Posts Tagged ‘Worldliness’

I am sick at heart. How long, O Lord, until you restore me?” (Psalm 6:3)

“The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.” (Isaiah 57:15)

Restore us, O Lord, and bring us back to you again! Give us back the joys we once had!” (Lamentations 5:21)

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly.  He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” (Psalm 37:23-24)

“‘My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you.  For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.’  As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children  Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father?  If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.  Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how.  But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness.  No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening–it’s painful!  But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.  So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees.  Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.”  (Hebrews 12:5b-13)

The Lord restores.  The Lord can, does, and will restore anything He wants to, for the whole world and everything in it belongs to Him.

We experience loss in our lives from many different sources; things we cherish become casualties of living in a fallen world and we watch as things and people we love die, relationships end, reputations flounder, possessions disappear.  Many of our sacrifices add up to so little in return or to nothing at all; dreams and ambitions get thwarted or we outright fail in so many ways.  Sometimes we lose precious, irreplaceable things through no fault of our own.  Sometimes we are directly responsible for painful losses we experience; our own sin, our own horrible judgment decisions rob us and destroy us.

This is a personal post, one in which I am compelled to document on a personal level that the Lord restores.  What can easily be called “The Lost Years” of my life were caused by my rebellion.

For me, there was a 4 year window of time in my young adult life where I was given the opportunity to take the next step in my educational path and attend a wonderful college to pursue my undergraduate degree.  The sky was the limit.  This was an opportunity in discovery that could go either way, to my benefit or to my destruction.

I was afforded the life that many do not get to live.  The campus was a paradise.  The classrooms, library and fitness facilities were state of the art.  The best.  Even the dining hall food was excellent.  I could have seized the moment in every way to feed my mind with every marvel in education I was curious about. I could have sculpted my body into physically the strongest and fittest version of myself possible.  I could have spent my time in social settings, doing fun, healthy things with others, forging and fostering lifelong friendships and relationships.  I could have networked and belonged to strong communities that would aid me throughout my life as I needed them.  I could have grown strong in my faith and spent my time renewing my mind and life in the beauty and guidance of God’s Eternal Word.  I could have given to others in so many ways and been a light in their lives.  I could have…I should have…

But instead of achieving these virtuous things, I was attracted to trouble makers who had no focus, no ambition, no goals of any worth.  I was attracted to carefree, lazy, godless people who only cared about having a good time and so I became just like them.  I managed to graduate from school after 4 years there, but aside from my paper, I have nothing to show for my time there other than heartache and regret at all the opportunities that I foolishly threw away.

These thoughts and many more have been a heavy burden on my heart for a long time. The sobering reality that I cannot ever go back and do it over has haunted me.  If only I could go back, I would do it right.

This may seem petty in the grand scheme of the world and world events.  It may seem petty in comparison to what most people consider true loss, myself included. I am not naive to tragedy and real loss, but loss happens on many levels and it impacts us in many different ways.  For me, this was a loss that landed squarely on my shoulders.  I was completely to blame for the collective loss of 4 years of my life that I have dubbed “The Lost Years”.   My sin; my own rebellion did this to me.

But the Lord restores.

After 15 years, the Lord has given me a new opportunity and I have the chance again to seize every good thing from this new window of time.  It’s like a smaller-lesser version of the Parable of the Lost Son has happened to me: I had it made, went away, squandered everything, was a loser, returned to the Lord, committed my life to Him again, and after several years of wondering what could have been ‘if only’, I am being restored in a very tangible and pleasantly emotional way.  Of course, the Parable of the Lost Son concerns the eternal implications of being lost and found, but it speaks to my heart greatly when I consider it as also applying to my earthly life and what I have lost due to my rebellion.  I praise God that He has saved me from eternal destruction.  I also praise Him that He is able to restore me in my life on earth as well.

The heartache of loss and regret I’ve carried for 15 years is the fuel that keeps hot the fire that is refining me.  I am grateful for this new door that has opened to me. To walk through it means that I must leave the room of emptiness I have been trapped in for so long.  I get to finally leave that room and shut the door behind me. I get to walk through the door of opportunity once again and make the most of what awaits me on the other side of it.  Just the knowledge alone that there is a new, fresh chapter opening up to me has restored my hope, my outlook on my life, my outlook on myself, my perception of my own worthiness, all of which had been what seemed irreversibly damaged because of my own sin.

