughts on these problems in basic terms:

  • Exalting man over Jesus, including exaltation of religious leaders and our favorite denomination over the ways of Jesus.
  • When we accuse and slander others within the faith and without the faith, therewith we justify destroying others while remaining blind to our own faults.
  • When we abuse the blood of Jesus either by forgetting mercy or by excusing sins because we are “forgiven” or because of “grace.” Calling sinfulness righteous also falls into the category of abusing the blood of Jesus.
  • When we pursue the faith intellectually or legalistically and fail to take the ways of Jesus to heart.
  • When we pursue the things of this world over the things of the Kingdom of Heaven and therewith find contentment and the illusion of security or God’s favor.
  • When we abuse the Word of God as a tool by which we do all the above.

Jesus is merciful to us. He is merciful to our individual problems and He is merciful towards the problems within the Christian body collectively. However, in His mercy and goodness He will chastise us as sons if we continue doing the things He hates.

Should it be any different? Should we expect Him to bear our sins indefinitely when He provided us with everything we need to do otherwise?

Now the question becomes, what do we do about this?

One of the great things about Christianity is the power of the individual. This might not seem like the fast-track solution we want, but I believe this is the best way: each Christian individual who becomes aware of these problems should seek Jesus for their own forgiveness, healing, and strength to overcome.

We can look at ourselves honestly, make amends with our brethren as necessary, and consider how we might be more effective at bringing Jesus to those around us. We can hold our Christian leaders accountable by speaking with the pastors and other authority figures at the church we attend if necessary. We can hold our Christian culture accountable by refraining from Christian media that perpetuates such problems.

We should NOT go on a rampage against other Christians or churches. We should NOT go on a rampage against unbelievers.

Jesus will handle the large-scale problems. If we want to escape, we need to get our own house in order beginning with ourselves as an individual, our homes, our local churches, and our local unbelieving community to the degree to which it is possible.

Each person, according to his or her individual conscience has a role to play in furthering the Kingdom of Heaven. If we seek Jesus earnestly and above all else (or sincerely strive to make Him above all else), He will make the way clear.

We might not know what we should do, but we can have faith that God has a plan and whatever we end up doing is part of that plan. Anything we do or face will work out for our good and for the good of our Christian church collectively.

What about myself? For now, my attempts at being faithful to what Jesus gave me is accomplished through writing and through working on my life. I probably have some measure of these issues yet to contend with in myself, and I certainly want to do a better job of reflecting Jesus to those around me. I have also considered talking with a couple pastors that I have some respect for, but I don’t think I’m quite ready for that.

I need to keep working on me and on my home while seeking Jesus for greater wisdom and understanding–and most importantly, the ability to walk worthy of the Christian calling by conforming myself to His image to the degree He allows in this present life.

Considering Proverbs 6:12-15

12 A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.

13 He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers;

14 Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.

15 Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.

When I read this, I think about people who like to stir up problems, and they do it so well it is as if they put their whole self into it.

I’ve known people who seem to be this way.

I’ve known some who seem as if they are so used to a life of conflict that they cannot handle times of peace. So, whether consciously or subconsciously, they tend to cause chaos when things are going well.

I’ve known some who sew conflict between people simply because they have no ability to have real connection with people, so they despise the genuine relationships of others.

I’ve known some who slander others or gossip because it makes them feel superior, and they must remain the best in the eyes of everyone around them (at least in their mind).

I’ve known some who cannot come to terms with their sinful nature, so they project their faults onto others.

I’ve known some who are so consumed with hatred that they must have an enemy at all times, so if they make peace with one person, they shift focus to a new target.

There are people in this world who are so full of resentment, envy, pride, and contempt that they become toxic for other people.

How should a Christian handle such a person?

I think the most important thing is to remember grace. Any good thing we possess within our character came from God. If we think we are any better, we first remember that grace is what separates us.

We can also consider the deeper reasons behind a person’s toxic nature. Maybe we can relate to some of the behaviors. Maybe we have done similar things in one way or another.

In any case, humility and compassion frees us from being consumed by the negativity of others and helps us to forgive.

Does forgiveness mean continued relationship? No. Sometimes it is best to walk away from people. Sometimes you walk away because they will not admit to their faults, and they consistently cause problems for other people. Sometimes you walk away because they are Christians, but they have a tendency to abuse the forgiveness of God when dealing with their own sins yet they are merciless towards others.

Sometimes you cannot escape. Maybe you are an older child living with a toxic parent. Maybe you are stuck in a toxic work environment. Maybe you have a toxic spouse and you cannot leave. Maybe you are dealing with a friend or family member and you don’t have it in you to hurt them, no matter how much they have hurt you and others.

People are complicated. Relationships are complicated. We should do our best to be at peace with everyone as much as it is possible, but sometimes peace cannot be had.

There is a time to get away from damaging people, but we should not allow hatred to consume us. We should pray for them, have pity on them, and hope that God will open their hearts.

Toxic people are bred by other toxic people, and if we are not mindful, we might become the toxic person.

We should not let toxicity consume us, and no matter what situation we find ourselves in Jesus will make a way. He will make a way for us to escape, either literally or in heart. He will deal with our adversaries. Vengeance is His. However, it is better to hope for His mercy than to hope for His vengeance.

If we enjoy the destruction of others, we might find the critical eye of the Lord looking at us instead of at our enemies. His gaze is piercing, and you want that gaze to be merciful. Therefore, we must always remember mercy and hope the best for others no matter how toxic they are.

We can apply this to individuals, groups, social movements, and even issues within the Christian church. In whatever capacity, we deal with these matters by putting on the full armor of God, knowing that we do not “wrestle with flesh and blood.”

We do not fight people. We fight the destruction that binds them and harms others. We fight destructive ideas and lies. We attempt to find the source of problems, such as deep wounds a person caries and bring the healing ways of Jesus to those who will receive it. In so doing, Jesus is honored and the person is restored.

There are many who do not want to receive Jesus and the freedom He brings. Many are so attached to ideas, lies, and sin in general that they become one with such things. In such cases it becomes nearly impossible to fight in spirit without destroying the person.

I know I’ve had sins and matters of my nature that are so deeply rooted in my being that it feels impossible to fight the issue without destroying myself. So, find compassion in such cases, and maybe walking away is the best thing to do. Jesus will handle it.

Ephesians 6:10-18

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

What about myself? I have a long way to go in dealing with destructive people (of course, I mean those of an extreme variety. We are all destructive in greater and lesser measure).

I do not like when I see someone hurting others while refusing to admit to their own wrongs. I can become all-out irate and ready to fight such a person, and I make it personal instead of dealing with the deeper issue in spirit. I can forget all mercy and patience.

I can become so full of negativity that my own personality shifts when I’m around certain people, and that is not good. I need to trust in Jesus more. I need more compassion and mercy. I need more humility, knowing that I have been toxic too at points in my life and I still need Jesus to work on me.

It is always more productive when I focus on my personal goals of growth in Jesus than it is to focus on the faults of others.

Even so, there is a time to speak up, especially when others are being harmed. However, in speaking out or taking some other action, we must care for our spiritual state first, putting on the full armor of God so that we are not consumed by the forces we fight against—all the while mindful that we do not fight in the flesh but in the spirit.

