Monthly Archives: February 2015

Reaping What You Sow

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7)

The idea that you sow what you reap has been around for a very long time, even before the time of Christ. The Hindu version is karma. You sow good karma, you reap good karma in return. The Chinese have the philosophy of the “yin and yang” which is “bahlahns, Danielson” (think of “Karate Kid”) between good and evil. Star Wars conjoined these ideas into “The Force” with its good or “light” side and its dark side.

In Jesus’ time, the Jews had similar ideas. For example, they extrapolated from the Levitical Law “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Leviticus 24:20) and used it to exact revenge. That was not the intent of the law as Jesus, the Author of the original, explained:

Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. (Matthew 5:38-42)

Allow me a moment just to chase this important rabbit. Notice how Jesus responds to “Ye have heard.” His response is, “But I say unto you.” Throughout scripture any OT prophet or NT apostle who relays a message from God always qualifies his message by “Thus saith the Lord,” but not Jesus. He speaks by His own authority. He is the Lord. I just thought that’s a good thing for you to know.

The Jews of Jesus day also had the idea that good health and material prosperity were a sign of God’s favor, i.e., good karma, as a reward for righteous living. Poor health and poverty were a sign of God’s disfavor, i.e., bad karma, as punishment for a sinful life. (See Deuteronomy 29:9; 1 Kings 2:3)  Jesus debunked these perversions. For example, Jesus came across a man blind from birth and His disciples asked Him, “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2) They shared the prevailing thought that if one keeps the law, i.e., does not sin, they will prosper and enjoy good health, but a sinner will be punished with poverty or a debilitating disease. To put a stop to their stinking thinking, “Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him … When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing” (John 9:3, 6-7).

The point is that there is not necessarily a direct correlation between your actions and the good or bad you receive in this world. There are many really bad people in this world – most of them in Washington D.C. – that enjoy great wealth and good health. On the other hand, there are many really good people who have low income and/or poor health. Yet the prevailing belief among many people remains that if one does good, one will receive good in return. This further translates into their view of eternity. They believe that in the end God will weigh their good deeds against their sin, and if their good outweighs their bad, they’ll make it into heaven. What they do not understand is that their deeds will indeed be weighed, but their deeds will be weighed against the Word of God (Revelation 20:12-13). Finding themselves painfully short of perfection, their names will be searched for in the Book of Life. Then when their names are not found there, their doom will be sealed for eternity (Revelation 20:15).

Our lead verse above reminds us not to trifle with God – He will not be mocked. But this is not talking about karma in the sense the world understands. In fact, this verse is not necessarily talking about eternity, and it is not directed at non-believers. Paul was writing to Christians – the church in Galatia. He begins this final chapter by addressing church discipline for a brother “overtaken in a fault” (Galatians 6:1). He encourages the church to support one another in prayer (v. 2). He discourages misplaced pride (v. 3). He exhorts everyone to judge their own actions and not those of others (v. 4). He admonishes everyone to pull their own weight (v. 5). Then he entreats them to financially support those who teach them (v. 6). After all this he says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). In other words, God sees, not only what you do, but the motives behind the actions – He will not be mocked. One who is a twice-born child of God, will not lose his “sonship,” but just like any good father disciplines his child to correct wrong actions, so the Heavenly Father corrects His misbehaving child. “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? … 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?” (Hebrews 12:7, 9)

Paul elaborates on the law of sowing and reaping: “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:8). The “flesh” here should be understood as our sinful nature. While we live in this fallen world, we retain that sinful nature. When we place our trust in Christ, our dead spirit is made alive. “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45). “The last Adam” refers to Christ who has been made a “vitalizing spirit” or a “spirit that brings life.” The meaning of the second birth is that Christ has made our dead spirit come to life. That spirit constantly battles the sinful nature that we carry in our flesh. Paul describes this struggle in Romans 7:14-23. In the end he cries out, “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” (Romans 7:24-25).

