After going through the difference between choices vs decisions in our post Choices vs Decisions I was trying to understand how trials and tribulations in life play into our choices and decisions. Let me try to explain.
We call “problems” in life ” problems”. But they really are not “problems”. I remember after about the fourth time my plumbing blew a fitting I went to church and was expressing frustration with the plumbing. A friend said to me, “you seem to have a lot of problems”. Naturally I rebuked that statement. My friend saw problems, I saw frustration.
So let me ask you. What is a problem? I am not talking about math or geometry equations either. How would you define problems in life? How do you determine if something is a problem or not? What makes something a “problem”?
Darkness, in scripture, means ignorance. Scripture says we have been called out of darkness, 1 Peter 2:9 KJV
“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:”
You see, problems are really doors and here is why? Some people can look at “problems” and turn them into opportunities while others give up and quit, why? What separates the person quitting from the person who sees opportunity? Clearly it is how people perceive things. Perception.
Excluding math and geometry definitions, problem is defined as ” a proposition that appears neither absolutely true or absolutely false, and consequently may be asserted either in the affirmative or negative.” Another words, it is all about how you perceive the matter or issue. If you think it is negative, then it is negative. If you think it is an opportunity, then it is an opportunity.
So called problems are all about perception and did you know the word does not even appear in scripture? Nope, the word problem or problems is not in God’s word. Now you know I use the AV1611 King James only. The only Scripture book from 1611, with no copyright for man to profit from. The newer watered down versions may have the word problem (s) but not God’s word. And the word problem or problems is not in the scripture. Why do you think God did not put the word problem in scripture?
When we make Choices or Decisions we often experience what we call problems. But they are not problems because problems are based on perception. And if you perceive something to be a “problem”, then you are perceiving something that is not in scripture. If it is not in scripture, guess where it is coming from?
When all these obstacles come against you the obstacles are adversaries. Why? Because you are presented with a decision or opportunity – a door being opened. Stepping into more Light. You may feel like you are beaten up all the time. It is like life keeps beating you up. I can relate. But don’t let the “problems” blind you to the door. Look for the opportunity to open a new door. Paul called it a “door of faith” –
Acts 14:27 KJV “And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.”
Those who know will confirm, Paul as a Jew, tried to reach his Jewish people with the gospel. Paul suffered trials and tribulations, never problems. Paul recognized the Lord had opened a door of opportunity for Gentiles to be saved. And notice just before the Lord opens the door what happened?
Acts 13:50-52 KJV “But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.
 But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.
 And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.”
They were thrown out of the city. Just before God opens a door there are adversaries that come against you. 1 Corinthians 16:9 KJV “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.”
Paul saw another great door open from the Lord while he was at Ephesus and Paul saw it was effectual meaning could produce a lot, so Paul decided to stay there until Pentecost.
We see God opens doors and when God shows you a door or opens a door for you, expect many adversaries, trials and tribulations. And why do you think you would have adversaries? To stop you from going through the door.
The Lord opened a door for Paul again and Paul looses Titus, 2 Corinthians 2:11-13 KJV “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,
 I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.”
And Paul was preaching the mystery of Christ and ends up in bonds, jail Colossians 4:3 KJV “Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:”
And notice in Revelation 3 when Jesus is giving John instructions for the churches? Revelation 3:7-9 KJV
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.”
Just as Jesus stands at the door of your heart, you have to open the door –
Revelation 3:20 KJV “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.”
Friend, the word problem or problems is not even in scripture. Things are only problems if you perceive them to be negative. Otherwise, it is an opportunity, a door of opportunity. So the next time you have what you think is a problem, know adversaries are around you trying to convince you to quit, give up and surrender and God is showing you a door. Look past the adversaries and look for the door. Until next time.
One of the hardest things for me, since I have been saved, is knowing if I am making the right choices. My regular readers know I was not raised in a believer’s home. We knew there was God and we heard about Jesus, that was all. Prayer was never made and fellowship with God was not a possibility when I was growing up.
