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Woe Is Me

April 30, 2010
Do you ever have times when you become near sighted and totally focused on things that are just going on in your own little world? proverbs31_29

That “Woe Is Me” syndrome can overcome us at those times. Even if our day isn’t going well we should be thankful by good news of good things that are happening to our family and friends. Remember that good feeling we get when something good happens to our children that makes us feel proud to be their parents—that’s how God feels towards us when we do something good for others. When we go around investing our love, encouragement and care to our family, church family and friends we receive a far greater source of Godly joy than if we only enjoyed what happens to us personally.

God often uses the most unlikely people in the most unlikely places to teach us some of life’s most difficult lessons. Even though I’m in the later part of my life—I’m still learning, still growing, and still amazed at how God continues to shape us for His purposes. The service that we do for God may sometimes go un-praised by men—but when we stand before the Lord we attain our rewards.

Sometimes the problems going on in the world seems overwhelming and tend to bog us down and make us wonder if it’s worth the time and effort to reach out to others —we forget that our ultimate hope resides not in this present life but in our future home in heaven. God’s plan for us is to lend a helping hand, say a prayer , gave a smile or kind word to hurting people or maybe to rejoice and share someone’s joys to make a difference in their lives.

Our compassion and help for others is like throwing a rock in the water and the circles in the water get bigger and bigger from one little rock. God uses our touching others to accomplish great works for Him. Today we can face any problems or changes in our lives knowing our God is in control. In those times when you are not feeling as close to God as you use to be–guess who moved.


Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Ecclesiastes 4:10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

This post was written by Deloris Underhill. She sends out a monthly inspirational message via email, entitled “Under-D-Hill Notes”.  Thanks to Deloris for allowing me to share – Candace Morehouse

The Apostle’s Creed

April 25, 2010

1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:

3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:

4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:

5. The third day he rose again from the dead:

6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:

7. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:

8. I believe in the Holy Ghost:

9. I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:

10. The forgiveness of sins:

1l. The resurrection of the body:

12. And the life everlasting. Amen.

Do You Have On the Wedding Garment?

April 23, 2010

The way the Gospel is handled by many today, even in churches, makes the way that leads to life broad. For this reason I felt impelled to do this article.

You are not going to come to the place of judgment and after living contrary to the Gospel, say, I was standing on Rom: 10:9-10. It won’t work. Why? Because Jesus already told us that we are to live by every word of God.

Rom: 10:9-10: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10: For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Matt: 4:4: But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

And Jesus said: Matt: 7:13: Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Matt: 20-23: Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22: Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23: And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Matt: 22:1-14: And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, 2: The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3: And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 4: Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. 5: But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. 7: But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8: Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 9: Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 10: So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. 11: And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13: Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14: For many are called, but few are chosen.

This warning is for all of those who have been living under an illusion due to mishandling of the Gospel. When you slip into the wedding feast in the same slippery manner that you have lived your life, Jesus will discover you and say: Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?

Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rom: 13:14: But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Eph: 4:17-24: This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18: Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20: But ye have not so learned Christ; 21: If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23: And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24: And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

© Sylvia Huffnagle

He is Daddy and He is God

April 23, 2010

I heard a song that went: “Will you please hurry up, Lord cause I don’t think I can take this anymore.” It wasn’t sung with piety, it was belted out. It had a great beat to it and I liked it. But when I got to thinking about it, I knew that although most of us have felt that way at times and even said that to God, it is not the proper attitude.

 Is piety toward God important?

Dan: 8:7-14: And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. 8: Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. 9: And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. 10: And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. 11: Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. 12: And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered. (Vs 12 in Amplified Bible says, And the host [the chosen people] was given [to the wicked horn] together with the continual burnt offering because of the transgression [of God's people--their abounding irreverence, ungodliness, and lack of piety]. And righteousness and truth were cast down to the ground, and it [the wicked horn] accomplished this [by divine permission] and prospered.) 13: Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? 14: And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

Heb: 5:7: Amp. V: In the days of His flesh [Jesus] offered up definite, special petitions [for that which He not only wanted but needed] and supplications with strong crying and tears to Him Who was [always] able to save Him [out] from death, and He was heard because of His reverence toward God [His godly fear, His piety,  in that He shrank from the horrors of separation from the bright presence of the Father].

