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.

To Whom Much is Given, Much is Required

This article is meant to clarify and aside contained within the article, Chastisement and Suffering Part 2: Should Christians Expect Chastisement?

Someone was concerned about the idea of some Christians inheriting more than others.

I greatly appreciate comments. I appreciate people who care enough about the Christian faith and about me as a fellow servant in Christ to call things into question if a concern arises. It is good for us to hold one another accountable, to question issues that need clarification, and to hold respectful discussions.

If one person had concerns, then I expect others might too, so I want to publish this clarification. I did not include the comments made by the reader, because they indicated a desire to speak to me privately but found no means by which to contact me (something I need to remedy). I want this person to have the ability to delete their comments if they choose to.

Below you will find the original statement made within the article along with my attempts at making a more cohesive point during our discussion—though I was long-winded as usual. If you have anything to add, please leave a comment. I intend to create an email address associated with this website soon. I will publish a notification when that email is created.

“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.”

It helps if we think about what it means to inherit more. A “greater” inheritance means greater service. Think of what Jesus said about whosoever is greatest in the Kingdom is servant of all (Matthew 23:11).

Of course, Jesus is the first and the last. He is the King of Kings and also the Servant of Servants. The greater the responsibility, the greater the need for service and sacrifice.

We see this illustrated in scriptures such as the parable of the talents in which Jesus stated that those who were faithful in the least things are given a few cities, those who are faithful in greater things are given more cities (Luke 19).

Now, we do not fully understand what we will be doing in God’s Kingdom, but we know that we will serve. Jesus also said that when He returns, we will not sit around and enjoy carnal pleasures, but we will immediately wait on Him (Luke 17:7). We will rule with Him, and we are not given the same amount of rule or service.

We see this presently. Some are given to be apostles and prophets, some teachers, some helpers, and so on (Ephesians 4). All are important and no one should see themselves as something greater (in-fact we are instructed to esteem others as higher than ourselves). Even so, some forms of service entail a higher office, and this requires more self-sacrifice and a finely tuned walk with Jesus. For example, a pastor is given some strict guidelines, and it is not possible or fair to hold all believers to that standard (Titus).

In this life, the greater the service, the more we need to show ourselves able to obey Jesus. So, it makes sense that Jesus would finely tune those who He is fitting for greater service. He says somewhat of this when He speaks of some being beaten with few stripes verses those beaten with lesser stripes. He also says somewhat of this when He says that we bring forth differing amounts of fruit.

In any case, we all need the grace of God. None of us will achieve perfection in this life apart from the blood of Jesus. Yet, we aim to have our inner man conformed to His image and we are rewarded according to the measure of faith and grace given to us. When we are raised from the dead, we will all be as Jesus is (1 John). However, we will not all receive the same level of service—neither in the present-day experience of His Kingdom or in the everlasting Kingdom. And with greater service comes great responsibility and need for a finely tuned walk. Great service also means greater sacrifice, so we should consider what cup we are asking for before we go after greater service. At least, that is my understanding.

(More clarification was needed in terms of “greatness” bestowed upon man by God)

What I mean by great is not great in terms of hierarchy of importance according to the vanity and pride of man, but of weight of responsibility and service. Mankind does not like to think that God would give greater responsibility to some than others. He said so Himself in the parable of the workers of the field: “Is your eye evil because my eye is good? Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with what is mine.” This entails doing as you mentioned in quoting Matthew 5:19, not a task of usurping God’s glory, but bringing Him glory through doing and teaching His word.

We do not compare ourselves to each other, but to Jesus. In doing so, we do not esteem ourselves as “greater.” I think of what Paul the apostle wrote. He wrote that our weaker members receive greater honor. Those who are weak among us should be favored because they need care all the more (1 Corinthians 12:23). Again, this goes against the ways of man. It is indeed true, our thoughts are not His thoughts, nor our ways His ways.

