HOW DO WE USE GOD’S TRUTH?

II TIMOTHY 2:24-26: “The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. Then they may come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” CSB

OBSERVATION: How should God’s people respond to those who oppose the truth? How can we walk in peace while we battle for the truth of the Gospel? What is the real source of the battle – behind the battle?

These are worthy things to consider in this highly charged and divided culture that we find ourselves in. On one side are those who are trying to vilify those who stand up for Biblical values. On the other are those who are taking their battle positions, but many without knowledge. When we draw lines with weapons (even verbal weapons), we are positioning ourselves for a war. In all of this the believer must check their motives and their heart.

When someone throws kerosine on any conversation, we must be careful that we don’t throw a match in retaliation. Quarreling never accomplishes anything. It only causes a fire to erupt that burns both parties. Yet, gentleness, with instruction in the truth, is like water on a roaring fire. It may not put out the fire that is raging from the other side, but it protects the one with the water of truth. However, if I succumb to temptation, and begin throwing fire, I too will be burned!

I remember when I grew up in Diamond Bar, California. The area I lived in used to be a large ranch. As it developed, we were surrounded by hills. The grass would grow tall in the winter, and then dry out and become a fire hazard in the summer. It seemed like every year the hills would burn. When there was a threat of fire danger, or when a fire erupted, we would stand with a hose and water down our shake shingle roofs. This was to keep it from catching fire from a floating ember. I think we need to get our hoses out in the current political and social climate we find ourselves living in.

Truth does not need to be yielded with a hammer. It only needs to be spoken. It can be spoken in gentleness, because the power of truth is not in the presentation, it is in the substance. Truth is powerful, simply because it is truth. In the midst of darkness, truth stands out as a light that pushes the darkness back! Jesus is the essence of all truth. They tried to push Him back, they tried to kill the truth, yet His truth defeated sin, death, and the grave! Our truth can do the same!

  • “In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:4-5 CSB

We have to keep one thing in mind when we are proclaiming the truth in love in a hate charged society. The enemy we are facing is never the individual. The enemy is the devil and his entrapment of the individual in the lies that bind them. They are striking out simply because they are bound and controlled by the enemy. And, the reality is, they do not know it. Remember, the great Apostle Paul imprisoned and killed Christians, thinking he was doing God’s work, until he met the truth (Jesus) on the road to Damascus.

When we are young we are ready for battle. Armies do not enlist old men to go to war and fight on the front lines. Yet, Paul calls young Timothy to temper his enthusiasm with gentleness and wisdom. Paul reminds Timothy that the battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the crafty and deceitful plans of the the devil. And, Paul reminds Timothy that our goal is not to prove we are right, but to lead people into the freedom that is found only in Christ Jesus!

  • “Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. Then they may come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”

As I write this I am speaking to my own heart. I am not a young man any more, but I am tempted many times to strike out in the zeal of my youth. I need to fight the battles I face from my knees. When I am on my knees I am surrendered to the Lord, positioned in prayer, and open to His voice and leading. To fight the battles on my knees does not mean I do not speak the truth. It simply means I do not charge ahead with the truth outside of the timing of God, and without the heart of God.

God’s heart is always directed toward the restoration and salvation of sinners. Even when he hung on the cross, Jesus looked upon those who mocked him and rejected the truth and said – “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Paul ultimately was martyred for his proclamation of the truth. However, Paul was not martyred for his delivery of the truth. His delivery was with gentleness and confidence in the one in whom He believed!

Lord, thank you for reminding me of this important truth today. You did not give me the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, as a weapon to destroy those who oppose the truth. You gave me this weapon to destroy the one who holds those who oppose Your truth in chains. Your sword is given to overcome the enemy, to break the chains of darkness, and to set the captives free. Help me to use this sword wisely, with gentleness and precision, and always in love!

In Jesus Name!

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WILL I MAKE IT THROUGH?

II TIMOTHY 1:8-10: “So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me his prisoner. Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God. He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. This has now been made evident through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” CSB

OBSERVATION: Will I make it through? When everything seems to be piling up one by one, and I am at my breaking point, is there still hope? What does my weakness remind me of during these times?

