What To Expect!

What To Expect!

An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels. Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. When wickedness comes, so does contempt, and with shame comes reproach. The words of the mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream. It is not good to be partial to the wicked and so deprive the innocent of justice. The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating. The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives. Proverbs 18:1-7 NIV

If I am belaboring the point of a fool’s life–just bear with me so I can get it out of my system. The word fool is mentioned 66 times in 62 verses in the KJV (fools 42 times) and 62 times in 58 verses in the NIV (fools is mentioned 63 times). Solomon talks about a fool or fools more than anyone in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. So, if we take a common sense approach to understanding The Word, we discover, God is not too happy with a fool or foolish behavior.

It is so difficult not to talk about the conduct of a fool in light of our current election cycle. Differences of opinion should open the door for dialogue but instead–with those who don’t think anyone is right but them–it opens the floodgates of hatred and bigotry and arrogance and presumptiveness.

Here’s what I’m discovering about what to expect of those who are diehards–more loyal to party than country:

  • They would rather stand on accusatory rhetoric–already proven wrong–than to accept the reality of the situation.
  • They accept spliced media as credible evidence against a political candidate and expect others to just “believe” what it portrays.
  • They expect others to fall in line with their opinions when no viable, credible evidence is offered to support their opinions.
  • They expect others to accept the lead of “religious leaders” who are simply party puppets who think they know more than Holy Spirit.
  • They discredit a person’s relationship with God and hearing Holy Spirit when the discussion does not support what they want others to accept.
  • They refute The Word as the standard for political choices when it doesn’t fit with party platforms.
  • They lose ground and credibility every time they open their mouth (loose lips sink ships or political clout).

I could go on and on, but it would serve no purpose other than to ignite more animosity and that is not my purpose. My purpose in presenting the bullet points above is to hopefully shed some light on how ridiculous some become over political rhetoric. I know because I’ve been chastised about my political position (which aligns with The Word) because I refuse to put party platform over the welfare of the entire country.

This has all been stated before, but I guess sometimes, we need to repeat and repeat and repeat a matter for some to understand it. Hence–the repetition about a fool or fools in The Word.

Considering the life Jesus lived while walking the earth, I wonder what He would do about this election cycle. God the Father is Love and Jesus is God the Son so therefore, Love abounds in the persons of the authority in our lives (assuming God, not a political party is the authority). If we see and hear–a candidate who is divisive, promoting hate and fear and has no depth of compassion for others–would Jesus have voted for this person to guide the nation?

I’ve been “told” to pray for God to change the candidate in question’s heart, but this I know about God–He will not force anyone to do anything and if a person sees no need to change who they are–all the prayer by every person from every corner in the world won’t change them. When–someone who has supposedly converted to Christianity–proclaims they have no need to ask God to forgive them–that speaks volumes about their so-called conversion. One of the first tenets of coming to Christ–is confessing our sin and asking to be forgiven.

At any rate–I’m praying that God will fill–to overflowing everyone willing to receive–His wisdom and they will act accordingly in obedience to His Word. That’s my prayer. 

Sometimes, It’s Best To Be Quiet!

Sometimes, It’s Best To Be Quiet!

The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly. Proverbs 15:14 NIV

I’m sure most of us have had opportunities in which we have listened to someone talking, trying to make a point, but strayed so far from the point, people who were listening forgot why they were listening.

When I’ve encountered this situation (and I have a lot lately), I often wonder if people are listening to themselves.

First of all, The Word tells us, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks,” (Matthew 12:34), if a person’s mouth keeps speaking do we not see what’s in their heart?

Then there are those who love the sound of their voice and forget that others are not that crazy about “their voice” but they’re so wrapped up in themselves, they don’t recognize when people start squirming and looking at watches.

Moving onto those who–when speaking to a new audience–make certain erroneous assumptions about the crowd to whom they’re speaking. This is where the rubber meets the road and the speaker is found guilty of presuming–having no knowledge–thinking they are the only one “in the know.”

Personally, based upon my experience in various environments, I’ve learned that any time a person has to tell me they are, “God-fearing” or a “Christian” they are not telling the whole truth. I’m more convinced by a person’s actions as to who they are than I am by their words. And if your actions don’t demonstrate what your words say–I’m not interested in anything else you have to say.

Okay, I won’t bore you any longer with this diatribe, but I wanted to remind anyone interested–when speaking before people you’ve never met–don’t try to impress them with a lot of talking,–just get to the point and sit down. Let your audience lead your speaking with their questions.

The Difference!

The Difference!

