A simple tip when comforting others: Don’t try to be profound

2 Corinthians 1:3–5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

Christians are uniquely equipped to comfort others, and it is one of the great gifts you can give to your friends.

We can get tongue-tied when trying to comfort others, as we don’t know what to say or we may fear that we’ll say the wrong thing.  A friend asked me how to approach someone who had been diagnosed with cancer because he was worried about saying the wrong thing.  He asked me because he knew my cancer history.  My advice was to just be there and keep it simple.  More than that, I encouraged him not to feel like he had to say something profound.  That really resonated with him and took the pressure off.  He had felt like he had to say something that would make it all better. 

So here’s my simple advice for illnesses, deaths or other hardships: Don’t try to be profound and all-encompassing.  Just listen and love.  Ask how they are feeling.  Offer to do specific things for them There is a big difference between “Let me know if I can do anything” and “What specifically can I do to help you?” But don’t let your fear of saying the wrong thing keep you from reaching out.

Prayer Mate App

The Prayer Mate app is a key part of my daily devotional routine, which currently looks like this:

Morning

  1. Read a page from The Valley of Vision, a book of Puritan prayers.  These guys were intense and motivating.
  2. Go through my PrayerMate app.  I have it set up with various categories, such as adoration, confession, gratitude, family, church, evangelism, current requests, etc., so I get a mix of prayer topics each day. 
  3. Read a chapter of the Bible plus commentary notes.  I love the chronological Bible reading plan or a plan that rotates between genres (i.e., the Pentateuch, history, Psalms, Proverbs, Gospel, letters, etc.).  This gets me through the Bible every 1.5 – 2 years.  When I finish, I start afresh the next day. 
  4. Work through some memory verses on the Bible Memory app.  Some days I do more than others.  If I have downtime during the day I’ll go through verses then as well.

Evening

  1. Read another chapter of the Bible plus commentary notes.

I’m not good at “freestyle” praying. Having an app like this gives me the structure I need. It also reminds me to check in on people for whom I’ve been praying. You can easily add categories and individual prayer items. Best of all, it is free!

Universal Basic Income will be even more disastrous than the “stimulus” checks

The stimulus bills were horrific.  They gave billions to people who didn’t need it.  The rest wouldn’t have needed money if we would have just let them work instead of requiring the foolish lock-downs.  They led to huge staffing problems, as many companies couldn’t get people to work once they got their checks.  This will be many times worse with Universal Basic Income.  Once you start giving away money like this you can’t go back.  Each party will try to one-up the other in “generosity.”  It will destroy this nation at an even more rapid rate.
And the huge child credits will just lead to more out-of-wedlock births. We already have too many people thinking that fornication is a money-maker.  Why increase the incentives? More here — Taxpayer-guaranteed annual income for families will be a 2022 election issue

Leftism literally causes mental disorders

And I mean literally literally.

This has gone on for decades, with Leftists pushing abortion and insisting that it causes no guilt for women. But unless you are a psychopath, you can’t kill another human being – let alone your own child — without psychological consequences. People will try to repress the guilt, but there is a reason that great works of fiction such as Crime and Punishment, Macbeth and The Telltale Heart explore the theme of people trying to rationalize their sins yet failing to do so.

Then there is the “trans” craze, where Leftists actually encourage children to destroy their bodies and their fertility by undergoing radical medical treatments and surgeries. And in purely Satanic moves they block parents from getting their children counseling to overcome their delusions and they try to silence anyone who dares to state the obvious about this mental illness.

Then there is the impact of the climate change hoax, where the Leftists pretend that we can control the earth’s temperature with a virtual thermostat while ignoring that they have no plans to deal with China, India or Russia, who have no intention to derail their economics because the earth might be getting a little warmer.

Witness the congresswoman who is not only gullible and dense but an atrocious parent: ‘The Earth Is On Fire And We’re All Going To Die Soon’: Dem Rep Pleads With Thunberg For Advice For Her Panicked 9-Year-Old Daughter | The Daily Wire. Why didn’t the mother just tell her that it is a political power-grab and nothing to lose sleep over? She could point out how Bill Gates just bought a $43 million beach house and how countless “woke” celebrities buy beach properties as well. They obviously have no fear of rising oceans, and neither should the 9 year old. Oh, and why would you ask a slow-witted 18 yr. old puppet for parenting advice?

