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(#192) The Proverbs of Solomon 28:28-Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 28:28: “When the wicked arise, men hide themselves; But when they perish, the righteous increase.”

It is a moral world turned upside-down when wickedness rules. It was when “the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5) that God destroyed the entire earth with a flood of water, preserving only the life in Noah’s ark (Genesis 7:11-24; 1 Peter 3:18-22).

God promised to drive out the wicked inhabitants of the land He Promised to the Israelites with this explanation: “Do not think in your heart, after the LORD your God has cast them out before you, saying, ‘Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land’; but it is  because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out from before you” (Deuteronomy 9:4). When the Israelites became wicked, He drove them out of that land and then returned them after 70 years. “Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the LORD; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation” (Jeremiah 25:12); “’They shall be carried to Babylon, and there they shall be until the day that I visit them,’ says the LORD. ‘Then I will bring them up and restore them to this place'” (Jeremiah 27:22). This restoration to that land has already occurred (2 Chronicles 36:15-23; Ezra 1:1-11; Nehemiah 8:1-18)!

Jesus Christ’s Second Coming will see that wickedness is once again destroyed: “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:37-39; Acts 17:30-31).

Before Solomon, David had recognized this truth: “The wicked prowl on every side, When vileness is exalted among the sons of men” (Psalm 12:8).

Other proverbs state this, even from the other side: “When the righteous rejoice, there is great glory; But when the wicked arise, men hide themselves” (Proverbs 28:12); “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2); “When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increases; But the righteous will see their fall” (Proverbs 29:16).

When the wicked rule, the righteous want no part of that administration, and “hide.” However, the righteous must let their voices continue to pray to God for relief, and continue to teach righteousness to all who will hear. Paul reminded the Thessalonians “that our coming to you was not in vain. But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict. For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit. But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:1-4), and to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:7).

“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so” (Psalm 107:2), and pray “that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ” (Colossians 4:3).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #god, #promised-land, #proverbs, #restoration-of-israel, #righteous, #righteousness, #second-coming-of-jesus-christ, #wicked, #wickedness

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(#168) The Proverbs of Solomon 24:13-14-How Sweet It Is

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 24:13-14: “My son, eat honey because it is good, And the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste; So shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul; If you have found it, there is a prospect, And your hope will not be cut off.”

“Honey” represents a fruitful land, for God promised Israel “a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8; Deuteronomy 8:7-9). It is the sweetest natural substance known to man (Judges 14:18), which brightens up the mind (1 Samuel 14:24-29), but too much at once can overload our body’s system (Proverbs 25:16). Glorifying our own selves is, to our egos, as sickening as too much honey. Proverbs 25:27: It is not good to eat much honey; So to seek one’s own glory is not glory.” Think about this when Harlotwood actors give themselves Academy Awards, the Music Industry gives itself Grammy Awards, and the Broadway Stage professionals give themselves Tony Awards!

Sweeter than honey (better for our souls than honey for our bodies!) are God’s judgments (Psalm 19:9-10) and God’s Word (Ezekiel 3:1-4; Revelation 10:8-11). It is possible, however, to try to understand and do too much at one time. Solomon later will teach: “I have seen everything in my days of vanity: There is a just man who perishes in his righteousness, And there is a wicked man who prolongs life in his wickedness. Do not be overly righteous, Nor be overly wise: Why should you destroy yourself? Do not be overly wicked, Nor be foolish: Why should you die before your time? It is good that you grasp this, And also not remove your hand from the other; For he who fears God will escape them all” (Ecclesiastes 7:15-18). Righteousness is developed by processing the Word of God (John 10:37-38) and obeying it (1 John 3:5-7).

Don’t try to do too much at once, because, as Jesus said, “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34). Begin with: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #honey, #proverbs, #righteousness, #sweeter, #wisdom

SIGNIFICANCE OF A FEW!

