Friday, December 28, 2007

Bitter/Sweets: Jonah

Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not. And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee. So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows. Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD. And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land. And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry? So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city. And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered. And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live. And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death. Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?
{Jonah 1:1-4:11 KJV}

Needless to say: Jonah serves as a clear example of someone being led where they did not want to go{1}. For the entire Old Testament text of his story has been provided here; and to include it now marks a return unto the previous order.

No, not many think of the story of Jonah in such a way. For the intended message usually gets shoved to the side in favor of wonderment over him being swallowed by a whale.

What whale? For even unto those who have no idea of our Heavenly Father’s Holy Spirit being anywhere near them{2}: is it not written that it was a great FISH that He had prepared beforehand{3}???

Yes, such discussion is irksome unto many. For they would be of the opinion that none of it ever happened in the first-place.

Perhaps they would want to have a change of heart if it was better understood that there is a more important message to behold. For the story of Jonah’s mission unto Nineveh is actually more about our Heavenly Father wanting to show mercy unto even the most wicked of hearts{4}.

No, that is not just in regards unto the Assyrians of Nineveh. For with Jonah’s heart being filled with so much hatred: was it not being just as wicked as their’s?

Furthermore: it could even be argued that Jonah’s heart was being even more wicked. For in being an anointed prophet: one would naturally think that he should have known better. Whereas in the other case: “But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?”{5}

Oh yes, Jonah most definitely qualifies as a bitter/sweet. For along with all of the awfulness: our Heavenly Father’s delightful sense-of-humor is on fine display.

Alas, be assured that this is of great comfort unto me in a very personal way. For I have not thrown any hissy fits over any vines yet; but I know all too painfully well just exactly how Jonah felt: But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?” “I do,” he said. “I am angry enough to die.”{6}

[{1}John 21:18-19; {2}Romans 10:8; {3}Jonah 1:17; {4}Ezekiel 18:31-32; {5}Jonah 4:11 NIV; {6}Jonah 4:9 NIV]

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Bitter/Sweets: The Words Of The Word (+)

This is a special post that is out of sequence with the flow of “Bitter/Sweets” on this blog; but that is nothing new unto those who get in on the action in the middle of the story (so to speak). For if one was to begin reading at the top of the page of this site and continue on reading until they got to the last bitter/sweet: that last one would actually be the one that is meant to be read first, with the others to follow in inverted order.

Therefore: it was suggested that it would be prudent to offer a “3 for 1” in the sequence that it is meant to be read. For this would help make it easier to accept what our Heavenly Father has given me to say about the matter.


But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach. {Romans 10:8 KJV}

Unto most of the currents residents of the Christian community: the meaning of Romans 10:8 is unmistakable. For they have been led to believe that the “Word Of God” is the Holy Bible; and it is upon it that their faith is based.

Some beg to differ; and counted amongst them is the true Word Of God{1}. For nothing has changed since He issued this rebuke: “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”{2}

No, this is not to say that the Bible cannot be trusted. For it truly is as it is written: Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit{3}.

Neither is this to say that what is contained in it is of little value. For it truly is as it is also written: All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work{4}.

Nonetheless: it would do us all well to want to obtain a proper perspective. For our Heavenly Father’s Holy Bible was never meant to be employed as a book of instruction—certainly not in the same way as an educational textbook on science, mathematics, nor even history normally would be.

How could it? For it is truly a book full of spiritual truths that only the spiritually-minded can correctly discern{5}.

No, it should not be assumed that it is the same for everyone. For it all depends upon what our Heavenly Father wants to accomplish in and through someone that determines when, and unto what extent, He will allow and enable them to come into the knowledge and understanding of His absolute truth{6}.

In other words: it should not be assumed that everyone has the ability to understand what is contained in our Heavenly Father’s Holy Bible. For it still is as it is written: Then He (thoroughly) opened up their minds to understand the Scriptures{7}.

Besides: who in their right-mind would not want the Author to have anything to do with them as they read His book—especially when engaged in the study of it? For who could know more about what was meant by this or that than the One who had it written about Himself{8}???

Yes, our Heavenly Father’s Holy Bible is commonly referred unto as being the written Word of God in the Christian community; and it has been also widely taught that Scripture interprets Scripture, which certainly sounds reasonable enough. For if it is indeed true that they were written for our encouragement: would there not be a means of reinforcement in place{9}?