Have you ever been at a breaking point in your life? I am not talking about when you face a few small problems. I am talking about when one mountain piles up on another, and another, and another, and another. This is where I find myself at this moment of writing and reflection. This is not to rehearse my current woes in order to illicit sympathy. This is to process these events in light of God’s Word and the truth that sustains me.

Here is a list of what I am facing at the moment. I have faced recent health issues that have left ongoing concerns and a large hospital bill. I am part of a health sharing network, but still have not seen anything in sharing yet, and have had to pay these bills out of pocket. On top of this, we lost our tenants for our leased home in Texas. I am now paying a second mortgage, all expenses, and utilities, while we try to find another tenant. And, in my job, we are facing one of the biggest customer issues that could actually take down our company if not handled right. And, yes, I am the one holding the ball. Finally, I am facing personal attacks and disappointments that are striking me at the very core of my being.

Why do I share all of this? Because this morning, as I opened the Word of God, and sat in reflective prayer, I did not know where to go and what to do. And, then, in my daily reading, the Lord reminded me of His faithfulness through Paul’s letter to young Timothy.

  • “So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me his prisoner. Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God.”

I have felt there has been a great dimension of spiritual warfare in the list above. All of this as we are still trying to adjust to a new community, and I am trying to launch a new ministry and follow God’s leading. I have felt like a boxer on the ropes. Unable to make progress. Unable to see ahead. I know the enemy’s tactics. He tries to wear us down in order to get us to give up. Yet, Paul reminded Timothy where his power came from. It was not from Timothy’s resolve. It was from the power of God! The only way we can face the mounting difficulties we face in life is through the power of God!

I needed to hear this. When I look at my power tank, it is both empty, and there is a large gaping hole in the side. Yet, when I look at God’s power tank, it is always full, always sufficient, always available! Paul had learned this through the personal battle with his “thorn in the flesh.” And, now Paul was trying to remind Timothy and encourage him in the midst of Timothy’s battles.

Paul also called Timothy to reflect on his calling. Many times when we go through the fire we feel like God has forgotten us, or that our calling is somehow void because of our weaknesses. Yet, our calling is never based on our efforts or performance. Our calling is based on God’s love, grace, and mercy!

  • “He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. This has now been made evident through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

His calling, and His faithfulness to fulfill His calling in us, is testified through His life, death, and most importantly His resurrection. When He rolled away the stone from that dark tomb, He proclaimed that He would roll away the stone from every tomb and trial we face in our life. We know that we will make it through every trial of this life because of the fact that we have been transferred from mortality into immortality though Him who has loved us. If we are immortal in Him, we will make it all the way! And so Paul goes on to say to young Timothy,

  • “For this gospel I was appointed a herald, apostle, and teacher, and that is why I suffer these things. But I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.” 2 Timothy 1:11-12 CSB

Lord, this morning, thank You for Your Word. Thank you for Your calling. Thank You for the empty tomb. And, thank You for the wonder of knowing You. Like Paul, may I be fully persuaded that You are both guarding me, and that You are fulfilling in my life all that has been decreed and entrusted by Your grace – until that day!

Until that day…

In Jesus Name!

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AM I PURSUING “GODLINESS”?

I TIMOTHY 4:7-9: “But have nothing to do with pointless and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness. For the training of the body has limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance.” CSB

OBSERVATION: How much time do I give to exercising my spiritual life? If I created a pie chart of all the things that occupy my life, what would it look like? How big would the slice of pie be that is devoted to training myself in godliness?

Life is tough. It is filled with responsibilities, challenges, and demands. And, life is short. In the blink of an eye, the high-schooler that was walking down the isle to receive his diploma, is now making the last minute adjustments to his retirement plan. And, in the midst of all this, there is the concern for our health. Someone has said, you can have everything in life, but if you don’t have your health, you really have nothing.

So, our culture is unduly focused on health and appearance. There is always a new weight loss plan, or the next great exercise machine that will do it all in the comfort of your home. Creams, lotions, and miracle pills are marketed to allow one to maintain that youthful appearance. It seems there is a preoccupation with the external man, and a loss of focus on the spiritual man.

Recently, I came across a great quote. Someone said, “We always hear, life is short, do everything you can to enjoy it now! However, we should be saying, life is eternal, do everything you can to prepare for it now!” One has its focus on the clock that is running out. The other on the great expanse of what will be. Godliness focuses on the eternal. It recognizes that everything in this life is passing away.