God has been hard on me and I believe that it is because I want to be free of all baggage and I want to be conformed into the image of His Son. When I say, hard on me, I mean that I have endured years and years of emotional suffering of which I thought He would quickly deliver me, but instead it was as in Isaiah 43:1-2: But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2: When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

The biggest lesson I have learned from it all, beside patient endurance, is that God is God and the sooner a Christian realizes that God must call the shots and that He must be trusted, the better off they are going to be.

I do not believe that a Christian needs to crawl up to God’s throne and grovel for what they need and want. But I do believe in practicing great piety toward the heavenly Father. Piety means that we show Him all the respect and reverence that is due Him for who He is.

I am not objecting to the teaching of calling God, Daddy. We are, through Jesus, in a Father/child relationship with Him. We can take that to heart and feel loved and comfortable with Him. In fact, to truly know and enjoy the Father/child relationship with Him will do away with all that “I’m not worthy.” stuff and that “What did I do to deserve His love and forgiveness?” and so on.  When you know that He loves you as His very own child, you do not question His benevolence toward you. It is called for and expected. Children don’t have to do anything to qualify for their parent’s love.

Getting back to my present point, though God is Daddy, He must have full control of your life. He will discipline His children. This means if you are in a position for Him to work in your life, He will let you go through some very hard things. If you continue in the faith, He will be with you and sometimes even carry you until due season for reaping. At that time, you will be ecstatic at the results that you will enjoy because you did it His way.

Heb: 12:5-14: And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7: If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8: But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9: Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10: For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11: Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 12: Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13: And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 14: Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

All Christians need piety and reverence toward God the Father. It makes surrender and submission much easier and it brings the believer to a place where they can trust Him with everything because they know He loves them and they know that He is in charge. As one submits to His will and way, their reverence for Him and confidence in Him will grow. That’s where a person enters that spacious place spoken of in Job 36:16.  All the assurances and promises in the word come to pass after the believer trusts and obeys Him.

I’m saying that once a Christian learns to revere God and His word, it becomes much easier to let Him be God in their entire life. When godly piety and reverence matures in the believer’s life they can truly say, “Your will be done” in extremely difficult times and remain in the Sabbath rest–waiting and expecting God to handle things. The believer’s job during that time is to do what Jesus would do in each situation that arises.

Most Christians seem to have the attitude of that song above–“Won’t you please hurry up, Lord, cause I just can’t take this anymore.” Many Christians have succumbed to doing things the world’s way because God didn’t hurry up and fix their problem. They never understood what I’m trying to get across here–that the Christian must make up their mind to do things God’s way no matter what. Never should they take things into their own hands. Why? Because of the great and precious promises.

2Pet: 1:3-13: According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5: And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6: And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7: And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8: For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ 9: But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10: Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 12: Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. 13: Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;

Gal: 6:9: And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Eph: 3:16-20: That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17: That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18: May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19: And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20: Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

To summarize: If you remain in the carnal attitude that tries to tell God what to do and how to do it, you will eventually become disillusioned and faint. But if you will practice piety toward Him and submit to chastisement and allow Him to be God and Father in your life, you will reap an abundant harvest that will be far above what you can ask or think.

Again balance is what’s needed here. God is the loving Father and the Christian’s daddy, but He is also Almighty God and we should tremble at His word.

Isa: 66:1-2: Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me?  and where is the place of my rest? 2: For all those things hath mine hand made, and those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

The Word is balanced. In it you learn all about God’s love and benevolence and you learn that He expects to be revered and obeyed.

© Sylvia Huffnagle

God is the God of the Past, Present, and Future (5th in Balance Series)

April 16, 2010

 It is considered a wise teaching that God has said: I am not the God of the past or the future, but I am the God of now.  That statement has been misconstrued from a quote about God being the “I AM”.

Why do I say that was misconstrued?  I say that because when I tried to implement that teaching, I kept coming up against a brick wall.  I was expecting Him to do what I asked, now.  I mean I would trust God for the now and come up empty-handed.   What was wrong? 

