Disciples of Jesus or Dependents of Man?

I’m working on an article and this has me thinking about an important question that Christians should consider, especially those who hold positions of authority—in any measure, great or small. If we do something as simple as write a blog, we should consider.

Are we creating disciples of Jesus Christ or dependents of man?

When dealing with Christian doctrine or matters of Christian living, we can spend a lot of time going through scriptures and laying everything out in a clear way. That can be beneficial, especially if it is done honestly and without biased loyalty toward a particular view or Christian sect. I know precious few who take the word of God so seriously, so it is a needful thing.

I’ve benefited from detailed bible studies, but nothing compares to struggling with an issue on your own with help of the scriptures and the Holy Spirit.

As someone who writes about Christianity, I’m trying to find the right balance. I don’t want to do all of the work necessarily, because that is not always what’s most beneficial. Yet, we all need some support and guidance. I certainly do.

However, many Christian leaders are more interested in creating dependents–not disciples. Dependents make leaders rich. Dependents maintain the position and social status of their leaders. Dependents hold up Christian systems that should fall to the ground.

The goal is not to gather followers unto ourselves, but to help Christians follow Jesus more closely and learn to trust in Him instead of overdependence on men, including Christian educational systems, Christian sects and denominations, and Christian leaders of all varieties.

As Christians, we should help each other. We are a body in Christ, which is an incredible thing. We are all given gifts that are to be used for the benefit of the whole, and we should revere the gifts God gives us and others. We should also be cautious because many are among us who are not really of us. We need leaders and teachers who can help keep us safe until we are mature enough to spot the difference.

However, we do not want to be overly dependent on any Christian person or system. I think we have a pandemic of this sort of dependence, and that leads to a massive number of immature Christians.

The last thing I want to do is add to this problem. So, this is something I try to be aware of, though I don’t know how to walk that thin line perfectly by any means. It would be wonderful to find that balance. I think that balance is the key to solving many of our problems in Christian society, especially within our churches.

In any case, I write this because I want all of us to be aware. We should be aware of ourselves and of our leaders and pray for us all. I want you to hold me accountable too and keep me in your prayers as I pray for any who read the words I write.

Do you have thoughts on this topic that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear other experiences and points of view.

Considering Proverbs 2:20-22

20 That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.

21 For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.

22 But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.

From a Christian perspective, if we keep the commandments of God through the teachings of Jesus the Christ, we will learn what righteousness is. We will learn from Christians who have walked before us and with us, and together we will hold each other up. We will hold each other accountable for our actions lovingly and encourage one another to grow stronger in the faith.

There is a land that Christians dwell in: The Kingdom of Heaven. We know that we will be perfect when we reach that land, so we should be growing towards that end. Jesus said, “be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect”(Matthew 5). That is a lofty command. We know that in this present life, we are only made perfect through the blood of Jesus and faith in His sacrifice.

However, we also know that the Lord works mightily in our lives to transform our inner man into His image (2 Corinthians 4). Overtime, according to the faith and time on this earth we are given, we should begin to experience the Kingdom of Heaven even now. Then, when Jesus returns to overthrow the “strange woman” and her lover, Jesus will establish His Kingdom and those who are perfect will live there with Him.

I also think about a Christian goal. We are to live in this world without being corrupted by the world (1 John 2). When considering all that is going on here in the United States and around the world, it is good to know that Jesus can provide us with the wisdom and strength to “maintain our vessel in sanctification” (1 Thessalonians). If we follow the ways of Jesus Christ, we will be “wise virgins” with our lamps full and ready! (Matthew 25)

I don’t know how to do this perfectly, and I don’t know anyone who does aside from the blood of Jesus, but we can get better at following Jesus without allowing the wickedness of the world to overcome us and pull us into sinfulness.

I would like to think that the wicked who reject Jesus will not succeed in taking over our country. I would like to think that they will be removed from us so that our nation can live “under God” as it was created to. Maybe that will happen, then maybe not.