Power and significance in outcomes is not always associated with large numbers. God brought some great victories for Israel with just a few. Remember the victory He brought through Gideon with only 300 men. (Judges 7:7-8) Also, prior to entering the promised land, Israel was reminded of what had been done because God had been with them, in that one had been able to chase a thousand and two to have put ten thousand to flight. (Deuteronomy 32:30) This was to be a reminder that with God it mattered not what the count looked like; whether it be few or many.

Let us also remember all it would have taken was the presence of ten righteous souls to have spared the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding cities. (Genesis 18:32) What if Abraham had asked if God would have spared for the sake of four: Lot, his wife, and their two daughters?

Now, consider a focus during the days of the prophet Jeremiah where we read. . .

“(1) Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look and take note! Search her squares to SEE IF YOU CAN FIND A MAN, ONE WHO DOES JUSTICE AND SEEKS TRUTH, THAT I MAY PARDON HER.” (Jeremiah 5:1 ESV)

The New Living Translation reads, “”Run up and down every street in Jerusalem,” says the LORD. “Look high and low; search throughout the city! IF YOU CAN FIND EVEN ONE JUST AND HONEST PERSON, I WILL NOT DESTROY THE CITY.”” (NLT) Find JUST ONE? Only ONE would have made the difference? How sad that at this time Jerusalem refused to repent and a period of captivity followed.

Consider the significance of OUR OWN LIFE in connection with our trust in God. Regardless of what the world around us might be doing, let us never underestimate the significance of our continued living by God’s standard. Though God has made clear there is a day coming for His judgment (1 Peter 3:10), perhaps — in His patience (2 Peter 3:9) — He is presently sparing the world because He wants our godliness to have more OPPORTUNITY TO INFLUENCE a few more souls around us.

Let us not give up living according to what God has revealed to be right. Those around us need to come to grips with that! With our life lived for Him, His work of sparing souls can still take place. To Him be the glory!

Have a great day BEING ONE FOUND TO BE HONEST AND JUST! – Carl Hanson

“teEn-MAIL” is sent out daily by Carl Hanson, preacher for the Church of Christ in Port Townsend, Washington, USA, located at 230 A Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Come visit us if in the area. www.porttownsendchurchofchrist.org

#christian-living, #christianity, #holy-living, #judgment-of-god, #making-a-difference, #righteousness, #spiritual-influence, #the-power-of-influence

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(#155) The Proverbs of Solomon 21:16-A Rambling Wreck

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 21:16: “A man who wanders from the way of understanding Will rest in the assembly of the dead.”

The word “wanders” shows the lack of faith, purpose, and moral compass it takes to prepare a soul for Heaven. Jesus pointed this out in His Sermon on the Mount: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). “Understanding” the Will of God means applying God’s Law to ourselves: “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him’” (Acts 10:34-35); “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him. (1 John 2:29); “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous” (1 John 3:7). It shows a definite lack of understanding to live a life without God’s guidance. Breaking through God’s Wall of Wisdom always leaves one unprotected and unable to withstand the ravages of life! Another proverb exposes the other side of God’s Judgment: “He who follows righteousness and mercy Finds life, righteousness and honor” (Proverbs 21:21).

The “assembly of the dead” guaranteed to the sinner will include, according to 2 Peter 2:4-11, “angels who sinned,” “the ancient world,” perverted cities of “Sodom and Gomorrah,” “especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority.” According to Jesus’ Gospel, the world is divided into those who obey Him and those who refuse: “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned’” (Mark 16:15-16).

Is your life leading you to Heaven, or are you a rambling wreck? It’s your choice!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#assembly-of-the-dead, #bible-study, #faith, #jesus-christ, #judgment, #obedience, #proverbs, #righteousness, #salvation, #sin, #wanders

Happy?

#happiness, #righteousness

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(#108) The Proverbs of Solomon 16:12-13-Governing the Government (#3)

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 16:12-13: “It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness, For a throne is established by righteousness. 13 Righteous lips are the delight of kings, And they love him who speaks what is right.”

