"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
A few months ago I did something that most would consider pretty dumb. I ran a railroad crossing while a train was coming. As the lights on the barricades began blinking, I sped up. I honestly had no idea how close the train actually was, but I knew the barricades had not lowered yet. Assuming it must still be a good distance away for the barricade arms to be up, I made a run for it. Problem was as I got close, they did begin to come down. I just did make it to the other side without the barricade coming down on my car and getting hit by the train. I was probably no more than 30-50 yards away heading full-speed towards me. I don’t recall thinking much about the decision, other than knowing I was running late to work and needed to beat that train. To be honest, I’m not sure it was even worth taking the risk because I realized that when I arrived my supervisor had not even gotten to work themselves. This silly decision really made me reflect on the times when I was led by the Holy Spirit and when I allowed the flesh to influence my thoughts. Everything we do on a daily basis has a connection to the struggle of flesh vs. Spirit. In this article I would like to bring your awareness to this battle and its balance in your life. We can all benefit from a self-inventory spiritually on a regular basis. If we are aware of our weaknesses, we can then bring them to God for guidance, prayer, and direction on how to walk in His Spirit in the moments that matter.
The largest barrier to differentiating between the Sprit/flesh is our walk with God or lack thereof. It is for this reason that it is almost impossible for sinners to determine feelings from conviction. What we do know is that God has the ability to convict anyone. He convicted Pharaoh and hardened His heart to keep the Israelites captive just long enough to judge the Egyptians, showing His power. God convicts the unsaved to accept Him as Lord. God convicted Ruth to stay faithful to Him. The Israeli enemies were convicted many times to begin to attack each other, bringing about their own defeat many times. Samson was also overcome with the Spirit of God and slew many Philistines with the jaw bone of a donkey. By now we know conviction is controlled by the Spirit and not by us, but our ability to understand Him lies within our own hands. How we choose to interact with God will determine that ability. Taking time for God in prayer and worship greatly impacts our relationship with Him. The scripture plainly tells us that a sheep knows His shepherd’s voice (John 10:1-6). If you are His follower, you will know His voice and also His conviction. It should be a daily habit to come before God in prayer, study the Word, and be willing to serve in any capacity where led.
Because the heart of man and our relationship with God varies, so does our ability to decipher conviction. Sometimes God chooses to reveal convictions slowly over time, but many situations can be interpreted on the spot. We must ask questions regarding any thoughts or feelings that we may encounter. “Is this conviction of God?” “Does it violate His Word or Law” “Will pursuing this conviction, vision, or feeling bring discord to the relationships in my family?” "Is this a feeling of emotion or a true Godly conviction?" The answers determine whether you will see spiritual breakthroughs or breakdowns. We must always keep in mind that God does not intend to bring division to the family for His children, but sometimes it comes because deceit from the enemy is strong. I can’t recall a time in the Word of God where He called a man and told him to abandon His Spouse. Men such as Abraham and Noah answered God’s callings without the wives being left out. We do see scenarios where one spouse turns their back on God or their family requiring the other to move on without them, such as when Lot’s wife turned to see the city being destroyed (Genesis 19:26). It is for this reason that I believe any conviction or calling of God will rarely bring discord to your family or spouse. If a vision, conviction, or calling is rejected by a spouse it may mean you are a few steps ahead of God by revealing His will. It could be that God has a plan and knows of coming events/circumstances that may change their mind. It may also be that they feel conviction as well, but it brings them pain that God will have to work out. Just know when there is a conflict regarding conviction, we should always take it to God in prayer. Following God will sometimes cost us friends and acquaintances because Jesus warned us that those who follow Him shall suffer also (Philippians 1:29). Those who stick by us, God will bless them for it. Just remember that when you’re not sure what you’re feeling is conviction, always turn to God in prayer and study for the answer. When it seems to not come, keep trying and wait on the Lord. His timing is not like our timing. That answer may be tied to how hard you seek it from Him and it also may require some fasting. Do not be afraid of fasting or fear it to be complicated. Fasting for the purpose of God’s will is how you gain the faith to move mountains. Abstaining from sin allows these other areas of your spiritual walk to be enhanced as there are no hindrances keeping you from obtaining it. Taking these measures will allow you a deeper connection with God and help prevent the consequences of being tricked into bad decisions by the enemy that impact us for life.