I had my first real exposure to God in the third grade. Our “public” school allowed students to attend after school programs and ride the late bus home. Local businesses, churches and organizations offered students, 2nd and 3rd graders too, after school programs.
Students would choose an after school program to attend for about 40 minutes and then head back to the school and ride the late bus home. Parents needed to sign approval notices for their children to attend any after school program. The program lasted for that school year. My younger brother and I signed up for the Church School program. I was in 3rd grade meaning I was almost 8 years old, my brother was 7.
We would walk from the school to a local Baptist church about three city blocks away, by ourselves. We walked up to the church, my brother went to one room and I to a different room. Why they separated us I don’t know. We did like to clown around though. The church taught us about God. Our assignment was to memorize the names of the books of the Old Testament each week. I don’t remember what they taught about God, but I never forgot the names of the books in the Bible. But I do know seeds of Light were planted.
Then eight years later, at 16 years old I started going to book sales. I bought Bibles and very few bible study books. I was more interested in the bibles even though I did not read them. I glanced through them. And 11 years later, I read for the first time, the entire New Testament. By then I was 27 and going to turn 28 in one month.
Right after I finished reading the New Testament, and I mean right after, God sent a pastor into the music store I was managing. They were buying an organ for their church. I sold them an organ and they gave me a mini-bible with verses from scripture, then invited me to their church services. I chose to go and visit their church.
I am not going to get into how God worked on me to get through to me here, maybe some other time. But as I look back, at 8 years old I made a choice to sign up for Church School. I made a choice to collect Bibles at 16 while my friends were doing other things. And at 27, I made a choice to read the New Testament for myself. I made a choice and visited the pastor’s church right after New Years in January.
I would write everything down the pastor preached and I would go home and look everything up. That is when I made a decision and told God, “OK God, I’ll give you 30 days. If you can get through to me in 30 days, okay. If not say-la-vee.” After the 30 days of going to church regularly, reading and studying the messages from the pastor, (who just happened to be preaching on hell) I made a decision. I decided I needed to get saved or I was not going to heaven. I got saved.
Choices we make every day. We decide what clothes to wear, what food to eat, what we will listen to or what we will watch. Even scripture tells us choices we have to make:
God or the Devil – Genesis 3:1-11
Life or Death – Deuteronomy 30:19,20
God or Baal – 1 Kings 18:21-40
Wisdom or folly – Proverbs 8:1-21
Christ or antichrist – 1 John 2:18,19
Even Joshua tells us we need to choose whom we will serve. Joshua 24:14-15 KJV “Now therefore fear the Lord , and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord .
 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord , choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord .”
Choices we make affect our life. We make choices every day. But decisions we make affect our destiny. Making a decision to get saved will alter your destiny. Decisions we make like changing jobs, getting married, having children, starting a business and living for God or self, affect our destiny.
I started this post with my struggles in making the right choices. I may not know how to do something the right way. And I may not make the right choices all the time. Our choices affect our day to day life. And often, I look to books, family, friends and God to help me make the right choices so my day to day life will be better.
But decisions have lasting impact. When you make a decision you agree to the terms and conditions. Just like if you decide to buy a house, you have terms and conditions. If you decide to get married, there are terms and conditions. If you make a decision to have children, there are terms and conditions. When you decide to get saved, God has terms and conditions, you must get saved God’s way, not your own way.
Choices affect your life.
Decisions affect your destiny.
After Judas hung himself, the disciples wanted to replace Judas. Was this a choice? Or a decision? We know they were making a decision by the scripture text. And how did the disciples make their decision? Let’s read the text.
Acts 1:21-26 KJV ” Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men , shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”
The disciples put their choices before the Lord. Then they prayed. They told God, you know their hearts. Show us which of these two men have you chosen. We can not know the outcome of our decisions and if the truth be told, some of us would like a “do over” of some of our decisions. But God does know the outcome of all things.
