~Psalm 18:23 I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity.

God sure doesn’t mince His words! The Psalmist admits that it is his own iniquity – his own sin!  Sin is a willful act – it is a choice made my me and only me.  Adam and Eve had a choice – Cain had a choice – I have a choice.  The born-again child of God has a choice to sin or not to sin. How can I keep myself from sin?

~Psalm 119:11, 105 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

If I keep God’s word in the center of my life, my thoughts and my actions, it will be easier for me to make the right choices!

~2 Timothy 2:4, 22 (4) No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of [this] life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. (22) Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 

The ‘worldly believer’ has a continuous struggle in living the separated Christian life.  You cannot live in the world and “for the Kingdom” at the same time.  You can straddle the fence only so long before you topple over and land on a specific side. As Christ said in Luke 16:13, you cannot serve two masters.  One will overrule the other.  The one who “wins” is the one you serve the best – your sin or the Lord.

Feed your spiritual side, friend.  Read your Bible for more than just a few minutes.  We make time for everything else in life that is important.  We will be spending eternity with the Lord and nothing from this earth will be important once we reach eternity!

 

 

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~Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

Everything changes around us. Styles, interior decorating, moral standards – but our spiritual lives should not follow the ways of the world. Churches are changing their services to accommodate the new generation. The old hymns, which make us aware of our sinful nature, are replaced with contemporary worship music which take our minds off our sin and make us feel like we are ‘right with God,’ when in actuality we are sinners in need of hearing how to get our hearts right with Him.  The bibles placed in the pews have been removed and you now read verses on the screen at the front of the auditorium – most of the time they are not even the King James Version. This discourages a person from looking up verses in the Bible to confirm what the preacher is saying!  How can one make sure he’s not being fed man’s opinion instead of God’s holy word?

The old paths have been forsaken, reader!  If these changes are for the better, why then are there so many ‘professing” Christians acting and living like the rest of the world? There is hardly a distinction between the saved and the unsaved today! Is it any wonder the negative feedback received when a lost person hears the word ‘Christian’? Hypocrisy in the church is alive and well because of all the lost people who have been allowed membership! The world has entered the church’s doors and brought with it every vile sin along with it!

We need to return to the old paths spoken of in Jeremiah!  These old paths lead us to repentance of our sin and to a right relationship with God. Anything else is a road laid by the devil – and you can be sure that this path is smooth, appealing to the eye and the lusts of the flesh, and will lead you to think that you are “spiritually OK” in God’s eyes. God still requires repentance and salvation!

The Old Paths

I liked the old paths, when
Moms were at home.
Dads were at work.
Brothers went into the army.
And sisters got married BEFORE having children!

Crime did not pay;
Hard work did;
And people knew the difference.

Moms could cook;
Dads would work;
Children would behave.

Husbands were loving;
Wives were supportive;
And children were polite.

Women wore the jewelry;
And Men wore the pants.
Women looked like ladies;
Men looked like gentlemen;
And children looked decent.

People loved the truth,
And hated a lie;
They came to church to get IN,
Not to get OUT!

Hymns sounded Godly;
Sermons sounded helpful;
Rejoicing sounded normal;
And crying sounded sincere.

Cursing was wicked;
Drugs were for illness;
And divorce was unthinkable.

The flag was honored;
America was beautiful;
And God was welcome!

We read the Bible in public;
Prayed in school;
And preached from house to house
To be called an American was worth dying for;
To be called a Christian was worth living for;
To be called a traitor was a shame!

Preachers preached because they had a message;
And Christians rejoiced because they had the VICTORY!
Preachers preached from the Bible;
Singers sang from the heart;
And sinners turned to the Lord to be SAVED!

A new birth meant a new life;
Salvation meant a changed life;
Following Christ led to eternal life.

Being a preacher meant you proclaimed the word of God;
Being a deacon meant you would serve the Lord;
Being a Christian meant you would live for Jesus;
And being a sinner meant someone was praying for you!

Laws were based on the Bible;
Homes read the Bible;
And churches taught the Bible.

God was worshiped;
Christ was exalted;
And the Holy Spirit was respected..

Church was where you found Christians
On the Lord’s day, rather than in the garden,
On the creek bank, on the golf course,
Or being entertained somewhere else.

I still like the old paths the best!

‘The Old Paths’ was written by a retired minister who lives in Tennessee.

DannSeagull

~Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Christ did not want us to be like the rest of the world. His ministry was consistently pointing people to their sin and encouraging them to forsake their worldliness. He did not just make a suggestion but also gave us directions as to how to accomplish this task. Renewing of our minds comes as a result of having a new nature.

~2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Our old worldly nature can only become new if we are born into a new nature – if we are born again.