In any case, we know that the godless and those who reject Jesus will not inherit everlasting life in the Kingdom of Heaven. When Jesus returns, He will overthrow them. Vengeance is His, and He will avenge those who love and serve Him. Knowing this can help us to maintain our vessel without fear or giving into corruption, no matter how dark the world gets.

For today, I am going to recap all that I have learned so far from this study in Proverbs and think on these things. I would like to read all of the chapters of the bible cited also. If you have something you’d like to discuss, something I might have missed, or a question, please feel free to leave a comment.

Considering Proverbs 2:16-19

16 To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;

17 Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.

18 For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.

19 None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.

I probably should have made this clearer to begin with: I am not a bible scholar. That might be obvious already. I’ve only read the Proverbs a few times, and I don’t know what other people say about them. Not much anyhow. I’m writing about these in the moment, as an exercise for myself in consistency, communicating with the Spirit, and as a safeguard against despair, as mentioned in earlier articles.

However, my way of seeing things might be different than your way or someone else’s way. This is one person’s interpretation, taken in light of modern events and Christian perspective, and changeable as new information comes out. If you want a concrete interpretation that is scholarly and widely accepted, then you might prefer a different bible study series, and there is nothing wrong with that.

All that aside, what do I think about here? I’ve been thinking more about the personification used in the Proverbs. There are two women in the Proverbs, and the distinction between the two can be used to help us understand multiple things.

We can take this as a general distinction between a godly and ungodly woman, which is useful for today’s women, wives, and mothers, as I mentioned in an earlier article within this series. We can also replace these women with other female personified entities, like nations. I think that would work well too. We can also consider these women as a personification of the Christian church while comparing what we read here to Revelation’s Mystery Babylon and the woman in Revelation 12.

That is one thing I love about the word of God! He can speak so many wonderful things to us in such short order. In one book, we can glean so much that will help us to be better people, have better family lives, to be more faithful Christians, and to stand against deceit on a massive scale. How awesome is that!?

If we consider all these interpretations of the “strange women,” how might the scripture above apply?

As an individual that reflects women today, we can think about much. On the surface, we can consider adulterous women who lure men off and away from their wives. Women such as that have a way about them. They are good at flattery, seduction, and leading men off to their doom while destroying marriages and families.

It is good for a man to learn about this, to be wise, and to refrain from the tactics of adulterous women. It is good for a man to know how devastating it is to go after such a woman. It is good for a woman to know how destructive it is to be such a person. There is a lot that goes on within women like this and within men who are drawn to them, so a lot could be said about it. There are voids that Jesus needs to fill, if He so chooses.

As any sinner, forgiveness is possible. However, such sins are especially life-altering and deadly. All young men and women need to have a good lesson in this before they become married.

What if we consider this in terms of a nation, like the United States? I love what true Lady Liberty stands for, but there is another woman creeping up. She is a stranger in this land, and she does not belong here! She flatters. She forsakes her Christian heritage and the sacrifice of her fathers. She despises the masculine, devours the poor with deceitfulness, and leads the people to their ruin. If we go after her, we will not return again. Our nation will perish.

What if we consider this in terms of the church? There are many within the church that use flattery to fill their church benches and bank accounts. They speak soft words of comfort with no exhortation to righteous living. They make light of sin and even celebrate it. They make the grace of God into wicked living, and they wear the blood of Jesus in vain. They forsake His ways. They do not repent. They teach half-truth gospels. They lead people to their death, and many who follow them do not return. They get to hear what they want to hear, and that is fitting.

As for Mystery Babylon, we can speculate. We are not quite there yet, but I imagine she will look a lot like a mixture of all of these we see here. She celebrates ungodly women while destroying our men, gets her power from an ungodly government, and claims to be a Christian while she rejects Jesus at the same time. She speaks flattery and falsehood. Those who stand against her are hated and destroyed, but Jesus will avenge. He will raise His faithful servants from the dead and those who follow this strange woman will perish forever.

