There are many who have great dreams. Dreams of grandeur, dreams of the next big foreign vacation, dreams of marrying the most wealthy person they can find for a spouse etc. And their dreams when achieved do not necessarily bring them the joy and fulfillment they expected. These dreamers get hurt by the fruit of their desires. Let me make it real to you; living in grandeur is what Herod had but in the end he was eaten by worms for not giving glory to God, there are people in big credit card debts as they cannot payoff their bills after their foreign vacations, while some much to their dismay realize that the rich one they married is also a hung miser. If only they had checked if their dreams tally up with wisdom or not. No human wisdom but the wisdom of God!
Please do read Luke 12:16-21 which says : 16 And he [Jesus] told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
If your dreams and aspiration do not involve giving glory to the Lord God what if all of that is taken away? What would it matter in the after life that you only focused on vain ambitions for selfish reasons?
In your dreams and desires always seek to understand where they finally lead you. I’m not talking about the part where you achieve them all. It’s what happens after you are done with your achievement. Does it give you peace in your heart? Does it make you a difficult person to deal with, especially with your family and friends? Does it make you any more wise at all? Does it make you more anxious or timid? Does it keep you away from God? If the answer is yes to any one of these questions, you need to seriously consider if your dreams and desires are consistent with the wisdom of God in his written Word. You may just have to change your motives or change your course of action or totally give it up before that dream brings you nothing but heart break. This heart break may not immediately come but it does eventually come. So do be diligent about these matters of the heart and spirit!
Keep your heart with all vigilance; for from it flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23)
There are people who profess to be Christians and yet there seems to be no blessings in their life. One wonders what is going wrong with them. A little probing gets to the root of it and this answer is not so pleasant. The answer is not out there in the world and God is not to be blamed for it either. It’s something within the person: hypocrisy!
Let me make it real to you. I used to reach to out to a young man who was looking out to get married in life. He seemed financially alright. Not too bad with the looks either. Plus he was a pleasant talker. However, he kept telling me that he didn’t get the right person to marry. Also he would fall ill very often. I would preach to him but had my doubts about his sincerity.
Later I found that he already had a girl who’d meet his mother almost everyday and even do the dishes at home. Basically this girl wanted to marry him but he kept looking out for other women instead. This guy was such a hypocrite that he’d take his family to the church services but himself skip church time. So he’d just transport them to and fro from the worship service but roam around when the church prayers were being done. Also, that he would be using illegal drugs. Obviously, I was not impressed with this behaviour of his but didn’t tell him I came to know of his hypocrisy.
I met this man later and asked him when did he last attend church. The man was puzzled by this question. He told me that he went to church recently. So I asked of him that if he meant he actually prayed over there or just walked by the premises. Immediately, he turned hostile realizing that I knew of his hypocrisy and kept away from me. I couldn’t question him about why he allowed the poor potential fiance of his to come home and clean up the house along with his mother, when he clearly had no interest in marrying her. The last time I kept track of him, I found that he lost out a lot of money on some bad financial decision and his mom had to be admitted to the hospital too. Despite my efforts to contact him, he didn’t respond to the phone. At the end, I understood that just because he clung to his hypocrisy he couldn’t actually benefit from the preaching of the Gospel. He knew what the Gospel expects from him but he didn’t want to act in the right direction.
If you desire the blessings of God in your life then make sure that you eliminate all forms of hypocrisy from your life. Never ever misuse the trust of those who love you even if you don’t love them back! Sincerity in your walk with Christ is dependant on your choice so don’t get started with blaming the economy or some bad experience as an excuse for going away from the path of righteousness. If wish to get blessings with your prayers then pray without any guile and without any perverse intent, and you’ll see the difference for sure.
Verses for reflection:
- If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. (Psalm 66:18)
- The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. (Proverbs 15:29)
- We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. (John 9:31)
- What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. (James 4:1-3)
Forever stuck on preaching to one person? (disciplesofhope.wordpress.com)
Don’t Squander the Grace of God (theaccidentalpoet.net)
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. (Colossians 3: 9-11)
You might have heard the song “Last Christmas” in the past few years. Originally it was sung by the musical duo called Wham! in 1984. In later years, even other singers have tried their luck with it. It’s very popular in most of the world. The musical score seems pleasant overall despite it having elements of a relationship gone bad. However, I do find it odd now in terms of the Bible and I’ll tell you why.
Let’s read a few of the lyrics of that song:
Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day, you gave it away
This year, to save me from tears I
‘ll give it to someone special
So this about a love relationship between a couple gone bad. Doesn’t seem they were married yet but this was a beginning in their relationship. However, this was short and now the person whose heart got broke got a plan. To avoid the previous year’s hurt, it will be new relationship with a new person. The thing that looks weird is that of all the days in the world, they had to decide on the relationship at the time we ponder upon the Savior’s coming into the world.