Considering Proverbs 6:6-11

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:

Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,

Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?

10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:

11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

I like the obvious meaning of this passage. A person who is self-motivated and works hard will prosper while those who refuse to work hard will come into poverty. That is generally true, though not always. Some people work hard and never seem to get ahead in life. Some people work hard and accrue large amounts of wealth. There are numerous reasons for this gap and there are differing ideas about how our system of government and economics should deal with these issues.

I know the talking points from the two main sides of the argument (by two sides I mean from a Left Wing and Right Wing perspective, or a Capitalist and Marxist perspective, relatively speaking) but I don’t know enough to weigh it all and come up with my own opinion. As with most things, I suspect that I’d come to the conclusion that both sides have valid points and both sides have faults, then the next step would be to create a third idea that brings a balanced perspective while placing the teachings of Jesus at the center.

I guess I’m arrogant enough to think that I could create solutions to many problems if I simply knew enough. There is danger in that, isn’t there? It is dangerous for man to throw any system down because that which rises next could be infinitely worse. I suspect that if our current way of life in the West is overthrown, the system that arises will be hell on earth. All the promises of peace, equality, and prosperity will prove to be nothing but flattery and lies, because the spirit at work within this new system is satanic.

It is a good thing that Jesus will be the one to make all things right. Though there is a time and place for patriotism, all nations are vanity to God. To Him, all systems of man are nothing and they will come to nothing. This is for our good. However, the process will be painful to say the least. To that end, I want to think about another way we might consider the above passage.

In the previous writing, we considered sleep in terms of spiritual sleep, and we were encouraged to awaken to the Christian calling more fully.

If we are serious about the things of Jesus, He will feed us “meet in the summer.” His word will teach us, strengthen us, and prepare us for the “winter” which is a season of spiritual darkness—that time when the great system of man descends upon the whole earth. This system will bring poverty, not just in the literal sense—but most importantly—in the spiritual sense because Jesus is made darkness by way of the false Christ and Christianity is made bloody by way of the Great Whore.

“The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.” This could be literal, of course, but that is not the only meaning here.

We do not want to be taken in by this deception. Should we fold our hands and sleep, thinking that no harm will come to us? Or, should we rise and prepare?

This makes me think about the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (Matthew 25). In that parable we see the coming of Jesus. We should prepare for His return, and in so doing we find ourselves also prepared for the coming of the greatest deception ever to occur in this world: the coming of the false Christ. How do we prepare? We put Jesus first. We learn of His ways through scripture and friendship with other dedicated Christians. We learn to trust in Him.

All the worldly things we trust in will fall. The false Christ will promise to restore all things, but His ways are deceit, flattery, and all the devises of the “strange woman” as we previously discussed.

It is good to think about the difference between the ways of Satan and the ways of Jesus, both in the church and in the world at large. It is good to separate ourselves from all paths of the “strange woman” and align ourselves with Jesus so we become as His bride should be.

All things are working according to His will and all things are for the ultimate good of those who love Him. Once all wickedness is caught in the net they made, Jesus will return and throw it all down. Only then will we see the Kingdom of Heaven come. However, we can see the kingdom come now in heart, and with Jesus ruling us in spirit we are made strong against the greatest of deceptions and calamities. We need to be awake and ready.

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh (Matthew 25:1-13).

The call has gone out—the call has always gone out. The call has rung sure from the time Jesus was resurrected form the dead. We are always in a sort of “last days.” We only have this life. Whatever should come, being filled with Jesus makes us so that we are able to stand. Should we be destroyed along with the overthrow of man’s devices, we know that Jesus will raise us up. Death has no real power over us.

So, we should not sleep. We are not dead, but alive in Jesus. Let us awaken and be alive.

What about myself? I know that one of the surest paths to deceit is pride and thinking that we know everything already. If we want to be “wise virgins” then we should understand how much we lack.

I want to continue to seek what is true, good, and pleasing to Jesus. I never want to assume that I have it all figured out or that I could fix things. I never want to assume that my walk with Jesus is good enough as it is. There is always room for growth. I will not trust in teachings that say otherwise. I will trust in the mercy and patience of Jesus, but out of respect for His blood I will continue to seek Him so long as He will allow me to do so. This is the grace of God towards those who believe in Him.

We are not better than anyone else. We have all been foolish and we are all still foolish. We all need more wisdom, and Jesus is the way.

Considering Proverbs 6:4-5

Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.

Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.

There are several scriptures in the New Testament about sleep, and some are given in a positive sense. For a Christian, death is sometimes called sleep because we have the promise of the resurrection. When Jesus returns, those who are dead in their graves will hear His voice and meet Him in the clouds!

Paul the Apostle Wrote:

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Jesus said:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live (John 5:24-25).

Before we received the words of Jesus through the gospel, we were dead. We were dead because we have all sinned, and the just punishment for sin is death because when we sin, we are bringers of death.

The ways of Jesus bring life to those who live thereby. Faith in His sacrifice cleanses us from our sin judicially, and as we apply His ways to our life and seek His strength through the Holy Spirit we are given the ability to overcome sin in a real-to-life way. So long as we are alive, we have more battles to overcome and more room to grow according to the measure of faith and grace given to us.

What would happen if we became entranced by this world and forgot who it is we serve? What if we neglected the New Covenant, thereby abusing the liberty that was bought with the precious price of Jesus’s blood? What if we find ourselves in treason against the Kingdom to which we pledge our allegiance?

There are two general outcomes.

One is this: the salvation which we “seemed to have” is taken away (Luke 8:18). No sincere Christian will lose his or her salvation. It is true that the love of Jesus is strong, and He is mighty to save those who belong to Him. There is nothing we can do to get in the way of our salvation, because our salvation is wrought in Him. Salvation is of grace, not because of our righteousness which is as “filthy rags.”

However, salvation causes us to “abound in every good work” and there are many who only “seemed” to receive the gospel. There could be many reasons for this. Maybe they were Christian because it benefited them in some way, either socially or financially. Maybe the Christianity they believed in was overly self-centered and corrupted, thereby making the Christ they followed not Jesus but Satan (Jesus will judge it). The parable of the sower provides some insight into this (Matthew 13).

It is good to know that most of us have fulfilled the wrong side of parables in some measure. It is good to know that the mercy of Jesus abounds to those who belong to Him. Therefore, the second outcome would be the need for revival—or awakening—out of sleep.

Though we forsook our pledge to Him by aligning ourselves to this world (as written in the previous writing), Jesus will cause us to awaken to the calling we have been called to—and this is a calling that pursues what it righteous in the eyes of God, not a calling that accepts sinfulness and friendship with the ways of this world (evil communications).

Paul the Apostle wrote:

33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?

36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:

38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.

40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.

48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:33-58).

There is a lot of information in the above scripture. We see that when a Christian dies, our dead bodies are buried in the earth. When we are raised from the dead at the coming of Jesus, we are raised in a new, spiritual body. Death will have no victory over a Christian! This is wonderful and a great promise to look forward to. We know that no matter what enemy comes against us, should we die for the faith, Jesus will raise us up.