The Lord restores.

As the children of God, we have the promise from our Lord that He makes things new again.  The Lord restores.  “Behold, I am doing a new thing!” Though Job did nothing to deserve the horrible things that happened to him, Scriptures say that, when Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored all of his fortunes and blessed him even more (Job 42:10-17).  Likewise, Joseph and many other people in Scripture suffered loss through no fault of their own.  But they were restored.

King David, who was directly responsible for heart-wrenching losses because of his sins (the child he created with Bathsheba died and he watched of 70,000 die by plague because he took a census of his warrior count instead of trusting the power of his Lord, to name a couple) also experienced the restoration of the Lord.

Does restoration mean that we get back exactly what we lost? No, it does not.  But the effects of loss take a toll on our spirit, our minds and our bodies.  As the saying goes, perception is reality.  Through the renewing of our minds in our communion with the Lord, He restores us.  This restoration may sometimes manifest itself in our physical world and belongings as well, but He restores US.

Praise the Lord for second chances.  Praise the Lord that He chastens, disciplines and then gently helps us to stand.  Praise the Lord for the wilderness, for when we have wandered through it on our own accord only to be left parched and barely hanging on, He offers the oasis to quench our thirst and give us life again. Praise the Lord for the experience of The Lost Years in whatever form they come, for without the acute and sharp knowledge that we have lost something precious, we take for granted what we have, particularly time.  Praise the Lord for new beginnings, the reminder of which we have every single day with every rising sun.  Praise the Lord that the earth and everything in it belongs to Him, for everything is at His disposal and perfect judgment.  Praise the Lord for His unfailing Love, for without it all is lost and can never be found.

I write this entry from the perspective of one who has experienced the rush of being set free from a spiritual and emotional bondage; the heavy shackles of regret and longing.

However, just last week, I wore those shackles.  Yet, I knew I am loved by Christ Jesus.  I knew I would be restored, whether in this life or in the eternal life He has given me.  Christ’s love is sufficient for everything and I have lived my life for several years now trusting in His love every single day.  I did not know that it was His desire to help ease my mind over my version of The Lost Years, but now I know.

If you are experiencing “The Lost Years” now or if you are lamenting your past, I am writing this for you.  The Lord restores.  The Lord can restore you if something precious has been taken from you. His love is sufficient.  The Lord can restore you if you are suffering by your own hand, your own sin.  His love is sufficient.  The Lord can restore refreshing waters into the desert wilderness you live in.  Whatever our circumstance, however seemingly hopeless, the Lord is infinitely bigger.  He can handle our mess and restore us.  Have hope.  Pray.  Answer your conscience.  Sin no more.  Whether in this life or in life eternal or both, the Lord is Mighty and He restores and makes new again. What an amazing thing it is to be the recipient of a gift so wonderful.  Praise the Lord.

“In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)

“Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the court secretary, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the Lords Temple!‘ Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan, and he read it.  Shaphan went to the king and reported, ‘Your officials have turned over the money collected at the Temple of the Lord to the workers and supervisors at the Temple.’  Shaphan also told the king, ‘Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.’  So Shaphan read it to the king. When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair.  Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and Asaiah the king’s personal adviser: ‘Go to the Temple and speak to the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah.  Inquire about the words written in this scroll that has been found.  For the Lord’s great anger is burning against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words in this scroll.  We have not been doing everything it says we must do.’  So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to the New Quarter of Jerusalem to consult with the prophet Huldah.  She was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, the keeper of the Temple wardrobe.  She sad to them, ‘The Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken!  Go back and tell the man who sent you, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this city and its people.  All the words written in the scroll that the king of Judah has read will come true.  For my people have abandoned me and offered sacrifices to pagan gods, and I am very angry with them for everything they have done.  My anger will burn against this place, and it will not be quenched.  But go to the king of Judah who sent you to seek the Lord and tell him: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the message you have just heard: You were sorry and humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I said against this city and its people–that this land would be cursed and become desolate.  You tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord.  So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace.  You will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city.'” So they took her message to back to the king.” (2 Kings 22:8-20)

