402:  Are You a Murderer?  Probably So

402: Are You a Murderer? Probably So

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus equates anger with murder (Matt. 5:21-22), in much the same way He equates lust with adultery (Matt. 5:27-28).  Later, John adds the following:

1 John 3:11-15 – For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love (agapaō) one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother.  And why did he murder him?  Because his (Cain) works were evil and his brother’s (Able) righteous.  Do not marvel (wonder, be surprised, astonished), my brethren (fellow believers), if the world (kósmos) hates (to detest, an active ill will in words and conduct, a persecution spirit) you. We know (eidō) that we have passed from death to life, (how) because we love (agapaō) the brethren.  He who does not love (agapaō) his (personal) brother (fellow believers) abides (rest, make their home) in death.  Whoever hates (to detest, an active ill will in words and conduct, a persecution spirit) his (personal) brother (fellow believer) is a murderer, and you know (eidō) that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.


Anger + Hatred = Murder

John also equates anger and hatred with murder.  And he states that “no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”  This is a profoundly important point.  Which raises a couple of questions:

Have you been angry with a fellow Christian?
What was the cause of your anger?  Was it the holiness of God?  Or some personal preference about which you felt slighted?
Are you still angry with that person?  And if so, why?
Did you know that, according to the Scriptures, you are guilty of murder?  Why?  Because the one you hate and murmur about was created in the image of God.  And to hate someone created by God, who is also made in the image of your God, is to hate God.  You cannot love the Creator and hate His creation.

The Scriptures call this murder.  Are you confused?  Do you think hatred and murder are two different things with two different penalties?  Do you want to know what the Scriptures say about anger and murder?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Matthew 5:21-22.

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401:  How Life Changes in a 100 Yard Swim

401: How Life Changes in a 100 Yard Swim

In John 21, we have the account of Jesus revealing Himself to a few of His disciples while they were fishing.  As soon as it was revealed to John that it was Jesus on the shore, he said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” (John 17:7).  And in perfect Peter style, he overreacted and jumped into the water to swim to Jesus.

But by the time he swam the 100 yards to where Jesus was, something happened.  You can see it in Peter’s demeanor.  You can almost feel his reluctance to approach Jesus.  Why?  Maybe Peter was afraid Jesus was angry with him for his denial in the courtyard.  Or maybe Peter was ashamed he had drawn the others away and gone fishing, back to their old life, like nothing important had happened these last three and a half years.

Or maybe Peter hadn’t forgiven himself for his denial of Jesus.  Maybe he was ashamed.  Who knows?


Change is Not Always for the Better

But something changed.  Not just with Peter, but with all the disciples.  They had excitement and passion that can only come from belief while on the boat.  But once ashore, it seems more like calm reservation.  In fact, John goes out of his way to tell us what the disciples weren’t thinking.  It was his way of trying to explain the strange way they approached Jesus.

John 21:12 – Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.”  Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord.

There are life lessons to be learned in these fourteen verses.  Profound lessons.  Are you interested?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on John 21:1-14.

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Stop Empowering the Fools

Stop Empowering the Fools

Today, I am amazed at how Proverbs 18 shines a light on the current situation in this country.  Just turn on the news and you’ll find the truth of Proverbs 18:2 splattered all over your screen.  Does this sound familiar?

Proverbs 18:2 – A fool (dull, stupid, arrogant) has no delight (pleasure, desire) in understanding, but in expressing (venting, revealing, disclosing) his own heart.

We watch these pundits shoot their mouth off about any and everything that comes into their minds as if it dropped from the lips of God.  As if they, and they alone, had the keys to all truth.  They consider themselves wise in this age because of the platform we’ve given them.  That’s right, we’ve elevated them to where they are by giving heed and importance to the words that come out of their mouth.  We, by our continued involvement in watching them vent the foolish bile that flows from their heart, have given credence and credibility to what they say.  If we watch and listen to them, their platform inevitably grows.  And if we turn away from their foolishness, they will soon be gone.  We hold the power to their influence in our lives, not them.  Maybe it’s time we began to use it.