Choosing to live for the Lord and follow his guidance and direction is a choice you make and that choice will affect your day to day life. And choosing to disobey God will affect your day to day life too. But making a decision to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ unto salvation affects your destiny. Making a decision to live for the Lord no matter what, affects your destiny (just like Joseph, David, Elijah, John and Paul). Destiny decisions must be prayed about, taken to God just as Acts shows us how.
My prayer is you will consider more closely the choices and decisions you make and line them up with scripture. Until next time.
I can’t recall the last time I heard preachers or teachers explain, why is there suffering? Why do “good” people have problems? Why do we suffer from heartaches? You probably have read or heard where Paul says he glories in tribulation. Did you ever ask, how can someone glory in heartaches, in sickness, in adversity, in losses? Could you glory in those things?
I am not going to list all my troubles but many will confirm, it seems like I have had more tribulations in life than most people. I choose not to focus on my tribulations or afflictions but focus on God and his word. But I could not understand how tribulations and affliction could make someone glory. All I knew is just stick with the Lord, don’t quit no matter what, watch my mouth and what I say to God and others, and God will work things out. I didn’t need to know the “why”. I guess you could say I looked at problems in life, tribulation and affliction as part of life, not an attack caused by something I do. Why someone or something attacks me was not as important as stand fast with the Lord. God is in control and I am his child.
The Lord does fight our battles and I could tell you several instances where people have come against me to hurt me, truly. I have seen God kill them, literally. One suddenly got brain cancer and another suddenly had intestinal problems that were fatal. When people would try to hurt me I would pray and turn them over to the Lord. And if you know anything about how God defends the fatherless, you understand. (A great study, the fatherless, be careful how you treat the fatherless) When a pastor came against me and tried to harm me my son quickly said to me, please, do not turn them over to the Lord, he will kill them. My son was paying attention.
For years I could not figure out why I was having so many problems with life, in life. And just when things appeared to be going smooth – BOOM – something else would go wrong. I knew the verses, like Romans 5:3-5 KJV “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.”
So I did not pray for patience because I knew if I did, then tribulation was coming my way to work patience in me. I still do not pray for patience but God has taught me how to glory in tribulation and affliction. You see, tribulation is defined as life’s distresses. And affliction is defined as a state of being in distress, pain or grief.
Affliction is continual pain of body or mind, as in sickness or losses, calamity, adversity, or persecution. Psalm 34:19 KJV “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.”
So when Paul was teaching us about troubles, persecutions and being cast down in 2 Corinthians 4:10,11. Paul repeated himself in these two verses. But look at 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 KJV
“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;”
And then it all clicked how someone could glory through all the problems. And as some say, some virtues are only seen during afflictions. But afflictions work inside us. You see, if you cut yourself you wash the wound and bandage it and away you go. But when something “cuts” your heart or mind, you can not bandage that.
God looks at the heart. So when trials and tribulations and affictions come to us, God uses those to work inside us. God does not always send us afflictions, or trials and tribulations but God will use them to burn things off the inside ( Romans 8:28). So when we go through trials and afflictions, we should ask God, what do I need to change? What do I need to learn through this affliction? Or this trial? 2 Corinthians 4:18 KJV ” While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
And God uses tribulations and afflictions to work on our inside, our inner man. And that is why Paul could say, 2 Corinthians 7:4 KJV “Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.”
Scripture tells us that God sends tribulation to those who trouble us. 2 Thessalonians 1:6 KJV “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;”
So friends, don’t think it strange when afflictions, trials and tribulation come your way. Look at it like God is going to use this trial, this affliction or this tribulation to work inside me, to help me. And certainly, watch what you say during times of testings. Remember what Job told his wife, you speak as a foolish woman.
With all my tribulations and afflictions, I must have needed a complete make over on the inside. It took me a long time to “get it”, but now I understand when distresses of life come my way, speak God’s word at my situation and if it does not change, it is not from the devil. God is trying to burn off the dross on the inside so look to what God is trying to do and ask him to show you what he is trying to teach you. Then you too will be able to glory in tribulation because you will know God is working on you as a potter. A wise Master Builder.
