Familiar Battle

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; ) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 KJV).

This most intense battle usually involves kinfolk!

A Christian, at home, once received a visit from an unsaved sister. The sister, somewhat intoxicated, told the Christian some very troubling family news. Understandably, the Christian was deeply affected—angered and hurt because a family member had allegedly said some nasty things about her. The Christian later learned from that “slanderous” relative that the inebriated sister had blown the issue “out of proportion.” Alcohol had caused the sister to exaggerate, and actually fabricate, certain details. This erroneous news and thinking, however, had already generated resentment in the Christian’s heart, and further strained her relationships with the “slanderer” and the drunkard. (What a mess!)

Friends, sadly, Satan uses our unsaved family members to cause trouble in our lives. To some extent, we can all testify to this most unfortunate fact. Although we go to great lengths, making every attempt possible to get along with them, peace is not guaranteed. The best action to take is to limit our contact with those known to be contentious. Oftentimes, we cannot permanently cut off communication with our family. Still, we would be prudent not to expose ourselves to foolishness. It is wise for us to decline to associate with drunken relatives until they are sober. We may be Christians, but we are not doormats! Under no circumstances are we obligated to let drunkards into our homes and let them generate strife.

Our unsaved loved ones have flesh (sin nature) that works to Satan’s advantage. We Christians also have flesh that works to Satan’s advantage. However, when we conform our thoughts “to the obedience of Christ”—His finished crosswork—we will behave in a manner becoming to Calvary. We will deal with our loved ones in kindness and grace, but we will certainly not entertain hearsay and nonsense!

When Peace Means Distance

Sunday, February 15, 2015

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18 KJV).

What wonderful advice to save ourselves headache and heartache!

Recently, some Christians who were dealing with an unbearable Christian family member, asked me for advice. Today’s Scripture summarizes what they should do. They are to live “peaceably” with the gossiper and liar—sadly, in their case, peace is only possible long-distance! Beloved, we are not doormats. The Holy Spirit’s guidance in dealing with Christians who are fornicators, covetous, idolaters, railers (uttering constant bitter complaints against people or things), drunkards, and extortioners, is “with such an one no not to eat” (1 Corinthians 5:11). Have no social relations with that Christian until he or she improves. But, what if they never reform? Then never have social relations with them.

Through the years of ministry, I have met some very obnoxious people, lost souls and Christians (!). Even today, honestly, it is best to avoid them as much as possible. They are troublemakers who delight in disgracing and destroying sound Bible ministries. They had no desire to hear what the Bible says, and no desire to uphold what the Bible says. While I love them as the Lord Jesus Christ would, and I forgive them in Christ if they have done me wrong, that does not mean that I have to seek them out and be around them and hear or read their nonsense. If they are hungry, or thirsty, and they come to me for help, that is something else entirely (Romans 12:20), but I have no reason whatsoever to go after them and attempt to reform them. They were already given verses that they rejected, and I will not force myself on anyone.

Beloved, the mature Christian should most definitely attempt to correct or reform a wayward brother or sister in Christ in meekness and love (Galatians 6:1), but eventually we must “reject” the “heretick.” After the first and second admonition (warning), we need to leave the person alone and move on to something more worthwhile (Titus 3:10,11). Sometimes peace means distance—it is a shame but long distance may also be necessary!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who will have children in the Millennium?

Brethren, Pray for Us

Friday, November 2, 2012

“Brethren, pray for us” (1 Thessalonians 5:25 KJV).

Today’s Scripture exhorts us to pray for our Christian brethren, and we beseech you to especially pray for this ministry.

Saints, I hope you do not mind, but I must share with you what has been on my heart for these past few weeks (and several months). It is very difficult to express in words, but I have endured (and am still enduring) one of the most heart-wrenching issues life affords. The issue, whose details God knows, has hindered this ministry for nearly 18 months now. From the very beginning, I tried my absolute best to handle it Scripturally, hoping to avoid the disastrous outcome that nevertheless came to fruition.