There is more. Paul the apostle also wrote of a present-day resurrection that we can experience as the Sons of God who walk after the Spirit of God. You can read about this in Romans 8.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Is it possible for a Christian to be led by the spirit of this world—even the prince of this world, Satan, and also be led by the Spirit of God? That is the struggle for a Christian. We all strive against the works of the flesh with faith in the promises of Jesus. We believe that He forgives us and He will strengthen us in Spirit so that we can do what is pleasing to Him.

Should we give up on this fight? Should we roll over and go to sleep? There are many teachings out there, even among Christianity, that will allow you to feel perfectly secure in doing so. However, that is not the Christian way.

Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.”

Many have infiltrated the Christian faith. Jesus said it would be so. Hear His words, come out from among them, and find the path of Life promised to us by our Lord.

Jesus said:

24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn (Matthew 13:24-30).

If we have fallen for teachings of the tares, we can “make surety our friend” by approaching Jesus in humility. We can repent from breaking our covenant with Him, and He will forgive us. Though, we should never again take that forgiveness for granted.

Pledge yourself again to the one you call “Lord” and “Savior” lest the words of your own oath condemn you. If you call yourself a Christian, if you wear the blood of the Son of God, then fulfill your oath! If you call Jesus your “Lord” then He must be your Lord. If you call Jesus your “savior” then He must be your savior.

Will your oath testify for your or against you? Will you sleep and die, or will you rise and live? I don’t say this to be harsh, but to inspire. I hope some will be inspired. There is so much waiting for you within the promises of Jesus—wonderful things that are far better than anything this world has to offer.

What about myself?

I know what it is like to “sleep” in this world and still call myself a Christian. I also know what it is like to awaken to the Christian calling that I had neglected. It is a remarkable act of mercy and grace, one that will ignite your zeal for God, and no one can come against it. I know that this awakening is in the hands of Jesus alone, and I know that if we approach Him honestly and humbly, He will show us the way out of all delusion—even the delusion of a sleeping and dead faith.

I still have much more learning to do. I need to be strengthened in walking after the Spirit. There is always more learning to do so long as we live in this earthly body. I never claim to be perfect, except by the blood of Jesus. However, that blood has a price on it. That blood means I belong to Jesus. I will not stand before God with the blood of His Son upon me in vain.

Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:27).

I pray that no one reading this will come into that condemnation, and I have faith in the mercy of Jesus who is always Faithful and True to those who belong to Him.

Considering Proverbs 6:1-3

My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,

Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.

Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.

The language here in the King James can be difficult to understand. Here is another way to say this same thing:

My son, if you have pledged yourself to a friend, then you pledge yourself to another, you are ensnared by the pledge you have made. The words of your own mouth testify against you. If you have done this, free yourself from the condemnation you bring upon yourself by approaching your friend humbly and seeking forgiveness. Pledge yourself again to your friend.

I suppose I’m not done writing about unfaithfulness within the church after-all. I enjoy the experience of receiving understanding, but I do not enjoy saying these things to people. Let’s see what we can consider here, so that we can be better Christians.

As Christians, we have pledged ourselves to Jesus Christ. His blood washes away our sins and we enter into His service. Once we are “saved” we should strive to align ourselves with the teachings of Jesus so that we live a life that is pleasing to God, one that honors Jesus, leads others to Jesus, and makes us useful for His purposes. I think most Christians understand this.

However, in what ways might we do this better? In what ways have we pledged ourselves to another, thereby taking the blood of Jesus for granted and disrespecting the covenant He made with us?

As Christians and those under the New Covenant of Jesus Christ, we receive the “sure mercies of David.” We are told that nothing can separate us from the love and mercy of God. Jesus will save every person He intends to save, and this is the grace of God towards us. Nothing we can do makes us worthy of salvation. This is the gospel.

However, salvation of a truth will have a work in us, because we are being saved from this world so that we are fitted for service in the Kingdom of Heaven—not just in the future, but presently.

Consider the “sure mercies of David.” How did David respond to the sure mercy that God gave Him? Did he abuse it? Did he do whatever he pleased because he knew that God would not forsake him? No. Many of the psalms show how brokenhearted David felt when he sinned. Many of the psalms show a deep respect for God, understanding that even though God promised sure mercy, David was not entitled to that mercy. Many of the psalms also show a great devotion to doing what is pleasing to God and a strong trust in God who would save him from his enemies.

We can learn a lot about our Christian walk from David. And of-course, being the seed of David and the Messiah, we can certainly learn a lot about our Christian walk from Jesus first and foremost. We can learn a lot about our Christian walk from the writings of the disciples and the apostles within the New Testament scripture.

In all of these examples that we are given, do we see an acceptable abuse of the mercy of God? Do we find it acceptable to take the blood of Jesus upon us, thereby entering into His covenant, and then use His blood as an excuse for doing whatever we please either by living a sinful life without regard for our pledge to Jesus or by forgetting mercy towards others?

Again, no sincere Christian would do such a thing consciously. No sincere Christian would abuse the blood of Jesus or take the New Covenant for granted.

However, I know from experience that it is possible to do so without fully realizing it.

There are teachings in this world, even within Christianity, that promote a very loose loyalty to Jesus. There are teachings in this world, even within Christianity, that make light of sin or discourage freedom from sin through the power of Jesus working in us. There teachings in this world, even within Christianity, that call sin righteous. There are teachings in this world, even within Christianity, that cause many to pursue riches, security, and popularity in this world as God’s will for our life instead of pursuit of the Kingdom of Heaven to which we have pledged our allegiance.

Any doctrine that abuses the blood of Jesus and the New Covenant we are bound to as Christians is unacceptable and hated by God.

I know how easy it is to get caught up in these teachings because they appeal to our natural desires. I also understand some of the non-malicious reasons for some of these teachings, such as the Faith-Plus-Nothing Debate. I know there is mercy and compassion for those who are ensnared by these teachings, but I also know the scriptures pose stark warnings for those who do not come away from these things—and even greater warnings for those who teach such things.

So, let us consider this deeply. What does wearing the blood of Jesus mean to us? If we have pledged ourselves to Jesus, then we should take that seriously. What does He want from us? How can we serve Him better? What things might we have to give up in order to serve Him better? Do we view the Kingdom of Heaven as that “pearl of great price” that is more valuable than anything else in our lives, as Jesus instructed? Do we intend to show up to His wedding feast without a wedding garment, as one of His parables warned of?

What about myself?

I spent most of my Christian life very thinly attached to the faith. I did not think much about my sin, and I thought it was no big deal because we were all sinners and Jesus forgave me. Yet, I judged others for their sin constantly and excused myself.

I did not concern myself with service to Jesus or leading others to Him by being a good example, by using the natural talents He gave, and by seeking more from Him. I was concerned with pursing the things I thought I was supposed to pursue in this life like fun times, self-indulgence, and security. I also began to consider that Jesus was one of many paths to God, and I adopted New Age Christianity ideas in general. I did not have any idea how lost I was.

So, I sympathize, and I know that it is by the grace of God alone that I was called away from these things and led down a path of much learning and the pursuit of Jesus and His Kingdom in “spirit and in truth” as God desires.

I also know that this transition would not have been possible without the teaching of others. I strive to do the same for some. I would love to have a positive effect, and this does not have to be some big thing. A small impact can have large consequences down the road, and we all have a part to play in furthering the Kingdom of Heaven.

