Several weeks ago the Monday morning study leader announced that the following week we would be starting a study on vengeance. To show that the carnal side of me still exists, I wrote this on my notepad, Coming up next week, Vengeance!, Yeah baby! I was messing around, as the first reaction I had, was to moan because every study is a fitful barrage of legalism. When that particular “study” ended, I turned to my friend and said, that wasn't all bad.
The leader was giving an introduction, but he had already lost me, as I was looking up passages on vengeance. The first thing I came to was a passage in Leviticus.
Leviticus 19:18 ISV "You are not to seek vengeance or hold a grudge against the descendants of your people. Instead, love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD."
The first thing I realized is that this is “the law,” and we, are not under the law; or, are we? If we are not under the law, then what do I do with this statement from the Apostle Paul?
Romans 12:16-19 ISV Live in harmony with each other. Do not be arrogant, but associate with humble people. Do not think that you are wiser than you really are. 17) Do not pay anyone back evil for evil, but focus your thoughts on what is right in the sight of all people. 18) If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in peace with all people. 19) Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath. For it is written, "Vengeance belongs to me. I will pay them back, declares the Lord."
Wait a minute, Paul, the reformed Pharisee, and one of the most prominent advocates of grace; tells his audience of Jewish converts, and us, do not put yourself back under the bondage of the law. And yet, here it is.
Nahum 1:2-3 AMPC The Lord is a jealous God and avenging; the Lord avenges, and He is full of wrath. The Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries and reserves wrath for His enemies. [Exodus 20:5] 3) The Lord is slow to anger and great in power and will by no means clear the guilty. The Lord has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. [Exodus 34:6-7]
There are many scriptural illustrations that Paul could have pulled from, but Nahum conveys the idea of vengeance well. If Paul could be comfortable drawing examples from the “law” while speaking of those same laws as a return to bondage, then your spirit should be telling you that there is something more involved in this idea of bondage than mere constraints put on us by God. The “laws,” such as, love your neighbor as yourselves, are, at the very least, a better way of living; And, they are the very thing that keeps us out of God's way, as we focus on the positive rather than our hidden agenda of supplanting God by dishing out vengeance and judgment.
So then, even the New Testament conveys constraints that parallel the law.
I have mentioned, many times, how we live under the perfect law of liberty.
James 2:10-12 NASB For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. 11) For He who said, "DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY," also said, "DO NOT COMMIT MURDER." Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12) So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.
James is also the one who tells us that we are blessed when we walk in this law.
James 1:25 NASB But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
We then, do not have the freedom to seek vengeance, nor are we entirely free from the God's law.
As the morning's study progressed a brash statement was made, when we get to heaven, you will not find a Pharisee there as they will all be in hell. A quick inventory in my head put me in remembrance of Nicodemus, Simon of Arimathea, and the Apostle Paul, all of which, were prominent Pharisees who displayed a love of Jesus Christ.
Several minutes passed and I raised my hand. When the leader finally acknowledged me, I said, as a recovering Pharisee who struggles with judgment I want to share a story with you. At this point, I told them about a stepson who had inappropriately taken one of my handguns into the backyard to show a friend of his. You need to understand that there had been a series of events that ended with a stolen bicycle, and this young man in my backyard had played a role in that. I that moment, with them fondling my revolver, I merely held out a hand, and my stepson placed the gun in my hand. I simply said, had you asked me I would have taken you to the range and taught you how to respect the weapon and shoot it, but since you chose to go behind my back you have lost that opportunity. I began that day to pray that God would remove bad influences from my stepson's life. Two weeks later, the other boy shot himself in the head while playing Russian roulette. The important thing was I merely asked God to intervene, but I did not try to tell Him what to do about it.
I remind you of Romans 12:19 which says,
19) Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath. For it is written, "Vengeance belongs to me. I will pay them back, declares the Lord."
I don't know how I did it because I was angry in the days that preceded that young mans death. I was the one who walked my son into the police station and made him “return” this obviously stolen bicycle, and this entire process was laden with humiliation and fear for both of us, but it worked out, as they apparently realized that my actions had ingrained a serious lesson in my son.
Once again look at what James has to say.
James 2:12-13 NASB So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13) For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.
Pay close attention to verse 13 where it says, “For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy.” I my story above I feel like I did it right. I feel no blame for the young man, but I grieved with his father who explained how they had seen unusual patterns beginning to develop.
I can assure you that there were multiple times that I did not get this right, and here is one.