It is good for us to live in this time. We are seeing glimpses of what is to come. We can become stronger in Christ Jesus, learn from our history and from the scriptures, and prepare ourselves should the day of destruction—the day of the strange women and her lover—come upon us.

I will be thinking about this today. What weaknesses do I have that would make it more difficult to stand in such a day—sin in particular—that makes me prone to vanity, covetousness, pride, fear, murder, and blindness?

Exhortation Against False Pretense

If there is one thing I hate above all else, it is maliciously false pretense. There are people who use the guise of compassion, care, justice, and so on for their own agendas of self-gratification and control over others. The motivations are vast, usually jealousy or the need for praise and power.

It seems like I see pretense everywhere. Is that because I am pretentious? We often see what lies within ourselves. We also learn from experience, and I suppose it is a blessing to have dealt with much pretense from others. There is much to learn from that, and it is a kind of safe-guard against deceit. So, I am thankful.

I don’t mean to boast, because I have struggled with a lot of sin and I know that any good thing in me is of God. Unless I am blind, pretentiousness one thing the Lord has spared me from. If anything, I am too honest, even to the point of lacking tactfulness, proper social boundaries, and patience. Even so, I understand and feel compassion for pretense—to a degree.

We all wear masks in some way, or most of us do. We all have a nice face that we put on, for example. If you’re like me, then you have a multifaceted personality and different people see different parts of you. A few see more, closer to the whole of you. That is not the same as being fake or pretentious. Even so, I do understand. The world is unkind and sometimes it is easier to just pretend. Not all pretense is malicious, but it is not honest either. We should strive to be real with ourselves and others. We don’t have to reveal our whole self. In-fact it is often unwise to. However, we don’t have to put on a false persona either.

I understand the temptation to false persona, and I don’t hate it when a person struggles with this honestly. It’s malicious pretense, without repentance, that blames others, sews conflict, and inflicts damage that is so problematic. Especially when the pretense is exposed. Oh, how they hate that. How murderous they become.

There is something about a person, societal ideal, political agenda, or religious system of pretense that I absolutely despise, and I think God despises this too. He will search it out and deal with it. All things are under His control. Thank the Lord for that.

In this time of wearing masks, let us put down our masks (I speak metaphorically). Be wise in who you share yourself with, but there is no need for pretense. I personally will no longer stand for it. If I find pretense, I will call it out for what it is. I will not look the other way any longer. Lord willing, the pretense will be repented of, forgiven, and healed. If not, then not.

A note of caution: we cannot judge the intentions of others—and that is tricky business when dealing with pretense. We should be careful lest we be false accusers. The Spirit makes things known to us according to the Lord’s will, and I trust in Him. If I accuse falsely, then I deserve chastisement and I expect that. If I judge rightly, then God will handle that too.

Meanwhile, let us all be on guard against our own pretense, however large or small it might be, and seek Jesus so that all truth comes to light. If we love the truth we will not be deceived.

A Series on Sin Part 4: The Gospel

There is only one person who has walked this earth without sin: Jesus, the Son of God. We’ve probably heard this scripture before, but if not, then now is a good time to hear it:

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Jesus was not born to condemn the world for its sins, but to save us from them. He does not have to condemn us because we are condemned already. We have sinned and we will face the judgment of God and the just punishment for our sin: death (I encourage reading the entire chapter of John 3).

God has given all judgment to the Son. Jesus walked this earth as a man, and although He was sinless, He understands our nature and He has much compassion for us.

If we put our faith in Jesus, we will pass from judgment to life.

John 5:21-25

21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.

22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

24 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.

25 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.

Jesus will save every person that He intends to save. He died on the cross for our sin. He took our punishment, and that might seem barbaric or foolish to some, but to those who receive His sacrifice it is the best news of all. It is life (1 Corinthians 1).

Jesus will raise us from the dead so that we can live with the Lord forever in His Kingdom. That is the good news—and there is more.