  • “Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 CSB

Like many, I have lost some dear loved ones. I have said goodbye to my parents, and to one of my closest friends. Yet, all of them knew the Lord. They are not lost, they have simply passed over the bridge of life into eternity. This life is not short. It is the opportunity of preparing for the next life that has no end.

In reality, this life is no different than the 9 months we spent in our mother’s womb. During that time we focused on the development of our body. We really didn’t do anything. God did it all! And now, in this life, we are called to focus on the things that are eternal. To make godliness, becoming like Jesus Christ, our chief goal. It is not how many toys we have when we die that counts. Rather, it is how much we have become like Jesus.

When we focus on godliness, we receive two benefits. Paul told Timothy, “…but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” Godliness, focusing on the development of our spiritual life, will do more to impact our health and well being in this life than any retirement plan, exercise machine, or miracle cream. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control will actually improve our health and give us a radiance in life that nothing else can!

Yes, we still need to be wise with our finances, plan for our retirement, eat well, and exercise. This is good stewardship of the gifts God has given us. However, we need to look at the pie chart of our life. The piece that represents our pursuit of godliness needs to grow. We need to spend more time in the Word of God, worship, prayer, and service in the Kingdom. In other words, we need to exercise the inner man on a daily basis!

I have seen many a person’s faith shipwrecked by misplaced priorities. They once had a promising and growing ministry. Pursuing godliness, they naturally came under attack. And, when they reallocated their devotion to the wrong areas of life, they quickly lost their zeal, and their spiritual life began to decline. The results have not been pretty. In the wake of these decisions are failed marriages, wounded children, and derailed ministries. This is exactly what the enemy wants!

The enemy cannot steal our soul once we belong to Jesus Christ. Therefore, he will try to steal everything else! His desire is to bankrupt us for the next life so that we enter into it – “…as through fire.” What is our greatest defense? It is the pursuit of godliness! It is keeping Jesus the center of our life! It is focusing on the inner man above all else!

Lord, help me to grow in godliness. Help me to become more like Jesus Christ. Direct my focus to heavenly things. Give me eyes that see the eternal, grace to pursue it, and faith to persevere.

  • “For the training of the body has limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance.”

In Jesus Name!

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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO COMMON SENSE?

PROVERBS 8:5: “Learn to be shrewd, you who are inexperienced; develop common sense, you who are foolish.”CSB

OBSERVATION: What ever happened to discretion? What ever happened to common sense? In a day when we have a plethora of information available to us at the touch of a finger, why do we still end up doing some really foolish things? I had to look in the mirror when I read this verse in Proverbs!

Solomon, writing to his son, tells him two important things. If you are inexperienced, you need to become shrewd. You need to learn how to use discretion. If you are prone to making foolish decisions, you need to learn some good old common sense. Both of these qualities can be learned, but they are rarely, if ever, learned in a classroom or from a textbook. These qualities are learned on the highway we call life.

Yet, we are not called to learn them in a vacuum. If I am inexperienced, I only need to find someone who is more experienced in the area where I am lacking. If I am faced with a decision that may lead to a foolish end, I need to seek out someone who has walked this pathway a bit longer than I have, and who will be able to lend some credible and needed context and wisdom.

I still struggle in these areas. In some areas of my life I have done well. And in others, I have been pulled in by the lure of something that looked too good to be true. What I have found in life is twofold. First, there is no free cup of coffee. Second, if it looks too good to be true – it is, period!

When I negotiated the purchase of a candle manufacturing plant for my parent company, I was congratulated and then told – “Now get it running!” I knew nothing about making candles. The plant was shut down, and the equipment was not even geared for the product we wanted to make. I needed help. And in this scenario, I did well. I reached out to those with experience and longevity in the industry. I became a diligent study. And, I gained discretion and some good old common sense! And, the candle company became a great success!

However, just the other day, I did something really stupid. I was in the emergency room for some heart tests, having been admitted with chest pains (I was concerned because I have an artificial heart valve). My cardiologist was detained with three heart attack patients. I was the low man on the triage pole. It was 16.5 hours before I saw my doctor. I was bored, so I began surfing Facebook. This can always be dangerous!