Verse 12: An “abomination” with God is as bad as anything can be: in Proverbs alone, it is used in some 19 verses. For “kings to commit wickedness” is the same with God as: a perverse person (3:32), The Big Seven (pride, lies, killing the innocent, wicked planning, eager participation in evil, bearing false witness with lies, sowing discord among brethren, 6:16-19), dishonesty in business (11:1), justifying the wicked and condemning the just (17:15), prayer from one refusing to listen to God (28:9), in short, “whatever is highly esteemed among men” (Luke 16:15).

What can government leaders do that is “wickedness?” (1) They are pleased that their people act wickedly, like Ephraimites who “make a king glad with their wickedness, And princes with their lies” (Hosea 7:3). Samuel had shown where this will end when he said, “if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king” (1 Samuel 12:25); (2) Manasseh encouraged: foreign religions, idolatry, child sacrifice, superstition, immorality, shedding innocent blood (2 Chronicles 33:1-10; 2 Kings 21:16). Not all “laws of the land” are “righteous.”

To establish a throne (or seat of power) requires “righteousness,” or respect for God and His Principles, throughout the nation (top to bottom), for “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people. The king’s favor is toward a wise servant, But his wrath is against him who causes shame” (Proverbs 14:34-35).

Verse 13: “Righteous lips” on government leaders are but a faint, distant memory for most people, but should remain a goal with every vote! Even wicked Israelite King Ahab, put pressure upon the prophet, Micaiah, by saying: “”How many times shall I make you swear that you tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?” (1 Kings 22:16) Speaking what is right is the only solid foundation of any nation or kingdom! The King of Kings has established His spiritual kingdom entirely upon truth, for He told the Roman, Pilate: “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#abomination, #bible-study, #god, #king, #nation, #obedience, #proverbs, #righteousness, #wickedness

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(#101) The Proverbs of Solomon 15:27-Bribery Will Get You Nowhere—Good!

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 15:27: “He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house, But he who hates bribes will live.”

Those who are “greedy for gain” will accept “bribes.” The size of the bribe determines the “loyalty” of the perverse! The truth in this proverb is amplified in the teaching of the Apostle Paul: “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:9-11).

A “bribe” is something paid behind the back, under the table, or in the open for influence, profits the one receiving the bribe, who then perverts judgment. “Bribes” destroy justice, fairness, honesty, and will overthrow “the land.” “The king establishes the land by justice, But he who receives bribes overthrows it” (Proverbs 29:4). A government is overthrown when: back-door deals determine how a politician votes; lobbyists provide greedy politicians selfish gain for their votes;  “civil service” no longer is the desire of “civil servants;” lawyers gain more from their cases than their clients; judges rule according to political power and personal advantage than “blind justice.” What used to be called “bribery” in the retail world, is now “kickbacks,” “sweeteners,” “carrots.” The practice of bribing officials, that used to imprison mobsters for “corruption,” now is called “investments,” “campaign funds,” “foundations,” “lobbying,” “inducements.” Jay Leno once quipped: “Earlier this week the Senate voted 97-to-0 for tougher regulations. For example, when corporations buy a senator, they must now get a receipt.” Denis Kearney has summed up government corruption with these words: “They have seized upon the government by bribery and corruption. They have made speculation and public robbery a science. They have loaded the nation, the state, the county, and the city with debt.” American Founder George Washington said: “Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.” Solomon said: “A wicked man accepts a bribe behind the back To pervert the ways of justice” (Proverbs 17:23). God banned bribes in Moses’ Law: “And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the discerning and perverts the words of the righteous” (Exodus 23:8). God knows human nature better than humans do, and that even “the righteous” can be changed from what’s right by bribery. Church leaders like preachers, priests, bishops, and elders further their perversion of truth because of bribes.

“A gift in secret pacifies anger, And a bribe behind the back, strong wrath” (Proverbs 21:14). Bribery is but for a fleeting moment of relief from an immediate situation, but whoever takes the bribe has shown a conscience that has a price. Someone else’s “price” will also be accepted!

