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Proverbs 1:8-19 – The Danger of Bad Company

Proverbs 1:8-19 – The Danger of Bad Company

The Danger of Bad Company

One of the most overlooked and ignored warnings in all of Scripture is found in 1 Corinthians 15:33.  Here the Lord tells us to not be deceived.  But deceived about what?

1 Corinthians 15:33 – Do not be deceived:  “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

But what exactly does “evil company” and “good habits” mean?  And what do they have to do with the Proverbs?  Great questions.  Now let’s find the answers.

First, what it says:

1 Corinthians 15:33 – Do not be deceived (or, to be lead astray, to wander, to roam aimlessly, to be lead away from the truth and into error and sin, to mislead, to seduce):  “Evil (or, bad, worthless, wicked, vicious, malicious, cowardly, destructive) company (or, companionship, communion, conversation, speech, talk) corrupts (or, destroys, spoils, waste away, to utterly decay, to corrupt fully, to deprave) good (or, moral, useful, pleasing, virtuous) habits (or, morals, character, one’s manner of life).”

Then, what it means:

The Lord is warning us not to be easily deceived into thinking His Words and admonitions are meant for someone else, and not for us.  Maybe He meant them for someone not quite as spiritual as we are, someone not quite as mature, not quite as smart.  Maybe someone weaker, more naive, someone that can’t be trusted to always do the right thing at the right time like we can.  Really?

It’s just that kind of thinking that gets us into trouble every time.  Wouldn’t you agree?

The first warning is about deception.  We are not to be deceived into thinking what God is telling us is either not true, or doesn’t apply in our situation.  We are not to be deceived into believing this warning was meant for someone else.  Why?   Because that’s exactly the rationalization each of us makes regarding God’s Word whenever His Word won’t allow us to do what we want to do and what we think is right.  After all, we want to follow our heart, and to our own heart be true.  Yet we willingly forget God states our heart is “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9).  So, to have the knowledge of God, our heart would be the last thing we would want to follow.

Yet we still do.  Over and over again.

And we never seem to learn.

The second warning is about the essence of the deception.  And it’s the lie that we can play with fire and not get burned.   We can roll around in the mud with the farm animals and not get dirty.  We can live like the world, think like the world, look like the world, value what the world values and crave the world’s love and acceptance and yet remain pure from the world.  I mean, how stupid is that?

God tells us there is a one-way path when we associate with evil people.  Just one way.  And that way is from purity to defilement.  From virtue to sin, from light to darkness, from worth and value to corruption and decay.  It’s a one way street that leads from holiness to depravity, and not the other way around.

“But I know the Jesus in me will change their hearts if I just spend enough time with them and do the things they are doing.”  Don’t be deceived.
“But I love him!  And I know if we date or get married he will someday see the Jesus in me and become a Christian.  I just know it!”  You’re being deceived.
“Hey, they’re my friends.  I can hang with them and just not do what they are doing.  You know, I can be a light in their darkness.”  You’re deceived.

Non-believers never become Believers by osmosis.  That takes a sovereign act of God.  And you have been warned by the Lord not to be deceived into thinking “good morals or good character will redeem bad company.”  In fact, the truth is just the opposite.  Don’t be deceived into thinking this warning from God doesn’t apply in your case for whatever reason you conjure up in your mind to justify your disobedience.

It’s just not going to happen.  Why?  Because God doesn’t lie.


The Addiction to Peer Pressure

We see this scenario graphically played out for us in the life of a young man in the first chapter of Proverbs.  It’s peer pressure run amok.  It’s the “us” and “we” and “they” and “everyone” against the “you” and “your” and the faithfulness of God’s Word.  It’s a classic picture of temptation.  And of classic failure.

First, the gracious warning from the father and mother and the blessings of that warning.

Proverbs 1:8 – My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother; (why) for they (the instruction and the law) will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains about your neck.

Again, Proverbs 1:8 – My son, hear (or, listen, obey, proclaim to others) the instruction (or, correction, discipline) of your father, and do not forsake (or, abandon, cast off or away, to leave alone) the law (or, direction, custom, manner of living) of your mother; (why) for they (the instruction and discipline of our father and the law or custom or manner of living or example of your mother) will be a graceful ornament on your head (or, a wreath of grace, a garland), and chains about your neck.

The phrase a “graceful ornament” seems strange to our ears today.  I mean, what’s that exactly?  It’s a garland, a wreath, a decorative headpiece worn as a sign of approval and honor and is given as a result of following wisdom.  In fact, it’s actually awarded by wisdom itself (Prov. 4:9).1

And the “chains about your neck” might give us the mental picture of Mr. T or some rap artist with a wad of bling hanging from his neck.  But that’s not what this passage is talking about.  It’s a necklace, and is used figuratively of wearing a parent’s instructions around one’s neck as a valued chain of remembrance. 2

In essence, do not forsake what you have been taught.  Do not abandon the acceptance and honor you have received by living a life of wisdom.  Do not throw it all away for the fleeting approval of the world.  Do not become friends with those the Lord commands otherwise.  Do not make yourself the very enemy of God.  Remember?

James 4:4 – Adulterers and adulteresses!  Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity (or, hostility, hatred, enemy) with God?  Whoever therefore wants (or, desires, is inclined) to be a friend of the world (what) makes himself an enemy of God.

And who in their right mind would want to make themselves an enemy of God?  But that’s exactly what happens when we desire the friendship of the world.  Hence, “Do not be deceived:  Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Cor. 15:33).


The Quick Slide into Sin and Judgment

Now watch how quickly temptation can come to the young son.  And notice how appealing it all sounds.   Just like the motto of the Three Musketeers, “All for One and One for All!”

And pay careful attention to the detail in which the father warns his loved, naive, gullible, young son about the ways of the world and the temptations he will face.

