Posts Tagged ‘politics’


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 19:28 A corrupt witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil

The LORD is a God of truth (Deut 32:4). He demands honesty and truthfulness in all your dealings. You must tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth at all times, but especially when you speak about others. This is a basic but important rule of wisdom.

Those who deceive or lie as witnesses show that they hate God, despise justice, and have a greedy appetite for sin. They will have their reward, for both God and men despise such wicked fools (Pr 19:29; 22:10; 24:9; Is 29:20-21). Most or all sins can be forgiven more easily than lying or bearing false witness. Never misrepresent another person at all!

When you are asked about another person, you make a choice that reveals your character. You either tell the careful truth about the situation, or you compromise the truth in order to protect yourself or a friend, secure an advantage, or exact revenge. If you answer falsely to those in authority or in need of information, you reveal yourself as a scorner of judgment – thinking it a thing of little worth, without respect or regard for it. God forbid.

The devil is a liar and the father of lying (Gen 3:4; John 8:44). When you corrupt or misrepresent matters about another person, you are an ungodly witness obeying the devil (Eph 2:1-3; Acts 5:3). You must think justice and righteousness are jokes, for you profanely treat them as nothing by your actions. But the LORD of truth declared in the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt not bear false witness” (Ex 20:16; Deut 5:20).

Perjury is no small matter to the God of heaven and earth. He hates false witnesses (Pr 6:19). He condemned them often in the Bible (Pr 10:18; 25:18; Ex 23:1,7; Lev 19:11,16). False witnesses will pay dearly, both here and hereafter (Pr 19:5,9; 21:28; Rev 21:8,27).

God’s fury against bad speech includes backbiting, slandering, talebearing, and whispering – crimes inoffensively called gossip, but now nearly forgotten. How are these sins related to lying? They use the tongue to destroy others (Lev 19:16; Ps 15:1-3).

What happened to false witnesses under God’s civil laws? The punishment at stake was executed on the perjurer. If it was a capital trial for murder, a false witness would be executed (Deut 19:16-21). If an eyeball was at stake, a perjurer had his eye gouged out. Perfect! Wise men quickly perceive that witnesses in God’s legal system would learn to tell the whole truth. In fact, honesty in court and legal dealings would rise dramatically.

Those who lie about others have no regard for equity, fairness, justice, or righteousness, so God labels them scorners – a despicable type of perverse fool that is beyond help. He describes their mouths, which easily and quickly pour out wicked insinuations and false reports, as devouring iniquity. They are flagrant and greedy sinners without consciences, who will lie without remorse or worry whenever convenient, for gain or revenge.

Reader, do you despise false witnesses? Do you always tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? Here is the proof: what do you do when you hear someone misrepresent another person? Do you get visibly angry, warn them of their wickedness, and cut them off (Pr 25:23; Ps 101:5; I Thess 5:14)? If you do not, you are an accomplice in their sin, for listening to their lies or slander is a sin itself (Pr 17:4).

Praise God for the Faithful and True Witness at the right hand of God (Rev 3:14; 19:11). He will soon declare the true facts about your life, remembering every good and bad thing you have done (Pr 15:3; Eccl 12:14; Matt 25:31-46; II Cor 5:10). But unless your name is in the Book of Life, you will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death (Rev 20:11-15). Is your name there? Beg Him for mercy (Luke 18:14; John 5:24).


Under Gods Command

1 Timothy 3:08-15 Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursing dishonest gain.  They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.  They must first be tested, and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. 

In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.  A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well.  Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.  Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. 

3:8–13 Deacon means “one who serves.” This position was possibly begun by the apostles in the Jerusalem church (Acts 6:1–6) to care for the physical needs of the congregation—at that time it was the needs of the Greek-speaking widows. Deacons were leaders in the church, and their qualifications resemble those of the overseers. In some churches today, the office of deacon has lost its importance. New Christians are often asked to serve in this position, but that is not the New Testament pattern. Paul says that potential deacons should have high qualifications and should be very carefully chosen.

3:11 The women can refer to women helpers or deaconesses. It could also mean wives of deacons, or female leaders of the church (such as Phoebe, the deaconess mentioned in Romans 16:1). In either case, Paul expected the behavior of prominent women in the church to be just as responsible and blameless as that of prominent men.