I discovered that the scriptures don’t talk that way.  It’s:

 Ps: 25:5: Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

Ps: 27:14: Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Ps: 37:7: Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.  

Isa: 40:32: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. 

Heb: 10:6: For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

Mt: 6:19-20: Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

Jesus says in Mk: 11:23: For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. (Even that is future tense–shall have.)

So often the scriptures give hope for now and  reward later.  This is not to say God has not made provisions for now.  Jesus said in Mt: 9:29: Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.  And in Mk: 9:23: Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.  

God does do some things instantly and if you have the faith and need to receive it now, you can receive it.  I’m just saying the norm in the Bible is promises that give hope.  Even the texts of Jesus’ above are usually manifest in future tense.

If this be the case what is God saying when He says I AM–the God of now?  Now, He is busy bringing things to pass.  Now, He comforts, encourages, teaches, and equips.  PTL!

The Bible teaches that there is a place for the past.  It can be full of good memories for some.  And it can always be used as a learning experience. 

The present is good for making the most of life–whether you are in a position to make lemonade or are empowered to do great things and/or manifest the joy of the Lord.

The future offers the child of God bright hope. 

It’s when anyone of these are blown out of proportion that problems arise.  Unbalanced teaching of the scriptures will always cause problems.  The Bible is balances and teachers will be wise to heed this caution–make sure you have the balance.

© Sylvia Huffnagle

Love Rules, Not Mercy (4th in Balance Series)

April 16, 2010

I am getting the impression that because mercy has been so much emphasized the last thirty years or so, many now think that God is mercy–that his reaction to any situation is always mercy.

God is not mercy. He has mercy. He shows mercy, but He is Love.  Now get this because it is very important. 

To say that love rules or to say that God is love means that God always does what is called for in order to love.

We’re talking about the Father kind of love. God has a Father heart toward everyone, but He can only benefit those who choose Him as Father and trust and obey Him.

Think about it.  Everything that God has instructed mankind to do in the Bible is for man’s protection.  Some of the precepts are for the good of all and some are for the good of the individual.  So to think that God would easily pass over what He has said in favor of not putting a guilt trip on someone is purely a fallacy.

When though God has said, “Do not commit fornication,” a person deliberately goes ahead and has intercourse with someone who is not their lifelong mate, they put themselves in jeopardy. That wrong choice exposes them to diseases. They risk exposing themselves to the wrath of someone–a father, an irate ex-lover, etc.  Then there is the risk of pregnancy.  If that happens then both the father and the mother are involved and now there is a brand new tiny person involved. If the parents continue to make irresponsible choices, the offspring are bound to suffer from those choices.

God is love and disobedience grieves Him because every disobedience hurts someone. 

And the wages of sin is death. Am I saying that if a person deliberately disobeys God they can’t be saved? No. I’m saying until they repent of their disobedience, they cannot have a relationship with God.  He does not hear the prayers of the sinner. (Prov: 15:29) This does not mean He doesn’t care about them and it doesn’t mean He wants them to be under a load of guilt and shame.  It means that if a child of God chooses to disobey Him, they will be alienated from Him and will feel guilt and shame until they repent and return.

God’s mercy is standing by waiting for the child to come home. He is waiting and longing to be a Father to the disobedient one. But let it be known and understood, He does not overlook disobedience and He does not put mercy ahead of love. To love a child a good parent must teach, train, and discipline him/her.

How does God want us to react to a person who chooses to disobey him?  He wants us to speak the truth to one another in love.  He wants us to urge one another on to love and good works. (Heb: 10:25)  He wants us to fish them out of the murky waters.  He wants us to turn a sinner from his sin. (Jas: 5:19) He wants us to warn that one. (1Thess: 5:14)

I know that the recent teachings have not been in this direction, but this is the direction that must be chosen in order to walk in love.  The loving Christian does not condemn, but he does not ignore the fact that the sinner is in a dangerous place. That’s where Christians are missing it. They no longer think the person who sins is in a dangerous place, they think that God is excusing everything and patching things up for everyone. They think Jesus died so we can all go to heaven, but He died and rose to restore eternal life to us.  This life is in God’s Son, Jesus. (1Jn: 5:11) It’s a life that practices making right choices.