Proverbs 1:10 – My son, if (or, when) sinners (or, those reckoned as offenders, those facing condemnation for their actions, those under the wrath and judgment of God) entice (or, deceive, persuade, allure) you, (what) do not consent (or, yield, be willing, acquiescent).

Then there’s the appeal to the flesh.  The almost irresistible compulsion for acceptance, power, anticipation, greed, lust, companionship and belonging.  All of what is to be found in Christ is used as a temptation to entice the young son away from Christ and into a life of sin.

Have you ever been there?  Does any of this sound familiar?  Do we not sin to satisfy, in our selfish flesh and in our own ways, the very needs Christ promised to fulfill for us in His own flesh?

Acceptance and Belonging

Proverbs 1:11aIf (or when) they say, “Come with us (acceptance and belonging)…”

Power, Violence and Excitement

Proverbs 1:11b-12 – Let us (acceptance and belonging) lie in wait (excitement) to shed blood (power and violence); let us (acceptance and belonging) lurk secretly (excitement) for the innocent without cause (power and violence); let us (acceptance and belonging) swallow them alive like Sheol (power), and whole, like those who go down to the Pit (power).

Greed, Lust and the Love of Money

Proverbs 1:13We (acceptance and belonging) shall find all kinds of precious possessions (greed, lust and the love of money), we (acceptance and belonging) shall fill our houses with spoil (greed, lust and the love of money).

Companionship and Belonging

Proverbs 1:14 – Cast in your lot among us (companionship and belonging), let us (acceptance and belonging) all have one purse (companionship).


The Warning from Our Father

Now the father, our Father, reveals to his son, you and me, the end result of a life lived in the flesh.  It’s the natural consequence of being deceived about “evil company” (1 Cor. 15:33).  First, he gives the stern warning to not even get close to those under the wrath of God.  Don’t even associate with them or walk in the “way with them” he says.  Why?  Because we are not to be bound or yoked together by friendship or affection with unbelievers.  “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.  For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?  And what communion has light with darkness” (2 Cor. 6:14).

Proverbs 1:15 – My son, do not walk in the way with them (or, in their manner or course of life, on their journey), keep your foot from (what) their path.

This reminds us of the importance of staying completely free from the contaminating influence of the world, the ungodly, the sinful, and the scornful, and to have as our delight the things of God, even His law and His decrees.

Psalm 1:1-2 – Blessed is the man who (what) walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor (what) stands in the path of sinners, nor (what) sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.

The father now anticipates the pointed questions now hurled at him from his son.  They are probably the very same questions he threw in anger at his own father: “Why?  Why can’t I spend time with my friends?  You don’t even know them.  You know nothing about them.  You’re trying to control who I hang around with.  They’re my friends and you can’t choose my friends for me!”

But the father does know all about his son’s friends and what will inevitably happen to them.  And he also knows what will happen to his own young son if he continues down this path in a relationship with them.  How?  How does he know this?  Because he believes the Word of God and the warnings given and he has seen, firsthand, all through his life, the pain and suffering that has come upon those who have gone their own way and shipwrecked their lives running from the truth.   He knows.  He’s seen.  And it breaks his heart to imagine the same happening to his own son.

Proverbs 1:16-18 – For their feet run (or, to run swiftly, quickly, to hurry) to evil (or, what is wicked, malignant, hurtful, bad in a moral and ethical sense), and they make haste (or, are anxious, hurried) to shed blood.  Surely, in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird; but they lie in wait for (what) their own blood, they lurk secretly for (what) their own lives.

Evil is always self-destructive.

Galatians 6:7-8 – Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for (condition) whatever a man sows, (result) that he will also reap.  For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

The truth from Scripture teaches if a man, even your friends, are swift to do evil and live unlike the Lord Who created them, their end result will be the ruin and destruction of their own lives.   They will sow to their flesh and, in doing so, reap corruption and death and despair— not only in this life, but in the life to come.  But if they sow to the Spirit, as the father is trying to warn his young son, they will reap peace, joy, love, and everlasting life.  There are only two roads, only two paths, and only two choices.  One to life and, as Jesus said, the other to destruction (Matt. 7:13-14).

“Which will it be, my son?” the father asks.  “Which road do you choose?”

Which will it be for you?

And just so we don’t fall prey to the deception we talked about in the beginning, the “evil company corrupts good habits or morals, character” thing, the father leaves us with one final, global truth that applies to all of mankind.  It’s actually quite simple.

Proverbs 1:19 – So are the ways of everyone (or, the whole, everything, each, all, the entire, without exception, including you and me) who is greedy (or, to gain wrongfully or by unrighteous violence, to cut off, to break off, to be covetous) for gain (or, profit gained with selfish goals or motives in mind); it (the greed for gain) takes away (or, seizes, captures, to carry off as plunder, to snatch away) the life (or, soul, self, desire, mind, emotion, passion) of its owners.

The love for money consumes those who lust for it like an uncontrollable, raging fire that devours all that is in its path.  And, unfortunately, this very love for money is the hallmark and centerpiece of our society.  It becomes our idol, our passion, and the standard by which we measure our own value and self-worth.

“I make more than this guy.  Therefore, I’m a better man.”
“I can take a better vacation than you.  Therefore, I’m a better man.”
“I have nicer clothes, a bigger house, a brand new car.  Therefore, I’m a better man.”

But in whose eyes are you deemed a better man?  Yours?  Probably.  But certainly not in the eyes of the Lord.  After all, “the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7).

And with our drive to be a better man, at least in our own eyes, we will soon find ourselves willing to sacrifice our marriage, our time with our children, and even our love of our Lord for just a little more money.  And why?  Because we’ve so quickly forgotten the warning from the Lord.