Having been raised in the church, I was severely wounded by a few sarcastic church elders. I carried their wounds most of my life. Did they always occupy my mind? No, but a string of events that I can relate to codependency, seemed to bring their brutal tongues to the forefront of my thinking. The bottom line here is that in my mind I hated them and wanted them to suffer slow, prolonged, and painful torture, for what they did. When you think about the logic in all this, you can see that this pain I believed I inflicted upon them, and the chains I held them in, was all in my head. That means I gave them too much free space in my head. And never, were they aware of this bondage I held them in. During the time involved, I had to maintain the chains, keeping the rust off those chains by oiling them. All this maintenance cost me a tremendous amount of time and energy. Sadly, I felt justified in all this.
Primarily I learned I needed to forgive them.
Yes, I needed to forgive; the problem is, I had no idea of what to do. Oh sure, mother had her designs, which amounted to letting people continue to slap you until you are spinning, but that was not going to work for me either (anymore.) Thankfully there was a day when a prophetic woman stopped me and said, you have to forgive those men who hurt you! I responded with, alright, but how? She said, it's simple, you merely release them from the debts you think they owe you. To be honest, it only took me a couple of days to realize that I was having no impact on them and that my efforts were simply me, judging them. After, what seemed like a lifetime I released them from the bondage that I felt they owed me. Quickly, I began doing that with ex-wives and others that had offended me.
I have, over time, told these truths to others, only to have them say its hard to forgive!
I responded briskly with, no, it's not. The only difficult part is you letting go of the imaginary control you think you have. You see, when we set ourselves up as judges and put people into the prison of our minds, we have set ourselves up as God. We have supplanted God and tried to take over His job. In doing this, we have set up our own fates, which James spells out.
James 2:12-13 NASB So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13) For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.
Since we are not under the law, and yet have an almost identical command in the New Testament, then let's try one more and see if we can find the freedom in it.
Deuteronomy 32:35 CJB Vengeance and payback are mine for the time when their foot slips; for the day of their calamity is coming soon, their doom is rushing upon them.'
On one hand, this tells us that all vengeance belongs to God, while on the other hand it speaks to payback, which is His also. Their day will come, whether they be religious or ungodly.
I will show you Romans 12:19 once again.
Romans 12:19 ISV Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath. For it is written, "Vengeance belongs to me. I will pay them back, declares the Lord."
By taking yourselves out of the judgment seat, you are putting these people back into God's hand. As the ISV translation says, leave room for God's wrath.
Alright, there is time for just one more story.
On a particular day, I was put in charge of the office where I was outnumbered by women who had taught us men, how to install and repair pay phones. A particular lady, who had a horrific case plantar fasciitis, whined incessantly about how she could not do the job. I suspect that I misread her that day, and thought that she was saying that she could not do the added dimension of installing the wiring. I asked her to stay in the office for a moment and proceeded to tell her, in my most Pharisaical tone, that as a Christian I was ashamed of her because, we, as believers, can do all things through Christ. The short of it, within about six months my judgment came back on me, and I found myself ashamed of my actions. I don't know what became of her, but I lost everything dear to me. So, I understand how this works, and you don't want to get into the judgment game.
As an addendum:
4/16/18 Monday morning's Men's study
Opened with, "Vengeance, we are not to even have the thought!"
Is this possible?
Paul, in his letter to Timothy, wrote (2Timothy 4:14,15)
2 Timothy 4:14-15 AMPC Alexander the coppersmith did me great wrongs. The Lord will pay him back for his actions. 15) Beware of him yourself, for he opposed and resisted our message very strongly and exceedingly.
2 Timothy 4:15 GNB Be on your guard against him yourself, because he was violently opposed to our message.
2 Timothy 4:15 MSG Fiercely opposed to our Message, he caused no end of trouble. God will give him what he's got coming.
By Jonathan BeWell
Open Letter to Rock Bottom
Dear Down in the Dumps,
You are not in a nice place to visit or indefinitely live. I know, I have been there too many times. Since then I have burned my passport and remain grounded, gladly. The local authorities and citizens do not understand my alien presence. They cannot keep this message out. I will explain later. You will not complain sooner. Listen, look and warm yourself up to light versus darkness. Defect from that infected wasteland. Walk this way for freedom!
Before I believed in anything worth mentioning, I desperately decided to buy into "Allen Carr's 'Easy Way to Stop Smoking.'" Heck, he wrote I could even smoke as I read the book! I took a leap of faith out the hole of butts and ash. I actually enjoyed and laughed at old cues to spark a dart. Nic fits were only a fading memory of how and what I used to be like. I had been deprogrammed from doom and reprogrammed for life. Thank goodness, because all drags from cigarettes had become depressing slave wage reminders of death. I could not prove or understand it but I believed it had worked, setting me free. I see that now was a good sign, open door and ray of hope. Major problems had potential solutions. I believed things could be better.