This article is in the balance series because it was an over-emphasis of mercy, forgiveness, and grace that has caused this error. These should be proclaimed, but in balance with God’s severity. He is a loving God–a loving Father–He will not let you get away with sinning.

© Sylvia Huffnagle

Why so many Christians Divorce (3rd in Balance Series)

April 9, 2010

In the last 25 years I have watched many marriages fall.  Why? 

Was it because they didn’t care what God said?

Was it because they only wanted to do their own thing?

Was it because the spouse abused them terribly?

Was it because they believe it’s all right to divorce if you are not happy?

In most of these cases both parties:

  •       Wanted to serve God
  •       Wanted their marriage to work
  •       Were seeking strength and answers in order to avoid divorce.

So what happened?

I believe that this tragedy is another case of the Word not being taught in balance.

These Christians heard so much about how God loves them, how he understands their hurts and weakness, how his mercy endures forever, how he is so benevolent, how he sent Jesus so sinners can go to heaven, and how he has given them numerous blessings and promises to put them over in life.

So the troubled couple or just one of the spouses went to God in prayer either through the pastor, or the laying on of hands, or privately.  Once that was done, they sat back and waited for God to solve their problem.  They endured their situation expecting God’s deliverance any day.  Time went by and not only didn’t things get better, they probably got worse.

If  both spouses are standing for their marriage, usually one of the them is weaker than the other and will lose patience or faith at some point. He or she then takes matters into his or her own hands and try to find marital bliss elsewhere or they think that a separation or divorce will at least rid them of their problems and they go for it.

If just one is standing for a better marriage or relationship the same thing applies–they get tired of waiting and take matters into their own hands.

Question: How could the church or good biblical teaching–thus biblical thinking help couples resist the temptation to divorce? 

Answer: By always teaching the balance in the scriptures instead of emphasizing the good stuff and once in a while casually mentioning the disciplines required of them.

  •       Had they been taught that when they came to God they were  to  repent of doing  things their way and were to determine to learn to do things God’s way from then on . . .
  •       Had they been taught what the scripture, ‘Not by might, not by power, but by God’s Spirit really means–which is that the Christian receives God’s Spirit and acts according  to it rather that according to their carnal nature . . . (If they would do that they are         guaranteed to win big time, but it will be in God’s time or in due    season, not in man’s time.)
  •       Had the parties involved had just as much teaching about the fact that they were  crucified with Christ and have been raised to new life–the life of Christ in them . .  
  •       Had they had just as much teaching about striving for all purity . . .
  •       Had they had just as much teaching of the biblical attitude that since one died for all, all    ought to live for him . . .
  •       Had they had just as much teach about what taking up their cross means . . . (the  Amp.    V.  says it means to give up your comfort, security, and self-interest and be ruled by God’s love.)
  •       Had they had just as much teaching about the biblical attitude of rather to suffer   than to fail to please God . . .
  •       Had they been thoroughly taught about their witness now and their reward in heaven . . .
  •       Had they been made to understand that there is a time and a season for the benefits mentioned above and sometimes it is time to reap the benefits and sometimes it is   time to suffer because things must be done God’s way and not the carnal way . . .

Had they been taught that these things are what a Christian does and had they been taught it as often as they were taught the above benevolence of God . . .

  •       Many of them would have had the correct mindset–the godly one. 
  •       Most of them would have been able to keep the correct focus–God’s ways not their ways.
  •       Many would have been able to keep their priorities straight–the body of Christ behaves as Christ would, thinks as he does, hates what he hates and loves what he loves.
  •       They would have been able to bolster their courage with thoughts of pleasing God and eventually reaping an abundant harvest–a true reward in God’s timing.  And they would have had the satisfaction of doing righteously.
  •       They would have set a good example.
  •       They would have done their part to keep the family together.
  •       They would not have evolved into a part of society’s problem.
  •       They would not have been guilty of causing emotional hurt for their and other people’s children–divorce is harmful.
  •       They would not have hurt theirs and other people’s children by setting a terrible example.
  •       They would not have chosen to sacrifice their witness and reward in heaven for a temporal better day.
  •       And there’s a good chance that God would have, over a period of time, solved their differences and rewarded them with a satisfactory relationship with their spouse.  If not, at least they would have had the satisfaction of serving god with a true heart.