So, let us consider what our Christianity means so we can pursue Jesus with all our heart. We all go astray from time to time, but we can still humble ourselves and make our pledge strong with Jesus. His mercy will not depart from those who are “called, chosen, and faithful.”

We all have room to grow, especially if we consider the issues written about recently. These apply to most of us on some level, so we need to be honest with ourselves, honest with Jesus, and seek Him for mercy that forgives and shows us a better way.

Proverbs Study Clarification 1: The Strange Woman

This is a bit of self-gratification in that I do not want to be misunderstood, but I also want to be careful not to cause any Christian harm.

I do not much enjoy writing about the topic of God’s chastening, the “strange woman,” and so forth. It is a fearful thing because I know that with what judgment I judge, I will be judged. I am handling the Word of God and I am writing these things in His name. I do not take this lightly, so I’d rather over explain than err on the side of miscommunication and damage to others. So, I may have to write clarifications from time to time, such as this one.

In general, I do not think the topic of unfaithful Christians is most beneficial for those who believe sincerely, though these are things we should be mindful of so that we keep the ways of Jesus with patience no matter what comes our way, even if those of our own faith turn against us.

In any case, I prefer to focus on what is good among the household of the faith and build these things up. However, there is benefit in knowing where our errors lie, so that the right things can be built up.

I do not want any sincere Christian to doubt their salvation.

I do not want any sincere Christian to beat themselves up, begin to wonder if they are of the “strange woman” or otherwise fall into unproductive doubts. Many Christians are hard on themselves as it is. It is never my goal to cause such a person to be even harder on themselves, but rather, we should trust that our tendency to be hard on ourselves means that Jesus is with us and working on us. Trust in His mercy, forgiveness, and grace. Do not accuse yourself. That can be just as damaging as accusing others.

I think the purpose of writing about the “strange woman” is to encourage truthfulness among those who turn a blind eye to their sins or the sins of Christianity, and thereby they become tempted to despise others and are at risk of great deception.

I think the purpose is also to appeal to Christians who are very thinly attached to the faith because of the corruptions within the church. It is an unfortunate truth that many of our corruptions “offend these little ones” so that must be dealt with. There are also many mature and sincere Christians who feel cast out by mainstream Christianity. There are many who would be comforted to know that the issues they see are real and that Jesus cares and He is for them.

In all things, the caveat of mercy is paramount. Jesus is merciful to our problems within the household of the faith, even those who are of the “strange woman.” His mercy underpins all things, and no person can know for certain where that mercy will end. The scriptures say a lot of things about God’s judgment. For example, Jesus said that those who deny Him will be denied before the Father. Yet, Jesus forgave Peter.

Regardless of what we have done, we throw ourselves at His mercy. However, we need to know where our wrongs lay so that we can approach God for mercy in Jesus. To that end, the wrongs within the household of the faith must be said, heard, and repented of. That is another reason to write these things.

In any case, no mature Christian would abuse the blood of Jesus by taking mercy for granted, and those who do can learn to take His sacrifice more seriously.

Having received His mercy, let us push forward and strive to build up what is good, so thereby that which is unacceptable will be overshadowed.

Could some continue down the path of the “strange woman” and find mercy? I hope so, and I think if the struggle was honest in so much as that person knew of their nature and hated it, then I certainly think forgiveness is possible.

God is the judge. We do not know what is in the hearts of man or what work the Lord is doing in people. Sometimes we have to consider this: where would we be if Jesus never entered our life? Do we see change? Do we see some measure of “fruit?” If so, this is good, and we all have something we struggle with. We should give others this grace also.

It is also worth repeating that I have been all these negative “strange woman” things in some measure. I do not like exposing these things because I also expose myself. I also understand the possibility of giving our enemies fuel by exposing our faults to them.

However, they accuse us already. If we were to acknowledge these problems, then that takes their power of accusation away from them. If we were to acknowledge these problems, then we can find mercy and forgiveness so that we can escape the judgment of God—both in terms of chastisement by way of greater deception and in terms of the white throne judgment.

So, I write these things to that end, and though difficult, I think it is good. All things are working together for our good if we love Jesus sincerely.

Discussion is always encouraged. Please reach out with any thoughts, questions, concerns, and so forth. Hold me accountable. I should be held accountable.

Considering Proverbs 5:21-23

21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings.

22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.

23 He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.

The ways of man are contrary to the ways of God, but in Jesus Christ we have forgiveness and a path forward by which we can learn how to do that which is pleasing to God. Even in this, we will make mistakes. However, a heart that sincerely searches for the right way and sincerely wants to do what is right is pleasing to God even when that person makes mistakes.

God knows those who love Jesus. Those who are covered by His blood are seen as perfect, just as Jesus is perfect. God knows who will live forever already, and in some sense of time those who will live eternally already live with the Father and Son because both inhabit eternity. So, it is no small thing if God can see us according to the finished work that Jesus does for us. We should strive to see our fellow servants in like manner.

However, we do know that there are many among us who are not of us. We know there is corruption within the church. We know that there will be a great apostasy. We know that the ways of Satan are already at work.

We also know that we should not judge anyone or anything before their time. We know that we should not fall into the paths of the Accuser. We know that we should not beat our fellow servants. We know that God has ordained all things and what is written will be fulfilled.

We also know that vengeance belongs to God. We know that “those who kill with the sword must be killed with the sword” and “those who lead into captivity must go into captivity.”

Whether we are concerned with corruption of the “strange woman” within our church, our nation, or our world, we do not give into the temptation to overcome evil with evil. It helps if we know that those who plot wicked plans will be taken by their own devices.

When God chastises a nation or His people, He often sends and enemy to do so—and that enemy is going to be wicked. When the task is done, God is perfectly justified in destroying that enemy. We see this theme throughout the Old Testament and in Revelation. As mentioned in recent writings, the wicked will turn in on themselves.

As Christians, we want to make sure that we are not standing in the house of the “strange woman” or in the house of the wicked in general. We do not want to get caught up with the temptation of so-called righteous indignation, therewith many destroy others and justify themselves in so doing.

Instead, we trust in Jesus, we continue to seek Him more fully, we learn how to be a better example of Christianity so that some might be converted and saved, and we wait as those who destroy are destroyed. Though many sincere Christians will suffer and die should we live to see the chastisement of God come in full measure by way of the Great Whore of Mystery Babylon, the beast, and the false prophet, those who are faithful are given peace. Those who are faithful to the end are raised from the dead and given power over their enemies when Jesus returns.

It is worth repeating that those who are blood thirsty will have their day when the false christ appears, and many will think this is their Lord. They will think this is their Lord because they are already deceived by the “strange woman” and Satan. That is why we are instructed to “come out of her.”

It is worth repeating that the “strange woman” exists spiritually within all of Christendom, just as the body of Christ in Spirit exists within all of Christendom. Neither are exclusive to a single denomination or church. We are of her when we do what she does—when we do what Satan does.

In these things, our churches are rebuked in Revelation 2-3.

