Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Repaid on Earth


If the righteous is repaid on earth, how much more the wicked and the sinner! Proverbs 11:31

paper by Holliewood Studios: Dramatic Backgrounds 5; trees and branches by Createwings Designs (retired)

Heavenly Father, These are treacherous times we live in.  As we look around us in this world, we see everything ripping apart at the seams in every way possible.  You warned us this would happen in the last days, that everything will be shaken, and we know we can expect it to get worse as these are only the beginning of birth pangs.  Please help us to take refuge in you, to abide in you, to keep our eyes focused on you.  We know that all power is yours and we want to glorify and honor you with our lives.  Jesus never grew weary or gave up despite all of the challenges, obstacles and opposition he faced.  Please make us more like him every day, enduring and persevering in obedience out of love for you and for the lost world, and in gratitude for the precious price and infinite value of our salvation.  Let us never think of our own selfish desires first, as these lives and bodies are only temporary, but to always remember how great is our eternal inheritance and how horrific is the never-ending torment of those who fail to come to the knowledge of truth, to repentance and saving faith.  We want them all to love and praise you as we do.  Thank you for disciplining us as your dear, beloved children for our good.  We pray that we will learn our lessons without having to repeat them as wayward children do.  We pray that we never steal your joy in blessing us in these earthly lives by behaving in ways that prevent you in justice and righteousness from giving us what is in your heart to give.  We thank you that Jesus paid our debt to set us free from eternal punishment and enslavement to sin.  Please help us to remember it from moment to moment, to walk in the spirit by your immense, unfailing power not relying on our own strength but yielding to your perfect will through your prompting, convicting and guiding.  Let us carry our crosses faithfully, never turning aside at the weight or shame of bearing our Savior's reproach, but to look upon it as our great privilege and honor.  You are worthy.  We love you.  In Jesus' name of incomparable strength, wisdom, love, mercy, grace, and victory, Amen.

For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp.  So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.  Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.  For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.  Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.  Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.  Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.  Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. Hebrews 13:11-18

And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. Luke 23:26 

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. Matthew 10:37-40

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—  that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.  Only let us hold true to what we have attained.  Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.  For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.  But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,  who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3:7-21

For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And "If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. 1 Peter 4:17-19

Also see Ezekiel 8 and Ezekiel 9, bearing in mind that an idol is anything that we have placed where God belongs, even if it is our own "version" of God instead of who He said He is in the Bible, in completeness, not only the parts we "like."

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.  We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things.  Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?  Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?  But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.  He will render to each one according to his works:  to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;  but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.  There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,  but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.  For God shows no partiality.  For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.  For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.  For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.  They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them  on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.  But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God  and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law;  and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,  an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth—  you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal?  You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?  You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.  For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”  For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.  So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?  Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law.  For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.  But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God. Romans 2:1-29

But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.  But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. 1 Corinthians 11:31-32

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Revelation 3:19 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.  In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.  And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.  For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”  It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.  Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?  For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.  For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.  Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,  and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.  Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.  See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;  that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.  For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.  For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest  and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them.  For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.”  Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”  But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,  and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,  and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.  See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.  At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”  This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.  Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,  for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:1-29  

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,  but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.  Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses.  How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?  For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings,  sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated.  For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.  Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.  For, Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay;  but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.  But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. Hebrews 10:23-39