Two Gospels

Greetings!

When studying the Scriptures it is very important to keep in mind that during the period of the apostles there were TWO  GOSPELS being taught AT THE SAME TIME!  Both centered around Christ being crucified and risen, of course, but the 12 apostles were  designated to teach the Jews (Israelites)  whereas Paul was chosen by God to evangelize ‘the nations’ (we Gentiles), as clearly shown in Ephesians 3:8; Romans 11:13, 15:16 and ESPECIALLY Galatians 2:2,7-9.

This was a ‘sacred secret’ hidden before in times past  and first revealed solely to Paul as to how God was now going to call those of the ‘nations’ (we Gentiles) to be JOINT HEIRS with the Jews….Ephesians 3:1-8. (Please reference the Post “The “Secret Revealed To Paul” for additional information)

Those Jews taught by the 12 apostles and other believing Jewish teachers  were to keep the Jewish laws and traditions until Christ returned (Matthew 5:18-19).  However, it was decided when Paul went up to Jerusalem to meet with Peter  that ‘the nations’ (we Gentiles) were not obligated to observe these, but only to (1) keep from things sacrificed to idols (2) from blood and from things strangled (3) from fornication,  (4) and to remember the poor….Acts 15:28-29 and Galatians 2: 7-10.

Again….the Gentiles did not have to be circumcised, observe Holy Days or any of the traditions of Moses or Jewish Law, and this obviously holds true for us today. However, the Israeli believers were required to keep the Law of Moses, the Holy Days, etc.  until Christ returned  (Matthew 5:18-19).

Until later, take care.

Fred

2 Corinthians 12

Greetings!   This morning I thoroughly enjoyed reading the 12th chapter of Corinthians. Speaking of the Scriptures, in the early days of Christianity, many saints probably had none, or just a few, of the holy writings….and, it is estimated the majority could not even read.  Not to worry, God always makes everything a level playing field….somehow, their spiritual needs were provided for without the scriptures.

Paul had quite a trip….going to the 3rd heaven! In those days, the 1st heaven was the earth’s atmosphere , the 2nd the starry sky and the 3rd was God’s abode. Paul got a taste of just how unimaginable it  is what God holds in store for us….”eye has not seen nor ear heard  the glorious things that await those Whom He loves”.

But, Paul had to pay a price for his visit. Even someone of Paul’s spiritual statute needed a ‘thorn in the flesh’ to keep him humble because of what he experienced…this really amazes me! Nevertheless, he was able to delight in his infirmity after God’s reasoning was revealed to him.

Paul prayed 3 times concerning his infirmity, with no relief, and Jesus prayed 3 times during His trial, also with no relief. There is probably a lesson here.

Concerning Paul’s affliction, this reveals how God wisely uses Satan’s antics (he was the one who brought the infirmity to Paul) for His  eventual Holy purpose and our benefit. Satan can do nothing without God’s permission (as illustrated by Job’s trial),  and it always results in our benefit.

How encouraging it is that we are actually at our ‘prime’ to be used by God when we are at our weakest.   God does make the wisdom of this world look foolish with His mysterious ways.

Even though the Corinthians were the notorious  ‘wild bunch’ with all their problems, Paul loved them dearly….a disposition made possible only by his having the Holy Spirit. But, he could administer ‘tough love’ when the occasion required it.

Until later, take care in Him.

Fred

Suffering

Hello!

There is so much suffering today and quite a lot of it is readily seen via the multiple newscasts on television. Sometimes, it can be  difficult even for a believer  to justify a God of total Love allowing this to exist, especially where children and ‘the innocent’ are concerned. Individual and unnoticed cases of suffering abound daily, as well.

First of all, God invented ‘tough love’…. if there was a better way for us (believers and non-believers) to learn the lessons God has appointed us to benefit from then He would use it. So, in His wisdom, He has designated it (pain and suffering) the best way to go.

He required His only begotten Son to suffer (pain) beyond human imagination, all for the sake of the good of ALL mankind. His Son has been gloriously rewarded for His sacrifice (pain and suffering). As Paul wrote, the suffering of this present life is NOT WORTHY to be compared with what God has prepared for us (and, eventually, even sinners and non-believers).

Keep in mind, each trial or episode of  suffering is tailor-made for the individual….each person  is specially  ‘equipped’ to handle his or her particular hardship….no one is ever pushed beyond her or his limits (1 Corinthians 10:13…..Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible and Concordant Literal New Testament).

As with Job, God will place LIMITS on what Satan’s actions or any trial can be (Job 1:12).  What might be quite difficult for me may be  easy for you, so we cannot completely and accurately comprehend what another is going through, merely based  on our own life’s experience and limitations.

God , in His mercy and love, even programs our brains to be able to shut down the acceptance of pain at certain times, depending on the situation. And the body is capable of releasing pain killers far more powerful than morphine. At other times, when we can handle it, He allows us to experience quite a bit of real, harsh pain. Each person  is created and programmed uniquely different to cope with her or his sufferings in life.