There are also much larger situations concerning the war between the Spirit and flesh. Until the final battle between God and evil, there will be that constant source of irritation. Even when we are patient, prayed up, studied up, and fasted up; the enemy will try it’s best to be a nag. However, we must remember that it is only just an irritation. Hell has no authority over a follower of Christ and is therefore already defeated by the Cross of Calvary. When things get difficult and hope seems lost, we have to remember that God has already won. Avoid the pitfalls of quick and thoughtless decisions. Lean on Christ for strength, understanding, authority, power, and guidance. When all answers seem wrong, sit and listen for God’s still voice (Jeremiah 33:3, Revelation 3:20). Somewhere amongst the breeze you will hear Him whisper, “Fear not, for all things are given unto you” (Matthew 6:33, 2 Peter 1:3). Because of the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, we remain victorious through Him. You have heard these truths before: He was born of a virgin (Matthew 1:18), ministered to Jew and Gentile(Mark 7:25-30 for gentiles and whole NT for Jews), was reject by His own (John 1:11), accepted by few, was crucified (Matthew 27), lay in the grave dead for three days, and rose again to be with the Holy Father after a short while on earth to be our living sacrifice(1 Corinthians 15:4). During those three days He took the keys to death, Hell, and the grave for all eternity (Revelation 1:18). Because Jesus has the keys, we have the ear and heart of the key master. Why would we ever let the prisoner trick us into giving back the authority won for us on the cross? If we intend to win this battle of Sprit vs. flesh, we must follow the war plans of the General. There are no better odds than a guaranteed victory. And when you make the choice to follow the Spirit and not the flesh, you choose that victory. I pray you have been blessed today and that you are now more equipped to walk according to the Spirit rather than flesh. Thank you for visiting us today and we welcome you back to Salvationscall.org. May God Bless you and keep you, Amen!
John 10:1-6New King James Version (NKJV)
Jesus the True Shepherd
10 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.
Genesis 19:26 (KJV)
26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
Philippians 1:29 (KJV)
29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
Jeremiah 33:3 (KJV)
3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
Revelation 3:20 (KJV)
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Matthew 6:33 (KJV)
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
2 Peter 1:3 (KJV)
3 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:
Revelation 1:18 (KJV)
18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
There are many things we come into contact with daily that require accuracy. Factors that we should consider important such as prescription of a medication that you take and then there are the things that are not so important such as the doctor’s shoe size who wrote the prescription. There are also things in life that need to be accurately recorded that sometimes we would rather not be such as our weight or cholesterol numbers. Although they may be inconvenient for us to deal with, they are still important and need to be dealt with. Just as we need to accurately manage the numbers and details of our physical health, we need complete accuracy of factors contributing to our spiritual health. The most important of these factors being the Word of God. As the complete inerrant Word, our Holy Bible should be the standard for all mankind. It is not only God’s spiritual instructions for this world, but also instructions on how to live life itself. But what happens when that measure of truth and standard are altered? The answer is that because it is no longer accurate, it loses its authority and validity as the measure of truth. Because it is tainted with small and even sparse lies, it is all to be considered a lie. This may seem preposterous, but it is exactly what some have done with the Word of God itself. So the answer to the title of this post is, yes it does matter. Many of the modern translations of the Bible have claimed to be translated directly from the Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic, but this does not always seem to be the case. What we have found after an extensive investigation into the scripture, is that multiple whole verses of scripture and alterations of others are found throughout some of these newer translations. In many cases, even seeming to be pushing and anti-Trinitarian view onto its readers. I was recently trying to point out some important scriptures to someone in suppport of the Trinity, but was stumped when I could not find it in my pocked sized Bible. I assumed it must have been due to the size of the Bible, but after researching that particular translation and many others it was obvious that it was simply missing from the text. The only conclusion I could draw was that the translations are not worthy of being referenced as scripture. Before pre-judging our stance, let us show you these changes to the scriptures. In this example we will only be looking at the KJV, NKJV, NIV, and ESV.