According to my understanding, these things include (in basic terms):

  • Exalting man over Jesus, including exaltation of religious leaders and our favorite denomination over the ways of Jesus.
  • When we accuse and slander others within the faith and without the faith, therewith we justify destroying others while remaining blind to our own faults.
  • When we abuse the blood of Jesus either by forgetting mercy or by excusing sins because we are “forgiven” or because of “grace.” Calling sinfulness righteous also falls into the category of abusing the blood of Jesus.
  • When we pursue the faith intellectually or legalistically and fail to take the ways of Jesus to heart.
  • When we pursue the things of this world over the things of the Kingdom of Heaven and therewith find contentment and the illusion of security or God’s favor.
  • When we abuse the Word of God as a tool by which we do all the above.

If we want to “come out of her” then these are the areas we need to focus on most. Those who continue in these ways without repentance show themselves to be sons of Satan and not sons of God, and they will welcome their father, the devil when he makes his appearance and the “strange woman” will become that Great Whore.

What about myself? I have done all these things in some measure, so I cannot condemn anyone. I sympathize to a great deal with the errors of Christianity, I love my brethren, and by the grace of God I strive to love all people better. I do not write these things to accuse anyone or to condemn, and I certainly strive to never judge an individual person or church. We all have faults and we can all seek Jesus more fully. I write these things because I am persuaded that the chastisement of God is on the way, and we see this somewhat today already.

I don’t know how far off the time of great trouble will be, but I know the way many view that time is wrong. I know that as Christians, we need to get our own house in order. Instead of blaming the world, we need to look at ourselves, our churches, and our Christian media because all things that are of the house of the “strange woman” will be taken in by deception and destroyed. We should not deceive ourselves as she does saying, “I sit a queen and am no widow and shall see now sorrow.”

I am thankful that Jesus will not allow those who love Him sincerely to be deceived, yet I am still convicted in saying these things. I feel that if I do not say these things, then all will not go well for me.

As we continue in Proverbs, we might get away from this topic (I don’t know, I’m taking it as it comes). So, I hope I have made this clear. If not, please reach out.

Considering Proverbs 5:14-20

14 I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.

15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.

16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.

17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee.

18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.

20 And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?

When I read this considering the “strange woman” as discussed in recent writings, this passage feels like a calling back to the faithfulness of the original Christian church. In so doing, we will find blessing. In so doing, we will be filled with the Living Waters of Jesus Christ. This sounds like a refreshing, revival, or renewal by His Spirit.

I believe this will happen, at least in part, for a remnant of Jesus’s people who strive to keep His commandments and testimony faithfully. I also believe that the “strange woman” will rise up against this refreshing when she takes power with the beast and false prophet in fullness.

I’m not sure how this will take place, when, or what exactly this Christian renewal will look like—but I have a lot of ideas.

What does it mean to get back to the faithfulness of the original Christian church? Is this Catholicism? No, that’s not what is meant. Though, this is not an attack against Catholicism or any other Christian sect in particular.

Here are my thoughts, as of now, about what a renewed Christian church would look like:

The main focus on being a Christian is living a life that takes the teachings of Jesus to heart, as opposed to pursuing the faith intellectually through a set of dogmatic doctrines or legalistic regulations which leads to hypocrisy, strife, division, stagnant growth, and exaltation of our favored groups above others.

There would be a return to sound doctrine by considering the spirit of what the scriptures say, with honest weighing of what is to be taken literally and what is to be taken metaphorically or spiritually. There should be allowance for differences of opinion within the general assembly of believers without the need for strife and division, so long as Christ and Him crucified is preached without the abuse of His blood.

Christians will trust the Holy Spirit in all things to convict the hearts of all believers, allowing each individual to grow and learn at a pace that is most beneficial to them. So, to that end, we will not have church assemblies that preach one message to an entire congregation based on ridged dogma and doctrine which you must adhere to in order to be accepted of the church.

The Spirit will convict in matters of liberty, such as teaching of secondary doctrines, manner of dressing, praise preferences, holidays, food and drink consumption, and all matters of conscience rather than the regulations of man which are often oppressive and do not change the heart of a person.

Believers would seek their own gifts of the Spirit, so that the church can come together and help each person reach their fullest potential. Jesus is the head, not man. No person is higher than the other, but all are important. Those who are weakest in the faith are given the most attention, and those who have serious struggles with sin are loved and supported. These receive the greatest honor.

Leaders such as teachers, pastors, prophets, and those who disperse to the poor are appointed based on actual qualifications given by God and not based on completion of a man-made seminary program.

They should be elders, who can lead uprightly and who value truth above their own ideas or favorite doctrines. They should favor furthering the Kingdom of God instead of loyalty to this world. They should live a life in Spirit, forsaking all else in this life. Leaders are held to high standards, not praised, but servants of all just as Jesus was servant of all, so as to make the position one that no man would covet for the sake of praise of man, power, and money. Only a person who truly loved the Lord would consider such a position, and the elders of the church would thoroughly vet any who considered such a position.

Christianity would be less concerned with the politics and policies of this world and more concerned with furthering the Kingdom soon to come. Christianity would be less concerned with the sins of the world and instead focus on their own sins and growth, thereby being a good example of Jesus to the unbelieving world and therewith convert some.

Christianity would love and support the unbelievers by caring for the truly destitute including the  widows, the orphaned, the elderly, the handicap, and those whose lives are so overrun with sin that they cannot support themselves, such as the drug addicted or those ensnared by ungodly culture, thereby healing and converting some.

Christianity would be the welfare state, with no interference and robbery from government or concerns about tax breaks because treasure in heaven is what matters most. Funds are gathered willingly and of a joyful heart and made abundant because they are not wasted on extravagant church buildings and unnecessary programs, nor do they make pastors and prophets so-called rich. All are encouraged to work if they are able. Freeloading is not rewarded, but compassion is given where compassion is due.

Jesus is at the head of all things. Each individual pursues Him with his or her whole heart, and each individual is rewarded in Spirit according to the measure of faith and grace given to them. Love for Jesus and for others is the focal point of all things done within and by the Christian church.

That is my vision of a faithful church. I’m sure it is imperfect and lacking in nuances, but I do believe this is a general format that is pleasing to God, and I would love for such churches to rise. How would such churches rise if our current churches remain in power? That is something to think about.

God’s will is done in all things, and anything that needs to be thrown down will be thrown down at the hands of our enemies, as mentioned in the previous writing. We do not attack churches or Christianity, but love our brethren and hope that they can see the errors of their ways. If enough were to simply walk away and turn to Jesus more fully, that would also be sufficient.

However, I do not expect that to be the case. I expect chastisement from God to be the case, and I expect a renewal to come from such a time—a renewal that is later squashed by the “strange woman” and beast who feels as if their power is being taken away. However, we rejoice always in the Kingdom of Heaven to come! We do not fully know what that Kingdom will look like, but we know it will be ruled perfectly by He who is Holy and True!

Could I be wrong about my ideas about the church and the things I write in general? Absolutely. I could be wrong about a lot of things. I hear no booming voice from the heavens. I read scripture and study, I observe the world and the church, and I ask Jesus what His perfect and pleasing will is. I also try to see what God is doing in the midst of the chaos in this World. I try to listen to His response in Spirit.

I believe we hear Him more clearly the less we hear this world and the more our hearts are filled with Him. I also know that the heart is deceitful above all things. So, I keep seeking to be filled more fully, and I keep seeking a better understanding.

