Tag: fear God

Avoid divisive people!

Scripture reading for July 4th:  Romans 16, Psalm 133, Proverbs 9

Key Scriptures:  Romans 16:17-19  “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.  For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.  For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.”

Paul warned the church to avoid people who were divisive and created controversy that opposed sound doctrine.  The dividers were serving their own appetites and not the Lord Jesus.  Paul then complimented them for their obedience and encouraged them to be wise about doing good and innocent concerning evil and division.  This wisdom can be applied in every area of life and living.

Faith Confession:  Thank You for the wisdom given me by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word to be wise for good and innocent concerning evil.  Help me to avoid divisive people and stand in sound doctrine.

Proverbs 9:10-11 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.  For by Me your days will be multiplied and years will be added to your life.”  

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Continue in good works

Scripture reading for September 21st:  Ecclesiastes 12, Song of Songs 1-3, 2nd Thessalonians 3

Key Scriptures: 2nd Thessalonians 3:10-13  “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command:  If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.  For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies.  Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.  As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.” 

Some in the church were idle and living off the work of others.  Paul warned them not to be idle, but to be steady in good works and earn their own way.  Idleness leads to gossip and meddling and strife.  This is not proper in God’s family.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 “The end of the matter;  all has been heard.  Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of men.  For God will bring every deed into judgment with every secret thing, whether good or bad.”  

Prayer:  Lord, thank You for calling Your people to good works and earning a living.  Keep me mindful that I will have to answer to You for my conduct on earth.  Amen.

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Don’t be a hypocrite!

Scripture reading for March 19th:  Luke 12

“Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.  There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.  What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.”  (Luke 12:1-3)  Jesus was concerned for His disciples.  The example of the religious leaders of Jesus’ time was one of proclaiming to be righteous but in reality still being bound by sin and uncleanness.  The Pharisees were always judging others, but failed to see their own sin.

Hypocrisy is like putting on a show or play-acting to fit each situation you are in.  Jesus wanted disciples who would be true to Him and God all the time.  He warned them that living a lie would be exposed and would bring ultimate humiliation and condemnation by God.  “I tell you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.  But I will show you whom you should fear:  Fear Him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear Him.”  (Luke 12:4-5)  Hypocrites lack a true fear of God and instead fear men and act to please those they are around.

“I tell you, whoever acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God.  But he who disowns Me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.”  (Luke 12:8-9)  Followers of Jesus must stay true to Jesus!  There is great reward for the faithful and loss for the hypocrite!

 

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The Judge will do right!

Scripture reading for December 29th: Revelation 14-16

John saw the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion and 144,000 redeemed from the tribes of Israel.  They were those who had kept themselves pure and had followed the Lamb. (Revelation 14:1-4)  This company was praising the Lamb with a new song that only they could learn.

As John continued to look, he saw another angel flying in mid-heaven proclaiming an eternal gospel to those on the earth.  “He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come.  Worship Him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the springs of water.”” (Revelation 14:7)

“A second angel followed and said in a loud voice: “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”” (Revelation 14:8-9) A third angel warned of the wrath of God against those who had the mark of the beast.  They will have no rest and the smoke of their torment will rise forever!  God does nothing by judgment unless He warns His people by the prophets. (Amos 3:6-7) God would rather each person repent than that they experience His wrath!

“Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write:  Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”  “Yes”, says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor and their deeds will follow them.” (Revelation 14:13)

“Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” (Revelation 16:15)

Those who read and heed this book are promised a blessing!  (Revelation 1:3)  Death for the believer brings rest from the warfare and rewards for standing true to the Lord!  He will come like a thief for those not ready!  His people will be awake, aware, and prepared by the blood of Jesus! They will be pure by faith and living by faith in obedience to the Lord!   Today’s chapters end with the bowls of wrath poured out on the earth in terrible judgments.  We would do well to pay heed!  His judgments are just and true!

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Prepare to meet God!