Before I met and surrendered to Jesus Christ, I waged war with myself and the world. I abused my being with alcohol, marijuana and drug experimentation. I sat much of my life in front of a screen playing questionable games. I cheated on God, my future wife and myself with pornography and masturbation. I was living the bad dream of a wicked party scene. My heart had holes, my mind was free for the taking, my body was in ruin and my soul was lost and bound. Mental health issues coincided with the start of all of the above. By my fourth psychiatric ward stay I actually enjoyed doing my time and running the show. Pride, lust, anger, gluttony and slothfulness as deadly sins were aiming to win. It was either end up a casualty of spiritual warfare or be saved by divine intervention. Enter my Saviour, Lord, teacher and protector.
I read the Bible out of curiousity. I thought I should for its major influence on the world and world view. Believing and in it does not change that in any case. Tragedy struck when my parents' dog died in my arms. What I was doing with my life and would come after hit me hard. God had spoken, my deaf ears had been opened. I quit pot on the spot. I mourned Baloo's death and a life I was not getting. I compensated by binge drinking. I started getting drunk in the morning. I was listening to Harvesters FM, a Christian radio station constantly. They suggested AA, Alcoholics Anonymous. I went and got on the sober wagon. Gaming got the boot. Pornography and masturbation were confessed, apologized for, repented from and rebuked. All of the above related to asking Jesus Christ into my heart and life through a simple, sincere to the point prayer. The Bible was now more than history and what Christianity was based on. It was God's word speaking to me, changing my life for His pure glory, perfect plan and purpose. Not the story of my life, but Jesus Christ's death for the church as his wife. It is thee book that's truth never changes as always relevant. Now I am part of the book of life, hallelujah!
Not the end,
Gregory Keith Jonathan Brumwell 2018
Testimony Saved by Jesus Christ as of December 18, 2016, GKJB-1973
11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.
- John 3:11 New International Version (NIV)
31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true.
- John 5:31 New International Version (NIV)
7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.
- John 1:7 New International Version (NIV)
We haven't posted on here in a little while but I wanted to share some of our most recent articles with you. This article is titled Financial Freedom and was written by Nick to allow us to see that we don't have to live our entire lives tied to money! Nick and I have both experienced the stress and unhappiness that money can have on you, but we are here to tell you it doesn't have to be that way! We hope you enjoy!
Nick & Leah
Most people spend their entire lives in financial bondage. Money doesn’t have to rule your life, it’s time to break out of from its hold and find financial freedom!
Money for most is a very touchy subject. It’s hard not to feel defensive about our funds when it feels like everywhere we turn someone is trying to lighten our wallets.
It’s amazing when we stop to think about how much of our time and attention we give over to money. Either thinking of ways to earn it or ways to spend it.
We quickly fall into a vicious cycle of wasting precious time chasing a dollar, only to spend it on things that we don’t even have time to use! The problem is that in reality, it’s not the money we desire but the false sense of security it brings or the momentary pleasure we gain from the things it buys.
“I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 1:14
This wisdom from Ecclesiastes really speaks to the truth of our reality… all of life’s rewards are uncertain and ultimately unsatisfying.
That is why to find true contentment we need a source of contentment that will ultimately satisfy. Jesus said in John Chapter 4 while speaking to the Samaritan woman, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Financial freedom isn’t found in learning how to better balance our checkbooks or with industry-leading secrets that can teach us how to hoard up our wealth. True financial freedom is found when we renew our minds and come to the source of living water that never runs dry.
Overcome The Fear
For some, the mere thought of money strikes fears into their hearts. With the thought of bills piling up and the feeling that you can never get ahead, it is hard not to worry about it.
I myself lived paycheck to paycheck for years. As soon as I got paid the majority of my earnings were spent before that weekend was over.
Besides all the money I wasted on alcohol, cigarettes and partying I was always blowing my money on things that I thought would bring me some sort of happiness. The funny thing is that the days spent in fear of over drafting my account each paycheck greatly outweighed the moments of delight I would find in the things I bought.
Honestly at the time I was making lots of money, had very few bills or financial responsibilities and was single, but I still never had enough to keep up with my spending.
When we live like this we quickly begin to drown in financial worries and burden. It corrupts not only our happiness but also the way we live our lives and our relationships. The fear of financial uncertainty is a heavy burden for anyone to carry.
Fortunately, we don’t have to. We can never escape financial bondage by just trying to not spend money, it just doesn’t work, at least not in the long term. Have some people done this with success? Yes, of course, they have. Anyone can stop spending money but it isn’t a long-term solution.
If we just stop spending money, instead of addressing the true issue, we don’t escape financial bondage, we just give it a new name and dress it in different clothes. Instead of spending all of our time worrying about making ends meet, we just find ourselves spending time wishing we didn’t have to pinch every penny as we dream of all the things we wish we could buy but can’t.