Take what I write in this regard. When I write these things, I sit down first thing in the morning and I look at the scripture that immediately comes next, and in that moment, I try to hear what Jesus is saying or what lessons He is calling into remembrance. It usually begins with a single thought, then it is as if a thread is pulled and the writing unravels.

That is the process, and these writings are thoughts. How much these writings are my thoughts and how much they are of the Spirit we will have to judge. I think that is how we should handle such things, and I should have made this clear from the beginning.

Considering Proverbs 5:10-13

10 Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger;

11 And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,

12 And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;

13 And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!

We are still considering the house of the “strange woman” and why we should walk away from it. As a recap, my first thoughts about the “strange woman” are tied into Mystery Babylon, but in a spiritual sense in so much as she reflects the ways of Satan which include, false accusation and slander, murderous intentions, opposition and corruption of Jesus’s ways and teachings, tempting others to sin, and exalting one’s self above all others.

We can be of the “strange woman” when we do what she does. We have all done some of these things, even if only hating someone in our heart or being angry with the brethren. We all need Jesus to pull us out of the ways of the “strange woman”—the ways of Satan.

If we continue to do the things Satan does, how can we say that we are children of God?

Jesus said:

37 I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.

38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.

39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.

40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.

41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.

42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.

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

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

45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not (John 8:37-45).

When we reject the ways of Jesus, we are accepting the ways of the devil. Do we think that just because we carry the name of Jesus as Christians, we will escape should we align ourselves with the ways of the “strange woman?”

I don’t think we will. At the very least, there will be chastisement. From what I’ve seen and had told to me, many Christian churches today blame the unbelievers for the problems we have today, many have declared a sort of spiritual warfare against the ungodly.

I’m telling you, we need to worry about ourselves first. The ungodly will behave in an ungodly manner, and hating them while esteeming ourselves so highly will not change anything. We need to consider our own sinfulness—of which there is an abundance—enough so that God Himself might be perfectly keen on giving our country and our church over to the hand of our enemies—even the false Christ and Mystery Babylon.

The chastening we see now pales in comparison to what is to come. And we want to blame everyone but ourselves. This is not good. This will get us nowhere. There is nothing that we can accuse the unbelievers of doing that we have not also done—and we are the Christians. Should judgment not begin with us considering we carry the name of Jesus?

We are just like the children of God of old. We think that because we are “Abraham’s seed” or in other words, “Christians” that no harm will come to us. We think that because we carry the name of Jesus, we are the good ones. We harp over the sins of the world not realizing that we fueled so much of the problems we have today.

How so? We were of the “strange woman” and her spouse: Satan. We did not show this world what Jesus was really about as we should have. Being a “Christian” nation, who is to blame? If we were the light and salt of the earth, why is the nation in darkness and distasteful to God?

What will we do when our house is overtaken by the false Christ and his Whore?

“Strangers will be filled with our wealth, and our labors will be in the house of a stranger.”

Our Christianity will be utterly consumed by the ways of this world as mainstream Christianity is united with the “strange woman.” Our treasures in heaven become the wealth of the wicked because we forsook our wealth—the ways of Jesus—and adopted the ways of Satan. All the work that our Christian brethren had done before us to further our Christian faith are consumed and caught up in this great apostasy—and this is the will of God. This is our chastisement, and it is the undoing of many Christians.

I know we do not like to think in these terms. In-fact, this teaching directly opposes most ways in which Christians think about the antichrist and the great whore of Mystery Babylon. So, I expect this teaching seems Satanic—just as the teachings of Jesus seemed Satanic to the religious authorities of His day.

It brings me no satisfaction to say these things. It makes me feel sick to my stomach. I say these hard things because I love you and because I know what is coming for you if you do not turn away from the house of the “strange woman.”

You will have your “candlestick removed out of its place” as you are taken in by the deceit of the antichrist, thinking this is the return of your Lord, Jesus. You will welcome Satan because you welcome him already. He is already in your midst, just as the spirit of the “strange woman” is already in your midst—and you love them. Many of you, at least. Yet, until that day comes when the church fully joins with her, I will continue to love you as my brethren. I will keep telling you to repent of your ways so that some might be spared.

Many do not love the corrupted ways of Christianity today, but they are confused. They are confused because it seems incredibly wrong to go against anything that has the name of Jesus on it. It seems incredibly wrong to say that much of what happens in churches today in the United States is wickedness. It seems incredibly wrong to hold Christianity accountable for the troubles of our nation instead of placing the blame on the unbelievers.

However, many know this is true—they just need to hear it said from someone else. You are not wicked or crazy for thinking these things, and you are not alone in thinking these things either.

Even so, God is in control. He is still dealing patiently with us, and all Christians are to be treated as our brethren. For now. The wheat is not yet gathered to the barn, as the parable of Jesus says. Many among us seem as tares, but they are our fellow servants. We do not judge anyone before their time. We do not beat our fellow servants. If we see that something is wrong with Christianity today, we must begin by evaluating our self lest we become hypocrites.

Jesus will judge it. Those who continue to abide in the house of the “strange woman” are thrown into the lake of fire—which is the second death.

11 And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,

12 And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;

13 And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!

How do we come out from the house of the “strange woman?”

We all need the mercy of Jesus. We all have struggles with her house in some way, or at least we have at one point or another. There is no error that the blood of Jesus will not cover, but there comes a time for Christian chastisement as we read in Revelation and in the teachings of Jesus Himself. Eventually, that chastisement turns into a casting off of many, even if the name of Jesus was on their lips. This is a serious matter. We need to throw ourselves at His abundant mercy and seek Him more sincerely.

We can begin by looking at our own sins honestly. It is true that the blood of Jesus covers us after we repent and receive Him as our Lord and Savior. However, do we take His blood and forgiveness for granted? It is unlikely that we would treat a fellow human that way. We would not continue to sin against someone repeatedly without regret just because they will forgive us. That is abuse. Do not abuse the blood of Jesus.

Secondly, we can consider how we treat our fellow servants. Do we hate other Christian denominations in our heart, all the while considering that our denomination is the right one, exalted above all else? Do we turn a blind eye to the sin and false teaching of our denomination?

Thirdly, we remember that with what judgement we judge, we will be judged. This includes the sins we judge the unbelievers for as well as judgement among the church collectively. If we have sinned in some similar way yet we rebuke harshly and with cruelty, we are in hypocrisy. We are in hypocrisy anytime we bully another human being.

This also includes the way we judge the Word of God and the way we use His word for the destruction of others. This also includes our judgment about the judgment of God—specifically our mainstream ideas of eternal conscious torture—and other like ideas that degrade the name of God and of the Son. Do we want to bring this judgment to the world? “Whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

These are some basics to consider, but the main thing is to set Jesus up as the King of our life in truth. That means Jesus must be above our political affiliations, our Christian denomination, and our desire for sinful living. Jesus must instruct us in His word in spirit. If we seek Jesus first with humility, He will teach us. He will show us our errors. He will bring us out of the house of the “strange woman.”

Then, once the beams are removed from our eyes, we can hope to lead others away as well on an individual level. Christianity is of the heart, resides in the individual, and is made strong when we come together in the right spirit.  

We do not attack our nation. We do not attack churches. We do not attack our brethren. We do not attack unbelievers. We love all and hold hope for all. We show the world what Jesus is really about.