I love to go the Facebook marketplace because it has learned my proclivity for old cars. I get to look at all the cars I wanted as a youth, although they are too expensive now for me to own. As I was surfing the marketplace, there was a pop-up ad for a beautiful, black, Ovation guitar – for a ridiculously low price. I was bored, tired, tied to the monitors, and thought – why not! It was at this moment that I put all the common sense I had in a bag and hid it under the bed. I made the purchase, even though I knew in my head and heart it was too good to be true. Yet, I thought – “WOW – what if it is true!”

Fast forward. The website changed 4 times. The tracking number disappeared. I was scammed! Fortunately, I was able to report this to my credit card company. But, why did I do it in the first place? Why didn’t I exercise the common sense that I had learned over the years? I think it was because I was tired, bored, and at that moment, I refused to listen to the still small voice in my heart. The Holy Spirit is our teacher, and the provider of common sense and discretion. If I simply would have listened to Him, I would have avoided all the hassle.

So, there you have it. One glaring victory. One stupid action. This is much of what life seems to be for most of us. Yet, I really don’t think the Lord wants any of us to live this way.

I love these verses from the book of Isaiah,

  • “For people will live on Zion in Jerusalem. You will never weep again; he will show favor to you at the sound of your outcry; as soon as he hears, he will answer you. The Lord will give you meager bread and water during oppression, but your Teacher will not hide any longer. Your eyes will see your Teacher, and whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: “This is the way. Walk in it.” Isaiah 30:19-21 CSB

So what have I learned from this? I need to listen to the Lord at all times. I need to learn discretion and common sense. If something looks too good to be true – it is! Especially on Facebook :). There is no free cup of coffee. Wisdom and understanding are God’s gift to us to protect us on the pathway of life. And, when we don’t know what to do, pray, and listen to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. It really will save us from a lot of silly mistakes!

Lord, thank You for Your Word which daily gives me wisdom, understanding, discretion, and good old common sense. The next time I try to buy a guitar for an impossible price, well…You know!

Thanks!

In Jesus Name!

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THE BIBLE AND THE WELFARE STATE…

II THESSALONIANS 3:10-13: “In fact, when we were with you, this is what we commanded you: “If anyone isn’t willing to work, he should not eat.” For we hear that there are some among you who are idle. They are not busy but busybodies. Now we command and exhort such people by the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and provide for themselves. But as for you, brothers and sisters, do not grow weary in doing good.” CSB

OBSERVATION: What does the Bible have to say about the welfare state? What is welfare? Is it the support of the poor, or is it the dehumanizing of an element of our society? What should the qualifications for welfare be? These are questions that are worthy to be considered from this text.

Welfare, defined, is the health, happiness, and well being of an individual or people. Socially, it has come to refer to government programs that help the poor with the support they need to provide the basic human needs for their family. This is an admirable goal, one the Scriptures support, and a practice that was modeled by the early church.

  • “Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” Acts 2:44-47 CSB

Welfare was directed toward those in need. It was never meant to be the sole support of an individual, unless that individual was unable to work. Yet, just as in today’s society, people began to take advantage of the care and support of the church. Paul addresses those who were simply living off the efforts of others, even though they were physically able to work. His words seem a bit harsh, but in reality they were words of wisdom and love.

  • “If anyone isn’t willing to work, he should not eat.”

Why would Paul make such a bold statement? Didn’t he care about those who were in need? Paul absolutely cared about those in need. Yet, he cared enough to call out those who were abusing the church’s provision for the poor. And, as a society, we should be bold enough to do this to those who are abusing and living off the welfare state. Should we do this just to put them in their place, or is it for their own benefit? It is for their benefit, and the benefit of the whole of society.

Paul points out that those who abuse welfare, who are physically and emotionally able to work, actually rob themselves and others.

  • “For we hear that there are some among you who are idle. They are not busy but busybodies. Now we command and exhort such people by the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and provide for themselves.“

Paul knew something that we have forgotten in our society. The abuse of welfare hinders the productivity of the society as a whole, and it robs the individual of the dignity of human worth that is found in work. When one of able body and mind rides on the coattails of another, they hinder the productivity of the one working. Work is not part of the curse of sin – it is the gift of God. And, God wants everyone to be productive and fulfilled through their work!