Scripture reading for September 13th: Amos 3-5

Amos, a country preacher, used plain language!  Country people don’t usually beat around the bush.  They call it like it is. I imagine that Amos made a few people pretty mad!  For instance, in Amos 4:1 he calls the women of Samaria “cows”.  These women were likened to the well-fed cattle of Bashan, a farming area east of the Sea of Galilee.  These women were demanding drinks from their husbands and were oppressing the poor and needy while they enjoyed an abundance.  Amos promised them that God’s punishment was on the way.

Amos told the people to go up to Bethel and sin.  They were religious and brought offerings that they boasted about.  God had tried to correct them and get their attention, but to no avail!  (Amos 4:6, 9, 11)   The final call was for them to prepare to meet their God!  (Amos 4:12)  Amos then took up a funeral lament for Israel as if she had died and met God!  (Amos 5:1-3)

What was Amos’ remedy for these hardened religious people?  He told them to seek the Lord and live!  (Amos 5:8-9) Their God had power that should be feared and He should be revered!  They were to seek good and not evil.  God eternally hates evil and his wrath is always against it.  (Amos 5:14-15)

Amos reproved this religious people again for saying that they longed for the day of the Lord!  He told them that it would be a day of darkness, not light for them!  (Amos 5:18)  It would be like a man fleeing from a lion, only to meet a bear.  These people were going through the motions and God hated their songs, festivals, feasts and offerings!   He wanted justice and righteousness that resulted from His people living by faith in the fear of the Lord!  (Amos 5:24)

As we listen to this farmer-preacher, we hear truth spoken in plain language.  The times he lived in are a lot like ours.  Are we sure we are seeking the Lord with our hearts, and not just words and ritual?  Do we hate evil and love good!  Are we working  for justice and help for the poor.  The day of the Lord is coming!  We must be prepared to meet our God!

“. . . prepare to meet your God, O Israel.” Amos 4:12b

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A word to the wise: Fear God!

Scripture reading for July 15th:  Ecclesiastes 7-12

The quest of Solomon to find meaning is played out every day in our world.  People are going to and fro seeking pleasure, wisdom, meaning in life.  They are trying wine, relationships, sports, building, materialism, and fame to find happiness and fulfillment. Many who are laughing and appearing to have fun, feel empty inside.  Others are in bondage to sin and are miserable.  They are looking for that elusive fulfillment that can only be found in God Himself!

Solomon stated that the day of death was better than the day of birth because all men could contemplate their own future at the funeral.   Death will take away every man and their works will stand judgment.   There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right all the time and never sins. (Ecclesiastes 7:10; Romans 3:23)  Solomon found that God had made men upright, but that men in their folly had gone in search of many schemes!  (Ecclesiastes 7:29)   We must all answer to God when we die!

“The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11)  No one really knows the future or what it holds.  Accidents can come suddenly and death can snatch us from this life without warning!   “As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.” (Ecclesiastes 9:12)

“The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails–given by one Shepherd.  Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.  Of the making of many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.  Now all has been heard; her is the conclusion of the matter:  Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or bad.” Ecclesiastes 12:11-13  Solomon concluded his book with a simple warning.  Let the fear of the Lord and obedience to His commands drive your life.  These are wise words to be pondered and applied!

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The conclusion: Fear God!

Scripture reading for July 14th: Ecclesiastes 7-12

The quest of Solomon to find meaning is played out every day in our world.  People are going to and fro seeking pleasure, wisdom, meaning and purpose in life under the sun.  They are trying wine, women, sports, building, materialism, and fame to find happiness and fulfillment. Many laugh and appear to have fun, but they have found no meaning.   Many are in bondage to sins of the flesh and are miserable.  That elusive fulfillment can only be found in God Himself!