~John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

~Joh 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

~1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

God’s Word lives and abides forever and is what pierces the heart to lead us to salvation. Once we are born again, the Holy Spirit guides us to live righteously and not like the world!

~Psalm 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

This isn’t to say that we will be “sinless” but after salvation we will desire to grow and “sin less.” Herein lies the difference between those who are born again and those who are not. The new nature we receive at the time of salvation nudges us, through the Holy Spirit’s leading, toward righteous living. That is why we are different from the world … we do not desire the same things we did prior to our salvation. We are now children of the King, and as any parent guides and teaches his child, so does our Heavenly Father!

~2 Corinthians 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

~1 Chronicles 16:11-12 Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

On those difficult days where the trials of life seem never ending, turn your pain to the One whose compassion never ends.  (Lamentations 3:22) Our pains may be physical, spiritual, or they may be emotional. Either way, we are able to turn to the Father and pull from His strength. Relying on our own strength will not yield any good! (Job 9:4) Once we rely on the strength of the Lord, we can be certain that He will direct us. (Psalm 18:32)

Nothing separates us from God’s love!

~Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

God has a remedy to life’s discouragements. Seek Him (Deuteronomy 4:29), His strength (Psalm 105:4) and remember His marvelous works and wonders (Revelation 15:3). When combined with knowing that nothing separates us from His love, we encourage ourselves in Him! (Romans 8:39)

It has been man’s desire from the beginning to “get to Heaven” on his own terms. Yes, we have choices but the born-again believer does not have to make the wrong choices in life. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit of God to successfully live separated lives. Again, it is choice! Today’s preaching from the pulpit rarely speaks of living a separated life. Instead, today’s preaching concentrates on God’s love and goodness (which is all true) but leaves out His judgment and chastisement. This type of preaching has been going on for quite some time and we are seeing the effects of this preaching in the lives of Christians.

~Matthew 7:21-23 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. 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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

I’m currently reading Sacred Betrayal by James R. Beller. It is an excellent book on Baptist history – and not only Baptist history but the decline of separated living. How sad to see where biblical doctrine has been watered down throughout the centuries. Is it any wonder that the believer is weak? Granted, we are responsible for our own spiritual growth. It is not up to the preacher to spoon feed us, Christian! Even a baby learns to feed himself, after all. As believers, we should be growing in the Lord at a steady pace. The preaching of God’s Word should be enforcing what we have already learned from the Word. The preaching should be the glue that binds all that we’ve learned together!

~2 Corinthians 2:11-15 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia. Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:

So why then do we see so many misguided and weak Christians? If they are truly born again, they are failing in a few areas. You can read your Bible until the cows come home. But if you are merely reading for the sake of reading, you won’t glean a thing. The Holy Spirit may have brought out a couple of verses for you to glean from but you have ignored His prodding. The Apostle Paul exhorts us not to quench the Holy Spirit.

~ 1 Thessalonians 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.

Jesus called believers to a higher standard, don’t you see that? He didn’t give believers an open door to sin! This is what is being taught in churches today! How sad is that?  Baptists are looked upon with disdain because it is said of them that they claim salvation but live like the world!  Christ must be looking down from His Heaven and shedding tears at the perversions being taught in the Church today – all under the guise of “freedom” and “grace”!  Is it any wonder that some believers look to other “religions” that will help them to “feel” saved?  One will doubt their salvation if one is not in God’s Word being fed by the Master.  One will doubt their salvation if one isn’t led by the Holy Spirit.  How can you doubt your salvation when you are being obedient to God’s Word?  You are only as “spiritual” as the amount of time you work at listening to God and obeying His Words. The truth from God’s Word sets us free. We no longer live in doubt, shame, and bewilderment. We are secure in God’s love because of what Christ did. As a result of our salvation, we desire to follow after Him and do what pleases Him – not what pleases man!

~John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

In kind, one will look to other doctrines if one isn’t grounded in what he has been taught by God – not by man, but by God!  Why does a Christian stray and try to live by religious laws again?  For example, if a person is born again, why would he want to go back to the Catholic church and see his Saviour being sacrificed in the mass day after day?  Why would a person who is born again want to follow  Levitical laws that placed burdens from which Christ freed us?  Why would a person who is born again be side tracked into a religion that requires you to not have electricity or phones.  Is it just so they can say they are separated?  Is it because they need this “extra” doctrine to prove to themselves that if they keep it they are truly saved?  God knows the heart, Christian!  God wants obedience to His Word.  If we are truly living according to His Word, we won’t need the religious bondage to make us “feel” saved.  If we are truly living according to His Word, we won’t doubt our salvation.  Obedience brings peace and leaves no room for doubt.