The point I was making in this assertion, in the context of chastisement, is this: Some people begin to esteem themselves highly as some great minister of God. Yet, they beat their fellow servants over the head with scripture and “chastisement.” In reality, someone “great” is servant. Someone “great” has greater responsibility and therefore should expect chastening and fine-tuning in their walk with the Lord so they might be a more effective minister. It is unfair to hold others to that standard (a standard many ministers hold to others yet refuse to hold to themselves). If faithful, then those who serve now will continue to serve in the Kingdom to come, and we will not serve equally. God can do what He will with what is His.

It seems that those who truly receive “greater” service would know that it is of God and would not feel puffed up in it, but humbled by it and sober-minded due to the gravity of the service.

Considering Proverbs 5:6-9

Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.

Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.

Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:

Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel:

We don’t want to be moveable in the sense that we are as “reeds shaken in the wind, tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine.” However, we do want to consider things as fully as we can.

There are recent things written that I want to attempt to bring together more cohesively—particularly the attributes of the church and of our nation that seem to resemble the ways of the “strange woman.”

What are the attributes? This has to do with the way we treat one another. It has to do with false accusations, slander, and murderous intentions. It has to do with the hypocrisy of considering ourselves and our position to be right and superior as we point out the faults of the other party and ignore our own. It has to do with division of contention among our nation and among the household of the faith. It has to do with disloyalty to the ways of Jesus while honoring the wicked ways of this world as we embrace sinful living and ungodly culture.

These are the things we need to “come out of her” concerning.

Our country and our church can be separate and united or separate and divided.

Consider our country. We have states, and each state has their own power. We have the Federal government that oversees all. We have different political parties. This is well and good because it prevents too much power from accruing in one place and allows for each person to live according to his or her conscience.

However, the more polarized our views become, and the more we do the things mentioned above that are characteristic of the “strange woman,” the more division of the deadly sort we are going to see in our country.

Our Christian nation is the same. We have many different denominations and sects, but there is one Lord over all of them. This is well because it prevents too much power from accruing in one place and allows for each person to live according to his or her conscience.

However, the more Christians are caught up in the characteristics of the “strange woman,” the more division of a deadly sort we are going to see, and our Christian body will be conquered as it was in Israel—but in Jesus, we do not die. His blood forgives us, though He will chastise us for “beating our fellow servants.”

The more the nation and the church goes the way of the “strange woman” the more necessary it becomes that we do not go along with her, and it begins with the house of God.

Our pet doctrines and legalism are problems, though good comes from these things just as the division of states and political parties. Even so, we could come together more fully if we were able to consider the spirit of the scripture better. We can also agree to disagree on many things. That is fundamental. We do not want to overly control our brothers and sisters but allow for liberty so the Spirit can lead us and work on individuals according to His wisdom.

Many Christians are of this mind already. You can choose a demonization that best fits your views and still love other Christians. That does not make you of the “strange woman.” It is when we do as she does—which is also as Satan does—that we are like her.

I hope that makes sense.

We can go to church if we can find one that will accept us. The house that we do not want to come near is the spiritual house of Satan—the house of hypocrisy that slanders and lies, accuses, murders, and considers itself to be above all while embracing sinful living and all manner of life contrary to the teachings of Jesus.

The house of Satan and the “strange woman” is found spiritually within all Christian denominations and sects, just like the real body of Christ is found spiritually among all Christian denominations and sects.

Though divided, we are united in Him, and I do hope that one day our Christian brothers and sisters will find greater unity so that our country—a nation founded on Christian ideas—will not be overtaken by the “strange woman.”

The freedoms we enjoy and the good attributes that underpin the foundation of our nation are based in Christ. Without Christ, you cannot have a self-governing people. You will have authoritarianism, and this will bring more accusation, strife, murder, and so on.

We do not want to “give our honor to others and our years to the cruel.” We need to consider the hard truths concerning our nation and our church, but we can do so with patience and love because we are all faulty humans. We do not take up vengeance. We do not harm anyone. As Jesus said, we are to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”

The ungodly will destroy themselves. The ungodly nation will turn on itself, our churches, and on Christianity, and they have begun to do so already. This is God’s will as written in Revelation 17 and in Revelation 2-3 when God threatens to “remove your candlestick out of its place.” This is a means of His chastisement for those who are caught up in the ways of the wicked, “strange woman.”