You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.  For people will love only themselves and their money.  They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful.  They will consider nothing sacred.  They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control.  They will be cruel and hate what is good.  They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.  They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.  Stay away from people like that!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

“I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he appears to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God.  Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not.  Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.  For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching.  They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them what their itching ears want to hear.  They will reject the truth and chase after myths.  But you should keep a clear mind in every situation.  Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord.  Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.”  (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

The “day” has officially come when, world-wide, good is called evil and evil is called good, dark is called light and light is called dark, bitter is called sweet and sweet is called bitter (Isaiah 5:20).  These days are the days when the Holy ways of God are turned upside down and those who faithfully follow His ways are mocked, punished and persecuted.

If any of us is lucky enough to own a Bible, but we neglect the truth and power contained within its pages; if our Bible is ornamental or a space holder on a bookshelf, collecting dust, sitting silent, then we are like the people of ancient times who, having no king and no one to share the Book of the Law with them, did what seemed right in their own eyes. We have no supreme guidance or direction and no foundation of truth from which to address any moral question.  The ancients did what seemed best to them, but when they found the Book of the Law of God and learned what was truly right, they panicked and tore their clothes in despair for how wrong they really were.

The Holy Scriptures of God renew our mind with truth every time we read or hear them.  The Word is life-giving.  It guides us. It directs us.  It gives us wisdom and discernment.  It shows us right from wrong and even shares examples from people’s lives as they did right/wrong and the blessings/consequences that resulted from their decisions.  It protects us and shows us the best way for our life.  Knowing the Word of God and obeying it brings peace and prosperity to the land, our communities, our families.  Where God is honored, we find His presence.  Where He is dishonored, we find His judgment, for the world and everything in it belongs to Him.

But we live in the days when the Word of God is intentionally stifled and contradicted world-wide.  The creation mocks and defies the Creator.  Those who believe the Bible are mocked as being naive and child-like. Our values, likewise, are openly scorned by the world.  In many parts of the world, we are targets of hatred and violence.  In the West, the freedom to believe and worship the Lord is fast disappearing, as our very existence offends the emerging groups of people who love to celebrate their own ways in contradiction to the Holy ways of God.

The ways of the world are aggressively promoted in every avenue of communication available.  If we do not know the Word of God, we can easily be deceived and confused into accepting evil as good and in danger ourselves of calling good ‘evil’.  

God stays His hand of judgment on the repentant, but how can we repent when we do not know the truth?  In a world where seemingly everything is becoming permissible, where evil is called good and is celebrated and encouraged, who is repenting of sin and desiring righteous living? How do we know what living a righteous life even looks like?

Attending church is not enough, for how do we know if our trusted church leaders are teaching us the truth unless we are spending time alone with God by reading His Holy Word?  He warns us many times throughout Scripture that false teachers are everywhere and that we must stay alert so as not to be deceived.

As servants of the Most High God, we have been called to stand on the Truth at all times and in every situation in Christ Jesus.  In order to do this, we must first know the Truth.  And to know the truth, we must dust off our Bible and spend time renewing our minds and our souls with the precious truth contained within its pages.  This is the only way to fight against the wiles of our enemy, who works day and night to separate us from our Lord and the truth.

Let us cling to the Word of God as we would cling to our most precious possession.  Let us cling to it as the world tries to wrestle it from us; as the world makes us suffer for it. These are the last days; the days of the Great Falling Away where popular opinion persuades the masses to abandon their values in favor of the latest societal trends.

When our Lord returns, how many faithful will He find?  Very few.

Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?  She is more precious than rubies.  Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.  She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.  She finds wool and flax and busily spins it.  She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar.  She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.  She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard.  She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.  She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night.  Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.  She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.  She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes.  She makes her own bedspreads.  She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.  Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders.  She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants.  She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.  When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.  She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.  Her children stand and bless her.  Her husband praises her: ‘There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised Reward her for all she has done.  Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.”  (Proverbs 31:10-31)

“And I want women to be modest in their appearance.  They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes.  For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.”  (1 Timothy 2:9-10)

According to the Holy Scriptures, there is nothing more precious than a Godly Woman.  So what characterizes a Godly Woman?