As children of God, we have both a sinful nature and an eternal spirit. We understand from nature that what is fed will grow, and what is starved will wither or atrophy. We can feed our flesh by indulging our worldly desires like spending too much time on entertainment, watching or listing to worldly programming on television or the radio, listening to worldly music, reading worldly materials, etc. (I am not addressing non-believers, so my word choices should be clear to believers.) Alternately, we can feed our spirit by listening to Godly programming on television or radio, listening to sacred music that honors God, spending time in God’s Word, etc. If we feed our flesh, our desire for worldly pleasures will increase while our spirit will grow weak. Paul warns that we will reap the consequences for “sowing to the flesh.” God does believe in spanking His children. On the contrary, if we feed the spirit, God will enrich our lives (not necessarily in material ways) so that those blessings will reach into eternity. You reap what you sow.

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DiAne Gates is a good friend and sister in the Lord. In this article, she deals with the intimate relationship we, as Christians, can experience with our Lord and Savior. DiAne is an excellent writer, and I think you will be inspired by what she has to say.


If I met Benjamin Netanyahu on the street I would point and gasp, “I know him!” But I don’t know him—I know about him.

When my friend Barbara pulls her car into my driveway for lunch, I’m thrilled to see her. We’ve been friends for many years and I know more about her than I do casual acquaintances. But when it all boils down—I only know about her.

My husband and I have been married thirty-eight years and like any wife, I know his habits and have watched his responses to me and to other people. But do I really know what’s in the recesses of his heart? After all, there is no Book of Richard to tell me.

Since early childhood, I sat in Sunday School and church, and came to know about God and about His Son, Jesus Christ. I knew God created the world. I…

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Worship vs. Emotion

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.   (Romans 12:1)

This topic has been on my mind for quite some time now, but I have been hesitant to write about it because, well, it stirs up a lot of emotion. The topic of worship is a hot-button topic in church circles because Christians take worship personally – and it is personal. Most of the debate centers around the kind of music used in worship services. The conflict usually boils down to hymns vs. “praise and worship” (P&W) music, or “reverent” vs. “up-beat” music. Personally, I like all kinds of music – classical, country gospel, “high” church and regular hymns, and, yes, even some P&W music. In a recent article I remarked about listening to “godless” rock and roll; I like that too. For me, it is not about the style of the music, but rather the substance. My personal assessment of modern P&W music is that it is shallow in content, overly repetitious, and manipulative. By manipulative I mean that it is designed to excite and stir up the emotions. Hymns sometimes do that for me, but that happens when the truth of the lyrics strikes a chord in my heart that reveals my fallen condition and God’s awesome grace shed on one so undeserving. That puts a knot in my throat and brings tears to my eyes. It is, for me, an emotional experience that brings to mind the great “worth” of God – worship. Some P&W songs do the same, but by and large, not so much.

But worship has little to do with music, or the lyrics of songs. Worship means to “assign ‘worth’ to.” The hosts of heaven assign worth to the Lamb of God: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11). The first occurrence of the word “worship” in the King James Bible is found in Genesis 22:5. Here we see Abraham on his way to sacrifice Isaac in obedience to God’s command. As they arrive at the location of the sacrifice, Abraham tells his servants “Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” Abraham wasn’t on his way to a song service. In fact, I imagine that he did not feel much like singing at that time. He was on his way to worship. The Hebrew word here is shâchâh and it means to “prostrate (especially reflexively in homage to royalty or God): – to bow down; to crouch; to fall down flat; to humbly beseech; to do or make obeisance; to do reverence; to make to stoop; to worship.” Nothing in that definition says anything about singing or music. I am not saying that music and singing should not be a part of worship. Indeed, the Psalms are a collection of hymns and many of them, like Psalm 150, talk about singing and making music unto to Lord. Psalm 66:4 says, “All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah.” It might be worth noting that the “worship” comes before the singing, not the other way around. So, there is an aspect of worship that calls for music, but even in the Psalms the focus is on God and His majesty, greatness and awesomeness. Often when a complaint is leveled against modern P&W music the retort comes back, “We’re just singing the Psalms.” That is only partially true. The fact is that one or two lines are taken out of a Psalm (and usually out of context), and repeated ad nauseam. The worshipers seldom know the source of the Psalm much less the context, but it makes them “feel” good.

