Posts Tagged With: Wisdom

Silence Leads to Violence

The complacency of fools will destroy them. (Proverbs 1:32b)
One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys. (Proverbs 18:9)

We are all limited in our knowledge, to some degree or another. We are all also limited in our service to the Lord, in one way or another, either due lack of ability or lack of faithful effort. Anyone who fails to serve is subject to destruction. Jeremiah knew this full well:
A curse on anyone who is lax in doing the Lord’s work!
A curse on anyone who keeps their sword from bloodshed! (Jeremiah 48:10)

The reasons there are wars & rumors of wars at this time is because of the shortage of those doing the Lord’s preferred work of blessing the nations. If we do not bless, we will be accursed. If we do not build up the Kingdom of God among the nations, we will have to tear down the kingdoms of man called nations.

Ezekiel (3:16-21), who prophesied about the same time, received a message from God that made what Jeremiah prophesied clearer:

At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.

“Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”

In other words, if a person does not share the wisdom that God has given them with those who are ignorant, the wise man must execute judgment. Silence leads to violence.

In what was likely one of the first portions of the New Testament that was written down and distributed, Paul wrote in Galatians: As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! (1:9) Later on in the book, Paul expanded later in the book of Galatians how we are to identify with Jesus’ ostracism from the community of the self-righteous by setting the example: For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (2:19-20) So we see that there is a dying that must take place to identify with Jesus.

Paul went on to make it clear that:
For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (3:10-14)
To follow Jesus is to believe that His death on the cross was sufficient to take all the curses that you deserve, so that through the Messiah Who was crushed, you might be lifted up with Him Who is exalted over every other name and so receive the Spirit of God through the promise you trust. We who receive this promised spirit then are able to bless the nations.

Back to an idea in Proverbs about character: Who are we? Paul says, “We are fools for Christ …” (1 Corinthians 4:10a) To be fools for someone means you will do some things that seem foolish because of your attachment to that person. This may seem like a bad idea, but the alternative to being zealously in love with the Lord is not a good one. Paul includes in the conclusion to his letter to the Corinthians, “If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed! Come, Lord!” (16:22) Whoa! Either we love the Lord or we love the world. There is no middle ground. The world may seem good and full of goods, but God is the Truly Good.

Yet our love for the Lord should lead to a love for the lost that says, “Better I die & go to hell, than that many people would die & go to hell.” Again, Paul testifies in Romans 9:2-4a “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel.” As he was about to go to Jerusalem and then on to Rome itself, he said, “I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:23-24) The only reason we live on planet earth after we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior & acknowledge Him as Lord is to make known the Kingdom of Heaven known on earth. God is patient with us so that we might make known His salvation known through our whole life.

Lest we think of this as merely exemplary living, Paul opens his letter to the Philippians with a meditation on his future on earth:
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me. (1:20-26)

The point of his life is not himself, but Christ who lives in Him. Christ has become our hope of glory. Let us glory not in being right in ourselves or right with the world. Rather, let us boast of the Righteous One who has come to our defense.

Do you lack any joy? Stop looking for joy in special seasons or special saints or special gifts or special sources of happiness. Let all your springs be in the Lord Jesus. Take offense at no humbug this season. Let not death quench your happiness, but let all things lead you closer and closer to Jesus. Let Him be the Word of God to you. Let Him be the Open Door that is set before you. Let Him be your Bread of Life. Let Him be your Resurrection & your Life. Have you lost your way from the path of peace? Look to Him as the Prince of Peace and pledge allegiance to Him alone. Follow Jesus as the Way. Believe in Him as the Truth. Love Him as the Life. He will bring you to the Father from whom all family derives its name and your spirit will mingle with the Very Spirit of God this Christmas.

Let us go out and tell our families, our friends, our neighbors, and yes, even our enemies what the Lord has done for us not only at Christmas, but also on the cross. The devil also needs to hear more about the saving victory of the Lord Jesus Christ who is risen and coming quickly. Marana tha!

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Thanksgiving: A Rare Fruit

The other day, I was sharing the good news with a person at the bus stop. Others milled about and listened, a gentle dialogue ensued as I tried to direct the conversation away from the theories of good and evil or neutrality of all morality to the facts that we have all sinned.

Just then, a young man I had seen and talked to early, a couple years earlier, walked up to me and said, “Do you remember me? My name is D. You had asked me if I was saved. Well, now I am saved. I am going to [name omitted] Church. I just wanted to tell you.”

Oddly enough, even though the person had interrupted the conversation that had been happening, even though the earlier conversant had become a little antagonistic, when the young man said that they had been saved, the person with all the “hard questions” said, “Yes, that’s good.”

It reminds me of this story from the Gospels in Luke 17:11-21

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2017:11-21&version=HCSB

To paraphrase: 10 lepers (a disease like AIDS) had been sent by Jesus to show themselves to the priests. The lepers were all healed. But only an ethnically diverse healed leper returned to thank Jesus. One in ten. So if only ten percent of those who are born again, ever thank those who witness to them, there are likely others who are now attending church who never took the time to contact me. In fact, I know of others who have taken steps of faith after being challenged.

Have you ever taken the time to thank those who bless you? Have you ever taken the time to thank those whom you ask to pray for you? Have you ever taken the time to thank Jesus for healing you? Are you glad you are alive? Tell Jesus today. He’ll be glad you did, and it will be recorded in the scrolls of eternity.

What am I thankful for today?
A new friend took a book of John and started reading it.
A co-worker was challenged to re-consider a public confession of faith for Jesus.
I can carry on an ordinary conversation yet smell like Jesus with many people.
The word of God is reaching more and more students at the local community college.
Time with my wife.

That is what Peasant Perfume is all about.

Simple words, meaning discovered,
truth discerned, kindness shared.
A dance of lives around the tree
and then reaching out to enjoy wisdom
from on high that brightens heart and opens eyes
… yet is full of integrity
and harmless but for the reminder to get dressed.
Tree of life or tree of knowledge of good and evil?
you may ask.
Yes, the knowledge of good and evil has been chopped down,
life takes root in those once confused.
Leaves from that tree cover souls
and soften steps across holy ground.
Do you hear the sound?
The Lord is walking with us now.
We have crossed the bridge,
there shall be no turning back now.

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The Beginning of Wisdom

When I was about 6 or so, I heard a preacher talk about hell … and I realized that I did not want to go there. I went home and cried & cried. As time went on, I came to enjoy going to church, but I also developped a deep regret everytime I would sin. To this day, one of the biggest reasons I avoid things that violate my conscience is that I do not want to go to hell.

Does that mean that I fear hell? No.

I do not want to be separate from God who give me peace, joy, and accomplishes justice in my life. The fear of the Lord is a delicate balance between trusting him for life and having a deep distaste for all the death associated with alienation from Him. One who fears God will flee to Jesus as a refuge. Jesus becomes the shelter for our hearts and our hopes.

JESUS NEVER FAILS. Love NEVER fails. God is Love. Jesus Never fails because His love is perfect. Following Jesus means seeking to duplicate His love in my life, even the suffering, as I endure difficulty and abuse for and from those I love. If a Muslim despises me or insults me, it is a blessing. If an animist curses me with his idols, it is an honor.

Jesus is my defense and my castle. My cleansing and my soap are found in the blood of Jesus. He is my hope.

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