The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10 NIV

The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it a wall too high to scale. Proverbs 18:11 NIV

Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. Proverbs 18:12 NIV

To answer before listening— that is folly and shame. Proverbs 18:13 NIV

How can a person respond to anyone–intelligently–before hearing what is said or asked?  When they respond without hearing the whole matter, it creates confusion and in many cases, after a person has had a chance to think about what they said–before hearing–they end up back-pedaling or switching positions on an issue or the question posed to them.

If a person has knowledge about a subject or is at least willing to seek knowledge from those who are wiser than he/she is–they might respond without hearing the whole matter out of anticipation. But if they anticipate the wrong question, the answer won’t make any sense at all. The wise course of action–hear a matter–in its entirety before speaking and when an answer is not known–don’t try faking knowledge because the truth will be exposed and that’s when the back-pedaling begins.

We must check our hearing to make sure we understand every nuance of every word before we attempt to respond to questions. We must be aware of our surroundings and check our sensitivity monitor. We cannot say the same things in every venue without regard for those who are listening to us. This does not mean we cannot speak truth–we simply need to be mindful of who is listening and phrase the truth without offending the hearer.

Of course there are those who are so arrogant and high-minded in thinking whatever they say is appropriate they never think before speaking. As a result, they always have to pull their foot of their mouths within hours of speaking rashly. It is this arrogance and haughtiness that will eventually expose them for who they are and then–they shall be humbled before the masses.

In certain venues or circles–those who have great wealth tend to think their wealth entitles them to say anything that comes to mind. They believe their economic status provides them with fortification/safety not afforded to others and they won’t suffer any wrong they do. Not so–the wealthy and the high-minded shall fall prey to their own arrogance and then some–if not most–will blame the media and anyone else for their downfall. They will whine louder than a petulant toddler who has been allowed to have their way about everything. Wise parents teach toddlers that they cannot have their way about everything and they must follow rules. When we see overage toddlers acting out–pouting, and whining–we know they never learned that lesson; but the lesson will be learned.

The difference between thinking one is fortified by economic status and those who know the name of The Lord is a strong tower–the righteous run into it and they are saved–from themselves and those things over which they have no control. When a person does not know The Lord–they don’t realize the measure of surety and safety they have in Him. In the midst of the storms–regardless of how devastating the damage from the “natural” storms or the spiritual storms–Believers know–everything will be all right. We can stand on our faith in The Lord and face whatever storms come–knowing we’ll be victorious.

Let’s pray for wisdom and then carefully listen to God when He responds so we’ll know how to respond to others–after we’ve heard the entire matter. That’s the difference between the wise Believer and the foolish faking they Believe.

Who Do We Turn To?

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:12-16 NIV

When in trouble–who are we going to call? Perhaps, one of the reasons we are facing such difficult times in our society is that we are looking in the wrong direction for help. There is no help from the government coming our way unless The Lord moves upon the hearts of all those in authority to make a real difference in our world. And while many of those in authority do not have a heart for God, it is up to us who do–to seek Him to radically change hearts towards Him.

The Word of God tells us, “We don’t have what we need because we don’t know how to ask for it.” (James 4:2,3)  How do we ask? We boldly approach God, knowing that our Father loves us and only wants the best for us, therefore His ear is inclined to hear us. When we know we live to please Him, we don’t need to hesitate to put our requests before Him and have faith that He will respond to our requests.

Unfortunately, too many people approach God timidly–fearful and hesitant–because they think He won’t hear them.  They are like that child who wants something from their parents, but mumble under their breath–afraid to speak up–with their heads down–not wanting to face them. Some parents have to prod this child to even understand what it is they are asking and sometimes, frustration gets in the way of the request and no one is happy. Is that how we approach God when we need help? Are our heads hanging down because we know we have not obeyed His Word? Is this why we are hesitant and fearful?

It’s not like He doesn’t know what we need or want before we even ask. He just wants us to be bold enough to ask Him. That boldness is demonstrated in an assurance that He will grant our request–not arrogance in thinking He has to do anything–but confidence in His love and living right before Him.

Instead of looking for an individual–mere mortals in government to change our situations–let’s look to The Lord, boldly putting our requests before Him and then let’s listen to what He has to say and obey!  If our motives are right, He will hear and grant our request–of that we can be sure of!

On The Journey–Samek!

I hate the double-minded,
But I love Your law.

You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in Your word.

Depart from me, you evildoers,
For I will keep the commandments of my God!

Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live;
And do not let me be ashamed of my hope.

Hold me up, and I shall be safe,
And I shall observe Your statutes continually.

You reject all those who stray from Your statutes,
For their deceit is falsehood.

You put away all the wicked of the earth like dross;
Therefore I love Your testimonies.

My flesh trembles for fear of You,
And I am afraid of Your judgments.

The 15th letter (Samech in the KJV) and stanza–man versus God–what men do and what God does.

