A wise versus a foolish heart

(1 Ki 3:7-9)  And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. {8} And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. {9} Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

 

      Solomon asked God for an understanding heart so that he might rule God’s people in righteousness and lead them in favor with God. The word for “understanding” literally means to hear; obey, so Solomon was asking God for a heart that would be attuned to God’s voice and one that would obey God’s voice and word. The Scripture credits Solomon with being the wisest man alive. When two harlots came before him to settle an argument about a baby, Solomon displayed great wisdom in that determination and it says, “all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they

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Pure versus a double heart

(Psa 24:3-4)  Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? {4} He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

 

      The Psalmist tells us that only those who have clean hands and a pure heart will ascend into the hill of God – presumably heaven. James speaks similarly of cleansing our hands and purifying our hearts. – “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

      According to James cleansing our hands deals with sins for it is with our hands that we commit acts of violence, stealing, murder and etc. They begin in our hearts and minds, but we put them into actions by the members of our bodies. Therefore, he says to cleanse our hands – confess our sins and seek forgiveness through the blood of Christ. . The purifying our hearts involves another matter. He says it is for the “double-minded” to purify their hearts.

      After we have been forgiven our acts of transgressions (committed sins), we still

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Meek/Lowly versus a proud heart

(Mat 11:28-30)  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. {29} Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. {30} For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

 

      Jesus chose the terms, “meek and lowly” to describe His heart while on this earth dwelling among mankind. He said that how we understand this and come to Him we will be granted rest and we will also find rest to our souls.

      We tend to think of meek as weak, but that is a false conception of the word. Jesus was meek but He was far from being weak. Meekness of disposition is a full surrender to God’s will. It is gentleness in us – the Holy Spirit, while possessing the power of God, is gentle toward all who He calls to salvation. He will not force His will upon any soul who does not desire to seek God’s forgiveness and surrender to Him. – He is a complete Gentleman. Meekness involves the yielding of rights to God and not

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Broken & contrite versus a hard heart

(Psa 51:17)  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

 

      The Psalmist says that God is near to those who exhibit a broken and contrite heart.  James tells us that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. A broken heart is one that is crushed or shattered; contrite means powder or dust. Therefore, a person who has a broken and contrite heart is one who is broken below their pride even to the point of dust.

      Today there is so much about self-esteem and finding out who you really are; the real person inside all the years of rejection and abuse. There is need for this is many cases, but it has been brought into the church and used in a spiritual way that has proven detrimental to the spirituality of people and the church as a whole.

      When God says that He is near to those who are of a broken heart, He is not meaning primarily those who have suffered loss and are in deep grief (although He is near to those). The broken and contrite ones are those

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Diseases of the heart

(Heb 3:7-8)  Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, {8} Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: (Heb 3:12)  Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

 

      This warning to the early Christians was given referencing a certain time in the history of Israel. The people of Israel tried God’s patience for years and it came to a head at the time they were to enter the Promised Land. Moses sent spies out to search out the land and bring back a report. There were twelve of them and they brought back the fruit of the land – some of which had to be carried by two men on a pole – but they also brought an evil report about the giants in the land. They saw the people and walled cities and they became fearful and “hardened their hearts” toward God and the miracles He showed them in the wilderness. Joshua and Caleb tried to undo the ten spies’ evil report by urging them to trust in God;

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What kind of heart do you have?

(Mark 12:30)  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

 

      Jesus said the greatest command is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We tell children they need to have Jesus in their heart to be saved and we invite adults to ask Jesus to come into their heart for salvation. But what is the heart? We know from medical science it is the organ in our body that circulates the blood in our bodies and without it we would die. But is that the heart Scripture talks about?

      When Scripture speaks of our heart referring to spiritual matters it is not the organ that pumps blood that is being referred. While the Greek word kardia is where we get our word for that organ in the body, its meaning goes beyond that limited idea. It denotes the center of blood circulation hence the center of our life but also carries th idea of the center of our spiritual life as well.

      Just the organ in our body

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Fools - 3

(Prov 13:1)  A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.

 

        The Hebrew word for scorner here is luwts (loots) and means “to make mouths at; arrogant”.  This type fool makes facial expressions to communicate his disdain for his parents, authorities and God’s ways. The scoring fool has not only rejected truth but has embraced that which is an abomination to God.

      The scorning fool shows his abhorrence toward people and ideas that contradict his wrong ways and ideas. He expresses his scorn through his attitudes, behavior and speech -- “scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge”

        That Hebrew word can also mean an “interpreter”; thus the scorning fool mimics Godly people so he can dishonor, mock and ridicule them for their righteous standards and life. He seems to have no capacity for wisdom although he may say he does – “a scorner seeketh wisdom and findeth it not.” This may be because he rejects the instruction of his parents – “A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.”