~2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ

Furthermore, following after false teaching brings burdens that cannot be carried.  Christ gave us freedom with our salvation.  It is a freedom from sin and an ability, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to say no to sin.  This is where Christians have dropped the ball.  They have become so complacent to sin and not living a separated life that they feel as though they can not conquer sin.

~Matthew 5:27-28 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

We are held to a higher standard, not an open ticket to sin.  Do Christ’s words sound like an open ticket to sin?  Does this sound like an open door to enjoy the things of the world?  The Christian is called to live with higher standards than the Ten Commandments!  These higher standards cannot be done in the flesh. They cannot be upheld by unbelievers. Only a yielded Christian can live by these standards – yielded to the Holy Spirit of God. But it takes a committed believer! It takes a believer who seeks after God’s will and applies what he has learned.  The Jews could not keep the Law and that is why our Lord and Saviour came to save them from their bondage of sin!  But here in Matthew, Jesus is adding that not only should they NOT commit adultery but they in fact commit adultery just by looking on a woman with lust in their hearts!

Christ taught separation. When a believer says he loves the Lord, then let him live like he does. The more a Christian dabbles in the world, the harder it will be for him to stay away from sin.  Eventually, that Christian will smell and act like the world.  Is it any wonder Christians are weak today? They are being fed man’s garbage, not God’s Word!  Whatever happened to comparing God’s Word to what the preacher says?  Whatever happened to the Christian spending quality time in his Bible and learning at the feet of Christ?  There are too many Martha’s and not enough Mary’s!  The more we separate ourselves, the closer we get to our Saviour and the less we love the things of this world.

Sit at Christ’s feet and learn from Him.  After all, the Holy Spirit penned His words for us to be able to glean from its blessed pages!  We are to study for ourselves (2 Tim. 2:15), not be spoon fed by the preacher!  We are to learn from Jesus, not from man! Man can deceive us but God will not.

~Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

No where in the Bible does it encourage to be of the world. No where in the Bible does it say that it’s OK to act like the world. No where in the Bible does it say to live like everyone else does. We are suppose to be (Titus 2:14 and 1 Peter 2:9) different, not like the rest of the world.

This is what is preached in today’s church: “We have to go into the world to win them.”  True, we do. However, no where does the Word say to be like the world – quite the opposite – we are to be “peculiar.” Christians who are not living separated lives are going to doubt their salvation and seek to find that peace within from something. Christians who are not living separated lives are going to be looking for “more” out of their Christian walk because they are not at peace in their spirit. They’re not at peace because the Holy Spirit is trying to convict them and guide them but they are quenching Him.  Be at peace by being in the Word and obeying what the Holy Spirit points out to you.  He’ll clean you through and through and you will never have to seek confirmation of your salvation.

~Proverbs 4:14-15  Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.  Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.

~Romans 16:17  Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

~2 Timothy 2:23  But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

~Titus 3:9  But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.

If you do not want to get in trouble with the law, you do not hang out with law breakers. If you do not want to be counted amongst those co-workers who are lazy, you do not mimic their actions. By avoiding trouble makers, one stays out of trouble. By avoiding those who can cause us to stray from what God’s Word teaches, we “keep” ourselves separated.

~James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

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~Romans 16:17-18  Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

What have we been taught in the Scriptures?

  • Jesus is God – John 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
  • Jesus was born of a virgin – Mathew 1:23  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
  • Jesus died on the cross for our sins – 1 John 4:10  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
  • Jesus rose from the dead – 1 Corinthians 15:20  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
  • Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father – Colossians 3:1  If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
  • Jesus is the only way to Heaven – John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
  • We must be born again to go to Heaven – John 3:3  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Who, then, are those that cause division contrary to the doctrine learned from the Scriptures?  Study the Word for yourself and find out who stands on different doctrine!  Then avoid them!  They appear as sheep but are ravenous wolves!  I was raised roman catholic.  I was taught that there was more to salvation than just the Bible.  If your religion teaches this as well, open your eyes, read the Word and find the truth!

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~When you are forgotten, or neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you don’t sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ… That is dying to self.

~When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take in all in patient, loving silence… That is dying to self.

~When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any impunctuality, or any annoyance; when you stand face-to- face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility-and endure it as Jesus endured… That is dying to self.

~When you are content with any food, any offering, any climate, any society, any raiment, any interruption by the will of God… That is dying to self.

~When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works, or itch after commendations, when you can truly love to be unknown… That is dying to self.

~When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances… That is dying to self.

~When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart… That is dying to self.

Are you dead yet? In these last days, would the Spirit bring us to the cross.

~Philippians 3:10 That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.

~Author Unknown

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