Therefore, we need to “come out of her” now and I expect this journey out will continue to become more necessary as she matures. God willing, she will not. God willing, our nation will pull through and Christianity will thrive in a prosperous land.

Whatever happens, we know that God is in control and all things are working out for our ultimate good. Whatever happens to our nation and to Christianity within our nation, we know that our true loyalty and nation is the Kingdom of Heaven, and Jesus will not allow His kingdom to be taken over.

Please do not fall into accusation, and please do not use my writings to do so. There is a “Great Whore of Mystery Babylon” but we do not attribute that to our fellow servants. There is a distinction that needs to be understood, and we can deceive ourselves into thinking that we stand against her when we are actually of her. It is so easy to do. We need to “come out of her.”

There is the spirit of The Accuser, The Slanderer, The Murderer, The Liar, and He who “exalts himself above God.” We are not of that spirit. We are of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, and in Him, we are united, and we can find even greater unity (I believe we will of necessity). In Him, we have an everlasting habitation no matter what happens on this earth.

What about myself? I have been tempted by “the strange woman.” As someone who found herself on the outskirts of Christian denominations and politics, I wrestled for several years with this spirit because I could either see everyone as an enemy or love everyone, and my corruption of heart was more aligned with viewing everyone as an enemy and desiring that Jesus would “call down fire from heaven” and destroy it all. I did not know “what spirit I was of.”

Now, I want to focus most on what we have in common. I want to focus most on the goodness we can bring to this world. I want to focus most on building one another up. However, there are matters of rot as mentioned in the last article that need to be dealt with—and I know these matters because I have fought them within myself—and it is not what we might naturally think. I still fight. She is a present force of temptation for me, so if she bares her fangs please pray for me. Jesus will deliver me fully from her, and I know He will deliver us all.

I am working on communicating these issues better, so thank you to those who are patient with me and who pray for me.

Considering Proverbs 5:1-5

My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:

That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.

For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:

But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.

Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.

To begin, I want to again mention my take on the two, contrasting women in Proverbs. There is the upright woman and the wicked woman. I believe that we can apply the characteristics of these women to other entities that are commonly represented as women within scripture, those being actual women either at an individual level or as a gender collectively, a nation, and the Christian church.

That being said, we could interpret this passage in many ways.

The thoughts that are foremost in my mind when reading this concern a takeover of the United States by ungodly women and their social movements—of which we see on the rise today, along with our Christian nation who is deceived by such social movements among other forms of antichristian corruption—of which we also see on the rise today.

With this in mind, consider the ways of the strange woman.

She is a smooth talker. Her words are sweet and palatable. However, for all her seeming to be good, her ending is “bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.” Her path leads to death.

We see so much of this today in our nation.

So many of our people are deceived by smooth talking. So many are deceived by lies and plots of destruction that are wrapped up in a guise of love. So many are divided against one another in unproductive ways through movements rooted in false accusations and slander, thereby the truly wicked are hidden in plain sight while we fight one another.

Those who would destroy our nation speak as if they love the poor, the minorities, the oppressed within the evils of Capitalism, and portray a sort of philanthropic persona that makes any who oppose seem to be hateful and unconcerned about the wellbeing of others.

What lies behind her veil of deceit?

The truth of the matter is utter disregard for the wellbeing of others. The truth of the matter is desire for control, to overthrow the remnants of goodness in our nation so that a new order can be established. The truth of the matter is coverup for mass-scale crimes of robbery, slavery, and murder. The truth of the matter is some of the greatest forms of hypocrisy, gaslighting, and projection ever to exist in this world.

There are many caught up in these movements who are very compassionate, humanitarians who see the evils of the opposition—and there are many problems to see.

Our nation is not spotless. Our economy is upheld by slavery in other parts of the world. There is great abuse of power in large corporations, and our medical system and educational system are wrought with problematic issues. Our nation is filled with ungodliness. Our media oozes fornication of all varieties, encourages violence, selfishness, destroys any semblance of good family life, and glamorizes all that is unholy.