This is a hard teaching.  This is a powerful.  Look around you.  What do you see?  

  •       Broken families, broken lives. 
  •       Dysfunctional people, dysfunctional families, dysfunctional churches, dysfunctional nations.

 Where did they come from?

  •       Selfish choices.
  •       Ungodly choices.

Lk: 9:23, Rom: 6-8, 2Cor: 5:14, Gal: 2:20, 1Pet: 4:1, Zech: 3:7, 4:6

Disclaimer:  This article is not meant to put a guilt trip on anyone.  If you are divorced and this article makes you feel bad, go to God and talk to him about it until you have peace. God bless you.

© Sylvia Huffnagle

Balanced Christianity (2nd in Balance Series)

April 9, 2010

An article in a magazine identified one problem in Christianity today as selfishness. Of course this is an anomaly because Jesus died on the cross to save us from that very malady–selfishness.

The article cries out against the imbalance that immature Christians fall into when they spend too much time in one aspect of God’s word and too little elsewhere. In this case–too much time with the “Promise Box” and too little time in the instruction book (the Bible).

The article points out that Christianity is about faith, standing in the face of adversity, and putting God and others ahead of ourselves. I couldn’t agree more. But it’s also about the rewards for having done so. This is very important because it is what God is trying to get through to us.  He is teaching us  that He is life–if you want it come and get it. 

He is teaching that He is Father–the inevitable result of receiving Him as your God and Father is that you will have Him as your God and Father. The benefit is that you will have the best, most perfect, most wonderful, and most capable God and Father.

 He is teaching us that the inevitable result of making Jesus your Lord, Savior, and Shepherd is that you will have the one who qualifies better than anyone to be your instructor, guide, example, and overseer and the only one who qualifies as you Savior. 

 He is teaching us that the inevitable result of hooking up with life, light, and love is that you will reap the benefits of them.  Our relationship with God is a two way street, He in us and we in Him.  The result is that He has children and we have the parental authority, guidance, and provisions so vitally necessary to our well-being. 

God’s commandments and precepts are never given without the promises that pertain to them.  God teaches us to do it His way for that very purpose–so that we can be our best and have His best.  I know this because of the way the Bible teachings are constructed.  Therefore it is imperative for us to keep the balance of the word. Anytime we change the balance of the word we become unbalanced. True Christianity is to walk in love. A baby must learn balance in order to walk. Christians must learn balance in order to walk in love. The word of God is balanced.  Never underemphasize anything that the Bible emphasizes and never overemphasize what the Bible teaches.  Keep the balance.

Immature Christians’ preoccupation with their own lives and stuff is repulsive in the light of the true gospel.  But what is needed is knowledge of the Son of God.

Eph: 4:11-16:  And he gives some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh  increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

We need to preach the gospel of the kingdom along with the gospel of salvation. They go together like love and marriage.

Now that I have emphasized the benefits of enjoying God our Father, let me present the balance.  We are to consider ourselves His servants. We are to take up our cross daily–giving up our self-interests, comfort, and security in the interest of serving others. Though that may sound like a hardship, it is not, because God lives in us to will and to do of His good pleasure.  His good pleasure is to love us and to love others. There is the balance. Trust and obey God and be happy.

