..........Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com.........

Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Proverbs 5:1-2

Proverbs 5:1-2 1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
turn your ear to my words of insight,
2 that you may maintain discretion
and your lips may preserve knowledge.

In this chapter, the author tells the young man, presumably his son, about the dangers of sex. Of course, the same can be said for young women, daughters. This is the first of three poems in Proverbs that counsel about the “forbidden woman". Knowing King Solomon's history, it is from his own experience that he is warning his son. Some would take it to mean he has no moral ground for instructing and therefore his instructions should be ignored. How many young people have flung past indiscretions in the face of their parent and then gone off to ignore the parent's warning? But, if you were smart, you would take it to mean your parent experienced an unfortunate incident and is trying to keep you from making the same mistakes. Most parents love their children and would give them advice and warnings in order to keep them from making mistakes and having to deal with the consequences. Who better to warn than those who experienced the problems themselves? It would be better if we learned the easy way, but too often, we learned the hard way. We would spare our children from that if we could, so we give advice. It is our duty as parents to teach and train, to guide and give wisdom.

Of course, with immature teenagers, it doesn't matter if the parents had bad experiences or avoided making bad choices, the teen is going to justify their behavior.

"You don't know what it's like!"

"You did it, so why can't I?"

If they want to do something, they will look for a reason, any reason, no matter how illogical, to support their behavior. A teenager is biologically NOT an adult. They think they are, but you, as a parent, have to be the mature one and realize they are NOT an adult. Their brains still cannot function as an adult because they are not biologically there yet. Just like a toddler cannot understand the concept of time, a teenager cannot follow a thought through to logical conclusion. For instance, as mature adults, we know that smoking causes cancer and you can die a horrible death from smoking. A teenager will still choose to smoke because they cannot fathom themselves in the cancer wing of a hospital dying a horrible death from cancer caused by smoking. Their brains only go so far as to "look cool" with a cigarette hanging out of their mouths. And tobacco companies know this and it's why they target teenagers by promoting smoking in movies. They hope to get them hooked before they become adults with the ability to rationally make choices. As a parent, or guardian, it is our duty to impart wisdom.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of adults who don't show any maturity past their teenage years. I don't know why that is, but there are plenty of people who are adult age but have minds still stuck in their teenage years. They just don't seem to be able to reason and think logically. They don't have self control because they can't think a thought through to a conclusion. They basically live life on the surface with whatever initial thought comes to their mind. I call them flat thinkers. There is no depth and no ability to think deeply.

King Solomon had many wives and concubines (hundreds!). He could have been a sex addict based on those numbers. But then we don't know if he actually slept with that many wives or just kept them for political reasons. But, one thing is for sure, he did know what he was talking about. It was because of his many wives that he began compromising and then participating in idolatry, this despite being one of the wisest men. So his father/son talk about the dangers of sex came from personal experience.

Today, most don't listen to the godly wisdom given in the Bible about sex. Society has made up it's own rules to justify, and even "celebrate", sexual promiscuity and perversions. We are desperate to find ways to avoid the consequences of our sins. I.e., we want our sin but without the consequences. It's why condoms are big business, as are abortion, birth control, STD medical treatments. Why do you think it's so promoted in every TV show, advertisement, movie, book, magazine? Two reasons: it's what sinful people want and it makes big money. Alcohol sales alone are big money and alcohol lowers inhibitions which leads to more spending on drugs, condoms, and morning-after remedies like abortion, morning-after pills, trips to doctors, etc. We don't want any physical consequences to our choices to sin but we also spend a lot of money on sin. And that doesn't take into account the damage done to our souls and spirits. There is a lot of emotional baggage created by promiscuity and sexual perversions. And, as Christians, our born again spirit is affected by what we do with our bodies and emotions. The Bible says our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit. We damage our relationship with God when we give in to sin and don't repent. (Thank God, we can always repent and ask for forgiveness!)

But this is not just a parent giving wisdom to a child. It's godly wisdom. God's wisdom given to His children about sex, sin and idolatry. The forbidden woman is not just a prostitute, a loose woman, but is a satanic lure to sin, any sin. Satan makes sin look awfully good but it leads to destruction. The advertisement to sin makes it look perfect and does not show the devastation and destruction it really causes.

Expectation versus reality

King Solomon is saying we should learn the easy way, by godly wisdom. How do we learn godly wisdom? As a Christian, read the word, meditate on it, think on it, apply it and follow it. We have the option of choosing who we listen to. Use discretion as to who you listen to and whose advice you take.

Hosea 14:9 Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; Whoever is discerning, let him know them For the ways of the LORD are right, And the righteous will walk in them, But transgressors will stumble in them.

Ecclesiastes 7:12 (Amp) For wisdom is a defense even as money is a defense, but the excellency of knowledge is that wisdom shields and preserves the life of him who has it.

  • To be continually learning from others, without being resentful, is a sign of maturity. Are you willing to learn? Are you benefitting from godly wisdom or resenting godly wisdom?
  • Have you experienced things, good or bad, and thus would teach them to your children? Would you warn them against things you know are bad? Would you encourage them to do things that are good? Why?
  • As God's children, God has given us a manual of life called the Bible. He gives plenty of examples of good and bad, with lot's of wisdom and He uses many teaching tools. Why? Why did God give us His Word?
  • Can you think of a time where you used godly wisdom and were glad you did? Can you think of a time when you ignored godly wisdom and wished you hadn't?
  • Did you think God was just a kill-joy who doesn't want us to have a good time?
  • Can you see Him now as a Father who wants the best for His children?

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Proverbs 4:23-27

Proverbs 4:23-27 23 Guard your heart with all diligence,
for from it flow springs of life.
24 Put away deception from your mouth;
keep your lips from perverse speech.
25 Let your eyes look forward;
fix your gaze straight ahead.
26 Make a level path for your feet,
and all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your feet away from evil.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
Guard - נְצֹ֣ר (natsar, nə·ṣōr) - Verb - Qal - Imperative - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5341: To watch, guard, keep
Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon adds: Watch, guard, keep the way

your heart - לִבֶּ֑ךָ (leb, lib·be·ḵā) - Noun - masculine singular construct | second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3820: The heart, the feelings, the will, the intellect, centre, the inner man

"The fact here stated is that the moral conduct of life, its actions and proceedings, are determined by the condition of the heart. If the heart is pure, the life will be pure; if the heart is corrupt, the life will be corrupt." - Pulpit Commentary

Matthew 12:33-35 (Jesus speaking) 33 "Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. 35 The good man brings good things out of his good store of treasure, and the evil man brings evil things out of his evil store of treasure."

Matthew 15:17-18 (Jesus speaking) 17 “Do you not yet realize that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then is eliminated? 18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man."

Luke 6:45 (Jesus speaking) "The good man brings good things out of the good treasure of his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil treasure of his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks."

Mark 7:20-20-23 (Jesus speaking) He continued: “What comes out of a man, that is what defiles him. 21 For from within the hearts of men come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, wickedness, deceit, debauchery, envy, slander, arrogance, and foolishness. 23 All these evils come from within, and these are what defile a man.”

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
Put - הָסֵ֣ר (sur, hā·sêr) - Verb - Hifil - Imperative - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5493: To turn aside

away - מִ֭מְּךָ (min, mim·mə·ḵā) - Preposition | second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 4480: A part of, from, out of

deception - עִקְּשׁ֣וּת (iqqeshuth, ‘iq·qə·šūṯ) - Noun - feminine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 6143: Crookedness (of mouth)
Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers adds: A froward mouth.-Hebrew 'iqqesh-th, literally means distortion, or twisting of the truth

from perverse speech - וּלְז֥וּת (ū·lə·zūṯ) - Conjunctive waw | Noun - feminine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 3891: Deviation, crookedness

"A froward mouth, and perverse lips; literally, perverseness of mouth and waywardness of lips (ikk'shuth peh vulzuth s'phathayim). 'Perversity of mouth' is fraudulent, deceitful speech; that which twists, distorts, perverts, or misrepresents what is true, and hence falsehood" - Pulpit Commentary

Leviticus 19:11 Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.

Ephesians 4:25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are members of one another.