However, it is not what is wrong with our nation that they try to destroy. Though they do stand against some forms of injustice, that is a mere cloak for what is really happening. What is really being destroyed is the remaining good in our nation, along with what remains of our Christian values. The values we did not properly uphold.

Time to be blunt. If we follow Marxist ideologies, or any form of Socialism or Communism, our way of life as a Christian nation will perish. Maybe it should. Though their means are evil, and we should not support them, we know that God is behind all things. Maybe the goodness that remains in our nation is no longer sufficient for God to keep our nation in-tact. Why would that be?

As mentioned in recent articles, the most important matter to consider is the Christian body. How is she? What evils does she perform for which God would chastise us and allow us to be overtaken by an enemy?

Our Christian body is filled with smooth and deadly talkers who soften the teachings of Jesus to make Christianity more palatable to a wicked generation. How sweet it is. How deadly. Many within the Christian body are in support of ungodly social movements. Many within the body seek worldly prosperity instead of prosperity in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Many within the body praise certain sins, such as fornication of all varieties—and she commits fornication with the evil powers of our nation as they line her purse with all manner of ungodly riches and popularity. Big-time television ministries and large mega-churches are a good example, however there is a trickle-down effect that is corrupting small-time ministries as well.

Though the evil powers of our nation once loved her and used her for their gain, have they not turned on her as it is written in Revelation? (See Revelation 17) They have begun to, and as mentioned a moment ago, any form of Communism will directly oppose any form of Christianity. Their teachings do not align with the teachings of Jesus whatsoever.

This softening of the Christian way removes the solid rock of Christ right out from under us and leads many straight to their death as we are corrupted by the very forces that will turn on us and destroy us. Hasn’t this happened before? Did this happen with Israel and Egypt, or was it the Assyrians or Babylonians? Someone refresh my memory please—and refresh yours too.

Our Christian body is also filled with sharp, divisive matters as mentioned recently. The sword of legalism is killing us. Divide and conquer, and use the Word of God to do so. Is this acceptable? No. Is it God’s will? Yes. Is this for our good ultimately? Yes. Should individuals come out of this? Yes. Why? We are doing just as the Northern and Southern tribes of Israel did long ago—and we will be conquered by the “Assyrians” and “Babylonians”—eventually welcoming that king of Babylon and the Great Whore of Mystery Babylon who will overtake any goodness that remains in our mainstream Christian nation.

Is this not God’s will? Is this not written? I know many do not understand scripture in general, much less Revelation. God sends us teachers and others to guide us, if we will listen.

As difficult as these times and the times to come might be, we can take comfort in knowing that God has ordained all of this. His word will be fulfilled, and all things are working together for our good. We will see the destruction wrought by a foolish nation and an unfaithful church, and as a result many will come out of their delusion and turn more fully to Jesus in truth.

If we genuinely love Jesus, though He chastises us as sons, we will find peace and consolation during His chastisement towards this ungodly nation and unfaithful church. Those who are not of us are uprooted, and our faith will shine all the brighter amidst persecution. Jesus will be glorified, and we who overcome and remain faithful to the end will be saved. As it is also written. He will raise us from the dead and all our enemies will see.

Our time to “come out of her my people” is already at hand in a sense of the meaning. Though the final application of the end times might be distant (or not, only the Father knows), we are always living in the last days. Even Paul the apostle wrote in those terms, “in these last days.”

We only have this life, and the matters we see now are nothing new—especially for our Christian body. We are always on our journey out and away from Christian corruption as we seek the Holy Land in spirit.

So, let us seek. Let us seek Jesus above all else, and when the veil is ripped away (I speak of the coming of antichrist and also the revealing of all the hidden wickedness in this world currently guised as goodness), the Lord of all the earth will keep us. Though we might suffer and die, we will live.

What about myself? I am not educated enough in matters of social ideologies, politics, and economics to speak out against these movements effectively, but there are many who are. I am thankful for their voices. However, as a Christian, I can be “simple concerning evil and wise in will doing” with the help of the Lord. There are certain things taking place that are simply wrong, regardless of the cause or supposed justification. I can say they are wrong, and I will not say otherwise.

