Australia Ministry Trip (Sept 26-November 10, 2017)

Australia Ministry Trip (Sept 26-November 10, 2017)
From September 26 to November 10, 2017, my husband, daughter and I will be on a ministry trip in Australia and New Zealand. The places we will be visiting are shown on the map above - along with the dates in which we'll be in these places (and what we'll be doing while there). Please keep this ministry trip and all of us in your prayers! Blogs will appear daily throughout this time, as I have written them and scheduled them in advance. I welcome your comments - and enjoy them! Just know I will not have Internet access for much of this time. So, I will look forward to reading your responses upon my return. Thank you for your understanding! And please keep reading to complete the "Reading the Bible in a Year" challenge and blessing! I am very grateful to Claire for her faithful blog comments (please everyone - join her in sharing each day as a discussion blesses everyone so much more!) And I am thankful that Claire has graciously agreed to add a bit more into her daily comments during my time of absence. Please direct special comments or questions which require immediate responses to her (on this blog). Blessings as you continue your journey through God's Word this year!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - March 12, 2017

Today's Reading:

Matthew 14:1-21

Leviticus 20-21

Proverbs 30

Listen to the Bible

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

This morning, I'd like to focus my attention on the reading from Leviticus 20-21. This part of God's Law (which is the first 5 books of the Bible, in Hebrew called the Torah) is all about moral purity.

Leviticus 20:7-8  "Sanctify (be set apart for holy use) yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I Am the LORD (Yahweh) your God. And ye shall keep My Statutes, and do them: I Am the LORD which sanctify you."  


Sanctification is about moral freedom. "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed," John 8:36.

MORAL FREEDOM is having our physical drives under the full control of the Holy Spirit. Through the in-dwelling Grace of God, we are empowered to transform our physical drives into spiritual power. When this is accomplished, our influence and ministry on behalf of others will be a life-giving blessing, as God intended. “...As the Scripture hath said, out of his belly (innermost being) shall flow rivers of living water,” (John 7:38). This is true moral freedom.

What does it Mean to be Morally Free?
Moral freedom is not the right to do whatever you want. It is the (Heaven-given) power to do what you ought,” (Principles of Freedom, p. 3)

Perhaps one could accurately liken our physical desires to blasting wind. Unleashed and uncontrolled, these urges are totally devastating, the spiritual and emotional equivalent to a destructive tornado or hurricane. But, when brought under  the Holy  Spirit’s  control,  those drives bring benefit and blessing to all we meet.  Moral purity is victory over lust. Only in moral purity do we find true spiritual freedom.

 
2 Timothy 2:22 ”Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the LORD  out of a pure heart.”

Galatians 5:16-17 “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 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.”



How do our Physical Drives (lusts) Get out of Control in the First Place?


Our physical drives become dominant when our three basic drives are out of balance. Our three basic drives are spirit (spiritual), soul (mind, will, and emotions) and body.


1 Thessalonians 5:23 “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”



Our spiritual driving force should be dominant, with our soul and body in harmony and under subjection to God’s leading in our spirit.


· SPIRIT DRIVING FORCE—should be the dominant driving force, possessed with the Holy Spirit.


Ezekiel 37:14 “And shall put My Spirit in you, and ye shall live…”

Proverbs 20:27 “The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.” 


· SOUL DRIVING FORCE—in harmony with God

The Bible defines SOUL as mind, will, and emotions:

- SOUL IS THE MIND (What we KNOW) - Psalm 139:14“...my soul knoweth right well.”

- SOUL IS THE WILL (What we DESIRE) - Revelation 18:14“And the fruits that thy soul lusted after…”

- SOUL IS THE EMOTION (What we FEEL) - Psalm 42:5“Why art thou cast down, O my soul?...”


· PHYSICAL DRIVING FORCE—Kept under subjection


1 Corinthians 9:27 “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”



When our spiritual drives are dominant, the soul is in harmony, and the physical driving forces are kept under subjection; we are whole, healthy, and in balance. When we take steps down the path of reprobation (see the diagram above right), we become more and more physically driven and less and less spiritually motivated


“They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate,”  Titus 1:16.
What is Reprobation?