Zechariah 8:16 These are the things you must do: Speak truth to one another, render true and sound decisions in your gates,

Colossians 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices,

1 Peter 2:1 Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander.

"'To look right on' and 'to look straight before one' is to fix the eyes steadily and unswervingly upon an object before them, not to allow the gaze to deflect either to the right hand or to the left." - Pulpit Commentary

"Ponder the path of thy feet; properly, make straight or level the path of thy feet. . . Simplicity of aim in the moral life is to be accompanied by attention to the moral conduct. The sense is, remove every obstacle which may impede or render insecure the way of moral life, and thus avoid every false step." - Pulpit Commentary

Deuteronomy 5:32-33 32 So be careful to do as the LORD your God has commanded you; you are not to turn aside to the right or to the left. 33 You must walk in all the ways that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

"Keep thy heart with all diligence. We must set a strict guard upon our souls; keep our hearts from doing hurt, and getting hurt. A good reason is given; because out of it are the issues of life. Above all, we should seek from the Lord Jesus that living water, the sanctifying Spirit, issuing forth unto everlasting life. Thus we shall be enabled to put away a froward mouth and perverse lips; our eyes will be turned from beholding vanity, looking straight forward, and walking by the rule of God's word, treading in the steps of our Lord and Master. Lord, forgive the past, and enable us to follow thee more closely for the time to come." - Matthew Henry Commentary

There are action words in these verses:
Guard (your heart)
Put (away deception)
Keep (your lips from perverse speech)
Look (forward)
Straight (fix your gaze straight ahead)
Make (level your path)
Will (your ways will be sure)
Swerve (not)
Turn (your feet away from evil)

You don't guard worthless trash. Our heart is so valuable that God commands you to "guard your heart". Why is our heart so valuable? It is the essence of who we are. Out of this inner source, or wellspring, of thought and intellect, come our attitudes, our words and our actions. It is our being. It is the seat of wisdom, knowledge, experience, understanding, discernment, memory, thought (rational and irrational) and where we make our choices. It is the inner person: our behavior, our attitudes, our words, our character. Your heart is the reservoir of your life, and from it flows your decisions, choices, actions, behaviors and, ultimately, your character. When we use the term "heart" it doesn't mean the physical organ that pumps our blood. To me it means the soul of a person. Some people use the term "soul" to mean their "spirit". To me there is three parts to our being: our physical bodies, our soul and our spirit. When we are born, we are born with physical bodies and our souls. But we are missing the spirit. The spirit is born when we accept Jesus as our Savior and become a converted, believing Christian. It's what we call being born-again. Our bodies don't become newborn infants again. Our soul is not a newborn infant (thus the need for renewing our minds). It is the spirit that is born. We are once more the 3 part being that God intended (in His image). To me, our soul is our heart, our innermost being, what makes us who we are. Although, as I said before, some people use soul, heart and spirit interchangeably and you need to read, or hear the content, to recognize which they are speaking of.

When we are born, our souls/heart have limited programming. In a computer, there is a base memory programmed to get the computer started and running. It is a set of read only memory (ROM) instructions called ROM BIOS. We cannot access this memory to make changes. We are born like that and some of the things that are in this firmware (unchangeable) is our God given purpose (to worship God) and our seed of faith. Beyond this may be characteristics that arise and make us uniquely us. I may be born with a tendency to depression and I probably got that gene from an ancestor. This doesn't give me an excuse not to fight it. If it isn't godly and leads to sin, then I must fight it even if it's a natural tendency in me. All of us have something we are weak in and with which we must struggle against. The struggle is what makes us stronger and more of a godly survivor and warrior. We also have inborn strengths that can be encouraged. For instance, someone may be a natural musician or have a confident personality. Now, beyond this ROM BIOS, we begin to add environment, experiences, knowledge and we grow our inner man. You may have had good experiences, bad experiences, traumatic experiences, wonderful experiences and along the way, they can shape our inner person. Somethings we cannot control, they have been done to us or we were too immature to know how to handle whatever it was. But God can turn even those things into strengths and treasures if we let Him (that takes time and is part of the process of sanctification and healing). But what God is talking about in Proverbs 4:23 is to guard our hearts/soul/inner person when we can. I.e. don't choose to go to the seedy side of town and proposition a prostitute or don't go to pornographic websites or don't go into that bar and order a drink. These are choices that can harm the inner person, causing problems we didn't have to have in our thought life and our actions and our character.

Genesis 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was evil continually before God

This is a scary verse. This is describing civilization and society BEFORE the Great Flood of Noah. I.e. God had to bring judgment against millions of people, because their hearts were so evil continually! So if God judged those people for their wickedness, their evil imaginations and thoughts which ended up in evil words and actions... do we think He doesn't care what's in OUR hearts?

Romans 12:2 Be not conformed to this world; but be transformed by the renewing of your mind

Psalm 119:9-11 9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

When we have the control, we should make wise choices to guard our hearts. Another computer term is GIGO - Garbage In, Garbage Out. If I input faulty data, make data entry errors, then the computer will produce faulty, erroneous data. For example, if the meter reader inputs the wrong readings into the computer, then our power bill will be incorrect. If someone accidentally transposes a number or adds an extra zero, we get the wrong results. It can be costly results! So a computer's results are only as good as the data entered. So it is with our heart, our soul. We must take care not to involve ourselves in something evil, wicked, immoral, sinful. How do we input data into our heart/soul? One way is by our senses. We read, we hear, we taste, we feel, we smell. This is why sex is something to be very aware of and careful of. All our senses become involved and our bodies react and it becomes very hard to control after that. God knows how hard it is to control ourselves when our senses, our bodies and hormones get involved. It's why He warns us to guard our hearts. Don't open yourself to pornography; or to suggestive books, magazines and movies; don't participate in sexual innuendos, , dirty jokes, suggestive and flirty conversations; don't listen to vulgar and erotic music. Be careful with your thought life. Once we begin dwelling on something ungodly, it doesn't take long before the thoughts control us and action/behavior follows.

Guarding our heart also includes nourishing our heart/soul with godly things. Being careful to input good things that nourish our relationship with God. Reading the Word, prayer, worship, Christian music, godly conversation, Christian books, etc. It doesn't have to be all Christian music and only Christian books. Any good media can nourish our soul/heart such as good books, beautiful poetry, classical music, country songs about good family life (there are some out there, LOL), good TV shows, good movies, sitting on a beach and contemplating God, watching a sunrise and loving God for it, etc. But you choose whether or not to watch an uplifting movie or one filled with violence, sex and filthy language. Which one nourishes your soul and spirit and which one weakens our soul and spirit?

Set your eyes on God and keep Him as your focus and then make sure you make wise choices that keep your focus steady and true. When it's in your power and under your control, make wise decisions that help you rather than hurt you. Life is going to throw enough lemons at us (because we live in a sinful and fallen world surrounded by sinful, fallen and faulty human beings) without us making more trouble for ourselves by being stupid. Don't fill your life with garbage and then try to tiptoe through it without getting filthy yourself. It won't work.

Let me tell you a story about the Collyer brothers, Homer and Langley. Home and Langley Collyer were born into a wealthy family but once their parents died, they became recluses and retreated into their huge mansion in NY. In 1909, Dr. Herman Livingston Collyer (a gynecologist at Belleview who had married his first cousin, Susie Gage Frost) moved the family into a four-story brownstone in Harlem at 2078 Fifth Avenue. Both Homer and Langley attended Columbia University. Homer obtained a degree in admiralty law, while Langley studied engineering and chemistry. Langley was also an accomplished concert pianist; he played professionally for a time and performed at Carnegie Hall. The family had been parishioners since 1697 at Trinity Church. Around 1919, Herman Collyer and Susie Collyer separated. Dr. Collyer moved to a new home at 153 West 77th Street while Susie Collyer stayed in the Harlem brownstone. Homer and Langley, never married and never lived on their own and chose to stay with their mother in the brownstone. Dr. Collyer died in 1923 and Susie Collyer died in 1929, leaving the brothers all their possessions and the Harlem brownstone. After their mother's death, the Collyer brothers continued to live together. For the next four years, the brothers socialized with others and left their home on a regular basis. Homer continued to practice law while Langley worked as a piano dealer. Both also taught Sunday school at the Trinity Church. But they quit paying their bills and all utilities were eventually turned off. In 1933, Homer lost his eyesight due to hemorrhages in the back of his eyes. Langley quit his job to care for his brother and the two began to withdraw completely from society. As the area began to go downhill, rumors went around the neighborhood that the Collyers had valuables and cash stored in the house so they attempted to rob the brothers. Vandals broke the windows. Langley tinkered with inventions so he came up with booby traps to protect them. He wired the doors shut and boarded up windows. He got water from a park fountain, they heated a room with a kerosene heater. He scavenged food from trash cans.

On March 21, 1947, an anonymous tipster phoned the 122nd Police Precinct and insisted there was a dead body in the house from the smell. An emergency squad of seven men eventually had to begin pulling out all of the junk that was blocking their way and throwing it out onto the street below. Homer Collyer's body was found in an alcove surrounded by filled boxes and stacks of newspapers that were piled to the ceiling. He had only been dead 10 hours. He had died from starvation and heart disease. On April 8, 1947, a workman found the body of Langley Collyer ten feet from where Homer had died. It took that long for the crews to remove enough stuff to find it! The medical examiner determined that Langley had died around March 9. Police theorized that Langley was crawling through the tunnel to take food to his paralyzed brother when he inadvertently tripped a booby trap he had created and was crushed by debris. His cause of death was attributed to asphyxiation. 120 tons of debris, mostly garbage, was removed and the home was in such bad shape that it was destroyed. The brothers had cash and assets that would have been worth over a million dollars in today's money. If they had used their energies, talents and education to advantage they could have added to it and lived in comfort. At one point they were offered $125,000 for the brownstone but refused to sell it. That was a lot of money back then, especially considering the neighborhood decline. But instead they invested in trash and let it all rot and decay and finally kill them. All their time, energies and education went to collect newspapers and garbage. They lived in filth. They died of their own booby traps and their bodies decomposed and were gnawed on by rats.