Finally, witness how CNN has been caught on video admitting that they deliberately increase fear in their audience for profit: Project Veritas: CNN Insider Admits They Hyped COVID Death Toll, It’s “Gangbusters For Ratings” | Video | RealClearPolitics. Got that? Those kind, loving Leftists are deliberately driving people into mental illness just to make a few more dollars. And yet they stereotype Conservatives as the greedy ones. I know otherwise smart and logical people who are still distancing and wearing masks even though vaccinated, and they concede that they don’t know when they’ll be able to live normally again. So many people suffered despair and crushing loneliness because of the superfluous lock-downs. But the Left didn’t care, because the elites didn’t miss a thing.

Liberalism is a mental disorder, and in its malevolence it literally causes mental disorders.

Update: Great timing — now there is this: Progressive white women report high levels of mental illness in 2020 Pew survey | WINTERY KNIGHT

Leftists do NOT care about children

They don’t care if you crush and dismember them before they are born. In fact, their #1 goal is ensuring that it is legal to do that to their first breath and that you be forced to pay to have others kill their children.

If they are born, they don’t care if the children have fathers in the home, even though that is devastating for families.

Once the children are born, the Leftists only care about unrestricted access to brainwash and pervert your children and to subvert your rights to parent them properly. And they want you to pay for the brainwashing.

The “trans” craze is the latest example. Deep down everyone knows you can’t change your sex and that even trying is just rebellion against God. The Leftist ghouls want to hurry up and destroy these children before they grow out of the social contagion phase. They won’t be there to comfort the children when they realize what horrible mistakes they’ve made.

Why don’t conservatives use and promote options to big tech?

Oh, I know they complain about Facebook, Twitter and Google. But I’ve seen countless conservative individuals, organizations and churches continue to just use those entities for their social media . How hard would it be to add icons for MeWe, Parler and Gab on their web pages and to copy and paste their content there? BTW, I’m on those as Eternity Matters though I don’t use them much these days.

And why use Google search when you can use DuckDuckGo? It will give you much more meaningful search results.

Yes, I know those platforms don’t have the same volume yet, but how will they grow if just left to die? Keep feeding and promoting them and then maybe you’ll be comfortable quitting the major apps altogether. Why keep profiting people who hate you?

Here’s some good news:

Here’s some good news: Anti-Facebook MeWe continues its user growth surge | ZDNet

Daisy the French Bulldog artist

My wife was painting and Daisy “slightly” overestimated her leaping abilities and landed in the paint tray, then produced this timeless treasure.  She was an amazing dog but we had to put her down in December due to some serious health issues.  She was my napping buddy through two serious series of chemotherapy treatments.  Frenchies are a high maintenance breed but never fail to entertain.

Memorizing Scripture

If you want to memorize Bible verses I highly recommend the Bible Memory software.  The online version is free and the app is inexpensive.  You pick the verses you want, then you can practice typing over them, filling in every other word or typing them from memory.  You have the option to just type the first letter of the word, which is a huge time-saver. 

I am not good at memorizing, but this app has made all the difference.  It takes a lot of repetition for me to remember passages, but eventually I get there.  I’ve been able to memorize over 1,000 verses, including individual verses, short passages, the Sermon on the Mount, the Book of Philippians, Romans 8, the Book of Jude and more. 

Just start small and select a few verses.  You’ll pick up momentum and confidence, and you’ll be surprised how often God gives you opportunities to use the verses you’ve memorized, either reminding yourself of them or sharing his truth with others.

If you remember the book of the Bible from where you got the passage, that’s helpful, and chapters and verses are a bonus.  But as you probably know, the chapter breaks and verses weren’t in the originals.  The New Testament quotes the Old Testament many times but makes no attempt to even note the book being quoted.  Hebrews 2:6 even says, “It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him?”  The verse quoted Psalm 8 but just noted that it was “testified somewhere.” 

I think you’ll be blessed if you make it a practice to learn more and more verses and passages.  And as I cycle back through verses I’ve memorized I try to meditate on what they mean, in context.  I have to fight the urge to do rote memorization, as if I was trying to remember Pi to 100 places. 