1 Timothy 6:9-10 – But those who desire to be rich (or, wealthy) fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. (why) For the love of money (or, covetousness) is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

“Don’t let that happen to you, my son,” the father would say.


How Much is Enough?

One final thought.  When the multimillionaire, John D. Rockefeller, was once asked, “How much money is enough?”  He replied, quite transparently, “Just a little bit more.” Or, “I really don’t know.  But, for some reason, the millions of dollars I already have don’t make me feel good about myself.  So I guess a little bit more will help.  Just a little bit more.”

Sad.  So sad.

Because true joy and purpose comes from the “fear of the Lord.”  After all, that very “fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7).   That wonderful knowledge is the blessed knowledge of the Holy One and of His ways.

And nothing compares with knowing Him.

Adveho quis may.
Come what may.

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1.  Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The Complete Word study Dictionary: Old Testament (p. 545). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
2.  Ibid., p. 855.

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Day One:  From Proverbs 1

Day One: From Proverbs 1

But Fools

Today, Day One, we are looking at the first Proverb.  And, as often happens, I am arrested by the simplicity of the Lord’s words:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov. 1:7).

First, let’s see exactly what these words say.

“The fear (or, awe, profound respect, but also frightening terror) of the Lord (and not man) is the beginning (or, the first, chief, best, choice part, the firstfruits) of knowledge (or, knowing, learning, discernment, insight, perception), but (by contrast) fools (or, one who hates wisdom and walks in folly despising both wisdom and morality, one who mocks when found guilty, a simpleton) despise (or, to hold in contempt or as insignificant, to scorn or greatly disrespect) wisdom (or, skill, prudence, shrewdness) and instruction (or, discipline).”

Then, let’s see what these words mean.

The great contrast between God and fallen, unredeemed man is clearly seen in this single verse.  In fact, we’ll see this contrast all through the Proverbs.

Human wisdom, or man’s wisdom, is the ability to understand and communicate the highest truths or virtues based on this world’s logic and values.  It’s the ability to articulate what this world thinks and the path one should take to successfully navigate this world’s system to some sort of desired end.  But what is that end?  Fame, riches, temporal pleasure or perceived happiness, freedom from pain or suffering or calamity— at least for a short time?  What else can this world offer?

We still age, we still get sick, bad and hurtful things still happen to us that we cannot control, and eventually we all still die.  So what can human wisdom do to mitigate the inevitable?  Even if I am the richest person on the planet, like Solomon, I will still someday die.  And then what?  What will I do with my treasure trove of man’s wisdom?  How will it help me then?

It won’t.  And only a fool fails to recognize that.


It’s Just the Beginning

The Scriptures say the fear of the Lord is the beginning, not the end, of knowledge.  It’s the profound respect and awe we give to our Creator that begins our understanding and insight, our perception and discernment of Who He is.  And once we catch just a glimpse of the majesty of God Himself, we rightfully fall on our face before Him in worship and contrition knowing we are just men, fallen created beings, nothing more than dust and ashes, who have rebelled against the Holy One.  And then we shake in sheer terror and fear for our pride, our arrogance, our prized inflated ego and our disdain for any God other than ourselves.

To honor and revere the Holy One begins to open the floodgates of His mercy and love and knowledge of Himself.  After all, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”  But there’s a great contrast.  The verse continues by saying, “but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”


But Fools

But fools.  Is that who we are?  Are we fools?  Do we hate the wisdom of God codified in His Word?  Do we walk in folly and mockery despising His moral commands and living in the filth of our own sin?  Look around.  I think the answer is obvious.

It says that fools, those who reject God’s Word and live in “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16) actually despise His wisdom and instruction.  They just don’t not like it, they hate it, they mock it, they hold it in contempt, derision, as something worthless and insignificant, as not worth their time.  They defiantly refuse and reject spiritual discipline and instruction.  They have not the time for God nor His Kingdom because they are trying to make their own way through this world to receive the accolades of man and their own fleeting version of fame and success.  Why?  Because the immediate trumps the eternal.  Because they would rather have what they can see and hold in their hands today than what is promised them for tomorrow, no matter how wonderful that promise may prove to be.

There is great contrast conveyed in these sixteen simple words that have eternal consequences.  Which one are you?

Are you the one who fears the Lord and is beginning to experience true knowledge and the joy of intimacy with the Holy One?  Or are you the fool who is content to live in the midst of an inner city sewer when the Lord wants to take you to Disney World?    And you refuse to go with Him because you can’t imagine how anything could be better than living and playing in the sewer .

How little are you settling for right now living for the immediate and not for the eternal?

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Day Twenty-One:  From Proverbs 21

Day Twenty-One: From Proverbs 21

Some truths for today from Proverbs 21.

Proverbs 21:2 – Every way (or, path, journey, pattern of life) of a man is right (or, just, straight, upright, correct, ethically or morally pleasing) in his own eyes, but (contrast) the LORD weighs (or, measures, ponders, tests, or prove.  It describes God’s weighing action as a process of moral evaluation) the hearts.

Regarding sacrifices (or our outward acts of worship):

Proverbs 21:3 – To do righteousness (or, blameless conduct, integrity, right actions and attitudes) and justice (or, making a right, correct judgment) is more acceptable (or, to choose, elect, decide.  It denotes a choice which is based on a thorough examination and not on a knee-jerk, arbitrary whim) to the LORD than sacrifice (or, that given to God).

In other words, God’s choice is for us to act and live like Him rather than trying to buy Him off with our gifts and sacrifices.

Proverbs 21:27 – The sacrifice (or, that given to God) of the wicked (or, guilty, wrong, transgressor, criminal) is an abomination (or, worthless, unclean, disgusting, offensive); how much more when he brings it with wicked intent (or, mind, plan, device, mischievous purpose, lewdness)!