      The Bible says this fool needs proper discipline but also be removed from others so

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Fools - 3

(Prov 13:19)  “ . . . it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.”

 

 The Hebrew word for “fool” used in the text today is not a nice picture at all – “Stupid fellow, dullard, arrogant one”. It also carries the idea of “fat and sluggish”. We call him a sensual fool.

 

      Since he has progressed from the silly fool, he believes that he is always right and his ways are the right way and best way, therefore he feels that to do right and rearrange his living to align with God’s ways is disgusting. He has a bent for making wrong choices and this is true because he trusts his own philosophy and reasoning and rejects God’s standards and ways.

      These type fools do not have a mental deficiency, but arrogance against right. They desire pleasure and as much as they can get. They are of the group Paul mentions concerning the last days – “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” He glories in his shame and his god is his belly – “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they

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Fools - 2

(Prov 7:22-23)  He goeth after her (the strange woman)  straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; {23} Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.

 

      The Hebrew word for “fool” here is ‘eviyl and means literally, “one who hates wisdom; one who mocks when guilty”; we call this a silly fool because they have missed the mark morally speaking. This person’s curiosity and rejection of authority have caused them to violate moral purity. We see this throughout our society today – in young people and older alike. They want to be their own boss and reject any authority over them. They reject the bonds of purity (waiting until marriage to be sexually active) and or reject the vows they have made after marriage. They mock at their guilt in immoral activity and ridicule any and all who would try to help them see their accountability before God. Our society has aided these in their foolish behavior by the immoral laws that have been put in place through the years and now they

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Fools

(Psa 53:1)  The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.

 

      Jesus warned against calling anyone a fool to insult or degrade that person – “whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” God says that anyone who denies there is a God is a fool and Solomon says – “a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” The word destroyed means “broken” as ruined – whether it be physically, financially, relationally or spiritually. Since the fool says there is no God then when things happen in life they attribute them to luck, bad luck, karma or anything else other than the hand of God and thus anyone who keeps company with them and accepts their doctrine, will also believe that those things that God allows or permits in their life to instruct, chasten or turn them around from their sin is simply happenstances and not the hand of a loving, heavenly Father. And in this way the enemy leads the erring child of God deeper into sin and away from God.

      The first fool to look at

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Valleys

Psa 23:4)  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

 

        Christian or not, we all go through valley experiences in this life. These experiences can often define who we are or become as individuals. They represent those low times or times of suffering or sorrow in our life. It is an experience opposite of what we call the mountain top. Being a Christian does not exempt us from going through these times of sorrow or suffering.

      There are various valleys mentioned in Scripture and typify different situations in life. One such valley is found in our text – the valley of the shadow of death. It is a time of deep sorrow and loss. It represents separation from the living in this world and for many it represents darkness and the unknown. Paul tells us that our comfort in this valley is the truth about the resurrection of Christ and those who die in Christ will also experience a resurrection. To those who survive the ones going through this valley he says, “Comfort one another

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Reasons for leaving the faith

(Prov 3:5)  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

(Prov 3:7)  Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

 

      People have departed from the faith simply because they were proud and thought they were able to run their own life. They feel they are strong enough to wage this spiritual war on their own. They needed the Lord to save them but from here on they could handle it.

      Solomon tells us not to trust our own understanding and strength. We are finite creatures with very limited knowledge and understanding. The oldest of us have lived only a century and most less on this earth. We may have had a broad background of experience in life, but there is none that have enough wisdom, understanding or knowledge to make it on our own.

      Peter warns of the devil walking about seeking whom he can devour because his stealth is as that of a lion. Lions are large, strong, quick and very clever predators. They are able to see at night and can move softly through the terrain and come upon their prey

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Reasons people leave the faith

(Heb 12:1)  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

 

      The writer of Hebrews speaks of sins that “beset” us – or skillfully surround us; a particular ain that easily preys upon us or engulfs us. This will not be the same for all or everyone. Many may share that same weakness but no matter about others it is a besetting sin for us. It is an anrea in our life that the enemy knows weakens us spiritually and can bring us down quickly and many times easily.

      In this passage the writer speaks of weights along with besetting sins. Weights are areas or things that are not wrong or sinful but something that can weigh us down in our spiritual life. Years ago during a revival service two yoyng landies came to the altar and the end of the service for their own particular need. They were close to one another but not next to each other. After the altar ended

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Reasons people depart from the faith

(1 Cor 15:33)  Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

 

      As we continue to examine reasons that people depart from the Christian faith, we come to a Scripture that needs to be proclaimed loud and long throughout the Christian world; to adults and teens alike.  Wrong relationships can cause us to depart from the faith and often without really knowing what happened.