Aside from memorizing important theological truths, you can use the app to memorize handy lists, such as the names of the 12 tribes of Israel (Exodus 1:2-4), the names of the 12 apostles (Matthew 10:2-4), the books of Bible (you can edit a verse to add the list), the names of the seven “ites” living in the Promised Land (Canaanites, Hittites, etc. – Joshua 3:10), the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-19) and others. 

I go through some verses as part of my morning devotional time and and other times during the day.  I have no social media apps on my phone.  Instead I can read the Bible or go through memory verses if I have free time or am stuck somewhere like the doctor’s office. 

If you aren’t already doing so, give it a try!

Never Let Leftists get away with the “white supremacist” canard

The latest serial lie in the Leftist playbook is to call anyone on the right a white supremacist. Just note their latest talking points. But never let them get away with that slander. Just respond like this to any charges of racism or white supremacy:

Unrestricted abortions are the #1 priority of the Left, and they kill black children at a rate three times that of whites. If advocating for that isn’t racism and “white supremacy” then nothing is.

And if that doesn’t shut them up, feel free to bring up how Republicans support school choice that disproportionately helps blacks, how illegals take the jobs of low-income blacks and suppress the wages of remaining jobs, how Democrats just use them for votes but haven’t really done anything for them, how despite the media lies the police kill whites as often as blacks, they want to disarm blacks so they can’t defend themselves while the elite Leftists have armed guards, they try to destroy successful conservative blacks, they are proven to talk down to blacks whereas conservatives do not, etc.

As Thomas Sowell said, the Left did what slavery and oppression could not: Destroy the black family.

Want to help race relations? Get involved in prison or pregnancy center ministries.

I originally wrote this in 2017 but it seems even more relevant this year.

Race had nothing to do with why I got involved in those ministries.  I’ll share the Gospel with anyone, whether you are a black convicted murderer or the best-behaved white pagan in the free world.  And I want to help save unborn children from murder regardless of their skin color.

But the nature of these ministries is such that it is mostly whites serving mostly minorities.  And as a fantastic by-product of sharing the love and truth of Christ with these folks it does marvelous things for race relations.  It pushes a giant reset button on those who have been wounded because of their race and/or steeped in their own racism.

It has changed countless prison environments, where skinheads and Black Panther-types have become friends and led their respective gangs to change.

I’ve seen countless inmates and even volunteers note how the ministries radically changed how they view others, and how they repented of their racism.

I know a guy from prison ministry who was in the Aryan Brotherhood.   I saw him in action many times as a leader of the Christian groups inside prison and in the ways he is giving back now that he’s out of prison.  Let’s just say that he wasn’t transformed by the power of virtue-signaling social media posts.   

I realize that the race-baiting professionals of the Left — including the “Christian” Left — want to improve race relations as much as McDonald’s wants to sell less hamburgers.  If your movement demands tax-funded abortions to the child’s 1st breath that kill blacks at a rate three times that of whites and Hispanics at twice the rate, then you’ll have a tough time convincing me you really care about them.  But authentic Christians really do want to see improvements.   And ministries like these make it happen.

It is remarkably safe to say “Nazis are bad!” or “racism is bad” on Facebook in 2017 2020 in the U.S.  If you really want to do something about race relations — and more importantly, the Gospel — try something more substantial.  Look into your local pregnancy resource center or prison ministries, or anything similar that shares the love and truth of Christ with minorities – and non-minorities.

I almost went back on facebook . . .

But I just can’t handle the stupid.

I’ve toyed with getting back on, mainly for convenience of certain things that are only on FB (a few communications things), but when I was logged on to my wife’s account this weekend to check something I saw too many depressingly stupid posts by some of her FB friends.

One was a rather ironic meme about how people couldn’t believe Trump was elected after making fun of the disabled reporter. Of course several people chimed in with righteous indignation and Trump Derangement Syndrome to agree with the person who posted it There were a few sizable problems with all this.