3:14, 15 The Bible is the written form of what God expects us to know and do. God chose Paul to carry out one phase of the plan. Through Paul, the inspired teaching was written down. As such, it was passed on to Timothy. Then, it was passed on to others. Later, it was passed on to us.

Lets Bring it Home: Times have changed, but the original authority remains. Because the Bible is from God, it must be studied seriously, understood thoroughly, and applied faithfully. Paul intended this letter to teach believers how to conduct themselves. We would do well to read carefully.  How much time are we spending obtaining a relationship with God, by reading his word?

P


Under Gods Command

1 Timothy 3:01-07 Here is a trustworthy saying. If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.  (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

3:1 To be a church leader (“overseer”) is a heavy responsibility because the church belongs to the living God. The word overseer can refer to a pastor, church leader, or presiding elder. It is good to want to be a spiritual leader, but the standards are high. Paul lists some of the qualifications here. Church leaders should not be elected because they are popular, nor should they be allowed to push their way to the top. Instead they should be chosen by the church because of their respect for the truth, both in what they believe and in how they live.

3:2 Paul’s statement that each overseer should have only one wife prohibits both polygamy and promiscuity. This does not prohibit an unmarried person from becoming an elder or a widowed elder from remarrying.

3:4, 5 Christian workers and volunteers sometimes make the mistake of being so involved in their work that they neglect their families, and especially the firm discipline of their children. Spiritual leadership, however, must begin at home. If a man is not willing to care for, discipline, and teach his children, he is not qualified to lead the church. Don’t allow your volunteer activities to detract from your family responsibilities.

3:6 New believers should become secure and strong in the faith before taking leadership roles in the church. Too often, in a church desperate for workers, new believers are placed in positions of responsibility prematurely. New faith needs time to mature. New believers should have a place of service, but they should not be put into leadership positions until they are firmly grounded in their faith, with a solid Christian lifestyle and a knowledge of the Word of God. Younger believers who are selected for office need to beware of the damaging effects of pride. Pride can seduce emotions and cloud reason. It can make those who are immature susceptible to the influence of unscrupulous people. Pride and conceit were the devil’s downfall, and he uses pride to trap others.

3:7 People outside the church should speak well of those who would lead in the church. The good reputation with outsiders that Paul required is realized when Christians act as dependable friends and good neighbors. How we carry out our duties as citizens, neighbors, and friends facilitates or frustrates our ability to communicate the gospel.

Lets Bring it Home: Do you have friends who are not believers? Does your conduct help or hinder the cause of Christ? As the church carries out its mission in an increasingly secular world, the church needs those who build bridges with unbelievers in order to bring them the gospel.

Do you hold a position of spiritual leadership, or would you like to be a leader some day? Check yourself against Paul’s standard of excellence. Those with great responsibility must meet high expectations.


Under Gods Command

 Proverbs 9:5 Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed. 

The world’s most desirable woman invites you to dinner. Lady Wisdom offers a feast in her house for your pleasure and prosperity. She wants your fellowship and friendship. Choose your companion for life – Lady Wisdom (Pr 9:5) or Folly herself (Pr 9:13-18).

Wisdom is easy. Consider the invitation again. God and Solomon offer wisdom this openly to any simpletons who want to be wise. Only pride and stubbornness hinder you. Will you accept the generous offer, or will you rebel and hold to your own foolish ways?

Solomon’s personification of wisdom continues (Pr 8:1 – 9:12). Here he contrasted the invitation of Lady Wisdom (Pr 9:1-6) to that of Folly, a whorish woman (Pr 9:13-18). Both have a house (Pr 9:1,14); both call loudly to men (Pr 9:3,14); both use the same invitation (Pr 9:4,16). While Lady Wisdom offers life, Folly brings death (Pr 9:6,11,18)!

Look at the fare offered at each house. Lady Wisdom has killed her beasts for wonderful steaks, mingled her precious vintages of wine, and gloriously furnished her table (Pr 9:2). She has baked wonderful bread, which she offers with her wine. Her feast is substantial, pleasant, and a combination of the best components for fine dining. Will you accept?

Folly offers prison fare – bread and water (Pr 9:17). Why even consider such a horrible offer? Because she is a whore and suggests that water drunk illegally is sweet and bread eaten in a secret rendezvous is pleasant. Though her meal has no substance, she seduces many men by the superficial and short-term appeal of sinful eating. Will you accept?