Be assured, however, that it goes much deeper than that. For the true Word Of God is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself{10}; and He had His Holy Scriptures written to serve as written confirmation of what He wants to personally reveal unto each and every one of us, on an individual basis and without exception{11}.

Oh my, does this not change everything? For instead of Romans 10:8 being just about Scripture: it would be about the Lord Jesus Christ{12}!!!

Yes, it would be different if we really were as much “on our own” in this world as what has been so widely taught{13}. For what other source of inspiration would there be?

Therein lies a problem—does it not? For who could really be sure that the Bible is anymore true than any of the other texts that are held to be sacred by millions upon millions of others if it was not for the witness of our Heavenly Father’s Holy Spirit{14}???

Yes, there is something to be said for tradition. For it naturally makes a great deal of sense unto us that a belief system would not be around very long if there was not anything unto it; but do not the others also have their own venerated traditions???

Alas, woe be it unto us all if there is really not a way to be absolutely sure. For who can truly leave this world in peace without such knowledge and understanding{15}???

[{1}Revelation 19:13; {2}John 5:39-40 NIV; {3}2 Peter 1:20-21 NIV; {4}2 Timothy 3:16-17 NAS; {5}1 Corinthians 2:14; {6}Philippians 2:13; {7}Luke 24:45 AMP; {8}John 5:45-47; {9}Romans 15:4; {10}John 1:1; {11}John 16:13-15; {12}1 Corinthians 1:20-25; {13}2 Timothy 4:2-4; {14}1 Corinthians 12:3; {15}Ephesians 1:13-14]


For God [does reveal His will; He] speaks not only once, but more than once, even though men do not regard it [including you, Job]. [One may hear God’s voice] in a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, while slumbering upon the bed; then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction [terrifying them with warnings] that He may withdraw man from his purpose, and cut off pride from him [disgusting him with his own disappointing self-sufficiency]. {Job 33:14-17 AMP}
Be assured that our Heavenly Father still speaks{1}. For He truly is the same today as He always has been and will be forever and ever{2}. AMEN!!!

Be also assured that I KNOW that this is indeed true{3}. For I have heard His voice before{4}; and I still do{5}.

In fact: even now He is speaking unto me as I struggle to put into words what cannot be adequately expressed in words{6}—naturally speaking, of course. For the only thing that I am really doing is holding a pen{7}.

Alas, there are times when it flows like a river{8}; and then there are times when it does not{9}. The end result remains the same, however{10}.

No, it is not that there is this booming voice coming out of a storm{11}; nor am I hearing a whisper on the wind{12}. For it is through my thoughts that I can hear Him speaking{13}.

That is the way it usually is; but I have also been allowed and enabled to actually hear our Heavenly Father’s “audible” voice (as in: coming from outside of myself) on a number of occasions{14}. For I have had many doubts{15}.

Furthermore: I have been allowed and enabled to experience dreams that were vivid enough to be thought of as visions. For it was as if I was actually there{16}.

Yes, there is a difference between visions and dreams. For visions are experienced while awake{17}; but let us resist the temptation to get “technical” about things when it really does not matter either way{18}.

[{1}Hebrews 3:7-19; {2}Malachi 3:6; {3}Galatians 1:11-12; {4}Jeremiah 1:5-10; {5}Psalm 119:105; {6}Isaiah 55:8-9; {7}2 Peter 3:15-16; {8}John 7:38; {9}2 Corinthians 4:7; {10}2 Corinthians 4:5-6; {11}Job 38:1; {12}1 Kings 19:12; {13}John 14:16-17; {14}1 Samuel 3:4-10; {15}1 Corinthians 10:13; {16}Genesis 28:10-19; {17}Acts 10:9-16; {18}1 Corinthians 3:3]


“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” {Revelation 3:22 NAS}
Apart from some radical factions: it is generally assumed that everyone has an ear to hear; but that is about as far as it gets for most. For who wants to admit that they have never heard His voice; but if this is indeed true: how can they be so sure that they have not???

No, it should not be assumed that everyone has an ear to hear. For as it is with everything else about our Heavenly Father’s spiritual gifts: it all depends upon what He wants to accomplish in and through someone that determines when and unto what extent they are allowed and enabled to hear what He has to say{1}.

Nonetheless: are there not many references made about having a “gut feeling” about something? Perhaps you have had one yourself???

How about all that is said about one’s “inner voice”? Could it be that these are just borrowed lines from an ancient sonnet or could it be that there really is something unto it???