We do not have to wait for death to enjoy the benefits of the Kingdom of Heaven. If we love Jesus and learn His ways—if we hear His voice—we begin to experience the things of heaven now in this present life. The ways of Jesus bring truth and life to those who live thereby.

However, our nature is very contrary to the ways of Jesus. So, we need to be forgiven. We need to regret our sin, pray for forgiveness, and seek Jesus for strength so that we can find freedom from the sins that we are easily entangled in. If we continue and seek Jesus in faith, He sends us the Holy Spirit (John 14). The Holy Spirit shows us the truth, and by the truth we are made free!

Overtime, the Holy Spirit will change our natures into that of Jesus Christ. There is none good like Him, but He is the mark Christians should aim for. The more we learn about Jesus and the closer we get to Him, the more we hit the mark, and the less we “miss the mark” which is to sin.

As we put on this new nature, we are “taking up our cross” also (Matthew 16). We must die to sin and that often means going through troubling and painful times. However, we are not alone in these times. Jesus is with us. So, we call out to Him. We pray often. We forge a relationship with the Lord so that we are made stronger in our faith and so that we can serve Him better.

When we are saved from death, we enter the service of Jesus. He will provide us with everything we need to perform that service, but we cannot expect to continue living as we once did. It is a process of many ups and downs, but Jesus is faithful and true. We struggle. We fight against sin. We fail and we overcome by His power.

We strive to serve Jesus by living a good Christian life that preaches the gospel to others—not just in word—but in action. Jesus shows us what this looks like. He lived it.

We are not bound to the destruction of this world. We can live for a greater kingdom through faith in Christ Jesus.

The gospel is more than an escape from God’s wrath. It is a gift that provides us with a great freedom that no kingdom of this world can provide.

We can find true love in a world of hate, happiness amidst hardship, peace in fearful times, patience and forgiveness towards those who hate us, self-control and power over sin the destroys us, and so much more.

The riches of the Kingdom of Heaven are innumerable and far more precious than any earthly treasure or the pleasures of sinful living. It is worth seeking, and as Jesus teaches, those who seek will find. “Blessed are those who seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

Whether we are considering the gospel for the first time or for the hundredth time, today is the day of our salvation. Seek more of the Kingdom today and each day! Jesus is strong to save and He will.

For more about the Christian faith, check out this article series: Christian Faith (Complete Series).

Does a Christian sin? How should a Christian treat sinners? There is some debate over these questions, so I want to write about that in the next article within this series.

Considering Proverbs 2:9-15

Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.

10 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;

11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:

12 To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;

13 Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;

14 Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;

15 Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:

I use the King James because I grew up with it, but I understand that it can be challenging to read at times. I looked up the meaning of some of the Old English words to help with understanding. If you use another version of the Bible, you might get a slightly different take on this.

  • Equity: evenness, uprightness, equity
  • Discretion: purpose, discretion, device
  • Froward: perverse

In any case, I think we can see a general meaning. If we walk in the commandments of Jesus, we will learn what righteousness is and how to order our lives accordingly.

This requires good judgement and a sense of justice. Jesus teaches us that we are judged by the judgments we make, and we are making judgments every day. There is no such thing as “judge not.” However, we can learn to judge more uprightly over time, and we will if we are mindful of our judgments and seek Jesus often to help us.

When the wisdom of the Lord enters our hearts and becomes a part of who we are, we find greater appreciation for knowing the things of God—especially as we know them in an intimate way through the working of the Spirit within us, changing us into the likeness of Jesus overtime.

That is our purpose. We are being transformed into new creatures. We are to “put on the divine nature.” We are being raised up into sons of God (Hebrews 2:10). All things that we go through are working towards this end, and the promises of our salvation will keep us.

If we follow the wisdom that Jesus gives us, we will find our way out of the wicked ways of this world, including wicked speech. Wicked speech does not care for the righteous ways of God. Wicked speech speaks worldly wisdom. Wicked speech brings unnecessary strife and division. Wicked speech is murderous. Wicked speech leads people towards destruction.

It is not so easy to tame the tongue, as James wrote:

James 3:2-6

For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.

Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.

Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

It can be difficult to learn the ways of the Lord and to depart from evil ways. I am thankful to know that my salvation is hinged on the mercy and grace of Jesus, not my righteousness, which is as “filthy rages.” I am also thankful to know that Jesus can change my nature, and although that often means going through challenges, He will lead the way.

By the grace of God, we do not love the paths of the wicked, although we struggle against them. We might even love certain sins, but we hate them also and the Lord understands our nature. He will help us overcome if we keep seeking Him.

It is a gift of the Lord that we should delight in doing what is right. Many people love doing wickedness, speaking wickedness, and every evil way. It is a blessing to see the wisdom of the Lord that can bring us out of the ways of darkness. We should be thankful and attentive to these things, to the best of our ability, and continue seeking Jesus to help us grow stronger in the Spirit.

Today I will be thinking about righteous judgment, taming my tongue, and thanking Jesus for dealing mercifully and patiently with us. I will be thinking about how I can do a better job of extending mercy and patience towards others.

Considering Proverbs 2:1-8

My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;

So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;

Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;

If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;

Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.

For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.

He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.

What are the commandments for a Christian? Here are some scriptures that come to mind:

John 15:12-17

12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.

Matthew 22: 36-40

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

John 14:15-20

15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

For a Christian, the commandments we follow are few, but they are anything but simple. Jesus instructs us to love God and to love others—and not just when it’s easy. It can be difficult to love God and others as we should, and very often we don’t really know how.

We need to let the wisdom of God sink down into our heart and apply the teachings of Jesus to our lives. Every day we are met with choices and challenges. If we seek the wisdom of the Lord and call out to Him, He will show us the way. We will learn how to navigate difficult situations uprightly, even in a wicked, cruel, and deceptive world. That is a great treasure!

I think about what Jesus said regarding the kingdom of heaven: “the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45-46)

The commandments of God that show the way in a dark world are more valuable than any earthly treasure.

That is important to know when dealing with earthly poverty or overabundance. Sometimes the “deceitfulness of riches” clouds our vision, and we forget to walk in the love of Jesus. If we are greedy or envious of the wealth of others, that is not good. If we are unthankful for our prosperity, in whatever measure we are given, that is not good. If we are fearful of poverty to the point that we do not trust in Jesus, that is not good.

Matthew 6:24-34

24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

If we put Jesus first and seek to learn His ways, then He will take care of our needs. He will provide us with the necessities of this life—and most importantly—He will continue to work on our hearts so that we can keep the commandments of God.

Jesus also provides us with protection from the enemy. He gives us the most powerful weapon and shield of all: His word. By His word the world was made. By His word man lives and dies. We do not need to be afraid.

Luke 21:12-15

12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.

13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony.

14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:

15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

We should strive to have greater and greater have faith in these things:

Jesus made a way for us when He died on the cross and rose again. Through Him, we have wise judgement and He will preserve us in the ways of His righteousness—the ways of love towards God, Christian brothers and sisters, and even our enemies. Jesus will provide everything we need, so we trust in Him. This includes knowledge for handling difficult situations and strength, basic necessities like food and shelter, and even the best weapon that exists: the word of God!

I have a lot to think about today. How can I love Jesus better? How can I love Christians better? How can I love enemies better with hopes of turning them to Jesus? Do I have faith that Jesus will provide for my needs instead of allowing the “deceitfulness of riches” to cloud the way? Do I have faith that Jesus will give me wise words to speak when needed? If I walked in these things better, I might find that “peace that surpasses all understanding.” How wonderful!

Considering Proverbs 1:28-33

28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:

29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord:

30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.

31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.

32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.

33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

When a person, a people, a society, or a nation departs from the ways of God, destruction follows.

This is especially true for a person, people, society, or nation that was Christian. However, we do not confuse the destruction and wrath of God with chastisement.