God loves you and from the time you were in your mother’s womb, God has taken care of you. God sends his angels to encamp around us. So let God work on the inside too. Psalm 34:7 KJV “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.”
Until next time.
Preparations, an interesting word. People prepare for all kinds of things. Not only do we prepare for daily events but we prepare for future events. But it is not just events people prepare for. Parents prepare their children for “adulthood” (I really hate that word). People prepare for careers. Companies prepare to introduce new products or services through test runs and feedback. People prepare their finances and there are those who prepare food and food storage. But how many people prepare to meet God?
Hebrews 9:27-28 KJV “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
I am not talking about a cavalier attitude in meeting God. I am talking about preparing to stand before God Almighty as your Judge. Did you ever ask yourself what did this or that person do that made God angry with what they did?
This post is going to be a little different than our normal posts. Why? Because I always look to the Lord to guide me in this blog and the posts and this morning when I woke up, one word I heard, Nicolaitans. I knew the word and knew God was upset with them. The Lord knew I wanted to address America’s national day of prayer in the blog today. I learned God wanted me to use the Nicolaitans as my example for the National Day of Prayer.
You see, America has set, as a nation, one day aside for the whole country to pray unto God Almighty, the God of the holy scriptures, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the only true Almighty God. On the National Day of Prayer, at 12 o’clock noon, every American is asked to pray for our country and for our leaders. It doesn’t matter what time zone because prayers go up for several hours as the time zones come into play. People around the country pray, Congress prays and yes, even the President of the United States prays.
When I heard the word Nicolaitans, I knew I had to see what God was telling me. I knew God mentioned the Nicolaitans in Revelation, so I looked it up. Revelation 2:6 KJV “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”
Notice God does not say he hates the people, but he hates their deeds, their works. Naturally, you have to ask, what were or what are their deeds? I use a Bible Dictionary that has a copyright of 1859, a first edition, and it says in the preface, ” for use in Schools”. This was taught in America’s public schools before the leaders in government took over public education under President Johnson in the 60s. This Bible Dictionary references Revelation 2 but it doesn’t go into much detail other than saying these were religious people teaching heresy.
But Webster’s 1828 Dictionary adds the Nicolaitans were a sect of an ancient “Christian Church” . They taught licentious practices. Another words, their morals are in the gutter. They are unrestrained and have excessive indulgences of liberty in sinful deeds and practices.
You know I am a grace teacher but I also state, use not your liberty to sin against God. The Nicolaitans teach you can do anything, even sin because of grace. Scripture teaches you can do anything because of grace but use not your liberty for an occasion for the flesh. Galatians 5:13 KJV “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”
The Nicolaitans not only had an impact on believers at Ephesus as Revelation 2:6 tells us but look at the church at Pergamos in Revelation 2:12-17. Look at verse 15. Revelation 2:15 KJV “So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.”
Friends, it is not a matter of legalism but a matter of be ye holy for I am holy saith the Lord of hosts. And it is not just Americans that need to heed God’s word, but all nations. So as America has a National Day of Prayer, my prayer is at 12 o’clock noon, where ever you are, you will stop and pray to God Almighty and ask him to forgive you of all your sin and the sin of your nation. And ask him to save you.
If you don’t know what to pray, just remember, just saying words of a prayer does nothing. You have to mean what you say, from deep in your heart when you pray or else it is just “words in the wind(c)”.
If you don’t know what or how to pray for your nation and yourself you might pray something like the folliwing:
Heavenly Father, you are holy and righteous and I have sinned against you and my country has sinned against you. Our moral character has fallen into sin Lord. Please forgive us and restore me and my family and my country. Help strengthen us in our inner man as individuals and as a nation, by your Holy Spirit. Help Christ Jesus to live in our heart by faith and teach us and guide us as individuals and as a nation to not only live for you Lord but also work for you and righteousness. Please guide and strengthen our leaders and teach them to always come to you for direction and salvation. Thank you Heavenly Father. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
Set your alarm on your phone to go off at 5 minutes before noon so you can prepare your heart and mind to pray. Until next time.