And one more, that seems to sum up the entire chapter:

Proverbs 21:30 – There is no wisdom (or, experience, skill, shrewdness) or understanding (or, insight, intelligence) or counsel (or, advice, plan, purpose, plot) against the LORD.

And why is that?  Remember the rhetorical questions of 1 Corinthians 1:20:  Where is the wise?  Where is the scribe?  Where is the disputer of this age?  Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

Yes He has.  And do you know why?  It’s because, as Psalm 115:3 clearly states:  “Our God is in His heavens, and He does what He pleases.”  Did you catch that last phrase?  It says, He (God) does what He (God) pleases.  He is God.  And the pseudo wise and self-inflated of our age are not.

And it shows.

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Day Nineteen:  From Proverbs 19

Day Nineteen: From Proverbs 19

The following are a few passages that specifically spoke to me this morning.  Two great truths and a prayer.

First, the prayer:

Lord, help me listen to only Your voice and not blindly forge ahead in my own so-called wisdom.

Proverbs 19:21 – There are many plans (or, thoughts, intentions) in a man’s heart,
Nevertheless the LORD’s counsel (or, advice, plan, purpose)— that will stand (or, rise up, to be established, to remain).

Then, a wonderful promise from Scripture (if we meet the conditions):

Proverbs 19:23 – The fear (or, awe, reverence, profound respect) of the LORD leads to life, and (condition) he who has it (life and the fear of the Lord) will abide (or, rest, remain, stay, to make one’s home) in satisfaction (or, to be satisfied, full, abounding); He (promise) will not be visited with evil.

Finally, something God is slowly creating in my life.

Proverbs 19:11 – The discretion (or, intelligence, good sense, insight, understanding) of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook (or, pass over, to cover) a transgression.

I wonder what I will learn about Him tomorrow?

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Mistreating the Holy Spirit

Mistreating the Holy Spirit

Prayer of Forgiveness to the Holy Spirit

My Lord, I have mistreated You all my Christian life.  I have treated You like a servant.  When I wanted You, when I was about to engage in some work, I beckoned You to come and help me perform my task.  I have sought to use You only as a willing servant.

I shall do so no more.

I give You this body of mine, from my head to my feet, I give it all to You.  I give You my hands, my limbs, my eyes and lips, my brain; all that I am within and without, I hand over to You for You to live in it the life that You please.  You may send this body to Africa or lay it on a bed with cancer.  You may blind the eyes or send me with Your message to Tibet.  You may take this body to the Eskimos or send it to the hospital with pneumonia.  It is Your body from this moment on.  Help Yourself to it.

Thank You, my Lord.  I believe You have accepted it, for in Romans 12:1 You said, “acceptable unto God.”  Thank You again, my Lord, for taking me.  We now belong to each other.

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From Dr. Walter Wilson (1881-1969) regarding his relationship, or lack of relationship, with the Holy Spirit.  And I couldn’t agree more.  How about you?

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The Neglected Member of the Godhead

The Neglected Member of the Godhead

When I pray, I usually pray to Jesus.

“Why?” you ask.  It’s because I can clearly see Jesus in my mind’s eye when I pray.  I can see Him as a person with a personality, someone with whom I can relate.  I’ve seen all the Jesus movies and have read the Gospel accounts in Scripture, so I can easily visualize Jesus the man, Jesus the person, Jesus as my friend, when I pray.

With God the Father, it gets a bit more difficult to form a mental picture of Him when I pray.  In the Old Testament He’s revealed as fire and smoke and loud thunder and lightning flashing all around Mt. Sinai.  He’s somewhat scary, but I pray to Him nonetheless.  Why?  Because in the New Testament Jesus calls Him Father and reveals a deeper, personal, more intimate side of the Father that was previously unknown.  So for me as a father, I can comfortably pray to Him as my Father, the perfect Father, the only Father, as my Father in heaven (Matt. 6:9).

But when it comes to the Holy Spirit, things get even more murky.  How can I visualize and relate to the Holy Spirit when I pray?  When I think of Him I don’t view Him as a person like Jesus or the Father.  Do you?  He’s more like a gentle breeze or a soft breath or some power or force or energy emanating from the Father or the Son, as an extension of themselves.  He’s something invisible or Someone I can’t see yet I’m fully aware of the effects of His presence.  He’s much like the wind.  I can hear and feel the wind blowing and I know it’s there and it’s powerful and uncontrollable and sometimes frightening, but I can’t see the wind with my eyes or hold the wind in my hands or touch the wind with my fingers.

So it is with the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, I never truly relate to the Holy Spirit in prayer.  More often than not I find myself asking Him to give me power to pray to the Father and the Son.  And when He does and I experience His presence in my prayers, I never thank Him for His presence.  I thank the Father and the Son for giving me the “power” or “anointing” or “presence” of the Holy Spirit, like He’s some tangible, tradeable commodity, but I never thank the Holy Spirit for giving Himself to me.

And why is that?

Would the Holy Spirit Please Reveal Himself

Could it be I’ve eagerly embraced some false teachings about Him in the church I attend and the seminary from which I graduated?  Or, maybe I’m just afraid of Him and what He may do in my life?  Or, is it because I don’t want to end up like others who are self-proclaimed Holy Spirit fanatics and head off to “healing crusades” to be slain in the Spirit by some charlatan with a Rolex watch and a bad haircut?

Or, could it simply be I don’t know the Holy Spirit as well as I think I know Jesus and have denied, in my mind and in my theology, the reality of His personhood and His personality?  Maybe I’ve made Him into a non-person, an entity, a thing.  And by my lack of intimate knowledge of Him and my lack of desire to get to know Him more, I have relegated Him to the status of some second-class impersonal force coming from God and not as God Himself.  He is the name of something I want from the Father, a power or force or energy, to do the will of God in my life, but I have not viewed Him as co-equal with the Father and the Son even though I theologically believe Him to be so in my mind and doctrine.

