Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Subject to Authority


Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,  for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.  Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.  For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.  Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Romans 13:1-7

stacked papers: November Daze by Kristmess Designs

Heavenly Father,  Thank you for your complete control over everything at all times.  We know that whatever you cause or allow is for the good of those who love you.  Our hope is not in ourselves or anyone else, but only in you.  We know that your plans will prevail and that whether things look good to us or not, in the end all will be well.  Please help us to remember that you love all people and do not delight in anyone perishing, but want all to be saved.  Let our behavior as your children be such that shines your light of truth and your love on this darkened world so that people can be drawn to you and the salvation only you offer.  Please fill us with your peace, love, mercy, grace and wisdom so that we will reflect your holy nature and honor your glorious name in all that we say, do and think.  We know that there is nothing that could possibly be more important than living out our faith and sharing the gospel with everyone so that they can receive eternal life through your Son. Thank you for the unimaginable privilege of being your ambassadors. We love you.  In Jesus' inexpressibly precious name, Amen.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.  Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 6 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.  For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.  We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry,  but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. Corinthians 5:17-21-6:1-10

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

“Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.  But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.  To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.  Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.  And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.  If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.  And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount.  But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.  Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:26-36

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.  Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.  Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.  Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.  Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”  To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:9-21 

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.  You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:10-16

Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might.  He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;  he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.” Daniel 2:20-22

Monday, February 27, 2017

Come Away


The fig tree ripens its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away. Song of Songs 2:13

stacked papers: Mum's the Word by Kristmess Designs

Heavenly Father, We long for that GLORIOUS day when we will hear the voice of the archangel, the trumpet call and our Savior himself will come for us. Please make us so overflowing with joy and hope at that prospect that nothing can distract us or hold us back from serving you with everything that is in us until then.  We want to number our days and use this time wisely.  We are so grateful to be counted worthy to be tried and tested.  Please help us to pass with flying colors for your glory and honor.  We can do absolutely NOTHING apart from you.  It's your Spirit within us that enables us to want to please you and do your will--please fill us and help us to walk in your beautiful, perfect ways.  Please remember how weak we are and give us strength!  Help us to abide in you and your love.  All of our trust and hope are in you.  In Jesus' most desirable, most highly exalted name, Amen.

A prayer of Moses, the man of God. Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.  You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!”  For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.  You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning:  in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.  For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed.  You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.  For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh.  The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.  Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you?  So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.  Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants!  Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.  Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil.  Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.  Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! Psalm 90:1-17  

Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” Genesis 6:3

Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated. Deuteronomy 34:7

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.  Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.  For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them,  but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.  As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept.  But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’  Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’  But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’  And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.  Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’  But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’  Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” Matthew 25:1-13

A long passage often quoted in pieces:

"For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things.  "But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.  Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit.  Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open to him when he comes and knocks.  Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself, and have them recline, and will come up and wait on them.  Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are they.  But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into.  You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect."  Peter said, "Lord, are You addressing this parable to us, or to everyone as well?"  And the Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time?  Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.  Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.  But if that slave says in his heart, 'My master will be a long time in coming,' and begins to beat the slaves, men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk;  the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers.  And that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.  I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!  But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!  Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three.  They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."  And He was also saying to the crowds, "When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, 'A shower is coming,' and so it turns out.  And when a south wind blows, you say, 'It will be a hot day,' and so it turns out.  You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?  And why do you not even on your own initiative judge what is right?  For while you are going with your opponent to appear before the magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle with him, so that he may not drag you before the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison.  I say to you, you will not get out of there until you have paid the very last cent." Luke 12:30-59  

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near.  So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates.  Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.  But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.  For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left.  Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left.  Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.  But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.  Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.  Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?  Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.  Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.  But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’  and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards,  the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know  and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 24:32-51

And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.  As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near.  So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.  Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.  But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.  For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.  But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:29-36

Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, Ephesians 6:10-18

Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.  Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.  Revelation 3:2-3 

Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed,  nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”  And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.  And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them.  For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.  But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.  Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man.  They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.  Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building,  but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them allso will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.  On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back.  Remember Lot’s wife.  Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.  I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left.  There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left. And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.” Luke 17:20-37


For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;  if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;  if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;  and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);  then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 2 Peter 2:4-10