A couple days ago, someone asked me a question about why specific numbers are mentioned relating to some fish. It was a very good question. Then I thought, gee, I wonder how my readers and subscribers would answer that question. Want to take a shot at the question?
I will give you the question and the verse from whence the question comes. But before you answer the question I want you to picture the question in your mind. Another words, think about if you were there, what would you see. Then ask yourself, what do I see?
Here is the question and my answer. If any of you want to add your thoughts about the question, feel free. Post your comment. The verse that birthed the question – John 21:11 KJV “Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.”
The question – Why did God say specifically 153 fish were in the net? God could have said the net was overflowing but he didn’t, he said specifically 153 fish, why? How would you answer that question? So here was my answer.
This is pure speculation on my part because scripture does not give us a clear and specific reason why specific numbers are used. But we know God gives us numbers for a reason. Some reasons, to tell us future events (prophecy), some to chronicle history and some to show his power and glory. Elijah comes to mind. ( 1 Kings 18 )
God also uses symbols. Just like scorpions and snakes in Luke 10:17-20. This does not mean we will step on real scorpions or snakes but evil powers, and Jesus tells us that when he said, all power of the enemy. God will take something in this world that we know and understand, like seeds. Then he uses things from this world to make a “spiritual” point. Remember, we live in the spirit not the flesh. Just as the seed represents God ‘s word Luke 8:10-15, the fish represents souls, souls of man.
In John 21 there is a focus on Peter. The chapter starts with Peter making a decision, in his flesh, to do something in this world (a carnal action – fish for fish).
We know Judas hung himself so there are 11 major disciples left. But 6 of the 11 were with Peter that day, and 4 were missing. Peter had to be some kind of a leader with leadership skills because when he decided to go fish, the other 6 decided to follow him.
Why specifically mention 153 fish in John 21:11 KJV ?
The same reason you mention 5 loaves and 2 fish in Matthew 14:16-21KJV
If we add the numbers together 1+5+3=9. 9 is the number for fruit in scripture. There are 9 fruit of the Holy Spirit as Galatians 5 tells us. So symbolically, 153 = fruit. And what did Jesus tell Peter? 3 times, do you love me, feed my sheep. Why 3 times? Three is the number of the Godhead aka trinity. It is like saying – Peter – God has called you to feed sheep, fish for souls, (people) not fish for fish, carnal things you want to do.
I believe, my speculation, the 153 represent God’s power and glory just as the 5 loaves and 2 fish in Matthew. I believe Jesus was trying to get Peter to stop making decisions based on what Peter wanted and to trust God working through Peter and the only way that can happen for a saved person is to crucify the flesh and lusts of the flesh and live and walk in the spirit man. Peter was already saved and received the Holy Spirit as John 20: 21-23 tells us. But Peter was living for his wants and what he wanted to do
Jesus was making a point with Peter by giving 153 fish. It was a miracle. So it would be like saying –
God has saved you and called you to be a fisher of men (souls) do this and once we do it, God gives us a miracle. Why? To teach us to let go of our wants and feed God’s sheep. And if you do, you will see miracles, like seeing 153 fish.
Peter was somewhat prideful and confident in himself. He struggled to let go of things in this world and ask God then trust God if you get what you want, or not. Jesus showed Peter he was not who he thought he was when Peter denied him and in Acts when the sheet of unclean animals appeared. Both were to get the pride out of Peter, and teach him to look deeper.
When a person gets saved they try to bring God into their life and change. But later they realize, they can’t. That’s why when someone gets saved, the old them dies, is dead, is gone. The way they were is never again, they are a completely new creature in Christ. A whole new person with a new life. Peter was trying to keep part of his old life and control and Jesus was trying to show him if you let go and follow me, feed my sheep, I will do incredible things through you ( hence 153 fish, a miracle – represents souls).