Action and reward – References: Genesis 1:7,  9:11, 12:1-3, Deut: 28:1-14, 30:19-20, Josh: 1:7-8, Prov: 3:1-19, Isa: 11:1-16, 61:1-8, Jer: 24:6-7, Ezek: 36:24-30, Mal: 3:1-18, Matt: 6: 32-33, 7: 7-12, Mk: 11:22-24, Lk: 6:38, 15:31, 17:10, 18:29-30, Jn: 3:16-17, 4:14, 6:47, 8:12, 31,32, 10:10, John 14,15,16, 1Cor: 3:21-23, 2Cor: 1:20, 1Pet: 2:9-11, 1Jn: 5:14-15 

© Sylvia Huffnagle

Biblical Balance (1st in Balance Series)

April 9, 2010

In order to walk, little children must learn balance. We call it learning to walk, but it is more a case of learning balance. For the church, balance is of the utmost importance as she learns to walk in love. If she just applies wisdom without love she will have safety, but she will be cold and indifferent–she will end up legalistic which is deadly. On the other hand, love applied to situations without wisdom is sloppy agape and it is just as deadly, because godly wisdom is the preservative. Love without instruction is without form. Wisdom without love is void. To walk in love we must have a balance of both.

 The enemy of our souls is always trying to get us (the church) to go to the left or to the right off of God’s Word, because God’s Word is balanced. To have good balance, all of the Bible must be taught and in the balance in which it is written. In other words, one subject should not be emphasized over and above another subject unless that’s how it is handled in the Bible. For example; Grace should not be more emphasized than obedience. Love should not be over emphasized and wisdom understated. The promises should not be over emphasized while abiding in Jesus is understated–for the promises are for those who abide in Jesus. Faith should not be emphasized above walking by the spirit, since there will never be good results without the two going hand in hand.

 We also need to balance the written word with the leading of the Spirit in order to walk in the God kind of love–for it is the Spirit that gives life to the written word, enabling one to walk in wisdom and love, which is what the Bible teaches.

 In order for the church to take the Promise Land she must emphasize the presence of the Lord, faith, and obedience to the word of God with equal importance. The Israelites could not enter the Promise Land without the presence of the Lord. (Ex: 33:14-15) They could not enter the Sabbath rest because of unbelief. (Heb: 3:11-12) They couldn’t triumph over their enemies when there was sin in the camp. (Josh: 7:10-13)

 When salvation is preached, one should emphasize the awesome grace of God, but in balance with man’s part which is to enter into Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection so that they can be new creatures in Jesus.

 When Jesus said to the Jewish leaders, “Let him who is without sin among you cast the first stone,” speaking of the woman caught in the very act of adultery, he was not making light of the law or the sin–he was walking in love and wisdom. Wisdom knows that the law is righteous and was established to give life not death. But love wanted to give the woman another chance. Jesus knew that when the law was established, strict penalties were decreed to help people be strong and resist temptation. But the woman brought to Him was no more of a sinner than those who wanted Him to sentence her to death. His answer was full of love and wisdom.

In Matt: 12:3-4, Jesus is not teaching us to make light of the law, He is operating in love and wisdom. He knew that God established the law to help man, not to destroy man. Just so, the showbread was to be kept holy to help man gain a concept of the holy, but when David and his men were in great need of sustenance, mercy took precedence over the teaching. The wisdom of God (which is full of love) would say, “If I deny David and his men this food in the name of keeping it sacred, will I be serving the law or breaking the law of love?” Therefore the Spirit behind the law rules over the law.

 The balance of the Word is already in the Word. The church’s balance is not a balance of some of God’s Word and some of the world. Christians should not be ashamed of any of the Word. As soon as the church tries to hide or ignore any part of God’s written word, she becomes unbalanced. The Word is our balance.

 Parent/child relationships do not work very well if one party neglects their role obligations. Marriages are not very successful if only one party fulfills their role obligations. Government never works well without everyone doing their part to honor it. The word of God will work well for the church when she honors all of it. The New Testament is the Holy Spirit revelation of the law. We are new creatures in Jesus and we have God’s laws written in our heart by the Holy Spirit. When we void any part of God’s Word, we are thrown off balance. This is a call to receive the Word in the Spirit in which it was written.

 © Sylvia Huffnagle

Romans 6-8

April 2, 2010

THE CONCEPT: Rom: 6:1-10: What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2: God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3: Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4: Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5: For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7: For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8: Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10: For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

(This is God’s plan of salvation. If the gospel that is going around does not include this concept it is not “The gospel”.

 THE REALITY: God planned for mankind to be RECONCILED back to Him as His children through the sacrifice of His Son. Jesus’ innocent blood cleanses the receiver from sin and guilt.