Matthew 17:21 KJV: 21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
Matthew 17:21 ESV: Does Not Exist!
Matthew 17:21 NIV: Only footnotes comparing it to Mark 9:29
Matthew 18:11 KJV: 11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
Matthew 18:11 ESV: Does Not Exist
Matthew 18:11 NIV: Does Not Exist
John 5:4 KJV: 4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
NIV and ESV: Once again do not exist.
Acts 8:37 KJV: Acts 8:37 (KJV)
37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
NIV and ESV: Do Not Exist.
My Personal Favorite:
1 John 5:7 KJV: 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
1 John 5:7-8 ESV: 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.—Note that in the ending of verse 8, it only says that they agree not that they are one.
1 John 5:7 NIV: 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the[a] Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.—Same as ESV, only the word “agreement”.
These are only a few examples of the many that I have to support the claims that we put forth. Although the NIV and ESV are well formed and easy to understand, leaving out whole verses of scripture is unacceptable. It is also obvious by looking at the content and subject matter of the scriptures, that the writers/translators possibly had some ulterior motives behind their actions. It is for this reason that this ministry which stands for truth will no longer use these translations as scripture references. Of course, it is your choice what resources and translations that you choose to personally use for study. We would never want to discourage anyone from reading God’s Word no matter what translation you have available, however we do caution anyone to thoroughly investigate their materials and seek God’s direction regarding whether they are acceptable. As a ministry SCM has used these translations to quote and select scriptures to help bring out the proper context of what is being said, but we are currently in the process of changing those scriptures our and replacing them with the KJV/NKJV versions. Eventually we hope to replace all quoted scripture on this site with these two versions. Even though all quoted scripture using the ESV and NIV versions were a correct translation and reference we would not want to mislead believers by using a tainted Gospel. Anytime there is a doubt regarding the accuracy or validity of a resource, you should always seek research on it. This may include pastoral counseling, but be weary of information on the internet. Online, there is a wealth of ignorant opinions just waiting for you to entertain them. I pray that this post has been enlightening and will help you advance your study of the Word in some way. Until Next Time, God Bless!
Revelation 22:18-19 (KJV)
18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Galatians 1:6-9 (NKJV)
6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
Deuteronomy 4:2 (KJV)
2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.
Luke 18:15-17 (ESV)
15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
There are many references in the scripture about having faith like a child in the New Testament as it does in Luke 18:17. God holds children in high regard showing them more mercy, compassion, and patience than He does adults in many situations. That may lead many to find themselves asking, so what does “receive the kingdom of God like a child” mean? There are many things we could say about children, but I wish to examine this scripture in the context which Jesus meant for the disciples to understand it. Children often display certain characteristics which seem effortless because they are certain nature to them. Values such as trust, innocence/purity, faith, curiosity, humility, and love are easily displayed by children. We will examine the characteristics of these traits and how they relate to “entering the kingdom of God”.
Ask any kid who their most trusted source for information is and the most likely response will be their parents. For some children their trust is harder to gain than others. Once a person has it however, it is most likely there to stay unless violated in a major way. Just as children trust their parents with their livelihoods, we must trust God to provide and take care of us. If we do not trust God, we have not surrendered our lives to Him. If we have not surrendered our lives in His hands, we have truly surrendered our close relationship with the Heavenly Father. If we intend to get the most out of our relationship with God and enjoy our walk with Him, we must be willing to place our trust with Him as a child would as well. Trust in God as our redeemer just as in any relationship, is vital to its health and longevity.
Until a child reaches an age of accountability, that child is viewed pure before the judgment of the Lord and remains innocent. Innocence is admired by a child’s mother and looked upon in love. The same is true for God. He looks upon the little children and sees their innocence and purity. The truth is that He sees us all as His children, but somewhere along the way the enemy has been allowed to rob us of our innocence. Our purity has been tainted by the dirtiness of this evil world we live in. Thank God for the spotless lamb of Jesus Christ who lived and died for us, so that we may be innocent, pure, righteous, and holy before God. Just as children are pure from in-exposure to the sins of the world, we as adults must also fight to maintain the purity of our hearts and minds. Remember the song, “O be careful little eyes what you see. O be careful little ears what you hear…For the Father up above. He’s looking down in love.”? If we monitor what goes into our hearts, minds, and body we can maintain some innocence in our lives. The less clutter we have inside, the more room there is for Christ. The scripture is clear that what we put in our hearts and minds is what determines who we become (Philippians 4:8). Maintaining innocence will also help with keeping our trust, faith, humility, and love in their rightful order. If we limit the exposure to the consequences of sin and negativity in our lives, we limit our exposure to the negative effects of those things.