To find true freedom we need to renew our minds and find contentment in the absence of “stuff”.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
If we turn toward Jesus and openly embrace His perfect love, fear has no place. Financial worry will fade away and through His word, we can begin to renew our minds and focus on finding contentment in Him.
Overcome The Hold
Renewing our understanding of the world and the role money has in our lives is a process. As we take time in prayer and in the word, we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
Escaping the hold that money has on us is so important. Besides the fear and worrythat tags along with financial troubles, it also begins corrupt us in other ways.
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil…” 1 Timothy 6:10
Most people have heard this scripture before and maybe some have heard it but didn’t even realize that it was scripture. I have heard this misquoted so many times as “money is the root of all evil”. That is not what the scripture is saying. The true emphasis here is on the love of money.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
For some, seeing this scripture might be a bit disheartening. Most of us don’t mind turning to God when we are in need… but can’t we live for this world too? The truth is we can’t. We have to choose because the two are in conflict with each other.
Paul said in Galatians 5, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want.”
If we want to truly escape the hold that money has on us we need to turn away from it and turn toward Jesus. The good news is that if the two are in conflict with each other, you can be sure that when you truly surrender to the Lord there is no place for financial bondage. If the son sets you free you will be free indeed!
Most of all it’s important to remember that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, not money itself. If we can overcome the fear that tags along with money and the hold it has on our lives, we can do something truly amazing.
We can take the tool the enemy has been using to keep us in bondage and use it against him to build up God’s kingdom!
Overcome The Need
We have talked about overcoming the fear and the hold that money has on our lives, now it’s time to talk about overcoming the need. But as the two previous sections spoke to the process of obtaining financial freedom, this one speaks to the power of we have when we obtain that freedom.
I’m not talking about overcoming our need for money. Unless you decide to start your own homestead, grow your own food, and make your own clothes, there’s going to be some need for it in your life.
What I am talking about is our ability to use what the enemy intends for evil and purpose it for good; to use what God gives us to overcome the need in the world.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:34-40
We need to always keep the royal law found in scripture, love your neighbor as yourself on our hearts. God’s kingdom is a kingdom built onselflessness and service to others.
A life lived in the bondage of the world is a selfish life full of wandering and disappointment. We all at one time have lived this way and everyone feels the emptiness this life leads to. It drives us to loneliness, unhappiness, depression, anxiety, addiction and it just gets darker and darker as we seek to find just a little fulfillment and joy among the gloom.
It is also important to remember that most of us reading this article have way more than most of the world. Almost 50% of the world’s population lives on around $2 a day! That means if your household is bringing around $4,000 a month you are making 100 times as much money as 50% of the world’s population.
Though not every household in the U.S. is making this much money, it’s still amazing to think about how people who are making that much are struggling to make ends meet. The only way to truly find financial freedom is through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
We will never find financial freedom through pursuing more money or learning to “want less”. True freedom is found only through life in Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life. Whoever drinks His water will never thirst! Indeed His water will become in you, a spring of water welling up to eternal life!
May 8th, 2016
Tell my Body of Christ that the time has come to put away foolish things of the old nature
(I see Jesus with flames of fire in his eyes, sitting on a white horse).
(He is next to the other horses yet he is giving the scales of judgement to the black horse rider)
The time has come to get up the 'gears' (members of the body)
to start moving in motion (Revival).
Put away disputes over doctrine and denomination.
I cannot work freely unless the Body of Christ is in one accord.
Pick up the cross and deny yourselves daily!
*If u have any scriptures or experiences that back this up, let me know ASAP.
Love u guys! Keep me in prayer!
"He Rose" by Deluge Verse 1 When Jesus bled, it was for redemption, Paying a price for our sins His precious blood was for our communion, God wanted closeness again All of our chains, broken on the day that He rose Chorus 1 Celebrate the day that He rose There's power in the way that He rose Bless His holy name, He rose, Yeah, He rose Verse 2 When Jesus died, it was for our freedom, breaking the bondage of sin Now the redeemed will live forever, Shout to the Saviour of men All of our shame was washed away the day that He rose Bridge All of our chains, broken on the day All of our shame was washed away the day that He rose Chorus 2 Celebrate the day that He rose There's power in the way that He rose Bless His holy name, He rose, He rose, He rose Celebrate the day that He rose There's power in the way that He rose Bless His holy name, He rose, Yeah He rose Tag He hung on the cross forsaken, The glorious King has taken all our sins upon His head Death and the grave were broken, The light of the world has spoken We are free, We’ve been redeemed, He rose CCLI Song # 6254766
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