Proverbs 4:25-27 25 Let your eyes look forward;
fix your gaze straight ahead.
26 Make a level path for your feet,
and all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your feet away from evil.

How is your path? Have you crowded your life with garbage, filth, obstructions, booby traps? Will you be caught dead in a hell of your own making? Make a level path for your feet, keep your focus on God, walk in purity and guard your mind by keeping the trash out.

Had you ever heard of the story of the Collyer brothers? They died in 1947 so it was a long time ago but it was a famous media sensation at the time. Are you a hoarder? Do you hoard food? Do you hoard trash? Do you hoard clothes? Do you hoard purchases from shopping online or in stores? Do you hoard cars? Do you hoard in your home, outside buildings, offsite storage? Even if it's valuable, are you letting it lose value because you can't keep it in good condition? Is it decaying and rotting, falling to pieces, becoming trash? Have the rats begun to get in it, the bugs, mildew, mold, weather? What good is it if it has lost all value or rots into dust? I just recently came across a hoarder who had a very large home on acreage. It was very well built. But she had filled it with so much junk she couldn't live in the house any more. She lived in a camper in the backyard. She had spent so much money on "collectibles" and then thrown them in the house. They were still in the boxes and bags, never opened or used. All that money was wasted on that stuff and she couldn't pay her property taxes. The county was going to take her house for back taxes! She could sell the property, but it meant moving all that junk and then paying off the back taxes, leaving her with little to start again. With help she did, but she took a lot of that junk with her which meant she was buying another house based on storage of junk. For instance, we live inside a house and we don't do a lot outside. So I don't really need acreage to take care of when I can't take care of it, don't want to take care of it and don't want to have to pay someone else to take care of it. We lived on a farm before so I know all about maintaining 100 acres and a large yard. We felt land poor. Lots of land, but had to settle for less house or less money in the bank. So when we went looking for a house, we were looking more at square footage and the lay of the house, rather than how many acres went with it. I didn't want to pay for acres and have a small house. I'd rather have a nice sized house and less acres. The hoarder I mentioned went looking for a house with extra storage for junk. I'm sure she ended up with less house to live in and more outbuildings to store junk in. She sacrificed what she needed and wanted in order to store her junk. That's her business and I'm just glad she has somewhat of a new start. But more than likely she will continue in her ways.

There are hoarders because they are too lazy and slothful to take out the trash and wash their dishes. There are hoarders because they are disabled and can't take out the trash. There are hoarders because greed, it's all about them and their desires. There are hoarders who are so selfish they won't give up a single piece of trash in order to help someone else such as a spouse, a child, a parent. In fact, if someone else sees value in something they hold, they will really refuse to give it up! There are hoarders because they enjoy being crafty, manipulative and wily. They want to trick others into doing everything for them. Why should they clean their house, repair it, maintain it, take off the trash when eventually someone else will do it for them and at someone else's expense? There are hoarders who have control issues. They just can't let someone else have control over anything in their lives even if it means help in taking out the trash. There are hoarders who are truly mentally ill, they are vacant in life and unable to function. Except for those who physically cannot perform basic tasks or those who are so mentally ill they cannot function... all the other hoarders are hoarders due to sins - greed, lust, fear, selfishness, idolatry, control.

Now let's apply that to our inner life. Are we hoarding junk? Are we hoarding trash? Are we hoarding worldly stuff that, in the end, is worthless? What are we putting into our minds? What are we accommodating and compromising on? Is it worth it? What are we spending our time, energy, money, talents and abilities on? Does it have any spiritual value? Are we investing in heavenly treasure? Or are we wasting ourselves on garbage? Are we making our path easier or harder? Are we able to keep our focus on God or are we so distracted by our collection of trash that we can't focus? Maybe it's time to do a spiritual inventory and take out the trash and set some priorities.

  • Did you understand what verse 24 meant when it said, "guard your heart"? Journal your thoughts on it.
  • How can you guard your heart, make your paths straight, keep your eyes fixed on God?
  • Why should we guard our heart?
  • Why is our heart valuable enough that God warns us to guard it?
  • Why do you think God cares about the state of our inner man?
  • Are you a hoarder of any type? Did you recognize yourself when we discussed hoarding? It's not a laughing matter. It's a very serious question. Do you need to let go of things, clean up, shovel out, haul away?
  • What about your inner life? Are you hoarding things in your heart that you don't want God to mess with? Are you resistant to His offer to help you clean up? Do you cling to things of this world even though they are worthless? Are there dark recesses you don't want God to go in? Why? What holds you back from letting Him in and letting Him cart away the junk and cleaning up?
  • Is your path level and easy or so filled with trash that you can hardly crawl through it? Have you booby trapped your life? If so, why?
  • Homer and Langley were only 10 feet from each other when the booby trap fell down on Langley. Homer was paralyzed and Langley was buried just 10 feet from each other. Just 10 feet to salvation. But a life spent filling the house with garbage is what killed them and they died horrible deaths. Don't use your life to fill your inner man with so much garbage that the Holy Spirit can't get through to you to save you! You don't want to die just inches away from salvation! Let God in and let Him begin to clean out the clutter and trash so you can live a better life.

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Star

Matthew 2:1-12  1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, 2 asking, “Where is the One who has been born King of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”
3 When King Herod heard this, he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired where the Christ was to be born.
5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah,
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of My people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and learned from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 And sending them to Bethlehem, he said: “Go and search carefully for the Child, and when you find Him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship Him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stood over the place where the Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with great delight. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the Child with His mother Mary, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.
12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they withdrew to their country by another route.

The shepherds were out in the field “keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8), something the scholars say was likely only done in the spring when lambs were born. Thus the birth was likely in the spring, probably between 7 and 4 B.C. (not the December 25th we celebrate as Christ's birth).

In Matthew 2 the following 9 qualities of Bethlehem's Star:
It signified birth
It signified kingship
It was related to the Jewish nation
It rose "in the East"
King Herod had not been aware of it
It appeared at an exact time
It endured over time
It was in front of the Magi when they traveled south from Jerusalem to Bethlehem,
It stopped over Bethlehem.

Attorney Frederick Larson examined the biblical account:
Using astronomy software, and an article written by astronomer Craig Chester based on the work of Ernest Martin, Larson thinks all nine characteristics of the Star of Bethlehem are found in events that took place in the skies of 3-2 BC. Highlights include a triple conjunction of Jupiter, called the king planet, with the fixed star Regulus, called the king star, starting in September 3 BC. Larson believes that may be the time of Jesus' conception.
By June of 2 BC, nine months later, the human gestation period, Jupiter had continued moving in its orbit around the sun and appeared in close conjunction with Venus in June of 2 BC. In Hebrew Jupiter is called "Sedeq", meaning "righteousness", a term also used for the Messiah, and suggested that because the planet Venus represents love and fertility, so Chester had suggested astrologers would have viewed the close conjunction of Jupiter and Venus as indicating a coming new king of Israel, and Herod would have taken them seriously. Astronomer Dave Reneke independently found the June 2 BC planetary conjunction, and noted it would have appeared as a "bright beacon of light".
Jupiter next continued to move and then it stopped in its apparent retrograde motion on December 25 of 2 BC over the town of Bethlehem. Since planets in their orbits have a "stationary point", a planet moves eastward through the stars but "After it passes the opposite point in the sky from the sun, it appears to slow, come to a full stop, and move backward (westward) for some weeks. Again it slows, stops, and resumes its eastward course," said Chester. The date of December 25 that Jupiter appeared to stop while in retrograde took place in the season of Hanukkah, and is the date later chosen to celebrate Christmas. - Wikipedia, Star of Bethlehem

The conjunction or close meeting of Jupiter with two other planets, Saturn and Mars occurred in 6 and 5 B.C. In 3–2 BC, there was a series of seven conjunctions, including three between Jupiter and Regulus (a bright star in the constellation Leo) but these occurred after the death of Herod in 4 B.C.

"In the east" could also be interpreted as "at the rising." When a constellation or planet appears in the sky just before sunrise it's called a heliacal rising. Venus is heliacal star but Venus was known to astronomers and thus would not have been special by itself, but it could have been seen as significant if paired with another bright planet such as Jupiter. Craig Chester suggests it was Venus followed by a morning conjunction with Jupiter. This occurred June 17, 2 BC, but Herod likely died in 4 BC, meaning it didn't occur "in the days of Herod."

A bright meteor or “falling star” they last only seconds. It couldn't have "led" the wise men. There are no known novas or supernovas that would fit the bill.