“Surely oppression destroys a wise man’s reason, And a bribe debases the heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:7). Because only corruption and compromised principles of righteousness are associated with “bribery,” God cannot be bribed! “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe” (Deuteronomy 10:17). “But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality” (Colossians 3:25). Bribery will get you nowhere with God, and nowhere for good!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #bribery, #corruption, #god, #partiality, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #righteousness

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(#89) The Proverbs of Solomon 14:34-God’s Burden Against America

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 14:34: “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.”

“Righteousness” is the state or condition of being “right,” as defined by God: “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous” (1 John 3:7); by His commandments: “My tongue shall speak of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness” (Psalm 119:172); by His example: “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).

Governments exist to protect the “righteous” within their citizenry: “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake” (Romans 13:3-5). Every law; court-ruling; verbally-abusive, bullying, headlined propaganda piece; Harlotwood perversely slanted movie or TV program will be considered in God’s Judgment of this, or any other, nation! Speaking to Christians about the Jewish persecution of them, Paul wrote: “For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16).

God would not destroy the homosexually-corrupted cities of Sodom & Gomorrah (Genesis 18:20; 19:1-11) if there were as few as 10 righteous among them (Genesis 18:23-33), but there weren’t. God had a “burden” of judgment against nations, countries, and cities where sin had prevailed: Babylon (Isaiah 13:1) and Nineveh (Nahum 1:1); Moab (Isaiah 15:1); Damascus in Syria (Isaiah 17:1); Egypt (Isaiah 19:1); and Arabia (Isaiah 21:13). Assyria (not covenant-keepers of Moses’ Law!) was told by the prophet: “The LORD has given a command concerning you: ‘Your name shall be perpetuated no longer. Out of the house of your gods I will cut off the carved image and the molded image. I will dig your grave, For you are vile’” (Nahum 1:14). Since then, none of these have ever arisen again to their former prominence and power! Since Jesus Christ, no country is God’s chosen People except the spiritual kingdom known as the churches of Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 16:16).

All God requires of every nation is to uphold and encourage right-thinking and right-doing: “Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,’ says the Lord GOD. ‘Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin’” (Ezekiel 18:29-30). God is “fair,” for He accepts anyone who obeys Him: “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him’” (Acts 10:34-35).

Jesus Christ pronounced the principle that saves: “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned’” (Mark 16:15-16). This Gospel obeyed, exalts any nation.

“The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.’” — George Orwell

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version,unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #burden, #church-of-christ, #commandments, #evil, #fair, #god, #good-works, #government, #judgment, #leaders, #obedience, #preaching, #proverbs, #righteous, #righteousness, #terror, #truth, #wisdom

What Are You Hungry For?

Dennis the Menace once said, “I said I’m hungry enough to eat a horse. I didn’t say nothin’ about carrots.” At times our hunger is more for what tastes good to us than what is good for us. Fran Lebowitz noted, “Mealtime is the only time of the day when children resolutely refuse to eat.” They often hold out for a “Happy Meal” or something sweeter to the taste than carrots or spinach, etc.! The burning question for millions in our culture is not, “Are you hungry?” but “What are you hungry for?” We have to get that worked out because practically every town and city in our nation offers a plethora of places to eat. Do you want Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, even Thai? Will it be fish tonight, or pork, or a steak, or chicken? Sushi anyone? Maybe spaghetti or pizza? In our “go out to eat” culture, the choices are seemingly endless, and so, to reiterate, we often hear the question, “What are you hungry for?” Investigative journalist Eric Schlosser revealed that we often opt to feed on “fast food.” In his 2001 best selling book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, Schlosser reported that Americans spend more money on fast food than on higher education, computers, computer software or new cars. In fact, according to Schlosser, we spend more on fast food than movies, books, magazines, newspaper and recorded music — combined. That’s a lot of Big Mac’s and Krystals and Chic-Filets and Frosties and tater tots.