No wonder, I really find this concept odd. Basically, this song tells us that instead of praying and rejoicing in remembrance of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ this person bothered instead to propose someone for marriage. Further still, the couple had mutual acceptance of the proposal in the time when people come to celebrate at church. Were they away from church at time? Or where they too attracted to each other that they got distracted from Christ? A yes to any one of this question speaks volumes about the priority they gave to Christ.
They didn’t keep Christ first at all!
Now compare their behaviour with the follow Bible verses:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)
I’m not against people proposing each other for marriage legally. In fact I like seeing the boy or at times the girl, popping the relationship question at the restaurant or at the beach or just after the opera as long as its done safely. But I do not support people giving up on their prayer or worship time which only belongs to God, and then using such time to get into love relationships. Chances are they didn’t keep the Lord first at all and then in due course of time even their relationship perished. Then came sadness and heartache into their life etc.
[New edit to this post]: Radio DJ plays Wham’s Last Christmas 24 times in row after barricading himself in studio He only gave up when his own four-year-old daughter phoned in to say she didn’t like the song. I just now am doubly sure that this song’s really odd with this DJ’s foolish behavior. Read about this on the below link:
My point is that we must not like a song for the sake of liking it. We must check the context in which the song was sung. A pleasant feeling music video may not always be sinful but it may not always be good either. One needs to meditate on the Holy Scriptures all day. It doesn’t mean you have to sit and close your eyes the entire day thinking about so and so Bible verse. There may be a time you can allot for this in the day or the week. However, you have to put Christ first and remember his words whether you are at work or at play or at a party or wherever. Any book, article, song, artwork etc which keeps you entertained while going against the morally sound values of the Bible, must totally be avoided by you. Maybe you once didn’t know all this but this time do check properly on what is mere entertainment on the outside but is foolishness on the inside.
Christ be with you, always!
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13)
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment (1 Timothy 6:6)
Never get fooled that tolerance is the only thing to have when dealing with others, especially those who hate you and your faith in Christ. You also need prudence. One also needs to be alert. Most of all, your tolerance must be as per God’s will which includes prudence and vigilance and not as per man’s opinions. Blind tolerance is nothing less than foolishness. To be wise in your tolerance, you need to read the Bible for this and not just a few verses, you need to take the whole Bible into perspective.
Some people are overzealous about; Judge not, that you be not judged (Matthew 7:1). These behave that this is the only verse they ought to follow. I’ve already written an article about this (click here to view it) in order to let such people get the right idea of ‘judge not’, so I won’t elaborate too much on this.
The Bible tells us to be vigilant:
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)
Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children (Deuteronomy 4:9).
It also reminds us to be prudent:
The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. (Proverbs 22:3)
But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him. Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all and ordered them not to make him known. (Matthew 12:14-16)
Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. (Matthew 7:6)
We also need to discern:
Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.(Proverbs 14:7)
He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord.(Proverbs 17:15)
There are things we are not to tolerate:
But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. (Revelation 2:20)
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. (Romans 16:17)
Our tolerance towards others must not mean that we compromise on vigilance, prudence nor discernment. We are not called to tolerate each and everything. One needs to have a balanced view of the Bible in all things.
Some might say, ‘we are to turn the other cheek’ and to them I say ‘do not put the Lord your God to the test’. If you are to choose between life and Christ, its best to take Christ for yourself. But don’t deliberately put yourself or your loved ones in a situation where doesn’t know how to deal with danger. Not every time this is case of getting tempted to leave Christ. And not everyone out in the world is a criminal. But some are indeed evil! So we must go by the facts and not ignore them. If a leopard has attacked many cattle, don’t assume it’ll be tame towards you because it never killed a human before. You don’t give it to act first to make a decision but instead you first make sure you keep a safe distance from the wild cat or be out of sight.
In the same way, if you know that there are people with a history of violence, you don’t try to play ‘nice’. Instead you keep a safe distance from them. I’m not talking about only terrorists. This is about thugs and murderers too. Also, warn your children and loved ones to know whom to get near and whom to keep away from.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22: 6)
Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. (Proverbs 22:24-25)
Whoever plans to do evil will be called a schemer. The devising of folly is sin, and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind. (Proverbs 24: 8-9)
Never get too happy when you see evil doers go down in life. Such rejoicing must be avoided. Be sober because it’s the Lord God fighting them. And the Lord can use angels, animals and even humans to do his work of justice.
Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him. (Proverbs 24: 17-18)
You might find my opinion a bit odd, but at times when I came know of so and so sinners, even terrorists who died when being confronted by workers of justice, I felt bad that such souls have not accepted the Gospel and not repented and so are not going to heaven. For a few seconds I tried to imagine that if they accepted the Lord Jesus much earlier in life, how much damage and death to others could have been avoided in the first place.