She is virtuous, possessing moral excellence.

She is capable; having the ability required for a specific task or accomplishment.

She is trustworthy, reliable.

She begins each day early and with purpose, planning the day’s work.

She is a hard worker, energetic, strong, passionate about her craft and spends her days perfecting it.

She suffers nothing from laziness.

She is intelligent and business-oriented, a co-provider for her family, making sure her work is profitable.

She is attentive to the worthy things in her life, carefully watching; she is not aloof.

She does not worry about her future or the future of her family; instead, she obeys God and trusts Him to provide their every need.

She cares about the poor and needy and helps them.

Her appearance is modest yet dignified, respectable.

When she speaks, her words are wise and kind.

If she is single, you will find her working hard at whatever craft(s) she is capable of.  She has a purpose that drives her; wakes her up early and keeps her occupied even into the night.  Her judgment is trusted by her family, employer, friends and even acquaintances. She is not known by flashy possessions or a flashy appearance, still people describe her as attractive because of her virtuous character.  Her friends confide in her with no worry that she would betray their trust.  She does not gossip.  When she speaks, she speaks intelligently and with kindness.  She cares about the poor and needy, thinks about them, helps them. Her solid relationship with God is evident in everything she does.  She is known by her virtues.

If she is married, her husband trusts her completely and he enjoys the confidence and freedom that comes with having a wife of noble character.  Her judgment is sound and trustworthy, especially in the areas of business and money.  She earns her own money and contributes to the family purse by her hard work.  She is a living example to her children on the matters of hard work and moral excellence.  She has the respect and praise of her family because she earns it every day; her husband is proud of her and he is highly respected by others because of her.  She and her husband are a power-couple the likes of which the secular world can only dream, because the foundation of their relationship is God, who blesses them. She greatly enriches his life, supporting him in anything he sets out to do.  Her husband and her children adore her as God adores her, and their relationship as a family glorifies God.

This woman may seem rather intimidating.  Is all this really possible?

Lest we get lost in the details or overwhelmed by what Scripture characterizes a Godly Woman as, reading the Scripture in the context of order and balance that reflects the perfect nature of God, she is NOT a workaholic, never stopping to relax.  But she is passionate; as evidenced by her laughter, she is balanced and free.  She laughs without fear of the future; she is not a worrier, but a woman of purpose and action, with a zeal for life.  She is quite simply a force to be reckoned with.

In sharp contrast, what we often see in TV shows, Hollywood, on the internet, on the news and even in the church are as follows:  Women who dress in revealing clothing that draws attention to their sexuality; who have vulgar mouths and short tempers; who are lazy and greedy and do not want to work; who actively look for others to fund their lives and recreation; who enjoy and look forward to activities of debauchery, drunkenness, promiscuity; who gossip and even make up lies to hurt or manipulate others; who cannot be trusted to do their job or to follow through with their promises or to be faithful; who frivolously and carelessly spend every cent they have and then spend even what they don’t have by using credit; who are self-absorbed, selfish, emotionally cold, with no care for those in need; who have no worthy ambition or purpose in life.

When choosing female friends, a girlfriend, a wife, the world is pretty shallow in its choices which usually fall into the categories of physical attractiveness and popularity.  As such, a lot of trouble, strife and pain are experienced both by the women and the people in their lives.  But that is what can be expected of the world; of Satan’s kingdom.

In the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, the woman is the companion of the man and together God has given them dominion of the whole world.  She is more precious than anything and she is a compliment to the lives of everyone she meets.  May God’s Kingdom come!

 

“Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom.  If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders.  But my Kingdom is not of this world.”  (John 18:36)

“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.  For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions.  These are not from the Father, but are from this world.  And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave.  But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)

“We know that we belong to God even though the whole world is under the rule of the evil one.”  (1 John 5:19)

What is “The World”?

According to Scripture, The World (Greek “kosmos”) is 3 parts:  1) it is the actual material earth/universe (Acts 17:24), (Matthew 13:35), 2) it is the people on the earth (John 1:10), (John 3:16), (John 15:18), and 3) it is the tangible and intangible things (science, education, philosophy, technology, medicine, politics, music, art, law, and commerce) OF the earth (1 John 3:17), (1 Corinthians  3:19), (1 Corinthians 7:31).