So, what are you hungry for? Americans crave a fast fill-up for all kinds of hungers — fortune, fame, fun, power, possessions, sensual pleasure, etc. But Christ challenges us to think outside the Big Mac box when He says in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.” These words compel us to think beyond the felt, physical needs of the body to the deeper spiritual needs of the soul. God wants us to experience a hunger and thirst for the holy. In a world with more appetite for what feels right than for what God says is right, Christians must maintain an acute appetite for righteousness and the things that feed it. I grew up on a farm where we had cows, ponies, chickens, and even a few pigs to tend and feed. One thing became clear through my experiences on that farm — if a cow or horse or pig is healthy, it has an intense appetite for the stuff cows and horses and pigs eat and drink — clover, crushed corn and grain sorghum, other grains, hay and, of course, water. And they stayed busy feeding their hunger and slaking their thirst. You never had to brow beat them or preach sermons reminding them to eat and to drink the things that livestock are supposed to eat and drink! Their appetites and how and what to feed them came built-in. Now, there are no “holy cows,” but Christians are called to be holy and love what is right. Do you hunger and thirst for the holy? Are you on a diet that feeds righteousness — Bible reading, prayer, worship assemblies, etc.? What are you feeding and drinking into your mind and heart and home? Just what are you hungry for? Think about it.

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and He who believes in Me shall never thirst” – Jesus Christ, John 6:35

Dan Gulley – Smithville Church of Christ

#jesus, #religion, #righteousness, #sermon-on-the-mount, #spiritual-questions

The Frustration of Falling Short

I’ve been a fan of the TV show “Ninja Warrior” long before it ever came to shores of America for a couple of reasons.

1) It looks like fun!

2) It looks like a lot of fun!!

But at the same time I know the competition is serious business. Major, major training goes on. People’s lives are revolutionized, physically speaking, because of their desire to complete the physically and mentally grueling four-stage course. Thousands of people, including professional athletes, have attempted to conquer the feat lying before them to reach the top of “Mt. Midoriyama” but a very, very, very limited few have actually reached their goal.

If you watch the show very long you’ll know one thing to be true – to fall short of your goal is to fall frustratingly short in a way that words can hardly describe! You see, if don’t already know, you only get one shot per year. Your run has to be perfect for it’s all or none!

I hear a spiritual application in that!!!

To fall short, well the spiritual application there is about as clear as day to anyone familiar with the word “sin” itself. But in case you don’t know, the word “sin” literally means, “to miss the mark, or to fall short of the standard.” And when it comes to life a standard from God has been given and it requires perfection. His righteousness is the standard and our sin causes us to fall miserably short of the goal!

Yet when we, as Christians, fall short, slip, have a misstep or a momentary break in our concentration we have one who is there to pick us back. We have one who is willing and able to allow His righteousness to win the victory at Mt. Zion for us! We have a Savior who completed the courses of life and he completed them perfectly for us as Paul said in Romans 3:22-26: “…For there is no difference;  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

But at the same time this Savior expects us to train, to fight, to run and to encourage others as they compete on their way through the stages of life and that’s why God’s word encourages us to stay in the game, to keep on keeping on even when failure comes our way. Jesus has the won the victory for us. He has the met the standard on our behalf. But He will not make us get up and He will not make us finish if we do not want to. And in that I say let’s keep going, competing and running toward the rest that will be found on top of Mt. Zion by faith our faith in Jesus lest we know what it feels like to fall frustratingly short of it all!

Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” (Hebrews 4:1-2 – NKJV)

#american-ninja-warrior, #faith, #jesus, #righteousness, #sin, #spiritual-analogies, #tv

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(#44) The Proverbs of Solomon 11:20-21-Is Anything “Right or Wrong?”

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 11:20-21: “Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the LORD, But the blameless in their ways are His delight. 21 Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished; But the posterity of the righteous will be delivered.”

The God-drawn line between right and wrong, good and bad, righteous and unrighteous, perverse and blameless remains clear to God, despite human efforts to cloud the issue. Other proverbs that teach this include: Proverbs 15:9: “The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But He loves him who follows righteousness;” Proverbs 15:26: “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD, But the words of the pure are pleasant.” There are many who, in their arrogant wickedness, seem to be asking: “Who is the LORD, that He can tell me what’s ‘right’ and ‘wrong?’” When the most powerful king of his day, “Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go’” (Exodus 5:2), then 10 plagues later, and after the destruction of his kingdom, Pharaoh had found out! No matter who challenges God’s “right” to rule, no one has been left standing who did!