These are only some of many theories on the Star of Bethlehem. Scholars have studied history to find astrological events that fit the 9 qualities of the Bethlehem Star. They try to pin down the historical year of Christ's birth according to the clues given in the nativity stories in the four gospels. Then they search historical records during that time to find astrological/astronomical events mentioned or described. But it probably was a supernatural event, rather than a natural event that supernaturally occurred at the time of Christ's birth.

These magi were “from the East” according to verse 1 and they are generally thought to be from Persia, which is east of Jerusalem. They seem to be the only ones who saw the star and applied significance to it. With it's appearance they knew to head west. They went to Israel’s capital city Jerusalem, to search for the King of the Jews. The magi had to ask King Herod where the King of the Jews was born, which means the star wasn’t guiding them at that time (Matthew 2:2). They rejoiced when they saw the star again as they began their journey to Bethlehem (Matthew 2:10) about 6 miles from Jerusalem. It led them to the very house Joseph and Mary lived in. It sounds like it was more of a miracle star and why wouldn't God use miraculous signs at the birth of His Son?!?

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Proverbs 4:20-22

Proverbs 4:20-22  20 My son, pay attention to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not lose sight of them;
keep them within your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them,
and health to the whole body.
Fig bush

are life - חַיִּ֣ים (chay, ḥay·yîm) - Noun - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 2416: Alive, raw, fresh, strong, life
Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon adds: life: as welfare and happiness in king's presence; as consisting of earthly felicity combined (often) with spiritual blessedness

to those who find them - לְמֹצְאֵיהֶ֑ם (matsa, lə·mō·ṣə·’ê·hem) - Preposition-l | Verb - Qal - Participle - masculine plural construct | third person masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 4672: To come forth to, appear, exist, to attain, find, acquire, to occur, meet, be present

and health - מַרְפֵּֽא׃ (marpe, mar·pê) - Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 4832: Curative, a medicine, a cure, deliverance, placidity

to the whole - וּֽלְכָל־ (kol, ū·lə·ḵāl-) - Conjunctive waw, Preposition-l | Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 3605: The whole, all, any, every

body - בְּשָׂר֥וֹ (basar, bə·śā·rōw) - Noun - masculine singular construct | third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1320: Flesh, body, person, the pudenda (nakedness) of a man

Unto those that find them; i.e. to those who by effort get possession of and procure them; the verb matsa, to find, embodying the idea of activity. Health; mar'pe, derived from the root rapha, "to heal" (like riph'uth of Proverbs 3:8, which see), and hence rather "the means of health" than "health," "healing," or, as margin, "medicine," "that which restores to health;" LXX., ἴασις; Vulgate, sanitas. The moral condition is regarded as enfeebled by sickness, from which it may be restored to health and soundness by the words of wisdom. The effect of these, however, is not only to restore to health, but to maintain in health. Their tendency is to promote "a sound mind in a sound body." To their flesh; literally, to his flesh; the singular, b'saro, being used instead of the plural, which we should have expected, because what is said applies to each one of those who receive the precepts of wisdom. The all implies the completeness of the restoration; it is not confined to one part, but pervades the whole body. - Pulpit Commentary

If we pay attention and listen carefully to godly wisdom, letting it penetrate our heart, it can bring health to all three parts of man: body, mind (soul) and spirit. It is like a spiritual medicine. I refer to my devotions as taking my spiritual vitamins. But notice there is something we have to do... listen, pay attention to God's wisdom and keep them within our heart. We are to put our eyes and ears on the Word and apply it to our lives. We have to pick up the Bible and read it ("do not lose sight of it"), paying attention to it, focusing on it. "Incline your ear", we have to listen to it (either by reading it aloud or hearing someone read it and expounding on it like a teacher or preacher). We have to hide it in the deepest part of our hearts, allowing it to penetrate and do it's work. We have to submit our unruly heart to the Word of God allowing it to go deeply.

Young's Literal Translation of this verse is: Let them not turn aside from thine eyes, Preserve them in the midst of thy heart.

"Preserve them in the midst of thy heart" doesn't mean head knowledge. We can read the Bible, even memorize it. But that's just an intellectual exercise unless we believe it and let it change our lives. It has the power to do so but only if we allow and accept it. God gave us a free will and we can choose whether or not to accept or reject.

Fig leaf

Did you know that there are people who make a show of rejecting the World in order to "devote" themselves to God? You might think of nuns, priests, monks, ministers/pastors. They may seclude themselves away from the world and spend their time following spiritual demands such as praying 3 hours a day, reading the Bible 2 hours, serving others, fasting 30 days, flagellating themselves twice a day, crawl 5 miles, visit spiritual pilgrimage sites, yada, yada, yada. You would think these people must really be holy! They would be the ones who would really hear from God and be God's pets (like a Teacher's Pet).

But none of that is what makes a person holy. In fact, you would find these people are just as evil as any criminal in any town. They can be petty, vindictive, ambitious, mean spirited, jealous, self righteous, judgmental, gossiping, sexually promiscuous, foul mouthed, manipulative, thieving rapists and murderers!

A pillar-saint is a Christian ascetic who lived on pillars while preaching, fasting and praying. Stylites believe that the mortification of their bodies would help ensure the salvation of their souls. Stylites were common in the early days of the Byzantine Empire. But some would argue back and forth from their pillars!

Hermits lived in voluntary solitary confinement for years. An eremitic hermit was one who lived solitarily in the wilderness. An anchorite was one who lived in a monastery but practised solitude supposedly to devote oneself to God. But what is the true motivation? Could it just be fear/phobias such as social phobias, social anxiety disorder, paranoia? Could it be the inability to deal with everyday responsibilities? Could it be giving-up-and-checking-out, avoidance, denial, isolation to protect oneself? Could it be the same mental illness that haunts many homeless today? They can't function in society because of mental illness. Or is it a desire for simplicity, for someone else to make all the decisions in this life so that you don't have to, regimenting your life so that there are no uncertainties? None of these have anything to do with God and all to do with selfishness. I'm not saying solitude, silence, and focus on God is a bad thing! Not by any means! What I'm saying is it doesn't make you holy if they are just mentally ill but someone pastes a God label on your eccentric behavior. It doesn't make you holy if all you are doing is catering to yourself and your fears. It doesn't make you holy if you are just avoiding the world and responsibilities. It doesn't make you holy if you are prideful of how many hours, days, weeks, months, years or decades you've practised solitude. It doesn't make you holy if you think you are closer to God than someone else or have an ambition of others recognizing you due to your religious practice. Don't try to cover your sins with a fig leaf of "religious seclusion" and paste a God label on it.

Some mortified their flesh which was seen as putting to death the flesh, denying yourself. There were many ways of mortification including fasting, crawling, kneeling for long hours, abstinence, practising poverty, flagellation (whipping oneself until bloody), wearing hair shirts to irritate the skin to bloodiness, self inflicted wounds. Do these practises make you holy? Not if you are a masochist who derives sexual pleasure from inflicted pain! Some people experience relief from emotional pain by self harming. They may call it mortification of the flesh in order to be closer to God but it's really about themselves and their own relief which is not very holy. Some people who self-injure do so because they seek to punish themselves. They cannot see God forgiving them without some form of self punishment. They have to make themselves worthy of forgiveness. But we can never be worthy of forgiveness. We can't save ourselves. Our works, even self-punishment, are never going to make us worthy. It's why we needed a Savior! And Jesus Christ came to freely forgive anyone who repents and asks for His forgiveness. If we say He can't forgive us in our current state, then we are saying His work on the cross was not good enough and we have to do something to aid Him. Not a very holy thought is it? We come to Him just as we are and trust Him to forgive and cleanse us. He covers us with HIS righteousness, we have no righteousness to cover ourselves with. And how holy is it to crawl 5 miles until your knees are bloody but your mind is filled with unholy thoughts such as, "I'd better get a blessing for doing all this"; "I don't really believe in all this but I'll do it for good luck"; "Damn it, why did I have to land on that sharp rock?"; "I want something from God so I'll do this 'penance' in order to rub the magic genie lamp and get what I want"; "how can I do this but experience the least amount of pain, that way I look good but I'm not really suffering or sacrificing anything?"; "If I do this I will have paid for my sins and will get into heaven"; "Fasting will help me lose weight anyway"; "I've given up more than the Joneses, so I'm holier than they are"?

Here are some famous people who had a religious mantle but were far from holy:

Pope John XII (955–964), who gave land to a mistress, murdered several people, and was killed by a man who caught him in bed with his wife.

Pope Urban VI (1378–1389), who complained that he did not hear enough screaming when Cardinals who had conspired against him were tortured.

Pope Leo X: A scion of the powerful Medici family of Florence, Leo had his talents and was a patron of the arts but is remembered most for his lavish spendthrift habits in the years he was pope, between 1513 and 1521. His emptying of the Vatican's coffers led to various measures to create more revenue, which included the sale of indulgences — in effect, guarantees of relief from damnation in the afterlife. This practice infuriated a certain German contemporary of Leo, Martin Luther, and planted the seeds of the Protestant Reformation.

Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ, was found to have sexually abused dozens of seminarians, in addition to fathering at least three children out of wedlock. Maciel’s crimes were revealed by a 1998 expose. Maciel won the allegiance of many inside the Vatican by plying them with expensive gifts — cars and foodstuffs worth thousands, and envelopes of cash.

Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, oversaw priests who were involved in sexual torture of children. Instead of being reported to the DA’s office, pedophile priests were moved — sometimes repeatedly, from parish to parish to parish. Abusive priests kept right on abusing children.

In 2012, a number of former students of the Montreal Institute for the Deaf accused some 30 clergy at the schools of Clercs de Saint-Viateur of abusing and raping children from 1944 to 1982.

In 1987 Jimmy Swaggart publicly accused fellow televangelist Jim Bakker of immoral sexual behaviour. This denunciation, which some saw as a move by Swaggart to take over Bakker’s empire, precipitated a closer look at Swaggart’s own life, leading to the revelation that he had performed voyeuristic acts with a female prostitute. Indeed, another rival televangelist, Marvin Gorman, whom Swaggart had also accused of having one or more extramarital affairs and who was subsequently defrocked, provided photographs of Swaggart at a Baton Rouge motel with a local prostitute. Despite his tearful on-air apology in February 1988, Swaggart was defrocked by the Assemblies of God in April but continued to act as an independent Pentecostal preacher. In October 1991 police in Indio, California, found Swaggart in the company of a prostitute after stopping him for a traffic violation. During that period he lost a $10 million defamation lawsuit for the accusations of sexual misconduct he had lodged against Gorman; the parties later settled out of court for $1.85 million. After those scandals, Swaggart turned control of Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, Inc., over to his son, Donnie.- Brittanica

Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker were among the most famous televangelists in America. They were living a life of luxury when their empire all came crashing down amid sex and financial scandals. Tammy Faye had a breakdown due to drug dependency. Jessica Hahn claimed that in December 1980, when she was 21 years old, Jim Bakker allegedly sexually assaulted her. He said it was consensual but the ministry paid more than $200,000 in hush money. He stepped down from PTL and asked Jerry Falwell to run the ministry. Falwell found out how bad the financial situation was at PTL and how the Bakkers had enriched themselves at the expense of their followers. Jim Bakker was indicted in 1988 on eight counts of mail fraud, 15 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy. On Oct. 5, 1989, a jury found Bakker guilty on all 24 counts. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison and ordered to pay a $500,000 fine. He ended up serving almost five years of that sentence before being paroled in 1994. Tammy Faye filed for divorce. She married Roe Messner, the contractor who built Heritage USA. But after the financial fallout of PTL, Messner was sentenced in 1996 to 27 months in federal prison for bankruptcy fraud. She died of lung cancer. Jim Bakker remarried, started another television ministry and raises money by selling doomsday products.

Marvin Gorman, Pastor of First Assembly of God Church, started with 100 members and rose to 6,000 members with an operating budget of $4.5 million and a television ministry in all 50 states. Jimmy Swaggart accused him of adultery with different women. Gorman admitted to having an affair and was removed from his pastorate and ended up in bankruptcy. But he wanted vengeance and so his son and another man set up Swaggart. They surveilled him entering a motel room in a shady motel used by a prostitute and set up cameras. They got a photo of Jimmy Swaggart entering the motel room with the prostitute. They disabled his Lincoln Towncar tires and called Gorman who rushed over to confront Jimmy Swaggart. He tried to blackmail Jimmy Swaggart to get his old job back but Jimmy Swaggart didn't do anything and eventually Gorman gave the photos to the Assemblies of God. Swaggart confessed and cried on TV to having "sinned". Gorman sued Swaggart and won a settlement out of court of $1.85 million. Gorman founded the Temple of Praise small church in New Orleans and wrote a book. He died in 2017.

We see people sin no matter what "sacrifices" they've made for God. They may scourge themselves with whips until they are bloody but still harbor lust, jealousy, ambition in their hearts. They may put on a good face in front of TV cameras and proclaim the gospel but still harbor hate, greed, lust, selfishness and pride in their heart. They may live in a nunnery and spend their lives "serving" only to harbor hate towards those they serve, self righteousness, pride, pettiness and unforgiveness in their hearts. They may be hermits living in caves practising fasting but have self righteousness, pride and selfishness in their hearts. (If you've ever seen a person with anorexia you will see someone who refuses to eat but it has nothing to do with God, rather with their own self-involved, self-idolizing, overweening pride. They are self-idolaters who force everyone around them to dance to their tune. So someone can attach a God-label on anorexia and call it fasting and get much self satisfaction and self righteousness out of their mental illness.)

We must be careful to not only view, read, listen to the Word of God but to let it penetrate the deepest recesses of our hearts and to let it make the necessary changes so that our good behavior is not a show and pretence, but a natural flow from a changed heart. If our exterior is not a result of interior changes then it is nothing more than a facade to facilitate our sins. Our goal should be that our exterior only be a natural flow from a renewed and changed heart. And the only way to get a renewed and changed heart is through constant contact with the Word of God and the working it out in a submitted heart by the life-giving Holy Spirit.

How is this Word to bring life and "health to the whole body"? A person’s body, mind and spirit are all interrelated and interdependent. What affects one affects the others. God gave us His Word as a guide to help us in mind, body and, most especially, spirit (which affects the mind and body). Who, better than our Creator, knows us and what is best and healthiest for us in mind, body and spirit?

If we sin, it affects our spirit, our mind and our body. Sin produces stress, guilt, shame, anger/rage, unforgiveness, bitterness, all types of negative emotions which affect our body and our mind. The sin of gluttony and lack of self control affects our weight and therefore our body. Substance abuse such as alcoholism, drug addiction, tobacco addiction becomes idolatry and dependence on something other than God and destroys our body, mind and spirit. Any idolatry can become an addiction whether it's self idolatry or idolatry of money, pornography, gambling, shopping, hoarding, etc. And, if left unchecked, will destroy you. Unforgiveness, anger and bitterness can eat away at your spirit, your mind and your body. It may not have been your fault but your unforgiveness, anger and bitterness becomes sin and eats away at you. Fear means you can't trust the Lord and is therefore a sin. Fear will incapacitate you and disable you.

Boy, I have stepped on my own toes. I have struggled with all of it and my body shows the ravages of it. My mind shows the ravages of it. Stress, fear, idolatry... all have left their marks. But if I can put God's Word in me and submit to the work of the Word and the Holy Spirit, I may can change some of the damage done in mind, body and spirit. The Word and prayer (dialogue with God) enriches my relationship with Him and gives me spiritual health which can then slowly work out into mind and body health. The more I know Him, the more I can trust Him and the more I can let go and let God which means less stress on me. My prayer is that I may know Him more and more. I was created for Him and my well being is dependent on walking in my relationship with Him. I'm safest, healthiest, more blessed when I'm being who God created me to be, His child. It's this rebellion to be independent and do what we want, that makes us sick in mind, body and spirit. We are struggling like fish going upstream and it puts undue stress and makes our lives much harder than it has to be. If I can know Him more and more and walk in His Ways as I was meant to, then maybe I can enjoy less stress, less exhaustion, less negative emotions and depression.

  • Do you know people who play at Mardi Gras? I.e. Shrove Tuesday (aka Mardi Gras) is a day in February or March in which people gorge and overindulge because the next day is Ash Wednesday which is the first day of Lent. The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer for Easter through prayer, repentance of sins, penance, and mortifying the flesh through some type of fasting. A Lenten sacrifice is where many Christians commit to fasting, and/or giving up certain luxuries, to replicate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ's journey into the desert for 40 days. (He fasted 40 days and and was tempted by satan.) It ends six weeks later on Holy Saturday. How spiritual is it if you party, get drunk/high, do all kinds of lewd things in a big Mardi Gras party just because the next day is the beginning of Lent? Doesn't that negate the whole purpose of Lent, of fasting, mortifying the flesh? Doesn't it make just a mockery of repentance? How do you think God views it? You don't have to wonder:
Isaiah 1:10-18 (Amplified)  10 Hear the word of the Lord [rulers of Jerusalem],
You rulers of [another] Sodom,
Listen to the law and instruction of our God,
You people of [another] Gomorrah.
11 “What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me [without your repentance]?
Says the Lord.
“I have had enough of [your] burnt offerings of rams
And the fat of well-fed cattle [without your obedience];
And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls or lambs or goats [offered without repentance].
12 “When you come to appear before Me,
Who requires this of you, this trampling of My [temple] courts [by your sinful feet]?
13 “Do not bring worthless offerings again,
[Your] incense is repulsive to Me;
[Your] New Moon and Sabbath [observances], the calling of assemblies—
I cannot endure wickedness [your sin, your injustice, your wrongdoing] and [the squalor of] the festive assembly.
14 “I hate [the hypocrisy of] your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts.
They have become a burden to Me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15 “So when you spread out your hands [in prayer, pleading for My help],
I will hide My eyes from you;
Yes, even though you offer many prayers,
I will not be listening.
Your hands are full of blood!
16 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Get your evil deeds out of My sight.
Stop doing evil,
17 Learn to do good.
Seek justice,
Rebuke the ruthless,
Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the [rights of the] widow [in court].
18 “Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be like wool."