If all 3 parts of This World are under the rule of Satan and subjugated to his world system, what is a Christian to do?

First, we must understand our reality as Christians.

We are in the world, but are no longer OF the world because we are now in Christ Jesus.  We belong to Christ.  “If the world hates you, just remember that it has hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, then the world would love you as its own.  But I chose you FROM this world, and you do not belong to it; that is why the world hates you.”  (John 15:18-19)

We are in the world, and are called to be lights in the darkness.  “You are the light of the world–like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket.  Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”  (Matthew 5:14-16)  Jesus was the Light of the world while he walked the earth, and He sent the Holy Spirit to live inside of each of us.  We are commanded to be lights seen in the darkness.  Without us, there is no spiritual light in this world.

Second, we are to utilize the world system according to God’s will.  We should not avoid food, drink, entertainment, professional occupation, hobbies, interactions in this world.  But we are called to submit all of these to God’s will in our lives and obey His Word.  The Holy Spirit, Who lives inside of us, convicts each of us according to God’s purpose.  Hiding away in an effort to keep ourselves “clean” renders us ineffective in expanding God’s Kingdom.  In reality, we could live on a deserted island and still sin against God, if even only in our thoughts.  But we have been called to “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” (Mark 16:15)

We are in the world, and are supposed to be here, representing God’s Eternal Kingdom.  When Jesus prayed to the Father concerning his followers, he specifically said “I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but I do ask you to keep them safe from the evil one.”  (John 17:15)

Third, we are to remember that we are not welcome here in this world.  We are aliens in a hostile land, hated because we belong to Christ Jesus.  We simply don’t belong here.  This is not our home, and the things we see and interact with are not ours.  They belong to the world and to the ruler of this world, Satan.  They were here in this world before we were born and they will remain here when we die.

Fourth, time belongs to this world.  Our lives are short, like a puff of air, and completely meaningless outside of God’s purpose.  King Solomon, who had everything this world could give anyone, both lamented and exclaimed that everything in this world is meaningless folly.  Countless people living and dying with only a “chasing of the wind” to show for their existence.  Christians are expected to know better; to keep ourselves detached from this world even as we interact with it and live in it.

The world we look forward to, our world, our true home, is as of yet unseen, but Scripture assures us that nothing compares. We are to use the time we have in this world to glorify God’s great name, our very lives an obedient witness to His glory until he calls us home.

NOTE: this post is based on portions of Watchman Nee’s “Love Not The World (A Prophetic Call To Holy Living)”.

“Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.”  (Matthew 24:25)

“I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he appears to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God.  Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not.  Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.  For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching.  They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.  They will reject the truth and chase after myths.” (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

“…God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.  They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them.  For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky.  Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature.  So they have no excuse for not knowing God.  Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks.  And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like.  As a result their minds became dark and confused.  Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.  And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.  So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired.”  (Romans 1: 18-23)

What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.  What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever.”  (Isaiah 5:20-21)

“You have wearied the Lord with your words.  ‘How have we wearied him?’ you ask.  You have wearied him by saying that all who do evil are good in the Lord’s sight, and he is pleased with them.” (Malachi 2:17a)

“Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.  These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead. (1 Timothy 4:1-2)

“You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.  For people will love only themselves and their money.  They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful.  They will consider nothing sacred.  They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control.  They will be cruel and hate what is good.  They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.  They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.  Stay away from people like that! (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

The very first thing the Holy Scriptures teach us about our enemy Satan is that he is the most subtle and clever of all of God’s creatures of the field.  (Genesis 3)  He used subtle and crafty persuasions of falsehood on Eve and she acted upon them, introducing sin and death into God’s good world.  And we can see that Satan’s subtle lies have been his weapon of choice against God’s Kingdom and people throughout the whole story of humanity.  Satan’s sole objective is to destroy the works of God and he will stop at nothing to pervert and defile everything God has called ‘good’.   What better way to do this than to convince the whole world that what is good is ‘evil’ and what is evil is ‘good’?

