When The Greedy Have Oversight!

As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him. When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison. Acts 24:25-27 NIV

Since we know human nature does not change, we can understand that any time someone starts talking about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come--the conversation instills fear in the unrighteous and they change the conversation so they won’t feel condemned.

When faced with situations that Paul faced, we who know God and His intent for mankind, must continue to say what God says–no matter what the intent of those who have authority over us–in the natural. For no mere mortal can ever have authority over God or those who obey Him.

But in this passage we see Felix as a pretender–someone who pretended to want to know more about Paul was teaching, but in essence was really hoping that his imprisonment would keep him quiet (as far as the Jews were concerned) and would eventually end up with Felix lining his pockets in order for Paul to know freedom.

There are people who are imprisoned–in both buildings and mindsets–waiting for release and will not be bribed to go against the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Though I am not a prisoner in a building, like Paul, I count it all joy to be bound with the Good News and I will not keep silent and will not accept a bribe to be silent. I cannot be bullied into compromising my faith in God and I will not allow any authority on earth to persuade me to rebel against God.

But we know–from all we see–that has occurred with some people. Though the bribe may not have been money–instead it was support and promises of greater things to come, but the greater things will never eradicate the judgment that is sure to come–when those who live a life in opposition to God’s Word and promote others in doing the same.

We shall all stand before God and give an account of what we’ve done with our time here on earth. I hope never to be ashamed of promoting the Gospel of Jesus and the power of forgiveness and love. I have been forgiven for those things which I did without understanding of Truth. I am loved beyond measure by my heavenly Father–who willingly died for me that I would have another chance to get living right for Him.

There is not enough money on the planet to convince me to move from my stance–total faith in the resurrection power of Jesus and the embodiment of power from Holy Spirit who dwells within me. Unfortunately, not all can say with confidence they feel the same. We see this in politicians who are willing to compromise themselves in order to gain status. We see this in people whose principles are determined by a dollar value. We see this in the church–when the leadership is more concerned about the numbers in the building that souls being saved when Truth is heard and they compromise the Gospel–to be politically correct.

Lord, help us all when we allow greed to reign over the needs of the people to know the Truth.

Recognizing The Bullies In The Pulpit!

Recognizing The Bullies In The Pulpit!

For an overseer, as God’s administrator, must be blameless, not arrogant, not hot-tempered, not addicted to wine, not a bully, not greedy for money, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled, holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it. To the pure, everything is pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; in fact, both their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and disqualified for any good work.Titus 1:7-9, 15,16 HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

If we look around us and pay attention to how people act towards others we can see how some people attempt to bully those who are weaker and smaller than they are. We see people who think because of their “material wealth” they have a right to bully others into accommodating them. And now, more than ever, we see people attempting to bully others through the judicial system. Every time someone wants to draw attention to themselves and make people accept them–they take someone else into court. There are probably more frivolous lawsuits filed in recent years than ever before.

Bullies are arrogant and overbearing and will threaten others, promoting violence, when people don’t cave to their demands. We see them in schools, on playgrounds, on the streets, in our homes, in all of society and in our churches. The bullies are those who are quick-tempered, undisciplined, and narcissistic–because they only care about what they want, not what is best for others.

If we don’t recognize them for who they are and stand up to them–they continue to bluster their way through life–until they meet the one person who forces them to back down--not by violence as is their method, but by sheer determination to not be intimidated by the bully.

We encourage children in schools to stand up to the bullies and to report them and we also encourage students not to become bullies. The sooner they recognize their behavior, the sooner it can be overcome. We encourage parents not to become bullies with their children but to learn to listen and discuss what is appropriate and what is not. We encourage spouses to learn the art of compromise so homes can run smoothly and no one resorts to domestic violence. But what do we do with the bully in the pulpit?

Any time a leader–in any venue–has to resort to bullying tactics they reveal their own insecurities within themselves and in their position. True, Godly leaders never have to resort to bullying because they act on The Word of God. However, if they do not know The Word, they cannot act on The Word and this is how we discern who is in the pulpit.

When the man or woman of God entreats others to help them accomplish something, they know how to explain why something needs to be done–the advantages and disadvanages of the task and the end result. They don’t browbeat people into doing anything and they certainly don’t threaten (and I’ve seen it all) people into doing what they want. 

There are a number of issues that could be addressed when it comes to recognizing bullies, but the point I really want to make is this–when we are secure in the knowledge of who we are, what God has called us to do, and know we operate with God’s wisdom in all things, we will not succumb to the bullying tactics used by others to coerce us into doing what they want rather than doing what God wants us to do.

Know the bullies when you see them and stand up to them with Holy Spirit guiding your every move.

What Fools Don’t Understand!

For you make me glad by your deeds, LORD; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. How great are your works, LORD, how profound your thoughts! Senseless people do not know, fools do not understand, that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever. But you, LORD, are forever exalted. Psalm 92:4-8 NIV

How many times must we be told that fools lack understanding of most things because they are so wise in their own sight, they won’t listen to wise instruction?

Even if it looks like the foolish are progressing in their ways, we don’t have to concern ourselves–they are being set up by the enemy who has influenced them to fall because they have not realized that the devil doesn’t care about people–even those who follow his leading. When the captain only thinks of himself, others have no value to him, but then–that’s a poor foolish captain. And the devil is a foolish captain. He has yet to realize he has been defeated and will stay defeated until that time arrives when he spends eternity in the lake of fire–along with all those who refused to listen to wise instruction.

We are told that, “the fool has said in his heart there is no God,” and when others are convinced that there is no God, they do expose themselves as fools. Now, why would the devil convince people there is no God? If he can convince others there is no God, he can also convince people that he doesn’t exist and if he doesn’t exist, he can run rampant–creating all types of chaos and the fools will be deceived.

Those of us who know The Lord and His Word understand that if God acknowledges the works of Satan because He created him, then we should be wise enough to heed The Word and recognize when he is at work. “Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee!”

All the unrest, instability in nations, the hatred, the bigotry, all of it–are a result of the enemy’s influence in the mind and hearts of people who refuse to repent and acknowledge God. But no matter how many evildoers arise, they shall be cut down and stomped on and cast aside, making room for those who understand peace and love. For The Lord reigns forever in the hearts of all who love Him and we will be victorious in Jesus!

Will the prating fool–the one always running his/her mouth, boasting of themselves, bullying others and spouting empty threats ever understand that all the world, sees them as a fool with no wisdom and no value?

It is better to be quiet and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and be known a fool! Will the fool understand this?

Our God Reigns, Our God Reigns, Our God Reigns Forevermore!