Scientific research has even been conducted upon the “phenomenon” of certain twins having a special “bond” between them; and are there not times when someone will have a “thought” about something at the very same time as another in their midst? Surely there is more than genetics and environmental influences at play.

No, this is not to suggest that every thought and feeling that we may have is a message from God{2}; but it has been given unto me to say that it would do us all well to want to get more “in-tune” with ourselves. For our Heavenly Father is much “nearer” unto us all than what most would dare to even consider{3}.

Utter nonsense? Perhaps; but if it is indeed true that we were all created to be His children by faith{4}: why would He not want to have a great personal interest in every aspect of our daily lives? After all: is this not what is “naturally” expected of our earthly parents; and are not our Heavenly Father’s ways much higher than their’s{5}???

Not buying it? Well, consider this: Casting the whole of your care—all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all—on Him; for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully [Ps. 55:22].{6}

No, you do not have to take “my” word for it. For it is for such a purpose as this that our Heavenly Father’s Holy Scriptures were given{7}; but where have all the Bereans gone{8}???

Yes, the points and counter-points about this matter could make for quite a ping-pong match; and to be perfectly honest about it: I would have been leading the charge against such “religious” heresy in my younger days. For I was raised to believe that all anyone ever needed was a good church where the Bible was preached without compromise; but then everything changed{9}.

Alas, maybe I have spent too many hours alone. For no one in their “right-mind”{10} would ever even consider the possibility (let alone: actually accept) that it was the Lord God Almighty who was singing unto them when Styx’s “Fooling Yourself” would come on the radio during times of great trial and tribulation; but unto those who have been given ears to hear what I have been given to say about this: For with God nothing shall be impossible{11} will never be the same as before unto them—regardless of whether they want to believe any of this “stuff” or not.

[{1}1 Corinthians 12:11; {2}1 John 4:1; {3}Romans 10:8; {4}John 1:12-13; {5}Isaiah 55:8-9; {6}1 Peter 5:7 AMP; {7}2 Timothy 3:16-17; {8}Acts 17:11; {9}2 Corinthians 5:17; {10}1 Corinthians 2:6-16; {11}Luke 1:37 KJV]


You see the world through your cynical eyes
You're a troubled young man I can tell
You've got it all in the palm of your hand
But your hand's wet with sweat and your head needs a rest
And you're fooling yourself if you don't believe it
You're kidding yourself if you don't believe it
Why must you be such an angry young man
When your future looks quite bright to me
How can there be such a sinister plan
That could hide such a lamb, such a caring young man
You're fooling yourself if you don't believe it
You're kidding yourself if you don't believe it
Get up, get back on your feet
You're the one they can't beat and you know it
Come on, let's see what you've got
Just take your best shot and don't blow it
You're fooling yourself if you don't believe it
You're killing yourself if you don't believe it
Get up, get back on your feet
You're the one they can't beat and you know it
Come on, let's see what you've got
Just take your best shot and don't blow it
{Lyrics “Borrowed” From:}

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bitter/Sweets: The Sum Of Our Fears

“I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” {John 21:18-19 NIV}

Be assured that this also applies unto the kind of lives that we are to live in this world. For we are all led down paths that we would not naturally want to go down{1}.

The Prophet Jonah stands as a good example of that. For he certainly did not want to go to Nineveh{2}.

Yes, it could be argued that the wayward prophet brought all of his misery down upon himself by being disobedient; but can the same be said of the Prophet Ezekiel? Be assured that it cannot; and yet: The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes. Yet do not lament or weep or shed any tears. Groan quietly; do not mourn for the dead. Keep your turban fastened and your sandals on your feet; do not cover the lower part of your face or eat the customary food of mourners.” So I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did as I had been commanded. Then the people asked me, “Won't you tell us what these things have to do with us?” So I said to them, “The word of the LORD came to me: Say to the house of Israel, `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am about to desecrate my sanctuary—the stronghold in which you take pride, the delight of your eyes, the object of your affection. The sons and daughters you left behind will fall by the sword. And you will do as I have done. You will not cover the lower part of your face or eat the customary food of mourners. You will keep your turbans on your heads and your sandals on your feet. You will not mourn or weep but will waste away because of your sins and groan among yourselves. Ezekiel will be a sign to you; you will do just as he has done. When this happens, you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.”{3}

Special circumstances? I would think so; but if one life is just as important as another unto our Heavenly Father{4}: are we not all living under special circumstances in this world{5}?