Both women call each man throughout his life. Reader, the competition for your soul is intense. The consequences are severe. What will you do? Are you settled to reject every overture by a strange woman, no matter how enticing the temptation? Have you committed your life to Lady Wisdom? Have you asked her to help you despise Folly?

Many Christians miss good eating. Many reject wine, which cheers the heart of God and man (Deut 14:26; Judges 9:13; Ps 104:14-15). A salad of grass with grape juice to drink is hardly a meal! Let Lady Wisdom guide your diet. Both Melchizedek and Jesus chose fellowship with bread and wine (Gen 14:18; Luke 7:33-34). Grab hot French or Italian bread from the oven with a glass of good wine, and enjoy your filet mignon (Pr 9:2)!

If you want a substantial meal that enhances health and is a wonderful dining experience, there is only one choice – Lady Wisdom. Her meal is filling, nutritious, and most pleasant. How do you accept her invitation and eat at her table? Humble yourself before God and His word and choose wisdom as your way of life (Pr 1:7; 9:10; Ps 19:7; 119:98-100). “Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding” (Pr 9:6).

Marriage to a virtuous woman who fears God is as good as it gets on this earth, even for a king (Pr 18:22; 19:14; 31:1-31; Eccl 9:9). Choose to love and delight in her body and lovemaking, while despising, rejecting, and avoiding any other woman for emotional or physical pleasure (Pr 5:19; 6:25). Choose to have a large and happy family legitimately, which is a unique and wonderful blessing of marriage (Pr 5:15-18; Ps 127:3-5; 128:1-6).

Stay as far from Folly as possible, lest her enticing and lying invitation deceives you to consider the prison fare, death, and hell she is hiding behind her skirts and in her warm embrace. She can approach you anywhere, calling out to the lusts of your flesh and eyes. You may see or hear her on television, at school, in a magazine, at work, through a song, in a chat room, at church, on vacation at the beach, or shopping at the mall. Run away!

There is a war for your soul (I Pet 2:11). Folly, your choice by nature, wants to destroy you – a woman lying about bread and water, which is the most adultery and fornication can offer. Death and hell are the actual results! Wisdom, which God offers by His word, will prosper your life. Nothing can be compared to it (Pr 8:11). She is like a queen offering perpetual peace and pleasure in her house (Pr 9:1-6). Accept her offer today!


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 22:26 Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts

Do you live risk-free as possible? God expects you to manage risk carefully. He did not give you what you have to lose it by slothfulness, foolish optimism, naïve dealings, or poor risk management. Part of wisdom is to perceive risks and avoid unnecessary losses.

God expects you to be prudent – to look ahead cautiously, see potential trouble, and protect yourself (Pr 22:3; 27:12). If you presume God will protect you in spite of foolishness or sloth, you sin by tempting Him (Matt 4:5-7). He expects you to use means to reduce risk, while you trust Him to bless the use of the means (Pr 21:31; Ps 127:1-2).

Risk management is an important part of financial prudence and success. In an uncertain world, where you do not know what will happen tomorrow, where many do not repay their loans, where political winds change frequently, where criminals devise new ways to defraud honest people, where the Internet exposes you to every financial fraud and hoax, you must pessimistically assess your risks and protect yourself from unnecessary losses.

King Solomon warned his son against foolish financial risks. It was a common temptation, especially for a wealthy prince, to guarantee others’ debts. The desire to help those in need, whether from charity or pride, could be hazardous to his wealth. The wise king saw the danger of his son over-committing his capital and often warned against it for the economic prosperity of his son and you (Pr 6:1-5; 11:15; 17:18; 20:16; 27:13).

Striking hands – shaking hands in our world – used to seal a deal (Pr 6:1; 17:18; Job 17:3; Ps 144:8,11). This simple gesture of commitment could have severe consequences. Done hastily without due regard, a man could create enough contingent liabilities and be obligated to pay off enough debts of others to wipe himself out financially (Pr 22:27). Small risks are one thing, but risking your home and furniture is unacceptable!