However, that is not my calling. My calling is to edify the church so that we might better stand in this time and in the future—but a building that has much rot must be in part demolished. So, there is that too, and I don’t expect to be well received even though I love all of you, and greater and greater is my love for the church as Christ works in me.

All praise and glory to Jesus alone for continuing to work on such a heart as mine, and praise to Jesus alone for His wisdom, peace, and strength that He generously shares with all who seek Him with a sincere heart. Praise to Jesus for His mercy and His blood that was shed so that we can be forgiven of our unfaithfulness to His ways, but I also know there is a limit. There will be a time when there is “time no longer.” Until then, I work, if it is His will. I write this not to boast, but to make my intent clear.

Considering Proverbs 4:24-27

24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.

25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.

26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.

27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

I want to focus here on Christian communication—not just in what we say with our mouths, but how we communicate the gospel through our daily lives.

We have all talked ungodly talk. We have all performed ungodly actions. We have all brought shame to the name of Jesus in some small way. There is no thing that we have been tempted in, or have done, that is uncommon among other believers. There is no thing that we have been tempted in, or have done, that the mercy of God through the blood of Jesus will not forgive.

Though we have repented in a general sense when we put our faith in Jesus, we should continue to evaluate ourselves and continue to repent of the sins that overtake us. We don’t repent in the same sense that we repented at the beginning of our faith, but we will need to turn away from sin, thank Jesus for His blood that has already forgiven us, and seek Him to help lead us onward so that we can overcome and bring more honor to Him.

As we learn to focus on Jesus more and on the world less, and as we seek Him more and seek His counsel instead of the counsel of this world, Jesus will direct our paths. Our evaluation of ourselves will become more honest, and we will see the ways in which we stumble in life and in the faith.

As mentioned in previous Proverbs writings, the true way is often the temperate or balanced way. When we go a little to the left or to the right, we are in sin. The degree of our sin depends on how far away from that proverbial “straight and narrow way” we traverse.

Here is an example:

Christians should dress modestly and with humility as a reflection of inner modesty and humility that is sincere. How do we accomplish this?

We might force ourselves to dress modestly and humbly through regulation in church, such as requiring women to refrain from pants and set a length requirement for skirts, dresses, and shirt sleeves.

We might ignore the importance of modest and humble dress and instead use liberty as a reason to look just like the world does, even when today’s fashion is overly revealing and everything but humble in appearance.

Do either of these methods speak to the heart of the person and allow the Spirit to convict an individual based on his or her conscience? Not really. What we should do is encourage modesty and humility of heart, and allow the Spirit to do His work.

Some might wear long skirts and refrain from pants. Some might wear shorts that cover more adequately than they used to. Some might refrain from makeup or tune it down a bit. Some might sell expensive jewelry and donate the money to the poor. In any case, it is best if what is done is done because of sincere conviction, not by law and regulation.

Here is why.

Consider the first group. A woman can refrain from all pants, wear long dresses only and long sleeves only, refrain from makeup, and still have a struggle with pride and immodesty within her heart. She can take pride in other forms of her beauty, such as her hair or some physical attribute of her face. She can take pride in being a better Christian than other women who do not adhere to her legalistic standard.

Consider the second group. A woman can dress with great liberty—even too much liberty—thereby turning liberty into sin. Because she believes in liberty without considering sin, her heart has become hardened. She does not see her pride, vanity, and immodesty as a problem. She looks at the first group of Christians and thinks they are weird and overly religious. She might mock them and feel superior to them.

Do you see what I am saying?

This applies to so much within the body of Christ. This applies to praise preferences, music, holidays, the sabbath day, consumption of food and alcohol, and even Christian doctrine. We can take Christian doctrine legalistically too—and we do. We even take the means of salvation legalistically through recital of certain prayers and water baptism.

Our ways become legalistic when the consider outward observances but neglect the inner issues of the heart—the very matters Jesus came to teach us of, heal us of, and strengthen us in by His Spirit.

That is why legalism is so deadly. Legalism creates an illusion of Christianity. Legalism creates and illusion of righteousness. Legalism—including a to-the-letter interpretation of scripture that neglects the spirit—creates an illusion of understanding and knowledge. Legalism breeds pride, strife, division, and complacency.