  • Why do you think people are so good at justifying their sins? They can even talk themselves into believing their own justifications, prevarications, excuses and fig leaves. They can't see the hypocrisy in themselves. Why do think that is?
  • Has the Holy Spirit convicted you of any sins that you've justified or excused? God can cleanse you and make you "white as snow"!
  • Are you taking your daily spiritual vitamins (devotions)? Reading the Word, prayer and meditating are in your best interests for health in mind, body and spirit. Why wouldn't you?
  • If you haven't formed devotional habits, how can you start today?
  • Do you see the correlation between a healthy relationship with God and health in your mind, body and spirit?
  • Did you ever think that God created you for a purpose and rebelling against that purpose only brings stress to you in mind, body and spirit? That following His Ways are what is healthiest for you in mind, body and spirit because that's what He made you for?
  • No matter how big a fig leaf, or how many fig leaves, you use to cover your sins, God sees right through to the truth. It's best to get rid of the fig leaves, go in naked before God and let Him cover you with His righteousness.

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Proverbs 4:18-19

Proverbs 4:18-19  18 The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
shining brighter and brighter until midday.
19 But the way of the wicked is like the darkest gloom;
they do not know what makes them stumble.

"The righteousness of the Bible is a path. And we enter into that path through an encounter with the Son of Righteousness, the Lord Jesus Christ. And when He shines into our lives, that’s like the first gleam of dawn. It’s the beginning of light. And then, as we move on in that path, the words are beautiful: 'The light shines ever brighter till the full light of day.'” - Derek Prince

The just both have light themselves and shed light on all around, because they have within them the light of God's Word and God's Spirit..... a steadily increasing light. They go on from strength to strength and glory to glory. - Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary

I used to enjoy watching the dawn break. I haven't done it in many years but, by the sea, or in the mountains, it is a gorgeous sight to see. You see the advent of the sun just topping the horizon and then watch it grow more brilliant. The climax of the sun is noon day, when it's at it's brightest.

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, it's like the sun breaking. As we walk in the light of His glory and grace and grow in the light of His Word, the light increases in our spiritual life just like the sun grows in brilliance. We also shine forth the light of God in a dark world as a reflection of His Glory!

Philippians 2: 14-15  14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine as lights in the world

Matthew 5:14 You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.

When our end day comes, we will enter into the climax of the Light! We will see Him as He is. And we will walk into eternity with the wondrous light of His Presence! And we will enjoy the government of Christ as He rules His kingdom forever!

"'until the perfect day' of glory comes, a day without clouds; when there will be nothing to interpose between God and them; when there will be no more clouds of darkness, unbelief, doubts, and fears; when the sun will always be seen, no more withdrawn, eclipsed, or set; even Christ, the sun of righteousness, whose glory will always be beheld by the righteous to all eternity: when there will be no more night of affliction, desertion, and death; when the light of knowledge will be clear and perfect, and saints shall see face to face, and know as they are known; and when not only the light of the righteous shall be so clear, distinct, and perfect, but they themselves shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of God. The words may be rendered, "the prepared day"; appointed in the decrees of God, and firmly established by them: the invisible glories of the heavenly state, which make this everlasting day, are things which God has prepared for his people; the kingdom and glory itself, the inheritance of the saints in light, is prepared for them from the foundation of the world. And, since such is the path of the just, who would walk in the ways of the wicked?" - Gill's Notes On The Bible

2 Samuel 23:3-4  3 The God of Israel spoke; the Rock of Israel said to me, ‘He who rules the people with justice, who rules in the fear of God, 4 is like the light of the morning at sunrise of a cloudless dawn, the glistening after the rain on the sprouting grass of the earth.’

To make it more emphatic, the writer has juxtaposed two opposites. In Verse 19 we see the opposite of the righteous, "But the way of the wicked is like the darkest gloom; they do not know what makes them stumble."

Isaiah 59 (NLT)
1 Listen! The LORD’s arm is not too weak to save you,
nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call.
2 It’s your sins that have cut you off from God.
Because of your sins, he has turned away
and will not listen anymore.
3 Your hands are the hands of murderers,
and your fingers are filthy with sin.
Your lips are full of lies,
and your mouth spews corruption.
4 No one cares about being fair and honest.
The people’s lawsuits are based on lies.
They conceive evil deeds
and then give birth to sin.
5 They hatch deadly snakes
and weave spiders’ webs.
Whoever eats their eggs will die;
whoever cracks them will hatch a viper.
6 Their webs can’t be made into clothing,
and nothing they do is productive.
All their activity is filled with sin,
and violence is their trademark.
7 Their feet run to do evil,
and they rush to commit murder.
They think only about sinning.
Misery and destruction always follow them.
8 They don’t know where to find peace
or what it means to be just and good.
They have mapped out crooked roads,
and no one who follows them knows a moment’s peace.
9 So there is no justice among us,
and we know nothing about right living.
We look for light but find only darkness.
We look for bright skies but walk in gloom.
10 We grope like the blind along a wall,
feeling our way like people without eyes.
Even at brightest noontime,
we stumble as though it were dark.
Among the living,
we are like the dead.
11 We growl like hungry bears;
we moan like mournful doves.
We look for justice, but it never comes.
We look for rescue, but it is far away from us.
12 For our sins are piled up before God
and testify against us.
Yes, we know what sinners we are.
13 We know we have rebelled and have denied the LORD.
We have turned our backs on our God.
We know how unfair and oppressive we have been,
carefully planning our deceitful lies.
14 Our courts oppose the righteous,
and justice is nowhere to be found.
Truth stumbles in the streets,
and honesty has been outlawed.
15 Yes, truth is gone,
and anyone who renounces evil is attacked.
The LORD looked and was displeased
to find there was no justice.
16 He was amazed to see that no one intervened
to help the oppressed.
So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm,
and his justice sustained him.
17 He put on righteousness as his body armor
and placed the helmet of salvation on his head.
He clothed himself with a robe of vengeance
and wrapped himself in a cloak of divine passion.
18 He will repay his enemies for their evil deeds.
His fury will fall on his foes.
He will pay them back even to the ends of the earth.
19 In the west, people will respect the name of the LORD;
in the east, they will glorify him.
For he will come like a raging flood tide
driven by the breath of the LORD.
20 “The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem
to buy back those in Israel
who have turned from their sins,”
says the LORD.
21 “And this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you. They will be on your lips and on the lips of your children and your children’s children forever. I, the LORD, have spoken!

Verse 16 above refers to the Messiah.

Isaiah 59:16 (NIV) He saw that there was no one,
he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so his own arm achieved salvation for him,
and his own righteousness sustained him.

There was none to intercede with God to turn away his wrath; none to interpose for the support of justice and truth. Yet He engaged his own strength and righteousness for his people... The Son of God shall come to us to be our Redeemer; the Spirit of God shall come to be our Sanctifier... - Matthew Henry Commentary

When it is said that God "wondered" at no champion appearing, we must understand the expression as an anthropomorphism· Therefore his arm brought salvation unto him...it became necessary that God should arise in his own Person, and show himself. "His arm" and "his righteousness" were enough; no human aid was needed, or could have added anything to the resistless strength of his might. - Pulpit Commentary

But notice in verses 1-15 describe the darkness of evil, sin. It says our "sins that have cut you off from God" produce darkness, so dark we stumble along in blindness and "among the living we are like the dead". You know, the imagined zombies in horror movies, TV series and books are called "living dead" and that is what sinners without a Savior are like! We are living dead, stumbling about in darkness and decay, rotten with sin to the core. That's really scary!!!!

It's not a movie, it's not made up, imagination. It's the real state of our spirits and if we die in this condition, we go to an eternity of unimaginative hell! 

But you don't have to! God has provided a way of salvation and it's open to everyone who will accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God and as the forgiver of your sins. There is only one way to salvation and forgiveness, through Jesus Christ our Savior!

Acts 26:18 (ESV, Jesus speaking to Apostle Paul during his Damascus Road experience) "To open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me".

John 8:12 (ESV) Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 3:19-21 (ESV) And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.