The writer (and rightfully so) expresses his feelings about double-minded people–those who are on one side of the fence one day and then switch–at will to the other side. This is like politicians–who proclaim to belong to one party adamantly and then switch to the other. James tells us, “A double-minded person is unstable in all their ways.” I think most of can see the waffling and teetering between the points of thought of the political candidates now. I’m with the writer on this one–double-minded people cannot be trusted.

However, I wonder if when we’re singing our praises to God or even just talking to Him, if we would be better off, not spending so much time talking about those who do wrong. It’s not like God doesn’t see them or know what they do.

And then there is the arrogance–implied in almost every stanza–“Look at what they do God, but I don’t do those things.” The writer is constantly telling God how much he loves His laws and His Word, but do we really need to “say” we love His Word or should we just “live” His Word?

Some may not agree with my conclusions and that’s perfectly fine. I would like to get into meaningful dialogue with those who truly want to understand and live God’s Word before Him.

In some parts of his song, it would appear that he is almost blaming God when he gets into trouble. If his hopes are dashed–it’s God’s fault? Since God honors our free-will choices (we have to accept the consequences of those choices), it would seem to be that it is not God we need to seek to keep our hopes in Him from being shattered, but we need to seek Him in making our choices.

Now, I realize that we are now living in the 21st century and most of us have a wider depth of knowledge than the writer had at his disposal, but have we changed the way we do things–in particular–in how we talk to God?  The earth is full of wickedness, but do we need to detail all their ways or just pray that all the wicked and evildoers will allow God into their hearts?

I’m not trying to make light of the world’s plight, but seeking understanding so I can be a better representative of who God is, and not need to have me in the spotlight.

Lord, help us to hear You clearly and to obey all You desire us to do and to do it all to Your glory for there is none like You!

 

 

On The Journey–Yod!

On The Journey–Yod!

Your hands have made me and fashioned me;
Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.

Those who fear You will be glad when they see me,
Because I have hoped in Your word.

I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right,
And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.

Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort,
According to Your word to Your servant.

Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live;
For Your law is my delight.

Let the proud be ashamed,
For they treated me wrongfully with falsehood;
But I will meditate on Your precepts.

Let those who fear You turn to me,
Those who know Your testimonies.

Let my heart be blameless regarding Your statutes,
That I may not be ashamed. Psalm 119:73-80 NKJV

The tenth letter (Jod in KJV and YUD in HNV and Yodh in the NIV) and the tenth stanza and for the tenth time–we see the writer vow to keep and obey God’s Word.

Even though the writer acknowledges God’s place in His life–“you made me” he still wavers with his own shortcomings and it sounds like he’s on a roller coaster of emotional turmoil.

He wants people to rejoice when they see him, but he doesn’t to be put to shame before those same people. And in this stanza, as well as with others, we see a bit of arrogance in the writer, even though he talks about what should happen to the arrogant. Hmm!

Is he better than everyone else because he promises to obey God’s Word and meditate on His precepts? Does he think he’s fooling God who knows at every turn what he’ll do? Do we have these same attitudes–thinking we’re better than everyone else because we know some of the Word? Are we expecting others to turn to us because we have demonstrated understanding of God’s Word instead of them turning to God?

What I see in this passage (and may have missed in others) is a person more concerned about being shamed in front of others than in obeying God. If he truly understood God–as his maker–wouldn’t he know that God is not fooled by the words of our lips, but knows our heart and what we’ll do before we do it?

This is not to say we should ever turn from God’s Word. I know that every time I read The Word–even if I’ve read something twenty times or more–God is yet revealing Himself clearly. And perhaps, just perhaps, the writer of this Psalm realizes that no matter how much he meditates on God’s Word, he has yet much to learn and so we see redundancies in his expression throughout this Psalm.

Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy when we think we “have arrived” at a level of understanding we really don’t have. What happens with us in that mindset is that we become arrogant in our thinking that no one–not even God–can tell us anything and it is in that mindset that we can be brought to shame. Hallelujah! “Getting wisdom is the foundation for learning and with all of our getting, we need to get understanding.”

Lord, help us to keep seeking You as we meditate on Your Word daily, open to new revelation every time we read it. Help us to not be so full of ourselves that we have no room for You in our lives. Encourage our hearts in doing what You would have us to do and to turn others to you, and not us. It is to You we give the glory, the honor, and the praise for You alone are worthy!

What The Lord Hates!

“There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” (Proverbs 6:16-19 NIV)

Let me see if I can break this down to the lowest possible simplicity:

Haughty eyes–those who look at someone else with scornful arrogance–thinking they are better than others.

Lying tongue–those tongues that wag ceaselessly, telling untruths.

Hands that shed innocent blood–taking a life that does not belong to you for any reason, not justifiable.

Hearts that devise wicked schemes--hard-hearted people who do not know love and therefore are full of hatefulness, planning the demise of others.