Legalism in all its forms is anti-Christian. It is of the Pharisees. It is of the children of Satan. It is of the paths of Hell—not the paths of life.

Do you hear what I am saying? Do you hear when I tell you that our churches are full of legalism? Do you see how that connects to Thyatira in Revelation? If not, leave a comment or send me a message. I’m happy to explain all this in greater detail or to discuss any Christian matter.

Call me crazy if you want to. Ignore me if you want to. I know what I say is true. I also know that the Lord is merciful, and He plans all things from the beginning. I also know that all things are working together for our good. We can learn from our mistakes. Many who are insincere in the faith are caught in their net. We do not need to be caught in the net of legalism. We do not need to go to the right or to the left of what Jesus has laid before us as the perfect way.

No person on this earth is perfect, but Jesus is perfect. The more we listen to Him and not man—even the men and women of the faith who would lead us to the right or to the left—the more we walk that path of perfection with Jesus alone.

What about myself? I know how incredibly easy it is to go too far to the right and too far to the left concerning all sorts of matters in this life and in the Christian faith. I’ve stumbled around so much over the course of my life—particularly over the past few years. It is hard to find the right way, but once found, it is not so hard to walk it. It is a relief.

“His burden is easy, and His yoke is light.” However, once found, we still misstep sometimes. Sometimes a slip turns into a slide or a fall. He will bring us back if we turn our hearts to Him consistently. I know this is true also, and I still stumble around because I know that there is always more to learn. If I’m still alive in the flesh, I still have more to learn.

Considering Proverbs 4:20-23

20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.

21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.

22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Christianity is not about outward observances, meaning mankind cannot be righteous by law. Law is a constraint, but it does not make the heart of a person upright.

For a Christian, Jesus Christ is the lawgiver. He writes His laws in our hearts, thereby changing our nature overtime into someone who loves righteousness and seeks to live an upright life. As we continue seeking Him for strength to overcome sin and to live the upright life we desire, He works in us so that we can find freedom from sin and walk more uprightly in this present world.

Jeremiah 31:33

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Hebrews 10: 16

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;

Titus 2:11-15

11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

Knowing these things, is Christianity about a letter-of-the-word understanding of scripture, or rather is Christianity made strong when we consider the spirit of the scripture which is the real meaning and teaching our Lord conveys and therewith can unite all believers?

John 3:11-12

11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

1 Corinthians 2:13-14

13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Knowing these things, do we approach our faith with legalistic demands concerning sabbath days, holidays, matters of dress, consumption of food and drink, and various other issues we divide over?

Colossians 2:16-17

16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Knowing these things, should Christians attempt to regulate the world through law, or rather, should Christians influence their surroundings and their nation through living a life in Jesus and turning the heart of others to Him? In so doing, we do not need extensive law and extensive government, because the individual is self-governing.

1 Peter 2:9

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light

1 Peter 2:15-17

15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

Knowing these things, should Christians use the grace and forgiveness of God through the sacrifice of Jesus as an excuse for sinful living or otherwise discourage the pursuit of righteousness because we are all sinners and we will always be sinners?

Romans 6:1-6

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Knowing these things, should Christian churches prioritize entertainment and messages of softness and comfort instead of exhortation to righteous living?

Knowing these things, should Christian churches harp on certain outward sins, esteeming themselves as more righteous than others while ignoring their own deep issues of the heart such as pride, vanity, greed, and lust—thereby making Christianity a religion of hypocrisy that turns many away from the faith?

Knowing these things, should we not pursue a life in which Jesus Christ is Lord of our heart above all else? Knowing these things, should we not continue to seek Him so that our hearts are raised from the dead as He teaches us righteousness and gives us the strength to perform His will more effectively and consistently over time?

Here is what Jesus has to say about churches that neglect matters of the heart according to the teachings of Jesus and the covenant He brings:

Revelation 2:18-29

18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.