In other words, I want what the Holy Spirit has to give me.  I want what He possesses.  I want the gifts He has to bring, the gifts of the Spirit.  And yet, sadly, at the same time, I don’t want the Giver of those very gifts.  It’s like I tell Him, “Empty your pockets and put all you have on the table and walk away.  I’m only interested in what you have to give me and not in who you are.”

And that just breaks my heart.  Does it yours?

Who is the Holy Spirit to You?

Have you even felt the same about the Holy Spirit?  Have you, maybe through misinformation or apathy or neglect or fear, treated Him as something less than God Himself?  Have you, like me, disrespected the very One who lives inside us as the “Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance” in Him? (Eph. 1:13-14).

Have you ever thanked Him for the things He has done in your life?  Or, like me, do you reserve your thanks for the Father and Son and treat the Spirit like an orphaned, second-place, also-ran?

If so, there’s so much we need to learn about the third Person in the Godhead.  There’s so much Jesus wants us to know about Him.  In fact, Jesus said it was better for us if He physically left this earth and returned to the Father (John 16:7).  Why?  Because if He did, He would send the One we ignore the most to be with us and in us forever (John 14:16).  The Spirit of Truth.  The Holy Spirit.

So join with me as we discover the personality and personhood of the God who lives inside us?

And just who is that God?  It’s not the Father.  He’s sitting on His throne in heaven.  And it’s not Jesus.  For He is now seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for us (Romans 8:34).  No, the One who lives inside of us and guides and directs us is none other than the very One we choose to keep at a distance, in the safe-zone, at arms reach, and out of our personal space.

And His name is the Helper, the Comforter, the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit— God Himself.

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Reality Check

Reality Check

How to Prepare for the Coming Persecution


Reality Check

As you know, on Friday, June 26th, the Supreme Court ruled that homosexual couples have the right to marry nationwide thus establishing a new civil right in our land.  In effect, by their 5-4 decision, five unelected lawyers redefined the meaning of the word “marriage” and changed the landscape for Christians, and the church, in this country forever.

How so, you ask? 

Simply this, what has been historically deemed as deviant behavior by our society and as a sin and an abomination by the Bible and the church, is now the Law of the Land.  Those who oppose that Law will be guilty of just that, violating the Law.  And in violating the Law the full force and weight of the State will come against those who hold uncompromisingly to Biblical values and a Biblical worldview in an effort to crush them and bring them into submission and compliance. The door is now wide open for full-scale persecution of the church in America and, unfortunately, most Believers have their head buried neck deep in the sand hoping this is some bad dream, some nightmare, that will soon go away.

Wish again, my friends.  The nightmare is here and it’s here to stay.


Dred Scott v. Sandford and Roe v. Wade

Remember, this is not the first time the Supreme Court made an infamous ruling and defiantly shook its fist in the face of God.  In 1857, the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision essentially stripped African Americans of their right of personhood and relegated them to the status of a mere possession, a slave.  It took a bloody Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln to correct and set right what wrong the Supreme Court decreed.

But the evil and injustice of this ruling, as reprehensible as it was, was not forcibly imposed upon Christians and the church.  As Christians, we had the right and the duty to follow the clear teachings of Scripture and our own conscience and reject the ruling by treating people of color the same way we would treat each other.

Then, on January 22nd 1973, in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the Supreme Court again ruled against God and basic human dignity when they denied the unborn the rights of personhood and life.  They held, by a 7 to 2 vote, that a woman’s right to privacy and choice trumps an unborn child’s right to life.

And 80 million unborn children have died.

But again, Christians in this country were not forced, under penalty of law, to participate or even endorse abortion. We had the freedom, and the responsibility, to speak for those who could not speak for themselves (Prov. 31:8) and to stand against this horrific holocaust.  And the church did just that, by the thousands. Crisis Pregnancy Centers sprang up all over the land as well as homes for unwed mothers and the like.


Obergefell v. Hodges

But this time, the Supreme Court ruling is different. With the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, gay marriage and the homosexual lifestyle has now been elevated to the lofty position of a civil right.  To speak against it, like Christians did in the Dred Scott and Roe v. Wade decisions, is tantamount to a crime. A potential hate crime.

And this ruling, unlike in the past, has been forcefully imposed on the Christian and the church.  It has become the Law of the Land, cast in judicial stone.

As the Law of the Land, the civil rights of a legally protected class of sins now trumps the religious liberty of the majority of Americans.  The application of this ruling in real time will be the attempt to govern and control all speech about homosexuality contrary to the ruling.  Anything deemed politically incorrect, anything that speaks against the recent ruling, anything that offends the sensibility and well-being of the homosexual community, will be smacked with the labels of “intolerant” or “homophobic” or “hate speech.”  This will mean our cherished freedom of speech will soon be subservient to the civil rights of a protected homosexual minority.

But how will this affect each of us? you wonder.

Just think, there are now passages in the Bible that our courts have ruled as potential hate speech.  Why?  Because they offend the civil rights of a protected minority.  Those who feel otherwise will soon be stripped of their right to speak in the public square, to share their opinions or sincerely held convictions openly, or to worship anywhere but in solitude and privacy of our own closet.  In their view, we have no choice but to comply.  The acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage is settled law, it’s now the new Law of the Land.  It will soon be a hate crime for a preacher in a local church to accurately teach what the Bible says about homosexuality.  And if he does, watch out.  Why?  Because defiance of the Law of the Land always comes with unwanted consequences.

They have taken the battle to us and are forcing us to take a stand, to choose whose law we will obey.