When our minds are fully reprobate, we can no longer comprehend spiritual things, nor discern Truth at all (see Romans 1:28). 


Titus 1:15-16 “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”


Jeremiah 6:30Reprobate silver shall men call them, because God hath rejected them.”  


What does the Bible mean when it uses the word “reprobate?”


· In the Greek (New Testament Source), the word “reprobate” is Strong’s Concordance number 96:

ἀδόκιμος  (ad-ok'-ee-mos) - “unapproved, that is, rejected; by implication worthless (literally or morally): - castaway, rejected, reprobate.”

· In the Hebrew (Old Testament Source), the word “reprobate” is Strong’s Concordance number 3988:

  מאס  (maw-as') - to spurn… abhor, cast away (off), contemn, despise, disdain, (become) loathe (-some)... reject, reprobate,  utterly vile person.”

Thus, a reprobate person is unprincipled, depraved, and unable to discern evil. They are cast-off from God, rejected by Him and are not (in this condition) saved. Clearly, this is not a condition any of us should desire to be in!


How Do We Become Reprobate?


As is shown in the diagram above, full reprobation does not come upon us in single moment, there are steps we take to develop this terrible condition over time.  Identifying and understanding these steps can protect us from taking them, and can also serve to help us prayerfully discern whether we are already somewhere on this terrible path.



REPROBATION STEP 1: Abuse of Natural Curiosity


We are born with curiosity. It is a very good thing, when kept under the control of the Holy Spirit. Curiosity allows us to learn more in Scripture, come to understand our Creator through His science, and much more.  But, our curiosity is to be limited.  Like Eve, in Eden, who could eat of any tree but one, we are to be curious about everything EXCEPT that which is evil. God wants us to know good, not evil (Romans 16:19). When we indulge curiosity about evil, we abuse this natural gift.

REPROBATION STEP 2: Awakening of Conscience

God speaks to us through our conscience to convict of moral wrong.  Like an alarm system, the conscience is awakened whenever we approach evil or evil approaches us. You can recognize that your conscience has been awakened by a  question  which  comes  to  mind: ”Is this the right thing for me to do?”

The Bible tells about the Pharisees who brought a woman taken in adultery before Jesus to stone her? The Saviour simply wrote their secret sins in the temple dust. This aroused the conscience of the prideful Pharisees.

John 8:9 “...being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one…”

There comes a point when curiosity will lead to the awakening of conscience. What we do next is critical. For if we listen to the Holy Spirit and turn away from the evil, we are delivered. But, if we look about us to see if we’ll get caught, or work to think of reasons why the activity is okay after all, we take the second step towards reprobation. There is no sin that you cannot rationalize away.

REPROBATION STEP 3: Developing a Sensual Focus
When we rationalize away conviction against evil, we are working to gratify our flesh in some way.  This develops a sensual focus (focused on gratifying our physical desires). Eve did this (James 1:13-14)  when  she  saw  that the
forbidden tree  was “good  for  food” (would  satisfy her physical desires), and that it was pleasant to the eyes (lust of the eyes), and a tree to be desired to make one wise (in knowing evil—which is the pride of life). If we allow ourselves to look at what God has forbidden, or to imagine the potential enjoyment we’d have by partaking in it, we will fall prey to the temptation.





REPROBATION STEP 4: Questioning God’s Word
Satan was able to tempt Eve to sin by getting her to question God’s Word. We begin to doubt
whether or not
God really has our best interest at heart.

Genesis 3:1-5 “…(The serpent) said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent... God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it… lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die....”
  


REPROBATION STEP 5: Violation of Conscience


As we continue to focus on sensual gratification, our lust brings forth an act of disobedience to God’s Law (which is the definition of sin, as it says in 1 John 3:4).  


James 1:14-15 “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” 



As we listen to the tempter and partake of his wares, we are much like the foolish insect partaking of the nectar of the carnivorous pitcher plant. Perhaps he notices the partially dissolved insects floating in the digestive liquid far below. But, the fly thinks he is smart enough and strong enough to enjoy the nectar without paying the  price.  So   he  samples the attractive nectar greedily until he is full and ready to leave. Suddenly he becomes aware that he cannot fly away. Try as he might to escape, his attempts only bring him ever closer to the digestive juices awaiting him in the bell of the insidious pitcher plant. He is trapped!