Solomon told us that the day of death was better than the day of birth.   Death will come to every man and their works will stand judgment.  This should give us motivation for righteous living here and now!   There was not a righteous man who did what is right and never sinned. (Ecclesiastes 7:10; Romans 3:23)  Solomon found that God had made men upright, but that men in their folly had gone in search of many schemes!  (Ecclesiastes 7:29)

“The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11)  No one really knows the future or what it holds.  Accidents can come suddenly and death can snatch us from this life without warning!   “As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.” (Ecclesiastes 9:12)

“The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails–given by one Shepherd.  Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.  Of the making of many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.  Now all has been heard; her is the conclusion of the matter:  Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or bad.” (Ecclesiastes 12:11-13)  Let the fear of the Lord and obedience to His commands drive your life.  It is the beginning of all wisdom.  These are wise words given by our Shepherd to be pondered and applied!  True meaning will come at Christ’s judgment seat when every deed is judged!

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Teacher, you insult us!

Scripture reading for April 6th: Luke 11:37-12:7

“”Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.”  “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it.”  One of the experts in the Law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.” (Luke 11:43-45)

“Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.” (Luke 11:46)

You would think that a great teacher would seek not to insult his students!  Jesus was charged with insulting those He sought to help!  What would motivate Jesus to take this approach?  Was this something sinful in the sinless Son of God?   Shouldn’t someone who is said to walk in the love of God be more tactful and tender?  Isn’t it wrong to insult our religious leaders?   As we read this account of Jesus confronting the religious authorities, we have lots of questions that come to our minds as we ponder Jesus’ approach to these people.

First of all, Jesus was and is the greatest teacher who ever lived or will live!  He has never sinned and did not sin in His approach to reaching and correcting these religious leaders.    He was simply speaking the truth to help expose their hypocrisy.  Jesus had been invited to the home of a Pharisee for dinner.   They were judging Him as unclean because He failed to wash His hands before the meal.  Jesus, knowing their hypocrisy of breaking God’s laws yet trying to keep their own, spoke these woes to help wake them up.  They should have taken care of what was inside their hearts first.

God disciplines and corrects those He loves.  Without it we are illegitimate children.  (Hebrews 12:5-6, Proverbs 3:11-12)  God gives a life-giving rebuke to those who will be corrected. (Proverbs 15:31-32)  Those whose hearts are proud and hard will refuse correction and suffer for it.  These Pharisees and teachers of the Law hardened their hearts and plotted how they might kill Jesus.  In doing so, they fulfilled the plan of God for their own redemption, but also possibly brought about their own destruction.  Are you offended by the Word of Jesus?  Do you consider correction from His Word an insult?

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The Conclusion of the Matter

Scripture reading for July 15th: Ecclesiastes 7-12

Ecclesiastes has some good and practical advice for us to heed today.  The wise learn from others’ wisdom because they listen and are teachable.  I have saved myself many headaches and heartaches by listening to God’s word and heeding its wise advice.  Here are some verses that have spoken to me from today’s reading.

“When a sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of people are filled with schemes to do wrong.  Although a wicked man commits a hundred crimes and still lives a long time, I know that it will go better with God-fearing men, who are reverent before God.” (Ecclesiastes 8:11-12)    Our justice system was originally based on swift punishment but has deteriorated with abundant crime and lax sentences.  Crime increases when sentences are not carried out.  The fear of God restrains evil and helps on His judgment day.

“Cast your bread on the water, and after many days you will find it again.  Give portions to seven, yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.” (Ecclesiastes 11:1-2)  Wise money management requires investing or sowing in order to reap.  Sowing in a diversity of investment is wise because of possible trouble if you put all your investments in one thing.  This simple advice can help us in today’s economy.

“Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”–” (Ecclesiastes 12:1)   As I get older, this advice is something I would give to my own grandchildren and all young people.  An early walk with God, our creator, is the best foundation for all of life and serves us well when we get old and face death.

After trying everything “under the sun”, the preacher (King Solomon) gives us a summary of his findings.  When this wise man boils it all down, the answer to a full life here on earth and a blessed eternity is simple enough for anyone to understand. “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:  Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

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