Only what we do for Christ we take to heaven with us, nothing else. And it has to be from a pure heart and motive. Jesus finishes explaining this to Peter by telling him, when you were young you went where you wanted but the time is coming when you will not be able to do what you want.
People get so caught up in things and in things of this world, even believers. Paul is the disciple to the church age, and Paul was teaching the church how to live in the spirit man not the flesh. That is what Jesus was trying to show Peter, do spiritual work, feed my sheep, fish for souls.
As you know I was in sales and music when I got saved. Yes, I could have prospered greatly in this world and had a much better life. But I chose, willingly, to learn about God, to sacrifice things in this world so I could stay home and study God’s word. Learn God’s ways.
God has proven to me over and over I can trust him. I don’t expect others to understand. One of the keys God has taught me is don’t look at what I see or what I want, but look from a spiritual sense. When you close your eyes, you are in God’s realm, when you open your eyes, you see the world. Learn to live with your eyes closed to things of this world and open to the things of God.
And that was my answer.
For years I have wondered how can a person love the Lord with all their heart and do some of the things they do? How can a person love the Lord with all their heart as God tells us we need to and then the Lord tells us our heart is deceitful and desperately wicked?
But iniquity is not sin. Why do you do the same “sins” over and over again? Why can’t you get victory over some “issues” in your life? Some ask, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ And how can God love me when I keep doing all these bad things? I love God in my heart but I keep screwing up, why?
Even King David recognized there was an issue or problem with our heart –
Psalm 51:10 KJV “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
Even salvation today comes from believing in our heart and confessing with our mouth as Romans 10:9-10 KJV “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Students of the word of God know the heart is a key. But I am not sure they can explain it. And that is why people do the same “sin” over and over again. That is why some can not get victory over specific sin (s). I struggle with some things just like everyone else.
We love and hate from our heart. We have posted before how thoughts enter our mind and land in our heart. Check our archives. We said that thoughts or teachings from God and others, we receive in to our mind. As we investigate those thoughts or teachings, we make a determination to believe or reject the thought or teaching.
If we decide to agree and believe the teachings from God or man, those teachings then go into our heart. That is how different religions or denominations, cults, dogmas, prejudices, and even sin get into our life. But when you decide in your mind that you are going to believe God’s word over all others, you find yourself in a group with very few. I hear more and more about denominational teachings than I hear about what saith the Lord. Many churches teach their denominational teachings and their theology and some even twist scripture to make it look like God agrees with them. To see the results just look at society.
When you are willing to look to God and his word as your primary source of information, guidance and to teach you, the Lord opens your understanding. So when we examine what God tells us about our own heart, we see God says our heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. Jeremiah 17:9 KJV “The heart is deceitful above all things , and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
So how can a deceitful and wicked heart love God? God told us in a Psalm of David, Psalm 51:10 KJV “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
Scripture defines sin as James 4:17 KJV “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
So what about iniquity? Many people say iniquity is sin. Well, that is true but only to a point. But iniquity is not actually sin. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines iniquity as “the want to” sin.
You see, once someone really gets saved, they work with the Lord to get certain things out of their life. At some point, they discover they “do a sin they use to do before they were saved”. Afterwards, they are sorry for what they did, usually repent and try again. Paul explained it this way –
Romans 7:14-25 KJV “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
We know our flesh is always going to sin because we are descendents of Adam and Eve after they sinned. And Paul tells us the types of sin the flesh wants in Galatians 5:17-21 KJV “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these ; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
But people, believers, still ” mess up”. They still struggle with certain “sins” and wonder why they can’t get victory over something. They ask, what is wrong with me? And many teachers of God’s word try to teach them to bring their mind and body into subjection but that is not the whole answer.
If you repent and confess and try over and over and can not get victory, why? And yes, sin was nailed to the cross so God does not impute our sin but why can’t we get victory? The key is the word iniquity. Remember Psalm 51:5 KJV
“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
We are born into sin yes, but iniquity is the “want to“. Iniquity is defined as, ” Original want of holiness or depravity. ”
Iniquity is the want to sin. If you think back a few years and think about things you use to want and now you longer have that want, that is how iniquity works. People want alcohol but then later, they no longer want the alcohol. Yes, they bring their body into subjection, but they have addressed the root of the matter, the want of alcohol. Once you address the wants that reside in your heart, then you can get the victory. Until next time.