If we obey man’s law and compromise and capitulate to the legal perversion set before us, we can probably live relatively quiet and peaceful lives.  But if we stand for Biblical truth and commit, like our Lord, to being light in darkness (John 1:5), then we will certainly find ourselves at odds with Caesar, and we will soon discover what persecution tastes like.


frenchman-crying-304-3041935 in Nazi Germany

I know many of you may reject what I’m about to say, but I see us as Christians in America in the same place the Jews found themselves in 1935 in Nazi Germany. Yes, you heard me right. I see us as living in Germany in 1935.

The parallels are striking.

This ruling shows us clearly that the Rule of Law in America is dead.  The Supreme Court now changes law to push its own agenda and has become, like the Executive and Legislative branch of our government, compromised and untrustworthy.  In essence, the Republic we’ve all come to love and respect is no more.  It has been replaced by those who will twist and manipulate the law and media to fit their own desired end.  Widespread corruption, habitual lying, and dishonesty in the highest places, in all three branches of our government, leave us distressed as citizens of this great country.

But the same thing happened to the citizens of Germany in the early 30’s.  They also saw their sacred institutions, the church, the school, the family, and the government, hijacked and taken over by unscrupulous, evil men who would stop at nothing to achieve their selfish ends.

And what was the result of those ends?  World War II.  Over 60 million people dead, which was over 3% of the earth’s population in 1940.  And the atrocities against the Jews?  Utterly unthinkable.  That is until we discovered the ovens of Dachau, Auschwitz and Ravensbruck.


“But, that could never happen to us in America.”

Why? Because we’re better or more loving or more tolerant than the good citizens of Germany?  Open your eyes and look around.  Read the headlines.  Do you see a sense of civility and tolerance towards the church today?  Have you read the vile and vicious comments made by the good citizens of this country to those who hold, for example, a Biblical view of marriage?  Do you trust your President to do what is honorable and right according to the Law?  Or have you forgotten Benghazi, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the ATF and “Fast and Furious” scheme, among countless others?  And, of course, there are the cover ups and almost criminal delays in trying to get the Government to honor subpoenas by the Congress or Freedom of Information requests from others to try to get to the bottom of all these scandals.

Do you still not believe the persecution is coming?

Listen to what a few notable voices say about the recent ruling and the chilling effect it will have on Christians and those who hold to a traditional view of marriage.

The majority attempts, toward the end of its opinion, to reassure those who oppose same-sex marriage that their rights of conscience will be protected. We will soon see whether this proves to be true. I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in his Dissenting Opinion

“I think we’re going to see persecution in this country. You better be ready and you better be prepared because it’s coming. I think there will be persecution of Christians for our stand.”

Evangelist Franklin Graham
Samaritan’s Purse

“I believe a barrage of court cases has already been planned against those who hold to politically incorrect views of marriage. Many of us will be dragged into court to be prosecuted or subjected to civil judgments. Some will lose their jobs, while others forfeit their businesses. Some will be persecuted and ridiculed and fined. Some may go to prison as the years unfold. Since same-sex marriage has now been determined to be a universal human right by the highest court in the land, it will trump religious liberty, churches, seminaries, Christian schools, businesses and a host of individual liberties. I also fear judgment will befall this once great nation.”

Dr. James Dobson
Focus on the Family and Family Talks

Don’t be naive or deceived, persecution will come.  And it will come quickly.  To reiterate, we are basically living in Nazi Germany in 1935.
And for the church, we’d do well to remember what that means.

Edmund Burke once said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

And Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel also said, almost prophetically, “The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.”

Let that not be said of the church today.

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1934 in Nazi Germany

1934 in Nazi Germany

In continuing from yesterday’s post, let me reassert my belief that we, as Christians in America today, are in the same place the Jews found themselves in 1935 in Nazi Germany.  We now see vicious hatred for anything that speaks of Biblical truth and the rule of law in this country.  Why?  Because judicial integrity has been greatly compromised.

In essence, the Republic we’ve all come to love and respect and call home is no more.


“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

Edmund Burke once said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

And Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel also said, almost prophetically, “The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.”

Let that not be said of the church today.

For the next couple of days I will post the timeline of events in Nazi Germany beginning in 1933 until the start of WWII.  That’s just six short years.  Look at how quickly the Nazis consolidated power and enacted laws that first marginalized, and then systematically tried to destroy the Jews.  And see if you, like me, can find shocking parallels of the same agenda being carried out today against the church and Christianity in our own country.

Read these timelines and take heart.  Learn from history.  Glean wisdom and understanding from the mistakes and failures of those who have gone before.

And remember, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

Let’s pray that cannot be said of the church.

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Timeline of Events in Nazi Germany in 1934


January 1st
– Jewish holidays were removed from the German calendar.

January 20th – A law was introduced “for the ordering of national labour.”  Decisions made in the workplace were weighted in favour of the management and against the workers.

January 24thAlfred Rosenberg was appointed ideological supervisor of the Nazi Party.  Jews were banned from the German Labor Front.

January 26th – A German-Polish 10 year non-aggression pact was signed.

January 30th – The independence of the state government was abolished.  The “Law for the Reconstruction of the Reich” was passed.  Hitler publicly insisted that Germany will not be deterred from its program of rearmament.

March 21st – The “Battle for Work” started.

April 1st – Heinrich Himmler appointed head of the SS.

April 11th – Pact of the Deutschland:  Hitler persuaded the top officials of the army and navy to back his bid to succeed Hindenburg as president, by promising to “diminish” the three-million-man plus SA and greatly expand the regular Army and Navy.

April 20th – Himmler was made Acting Chief of the Prussian Gestapo.

April 24th – A People’s Court was established to deal with treasonable offences.  There is no trial by jury and no right to appeal.