Neighborly or brotherly kindness to help a poor man in need or a successful man with a sound investment are two possible uses of co-signing, if the amount of the liability could be easily paid. But the over-confident assuming of debt to impress others is vainglorious folly and a recipe for disaster. Give the poor what he needs instead of assuming a liability that may be forgotten. Tell the businessman to find his investment funding elsewhere; if the deal is as good as he claims, there will be plenty of funds available for it.

Are you prudent with the income and assets God has given you? A symptom of this foolish generation is the many personal and corporate bankruptcies. Nations are also near insolvency. Wise men minimize debt, shun needless risk, avoid co-signing loans, maintain savings, invest cautiously, purchase insurance, and work diligently in a secure trade and industry. They do not get in a situation to lose everything by bankruptcy and transfer their folly to others. They take responsibility to protect themselves and others.

Consider the ways Americans strike hands and take on foolish financial risk. They will reach for the plastic with the slightest temptation or urge. They flash credit cards for frivolous and discretionary spending, and then the bill arrives with a 21% interest rate attached. Many never get out of this black hole. They stay afloat temporarily by making only the bank’s minimum payment and/or using other cards to fund their living. But disaster is just ahead. The cost of high living will drown them. Solomon warned you!

Governments today encourage citizens to over-spend and take on financial risk, so do not listen. Modern governments with central banks have little fiscal restraint, because they want to buy the votes of their constituency, solve every problem, satisfy every lobbyist, and secure the friendship of other nations’ leaders doing the same things. While they can manipulate an economy to save their jobs, you cannot do the same, so protect yours.

They write checks, approve budget deficits, and make promises with little knowledge or regard for the total cost, for they believe they can create or raise money by fiat or printing press to pay their bills. (Or they hope they can survive until retirement when the next administration will be stuck with the bill.) Governments will generally keep spending until the whole house of cards (their financial system) collapses one way or another.

When the boom-and-bust economic cycles show up in a recession or depression, they blame consumers for not spending enough. Though a nation may have a negative savings rate for its overall populace, the government will call for even greater spending by its citizens in an attempt to resurrect the former days of prosperity – but the fear of losing jobs and other results of a recession force even spendthrifts to slow their consumption.

Modern advertising, marketing, and purchasing convenience also encourage persons to spend beyond their means. A constant barrage of seductive displays and implied needs overwhelm the financial caution of many or most. With new credit cards arriving regularly in the mail, it is easy to join the spending generation on the way to the poor house. The government should require warning notices on credit cards, not cigarettes!

Prudent men do not put their eggs in one basket, no matter how attractive a deal appears. They diversify their investments and sources of income. They do not enter business deals under-capitalized, for they know that is a sure invitation for trouble. And they do not over-extend themselves by building too big, buying too much, or living too high.

They emphasize the negative side of any expected return. If they calculate a 50% probability of gaining 25%, a 30% probability of breaking even, and a 20% probability of losing everything, they flush the idea without remorse. They do not spend their waking hours adding up their new wealth from possible success. They understand that even a modest probability of a large or total loss is too much for a prudent man to consider.

They are properly fearful and skeptical of any naked position where an investment is exposed to significant loss. They do not scoff at the idea of hedging or protecting their investment with an appropriate offset. If an investment idea is truly valid, then it will make a good return even hedged. But the crowd mentality and greed of most investors cause them to bull ahead in wishful thinking for raking in huge profits and returns.

Insurance does not indicate a lack of trust in God. It indicates a fear of God! A man who properly fears God will use whatever means he has to protect what God has given him, for he will give an account of it in the Day of Judgment. God and Solomon classified the man who wastes his assets right beside and related to the lazy and slothful man who has none (Pr 18:9). Insurance is a cheap source of protection to easily fulfill this proverb.

Wise men know that riches are not forever, so they are diligent to assess every aspect of their incomes and the security of their assets (Pr 27:23-27). They understand that naivety or optimism is not a result of faith, but of folly! They know that working hard every day without looking to the future is ignorant and dangerous. They periodically assess their resumes, their company, their industry, their nation, and any other significant factors.

A wise man always asks, “What if?” His question is not, what if this venture is wildly successful, how will I spend my millions? His question is rather, if this venture goes bust, can I still support my family and fulfill my obligations? Solomon warned against any financial choice that creates unnecessary or dangerous risk. You have been warned!