With the children and the ‘innocent’ suffering as they do, I can again reiterate,  we can rest assured that none will be asked to endure any ‘trial’ more than each is capable of handling (1 Corinthians 10:13…..Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible and Concordant Literal New Testament). And when our hearts break and are torn asunder when we see this, you can bet God’s and Christ Jesus’ hearts ache a zillion times more for what They see the  creation going through….however, it is just something that God has determined they have to go through for their eventual good and glory.

In fact, it is just something that we ALL must experience to enable ALL of us to attain to and appreciate fully the GLORIOUS life for which we ALL are destined, each in our own order. (Please reference the Posts on “All Creation Will Be Saved” and “Misunderstanding About The Salvation of All Creation”)

Regarding the the suffering we saints go through while here on earth, I give you an excerpt from “Abandonment To Divine Providence” which can be found , along with the entire book, at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/decaussade/abandonment.ii_1.ii.iii.v.html (just click the web address with your mouse pointer) :

“This (our present sufferings) is not to be wondered at. What else could be expected? It is natural to this state. God has His plans for souls, and under this disguise He carries them out very successfully. Under the name of “disguise” I include ill-success, corporal infirmities, and spiritual weakness. All succeeds, and turns to good in the hands of God. ”

End of excerpt.

The bottom line is that God can allow limitedindividually prescribed suffering because He can and will turn it into the highest good for EVERYONE  in the end when He  is ALL in ALL! (1 Corinthians 15:22-24,28….Young’s Literal Translation)

As well, remember Romans 8:18:

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.”  This is true for the ENTIRE creation (Please reference the Post “All Creation Will Be Saved”!.

Going further, in Colossians 1:24 Paul said he was able to REJOICE in his sufferings and in 2 Corinthians 7:4 he writes “….I am filled with all comfort; I am overflowing with joy in all of our suffering.”  The Post on “Supernatural Joy” illustrates that the HOLY joy given by the Holy Spirit can defy circumstances  when we are learning from our sufferings.

When we suffer from life’s experiences it also serves to HUMBLE us, especially in FAILURE. (please reference the Post by this title). If we do not faint and remain faithful, this can be one of our greatest blessings!! Oswald Chambers writes in his book “My Utmost For His Highest” (please reference the Post by the same title) that when our Father and Jesus allow this ‘darkness’ of suffering to affect us the resulting “gift of humiliation” we experience (as a result of it revealing our human frailty and subsequent TOTAL NEED of God and Christ Jesus) “brings softness of the heart that will always listen to God”.

GOD and CHRIST JESUS ALWAYS DO EVERYTHING IN TOTAL, HOLY LOVE….concerning ALL our needed trials and sufferings as believers….and this ‘tough love’ ALWAYS works together for our glorious good (Romans 8:28).

All the best in Him,

Fred

Mark 6

This morning I enjoyed reading Mark 6 again.  It reminded me of how many signs and miracles the Lord performed, especially the healings.  And yet, where were these ‘grateful’ recipients when Jesus was crucified!

Sadly, the influence of signs and miracles, even if administered to us personally, have a way of  fleeing from us when difficult times arrive. I recall reading where Teresa of Avila…..a well-known mystic who experienced numerous visions and such….said when the torrents of suffering overwhelm us the recollection of the ecstasy and wonderment of the visions and heavenly revelations seem like far away  dreams (paraphrasing here), and offer little or no strength.

The remaining 11 apostles are another example. After witnessing the most amazing miracles and wonders for about  3 years or so, and even themselves empowered to perform the same, at the end, when human confusion set in at Jesus’  arrest, they all fled…..all the past signs and miracles offering them no strength in the time of adversity.

Our strength lies in developing our spiritual life. Yet, how many came to Jesus and asked that He ‘heal’ them spiritually…..giving them the ability to love more, exercise more patience, pursue the things of God more, empower them with spiritual fortitude, etc?  You guessed   it…..zilch, none! Their focus was on the physical.

And, the chapter reminded me  of what a  difficult  time John the Baptist had during his last days. He was accustomed to roaming freely in the unspoiled beauty of the wilderness, enjoying his delicious wild honey as well as (however he fixed those) locusts!  Wholesome fresh air, the appealing sounds of nature.  Now, here he was in what had to probably be a disgustingly foul cell of some sort and having to eat what probably had to be one of the worst of menus…..just the opposite of what was customary for him.  Greater still, he was confused about what was going on and even wondered  if  Jesus was really the Messiah. My guess is that he came out just fine, and may very well have been magnificently closer to God at the time of his murder than ever before.

I have read of saints who gloried in heavy trials and were brought closer to God and Christ in an unexplainable, spiritual way during these times…..surely a testament of  the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul and Silas are a wonderful example.  In Acts 16:25, they are found singing hymns and praying to God  at  midnight….AFTER having received ‘many blows’ with rods, open wounds still probably stinging quite painfully  with every movement, thrown into the  farthest interior of the jail (i.e., the nastiest) and having their feet in stocks. Now, either they were on some heavy drugs or strange mushrooms…. or, the Holy Spirit empowered them to have this disposition.  It can for us as well.

At times, God brings our greatest trial to us at the end.  We need to be striving to develop the spiritual strength (faith) needed for whenever it may appear …..so that our victory in Christ will be pleasing to the Father, and give Him glory.

Take care.

Fred

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