Leave Off Contention!

Monday, August 22, 2016

“The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with” (Proverbs 17:14 KJV).

Before contention starts, stop it!

Recently, two Christian sisters expressed heartache and utter disgust about a church split. Their families are broken. These two ladies had diligently labored at that local church, only to have “Christian brethren” stab them in the back. One lady’s children were treated horribly there. Hence, one son still rejects Jesus Christ. Another son, although saved, is angry and bitter. These two ladies are still so deeply hurt; they have repressed the pain for years. Making matters worse, their families mistreat them even todayover 20 years after the church split!

One lady poured out her heart to me, asking how to deal with these people whom she still sees in public today. Should she greet/acknowledge these so-called “Christians?” Or, should she just go on her way without approaching them? Well, it depends on who this person is and what he or she did. Furthermore, we are never to force ourselves on anybody. If they want to run away from us, let them. If they approach us for a hug or handshake, we should oblige. The least we should do is smile. We want to be a light for Jesus Christ’s sake.

However, some people—even professing Christians—have no interest in reconciliation. Pride prevents admission of wrongdoing! So, they will use any and every opportunity to curse, yell, or snub their nose at us. We should not set ourselves up for such silliness. Some people are simply looking for attention and will throw various sorts of tantrums to get it. You know who they are. Friend, you need to stay away from them. They are simply tools of Satan and you should not let Satan get the advantage.

The verse I shared with this inquisitive sister was today’s Scripture. If you know trouble is coming, the best thing to do is not approach the person at all! It has nothing to do with holding grudges. It has everything to do with keeping your testimony. You approach that person, and it just may be an occasion to the flesh—for you and/or the individual. “Leave off contention, before it be meddled with!”

Quarantined for Christ!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

“Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets” (Luke 6:22,23 KJV).

Christ in us is contagious… and they do not want to “catch” Him!

Recently, a Christian was telling me how another Christian had “Christian” family members who emotionally and spiritually abused him. She claimed that this individual was treated as though he had leprosy. They had no time for him unless they could benefit from him in some way. It undoubtedly was a spiritual battle. It was a great division, a battle between good and evil, a situation wherein one party stood for sound Bible doctrine and the other party was entrenched in religious tradition. Today’s Scripture came to mind.

We can be “quarantined” for various and sundry reasons. Perhaps we live a “gutter life,” one filled with violence and crime, and (understandably) no one wants to be associated with us. Or, maybe we just like to gossip and backstab and people thus avoid us. These are negative. But, to be “separated… for the Son of man’s sake(today’s Scripture), that is the noblest type of quarantine. It is not easy to handle, and it does hurt, but Jesus Christ forewarned His disciples that it would come. They should not be shocked or “frozen,” unable to react when it happened. But, how can one in that predicament be “blessed,” happy, “rejoicing,” “leaping for joy?” It takes the mind of God to understand!

If ever people associate you with the God of the Bible, you have given a clear testimony of the God of the Bible in your behavior and lifestyle. There was no phoniness or cravenness in you. You were candid about your Saviour, they saw the light, and they refused to see that light any further. They knew you were “infected” with Jesus Christ, and they sealed you away, lest you “communicate” Him to them! Indeed, rejoice, beloved, jump for joy, when the world places you in “quarantine!” 🙂

The Key to Harmony

Saturday, May 2, 2015

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 KJV).

Behold, the key to harmony!

We all recall times when fellow Christians mistreated us. We all remember times when we wronged other Christians. While Father God has granted us abundant forgiveness in Christ (today’s Scripture), it is very difficult to apply that forgiveness to others. What they did to us hurt, and what we did to them hurt. Some wrongs are especially painful, very tough to relinquish (which then fester to become grudges). When we see these people, what they did to us immediately comes to mind. It was five, 10, 20, or over 50 years ago, but we still remember what happened. Our emotions (tainted by sin) then get involved, and how we want to lash out at them!

As a brother in the ministry once said, “We grace Christians need to be the kindest, gentlest, most loving people.” Today’s Scripture should be committed to memory. No, we are not to be doormats, but we should make every possible effort to make any situation better, especially if it involves another member of the Church the Body of Christ (Romans 12:18; Galatians 6:10). Sometimes, because of pride, the other party refuses to yield. They decline to reconcile—no apologies are offered, no kindness is shown, wrongdoing is denied, et cetera. Some matters just cannot be straightened out. Unfortunately, they will only be made right in heaven (when neither person’s flesh is in the way).