 

Similarly, as we sample the devil’s tempting wares, we become enslaved. We unwittingly become the servants of sin, shackled by the enemy. Such is the price for dallying with the devil.


Romans 6:16  “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” 



REPROBATION STEP 6: Awakening of Guilt


When Adam and Eve had partaken of the forbidden fruit, the Bible says that their “eyes were opened” and they “knew that they were naked.” Thus they were ashamed and hid themselves from God (Genesis 3:7-8).



Physical pain serves to let us know that damage is being done to us, bodily. God uses guilt to let us know when we are damaging ourselves, spiritually. When under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, if we truly repent, as David did in Psalm 51, we will be cleansed of our sins and reclaimed from the path of reprobation. But if we choose to justify our sins or blame someone else (like Adam and Eve—Gen. 3:12-13), we become increasingly unable to discern our need.  Like a leper, no longer able to feel pain, justified sin increasingly deadens our perception of guilt.

REPROBATION STEPS 7-13: Continued & Deepening Reprobation


As we persist on the path of evil, we will attempt to ease our guilt by: 
· Compensating for it with apparent religious fervor, acts of ministry, and impressive servitude.
· Deadening it by re-evaluating the Scriptures and twisting them to mean whatever we want them to mean, just so we make the Bible justify our ungodly choices.
· Becoming argumentative with others who we perceive to hold a “legalistic” or “narrow-minded” viewpoint of Scriptures.

What are Lasciviousness & Concupiscence?

When we stir up ungodly physical desires the Bible calls it lasciviousness (see 2 Corinthians 12:21, Galatians 5:19) Lasciviousness becomes concupiscence, a condition about midway through in the development of reprobation. Concupiscence is a strong, ungodly desire, a burning lust.  

1 Thessalonians 4:4-5 “That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;  Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God.”

Many Christians wrongly assume that if they just indulge in a little bit of lust, it will satisfy the ungodly desire. But, actually the opposite happens. The more a lust is fed, the hotter it burns, like a fire being fed with gasoline.  The more it is indulged, the deeper the depravity and the further the development of reprobation.

Romans 1:27-28 “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.”

How can the Fire of Lust be Quenched?

One cannot put out the fires of lust by indulging them. They can only be quenched through Heaven’s Living Waters:
· Baptism by water and the Spirit —John 3:5
· Daily washing our souls with the Water of the Word —Ephesians 5:26

What are Consequences of Concupiscence?
The Bible warns of several damaging fruits which result from continued concupiscence. Consider the fruits of pornography, ungodly movies, and alcohol.

CONSEQUENCES OF BEHOLDING PORNOGRAPHY

· Your marriage is damaged by committing adultery—Matthew 5:28
· You promote prostitution by engaging in lasciviousness for hire—2 Peter 2:14
· You sow seeds of destruction to your own flesh—Galatians 6:7
· You bring a curse of increased violent crime in the land—Leviticus 19:29
· You dull your spiritual perceptions, grieving the Holy Spirit—Galatians 5:17

CONSEQUENCES OF WATCHING UNGODLY MOVIES OR TV

· You establish the practice of tolerating evil in order to enjoy something good—Proverbs 8:13, 1 Corinthians 5:6
· You lower your resistance to evil—Proverbs 4:23
· You give the world’s philosophy and concepts access to your soul—Colossians 2:8
· You deaden your conscience and lessen your love for GodMatthew 24:12
· You become a companion of fools and evil people who should not be in, nor have influence in, your home—Proverbs 13:20, Proverbs 14:7
· You make yourself an enemy with GodJames 4:4

CONSEQUENCES OF CONSUMING ALCOHOL

· You bring destruction upon yourself—Proverbs 23:31-32
· You lower your ability to resist evil in other areas—Proverbs 23:33
· You are endangered of becoming addicted—Habakkuk 2:15
· You cause others to stumble—Romans 14:21

Finally, when you allow small amounts of evil into your home, your children will be weakened.  What parents allow in moderation, their children excuse in excess. Thus, God calls parents to first be spiritually circumcised (cut away the old fleshly nature), and then the children can also be delivered.