John 12:46 (ESV) I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

  • In the opposites presented in these two verses, do you feel like you like you are stumbling in the darkness of sin or have you seen the light of Jesus Christ?
  • It matters not where you physically are, it matters where your spirit is. You can be chained in a dark dungeon but the light of Christ is in your spirit. You can be bathed in sunlight on the beach, but your spirit dark with sin. Do you understand the difference between the physical world and the spiritual world?
  • "The LORD’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call." No matter what you've done, Jesus Christ's work on the cross can save you, forgive you, cleanse you. If you think you cannot be saved, you are limiting the power of Jesus Christ. There is no limit to His saving grace and His work covered all sin. You may still have to deal with the consequences of your sin but you are saved, loved by God, one of His children if you grab hold of Jesus Christ as your Savior! Have you done that?
  • The path of godly wisdom begins and ends with Jesus Christ. He is God's wisdom. If we follow Christ, our path will lead us in the light. Slowly the wisdom of God will be imparted to us and we will know more and more of His glorious wisdom. Can you journal this in your own words?
  • Write a prayer to God based on these two verses.

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Proverbs 4:14-17

Proverbs 4:14-17  14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked
or walk in the way of evil men.
15 Avoid it; do not travel on it.
Turn from it and pass on by.
16 For they cannot sleep
unless they do evil;
they are deprived of slumber
until they make someone fall,
17 since they eat the bread of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence.

Exodus 34:12 Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst.

Exodus 23:33 They shall not live in your land, because they will make you sin against Me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.

1 Corinthians 5:11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one.

2 Corinthians 6:14-15  14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?

Psalm 1:1-3  1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

There is a way of choice. We can take the high road or the low road. You don't need to keep company with people who deliberately take the low road. These people are bad influences and can get you into trouble. They can talk you into doing things that you don't really want to do.

Peers - people your age or close to it who have experiences and interests similar to yours; a person or thing of the same rank, value, quality, ability; friends, companions, social group

Peer pressure - a feeling that one must do the same things as other people of one's age and social group in order to be liked or respected by them; social pressure by members of one's peer group to take a certain action, adopt certain values, or otherwise conform in order to be accepted. Peers might pressure you directly by asking you to do something, or they might tease you so that you cave. They may not say anything at all but treat you as an outcast and ignoring you. People are influenced by peers because they want to fit in and feel accepted.

The pressure to conform (to do what others are doing) can be powerful and hard to resist. God knows that and is why He warned us repeatedly to avoid people who can influence us to do wrong.

The Israelites were taken to the Promised Land and the Lord gave it to them if they would kill all the inhabitants. Why? Because God knew the inhabitants were godless (pagans who practised idolatry) and were so wicked as to deserve judgment. He also knew that if the Israelites allowed these people to live amongst them, it was only a matter of time before the Israelites would fall into the same wickedness, idolatry, and evil as the original inhabitants of the land.

Deuteronomy 7:1-4  1 When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you— 2 and when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. 3 Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, 4 for they will turn your children away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you.

This is one of those questions every person asks... How could a good God instruct the Israelites to waltz onto somebody else's land and kill them all: man, woman and child?

Most people like to ask that question and never want to hear an answer. They think it gives them the right to question God and reject Him. And who do you think you are to question and reject God? Do you think you are God? Yes, you evidently do. Which is the same sin satan was guilty of.

Isaiah 14:14-15  14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.”
15 But you will be brought down to Sheol,
to the lowest depths of the Pit.

God knows what He is doing and the same can't be said of you, me, or any other created being. So humble yourself and accept God's way.

The land of Canaan was filled with tribes that are collectively called Canaanites. God had promised this land to Abraham and his descendants. Yet when they finally make it back to the Promised Land, they find it filled with people. Not just regular people but very evil, wicked people. In fact, some of the people were giants called Nephilim, who were descended through one of Noah's sons' wives (probably Ham since it was his descendent, Nimrod, who was called a "mighty hunter" not once but three times and he settled the area later known as Babylon).

God tells Abraham in Genesis 15:13-16,
13 Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not their own; they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. 14 But I will judge the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will depart with many possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a ripe old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

The inhabitants of the land of Canaan were already well on their way to judgment but God held off judgment for another 400 years! Israel was a tool of judgment in the hands of God because of their evil and wickedness. But God gave them time and every chance to repent and turn to Him. They just didn't.

Deuteronomy 9:5 It is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God is driving them out before you.

Deuteronomy 18:9-12  9 When you enter the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, practices divination or conjury, interprets omens, practices sorcery, 11 casts spells, consults a medium or familiar spirit, or inquires of the dead. 12 For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD. And because of these detestable things, the LORD your God is driving out the nations before you.

When it says "sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire" it literally means they were practising child sacrifice in idolatry. They were practising the dark arts which is satanic. They practised occult spiritualism. In fact, all of the things mentioned are humans trying to manipulate spiritual power (without God) to their own benefit and they don't care that it unleashes evil. They also worshipped fertility gods and goddesses and the practises of "worship" at these temples were sexual perversions of every ilk. They had temple prostitutes, males and females, and the people thought all this perverted sex blessed their crops?!? They openly participated in all kinds of sexual perversions as lifestyles to be celebrated (sound familiar?)! It was part of their "worship" and brought them prosperity so they thought. They could justify their sins and their debaucheries in this way. Human beings have an acute ability to justify their sins but they can't sugarcoat it enough for God to accept it! They can paint it rainbow colors, prance in parades with streamers and bands but God sees it for what it is. You may be blinded by the constant in-your-face pressure to accept and celebrate it, but God will never be blinded. That goes for every sin, not just sexual perversions.

Are you getting a better picture of these people? If you still want to question God, then ask yourself, "What about Hitler?" Hitler practised the occult, the dark arts. He stole whatever art, money and anything of value his men came across. Hitler brutally tortured and murdered millions of people with the help of his German supporters (his armies, his staff, his SS, his taxpayers, his barbarian hordes who did his every bidding his loyalists). So what do you say about the Ally Armies (including America) who destroyed his European empire? If you had seen the concentration camps and the mass graves, the starving prisoners and the ruined countries, the piles of shoes taken from the people they killed, the orphaned children who barely survived and were traumatized, the lampshades made of human skin, do you think you would question God if God said, "Kill Hitler and his armies"?

I have seen men and women who are murderers and as they are being taken to or from jail, others surround the scene and scream at the murderer, "THERE IS A SPECIAL PLACE RESERVED FOR YOU IN HELL! YOU DON'T DESERVE TO LIVE! I HOPE THEY SEND YOU TO THE ELECTRIC CHAIR!" Why? Because the murderer has done something so egregious, evil and horrible that our basic instinct is to desire punishment commensurate with the crime. And that is a person who, if he killed someone every minute of his life could only have killed a set number of people. But these Canaanites had been perverted, brutal, cruel, murderous for hundreds of years so there is no telling how many had been murdered, brutalized, tortured, subjected to sexual perversions, slavery, etc. Would not your basic instinct be one of judgment, punishment commensurate with the crime? Where would we, as human beings, get this sense of justice? If there is no right of wrong, why would we care about justice and punishment commensurate with the crime? For everyone who thinks there is no right or wrong, let someone steal from them, rape them, kill one of their loved ones and see them howl for justice! We innately recognize evil and the need for judgment.

But God even told them to kill the children? Why? Because assimilating these peoples would have led to Israelite men and women marrying them, having children with them, being influenced by them  and becoming like them. If Hitler had been evil all by himself how much destruction could he have accomplished? But with a whole country behind him, how much more evil did he accomplish? God knew, because He knows all things and knows the future, assimilating these people would lead to the evil that had been practised by these pagan tribes.

Lest you still think God was a big bully, let's remember God is all seeing and all knowing. He knew every single individual in those pagan countries just like He knew every single Israelite. He knew which person(s) would be believers in Him; who would try to worship and follow the Israelite God. He isn't about to leave them to punishment and judgment. He will rescue any who call out to Him. Remember the story of Rahab?

Joshua 2
1 Then Joshua secretly sent out two spies from the Israelite camp at Acacia Grove. He instructed them, “Scout out the land on the other side of the Jordan River, especially around Jericho.” So the two men set out and came to the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there that night. 2 But someone told the king of Jericho, “Some Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” 3 So the king of Jericho sent orders to Rahab: “Bring out the men who have come into your house, for they have come here to spy out the whole land.”
4 Rahab had hidden the two men, but she replied, “Yes, the men were here earlier, but I didn’t know where they were from. 5 They left the town at dusk, as the gates were about to close. I don’t know where they went. If you hurry, you can probably catch up with them.” 6 (Actually, she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them beneath bundles of flax she had laid out.) 7 So the king’s men went looking for the spies along the road leading to the shallow crossings of the Jordan River. And as soon as the king’s men had left, the gate of Jericho was shut.
8 Before the spies went to sleep that night, Rahab went up on the roof to talk with them. 9 “I know the LORD has given you this land,” she told them. “We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror. 10 For we have heard how the LORD made a dry path for you through the Red Seab when you left Egypt. And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River, whose people you completely destroyed. 11 No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the LORD your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.
12 “Now swear to me by the LORD that you will be kind to me and my family since I have helped you. Give me some guarantee that 13 when Jericho is conquered, you will let me live, along with my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all their families.”
14 “We offer our own lives as a guarantee for your safety,” the men agreed. “If you don’t betray us, we will keep our promise and be kind to you when the LORD gives us the land.”
15 Then, since Rahab’s house was built into the town wall, she let them down by a rope through the window. 16 “Escape to the hill country,” she told them. “Hide there for three days from the men searching for you. Then, when they have returned, you can go on your way.”
17 Before they left, the men told her, “We will be bound by the oath we have taken only if you follow these instructions. 18 When we come into the land, you must leave this scarlet rope hanging from the window through which you let us down. And all your family members—your father, mother, brothers, and all your relatives—must be here inside the house. 19 If they go out into the street and are killed, it will not be our fault. But if anyone lays a hand on people inside this house, we will accept the responsibility for their death. 20 If you betray us, however, we are not bound by this oath in any way.”
21 “I accept your terms,” she replied. And she sent them on their way, leaving the scarlet rope hanging from the window.
22 The spies went up into the hill country and stayed there three days. The men who were chasing them searched everywhere along the road, but they finally returned without success.
23 Then the two spies came down from the hill country, crossed the Jordan River, and reported to Joshua all that had happened to them. 24 “The LORD has given us the whole land,” they said, “for all the people in the land are terrified of us.”

