The joy of the Lord will arm us against the assaults of our spiritual enemies and put our mouths out of taste for those pleasures with which the tempter baits his hooks. (Matthew Henry)
The wise prophet of God is humble,
And about God’s Word he doesn’t grumble.
The wise prophet keeps a record,
So we can discern about divine accord.
The wise prophet doesn’t go by impulses,
But vague and unclear thoughts he repulses.
The wise prophet takes God as his only source,
And unto evil avenues he never takes recourse.
The wise prophetess is not an exception,
For she too must avoid all deception.
The wise prophetess too depends on God’s calling,
And by her faith in the Lord she is kept from falling.
Disclaimer: This post is not about bashing nor maligning your Church elders but rather knowing the difference between them and God.
All praise to the Lord God who gives elders in the Church to help us in the mission of preaching the Gospel to all nations and making disciples of them. May the Holy Spirit lead and guide them in the grace of God. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. (Psalm 118:8)
Never trust your Church elders more than God. Now I do not say disrespect them but rather give due respect to them. However that being said, never make your Church elders a god above the Lord God. This will put you in deep error and eventual darkness if you refuse to repent in this area.
Now the Bible says in Jeremiah 17:5-8 :-
5 Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
6 He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
8 He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
By the above verses it is very obvious that we as believers in Christ are not to make flesh our strength but rather are to trust in the Lord God. To make it clear, we cannot let any man, even the one’s who are the Church elders tell us not to pray to God. It’s very obvious that any Church elder who hinders you from worshiping Jesus Christ is a manifest heretic claiming to be a Christian!
So what I just said, is this a new teaching? No, not at all but something that needs to be reiterated. The following verses of Jude 1:3-4 confirm this:
3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Each of those who profess the Christian faith are already warned about certain people who for the record; pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. And now such people might not be, each and every person you see in Church but just a few you need to beware of. The basic thing would be to never give heed to any words and philosophies by any one at any level in the Church which contradicts the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s very rare that anyone in the church might tell you to not worship God, because they know that they will be found out and tackled very soon. However do be on your guard against such people.
There is a higher chance of people who may misdirect all the glory which is due to God to themselves. No matter what healing you receive by anyone praying for you or laying their hands never praise them like how God is to be praised. It’s one thing to be thankful to the Church elders and another thing to give them the kind of respect which God only deserves. So do know the difference and do not put your elders above God, ever!
Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit. (Matthew 15:14)
Then there is a subtle trick that the Devil uses to mislead people and most of them fall for it. He simply causes certain gullible Church elders to downplay the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So to not offend others, they will avoid preaching against certain sins or all sins. But they are okay with offending God though, by continuing to work their heresies. Some even show the Gospel as a guideline instead of a reality to follow. By making certain things of Gospel such a repentance, good works, prayers etc as optional by falsely assuming that doing the will of God was done away with the Cross, they lead more people to damnation that even the more common vilest of vile sins could. Stay away from their ways and words and you will do a great honor to God.
Just before I close, like I mentioned earlier, not all Church elders are into wrongdoing. In fact their service to God is commendable and their sacrifices for the Kingdom of God are fragrant and undeniable. May God reward them for this. However do be on guard against those who seek more honor for themselves than the Lord God.
Christ be with you!
When in depression or anxiety don’t get impulsive and make a wrong decision. This can further aggravate your situation. Instead wait upon the Lord God. First pray to God and be calm in his presence. Then be patient to receive his wisdom from above. For the Lord can answer from the Holy Scriptures if you read it prayerfully. Or the Holy Spirit can cause people inspired by him with the answer. Sometimes you might just get a thought from above. All you need to do next is to check if it’s consistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and accordingly act on it.
Praise be to the Lord God who provides the seed of His word and the faith to work on it. By intercession of Christ Jesus our Saviour we keep ever growing in spirit and knowledge. O Holy Spirit lead us into all truth and keep us away from lethargy and false counsel.
We are called to grow in the Lord God. There are no exceptions to this. No need to worry if others don’t grow as much as you do.
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)
Be like Samuel the Prophet who didn’t ignore the Word of God but kept it in all earnest. Samuel’s duty was to grow in the knowledge that God gave him. He didn’t focus on those who didn’t but kept to his task. (Prophet Samuel later in life went on to annoint David as the king of Israel – refer to 1 Samuel 16:1-13 for this). He never gave up his spiritual growth though his mentor Eli’s sons grew in wickedness (Click here if you want to know a lesson about Eli).
And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord.(1 Samuel 3:19-20)
You might not know the future but there may be people who one day will need your help. It might be your own family members who might need counsel on life changing decisions. You may have to cast out evil spirits from the possessed people who turn to you. Or you just have to be a good Samaritan to those in danger. But God knows best what good you are to do. What matters then is whether you decide to grow in the knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ. Because that’s the very thing which will help you with doing all the good works that God has set forth before you. By this you can give glory to God and be a good neighbor to those in need.
