Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Living for the Future

☀ “When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the LORD, according to the ordinance of David king of Israel. And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD: “For He is good, For His mercy endures forever toward Israel.” Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. BUT MANY of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off.” ~ Ezra 3:10-13

Contrast the responses of those who were finally back home again in the beloved land of Israel with those who knew old Israel before the captivity. Half the congregation of Israel rejoiced in the new day whilst the other half “belly-ached” what used to be but is no more!

“Father God? I cannot do a thing about what I have lost over my lifetime; from relationships to parents to homes to jobs to possessions and more. But, YOU have been there every step of the way – preserving me, sustaining me and affirming your love for me. Let these things be enough for me! Help me by your Spirit to keep my eyes affixed on YOU and the Son’s soon appearing to take me home to a more glorious place where you dwell in the heavenlies! In Jesus Name. Amen.” 💕

Seducing Spirits

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“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (1 Timothy 4:1)

These “latter days” are surely characterized by the tragic departure from the faith on the part of many. Unfortunately, even many of our churches have followed what should certainly be exposed as “seducing spirits,” embracing lies taught under the influence of Satan.

A list of such false teachings and practices within the church would surely implicate many. Let us look at the examples Paul gives in the next few verses:

First, he identifies the leaders and teachers of these errors as hypocritical liars who intentionally deceive their prey. They have deadened any possibility of right attitude by hardening their minds and searing their consciences (v. 2).

Next, we are given examples of their heresy: “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving” (v. 3).

Many cults and pseudo-Christian groups have fallen into these traps, but both the institution of marriage and the provision of foods were specifically created by God for man’s enjoyment and blessing (marriage: see Genesis 1:28; 2:18, 24; foods: Genesis 1:29; 9:3). They are to be “received with thanksgiving” to a loving Creator, “sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4-5). Each of these and all of God’s creation are “very good” (Genesis 1:31), if used properly.

But the main point of this passage is that we should guard against the heresy of false teachers and from imposing on ourselves and our fellow Christians a false piety—practices which may make us feel “holier than thou” but which, in reality, impugn God and His creation.

Rather, let us be among those “which believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:3) of God’s loving provision of creation. JDM

The Power of Spiritual Control

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“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:17-18)

Two factors need to be identified with these verses. First, the preceding context confines the primary application to behavior, just as the following context relates the behavior to the fellowship of believers. Secondly, the imagery stresses control of that behavior by the Holy Spirit, contrasting drunken behavior with filled behavior.

The filling is not synonymous with the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:12-14) since all twice-born are so baptized but not all are filled. Nor is it equal with or subsequent to speaking in tongues since some specifically identified as being filled with the Holy Spirit (John the Baptist, Elizabeth, Jesus) never spoke in tongues. Some individuals (Paul, Peter, Stephen) were filled on different occasions. Apparently, the filling produces a temporary effect like alcohol does. The effect of the filling of the Holy Spirit enhances or encourages a God-like behavior in contrast to the Satan-like behavior stimulated by alcohol.

Some passages equate power with this filling (Acts 1:8; Romans 15:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:5), and others equate it to wisdom (Colossians 1:9-11; Philippians 1:9-11; Colossians 3:15-17). However, the immediate context lists four evidences of the Holy Spirit’s control: songs of praise together, personal singing and private melody to God in our hearts, thanksgiving, and voluntary submission to one another in the Lord (Ephesians 5:19-21).

Since the Holy Spirit distributes gifts to the saints (Ephesians 4:7-11) for the purpose of building the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12-16), it stands to reason that the Holy Spirit’s control would be designed to enhance and stimulate the ministry of believers to each other and their personal joy and awareness of the goodness of God. HMM III

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