Those who are sincere in the faith experience chastisement of the Lord. Although this is not pleasant, this is a good thing. As the scriptures indicate, God chastises those who he loves (Hebrews 12:6). This is not the “calamity of the wicked” or “desolation.”

We might feel as though God has turned His back on us, but He has not. He is setting us right because He loves us, and He wants to save us from our foolishness. So, if we love Jesus, we should not give up when the chastisement of the Lord comes. Maybe we experience individual chastisement or maybe we are caught up in the chastisement of a nation. Either way, we should trust in the Lord and do our best to focus on good things.

If we call on the name of Jesus, He will answer! We face our sin. We decide to do better. We turn to Jesus for forgiveness and power to overcome. We do not turn back and turn away from the Lord. Those who turn away from the Lord will perish, and they will not find any help.

Those who are not sincerely following the faith of Jesus or otherwise depart from the faith experience more than mere chastisement. They face the wrath of God.

The foolishness of godless men and women eventually comes to its full. This can happen on a lesser and greater scale, as mentioned in the beginning of this article. We can apply this to an individual, a group of people, a society, a nation, or the entire world.

When the foolishness of their own godless ways comes crashing down on them, they will see the foolishness of it all. Though God is patient and hears the repentant, His patience runs out eventually. We only have one life. When the judgment of God comes for a person, society, or nation, they will look for wisdom, but it will be too late. They will have to deal with the consequences—the fruit—of their worldly ways, which is their destruction.

I think matters are made worse when the foolish prosper and rise to power because there is no place they can go for help when the “fruit of their doings” comes into being. How much more when this happens on a global scale? When this occurs, Jesus will return with great vengeance (Revelation 14:15-20).

In all things, we should consider ourselves first. Sometimes we are our own on greatest enemy. Sometimes we have to deal with the “fruit of our doings” in some measure because Jesus loves us. However, we do not need to be afraid of evil or of the wicked. We do not need to be afraid of God’s wrath—though we should respect His power.

Jesus will keep us and avenge us, and His vengeance is not something we should be overly eager for. We should pray for those who harm us, hoping that Jesus will open their hearts to Him. If we want His wrath to come so badly, we might find His wrath directed towards us instead (I think that is in the proverbs too).

So, we work on ourselves. We face our sins and sometimes we live through troubling consequences. We do not lose faith in Jesus no matter how hard things get. We know that His wrath is not for us. Even if we were to lose our lives at the hands of the wicked or in some cataclysmic event that God brings about, Jesus will raise us from the dead when He returns to overthrow the powers of this world and establish His kingdom.

Side note: As of today, I do not believe that we are end the end times. I write this because I know my writings lately have that feel to them. I do think that our nation is at a critical turning point, and I feel that my own life is at a critical turning point as well. So, for me, I am living in a sort of “end times.” I also want to point out that Jesus does not return until “the abomination that makes desolate” is revealed. The false Christ will come first, so we should not be deceived. This side note is what I will be thinking about today.

For Christians in Despair

Do Christians feel depressed? Shouldn’t we be full of joy, which is a fruit of the Spirit? I am often in awe of my tendency to fall into depression, and I’m certain that I’m not the only one, especially these days. Sometimes it helps to know that other Christians struggle just as we do, so I feel compelled to write a little about this.

I’ve been prone to depression for as long as I can remember. The last severe bout came about 6 years ago. This was when I turned my life to Jesus in a meaningful way. Since then, I have had times when I felt down to lesser and greater degrees, but never like it was before. Forming a relationship with Jesus does help. It helps to focus on Him and His promises. It helps to read the scriptures. It helps to take our focus off the world and ourselves so that we can serve others.

That is one of the reasons why I have been writing so much lately. I have some self-centered motivations, I guess. I know it might seem like too much to write most every day, if not every day, but I feel like I will die if I do not. I know that is not becoming of a Christian to be so melancholy, but it is my nature, and for some reason that nature is doing its best to kill me lately. Jesus will overcome it, I know, but maybe this is part of that.