Most admired above all traits by Jesus is a child’s faith. You see the quality referenced multiple times in the New Testament. Jesus often references small amounts of faith such as a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20), but also mentions how good it is to have childlike faith (Matthew 18:2-4). Just as children trust because they have not been let down by humanity enough to be learned otherwise, they also have blind faith. They see no hindrances or obstacles for God because they assume anything is possible for God. Why doubt or have unbelief when you have not learned such bad traits? These are characteristics we should never learn nor pick up in the first place. If only we could have childlike faith we could not only enter kingdom of God, but also move mountain ranges instead of just mountains. It is faith that is identified as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Let us have the faith to find ourselves in the kingdom of God, but also let’s find out what we can also accomplish along the way with a dose of childlike faith.
Children’s curiousness makes them supreme candidates for the kingdom of God. Kids wish to learn because they are growing and developing just as a baby Christian, soaking in all God has to offer. As Christians we never stop learning and growing. This is why God calls us to be constant students of His Word, nature, history, and methods. He pursues us as His bride, so He longs for us to pursue Him back. Marriages that are one-sided often do not last, yet we allow treat God to a one-sided relationship. We allow for Him to do all the pursuing us. It is only through constant curiosity of trying to learn more about our spouse that we grow closer over time. The same is required of us to get into the kingdom of heaven as explained by Christ. In order to know and love God, we have to maintain that curious desire and pursue a relationship with Him.
To keep from lifting ourselves above the Holy Father, we must keep a child’s level of humility. Observe many children on a playground and what do you see? What I observe is that no matter what part of the country you are from or how different the children are, they treat one another as equals. Unless there is a toy to fight over, children will often play with strangers while displaying the highest level of humility rarely seen from adults. What makes it awesome is that children are genuinely humble. Adults are willing to “fake it until they make it”, but children truly care for one another and feel that other children are equal to them in importance. In order to see the kingdom of heaven, we must first see that we are all created in the image of God.
The first of the commandments is to love God with all our hearts, minds, and souls (Matthew 22:36-38). The second greatest commandment found directly after in verse 39 Jesus says, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself”. This is displayed the best by children. It is natural for children to love as God commands us to love. For God, the only way to love is unconditionally and children love unconditionally. God commands us to not only love, but to also walk in love as He does (Ephesians 5:2). Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world therefore we do not love perfectly either. This shall change at the second coming of Christ, but we must strive until then to love our best and let God do the rest. It is unfortunate the world has changed the definition of love so much. If we understand love by how the Bible defines it and how Christ lived, we can then reflect that in the love that we give to each other. It is only when you know Christ and your Lord and Savior that you can properly love others as He loves us. If you aren’t saved today by the redeeming grace of Christ, you are missing out on the greatest love of all. Find out how to become saved today on our “What is the Gospel” page.
It is these qualities that I believe that Jesus was trying to portray to the disciples. In their defense, large crowds would often surround Jesus. I watch often as well-known ministers come to a church and people gather around them with needs. Some are very serious and need God to intervene, while others may seem some-what frivolous to bystanders. The truth is God cares about everything that concerns us because we are his children. If He cares about the number of hairs on our head, the food in our stomach, and the birds of the air; He certainly cares about what concerns us enough to reach out in prayer. Thank you for joining us again and may we both be blessed soon in the kingdom of heaven together. Until then, have the qualities of a child and remain faithful to Him. God Bless!
Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Matthew 17:20 (ESV)
20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matthew 18:2-4 (ESV)
2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)
11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Matthew 22:36-40 (ESV)
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Ephesians 5:2 (ESV)
2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.