April 25th – Germany passed law restricting college enrollment of Jews.

May 1st – Julius Streicher’s Nazi periodical, Der Stürmerone of Germany’s most popular periodicals and a favorite of Hitler, reminded its readers that during the Middle Ages, the Jews were accused of committing ritual murder of Christian children and of using their blood for religious ritual purposes.

May 16th – German officer corps endorsed Hitler to succeed the ailing President Hindenburg.

May 17th – Jews were no longer allowed to participate in national health insurance.

June 17thVon Papen, Vice-Chancellor, denounced what the Nazi Party had introduced into Germany.

June 20th – The SS was made independent from the SA and put in the hands of Himmler who was appointed Reichsfűhrer of the SS.

June 25th – Austrian Nazis murdered Austrian President Engelbert Dollfuss in the hope that the Austrian Nazi Party could take control of the country.

June 26thVon Papen was appointed German envoy to Austria.

June 30th – The Night of the Long Knives.  On pretext of suppressing an alleged SA putsch, much of the brownshirt leadership were arrested and executed.  Schleicher and other political enemies were murdered.  Papen briefly imprisoned; between 150 and 200 were killed.  The SS, formerly part of the SA, now comes to the forefront.

July 4th – An Inspectorate of Concentration Camps was established, headed by Theodor Eicke.

July 13th –  Defending the purge, Hitler declared that to defend Germany he has the right to act unilaterally as “supreme judge” without resort to courts.

July 22nd – Jews are prohibited from getting legal qualifications.

July 31st – In Germany, 30,000 are now interned.

August 2ndPresident Hindenburg died.  Hitler declared himself both Chancellor and President.  The armed forces in response to the Night of the Long Knives swore an oath of loyalty to Hitler.  Hjalmar Schacht was appointed Minister of Economics.  Hitler now becomes Fuhrer.

August 19th – Hitler received a 90 percent “Yes” vote from German voters approving his new powers.

October 1st – Hitler secretly ordered expansion of the army, navy and the creation of the air force, breaking the Treaty of Versailles.

October 8th – A Winter Relief scheme was established.

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Previous:  1933 in Nazi Germany

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1933 in Nazi Germany

1933 in Nazi Germany

I know many of you may reject what I’m about to say, but I see us as Christians in America in the same place the Jews found themselves in 1935 in Nazi Germany. Yes, you heard me right. I see us as living in Germany in 1935. The parallels are striking.

Just this last week, we discovered the Rule of Law in America is dead.  The Supreme Court now changes law to push its own agenda and has become, like the Executive and Legislative branch of our government, compromised and untrustworthy.  In essence, the Republic we’ve all come to love and respect is no more.  It has been replaced by those who will twist and manipulate the Law and media to fit their own desired end.  Widespread corruption, habitual lying, and dishonesty in the highest places, in all three branches of our government, leave us distressed as citizens of this great country.

But the same thing happened to the citizens of Germany in the early 30’s.  They also saw their sacred institutions, the church, the school, the family, and the government, hijacked and taken over by unscrupulous, evil men who would stop at nothing to achieve their selfish ends.

And what was the result of those ends?  World War II.  Over 60 million people dead, which was over 3% of the earth’s population in 1940.  And the atrocities against the Jews?  Utterly unthinkable.  That is until we discovered the ovens of Dachau, Auschwitz and Ravensbruck.


“But, that could never happen to us in America.”

frenchman-crying-304-304“But, that could never happen to us in America,” you say.  Why?  Because we’re better or more loving or more tolerant than the good citizens of Germany?  Open your eyes and look around.  Read the headlines.  Do you see a sense of civility and tolerance towards the church today?  Have you read the vile and vicious comments made by the good citizens of this country to those who hold, for example, a Biblical view of marriage?  Do you trust your President to do what is honorable and right according to the Law?  Or have you forgotten Benghazi, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the ATF and “Fast and Furious” scheme, among countless others.  And, of course, there are the cover ups and almost criminal delays in trying to get the Government to honor subpoenas by the Congress or Freedom of Information requests from others to try to get to the bottom of all these scandals.

Don’t be naive or deceived.  We are living in Nazi Germany in 1935.  And for the church, we’d do well to remember what that means.


“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

Edmund Burke once said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

And Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel also said, almost prophetically, “The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.”

Let that not be said of the church today.

For the next couple of days I will post the timeline of events in Nazi Germany beginning in 1933 until the start of WWII.  That’s just six short years.  Look at how quickly the Nazi’s consolidated power and enacted laws that first marginalized, and then systematically tried to destroy the Jews.  And see if you, like me, can find shocking parallels of the same agenda being carried out today against the church and Christianity in our own country.

Read these timelines and take heart.  Learn from history.  Glean wisdom and understanding from the mistakes and failures of those who have gone before.

And remember, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

Let’s pray that cannot be said of the church.

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Timeline of Events in Nazi Germany in 1933


January 4th 
Franz von Papen (Chancellor of Germany in 1932 and replaced by General Kurt von Schleicher) secretly meets Hitler at the home of German banker Kurt von Schroeder.

January 15th – An election in the state of Lippe saw the Nazi Party win 38,000 votes out of a possible 90,000 – 39.6%.

January 22ndOskar Hindenburg, son of the President, and Otto Meissner, Chief of the Presidential Office, met Hitler.

January 28th – Schleicher resigned as Chancellor when German President Paul von Hindenburg refused to grant him another dissolution of the Reichstag (Parliament).

January 30th Adolf Hitler appointed Chancellor of Germany.  The Jewish population was 566,000.

February 1st – Hitler announced his “Proclamation to the German People” and promised new elections for March 5th.  Hindenburg dissolved the Reichstag.