Then reality set in, I viewed the new reports again and I realized there were innocent people, even innocent kids who got killed by these evil doers. So Divine justice already had to tackle the murderers on earth itself before giving them their due punishment in hell. So if even if you hear of such workers of iniquity getting harmed or killed, do not rejoice but rather pray for the victims of their crimes and also for the victims families. Don’t pray for the wicked who have died in battle, since there is no hope for them.
Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out. (Proverbs 24: 19-20)
Verses for reflection:
To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. “‘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. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’ (Revelation 2: 1-7)
It’s not a topic that everyone likes but yet this is something that everyone must be aware of. This is about how you deal with people who have physical scars. I’ve been feeling inspired by the Lord God to make a mention of this.
Jesus never mocked the lepers whom he healed. Leprosy was incurable in those days and lepers were mocked and shooed away if they came too close to a healthy person. Follow Jesus’ example and be kind to such people.
If the person has a fresh scar you might have to direct or help that person to immediate medical treatment and first aid. You’d have to maintain your composure to help out the scarred person who may be disoriented due to their injuries.
Now if the scar is an old one, don’t get overwhelmed by seeing the person who’s got the injury on his or her face or elsewhere. Try to speak normally to such a person and don’t make them feel upset about their injuries.
Suppose if you everyday have to deal with a person who is scarred due to any reason such as burns, accidents etc try to be positive with them. Appreciate them for good actions instead of judging them by their misfortunes. Avoid nagging them about how they got the scars. If you want to know why they are that way, then ask with respect and at the right time or do not ask at all. Pray for such people you know everyday.
Don’t assume things:
Never blindly assume that so and so person who’s got scars has got it out of God’s judgement on him and her. You don’t know if they got injured due to an unfortunate accident or while trying to save someone else. Even if one can prove that it was the judgement of God that got people scars, you are still not to act too righteous and mock them. You too were once a sinner, till Christ forgave you your sins when you believed in him.
No one has a right to make fun of children with scars on their faces, neck, hands etc. If one cannot speak a kind word to such children, one might as well avoid speaking anything discouraging to them. Avoid needlessly touching their wound marks as it can cause them to remember the ordeal which caused them harm and then try cry out.
You must never abandon a family member just because they got scars. Anyone who avoids family members on account of their scars is in gross error and doesn’t care for his or her family.
Don’t celebrate if your enemies or even the wicked got hurt and a result are permanently scarred. That’s not a Christian thing to do. Instead be humble that God watches over you and has kept you safe. If you want to speak something in such a case then simply pray to Christ that your enemies and the wicked repent of their sins.
Praise be God who gives wisdom to those who believe in him. We pray that each one who comes to Christ desires to please the Lord God by walking in true wisdom and integrity. May the Holy Spirit reveal to us everything and everyone that we can correct in our lives. Amen
Eli the priest at Shiloh was a priest of the Lord God. He had done some remarkably good deeds such as praying that the barren Hannah gives birth a child and also that the child Samuel comes to know of his prophetic calling for God. Despite all this he didn’t have a happy ending. This is quite a tragedy considering he was a devout man of God in most of his actions except one.
So what went wrong for him?
I answer that by pointing to what the Lord God revealed to the child Samuel which is nothing less than the judgment against Eli’s family. Let’s read the following verses (1 Samuel 3: 8-14) to get the true picture:
8 And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” 11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. 14 Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”
You might want to read 1 Samuel 3: 8-14 mentioned above once again that the seriousness of the judgment of God against Eli’s family sinks in really well. Just imagine, how would a child react if receives his first ever prophecy and he is told that his mentor’s family is going to be punished because of blasphemy against God. Now, the Lord God didn’t want to keep this child clueless as to why it was going to happen. It was clearly mentioned that Eli was forewarned about the highly immoral behavior of his sons in the house of worship of the Lord God.
So what exactly were Eli’s sons misdeeds?
12 Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord. 13 The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, 14 and he would thrust it into the pan or kettle or cauldron or pot. All that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15 Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give meat for the priest to roast, for he will not accept boiled meat from you but only raw.” 16 And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish,” he would say, “No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force.” 17 Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord, for the men treated the offering of the Lord with contempt. (1 Samuel 2: 12-17)
What was Eli’s reaction to the crimes of his sons?
22 Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23 And he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people. 24 No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of the Lord spreading abroad. 25 If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lord to put them to death. (1 Samuel 2: 22-25)
Well Eli did rebuke them but that’s it. The Lord God expected Eli to restrain his sons but then Eli didn’t stop them from continuing in their evil. Though he knew his sons had immoral affairs with women he didn’t really do anything that would have made an effective stop to their wickedness.
Was Samuel the only one who received the prophecy of judgment against Eli’s family?
Samuel was never the only one in this matter. There’s another prophet mentioned in 1 Samuel 2:27-36 who is not identified by name but only as a man of God. He declared by the Lord God that Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas shall both die on the same day as a sign to Eli for their wickedness.
What happened to Eli and his family after receiving the prophecy from Samuel?