The world’s society calls evil ‘good’ and good ‘evil’ on many different levels and is moving quickly towards tolerance of everything except Christianity.  It may soon seem preferable to be known as anything but a Christian.

Indeed, in this world the ways of the Eternal Most High God are called ‘outdated’ and ‘intolerant’.  Those who belong to this world scoff at God’s ways and see themselves as evolving to some higher state of existence as a society by means of ‘tolerance’ and ‘political correctness’. But the truth is their minds are dark and confused. They want the desires of their hearts, no matter how wicked, and they will call anyone evil who would dare contradict them.  They think they are wise, but God says they are fools.

Scripture tells us we live in the last days.  We belong to God, but we physically live in a world that is under the power of the evil one. (1 John 5:19)  We are not to be dismayed at what we see and hear going on in the world, but are called to set ourselves apart from it and to watch and pray.

And we are called to know the truth so we can discern the lies of Satan in the world and fight against his lies in our own lives.  We must always remember that his favorite style of warfare is subtle false persuasion.  He shoots his fiery darts at us from the safety of the shadows because if he stepped into the light, he’d be seen for the liar that he is.  Praise God, one day Satan WILL be seen by all and his whole legacy will be the epitome of ‘outdated’.

 

“Don’t sin by letting anger control you.  Think about it overnight and remain silent.” (Psalm 4:4)

“Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool.”  (Ecclesiastes 7:9) “People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.” (Proverbs 14:29)  “Fools vent anger, but the wise quietly hold it back” (Proverbs 29:11)

Worldly anger is the door by which Satan has come into many a home and destroyed everyone inside. It is the breeding ground for all kinds of devastation and the antithesis of God’s righteous anger, which is holy.

The Christian must discern between worldly and righteous anger and stay alert and on guard against worldly anger at all times.

We are to guard our hearts and minds against it and also take care not to provoke it in others. “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” (Proverbs 15:1) If we do provoke it in others, we are commanded by our Savior to make it right with them as soon as we realize that we have offended them (Matthew 5:23).

The Holy Scriptures tell us that those with understanding control their anger (Proverbs 14:29); those who are sensible control their temper and earn respect by overlooking wrongs (Proverbs 19:11).  The Scriptures tell us that hot-tempered people are fools who commit all kinds of sin (Ecclesiastes 7:9 and Proverbs 29:22)

A fool:

Lacks self-control and makes fun of guilt (Proverbs 5:23 and Proverbs 14:9)

Likes to hear himself talk and thinks his own way is right (Ecclesiastes 5:3 and Proverbs 12:15)

Responds hastily before listening to the facts (Proverbs 18:13)

Is without understanding; Values his own opinion over understanding (Deuteronomy 32:28 and Proverbs 18:2)

Feeds his mind with trash (Proverbs 15:14)

Chooses wrong over right and thinks it’s fun (Ecclesiastes 10:2 and Proverbs 10:23)

Despises wisdom and discipline; Hates knowledge and lacks good judgment  (Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 1:22 and Proverbs 8:5)

Slanders others (Proverbs 10:18), Belittles his neighbor and insists on quarreling (Proverbs 11:12 and Proverbs 20:3)

Brags; Is proud and plots evil (Proverbs 14:3 and Proverbs 30:32)

Is lazy and thinks only about having a good time (Ecclesiastes 4:5, 10:15 and Ecclesiastes 7:4)

Does not keep the commands of the Lord; Says in his heart ‘There is no God” (1 Samuel 13:13, Psalm 14:1 and 53:1)

Vents anger (Proverbs 29:11)

Each attribute of the fool directly conflicts with the holiness and righteousness of God.  Often, anger causes foolishness.  Imagine how many people who were otherwise upstanding in their lives have allowed anger to consume them and, in turn, have committed sins against themselves and others, violating their conscience, values and character and producing a domino effect of consequences.

This is not to say it’s a sin to get angry.  Anger is a natural human emotion.  But we must submit our emotions to the will of God or otherwise walk right into Satan’s plan of destruction for our lives.

The Most High God warns us against letting anger gain control of us.  If we obey Him and seek His counsel when we experience anger, He will keep our foot from getting caught in Satan’s trap of death; He will keep us from suffering the consequences and fate of fools (Proverbs 13:14).