I am not the strongest, brightest, or most upright person. I do love the things of God though, and I thank the Lord for all He has done. I thank the Lord for blessings in this life. He gives us thankfulness, joy, and peace, even when we feel despair at the same time. So, it’s not like it’s just one or the other—thankfulness, joy, and peace or complete misery and despair. Sometimes we have both, and sometimes we need something extra to get us out of the muck and mire of this world.

So, I am doing the only thing I know to do. I am trying to do some work for the Lord. I am focusing my mind in His word so that maybe I can use my ever-over-thinking mind and the difficulties I have gone through to help other people. I need to do this.

If you’re going through depressing times, maybe serving Jesus is just what you need too. Maybe it means helping someone in your family or community. Maybe it means using a talent that God gave you to glorify Jesus. Maybe it means studying the bible more or praying more so that your mind is occupied on good things instead of the chaos and calamity of this life.

Many people are going through hard times right now, and if you are one of them, you are not alone. Sometimes we feel like God is so far away, but He is near! He hears us and He does not despise us in our affliction. Everything is working in our favor because we have the favor of God on our side! Do what Jesus calls you to do. Find your calling in His Kingdom, keep building your relationship with Jesus, and focus on the promises of His salvation. I will do the same, and I am here for you too.

Drunken with Blood

The topic of violence has been on my mind for a few weeks. I wonder if violence is ever acceptable for Christians. Are there times when Christians should take up arms and fight for a just cause?

It seems that Christians should defend those who are weaker than us or dependent on us. It seems that we should fight for the future of our children. If brave men did not fight against injustice, then we would not have the freedoms that we have (I speak of the United States).

However, do we love violence in any measure? Do we love to destroy people with our words? Do we feel a sense of gratification when we make other people look foolish? Do we love the idea of physical violence towards those who oppress ourselves and others? Are we over-eager for God to swoop down and exact His vengeance? It should not be so for a Christian.

If violent actions of any kind cause us to feel proud or if we feel empowered by our wrath towards others, then we might be in a state of spiritual drunkenness. We are not thinking about the teachings of Jesus.

Jesus teaches us to love our enemies, bless them that curse us, and repay evil with good. I do believe that we can pray that the Lord turn our enemies away from us or convert them, and I cannot imagine a man of God who would stand by and watch the wicked murder the feeble.

Maybe defending the weak against attack is not violence, but justice. That is a dangerous area though depending on how we define the weak and the attackers. Today we see many who are killing in the name of justice, supposedly.

In Revelation 17 we read about a woman who is “drunken with the blood of saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” This is Mystery Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth. This post is not about her, but I notice that she is drunken with blood. She loves violence.

I am also reminded of these scriptures:

1 Thessalonians 5:14-23

14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

16 Rejoice evermore.

17 Pray without ceasing.

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

19 Quench not the Spirit.

20 Despise not prophesyings.

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

22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 1: 4-12

So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:

Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:

Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:

12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

What about the two witnesses in Revelation (the two churches who were not removed from their place)? How can their violence be justified? I have wrestled with that question, and I considered a nonviolent interpretation.

I considered that maybe they did not use the power of plagues they were given as a show of restraint in a blood-thirsty world. I considered that maybe the fire that proceeds out of their mouths and devours enemies is the word of God. Simply speaking the truth of God in that time would result in the death of many because they hated the truth and continued killing the people of God.

Maybe this is a large-scale case that resembles Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. Ananias and Sapphira were Christians, or so the claimed. I believe that Mystery Babylon is a group that also claims to be Christian, but they have “committed fornication” with the beast and false prophet, thinking that they do God’s service. If this is the case, then I can see how a word of God out of the mouth of His true church would be used to kill.

We are also told that they spoke these words, “if any man would hurt them.” Maybe it is a defensive thing.

In any case, these are just thoughts. I do not speak with authority. I do think we should consider ourselves. Do we love violence in any measure? There is a time for all things, but for now at least, I think we should grow in faith, patience, and waiting on the Lord. Let His word do the fighting for us. I think that is right in this time, as a general rule at least.