Although by definition, the word immigrate means to remove into a country for the purpose of permanent residence, what is it? Let’s face it, people move from country to country, does that make them an immigrant? Are refugees “really” immigrants? Who determines if someone is an immigrant?
Just by the definitions the church and many others may have their understanding of immigration wrong. In the Middle East we see people fleeing areas because of persecution. On the southern border in America, we see people trying to enter America illegally. Are these people immigrants?
A refugee is defined as a person who, in times of persecution or political commotion, flees to a foreign county for safety. But an immigrant is a person who removes them self from one country to a different country to establish permanent residence. When foreigners want to come to your country they are one of three types of people:
A Refugee or
Under all three of these conditions, can the person bring their laws? Their rules into the new country? No. They must abide by the laws of the country or kingdom they enter. Sure people bring their cultures into their new country but they can not require their new country to treat them under the laws of the country they left.
Scripture identifies countries as thrones or dominions, nations and kingdoms. And God set things up with different thrones, dominions and countries. Colossians 1:16 KJV “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:”
America’s foundation was set up under the authority of God Almighty with Scripture being the cornerstone of our land. Culturally, America has been a beacon for freedom and liberty. People were welcome to come but those coming had to follow the laws and rules of the land which are set up under God and the scriptures. You would not go to Egypt and expect to follow American law. You would have Egyptian law. And Americans do not have the right to force Egypt to accept American laws, in Egypt.
Foreigners who come to America can not expect America to follow the laws from the land the foreigner came from. And herein lies the difference between a refugee and an immigrant. The refugee and immigrant must follow the law of the land they go to. But there is a distinction between the two. One, the refugee, is fleeing persecution and turmoil and they are looking out to preserve themselves. Where the immigrant, by defintion, makes a decision willingly to leave their country and go to another. Immigrants know they are leaving everything behind and starting a new life in a new land. Believers make a decision to give up their country for the kingdom of God.
People understand they can not just march in to the President’s office, or the King’s office, there are protocols that must be followed. So let’s compare what we see and know about refugees and immigrants to God’s word. We know God told Abraham to leave his country and God would lead him to a new land. Question: Was Abraham a refugee or immigrant? Abraham decided to do what God told him so he was an immigrant.
We saw how Esther had to follow protocol. King Ahasuerus reigned from India to Ethiopia, over 127 provinces according to Esther 1:1-5 KJV
Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:)
 That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace,”
Question: When a person decides to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved, is that person a refugee or immigrant in God’s kingdom? Scripture calls us “children” of God. We become ambassadors for our King.
Unlike the world, when Jesus stood before Pilate he told Pilate, John 18:36 KJV “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”
Kings rule and reign from a throne. So where is God’s throne? Acts 7:47-50 KJV “But Solomon built him an house.
 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
 Hath not my hand made all these things?”
Peter explains Jesus to Israel saying,
Acts 2:29-36 KJV “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
Just as you would not barge in to the President ‘s or King’s office to see them, we can not barge into God’s “office”. Yes, we are told to
Hebrews 4:16 KJV “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
But when we come before God’s throne, God has protocols, like all kings or presidents. Remember when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray? Jesus said when you pray, pray like this, ” Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name” then you ask for provisions or your request, then notice, ” for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory”?
The word hallowed means reverence. Most of the time people yell to God HELP. But scripture tells us, Psalm 100:1-5 KJV “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord , all ye lands.
 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”
When a person gets saved our citizenship changes, just like an immigrant seeking citizenship in a new country. The protocols God has is show reverence and you enter his gates, not with a passport or papers, but with thanksgiving. You go into his court with praise. Be thankful to him and bless his name because he is good and merciful.
Until next time.