  1. It never happened. Even though wolves like Rachel Held Evans were debunked for repeating that vicious lie, it is still being spread four years later by the ignorant and/or malicious.
  2. Since it is truly fake news and violates the written standards of Facebook and Twitter, why don’t they delete those memes and block the accounts of those who post it? Oh, right, shameless hypocrisy.
  3. Even if Trump mocked the disabled reporter, which is worse, making fun of someone or killing them? The Trump haters are pro-abortion zealots who rejoice that abortion can reduce Down Syndrome cases, for example, by killing children with it before they are born. The person posting the meme actually has a special needs child but doesn’t realize the incongruity of her belief system. So Trump didn’t make fun of the disabled person but these people ghoulishly let the unborn be killed because of their disabilities – or any other reason! Because love is love, right?
  4. These ignorant Leftists know nothing about Biden’s evils (his lies about the accident that killed his first wife and child, the way he married he current wife, how he called someone fat for daring to ask him a real question, how he sold out U.S. interests to China, and so much more).

So I’m going to stay off of FB for now.

Update: Complete remission!

Just a quick update here since the original post is a few months old. By the grace of God, the cancer is in complete  remission!  I will do the high dose chemo / stem cell transplant soon.  That will be an adventure but definitely worth it to put it in further remission.  It does seem odd to have to do an even more extensive treatment given that I am officially in complete remission (because 36 bags of IV chemo and 6 chemo spinal taps was apparently the medium level treatment!), but this is sort of a “Complete Remission Plus” program. Given that the original cancer came back quickly and was so aggressive we definitely want to do anything we can to improve the odds of longer term remission.

Thanks so much for the prayers and encouragement! Jesus has blessed us in countless ways. Hope to have many more opportunities to witness throughout this process.

Step 1: Listen to false prophet instead of God. Step 2: Get killed by a lion.

I was reading 1 Kings 13 this morning and was reminded of this post.  I also had someone I do prison ministry with send a link to a ridiculous video of Sid Roth (he’s a disgusting “prophecy”  guy who has one false teacher after another on his show).  I pointed out to the guy that Roth and his guests were shameless wolves and sent a link to a Justin Peters video (see the video at the bottom) that thoroughly exposed them.  But the guy still wants to believe the phonies!  Such a terrible lack of discernment in the church today.

I love this passage because it exposes the dangers of listening to those who claim to have heard from God instead of just hearing from him directly by reading the Bible.  What do you trust more, the Bible or some huckster who claims to have heard from God?


It is unwise in the extreme to listen to the “Christian” Left or any of the phony “prophets” who mock the word of God while claiming to be getting new and accurate messages from him (such as the “God is still speaking;” slogan of the apostate United Church of Christ).

Have you read 1 Kings 13 lately (see below), where a “man of God” initially obeyed a direct command from God but then believed a prophet who falsely claimed that God told him something different?  It didn’t end well.  And by “didn’t end well,” I mean he got killed by a lion.

Now am I saying that if you listen to false teachers about what God “really” says rather than the Bible that you’ll get killed by a lion?  Of course not.  You probably live in North America, so God will use a bear instead of a lion.

Just kidding!  Probably!  While God often uses examples in the Bible to show how serious sins are, such as with Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5, by his grace and mercy He doesn’t give us all what we deserve.  But that doesn’t mean we should confuse his patience with his approval.

We are commanded to love God with our minds and we should use good discernment when listening to people make claims about God, regardless of their titles or reputation.  Remember to be like good Bereans and test everything in light of scripture (Acts 17:11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.).  But how can you do that if you aren’t reading the Bible regularly?

If people claim to have heard from God then the burden of proof is on them to back it up.  If they are teaching things that disagree with the Bible (e.g., Jesus isn’t the only way to salvation, we don’t know what God really said in the Bible, pro-abortion, pro-“same-sex marriage,” etc.) then they should be ignored.  If they hold those views and say that God spoke to them then they are lying, just like the old prophet in 1 Kings 13.  False teachers are deadly — not always physically, but certainly spiritually.

Read the Bible, then read it some more.  Every day.  Then you’ll be much more likely to spot the false teachers.

One of the reasons to go through the Old Testament is that otherwise you’ll miss great stories like this!