We need to take a moment to pray for those who have wronged us. If they are unsaved, may we be burdened to pray for their salvation unto eternal life. They need to believe the Gospel of Grace now before they die and go to hell and have to pay for those sins forever. If they are Christians, we need to pray ever so earnestly that they grow in God’s grace, and straighten up, and hurt the cause of Christ no more. Yes, they have done us wrong, but Jesus Christ took care of it at Calvary, and we need to send those wrongs there! 🙂

Keep Yourselves in the Love of God #3

Saturday, October 18, 2014

“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 21 KJV).

How will today’s Scripture benefit the nation Israel in “the ages to come?”

Near the completion of His ministry, in what is called His “Second Olivet Discourse,” the Lord Jesus replied to a question about the “sign of [his] coming, and of the end of the world” (Matthew 24:3). The Bible quotes Him as saying (in part): “[9] Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. [10] And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. [11] And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. [12] And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

Luke 21:16,17 is a companion passage: “[16] And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. [17] And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.” (Also see Mark 13:9-13.)

The night before He died, He again prepared His disciples for the time of their coming persecution, “[2] They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. [3] And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me” (John 16:2,3).

Considering all what Israel’s little flock will experience during the time of Jacob’s trouble, the final seven years of God dealing with her national sins, these precious Messianic Jews need to hear, understand, and believe the words of the Holy Spirit spoken through Jude. Today’s Scripture and its context are actually a four-fold method that God will strengthen the Jewish believers as they suffer at the hands of their enemies—yea, their hateful family members—for Jesus Christ’s sake. Let us now briefly analyze this four-fold edification, with today’s Scripture particularly in mind….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Israel have to keep so many ‘strange’ laws?

Kooks for Christ

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake (Matthew 5:11 KJV).

Are you a “kook for Christ?” Happy are ye!

Satan is a very shrewd enemy, having perfected his strategy for 6,000 years. Equipped with above-human intelligence and practice with mankind during all those millennia, he knows us better than we know ourselves. If he is unsuccessful in attacking the message (if he cannot entice us to corrupt/change God’s Word), then he will focus on us—attack us and discourage us, to discredit us, to force us to quit.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians that, like he and the other apostles suffered for Jesus Christ, they too should be willing to do so: “[9] For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. [10] We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised” (1 Corinthians 4:9,10).

Our Lord Jesus said to His Jewish disciples in today’s Scripture: “[11] Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. [12] Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:11,12). Jesus reminded them that, like all the saints of old, they too would suffer because of Him. Yet, God would not overlook their suffering; He Himself would reward them in due time.

When people give us bizarre looks for preaching the pure Word of God, call us evil names, think of us as crazy, physically attack us, we should be thrilled to suffer for Jesus Christ. What an honor! Even when professing Christians side against us by allying with lost people, we need not be bothered or discouraged. As a dear Christian friend and brother in the ministry says, “I would rather be a ‘fool’ for Christ, than an idiot for the Devil!” 🙂

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).

A Brother Offended

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

“A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle” (Proverbs 18:19 KJV).

Today’s Scripture reminds us that backstabbing (betrayal) often has irreversible results.

Within the last few weeks, I have personally had to endure two backstabbings, so today’s Scripture is especially fresh in my mind. What grieves me is that both parties were professing grace Christians. Both gained my trust, and both played the hypocrite rather subtlety. One inflicted great damage on me spiritually and emotionally, which I cannot adequately express in words.

One was a “friend” of mine for just over a year, and the other a family “friend” for decades. Both of those relationships were highly distracting for my ministry, they still are, and they pose some difficulties for the ministry and me in the coming years. I was insulted, humiliated, and betrayed, and it makes it all the more painful that they claimed to be grace brethren in Christ. In short, dear saints and readers, I have a broken heart.

As today’s Scripture indicates, an offended family member—either physically or spiritually a family member—is “harder to be won than a strong city.” You can eventually conquer a walled city, but the upset human heart is far more resilient. Some broken relationships can never be restored. We do make every human attempt possible to “live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18), but this does not always come to pass. There are people who are stubborn and prideful, and while they claim to be Christians, they persistently mock Christian charity (even after being repeatedly admonished). They make fellowship with them impossible, so we must avoid them in order to keep the situation from escalating.

Saints, we may lose all of our “friends” for the Lord’s sake—even professing grace Christian brethren will forsake us. Let us not be surprised, but let us rejoice that the Lord is glorified in that. Saints, since our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ lost everything to provide our eternal salvation, let us be willing to lose every relationship in this life for Him.