Notice above that God has recorded for us that Lot was distressed by what was happening in Sodom.  (Because history repeats itself, we must not choose only some passages to describe their sin, because it is ALL that is named, not multiple choice. 2 Peter 2:6 - sensual conduct, Jude 1:7 - sexual immorality and unnatural desire, Genesis 13:13 - the men were wicked, Genesis 18:20 - very grave sins, Genesis 19 - attempted homosexual rape, Isaiah 3:9 - proud of sin, Jeremiah 23:14 - adultery, lies, supporting and refusing to turn from evil, Ezekiel 16:49-50 - pride, did not share their excess with the poor.)  Below, we see that God does not want His people approving of sin and evil.  (During the coming reign of the beast, there will be a mark placed on everyone who accepts it.  However, those who take the mark will worship the beast and be unredeemable forever.  DO NOT take the mark--even though it costs you your physical life, you will gain eternal life!  Rev. 14:9-13)

Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub on which it rested to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed in linen, who had the writing case at his waist.  And the LORD said to him, “Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.”  And to the others he said in my hearing, “Pass through the city after him, and strike. Your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity.  Kill old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one on whom is the mark. And begin at my sanctuary.” So they began with the elders who were before the house. Ezekiel 9:3-6

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.  If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.  But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.  Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.  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 4:12-19

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you.  For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.  But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.  For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.  So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.  For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night.  But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.  For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep [dead in Christ] we might live with him.  Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:2-3

Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by.  For behold, the LORD is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it, and will no more cover its slain. Isaiah 26:20-21  

“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.  It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake.  Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morninglest he come suddenly and find you asleep.  And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” Mark 13:32-37

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41

 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”) Revelation 16:15

And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying,  “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son,  and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come.  Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’  But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.  The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.  Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy.  Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’  And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.  “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment.  And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless.  Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’  For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:1-14  

For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.  I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.  Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Revelation 3:17-19 

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 

After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” Revelation 4:1 

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. 10  Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.  I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.  The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. Revelation 3:7, 10-12

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9  
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.  Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.  On account of these the wrath of God is coming.  In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.  But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices  and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.  Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.  Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:1-17  

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A True Proverb


For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. They are illustrations of this true proverb: “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and “A sow, after washing herself, wallows in the mire.”  2 Peter 2:20-22

kit: Barney's Barnyard by Kristmess Designs

Heavenly Father, We know that what you have freely given us in our salvation by your infinite grace, mercy and love is more valuable than anything we could ever hope for in this world and your promises are greater than anything we could ever possibly deserve or even dream of for the future.  Thank you for knowing us and making yourself known.  Thank you for loving us first that we could love you in return.  These passages about falling away have the potential to strike fear in our hearts, but we take comfort in the fact that we have a healthy fear of your power, holy righteousness and justice.  While that knowledge has sadly not been enough to cause most people to obey you in the past, we combine it with the utter sense of awe we feel at the great love you have shown us in sending your only Son to pay for our sins by dying on the cross.  Our response to your great love inspires us to obey you out of undying love, unending gratitude and immeasurable respect.  We know that these frightening passages are directed to those who love themselves more than you and desire more to have their own way than to please you.  Your Spirit within us assures us that we are secure in your love.  We have no desire to deliberately disobey you, turn back or run away from you and your love.  We do not want to rebel against you or fail to appreciate the unimaginably precious gift you have given us and the promises you have made.  All of our peace, hope and joy come from you.  We find happiness, delight and satisfaction in the same things as you do, because we are one with Jesus our Savior in spirit. We are incredibly blessed to belong to Him now and forever.  We love you.  We praise and thank you for all that you are, do, have done and are going to do according to your perfect will, ways, plans and purposes.  In Jesus' glorious, beloved and exalted name above all names, Amen.