God has been, and still is, always delighted with “the blameless.” “Blameless” simply describes the condition of not being condemned by the rules. Under Moses’ Law, priests in the temple were (Matthew 12:5); Zacharias and Elizabeth were (Luke 1:5-6); Saul of Tarsus was (Philippians 3:4-7). Jesus’ Cross and Gospel are to let sinners who obey become “blameless” (Philippians 2:14-16; Colossians 1:21-23; 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13; 5:23). Note that “The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him” (Nahum 1:7), this last phrase is quoted by Paul in 2 Timothy 2:19 as still being true!

A union of sinners, expressed as to “join forces” (literally, hand to hand), cannot overpower God’s line of “righteousness.” This is repeated in Proverbs 16:5: “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.” God’s line between “right and wrong” has never, and will never be, outvoted, overpowered, outlasted, or outdone! There is no strength of numbers great enough to change, alter, shrink, or erase God’s dividing line of morals!

God finds abominable everyone who teaches otherwise! Proverbs 17:15:”He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.” The prophet, Isaiah, was inspired to decry: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). Jesus Christ reflected this teaching in Luke 16:15: “And He said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.’”

The only hope for anyone is to recognize that there is a difference between “good and evil,” admit it if you are found on the wrong side, repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bad, #bible-study, #blameless, #good, #perverse, #proverbs, #right, #righteousness, #unrighteousness, #wisdom, #wrong

We Need to Study the Bible Because it’s the Source of Our Faith

Faith is believing in and following through on God’s word (Hebrews 11:1, James 2:14-20), and “faith comes from hearing the word of God” (Romans 10:17). No place, no other book, no latter-day prophet, no spiritual experience and no path devised by man brings a person to the saving faith in God that’s necessary like the Holy Spirit does through the written word revealed through the gospel to the world (Romans 10:5-15). The Bible tells us what to preach, what to grow in, what to abstain from, what we’re to be busy doing, where we’re going, why we’re going there and how we’re going to get there! Faith needs starting and faith needs building and God’s word through the Bible is the one-stop place for them both. A person doesn’t know what to believe until we’re given something to believe – spiritual speaking, this is where the Bible comes in.

The Bible reveals the standard of God’s righteousness through the gospel of Jesus and then provides the faith necessary to receive the grace of God that comes through that faith (Romans 5:1-2, Ephesians 2:8). Living by faith is more than a saying – it’s an actual way of life that’s learned through the study of God’s word: “For in [the gospel – 1:16] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17) Hearing the word of God begins a person’s journey of faith, it will tell us where to turn and it will bring us to end of the road where our faith in Jesus will become a sight that sees Him (2 Corinthians 5:7, 1 John 3:2). Faith looks forward and faith must be fed (Galatians 2:20, Matthew 4:4) so when it comes to a faith-filled soul the “manna” from above will not send us away hungry when we come ready to eat (Matthew 5:6, 1 Timothy 4:6).

Studying the word of God will bring us to the foot of the cross and on into the throne room of Heaven. It contains the power filled wisdom of God that opens the eyes of sinful hearts to see the sinless Son of God who died so we may have mercy this day and on the last day (1 Corinthians 2:4-14). Nothing else in the world outside of the scriptures of God teaches us about the gospel that makes men and women free and keeps us free through faith in Jesus. Paul told Timothy this much when he said, “…from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15). Wisdom in the writings of men will only get a person so much – wisdom in the word of God can give us the gift of salvation through the gospel!