Worship is more than music. Our lead verse exhorts us to make our bodies, i.e., our lives, a “living sacrifice” (recall Abraham’s sacrifice above) holy, i.e., set apart/sanctified from this world, and acceptable unto God. In the O.T. an acceptable sacrifice had to be spotless and without blemish (Exodus 12:5). In our sinful nature, that is impossible, but when we have been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb (Isaiah 1:18), we qualify. Finally, our verse says that our sacrifice is our “reasonable service.” The Greek word translated “service” here is latreia which means “ministration of God, divine service or worship.” That it is “reasonable” (Greek logikos) means that it is logical, or rational. It is not “mindless.”

We may never fully understand God. How can the creature comprehend the Creator! But the closer we get to Him, the better we get to know Him, the more we realize His power and His awesomeness, the more we will recognize and acknowledge that HE IS GOD. And our lives should reflect that. It is not about the style of music we sing. It is not about emotion. It is not about how we feel. It is about who He is and how well we know Him. Worship has little or nothing to do with emotions. We may not feel like “worshiping,” but God is always worthy of our worship; and we show that best with how we conduct our lives.


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The Church Universal is at Our Doorstep

The Church Universal is at Our Doorstep

By Geri Ungurean.

There is only One God. His name is Jesus. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12) .


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It’s Not That Bad

But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  (Matthew 24:37-39)

Unless you have totally detached yourself from all society, isolated yourself in a cave, or numbed your brain with drugs, you know that the world is in moral decline. We have ejected God from the public square, spurned His law and called what is good evil and what is evil good (Isaiah 5:20). We accept that which is unnatural and hold it up as something to be praised and held in honor. We castigate those who hold firm to their passé morality, and stigmatize them as evil haters. We hail outlaws as heroes and call true heroes cowards. We slaughter our progeny and fearlessly defend the life and welfare of animals. We fight against polluting the planet and think nothing of the moral pollution of our minds. Boy! Are we screwed up!

We hear of wars and rumors of wars. Natural and man-made catastrophes are increasing all over the world, and for the most part, life, for the vast majority of people, goes on as usual. The words of Jesus recorded by Matthew above make me wonder. Just how bad were things at the time of Noah? Genesis records that “it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth … for it repenteth me that I have made them” (Genesis 6:6-7). Things must have been pretty bad for God to take such extreme measures. “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth” (Genesis 6:11-12). Is that not what we see today? Mankind is corrupt and the earth is filled with violence. So, why does Christ delay His return? Surely, things are as bad today as they were in the days of Noah.

It seems that there have been periods in world history that were far worse than they are today, and Jesus did not return then either. When Jesus spoke these words, He was not referring to the moral condition of the world, but rather the suddenness of the destruction that fell upon them. Note that they were conducting life as usual, “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage.” There is nothing particularly sinful in that, but as they carried on life as usual, destruction came on them suddenly, “And [they] knew not until the flood came, and took them all away” (Matthew 24:39). But there may be more to it than they were just carrying on life as usual. The world was violent then and evil was so rampant that God said, “Enough!”

For Christians (and I always feel that I need to qualify that with the adjective “true”) the world does not have to get as bad as in the days of Noah. Paul would remind us, as he did the Christians in Thessalonica, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, emphasis mine). That “falling away” is the Greek word apostasia, which means a “defection from the truth.” We see that happening today, but God still has a remnant. I heard today that the number of “true” Christians, according to Barna, is down to about 7%, but that remnant is still strong. Paul says that the “son of perdition,” a.k.a. “Antichrist,” will not be revealed until “he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:7, emphasis mine). That word “lets” (“letteth”) is actually two Greek words: katechō meaning “to hold down,” and arti, meaning “suspension.” That “He” is the Holy Spirit who indwells every child of God. When the Bride of Christ is “taken out of the way,” there will be nothing left to restrain evil.

It’s bad now, but it’s not that bad. Christ will call for His Bride at any moment. As in the days of Noah, life will be going on as usual. Then suddenly, millions of people – Christians – will disappear from all over the earth, and the trouble begins. It’s not that bad now, but it’s going to get bad. I hope you are ready!


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