Biblegateway Verse of the Day

That Which is Excellent

By Benjamin H. Liles

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, ~ Philippians 1:9-10

Excellence. How do we properly define it? It seems Paul is talking about having brotherly love for one another that we grow in knowledge and the ability to judge well. Such a thing is by having a deep abiding love for one another. Love shows we have knowledge and discernment, but showing we have those two things means we need to show love as well. Being found pure and blameless in Jesus Christ stems from having that love for one another, and it proves we have His knowledge and discernment. So, knowing this, since Jesus Christ is the center of a person's walk with Him means having the ability to love others: showing that love and judgment to be wise. Those things aside from brotherly love is what makes us pure and blameless before Him. What an awesome God we serve.

Major Update

Author: Benjamin H. Liles

From time to time updates are inevitable. I have done my best lately to keep my site not only relevant, but also how to encourage everyone who finds my site, or finds some teaching that is useful to them. It is never in my interest to condescend to anyone or to even make anyone feel inadequate. That's not the goal of my site.

The end goal is that since time is drawing ever near for certain events to take place, I feel it is my duty--an honor, actually, and in obedience to my faith in Jesus Christ--to help others find their place in the Father's Kingdom. It is not an attempt to hurt, put down, make fun of, demean, or belittle anyone. The walk I wish to have in my Lord and Savior is not only done in love, but also with a sense of honor, grace, dignity and truth.

Therefore, it is my hope and prayer that this site looks better, overall, and that it places an emphasis on finding things easier. God bless!

A Fearful Thing

Exodus from Egypt. God's wrath against Egypt 
is shown afteward by covering up the chariots 
and men of Pharaoh with this same wall of water
He allowed Israel to pass through. Such is God's 
wrath against him, the truth, and willful rebellion.

By Benjamin H. Liles

For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. ~ Hebrews 10:30-31, NKJV

Whoever the writer of Hebrews is, he finshes this passage off with these sober words of warning, However, they are not words against those who have no belief in God. Rather they are words to those who are in danger of losing their salvation. "Wait! What? A believer can lose his or her salvation!? Come again?"

Check it out. Verse 29 says, "Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?" Now, I don't know about anyone else here, but I won't be one who does this kind of willful, apostasy against my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The writer is essentially saying that "Would you take a worse punishment by trampling over the Son of God with your feet? Would you count the covenant of His sanctifying you as nothing? Would you insult the Spirit which gave you grace?"

Doing so is akin to basically--and let me say also I can be wrong--claiming the Holy Spirit is not only unclean but does the work of demons (see Matthew 12:31).

So, why is there any kind of judgment toward a believer? Because this is one who has sinned "Willfully after...[been given] the knowledge of the truth," I can liken this to a fully rebelled child who knows dad is coming home soon, and knowing he is about to arrive, does the uttermost thing his father hates. Will this child go unpunished? No.

Does it mean the father enjoys handing out punishment as if it was candy? Hardly. I remember in my youth when I did wrong I often heard my dad tell me, during discipline, "This hurts me more than it hurts you." But--and here's the bigger picture here--imagine Christ's look of compassion on the cross disappearing. You know the look. He hangs there, compassion on His face. It's soft and looks warm, inviting. By rebelling against the truth of what He's done, and putting it all on the head, instead of a compassionate, loving look, His eyes are burning with indignation. It literally hurts Jesus to burn with anger when He came to bind up broken hearts, heal all sorts of pains and bruises, restore sight to the blind, and loosen dumb ears to hear again.

You see, the Son of God gave up His position in Heaven for you. His heart has been the heart you have born. You know those bruises you bear? They're His. He desires to take them, but you have to be willing to give them up to Him. Now, let's say you have done all of this and you know He's given you His peace; His righteousness. Would you want this taken from you and to take unrighteousness up as you were previously before He gave His life for you? This is what the writer of Hebrews is getting at.

Despising your own salvation to the point where His anger can be put on you is a huge and fearful thing. Granted we all heard the phrase, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Proverbs 9:10, New American Standard). But in this case this is hard-lined judgment of God; His wrath expelled.

We can say all day long God is putting His wrath on mankind even in this hour as well, with all the weather and earth-related phenomena as well. BUT--we're not even close to being in the confines of the Tribulation or even Great Tribulation. But, and I imagine the writer of Hebrews isn't far off from describing God's wrath against unrighteousness as is described in the Great Tribulation passages of Revelation (see Revelation 12-17).