Why should the Bible be studied? Because the Bible tells us what’s worth believing and what’s not worth our time, it tells us what we’re worth and what price was paid for us, it tells of God’s saving grace and of the One who died to make that grace available through faith, it tells us the standard of God and how we can reach it through Jesus, it will hold on to us through hope and keep the eyes of faith enlightened till we see our home in Heaven. These are just a few reasons why we need to study the faith giving and faith feeding word of God contained in the Bible.

For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13)

 

#bible-study, #christian-living, #faith, #faithfulness, #god, #living-by-faith, #righteousness, #salvation, #source-of-faith, #theology, #we-need-to-study-the-bible-because

Ripen and Rotten

The way fruit progresses and regresses is simply amazing. Its growth takes time, care, patience, etc. Its death doesn’t take much and is can hastened in multiple ways.

Nations have a funny way of mirroring fruit. They grow slowly, building piece by piece, and then all of a sudden you have a strong, vibrant, working nation that has a future unrivaled by many others. On the other hand, their demise is eerily similar to an oxidizing, softening and withering piece of fruit that no one has any interest in other than those who wish to get drunk of its fermentation.

On May 17, 2004 the first American state (Massachusetts) legalized homosexual marriages. Less than a decade later, with the addition of Delaware as of May 7, 2013, the total is now 11!

America has ripened slowly. Over 230 years after out official “birth” and we still haven’t topped out our potential, but potential doesn’t get anyone anywhere – actions do! As for our potential, we’re flushing it down the toilet. All of the hard work, dedication and correction of past national errors are being wiped out one government (of the people, for the people and by the people, mind you) law at a time. The speed at which we have gone from a ripe nation to a morally rotten nation is amazing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the nation has ever been perfectly upright across all spectrums. But what I am saying is that as a nation we are quickly getting to a point to where we don’t have any eyes to see the spectrum!

God justly and righteously judges nations – all of them! The book of Daniel reminds the world through the recorded correction of Nebuchadnezzar that:

This decision is by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men.” (Daniel 4:17)

God has a time line and a purpose with every nation, and it is not my place to say where exactly America disappears from her usefulness to God’s will concerning both good and evil (2 Peter 3:9); but I can say that like fruit which has seen better days, there is more going on that what simply appears to the eye. A nation that has had the ability to do so much good spiritually speaking has been in the cross of hairs of the dragon for quite some time, but by the grace of God we have found ourselves on the more enjoyable end of God’s providence, but as we choose to stop ripening and start rotting from the inside out, the falling mountains, sun, moon and stars may begin to pick up speed.

What’s a Christian to do? If we’re an American we have our political influence – voting, writing and calling our elected officials, etc. But more so we have a heavenly mandate to continue being the salt and the light that purifies and stays off the threatening’s of darkness loving bacteria through prayer and actions. In other words, we aren’t called to hold back the witness of our godliness in the midst of ungodliness whether they have eyes to see or not.

The scales of time will reveal God’s plan soon enough, but until then the scales of righteousness, temperance and judgment to come will reveal whether or not the fruit is gaining weight or loosing it – for that’s what the ripening and rotting process produces.

Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has taught Him? With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, and showed Him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales; Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.” (Isaiah 40:13-15)

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#current-eve, #homosexual-marriage, #homosexuality, #judgment-of-nations, #politics, #religion, #righteousness, #spiritual-fruit

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Psalm 119:137-144 Tsadde Keeping Right

It is fitting that the greatest tribute to the Word of God is IN the Word of God, itself, and is in the longest chapter of the Word of God! This Psalm has no author’s name, historical incident, or other distraction from its theme. It is divided into 22 sections (one for every letter in the Hebrew alphabet), each consisting of 8 lines, each line beginning with the alphabet letter of that section (aleph is the first letter of each line under the aleph section, for instance). The chapter uses some 8-10 different words to describe the Word of God, each bringing something extra to the total picture of the Word of Truth. In order to savor the depth and richness of teaching in this Psalm, we will examine each portion as if it were its own chapter.