This proverb sums up their life and motivation quite well.  Their delight is not in understanding the issues of today or the truth of those issues.  Their delight and pleasure come from venting what they think or feel or what seems right in their own eyes.  They tirelessly promote their agenda and twist the facts to support their talking points.  They assume that they alone are the standards of truth and we are too simple to understand the facts ourselves.  We obviously need them to tell us what to think and what to do.  Yet we forget the Proverbs call these type of people fools— dull, stupid, and arrogant.

As Forest Gump would say, “Stupid is as stupid does.”  But is he talking about us?  Or them?


Toxic Verbal Waste

The words that come out of a fool’s mouth are designed to stir up fights and foster controversy.  There’s no value in speaking truth unless it pushes forward the agenda.  Consider the following:

Proverbs 18:6 – A fool’s lips enter into (to go in, to bring) contention (strife, controversy, quarrels, disputes), and his mouth calls for blows (strikes, or a slap to correct insolent behavior).

That’s exactly what happens with the media today.  They pour out the anger and hatefulness in their heart, criticizing everyone and everybody who does not think like they do, and create contention for the sake of stirring up controversy.  But, as the Proverbs say, what they need is a punch in the mouth, a fist in their face, a belt in the chops.  A classic John Wayne moment.

But maybe we need the same thing.  Maybe we need a slap in the face for listening to the dribble that comes out of their mouth.  Maybe we need a wake-up call.  Maybe we need someone to slap us back to reality.  Maybe we’ve become just as arrogant and stupid as they are by listening to the arrogant and stupid things that come out of their mouth.  Maybe we also delight in contention, quarrels, and strife.

Maybe we’re no better than they are.  Maybe we’ve got blood on our own hands.


Our Addiction to Gossip

Those who spend their life speaking ill of another become addicted to the sin of building themselves up by tearing someone else down.  Proverbs 18 speaks to this also.

Proverbs 18:7 – A fool’s mouth is his destruction (ruin, terror, downfall), and his lips are the snare (bait, trap, lure) of his soul.

The more a man verbally tears down another, the more his entire being become enslaved to the sin of gossip.  Having a bitter and quarrelsome attitude becomes part of their DNA.  Words of praise and adoration are foreign to them.  But mocking words of sarcasm and condemnation become second nature.  They take over their being.  They are now the fruit of their hearts.  They possess their soul.

Do you know why a steady diet of gossip turns into an eating disorder?  The Proverbs do.

Proverbs 18:8 – The words of a talebearer (liar, gossip, slanderer, one who murmurs and whispers about others to attack them verbally) are like tasty trifles (to gulp, swallow greedily), they go down into the inmost body.

Those who are honored and exalted by their ability to gossip and slander another, much like the media today, become addicted to that sin.  They are in the limelight only because of their ability to verbally attack another, with false innuendos and half-truths.  They gulp and swallow greedily for another tasty trifle, some shared falsehood, about someone else.  And they hunger for some unsubstantiated rumor they can use to malign their character and murmur behind their back.


Welcome to Western Media in 2017

Come on, aren’t you tired of it?  Haven’t you had enough?

Then no longer go to these fools for the facts.  There are hundreds of alternative news sources that report truth, and not agenda.  The problem is that they are not as well known and CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, and the others.  You may actually have to do some digging on your own and then practice biblical discernment.  You may have to work for a change and not fall back on what is easy and spoon fed to you from your sofa.  You may have to pay a price to know truth, and not the politically correct agenda that our culture is being indoctrinated with.

Remember the truth.  Remember where the truth can be found.  And cling, like a drowning man to a piece of driftwood, to the truth.  The only truth.

Proverbs 18:10 – The name of the LORD is a strong tower (an elevated place of strength and truth); The righteous run to it and are safe (inaccessible high).