February 2nd – Hitler meets with top military leaders, describes his plans to rearm Germany.

February 4th – A decree “For the Protection of the German People” gave Hitler the power to ban political meetings and the newspapers of his political rivals.

February 17th – Hermann Goering issued a decree that ordered the police to make “good relations” with nationalists associations (SA + SS) but to make free use of their weapons against the Left.

February 22nd – Goering united the SA (Storm Troopers or Brownshirts), SS (Secret State Police) and Stahlhelm (Steel Helmet) into one single police force.  Over 40,000 SA and SS men are sworn in as auxiliary police.

February 27th – The Reichstag building was burned down.  It was officially blamed on the Communist.

February 28th – “The Emergency Decree for the Protection of People and State” was passed, which led to the suspension of civil rights, a ban on the left wing press and the rounding up and arrest of communist and socialist leaders.  Over the next five months, the Nazis systematically force all opposition political parties to shut down.

March 5th – Elections to the Reichstag were held.  The Nazis gained 288 seats (43.9% of the votes).  The German National Party gained 52 seats (8% of the votes).  Combined, this gave the Nazis a majority of support in the Reichstag.

March 6th – Communist and Socialist Party headquarters were occupied by the state police as were trade union headquarters.  Buildings housing publishing companies associated with the left wing were also occupied.

March 9th – All states that were previously not loyal to the Nazis now had Nazi-loyal state administrations.

March 13th – Joseph Goebbels set up the Reich Propaganda Ministry.

March 15th – The German press received its first directive from Goebbels.

March 16thHjalmar Schacht replaced Hans Luther as President of the Reichsbank.

March 20th – Heinrich Himmler announced the establishment of a concentration camp at Dachau.

March 21st – The newly elected Reichstag sat for the first time.

March 22nd – The Interior Ministry set up a racial hygiene department.

March 23rd – The Enabling Act was passed by the Reichstag that gave Hitler the power to enact laws without the involvement of the Reichstag.

March 28th – The first open attacks by the SA against Jewish businesses occurred.  Gleichschaltung was introduced – the forcible removal of all known opponent to the Nazis.

April 1st – An official one-day boycott of Jewish shops took place.  Literature produced by the Jehovah’s Witnesses was banned.

April 7th – A law for the  “Restoration of the Professional Civil Service” was introduced that banned all Jews and non-Germans from public service.

April 26th – The Gestapo (Secret State Police) was established by Hermann Goering.  The Nazis took over the local government.

May 1st – Hitler gave his “Day of German Labour” speech.  Trade union offices were stormed by SA.

May 2nd – Trade unions were banned.

May 6th  – The Deutsche Arbeitsfront (German Workers’ Front) was introduced to replace trade unions.

May 10th – Over 25,000 “Un-German” books were publicly burned in an “Action Against the Un-German Spirit” that was encouraged by Joseph Goebbels.

May 19th – The Reich government took on the task of regulating workers contracts.

June 22nd – The Social Democrat Party was officially banned.

July 5th – All political parties other than the Nazi Party were banned.

July 6th – Hitler declares the success of the National Socialist, or Nazi revolution

July 14th – A “Sterilisation Law for the Prevention of Hereditary Diseases” was passed.

July 20th – Hitler agreed a Concordat or Reichskonkordat with the Papacy.

September 22nd – The Reich Chamber of Culture is established with Joseph Goebbels as its figurehead.  Jews were not excluded from the Arts.

October 14th – Hitler officially withdraws Nazi Germany out of the League of Nations and the World Disarmament Conference.

November 17th – The Nazi Party won 92% of the votes cast in an election.

November 24th – The Nazis pass a Law against Habitual and Dangerous Criminals, which allows beggars, the homeless, alcoholics and the unemployed to be sent to concentration camps.

November 27th – Strength Through Joy (Kraft durch Freude) and the Beauty of Labour organizations were introduced.

November 30th – The Gestapo is now given authority through greater Germany, and not just in Prussia.

December 1st – A law was passed that safeguarded the unity of the party and the state.

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The Church’s Dirty Little Secret

The Church’s Dirty Little Secret

The following are some key points from Joe McKeever’s insightful article The Church’s Dirty Little Secret which answers the question:

Why does the church— which is the institution which we Christians should respect the most— end up being the least respected by many in the church?  And why is the pastor the least respected professional of all?

The article points out the following reasons:

1.  They, the spiritually immature in the church, see the church as a human institution belonging to them.

2.  They see the pastors as their employees, there to do their bidding and accountable to them.  (I actually had a deacon once tell me, “Pastor, I was here before you came and I’ll be here when you’re gone.”)

3.  They see God’s work as something the professionals do and their roles as volunteers when it’s convenient and easy.  Ah, it’s the old, “Let the hired holy-man do the hard stuff, I’ll just buy my ticket and watch from the cheap seats.”

4.  They see their contributions (money, service, teaching, etc.) as voluntary and not required.

5.  They see their church’s reputation in the community as irrelevant and unity as beside the point.

6.  They see their childish behavior as no one’s business but their own.  Poor little boo-boo kitty.

7.  They see themselves as the center of their own universe and think everything revolves around them.  In fact, just this morning I read the following:

Q:  How does a narcissist screw in a light bulb?
A:  He holds the bulb and stands still while the world revolves around him.  Sad, but true.

Finally, the article sums up the magnitude of the problem by quoting a pastor, fresh out of seminary, serving his first church.  He says:

“Church is the only place on earth where people can throw hissy fits and get away with it.”  Ouch.

And we all know, church life is not meant to be like this.

If you, like me, find yourself in a church family that functions like a family, you are indeed blessed.  And if you don’t, what are you prepared to do about it?

Don’t you think it’s about time you packed your bags and caught the first train out of Laodicea?

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