  • “So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.” Genesis 1:27-28 CSB

Purposeful and fulfilling work was part of God’s creative order. Mankind was created to manage the earth. He was called to plant and till the earth, to bring forth crops through his labor, and to live from his toil. There is a dignity that only work can bring to the human soul. When we allow this to be taken away we dehumanize an individual and rob them of their worth. Yet, many might object – “What about the poor?”

Paul does not forget the poor in his admonition of the church in Thessalonica. He goes on to say,

  • “But as for you, brothers and sisters, do not grow weary in doing good.”

Our hearts, and the heart of any society, should be open to doing good and helping the truly poor among us. Those who are disabled, both physically and emotionally unable to work, should be cared for and supported. Yet, this support should never become a system whereby people are able to abuse the care of others in order to avoid their own participation in society.

As we move into another presidential election cycle, it is important to listen to what the candidates are proposing. Promises of “free stuff” are simply empty promises. They are simply taking from those who are willing and able to work and giving to those who are not. This will not better our society, it will ultimately harm it. And most importantly, it will rob the individual from discovering and employing their God given calling and gift of work.

A society that works is a society that is productive and generous. It is able to grow and support the weakest among them. And, it does not rob the able bodied individual of their true worth and dignity by allowing them to live off the support of others. It gives them a pathway to become a productive member of society and enjoy the fruit of a good days work.

Lord, help us to become this society.

In Jesus Name!

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WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO MERCY?

JOB 16:1-5: “Then Job answered: I have heard many things like these. You are all miserable comforters. Is there no end to your empty words? What provokes you that you continue testifying? If you were in my place I could also talk like you. I could string words together against you and shake my head at you. Instead, I would encourage you with my mouth, and the consolation from my lips would bring relief.” CSB

OBSERVATION: What ever happened to mercy? We all want it. We all need it. And yet, it is a diminishing economy in today’s culture. The hallmark of our justice system is that one is innocent until proven guilty. Yet, we try and convict one another in the court of public opinion before any facts are known. Job was the victim of such an attack.

The old adage is, “Don’t kick someone when he is down!” Yet, we kick and throw rocks with our words. Words have the power to kill and to give life. When we use our words to judge one another we err on two counts. First, we assume the position of God who alone is the final judge. Second, we withdraw mercy and compassion and replace it with words that kill.

Job had lost everything. He lost all of his possessions, his children, and his health. Struggling to understand his calamity, and suffering from intense pain from boils that covered his entire body, he needed comfort, encouragement, and mercy. Yet, he received nothing but criticism and judgment. His family and friends turned on him in his deepest and darkest moment in life.

Job had a choice. He could harden his heart, or he could keep calling out to God. He could become bitter at his friends, or he could call them to mercy. Job did not mince words. His friends were miserable comforters. Yet, Job reminded them of what a true friend should do when they go to a friend who is lost and suffering. They should extend mercy!

  • “If you were in my place I could also talk like you. I could string words together against you and shake my head at you. Instead, I would encourage you with my mouth, and the consolation from my lips would bring relief.”

This is true with someone who is going through a great trial and suffering. It is also true with someone who does not know the Lord. We quickly forget the mercy we received from God when we were lost in our sins. Saved and redeemed, we should be extending mercy to the lost. Of all people, we should have compassion for those who are bound by thoughts and actions that are opposed to God and are leading them toward destruction.

Apart from the mercy of God we all would still be lost in our sins. If it was not for His mercy, Jesus never would have come to a world that rejected Him, to die for their sins. And, if we are honest, if it were not for the mercy of God, we would have been cut off a long time ago. All of us have sinned. We have all held thoughts that are against the counsel of God. We have rebelled, sinned willfully, and yet – God in His mercy has called us back and restored us!

This is not to excuse sin or the consequences of our actions. If we play with fire, we will be burnt. Yet, without God’s mercy we would all find ourselves in the middle of the bonfire. It is God’s mercy that called us from our sin, restores us when we sin, and keeps us from sinning. If God does not withdraw His mercy from us, should we withdraw it from others?