Friends, we have an amazing opprtunity here. If you desire a relationship with God, the Father, through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, you can do so. However, don't shade the truth by accepting the lie He won't return. Don't shake off your salvation by trampling Christ under foot, making Christ's atoning sacrifice on your behalf as common, or even insulting the Spirit of grace and power. Endure. Persevere in doing what is right and noble. Do as Paul commends and "Think about these things; [that which] is excellent or praiseworthy [such as] what is true, respected, right, pure, loved, and well though of" (Philippians 4:8). God doesn't desire to punish anyone. If anything His thoughts are for you, not against you. So, why be against Him. Remain steadfast in Him. Cling to Him as if you had just been saved from a fiery furnace. He is the One who is called Faithful and True. So, give it your best, your very best to remain and live in and with Him. As we have found, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

And if your in the position now to desire a relationship with Him, He'll give you the words to speak to Him to be yours and only yours. He is as much your Lord and Savior as He is mine. You can easily say something to the effect of this: "Father, you alone are holy and pure. I've thought on this a great deal. I don't believe half of what I thought I did. I see your Son, Jesus Christ, fully divine and fully man having taken the cross on my behalf. The sin He bore; that was mine. I give it up. I put my heart and life in your hands. Have mercy on me a sinner. I rather be a servant than a child, knowing how far I have fallen from you. Thank you for this gift you gave at the cross. I am yours. You are mine. In Jesus' name. Amen." Beloved, you are more than anything to Him. This is His desire for you. It is what He wants for you. To desire life with Him so much that you give up your own. It means this--you are now His. Fully and exceptionally. Walk in Him and learn from Him.

Sins Can Be Forgiven

By Benjamin H. Liles

We all sin. Paul says in Romans, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Here's the thing, those who are the children of the Father through Jesus Christ have Him - Jesus - as their advocate. As long as we take what we've done wrong to Him, Jesus is able and just to keep us righteous before the Father. This doesn't mean we go on sinning. Rather, it confirms we know we are weak and that He is strong. As Christ told Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 2:9). It means we know we are wrong and want to be right with Him.

My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. ~ 1 John 2:1

Apostle Paul

Artist Valentin de Boulogne, 17th Century,
rendering of Paul the Apostle
By Benjamin H. Liles

So, I'm reading a bit more on the life of Paul. And I'll show my reason why in a moment. To anyone who follows a Pastoral leader who believes Paul's message is in any way flawed is horrendously wrong and a false teacher of the gospel of Christ.

Here is a summary of what Paul believed and wrote most consistently about:

1) His strongest emphasis was on the death, resurrection, and lordship of Jesus Christ. He preached that one's faith in Jesus assures that person a share in Jesus' life (salvation). He saw Jesus' death as being for the believers' benefit, not a defeat. Jesus died so that believers' sins will be purged.

2) The resurrection of Jesus was of primary importance to Paul as may be seen in his first letter to the Thessalonians which is the earliest surviving account of conversion to the Christian movement.

3) The resurrection brought the promise of salvation to believers. Paul taught that those who died in Christ would be raised when Christ returned, while those still alive would be "caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air".

In other words, the central message of which Paul gives to the Church, as well as newly converted Christians are that--

1) God sent his Son.

2) The Son was crucified for the benefit of humanity.

3) After being dead three days, the Son was raised from the dead defeating death.

4) The Son would soon return.

5) Those who belonged to the Son would live with him forever.

6) Followers are to live by the highest moral standard—"May your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ".

For such a person to denounce and rebuke the apostle Paul, in essence, is saying, "Everyone is accepted into the Kingdom of Heaven. There is no need for repentance." This clearly is a violation of what Biblical teaching says and responds to. For such a teacher to denounce truth and shortly telling us all is that "it's okay to live as you do, God will accept you any way" without mentioning a need for repentance of sin is WRONG!

While the truth is I desire to believe that mankind can be saved, God, even through His prophets, apostles and "watchmen" agree that, "The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil (Genesis 6:5, NLT)."

Here it is in very concise and short-said in my own words: God says we're all sinners, and to do nothing about our sins and how we live is to say we know better about what it means to be "saved." God tells us salvation comes from and through Jesus, His only begotten Son, who gave Himself up so our sins can and will be forgiven. And if we are indeed forgiven, why would we want to continually and habitually desire to still live in it? Either we're going to love and serve one thing or we're going to love and serve the other. You CAN NOT love both a sinful life and God! It is at both times contradictory and insinuating God will not punish evil for what it is.

This is what a different apostle said, aside from Paul, Peter and John: "Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness (Luke 11:34-35)." This is what is on my heart. I believe God called me to uphold Him first, and to also show His love to a fading existence of mankind. We are already in a war, and that is against spirituality, not with flesh and blood or even nation against nation. Either we stand up and denounce sin as for what it is, or we stand for a great and terrible fall! But I'm also saying this in absolute love and truth, for the better of all, not to see anyone condemned through their heart and motives.