      When Samson fell in love with Delilah, he became blinded to what an association with this woman would do to him. He was God’s judge for that particular time and God used him to destroy many Philistines and even through a relationship with a questionable woman. When Samson sought a wife the first time his father and mother were grieved that he chose a woman that was not of Israel, but the Scripture tells us that this was of God because God would use this situation to destroy of the enemy – “But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.” Samson may have thought that this was another one of

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Reasons people depart from the faith

(Mat 13:22)  He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

 

      Jesus taught by the use of parables and in this parable, the Sower and the Seed, Jesus told of people who once they have received the word of truth and have been changed by coming to Christ, become unfruitful because of the “cares of life”.

      The cares of life can be both good and bad. We all have responsibilities in life that require our attention and time. If you are married, then you have a responsibility to your spouse and family.  Paul tells us that if a Christian does not provide for his own house then he is worse than an unbeliever -- (1 Tim 5:8) “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” Providing for them includes many things – food, clothing, shelter, protection, emotional and spiritual welfare, education and other important and necessary areas of living. This requires time and money and

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The blessed nation

The Blessed nation 

 (Psa 33:12)  Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

 

     America’s roots are in God and His word and because we began that way God’s hand of blessing has been upon this nation and the many who have found refuge in it and owned it as their own land. The Scripture is clear, “blessed is the nation whose God (Elohim – the all-powerful Creator of all) is the LORD (Jehovah – the self-existing One). A sign recently mistakenly read: “Blessed is the nation whose God is their Lord.” This could mean any country that worships any god – such as Arab countries or India and etc.

America’s boundaries were established by the Founders of this nation – Godly Christian men and God-fearing men – who knew that any nation is doomed that does not put the Creator God first and the truths of this Creator God into the very fabric of a country’s life. So they set boundaries to guide this infant country toward a path of blessing. Some of those boundaries involved the qualifications of those who were

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The blessed nation

The Blessed nation 

 (Psa 33:12)  Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

 

     America’s roots are in God and His word and because we began that way God’s hand of blessing has been upon this nation and the many who have found refuge in it and owned it as their own land. The Scripture is clear, “blessed is the nation whose God (Elohim – the all-powerful Creator of all) is the LORD (Jehovah – the self-existing One). A sign recently mistakenly read: “Blessed is the nation whose God is their Lord.” This could mean any country that worships any god – such as Arab countries or India and etc.

America’s boundaries were established by the Founders of this nation – Godly Christian men and God-fearing men – who knew that any nation is doomed that does not put the Creator God first and the truths of this Creator God into the very fabric of a country’s life. So they set boundaries to guide this infant country toward a path of blessing. Some of those boundaries involved the qualifications of those who were

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Reasons for leaving the faith

Reasons for leaving the faith 

 

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.

 

      There are several reasons why some have departed from the faith  -- whether it be the body of truth, the trust in God or a life devoted to Christ and His teachings.  Our text tells us that there will be, and already have been, those who have departed from the faith because they have given heed (to turn the mind to) seducing spirits and doctrines of demon.  Paul lists only two in the passage – they forbid them to marry and also forbid them to eat meat (simply a term for food in general). These false groups, under the guise of Christian, demand of their followers that they remain celibate and also to fast all food – perhaps to the point of emaciation.

      There are groups proclaiming to be based upon the Bible who demand this of their followers. One such was called the Shakers who demanded that anyone entering their body or group live celibate lives. If they entered as a married couple they were

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Living by faith

Living by faith 

 

(Rom 1:17)  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

 

      The phrase “the just shall live by faith” is recorded in four separate passages in the Bible – once in the Old Testament and three times in the New. The message is that we do not always see and know God’s plan and working, nor do we know or understand why things are going the way they are, but we live with confidence in God and not doubt Him in any way.

      Present faith is built upon past records of God’s working either in real time in our life or as recorded in Scripture. We know what God has done in the past and we have experienced God’s blessings and working in our life, so we should be able to live by faith in each present situation in the wilderness to satisfy nearly two million people plus livestock. They had experienced the bounty of quail for their meat and manna for food. They saw the glory of God come down upon the tabernacle their built and saw the wrath

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Three aspects of faith: obedient, moral lifestyle

Three aspects of faith – obedient, moral lifestyle 

 

This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; 19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck. (1 Timothy 1:18-19)

 

      The third aspect of faith is our conduct or everyday living out of our trust in God and acceptance of the body of truth recorded in the Bible. We might say “living out our faith”.

      There is a belief today that says you can accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and then it’s all finished, you can live any way you want and still be assured of heaven. It has been termed the “easy believism” of Christianity. Numbers of churches promote this doctrine and are sincerely attempting to win souls to Christ by this teaching. They invest time and money into programs, services, outreaches and other venues to bring the gospel to the unsaved. They do this seriously and with great conviction that they are fulfilling the Great Commission, however they are not making true believers, only decisions. Years ago in Harrisburg,

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