Do you realize the elevated place of strength where the name of the Lord is proclaimed and the righteous run to for safety, may be the pulpit?  For the pulpit is to proclaim the truth, God’s truth, and cannot fall prey to the trappings and changing opinions of this world.  And those who run to it are safe.  Why?  Because God’s truth never changes and never fails.  And from the pulpit, God has ordained His truth to be proclaimed and His name magnified.

Something to think about, isn’t it?

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Day Fifteen:  Proverbs 15

Day Fifteen: Proverbs 15

These are just a few of the encouraging truths found in Proverbs 15.  I pray they will be a blessing to you today.


Truth One: God is Sovereign

In your times of trouble, remember these encouraging words:

Proverbs 15:3 – The eyes of the LORD are in every place (He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and so much more), keeping watch (beholding, guarding as from a high tower) on the evil and the good.

After all, He is sovereign. And nothing catches Him by surprise.  As someone once said, “Has it ever occurred to you that nothing ever occurs to God?”  Rest in this truth today.


Truth Two: Actions Matter

How important is prayer and a life of striving to live righteously before Him?  It’s the key to becoming the beloved and delight of the Lord.  Consider the following:

Proverbs 15:8 – The sacrifice (offering) of the wicked is an abomination (disgusting, unclean, wicked, horrendously offensive) to the LORD, but (by contrast) the prayer of the upright (straight, just, pleasing, in a moral and ethical sense) is His delight (pleasure, will, deemed acceptable).

It gets more intriguing.

Proverbs 15:9 – The way (path, journey, manner of life) of the wicked is an abomination (disgusting, unclean, wicked, horrendously offensive) to the LORD, but (by contrast) He loves him who follows (to chase, run after, pursues) righteousness (blameless in conduct, integrity).

Note the distinction.  The difference between becoming His delight or being horrendously offensive to the Lord is the condition of your heart.  Wickedness brings pain and rejection.  Living upright, holy and righteous, as He is upright, holy, and righteous, bring His pleasure and delight.  And He loves the one who pursues, in both actions and attitude, His righteousness.  You see, actions do matter.

And just in case you’re not yet convinced your actions and attitudes have eternal consequences, look at who gets their prayers heard:

Proverbs 15:29 – The LORD is far (distant, remote, far away) from the wicked, but (by contrast) He hears (to listen, have regard for) the prayer of the righteous (just, those blameless in conduct both morally and ethically).

God hears the prayers of those who live like Him.  But for the wicked?  He’s moved on, out of town, not interested.  That’s scary.


Truth Three:  We Don’t Have All Day

Looks like it’s a choice we make to determine which team we want to play on:  the righteous or the wicked.  I don’t know about you, but my desire is to live righteously for Him and to become His delight.  Is that your desire also?  Are you chasing after Him in hot pursuit?  Then let’s get to it.  We don’t have all day.

Maybe this will give you something to shoot for this week.  After all, nothing else really matters, does it?

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400: Count the Cost, Pay the Price

400: Count the Cost, Pay the Price

Life teaches us that anything worth having has a price attached to it.  Nothing of value, other than salvation, comes free.  “No pain, no gain,” as the saying goes.  Jesus spoke that same truth in Luke 14:26-33.

And the same principle applies when it comes to understanding and experiencing spiritual gifts.  There are some things we must do and some things we can expect.  Let’s look at our part first:

You must have a desire for more of the Lord.  A desire for the Spirit’s gifts.  But that desire means more than calm, wishful, thinking.  Consider the following

1 Corinthians 14:1 – Pursue love (agápē), and desire (zēlóō – to burn with zeal, to be heated or to boil with envy, to lust, covet) spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

Then you must cultivate a vibrant prayer life.  This takes time and effort.  But the rewards are life-changing.

And finally, you must be willing to fast.  Why?  Because the Lord links fasting, for some reason, with prayer and spiritual fervency.  They seem to come in a package.  Two for the price of one.

Do you want to know more about growing deep in your intimacy of the Lord?  Do you want to begin living in the realm of the gifts the Spirit has given you?  Do you want to let Him manifest HImself to the world through you (1 Cor. 12:7)?  Great.  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.

To download the slides for this message, click – HERE

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