 THE DELIVERANCE from sin comes through entering into Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection as described above.)

 11-14: Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12: Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13: Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14: For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

 (HOW TO RESIST TEMPTATION: Knowing–reckon–let not–neither yield. To be under the law was to be under pressure– one strike and you were out. But under grace, the pressure is release– you fight until you win.)

 15-16: What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 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?

 (ADDED STRENGH in the battle beside, knowing, reckoning, letting not, and not yielding is knowing that if you yield to sin, you are a servant of sin. You have given it your power. That’s what Adam and Eve did. They yielded their power of choice to Satan and their carnal nature. Jesus, on the other hand, did not yield. He maintained His power over sin, flesh, and the devil. He did it the way that is describe here. So if you reckon yourself to be His servant instead of sin’s servant, He will be your way, your truth, and your life and you will end up triumphant.)

 THE GAME PLAN: 17-20: But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18: Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 19: I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 20: For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

 21-23: What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22: But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 (REMEMBER: The WAGES paid for sin is eternal death. The FRUIT of becoming servants of God is holiness, the end being eternal life.)

 Romans 7 talks about the law of sin and death–it lays out the “born again” person’s dilemma. They want to and plan to do what is right, but often find themselves doing the opposite. The chapter ends with the question: 24: O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25: 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.

 Remember that the original text was not separated into chapters. We are about to discover the deliverance for the chapter 7 dilemma.)

 Rom: 8:1: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

 (How does the believer overcome the weakness described in chapter 7? By walking after his born again spirit and not after his fallen carnal nature. There is a choice to be made each time a challenge comes. Will you follow your regenerated heart or will you follow your lower nature?

 REMEMBER THIS: Life is about choices. And God is about goodness.)

 2-7: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3: For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5: For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6: For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7: Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

 (Did you get that? THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE has set you free from the law of sin and death. Notice vs. 5–are you following the flesh? If you are “born again” stop it! God has enabled you to be spiritually-minded–you do not have to please your lower nature, you can please God now. The repentance and turning experience was to make the way smooth and straight for the King. It gives God the opportunity to give the receiver a new heart–a heart to please Him.)

 8-14: So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9: But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10: And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11: But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12: Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13: For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

 (This is part of the gospel. This is the part where God saves you from sin and death. This is as true as any of the rest of it. Born again people are not to be in the flesh, but in the Spirit. What does vs. 13 say? It also is part of the gospel. If you live after the flesh, you shall die. MORTIFY the deeds of the body. Who are the sons of God that all creation is waiting, with groanings, to have manifest? Those that are led by the Spirit of God.)

 15-17: For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16: The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

 (This is one place many people get tripped up. They feel a relationship and affection for God and think, therefore, that this scripture confirms their salvation. They think they have a spirit that cries, Abba Father! But if they are not being led by the Spirit, they do not have this relationship with God for the sprit that cries, Abba Father is a spirit of reverence and submission as well as a spirit of relationship and affection.

 Somehow the whole chapter does not convince them of their error because the church has belabored the love and grace side and neglected the necessity of living a life of obedience to the Father. Yet it is that life of obedience that God wanted to give to us for our sake that we may live and not die.)

 18: For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

 (This is the suffering of the Saints: to resist the devil, draw nigh unto God. It is to walk by the Spirit and deny our carnal nature. It calls for long-suffering, patience, and endurance.)

 19-22: For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20: For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21: Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22: For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

 (This talks about God putting spiritual man in an earthen body. His intent was not so much humbling man, but His intent was for spiritual man to bring the carnal nature into submission to the spirit. These are the sons who will rule with Jesus–those who have subdued their carnal nature. God wanted His sons who rule the earth to be part of it–hence the earthen body. He also wanted His sons who rule to be one spirit with Him–hence the putting the flesh under.

 When this happens and Jesus comes to rule–nature will be restored, including the extinct animals. Jesus’ resurrection guarantees this. All of God’s creation–every species– will be resurrected and the sons of God–those who suffer with Him– will rule with Him.)

 © Sylvia Huffnagle

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