The judgement of God is brought by the hands and house of the wicked, not us, then Jesus will come and overthrow that house. This cannot be stressed enough, because murderous deeds of all varieties are a key definer of what it means to abide in the house of the “strange woman.”  

There might come a time for some Christians to perform deeds that seem unloving or destructive, but we are not in that time. Many will think they are in that time too soon, and instead of bringing the judgment of God they bring the destruction of Satan. It is after the falling away—of a full sense—that we might see some Christians performing such deeds as we see in Revelation 11 of a truth (though these might not be what we think).

Jesus will let us know when that time is should we be here, but we need to be of Him now and not of the “strange woman” lest we confuse the two and be among those who “kill thinking they do God’s service.”

Chastisement and Suffering (Complete Series)

Photo by Suleyman Sahan from Pexels

Part 1: Introduction

Do Christians experience chastisement from God? What about suffering? There are different ideas about these topics, and I expect these ideas to come up in the future, so I think it is worth looking into.

There are multiple perspectives and teachings about the chastisement of God and suffering in the life of a Christian. I would like to find reconciliation if possible or at least increase my own understanding.

For example, should a Christian feel shame? Is this chastisement? Some say that when we feel shame for sin, Satan is tempting us to lose faith or to doubt our salvation while accusing us before God, therefore we should ignore those feelings of shame and instead trust in the blood of Jesus that covers our sin and forgives us. Some say that we should ignore any idea of God’s chastisement because Jesus took our chastisement upon Himself on the cross.

Some say that when we feel ashamed for sin this is the Spirit convicting our hearts and we should listen so that we are not as a fool who despises correction. Some say that God chastises those He loves, and though chastening does not feel good, we should try to be thankful for it and after it is done, we will see the good result.

Sometimes chastisement is a form of suffering, but not all suffering is God’s chastisement. What about suffering in general? Jesus teaches that we should expect suffering, but He also provides many blessings in this life.

Some say that God is love, therefore any bad thing that happens to us comes from Satan and not God. Some say that God only wants good things for us (with an understanding of “good” in terms of a pleasant life).

Some say bad things happen to us when we anger God and good things in life indicate God’s blessing and approval (again “good” in terms of a pleasant life).

Some say that bad things happen regardless of our sin because we live in a fallen world, and these things happen independently of our sin or God’s will.

Some say that God is in control of all things, and He allows bad things to happen to us for our good.

Some say that bad things happen to us so that the glory of God is revealed, and this has nothing to do with the sin we have committed.

Some say that suffering is part of living a Christian life, and we should consider it a blessing to suffer for the name of Jesus.

Some say that we should not suffer in this world because God has not appointed us to wrath.

I think there is truth to all these ideas, but we must consider some things if we want a more well-rounded view.

I want to spend some time considering chastisement and suffering by looking to scripture and personal experience in comparison to the various ideas I have heard taught.

Part 2: Should Christians Expect Chastisement?

Should Christians expect chastisement from God? This can be a confusing topic. As Christians, we are counted as righteous before God through the blood of Jesus. Our sins are paid in full and we are forgiven. There is also a scripture in Isaiah 53 stating that Jesus bore our chastisement. Here is an excerpt:

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Jesus endured the chastisement of God on our behalf. What about scripture that indicates a reasonable expectation of chastisement for a Christian, such as that in Hebrews 12? Here is an excerpt:

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

There is also this scripture in Revelation 3 addressing the church of the Laodiceans:

15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

We might also think about this teaching of Jesus in Luke 12 regarding faithful and unfaithful servants:

45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;

46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

First, what does it mean to be a Christian? Of course, we believe in Jesus. We believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins, rose from the dead, and is sat down on the right hand of God. We believe that through faith in Jesus, we are passed from judgment into life eternal.

We are also given this understanding: through Jesus, we are joint heirs and adopted sons of God. If we are to be sons, should we not expect some chastisement? It would seem so. However, God is a good Father. As sons through faith in Jesus, we are not His enemies. He loves us, and so He will correct us. His correction can be difficult, but it is not unjust or unbearable.

Jesus bore that which was unbearable, and He helps us bear all things including the chastisement we endure as sons of God.

What sort of chastisement should a Christian expect?

Consider how a just man would chastise his children. We should have some idea of what good parenting looks like. If we who are faulty can correct our children in a just and effective manner, how much more can God?

When we are new babes in Christ, we learn of His undying love. We are forgiven, we approach God in awe, and we want to learn what faith in Jesus means. As we learn to move about, we stumble and fall. God picks us up, time and time again in love. We also experience some corrections.

As we continue to learn and grow, God expects more from us, therefore the chastening can increase if we were to go astray, but He also knows our hearts and He knows what we need. If we are trying sincerely and trust in Him, then our correction could be minimal. However, the further our hearts turn away from Him, the more severe the correction may need to be.

There is much we could think about. In any case, I believe that chastening is part of the Christian life; however, we know that the Lord does not chastise us as enemies but as sons. He is loving, merciful, and wise. He knows us individually and He knows precisely what we need.

Sometimes we feel a soft conviction in our heart. Sometimes we feel great shame and sorrow. Sometimes we have an ongoing struggle, but we admit our fault and trust in Jesus to forgive and help us overcome, therefore we have faith instead of shame and sorrow. Sometimes the Lord removes things from us, and this can include small comforts or a large-scale overturn of our world.

How do we receive the chastisement of God?

Sometimes God sends a brother to rebuke us and help us along and sometimes He speaks to us directly in spirit. Sometimes God sends an enemy.

It all depends on what we need according to our spiritual maturity, the time we are living in, and the purposes of God for each individual and for the world at large.

For those who are given much and have much required of them: Do not lay your burdens on others.

Though we all inherit eternal life, we do not inherit equal portions. God expects more from some, so He will correct some more thoroughly than He would another. This is one of many reasons why we are instructed to correct each other in the spirit of meekness.

We should protect those who are frail in the faith and encourage growth as much as is possible while remembering that Jesus is merciful, and we all bring forth differing amounts of fruit. We do not always know what state of growth another is in or how far God intends to take them.

A little good fruit is pleasing to the Lord, and we should not squash it. “A bruised reed shall he not break, and a smoking flax shall he not quench.” We should dare not offend the little ones who believe in Him. We should dare not beat out fellow servants. We should live in peace and patience, lest that which we were entrusted with is given to another.

For further clarification of this idea, visit this article: To Whom Much is Given, Much is Required

The variables pertaining to chastisement for a Christian are vast because we are individuals and Jesus is not a judicial system but our personal Lord and Savior.

In any case, we know this: God is just and merciful. Those whom He loves as sons receive what is good for them. Sometimes what we need is difficult and painful emotionally or physically, but all things work for our ultimate good: resurrection from the dead and an everlasting inheritance.

Chastisement can feel like a form of suffering, but sometimes we suffer for other reasons. Sometimes we suffer for the name sake of Jesus, not because of some wrong we have done. Such suffering helps us to grow, brings glory to God, and is an honor given to us rather than a form of correction or punishment. In the next article, I want to talk more about suffering apart from that which we endure through chastisement.

Part 3: Should Christians Expect Suffering?