1 Kings 13 (ESV)

A Man of God Confronts Jeroboam

13 And behold, a man of God came out of Judah by the word of the Lord to Bethel. Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make offerings. And the man cried against the altar by the word of the Lord and said, “O altar, altar, thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name, and he shall sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who make offerings on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.’ ” And he gave a sign the same day, saying, “This is the sign that the Lord has spoken: ‘Behold, the altar shall be torn down, and the ashes that are on it shall be poured out.’ ” And when the king heard the saying of the man of God, which he cried against the altar at Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, “Seize him.” And his hand, which he stretched out against him, dried up, so that he could not draw it back to himself. The altar also was torn down, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign that the man of God had given by the word of the Lord. And the king said to the man of God, “Entreat now the favor of the Lord your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me.” And the man of God entreated the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored to him and became as it was before. And the king said to the man of God, “Come home with me, and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.” And the man of God said to the king, “If you give me half your house, I will not go in with you. And I will not eat bread or drink water in this place, for so was it commanded me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘You shall neither eat bread nor drink water nor return by the way that you came.’ ” 10 So he went another way and did not return by the way that he came to Bethel.

The Prophet’s Disobedience

11 Now an old prophet lived in Bethel. And his sons came and told him all that the man of God had done that day in Bethel. They also told to their father the words that he had spoken to the king. 12 And their father said to them, “Which way did he go?” And his sons showed him the way that the man of God who came from Judah had gone. 13 And he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled the donkey for him and he mounted it. 14 And he went after the man of God and found him sitting under an oak. And he said to him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” And he said, “I am.” 15 Then he said to him, “Come home with me and eat bread.” 16 And he said, “I may not return with you, or go in with you, neither will I eat bread nor drink water with you in this place, 17 for it was said to me by the word of the Lord, ‘You shall neither eat bread nor drink water there, nor return by the way that you came.’ ” 18 And he said to him, “I also am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you into your house that he may eat bread and drink water.’ ” But he lied to him. 19 So he went back with him and ate bread in his house and drank water.

20 And as they sat at the table, the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back. 21 And he cried to the man of God who came from Judah, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord and have not kept the command that the Lord your God commanded you, 22 but have come back and have eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which he said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your body shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.’ ” 23 And after he had eaten bread and drunk, he saddled the donkey for the prophet whom he had brought back. 24 And as he went away a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his body was thrown in the road, and the donkey stood beside it; the lion also stood beside the body. 25 And behold, men passed by and saw the body thrown in the road and the lion standing by the body. And they came and told it in the city where the old prophet lived.

26 And when the prophet who had brought him back from the way heard of it, he said, “It is the man of God who disobeyed the word of the Lord; therefore the Lord has given him to the lion, which has torn him and killed him, according to the word that the Lord spoke to him.” 27 And he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” And they saddled it. 28 And he went and found his body thrown in the road, and the donkey and the lion standing beside the body. The lion had not eaten the body or torn the donkey. 29 And the prophet took up the body of the man of God and laid it on the donkey and brought it back to the city to mourn and to bury him. 30 And he laid the body in his own grave. And they mourned over him, saying, “Alas, my brother!” 31 And after he had buried him, he said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in the grave in which the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones. 32 For the saying that he called out by the word of the Lord against the altar in Bethel and against all the houses of the high places that are in the cities of Samaria shall surely come to pass.”

33 After this thing Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way, but made priests for the high places again from among all the people. Any who would, he ordained to be priests of the high places. 34 And this thing became sin to the house of Jeroboam, so as to cut it off and to destroy it from the face of the earth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPLN57qq8Zg&ab_channel=JustinPetersMinistries

Amazing promises from Jesus’ messages to the churches in Revelation chapters 2 & 3

In this post I want to focus on the promises Jesus makes to those who conquer (or, as some translations say, overcome).   In other words, if you persevere to the end you get these astounding benefits (they aren’t just for martyrs).  Please read closely and be encouraged!  And remember the good news that if you are truly among his sheep that you will persevere to the end (John 10:25–30 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”)

Rev. 2 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Jesus is promising you that you’ll get to eat from the tree of life.  Whatever the best meal you’ve ever had has been, this will obviously trump that.  And you’ll be eating it in the paradise of God, which is Heaven.  And you’ll be eating it with countless other joyful believers.