There is a much greater risk you face – being cast into the lake of fire by an angry God in the Day of Judgment (Rev 20:11-15). What precautions have you taken against that risk? Instead of merely losing your job and house, eternal torment with the devil and his angels is beyond comprehension. Wisdom in this crucial matter demands you run to Jesus Christ and beg for mercy (Luke 6:46-49; 16:1-6; Rom 10:9-13; I Tim 6:17-19; II Pet 1:5-11).


Under Gods Command

1 Timothy 1:7-11 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.    We know that the law is good if one uses it properly.  We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjures-and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.  

The false teachers wanted to become famous as teachers of god’s law, but they didn’t even understand the law’s purpose.  The law was not meant to give believers a list of commands for every occasion, but to show unbelievers their sin and bring them to God.

“Perverts” may refer to homosexuals. Some people attempt to legitimize homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle.  Even some Christians say people have a right to choose their sexual preference.  But the entire Bible (both in the Old and New Testaments) calls homosexual behavior sin (see Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Lets Bring it Home: We must be careful however, to condemn only the practice, and not the people.  People who live this lifestyle can be forgiven and their lives can be transformed.  The Church should be a haven of forgiveness and healing for repentant homosexuals without compromising its stance against homosexual behavior.  

 


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 14:3 A fool’s talk brings a rod to his back, but the lips of the wise protect them.

Is your speech mostly arrogant or gracious? All speech falls somewhere between these two extremes. Where does your speech fall? Does your speech tend toward being gracious and kind at all times? Or does it tend toward being arrogant and hurtful at times?

Here is one of the problems – you are not a good judge of your speech. Only others can accurately tell whether you are haughty or kind in your words. All men want to justify the way they speak, but it is the hearers that feel either irritated or blessed by your words.

There are consequences to pay for your speech. Harsh and proud speech brings punishment and trouble from God and men; discreet and gracious speech brings blessing and safety from God and men. Can you rule your mouth to protect yourself from trouble?

How you use your tongue, one of the most difficult things to rule, dictates how you are treated in life. Both death and life are in the power of the tongue, and if you indulge yourself in talking, you will realize one or the other result (Pr 18:21). Solomon warned often about the consequences of speech (Pr 10:20,31; 15:2; 21:23; 26:28; Eccl 10:12-14).

What is this rod of pride in the mouths of fools? It is a metaphor describing how the proud speech of a fool hurts others and himself. His tongue becomes a weapon for pain (Job 5:21; Jas 3:9-12). A fool cannot control his proud speech, and it causes others and him grief wherever he goes (Pr 12:18; 13:10; 14:16; 18:6-7,21; 21:24; 28:25; 29:20).

But a wise man is preserved and honored by his tongue. He uses speech for the good of others, and they love him for it (Pr 15:4,23; 24:26; 25:11-12). His gracious and kind words win the blessing and favor of others (Pr 11:16; 22:11; 31:26). He preserves his soul from much grief by wisely dealing with those around him (Pr 6:1-5; 12:13; 15:1; 18:7).

When a fool talks proudly with his mouth, the pride in his words causes others to dislike and resent him. He loses friends and relationships, but in his ignorance does not know why. When a wise man graciously and humbly denigrates himself to always advance others, they respond with affection and appreciation. He gains in friends and honor.

Do you know where your speech falls between arrogance and grace? Since your heart is deceitful above all things, you are a poor judge (Jer 17:9; Ps 19:12). Since men are prone to excuse their own faults, you must accept the judgment of others. Do others think you biting, harsh, proud, or sarcastic? Or do others think you gentle, kind, edifying, or meek? You must crush even the smell of pride in your heart to have acceptable speech (Pr 16:5).

The word of God is plain here. Corrupt speech is to be replaced with gracious and edifying speech (Eph 4:29). Bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, and malice are to be replaced with kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness (Eph 4:31-32). Your speech is to always be gracious, allowing room for only a little salty seasoning (Col 4:6).

The Lord Jesus Christ spoke with the purest grace ever (Ps 45:2; Luke 4:22). Even officers sent by the Jews to apprehend Him could not believe His excellent speech (John 7:45-46). The wisdom from heaven is distinctly different from the wisdom of hell, and both kinds are evidenced in the heart attitude and speech of men (Jas 3:14-18). Let the wisdom of this proverb dramatically turn your speech today from pride to graciousness.