Suffering is not easy to think about, so it is understandable that many would shy away from the topic. Even so, we all suffer. This life is full of difficulties. Rather than denying the reality of Christian suffering, we should consider suffering as an expected part of Christian life. In so doing, we can find strength in Jesus to endure all things.

One of the most important ideas pertaining to suffering is this: all things are working together for our good. This includes suffering.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

What might God’s purposes be for Christian suffering?

Suffering is part of life in this fallen world; however, the fall of mankind does not rob God of His sovereignty. Even when we seem to suffer for no reason, we can rest assured that God has a purpose behind every hard thing we endure—and most importantly, His purposes are good.

We live different lives and have different purposes in God, therefore the suffering we endure can vary. The resulting good purposes of God vary also. However, there is one good result of suffering that all Christians have in common: everlasting life as adopted sons of God through faith Christ Jesus.

As partakers of the adoption, Christians take the name of Jesus onto themselves. We defend His name. We grow up into His name. Most often, this entails some form of suffering.

Philippians 1:29 – For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.

Think about it. Let it really sink in. As Christians, all things we suffer are for our good as we honor the name of Jesus and as we grow up into Him.

Whether we endure suffering at the hands of others, whether we endure chastisement from God, whether we endure temptations or struggles against sin, whether we live through disasters, illness, loss of loved ones, or any form of suffering a person might encounter in this world, suffering has a positive effect. Suffering draws us closer to God. Suffering makes us better servants of those who suffer. Suffering makes us more like Jesus. Suffering for His name brings glory to God.

We don’t always respond to suffering as we should. Sometimes we complain when life gets hard. Sometimes we become afraid, sorrowful, and angry. Jesus knows our weaknesses, and He is merciful to us. He forgives us, just as He forgave His disciples. Remember Peter. He denied Jesus, but Jesus did not deny Him.

Didn’t Jesus say that those who deny Him would be denied by Him? He did, but let’s consider what this might mean. We all deny Him in small ways, and He forgives us. He makes us stronger. Lord willing, we will not deny Him in large ways, and we get there by learning not to deny Him in small ways.

There are those who deny Jesus in small ways without regard for the Name they lay claim to, and Jesus will deny them. He will say to them, “I never knew you. Depart from me you who work iniquity.” That is not the fate of any sincere Christian who strives to honor the name of Jesus and grow up into Him.

Knowing these things, let us continue to suffer for the name of Jesus, both as we defend what He stands for and as we endure the working of the Lord in us.

In all suffering, we can find comfort in the sovereignty of God and in the sacrifice of Jesus.

No evil would have power over us unless it was first given by the Father. If the Father has ordained it, then the evil we endure is for our good. If the Father has ordained it, then we know that Jesus will help us to endure it.

Jesus endured the wrath of God on our behalf, so the suffering we encounter is not that of judgment, but that of life. Jesus endured suffering so that He can comfort us through our suffering, and He makes all things bearable—even though many things feel unbearable at the time.

Should we find ourselves living in times of great trouble, we know that God is in control. We know that all suffering we endure is given to us by God. We know that all suffering we endure is for the name of Jesus. We know that the name of Jesus is the only name by which we can be saved, so though we suffer, we are not defeated. Jesus strengthens, He gives us peace, and He is our great hope. We will live with Jesus forever, and all suffering will one day come to an end.

Revelation 21:3-7 – And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Chastisement and Suffering Part 4: Final Thoughts

In this article I want to address some of the ideas mentioned in Part 1 of this series that I forgot to elaborate on.

Should Christians feel shame? Is the feeling of shame a form of chastisement from God?

A Christian might experience some form of shame before turning to Jesus, but once we have received mercy from God and forgiveness of sin should we continue to feel shame? I think it depends on the person. For some, shame is a nearly crippling force in their life already. Finding forgiveness from Jesus is a much-needed relief that makes a person free and able to begin a journey of healing from pains of the past. For others, a little bit of shame can be productive because it fosters humility, zeal for righteousness, and compassion.

In any case, a Christian is not bound to shame. In Jesus, we will move past all shame as we learn to trust in Him better. We learn that He knows everything about us, and He loves us anyway. He intends good things for us, and so when we make a mistake or struggle with sin, we can approach Him boldly and without shame. However, if we were to make a large mistake that brings dishonor to Jesus, then some feelings of shame might be appropriate. It depends on the individual circumstance.

Is shame a form of chastisement? The Lord convicts our heart of sin as His Spirit shows us the truth of our state and the truth of what God’s will is. I think the shame that follows is a natural human emotion, not something that God places in us as a form of chastisement.

God is love and He only wants good things for us. When bad things happen, Satan is to blame. Is this true?

I believe that the scriptures paint a picture of a fully sovereign God. I believe that God created Satan for a purpose, and God knows everything Satan will ever do—just as God knows everything we will ever do. God inhabits all time and all things are made by Him, upheld by Him, and fully known to Him. All things are created for His purposes, and the scriptures reveal that His purpose in creation is to “bring many sons of God to glory.”

All things, including Satan, were created as part of God’s plan to bring up His sons in Jesus Christ. All things, including Satan, are ultimately working together for our good.

Therefore, it is true that God is love and He wants good things for us. However, God’s ways are not our ways. What He deems good for us in the long run might be a form of evil in the short-term. Enduring difficulties teaches us to love righteousness, to hate sin, to lean on Jesus, and so much more.

When bad things happen to us, it is because God is angry with us. Good things in life indicate God’s blessing and approval. Is this true?

Sometimes we suffer because of chastisement. This is true. Sometimes we suffer for the namesake of Jesus and not because of any wrong we have done. If we do well, then God will bless us. This is also true. However, the blessings of God can vary a great deal depending on His purposes for each person.

Some blessings come in the form of prosperity that man deems good such as financial stability, but the most important kinds of blessings we look for are those of the Spirit. We want to find greater meaning in our Christian walk and greater service—and sometimes that means our blessing is found in suffering and poverty in this world. Many servants of Jesus have suffered and many more will suffer, not because they have done wrong, but because they are blessed.

It is a shame when we esteem so-called servants of God as blessed and approved because of their prosperity and popularity in this world when the opposite is usually the truth of the matter.

God has not appointed us to wrath; therefore, a Christian should not expect suffering. Is this true?

It is true that God has not appointed Christians to wrath. However, He does appoint us to chastisement and suffering. It can be easy to confuse the two, but they are not the same. The wrath of God is judgment and condemnation of the wicked. The chastisement of God and the suffering Christians endure brings life, not death. For context, go to 1 Thessalonians 5.

Christians have always suffered and died for the faith. Some have suffered extraordinary persecution and pain.

In the West, we are used to living in a largely Christian-friendly society. That does not mean that we are owed such an existence. In-fact, Christianity is built for persecution and hardship. Jesus teaches us to expect suffering, but He also teaches us that in Him we find the strength and the peace necessary to endure all things.

Here are additional scriptures not mentioned in Parts 2-3 that informed my view on Christian chastisement and suffering:

2 Corinthians 7:8-11

For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.

Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.

10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

Romans 5:1-5

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

John 15:18-21  

18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

John 16:1-3

These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.

They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

Acts 5:40-42

40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

Philippians 3:7-11

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

1 Peter 3:13-17

13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

1 Peter 5:8-10

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

Romans 8:16-17

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Revelation 2:8-10

And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.