No, it is not that I have some sort of a great desire to sully the glory of our Heavenly Father; but many do—albeit unintentionally. For by denying that He has anything to do with this or that: they portray Him to be far less than He absolutely is. Whereas what He has given me to say boldly declares: I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.{6}

Alas, is it not time to come out of the darkness of spiritual ignorance{7}. For what good can come from insisting that all of our problems are of our own making when there is absolutely nothing that we can do about them{8}?

No, that is not what most want to hear{9}. For it sounds oh so very noble to take full responsibility for our actions{10}.

Moreover: there could be no self-righteousness without personal responsibility. For when we make that vow to do better: in whom are we really depending upon to make it happen{11}?

[{1}Proverbs 16:33; {2}Jonah 1:1-4:11; {3}Ezekiel 24:15-24 NIV; {4}Ezekiel 18:32; {5}Romans 8:20; {6}Isaiah 45:7 KJV; {7}1 John 1:5-10; {8}Zechariah 4:6; {9}2 Timothy 4:2–4; {10}Proverbs 14:12; {11}Jeremiah 17:5-7]

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Bitter/Sweets: Crosses To Bear

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” {Luke 9:23-26 NIV}

Back in those days: following the Lord Jesus Christ was quite a cross to bear. For it meant the total abandonment of beliefs{1} that often tore families apart{2}.

It is no easier today. For it truly is as it is written: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”{3}

There is, however, more unto it than that. Much more—be assured. For there is also the cross of having to live with who we naturally are to bear{4}.

No, that does not appear to be much of a problem at first-glance. For where sin abounds: grace abounds all the more—right{5}?

Nonetheless: there are still consequences unto our actions; and after being given a glimpse of what perfection really looks like: the more imperfect even our best becomes{6} . Hence: Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.{7}

No, it is not just in regards unto the flesh of our bodies that the passage is referring unto. For it truly is as it is also written: “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.”{8}

In other words: it is what is on the inside (so to speak) that is what really counts; and woe be it unto all who have not accepted our Heavenly Father’s Holy Spirit into their hearts{9}. For there is no life apart from Him{10}; but even with the measure of grace afforded me{11}: I would still like to be a lot more like Him in the meantime{12}.

Yes, I would do well to want to follow the example that was set through the Apostle Paul. For I know just how he felt: To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.{13}

No, none of this is meant to deny that changes take place when a person becomes “born-again”{14} in the Lord Jesus Christ. For it truly is as it is written: Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh {and} new has come!{15}

In my own case: most of those changes have been in regards unto knowledge and understanding{16}. For aside from having my mouth cleansed of all foul language{17} and losing my love for drunken revelry: I am still just as naturally despicable as I ever was.

Yes, there are many who would say that it is obvious that I have never been truly born-again—certainly not in Christ!!! For it is written: Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.{18}

On the other hand: was not Romans 7:14-15 also placed into written form through the Apostle Paul; and does this passage not make it abundantly clear that he was far from perfected? Therefore: have not many been woefully deceived{19}???

Yes, there are many who have missed the point. For the absolute truth of the matter truly is: Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God {did:} sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and {as an offering} for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.{20}

No, there is no danger of encouraging wickedness in this. For who in their “right-mind” would want to do what is harmful unto themselves and others—regardless of whether real of imagined{21}???

Yes, there is a big difference between thinking about something and actually doing it; and it is indeed a great blessing to be prevented from acting upon natural impulses. I would still like to be a lot more like my Heavenly Father while I wait for my own time as a part of this world to come unto an end{22}.

Whoa, talk about coming full circle. For to truly be a follower of Christ involves participating in His sufferings; and that certainly includes waiting for all that He wants to accomplish to come to pass. For it truly is as it is written: Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.{23}

[{1}Romans 10:1-5; {2}Matthew 10:34-39; {3}John 15:18-19 NIV; {4}Romans 7:14-25; {5}Romans 5:20; {6}1 Corinthians 13:12; {7}2 Corinthians 5:1-5 NIV; {8}John 6:63 NIV; {9}John 14:15-29; {10}1 John 5:11-12; {11}Ephesians 4:7; {12}1 John 3:2; {13}2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NIV; {14}John 3:3; {15}2 Corinthians 5:17 AMP; {16}1 Corinthians 2:6-16; {17}Isaiah 6:5-6; {18}1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NIV; {19}1 Timothy 1:5-11; {20}Romans 8:1-4 NAS; {21}Romans 8:5-11; {22}Jeremiah 17:9; {23}Romans 8:17-19 NIV]