When we forget God’s mercy we no longer have a passion to reach the lost. Instead, we write them off. We gather together with others who are like minded and agree with us. We look with disdain at those who oppose the things of God. Instead, we should look upon them with mercy! The spiritual blindness they are experiencing should motivate us to reach them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We never can forget the mercy that God has shown to us!

  • “Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or males who have sex with males, no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom. And some of you used to be like this. 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.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 CSB

Lord, in this day when the temptation is to judge and write off those who are not like us, who do not know the truth of the Gospel, help me to position my heart in mercy. Let me never forget the truth – “…and such were some of you…”. I was a sinner, lost and positioned against God in the way I thought and acted, and yet – the mercy of God reached out and touched my life. Lord, thank you for your mercy! Help me to be merciful in my life, my actions, and my words!

  • “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7 CSB

In Jesus Name!

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WHAT IS THE ANSWER TO THE SENSELESS VIOLENCE IN OUR NATION?

PROVERBS 8:13-17: “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom; I am understanding, I have strength. By me kings reign, And rulers decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, All the judges of the earth. I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me.” NKJV

OBSERVATION: What is the answer to the senseless acts of violence we see in our nation? The increase of mass shootings is a tragic problem that was unknown when I was a child. Violence has always been a part of the human condition due to sin. However, the random increase of senseless violence on a mass scale is something that is a product of our culture. What is the cause? What is the solution?

To add to the tragedy of a senseless act of violence that takes away precious lives, is the pontification of politicians that use such a tragedy for their own gain. The news of the event is not even fully known before people position their political hammer to craft their position and further their agenda. We do not even have time to mourn before the finger pointing begins. This truly is a tragic situation.

So is there any hope? Is there any solution? Is it our education system? Is it the lack of gun control laws in our land? Is it the anger over the political divide in our land and the verbal rhetoric that is causing this uprising of senseless violence? Is it our disregard for human life and the proliferation of violent movies and video games? The list and the questions could go on and on. We face a sociological cancer and we are trying to solve it with a weed whacker rather than removing the root cause.

The root cause of the social condition that is fostering the proliferation of violence is, there is no fear of God in our land! We have removed the basic tenants of morality on which the founding fathers of our nation established the laws of our land – the Ten Commandments. We no longer teach the principles of morality that were written in stone by the finger of God. These tablets lie broken and discarded in the trash heap of our schools, our courthouses, our government, and most importantly – our public square. Without the fear of God – there is no understanding of what true evil is.

  • “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.”

Evil becomes relative. To kill becomes subjective. The sanctity and value of human life is devalued. Pride replaces humility and leads to arrogance and the evil way. The mouth betrays the heart. What we say becomes our reality. We speak evil and espouse hatred and violence, and then we are shocked when it is acted out in our public square. We want to attack the visible weed while ignoring its root. Pass another law that will not be enforced, create another bureaucracy that itself will become corrupt, and pat ourselves on the back thinking we have addressed and solved the issue.

Jesus, on the Sermon on the Mount, took the 10 commandments and illuminated them. He exposed the true heart condition of mankind. When the 10 commandments proclaim, “Thou shall not kill,” Jesus revealed the heart of the Father regarding this command.

  • “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.” Matthew 5:21-22 NKJV

What gives someone the insight into the true spirit of the law? It is the fear of God!

  • “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7 NKJV
  • “The fool has said in his heart, “ There is no God.” They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good.” Psalms 14:1 NKJV

When there is no fear of God, there is no understanding of what is evil. When there is no understanding of what is evil, there is no moral consciousness or restraint. There is no amount of money, legislation, or social programming that can change the heart of man. Only turning to God in sincere repentance, and returning to a reverence for His commands, will bring about any lasting change in our culture. Without this, we will continue with an endless debate, and propose endless solutions, that will never close the gate of violence that is prevalent in our nation.

Lord, our hearts are broken, and we cry out to You for the victims of the senseless violence of the mass shootings that have just taken place once again in our land. We pray for a move of Your Holy Spirit in the hearts of all Your people to begin to pray for a revival, a great awakening, that will turn both hearts and our nation back to the fear of the Lord. May every house of faith begin to teach and proclaim the fullness of Your truth. And, may we position ourselves in love towards all those who oppose Your Word, being willing to count the cost of ridicule, misunderstanding, hatred, and even death.

In Jesus Name!

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