Isaiah 49:25 “But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him (Satan) that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.” See also Deuteronomy 30:6.

What Steps can I Take to Conquer Sinful Habits and Overcome Sinful Strongholds?

There are eight steps (once a person has been baptized) to conquering sinful habits and overcoming sinful strongholds.

1.  Receive a Biblical anointing over the lustful areas in your life. (For details on a how to receive a Biblical anointing, see our booklet titled: Keys to Living Like You’ve Been Saved)

· James 5:13-16  “Is any among you afflicted (are there any areas where the devil is destroying you)? Is any sick (mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually sick) among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed…”

2. Engraft Romans 6 and 8. (For details on a how to engraft Scripture, see the Christian Living Study Guide 2: “Keys to Finding True Success in Your Life.”)
 
· James 1:21 “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls.”

· Psalm 119:11 “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.”  

3. Meditate on the Scripture Day and Night.  To meditate, put the Scripture in the first person (put your name, or “I” in the verses).  As you meditate on Romans 6 and 8, these passages will become part of your desires, thinking, and feelings.  As you do, the promised fruit of these verses will become yours:

· Romans 6:4 “...Sin shall not have dominion over you…”

4. Think of yourself as Dead to the Attraction of the Sin.  A dead person cannot lust after a woman.  If you were literally dead, your eyes and ears would not respond to a temptation at all.  A dead man does not follow a scantily clad woman with his eyes. There is no flirtation coming from a dead man. Nor would sensual images of the woman be in the mind of the corpse. This is how God wants you to be to sin, spiritually.

·Romans 6:11-12 “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God… Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” 
  


5. Make no Provision for Sinful Habits.  Remove any items of temptation from your home. Choose not to go to locations where you are certain to be tempted.



For example, an alcoholic cannot keep liquor in the house. Nor should he go to the bar with his old drinking buddies, with the plan to just sip a 7-Up!  We cannot hope to have victory over sin, while we are still making such provisions for the “flesh” to thrive.


· Romans 13:14 “But put ye on Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”


For the committed Christian, the focus will not be on how close we can come to the line without crossing from “righteousness” into worldliness, rather we will focus on how close we can get to our Saviour.


Compare the Law of Sin to the Law of Gravity.  The idea of overcoming sin seems very difficult, maybe even impossible, when we consider our carnal nature. Paul described the condition of warring between the Law of Sin and the Law of God in Romans 7.


· Romans 7:21-25 “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.  For I delight in the Law of the Lord 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.” 


But it is wrong thinking to believe that the law of sin cannot be overcome.  In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, man seemed fixated on the desire to fly.  There were hot air balloons, airships and flying machines of various sizes and shapes.  But at first, they all had one thing in common: if they got off the ground at all, they could only remain airborne for a short amount of time and distance.



The law of gravity could not be lastingly conquered until mankind discovered another law: the law of aerodynamics.  Man discovered that the previously unconquerable law of gravity could be overcome while abiding by the aerodynamic law. 



Like the law of gravity, the law of sin can be overcome by putting out God’s spiritually aerodynamic wings.” To spread these wings in temptation we only need to use the Heavenly Weapons (see below) until the temptation lifts. Like a bird spreading out his wings, we’ll be able to fly, defeating the law of sin, in the Saviour’s power. (See Romans 8:2-4).


· Rebuke Satan in Christ’s Name & Blood (Jude 1:9, Matt. 16:23, Acts 16:18)

· Pray for Heavenly help over the temptation (Psalm 91:11)

· Quote a Scripture (like Romans 6 or 8) against the temptation—(2 Peter 1:4)

· Sing songs of praise to God—Power in the Blood and Jesus Loves Me are excellent warfare songs (1 Chronicles 16:8-10)

· Read Scripture aloud until the temptation passes (Ephesians 6:10-18)

· Speak specific praises to God—aloud (Psalm 105:2-3)

· Share your testimony with someone (Revelation 12:11).

(Keys to Living Like You’ve Been Saved, p 29)


 In practical terms, this is how to heed the injunction of Leviticus:

Leviticus 20:7-8  "Sanctify (be set apart for holy use) yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I Am the LORD (Yahweh) your God. And ye shall keep My Statutes, and do them: I Am the LORD which sanctify you."