Joshua 6:22-25 22 Meanwhile, Joshua said to the two spies, “Keep your promise. Go to the prostitute’s house and bring her out, along with all her family.
23 The men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, mother, brothers, and all the other relatives who were with her. They moved her whole family to a safe place near the camp of Israel.
24 Then the Israelites burned the town and everything in it. Only the things made from silver, gold, bronze, or iron were kept for the treasury of the LORD’s house. 25 So Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute and her relatives who were with her in the house, because she had hidden the spies Joshua sent to Jericho. And she lives among the Israelites to this day.

As the first non-Israelite person, and in particular the first Canaanite woman, to ally with Israel, Rahab’s convictions led her to protect the men sent by Joshua despite her background.

Hebrews 11:31  By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.

James 2:25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?

So just because God used obliterative language, He did not cease to recognize and save any who would turn to Him, call out to Him and believe in Him.

Now let's go back to our scripture of today. We have a choice of following God or following our friends, co-workers, schoolmates, fraternity or sorority sisters, boyfriends/girlfriends, even family. When you feel pressured to do something you know is wrong, you have a choice. Do you choose God or do you choose the world? Do you choose the world and try to justify it?

We are used to seeing peer pressure and behavioral choices in the light of teenagers. But we face peer pressure at all ages in life. We may have co-workers who try to get you to gossip or steal time and supplies. What about a worker who is approached by a criminal element to participate and aid them in stealing from the company? They may even make threats to coerce you to do something you know is wrong. What is your choice? Do you pray, ask God to handle the situation and trust Him to take care of it as you continue to do the right thing? Or do you cave, joining them in their evil and justify it by saying, "I couldn't let them harm my family? I had no choice." That's a tough one but one Rahab made and it saved her life and the lives of her family.

We may have a group at work that is constantly gossiping and backstabbing others. They try every way to get you to participate in their sin and tempt you to laugh and mock others too. When you refuse to get involved, then you become their laughingstock and they may even hold you back by saying you don't get along well with others. What will be your choice? Do you pray and trust God to protect your reputation as you continue to resist involvement with them? Do you humbly accept God's wisdom as far as promotion and advancement in the company? If you don't get the promotion do you feel like God let you down or do you realize and trust that God knows what He's doing and is working everything to your best benefit even if it means you didn't get the promotion?

Maybe you have a college group (like a club, fraternity, sorority, or just a group of friends) and they are pushing you to drink, take drugs, cheat in classes, sleep around, shoplift, smoke/vape, or other things you know are wrong. You would feel lonely without friends and you have a need to feel accepted. But to do what they do is wrong and you know it. What do you choose? Even if it means you don't have any friends and are completely alone, isn't that better than following the Pied Piper into sin and having to deal with the consequences afterwards? Can you not pray and trust God to send you good friends while you do the right thing and avoid those who would tempt you to sin? Do you not think God is a rewarder of those who follow Him?

"For they cannot sleep unless they do evil; they are deprived of slumber until they make someone fall".

People are so hardened in their hearts that evil is on their mind all day, every day. They are so driven by sin that they can't rest until they've hurt someone. They plot it, plan it, research it, prepare for it, do it, document it, take reminders of it so they can replay it in their minds and then they start all over again.

This can easily be seen as people who stalk others in order to kidnap, use, abuse and kill someone. But it can also be said of people who sit in boardrooms and politician offices. They plot, scheme and manipulate in their corruption and evil. They have no check on their lusts and they find ways to indulge them. It is a constant, every minute of every day plotting, planning and committing of every kind of evil. They cannot sleep because of the all the evil they want to commit and all the plans they have of pulling something over on someone. Whether it's for revenge, for money, for political power, for the love of the game... they are enslaved by whatever fascinates them.

I have to think of the Democrats in power now (2019). I have no illusions that Republicans are any better or somehow more righteous. But the Democrats have spent ungodly amounts of money, all their time and energy in one single direction and it wasn't for the benefit of the American people whom they were elected to serve! It's been totally about a power struggle. It proves to me that they are NOT a party of the people because it's been all about them preserving their power and their steady flow of fortune off the backs of taxpayers. If they had spent their time trying to pass laws that aided and strengthened our country and it's citizens, then great. But it hasn't been. If I was a Democrat and I saw their bizarre behavior which has been all in aid of themselves and NOT the citizens of America who pay their salaries, I would be ashamed. How many hours have they spent colluding, conferring, planning, plotting, and manipulating? They can't sleep at night until they've hammered the last nail in the coffin or sent the last dollar into their hidden foreign bank accounts. It's very possible that there have even been murders to cover up their corruption. And I don't think Republicans have much of a moral leg to stand on because no matter what party is in power, there are abuses and corruption.

God says don't take the wrong path; don't make the wrong choice; don't follow the wrong people; don't get involved with those who pressure you do do wrong things. You may think these people have it all and aren't suffering any consequences but you would be wrong. God sees, there are always consequences and, if there is no repentance, judgment. Show your faith by praying and trusting God to take your cause while you continue to obey Him.

  • Out of our scripture today, what stood out to you? Had you seen it that way before? Was there any new revelation? A different perspective revealed?
  • It's easy to see these verses in terms of others, but what about you? Do a spiritual inventory right now and ask yourself if you've let others influence you and pressure you into doing things you know God is not pleased with? Remember, if God is convicting you of something, it means the Holy Spirit is showing you truth and that you aren't measuring up. You have an option, you can repent and ask for forgiveness. God loves you and offers you forgiveness and cleansing through Jesus Christ. You can be set free from the sin that has entangled you. The other option is to continue trying to hide behind a very little, and very thin, fig leaf of justification and continue on in your sin and getting more and more enslaved by it. You haven't snookered God, He knows. His laser eyes can look right through whatever fig leaf you throw up. What do you choose?
  • If (and we all have) you have made wrong choices because of how people influenced you, think about it. Try to remove all justifications and sugarcoatings and really see what happened. How were they able to tempt you? What lures and subterfuges did they use that worked on you? What were your weaknesses? How did you justify it? What were the consequences? Analyze it with the help of the Holy Spirit. Repent if you still need to repent. Take note of the weaknesses and pray for help in those areas. Make a plan of defense in case those weaknesses are tempted again. Although realize that you are weak and helpless without the strength of the Holy Spirit. You may make all kinds of mental defenses and good intentions all by yourself only to see them fall because they don't include the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives in you and is there to help you overcome any temptation. But you have to want the help, ask for it and submit to it. If you want to sin and "don't want any lip from the Holy Spirit, just get out of the way, I'm gonna do it my way" then He will stand aside and let you go your way. But you will end up in a mess. Don't expect to stand strong with just human intentions and strength because we aren't strong enough. Don't make a resolution that depends on your own strength because we have none. The Holy Spirit in you has the strength.
  • Have you seen people who are so totally obsessed and enslaved by their sins that they cannot sleep because they are so driven to commit sin? It's all they think about, all they talk about, all they plan and prepare for? They may go from one party to the next so they can keep a steady stream of alcohol, drugs and sex. They may have big plans on how to get rich and work towards it night and day. They may be so sexually addicted and perverted that they think and plan their sexual encounters constantly. They are so addicted to drugs they can't think about anything except where to get the next fix and what they have to do to get it? Have you seen someone like that in your own sphere? Not just in the movies, on a documentary, in Washington but right where you live, seen with your own eyes?
  • Have you thought, "There, but for the grace of God, go I"? If it wasn't for God, you could have been in that same situation? Praise Him right now for saving you from it!
  • If you find yourself in this situation, God is just a heartbeat away. He is waiting for you to turn to Him and ask His forgiveness. He loves you no matter what you've done and will forgive you if through Jesus Christ. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life". You can choose to repent and go the right way with His help.

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

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