Psalm 119:137-144  Tsadde                          Keeping Right

Verses 137-138 say, “God is always right;”

Verses 139-141 teach that God’s Word shows what’s right;

Verses 142-144 show one pleased to be forever right;

Verses 137-138: (Verse 137) God, Himself, is “righteous” (upright, unwavering). “Right” can variously be used of: direction (or “left”); morals (or “wrong”); truth (or “lie”), but God is always correct. God’s character is the absolute definition of “righteous,” just as He is “true” (John 3:33), “faithful” (1 Corinthians 1:9), “light” (1 John 1:5), “love” (1 John 4:16). His “judgments” (decisions) are “upright” (not slanted or varied). (Verse 138) God’s “testimonies” (words about His character) are “righteous” and “very faithful” (which isn’t describing an amount, but extent). “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).

Verses 139-141: (Verse 139) “Zeal” is passion, but needs to be for the right if “consuming.” This thought is completely given in Psalm 69:9 and there predicted Jesus’ cleansing of the temple (John 2:13-17). Believers should be “zealous” to correct the ignorance of those without God’s Word. (Verse 140) Just as metals are highly valued when refined or purified, God’s servants highly value God’s Word because of its purity. (Verse 141) A person who is “small” (in stature) and “despised” (in popularity) gains self-esteem by remembering God’s “precepts” (words highlighting or supervising the right way).

Verses 142-144: (Verse 142) God’s “right-ness” is “everlasting” (always right), and His “law” (defining the proper direction) is “truth” (accurate, factual). (Verse 143) Though “trouble and anguish” find us, we may always turn to God’s “commandments” (words urging, ordering what is right) which give pleasure and restore confidence in ourselves that we at least please God. (Verse 144) The absolute confidence in life is that God’s “testimonies” are always “right,” thus we live better now and forever when we “understand” them.

 All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible, #bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #faith, #god, #gods-word, #obedience, #righteousness, #truth, #understanding, #zeal

Some Can’t — No, Some Won’t Be Pleased

  • Some show anger toward God because he allows the freewill of men and women which results in mankind being able to make evil decisions. If God were to control us like robots and not allow freewill, the anger would still be shown on the basis of never being able to make our own choices!
  • Some show anger toward God and accuse him of disinterest, impotence and a lack of love because of the injustice he allows to happen in this life. When such are told that God will enact his justice in the life to come, the anger then turns to the accusation of unfairness, bullying and a lack of love!
  • Some show anger toward God when evil people are blessed with earthly gain. When God moves to punish the wicked in earthly ways the accusation then turns to God not showing the mercy he said he would!
  • Some show anger toward God because of his standard of righteousness and the burden of sin. Tell them about the righteousness fulfilled and of the burdens lifted at Calvary and the anger is directed towards God’s plan of atoning sacrifice through the innocence of Jesus!

The truth of the matter is that some will not be pleased with God because they do not want to be pleased with God. They are angry with God whether the “quarter lands on heads” or “whether the quarter lands on tails.” They not only disdain the acknowledgement of God – they disdain any acknowledgement of him! Beyond that, not only do they disdain his knowledge, they disdain any knowledge of him! Anger, wrath, self-righteousness, rebellion and idolatry is so bound up in their heart, eyes and ears that no matter what they feel, see or hear it will be what they want to feel, see or hear. When the evils of mankind’s lies, smacks, punches, whips, nails and taunts at the cross cannot be perceived alongside the goodness of God’s redeeming work then no amount of truth, touching, holding back, drying tears, healing wounds or words of encouragement from the throne of God will change a heart that so determines that the fault of evil rests upon the character of God’s heart and not upon the lack of character within the heart of mankind.

Some people refuse to be pleased by God no matter what is done by God.

But what comparison may I make of this generation? It is like children seated in the market-places, crying out to one another, We made music for you and you did not take part in the dance; we gave cries of sorrow and you made no signs of grief. For John came, taking no food or drink, and they say, He has an evil spirit. The Son of man has come feasting, and they say, See, a lover of food and wine, a friend of tax-farmers and sinners! And wisdom is judged to be right by her works.” (Matthew 11:16-19 – BBE)

#anger, #atheism, #judgment, #righteousness