Feet quick to rush into evil–those who are quick to run to provoke evil and spread lies to convince others to do evil.

A false witness who pours out lies–those who willingly attest to a wrong-doing that never occurred simply to benefit themselves.

A person who stirs up conflict in the community–those who promote unrest and instability within entire communities for no other reason that be a tool of evil.

There is nothing new under the sun and these things–we see everyday in the news media–to report allegations without evidence or proof of a person’s wrong-doing, provoking society into conflict and hatefulness, those who willing falsify information for the 15 seconds of fame they hope to get, those who take the lives of others for no other reason than they are evil personified, and we know their hearts are evil when we see the plans they devise, implemented. And for any and all who promote something as true without proof, shame on all. In this country, the justice system is supposedly based upon the presumption of innocence, UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY!

What The Lord hates, we who Believe should also hate and condemn those who provoke evil and report lies as truth. The lake of fire is waiting for all liars.

Lord, help us all, to see things the way You see them and to do all You would do, to ensure peace, joy, and prosperity for all, through the overflow of love You have shown us.

Truth Causes Divisions?

“Thus the people were divided because of Jesus” (John 7:43 NIV). PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE CHAPTER FOR CONTEXT!

Whenever there is misunderstanding of history, usually because of the varied lenses by which all view history, there is of necessity a difference of opinion. In this passage of scripture we see several things happening that are worth deep thought (beyond surface level).

First of all, the Pharisees and the chief priests (the church leadership) were not really thrilled with the reaction of the people (they felt their authority was being threatened) when they heard Jesus speaking. They all knew about the promise of the Messiah from “the scriptures” (scrolls about the prophets), but because they were looking for someone to lead them into “battle” in order to obtain freedom, they overlooked “The Truth” and what Truth was saying.

Because they could not agree about who Jesus was (murmuring to themselves), especially after He told them about the Holy Spirit, they became divided factions of “religious” folks; not knowing that The Truth was standing among them. The leaders became so incensed with Jesus teaching truth and not trying to fleece people or to bind them to traditional rules and regulations that they planned to arrest Him (they could not stand the competition). They thought their knowledge of “The Prophets” was so superior to anyone else that they rejected the idea that Jesus could be anything other than a deceiver of the people.

Now, if our relationship with God is right, we can look at this passage of scripture and understand that the enemy had already influenced the leadership into believing a lie. Because they believed the lie (arrogance will lead to being deceived), they lost an opportunity to have a relationship with Truth. Then the people, because of their varied expectations, became divided because they did not recognize Truth speaking when they heard Him.

Jesus is The Truth, and The Light, The Lamb, Bright Morning Star, Our Deliverer, Our Savior, Our Lord, The Way into the presence of The Father. If we understand John’s relationship with Jesus–that they were very close since they were related biologically, we can see how John’s insight should bring us all into relationship with God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. We cannot have a right relationship with one, without all.

Perhaps, we can grasp this line of thought better when we look at all of the various denominations and factions of Christians who all believe they know the truth. But if they all know The Truth, would there be a need for the divisions of Christianity? If all believers had a relationship with God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, wouldn’t we be united by the relationship with them?  If we all had the same type of relationship with Them (Trinity) that we have with close family members, would we need different denominations proclaiming to be Christian in nature?

We are where we are because those in leadership positions, choose to maintain barriers and obstacles that divide rather than unite. Arrogance and superiority (influenced by the enemy) has led to the great divide of those who say they Believe in Jesus. Until we can see Truth for who He is and develop a right relationship with Him, we will remain a divided body of believers who are more concerned with promoting religion than relationship with God. The verse of scripture referenced at the beginning would provide greater clarity if it had continued with--they were divided because of Jesus and their perception of who He was.

Stay Strong!

“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in The Lord” (Psalm 31:24 NIV)

Staying strong in the face of adversity, persecution, and ridicule takes courage.  And courageous people are stronger than those who are full of pride and arrogant.  How do we know?  Those who are arrogant–so full of themselves that think rules don’t apply to them–or think they know everything–eventually discover the end of themselves when they realize–the rules do apply and they don’t know everything.  Those who are full of pride–who think they do not need anyone but them or are too ashamed to ask for help–eventually fall under the pressure of their pride.

But those who dare to stand up–to the bullies, to injustice, to fight for the rights of others, to withstand the ridicule of fools (for The Word says,”the fool has said in his heart, there is no God”), who face enduring illness with determination, who will maintain their faith in God, no matter what–those are the strong.

Think about your reaction to life–the good and bad things that occur almost on a daily basis; are you the strong?  Take heart!  If you are willing to keep your focus on the hope you have in Christ Jesus, your determination will strengthen you and you will know–the hope of glory!