25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

28 And I will give him the morning star.

29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Below are additional scriptures that I gathered, and I arranged them in a certain way so that a line of thinking might be created. This was purposeful, but I also tried to include some context surrounding the particular verses of each passage I wanted to highlight.

1 Samuel 16:7

But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

Matthew 12:33-37

33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.

34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.

36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Mark 7:15-23

15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.

16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.

18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;

19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?

20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:

23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

John 4:9-14

Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.

10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?

12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?

13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:

14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Ephesians 3:16-21

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

James 1:19-27

19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Matthew 6:31-33

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.

Matthew 5:3-6

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.


As Christians, we adhere to the New Covenant of Jesus Christ. The old was a to-the-letter covenant by which no man was made righteous. The new speaks to the inner-man, and Jesus is the means by which we receive this covenant. This is a covenant of life. It is grace, mercy, and forgiveness. It is strength and power of His resurrection as He writes the laws of the kingdom in our heart.

As Christians, we should seek to keep our heart in Jesus, and in all things. There are many matters in which today’s Christians have regressed into an Old Covenant mindset. Let us break away from this. We should not ignore this problem. We do not “make our covenant with death.” Outward appearances are dead because they neglect the spirit of the matter—the Spirit which brings unity and the good working of the Lord among all believers.

All this being said, no Christian, including myself, should condemn another believer. I do not condemn anyone. How could I, being that I have done these things myself? It is by the grace of God that I have come out of these things, and it is of love that I try to encourage others to come out of these things also.

It is in our nature to create regulation. It is in our nature to attempt to please God—even attempt to be Christian—through regulation and outer observances. It is in our nature to neglect heart issues because these are the often deep and illusive struggles that tightly cling to our very being. “The heart is deceitful above all else.”

We can so easily deceive ourselves into thinking we are doing right, and one of the most effective ways we deceive ourselves is through a to-the-letter observance of righteousness and Christianity in general.

Such actions are problematic. Such an approach causes accusation, strife, and division among the brethren. Such an approach leads to hypocrisy within the church. Such an approach dilutes the gospel and the wonderful workings of Jesus. Such an approach makes us vulnerable to corruption by ministers of mal intent who use the faith as a means of money, status, and control. Such an approach is extremely negligent, and we need to consider this deeply.

Jesus is merciful. If I, being a faulty human being, can sympathize with this struggle than so can He. I know He does. I also know that we will reap the destruction of our struggle because God chastises us as sons. We can avoid the chastisement, at least on an individual level, if we turn our hearts more fully to Jesus Christ who is the author of liberty in Spirit not bondage in the letter.

Chastisement and Suffering Part 4: Final Thoughts

Photo by Suleyman Sahan from Pexels

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.

Considering Proverbs 4:14-19

14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.

15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.

16 For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.

17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.

18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

The need to come out on top fuels a lot of evil in this world as people lift up their god and crush all who oppose. They cannot rest until they have imposed their will onto others, and they love to do evil and violence so much it is as if they eat it up.

As mentioned in previous Proverbs writings, mankind has many gods. The gods of mankind provide their own idea of heaven on earth, and the gods of mankind have their proverbial prophets who go around perpetuating the teachings of their god and deceiving many. The gods of man have their doctrines, wherewith the ways of Jesus are overshadowed and overturned.

As Christians, we should not allow the teachings of Jesus to become overshadowed by anything. Unfortunately, it is easy for us to get so caught up in matters of politics, social movements, and even matters of debate over Christian doctrine that we neglect what matters most. We forget that the name of Jesus is upon us, and we behave in a manner that speaks evil of His name instead of bringing honor to Him.

Of course, we can deceive ourselves. We can believe that we are doing God’s service when we tear people apart. For the sake of position, a person will do much. Whether it is position of doctrine, position politically, or position within the church or the Kingdom in general, a person will destroy another human being and they will use to word of God to do so very often.

Remember what Jesus said about His word: it is sharper than any two-edged sword and a discerner of the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Of course, Jesus sees the heart. The way we use His word reveals our hearts also. Why do we suppose that Christians can read the same bible and argue over it? When we argue, we are almost always arguing over a to-the-letter understanding of scripture. When we argue, we are almost always neglecting the spirit of what is written. When we argue, we are almost always dividing over secondary issues while we neglect the weightier matters: the commandments of Jesus which are love towards God and the brethren first and foremost.