Rev 2 11 The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.

There will be a second death – incredibly and permanently painful for many, but as a believer you won’t be hurt by it at all.  All your sins are already forgiven.

Rev 2 17 To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’

This section has a double promise.  I was just reading through Exodus and wondering what manna tasted like, and this reminds me that we’ll get to know some day.  The mystery will be solved!  It actually sounds like my kind of food.

And the white stone with a unique name written on it is an interesting gift.  I think that some people think we forget other relationships in Heaven or that it is just some mass of humanity, but this is a clear reminder that in addition to joyful, corporate worship we will also have a unique, one-on-one relationship with Jesus and He will give you a special stone and name.

Rev 2 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

It isn’t clear exactly how we’ll rule in the millennium, but it will clearly be an honor and a responsibility.  I couldn’t find anything explaining what the morning star is, but if Jesus promised it you know it is good.

Rev 3 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.

There wasn’t a lot of good news for Sardis, but Jesus did promise that you would be made perfectly righteous and that He would acknowledge you before Heaven.

Rev 3 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.

We won’t be literal pillars, of course, but He promises that we’ll be permanent members with him and be forever aligned with the one true God.

Rev 3 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ ”

We will actually eat and rule with Jesus for eternity!

There you go!  Always look for promises when reading scripture.  You can barely go a chapter in the New Testament without finding one.  Keep this in mind as you persevere through whatever challenges God, in his perfect sovereignty, is laying before you.

Serious warnings from Jesus’ messages to the churches in Revelation chapters 2 & 3

Do not miss this warnings.  When Jesus says something, He means it.  I firmly believe that they apply to churches and individuals.

To the Church in Ephesus

Rev 2 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

The church in Ephesus did some most excellent things.  They sounded like the perfect church.  But because they abandoned the love they had Jesus said He would remove their lampstand – i.e., their church.  That’s serious.  Do you still love the Lord like you used to?  If not, heed his warning and repent!

The Church in Smyrna had no warnings — good for them!

To the Church in Pergamum

Rev 2 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.

There are so many churches enticing people into sexual immorality these days, either directly by mocking God’s word or indirectly by ignoring the issue and being afraid to preach about divorce and fornication.  It is the opposite of loving God and your neighbor. They love the world more than they love God, and they don’t really trust his word, and it will not end well for them.

Jesus wants churches to purge themselves of false teachers.  The church was doing so well otherwise, but that wasn’t good enough.  The Methodist church we left was like that.  The preacher knew the truth but tolerated a guy teaching classes that the preacher himself called a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The church Ephesus in Ephesus didn’t love what God loved, and churches like those in Pergamum and Thyatira didn’t hate what God hated: false teachings and sexual immorality.

This is where knowing the Old Testament comes in handy.  Balaam seemed to get off to a good start by not cursing the Israelites, but he ultimately harmed them.  This is also referenced in Jude, where it speaks of false teachers abandoning themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error.

To the Church in Thyatira

Rev 2 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.  24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden.

And here’s another church that was already promoting sexual immorality.  Jesus had some serious punishments in mind for them.  This has the “Christian” Left written all over it.  And what they are doing isn’t insignificant at all.  Jesus himself says that those promoting sexual immorality have learned the deep things of Satan.  Keep that in mind the next time some “Christian” Leftist says that LGBTQX behavior or heterosexual fornication is acceptable.

The lack of church discipline is a key problem today.  Churches are afraid to call people out who are sinning.

To the Church in Sardis

Rev 3  . . . ‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.

They sound a little frozen chosen-ish and Jesus is not happy with that.  Faith without works is still dead.  There are so many ways to serve.  Find something and do it, as churches and as individuals.

The Church in Philadelphia  also had no issues.  Good for them – it can be done!

To the Church in Laodicea

Rev 3  15 “ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

Not much good going on in Laodicea.  Jesus jumped right into his warnings against them to turn back to him.

Again, I think those were warnings to the real churches at that time but also timeless challenges to every church and individual Christian to stay strong, remember our first love and to never lose sight of our mission.  Do we really love and trust God?  We’ll hold fast to his word and not apologize for it, and we’ll find ways to love our neighbors.

We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.