Suppose you feel upset that others are not growing in the Lord God, then do not despair. You can intercede for them. And wherever possible even directly help them grow. But never be too proud of your growth and so end up displeasing God. Also take care not to slow down on your growth in Spirit. Because neither will it help others grow nor will it give glory to God.
Christ be with you!
“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4)
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” (Proverbs 18:21)
“Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.” (1 Peter 3:10)
“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” (James 1:26)
For some to control one’s tongue when its pleasant all around is difficult. How much more difficult for them to keep it in check when their heart is filled with bitterness? As for the rest its still an achievement to control themselves when there is bitterness in their life.
However if we remember the words of the Bible then we should know the consequences of speaking the wrong things, the bad things and evil things. Let me make it real to you; there are considerable divorce cases going on which could have been prevented if either or both of the spouses would have not insulted each other by a very wide degree. Or there are people or children who keep running away from their parents because the parents love to speak evil words to them. Now, I don’t justify divorce nor unnecessary running away on account of such things but yes I do strongly recommend control of one’s tongue to prevent any further damage to oneself and others.
Some may say they didn’t actually mean it when they said things that were hurtful to others. That’s exactly my point. Don’t say things that you don’t mean to say in the first place and don’t make any of your emotions whether happiness or bitterness as your excuse for the same!
Make a decision this day to use your tongue more wisely. The benefits are many; better relationships, peace in your dealings with others, living clean and giving glory to God all in all. It’s up to you to control your speech but do pray to the Lord God for his healing and deliverance in this area.
You may pray like this:
O Lord God I ask through your Son Jesus Christ that I be holy as you are holy. Make my tongue an instrument of peace. Help me to speak words that are wise and life giving. Empower me by your Holy Spirit to not have be deceived by emotions whether they are mine or of others. In the name of Jesus, I cast out the spirit of discord and perversion of tongue from my life and totally reject the influence of all that is earthly, sensual and demonic. I pray that I be victorious in my life on the inside and the outside so that God be glorified all in all. Amen.
Every Christian should consider the Biblical call to avoid laziness and overcome it. Now laziness is not the same thing as resting after a hard days work. Laziness is rather idleness and the quality of being unwilling to work or use effort and energy. For some unwitting people a holiday means a time to be lazy and avoid all work including house work, while others just carry their work (via a laptop or smartphone) together with them. Now this doesn’t mean each Christian ought to avoid holidays or be a workaholic who works until he or she is completely drained out. That would be too extreme, isn’t it?
The key to a balanced Christian life would be to live a life consistent with the principles of the Bible. Now there are four areas of life where a Christian can and must avoid laziness, which are as follows:
1. The Spiritual life.
2. The Emotional life.
3. The Physical life.
4. The Financial life.
I’ll explain what each of them mean and what can be done to avoid laziness in them but first let’s get to know a few Bible verses about laziness. Here’s the first one:
How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:9-11)
Plus here are a few more Bible verses about laziness to consider:
* A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. (Proverbs 10:4)
* Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger. (Proverbs 19:15)
* The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing. (Proverbs 20:4)
From the above verses you’d notice that laziness can bring in eventual poverty, hunger and lack. At the same time diligence can make you rich. What would you prefer? For those who want to not be in poverty, hunger and lack which come due to lack of action in the right direction, there’s where the teachings of the Bible come to use. I’ll now explain the four key areas in detail:-
1. The Spiritual life
This is the most important area of life a man, woman or child could ever have. Whatever you do in your present spiritual life can have dramatic consequences in the after life. The problem is that some people are very busy in all areas of their life except that of the spirit. They neglect their prayers unto God, forget to give thanks to the Lord, and even avoid doing good works. The usual excuse is that they are too busy or don’t have time. But whatever be the reason, if you be lazy in your spiritual life then do not expect a good commendation from the Lord God. A few verses to reflect and act upon:
1. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:16)
2. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22)
3. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. (Romans 12:11)
4. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17
2. The Emotional life
Your emotional life is the next most important area. Many people make life changing decisions based on their impulses instead of wisdom. This causes them a lot of hardship later on while it may be possible they might enjoy themselves temporarily. Because people are too lazy to cultivate and safeguard their emotions they easily break in the face of adversity. The people of God are called to be vigilant and wise instead. It’s wise to know your current emotional state towards yourself and the Lord God and even your fellow human beings and animals and so on. This can give you the opportunity to either groom or correct your emotions. A few verses to ponder and work upon:
1. So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
2. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
3. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and the evil out of the evil brings forth that which is evil. For out of the abundance of his heart, his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)
4. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)
3. The Physical life