In short, dear readers, I want to take this opportunity to counsel with you, in hopes that you will spare your Christian brethren the emotional, spiritual, and mental turmoil that troubles me still. I beseech you to take the utmost care in the words you say and the deeds you do, especially to your grace brethren in Christ. The lost world is certainly unkind to us Christians. Why must we too “consume one another?” When we do it to the Christian brethren, we do it to Christ!!!!

We Christians always have forgiveness at Christ’s cross, but the damage we do to our Christian brethren does not magically disappear. We can never take back those harsh words. Thus, let us exercise great care in what words we speak, especially to our grace brethren in Christ. Let us prayerfully meditate on the rightly divided King James Bible before we make rash decisions we will later regret. We do and will make mistakes, but if we persist in those mistakes, we really have not grasped what grace living is all about.

Grace living is not sinless living, but letting God’s grace transform you, and allowing it to correct you when you do make mistakes. Selfishness, bitterness, and bickering are inconsistent with God’s grace to us in Christ; consequently, they do not belong in our lives. “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Living As Peaceably As Possible

Monday, August 27, 2012

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18 KJV).

Having recently listened to family members and friends discuss their struggles, my advice to them was simple—apply today’s Scripture.

Saints, today’s Scripture is clear. We should make every attempt possible to get along with others, especially with our Christian brethren (as always, please remember that we never, EVER compromise sound Bible doctrine for the sake of unity). But, there does come a point where we cannot resolve conflict, and we must leave the situation alone. Notice today’s Scripture: “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” It is not always possible to live peaceably, even with fellow Christians (which is so sad).

In fact, there are such deep divisions among some Christians—including myself—that they cannot be resolved until heaven. I have met people who cause their own problems, thereby making other people’s lives—and mine—miserable. We all make mistakes, but what makes it sadder is that even after they are warned repeatedly, they continue in their error, with little to no remorse.

When dealing with these kinds of people who absolutely refuse to apply sound Bible doctrine in handling a disagreement, we must step back and say, “There is nothing more that I can do. It is time to leave these individuals alone.” Again we apply today’s Scripture and move on; otherwise we risk making the situation worse with hatred, bitterness, physical altercations, gossiping, cursing, et cetera.

Regrettably, sin causes squabbling, which results in division. Our “friends” will turn other friends against us, and divorce destroys our marriages and families. It is most pitiful when these divisions occur within the local church, disrupting the unity of God’s people and furthering the plan of the adversary (Satan). While we do “forgive [others] as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven [us]” (Ephesians 4:32), we are not to be doormats. In this sinful world, we cannot live harmoniously with everyone.

“If it be possible,” saints, “IF it be possible,” “live peaceably with all men….”

The Fire That Wood and Talebearers Kindle!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

“Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth” (Proverbs 26:20 KJV).

What do wood and talebearers have in common? Today’s Scripture gives us the answer.

The King James Bible uses the term “talebearer” six times. Let us look at those remaining instances. What is a “talebearer” exactly? Proverbs 11:13 explains, A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.” Compare Proverbs 20:19: “He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.” Talebearers learn the private matters of others, and then maliciously broadcast and publicize the information without permission, usually with the intention of destroying or defaming the parties involved.

Consider Proverbs 26:22: “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” Compare Proverbs 18:8: “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” These wounds strike the most sensitive areas of the human heart (soul), and causes great damage. The emotional and spiritual scars brought on by gossiping can literally be permanent.

As we know, wood is a fuel, so it can be used to start a fire. Obviously, without fuel such as wood, a fire cannot begin (today’s Scripture). But, by the same token, today’s Scripture says that talebearers can be viewed as fuel, for people who reveal secrets and gossip will generate strife (fighting). Clearly, without gossipers, there is peace—literally, no heated debates for lack of “wood.”

This is why God, in Leviticus 19:16, charged Israel, “Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people….” God did not want talebearers hindering His will for Israel, and He does not want talebearers disrupting His will for us, the Church the Body of Christ! Saints and brethren, the time we have been given on earth is extremely precious, so let us be about the Christian ambassadorship, and let us not be guilty of the foolishness of tale bearing.