From slander to sewing conflict among believers to beating people over the head with scripture in order to humiliate them and show them how wrong they are, the manner in which we sometimes behave for the name of Jesus supposedly is very un-Christianly.

We do not beat our fellow servants (Matthew 24). That cannot be stressed enough. We might then say, “who is our fellow servant?” Consider the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10). Who is our neighbor? Who is our fellow servant?

Does a Christian have to be of our denomination before we can accept them and do good to them? If a person claims to be a Christian, then they are a Christian. It is up to Jesus to search out their hearts—and He does. He already does, and I tell you, the way we use His word has much to say. Thank God for His mercy. Thank Jesus for His blood that was shed to forgive us of our foolishness. Let’s not take that for granted. Let us consider together. We can do better than this.

Our job is not to accuse one another as we exalt our gods of doctrine above Jesus. Our job is to search for Jesus more earnestly together and to build one another up. We all have room for growth and there is much we do not understand. Jesus will lead us all to better understanding if we truly put Him first. He will show us what His word says in spirit, and we will no longer argue.

Jesus must come first—and we must learn not to deceive ourselves into thinking He is first when He is not. We all have room to grow in this.

Remember what Jesus said: The light of the body is the eye. If your eye is single, your whole body shall be full of light.

If we look to Jesus above all else, we will continue to shine brighter and brighter until that perfect day when Jesus returns. This can apply to each Christian individual and this can also apply to the Christian whole. If we could lay aside our differences, truly put Jesus first, and come together as one—even as the Son and the Father are one—imagine what a difference we could make in this world.

As wonderful as that sounds, it is also a terrible thought. Why? Because man inevitably corrupts all. Inevitably, the person we would place as the head would be our downfall, and someone would rise to that rank eventually even if we began without such a person. The only One who can assume that position faithfully is Jesus Himself.

One day He will, and even though we may never see the sort of Christian revival that I dream of (and also fear), we can see Christian revival on an individual level—and that is the only way to such a revival in the first place.

The way of the wicked is darkness—and there are many ways of the wicked. The ways of the wicked can be summarized as an overthrow of Jesus and His ways.

It is a sad thing when Christians participate. We lead us to our own demise, and we bring the demise of our nation and of our world whether we want to admit that or not. We bring persecution to our people, and why should it be any different when we persecute one another now? We do not see how badly we stumble.

We do not see how badly we stumble when we behave as the world does. We do not see how badly we stumble when we trust in worldly powers in place of Jesus. We do not see how badly we stumble as we hate our brethren, accuse them, and bring division among the body of Christ. We do not see how badly we stumble when we think God is on our side as we bring shame to the name of Jesus.

That is why I focus primarily on Christian issues that need repenting of rather than focusing on the sins of the unbelievers. The worldly will behave wickedly. That is to be expected. Those who carry the name of Jesus should not.

Judgement begins at the household of the faith, as it is written. Even the book of Revelation begins with judgment against churches.

Yet, though He is angry with us, He will not remain so. He will turn us to Him. He will show us a better way. Those who cling to their habits of destruction and craving for power will be taken by the deceit of The Destroyer, and we will band together of necessity as a means of survival during persecution—even persecution that we bring because we will not repent. What is written will be fulfilled no matter how effective those of us who know better become.

Even so, we need to “get our own house in order” before we can worry too much about the problems of this world. We need to understand that the problems of this world exist because we did not “occupy until He comes” properly.

What about myself? Getting my house in order is priority. I work to have a more upright, Jesus serving home. I work to get myself in order so that I can be fit for His purposes, whatever they might be. How is it that I write about Christian issues? It is because I have lived these things. There is no thing I can write about that I have not done in some measure, but Jesus is merciful and He shows me a better way. If only I were a better example. Maybe then what He shows me would be taken more seriously. At least by a few.  So, I work towards that goal.

We should all work towards that goal. If we want the world to take Jesus seriously, then we need to take Him seriously. He must come first.