There are people who are very good in their spiritual and emotional life but are lacking in their physical life. Then you hear that such people are finding difficulty in walking or running or climbing and so on. I wish they work on their physical frame as well. So what is the physical life I speak of? It’s basically the physical well-being of the body in terms of nutrition and exercise. While I do agree that it’s given to man to die once and then comes the resurrection of the just (and the unjust for those who die in their sin) it does not mean we neglect our physical bodies in the mean time. The Bible never tells us to neglect our body once we get saved, in fact we are told that we who believe in Christ Jesus are nothing less than the temple of the Holy Spirit. Read the following Bible verses and use them to your benefit:
1. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own (1 Corinthians 6:19)
2. For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8)
3. A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might (Proverbs 24:5)
4. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong (Proverbs 31:17)
4. The Financial life
The area of finance is something that people give way too much importance to. However the areas of spirit, emotions and physical life should not be neglected while working on the area of finance. Some get into debt because they sleep or laze around instead of working when it’s the time to work. There are others who awake enough to earn their living but asleep enough to not check their overspending or even getting into debts that they can easily avoid. As a result there is a lot of strain in terms of money in their life which affects their families too. So don’t love money at all but instead be diligent in earning it and saving it and only spend it wisely. A few verses in this area that you can act upon:
1. He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame. (Proverbs 10:5)
2. In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. (Proverbs 14:23)
3. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. (2 Thessalonians 3:11-12)
4. But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 25:26-30)
“So many people concentrate on knowing who a good preacher or a bad preacher is and so many people concentrate on knowing what the word of God is! The former is good but the latter is noble. The latter is the best answer to the former. The real duty of man is never to know man but to know God through Christ Jesus! Knowing the word of God is the true way to knowing God!” – Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
Votes are taken not just in a democracy. You also have them in socialism, classrooms, trade unions, sports governing bodies etc. This is done to select a main leader or a set of leaders. Generally voting involves assessing the strengths and the merits of the people standing up for the election. But not always.
Sympathy Vote (definition): an occasion when a lot of people vote for or support a particular person because he or she has suffered recently.(source: dictionary.cambridge.org)
There are people in various walks of life who end up giving Sympathy votes to a candidate just because the other candidate who was contesting the elections against him or her ended up using insulting language against him or her. This is a very foolish practice and let me explain why.
Such people believe that they are punishing the abusive candidate by electing the non abusive candidate instead. This is where the overzealous ‘do not judge’ folks are surprisingly silent about such things. Why not leave the punishment to God instead? And also if you want to ‘punish’ the abusive candidate why not ask from his or her disqualification from the election? Isn’t that more ethical?
The fallacy of the Sympathy Vote is that a person who previously had little or no merit to win the votes, suddenly obtains votes which he or she was not going to get under normal circumstances. Such a person doesn’t even need to promise development or anything good for the people who vote. All they need to do is play the victim card well.
Then after they get to power by virtue of being elected, they may turn to be even worse than the abusive candidate. And the people act shocked as to how did that come to happen. I’ll say it’s because they never bothered to check if the person whom they elected is fit to perform the job or receive the honour that they are supposed to. I still maintain the candidate who tricked the people by putting on a nice initial behaviour is totally responsible for his or her actions later on.
However, I don’t entirely put the blame on such a Sympathy Vote candidate. I’d blame the people who selected him or her even more. No where in the Word of God are the people told to give up their discernment (checking things up) for what so ever reason, which includes the occasions where Sympathy Votes are solicited.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. (1 John 4:1-3)
The above Bible verses are not just talking about evil spirits alone. These also point out that the human spirit too needs to be tested. So why not discern as to which man or woman is God sent and which ones are not? It’ll save you a lot of trouble and effort if you select the right person at the right time. Do not be a simpleton! But rather be prudent in all you do.
The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps. (Proverbs 14:15)
Though the Sympathy Vote is seen more in a political context, I’d say that is not the only arena of life to be careful about. Often in the religious world (or let me use the term ‘the Christian world), there are instances of Sympathy Votes. I don’t know where, when or how you may have to use such discernment in the religious world but when and if you do, remember that Bible doesn’t encourage Sympathy Votes.
I myself have to come to know of one such instance in a Christian circle, where there was an election of a high ranking clergy person among various contenders. Just because it went down to the final two and both of them were in strong contention to win, one of them despite being over forty years old, end up using the most disgusting language to belittle the other candidate. Immediately, the next time the lots were cast, the candidate who was insulted won the high rank and the abusive candidate when sent away to a far away place, another continent!
In due course of time, this pleasant mannered person who won the religious elections discreetly stole from the church funds and later on also started using profane language. So as a result after a few years that person was relieved of the high rank in the church structure. (On a side note, I now realize that just because someone has grown in age doesn’t necessarily mean they grow in manners too). If that election were happen now with the same two candidates it would be best to cancel the election and wait it out till things settle down instead of selecting ‘the lesser of two evils’ on the spur of the moment.
And, to set the record straight, the Bible never ever tells us to choose ‘the lesser of two evils’. If fact if you choose the lesser of two evils you are still choosing evil. Avoid the Sympathy Vote and live well!
I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. (Revelation 2:2)