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.  For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God.  But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.  Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation.  For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.  And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end,  so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:4-12

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 10:35-39

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever! Psalm 111:10 

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7 

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:10

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 12:25-29

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.  But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.  None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.  For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.  And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 1 Corinthians 2:6-13  

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.  When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.  So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13  

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.  In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.  By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.  So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.  We love because he first loved us.  If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:7-21  

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.  Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.  They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.  But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.  I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.  Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.  No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.  Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.  And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.  I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.  But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.  And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.  If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. 1 John 2:15-29  

But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 1 Corinthians 6:17 

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.  This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:1-14

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,  I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” John 17:20-23

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.  But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.  So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.  For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. Romans 8:9-19  

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8:26-30 

Be at peace among yourselves.  And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.  See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.  Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  Do not quench the Spirit.  Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.  Abstain from every form of evil.  Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:13-24  

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.  Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.  Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,  to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.  For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.  But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.  As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him,  knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. Titus 2:11-15, 3:1-11

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Pleasing in Your Sight


But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults.  Keep Your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.  May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:12-14

stacked papers: Mums the Word by Kristmess Designs

Heavenly Father, Thank you for the great treasure that is your word, given to guide us in all truth and righteousness.  Please help us to keep our eyes focused on you so that when we see others around us, even others who "name your name" as professing Christians, doing and approving of things they ought not to, we will remember that you see and know it all.  It's not worth it to join in for temporary pleasure or popularity.  It's rebelling against you and your perfect ways.  It's tarnishing your holy image as our Father when we claim to be your children and yet behave like children of the devil.  It doesn't further the commission you gave us to go and make disciples, and in fact hinders it.  Help us to stand firm in your truth when not only the world, but so-called "brothers and sisters" persecute and revile us for refusing to support agendas that go against your holy word and your holy nature.  Please help us to have discernment when people twist your words to say that your grace is a license to sin and your pardon of our sin has freed us to sin more, but to remember that no one who is born again will continue to desire to practice and live in sin, but will be grieved by it and seek to be delivered from it by the power of your Holy Spirit.  Let us not trust anyone who claims to have heard from you a message that does not agree with the Bible, but to recognize that they are deceivers.  We know that anyone claiming to have "updated" information than the Bible is lying.  Please help us to make good use of the time we have to serve you faithfully, knowing the time is short before Jesus returns.  In His holy, pure and perfect, only saving name, Amen.

Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.  Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.  Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.  Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!  Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.  He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.  All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.  For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great.  Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.  His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land.  The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.  My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. Psalm 25:4-15

But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.  But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’  But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.  Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.  And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:  concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;  concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;  concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.  “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.  He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.  All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” John 16:4-15

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,  for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.  Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,  holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Philippians 2:12-16

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.  And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.  Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.  You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.  No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.  Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.  Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.  No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.  By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. 1 John 3:1-10

But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:19 

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,  treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.  For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,  while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it  and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:1-7, 3:12-17
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.  Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.  For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.  Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light  (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.  Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.  For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.  But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,  for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”  Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,  making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:1-21 

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?  By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?  Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:1-4

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.  And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.  And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. 2 Peter 2:1-3 

But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.  Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:17-20

But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction,  suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you.  They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!  Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing,  but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.  These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.  For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error.  They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.  For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.  For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.  What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” 2 Peter 2:12-22

These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.  But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.  They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.”  It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.  But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.  And have mercy on those who doubt;  save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. Jude 1:16-23

Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!  For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.  Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.  Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.  He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.  Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!  Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.  For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.  In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.  But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.  The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming.  The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose way is upright; their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.  Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked.  For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.  The LORD knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever;  they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance.  But the wicked will perish; the enemies of the LORD are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.  The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives;  for those blessed by the LORD shall inherit the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off.  The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way;  though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.  I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.  He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing.  Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever.  For the LORD loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.  The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever.  The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice.  The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.  The wicked watches for the righteous and seeks to put him to death.  The LORD will not abandon him to his power or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.  Wait for the LORD and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off.  I have seen a wicked, ruthless man, spreading himself like a green laurel tree.  But he passed away, and behold, he was no more; though I sought him, he could not be found.  Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace.  But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the future of the wicked shall be cut off.  The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.  The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him. Psalm 37:1-40

Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.  But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.  For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek.  They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.  Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment.  Their eyes swell out through fatness; their hearts overflow with follies.  They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression.  They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth.  Therefore his people turn back to them, and find no fault in them.  And they say, “How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?”  Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches.  All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.  For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning.  If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children.  But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.  Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin.  How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!  Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.  When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart,  I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you.  Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.  Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.  But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. Psalm 73:1-28