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The undiscerned life one must avoid

The undiscerned life one must avoid,
For it may be of wisdom devoid.
People who wander through choices,
Better be vary of deceitful voices.

Examine your life in full or in parts,
Till all foolishness and timidity departs.
Ask of the Lord and Him by prayer approach,
For he gives wisdom generously without reproach.

For why must you keep blindly shopping,
From tricksters and then keep dropping?
Why must you go for a risky drive,
Only to crash by a reckless dive?

Value your life and its action,
Always choose a sensible reaction.
Be of a good strong spine,
Then your decisions will be fine.

Your precious life, is to you God’s gift,
So by your conduct, to Him your praises lift.
Breathe each breath with a holy mission,
So that you live with Divine provision.

If you can’t hear God speaking…

A quick tip on discerning good or bad preachers

“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

Tough but true

image

A critical question

truth

Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true. (Psalm 119:142)

Don’t be deceived by looks

face and heartMany a times people fall in love with the wrong person. They end up voting for the wrong leader. Why does this happen? Well, some times this happens because people get deceived by looks.

That doesn’t mean you consider everyone who looks nice as a potential evil doer. What you need to do is to never make looks the criteria to consider anyone good for you. You need to exercise right judgement such as checking for facts, understanding the mentality of the person and his/her reasoning. Obviously, unlike looks the things for right judgement may need more patience. By someone’s look you may get into the error of thinking they are very pleasant people to deal with. However, when you ask them to help you, then you will come to know their true nature. No wonder, you need to never depend on looks alone.

Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. (John 7:24)

When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.”  But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”  (1 Samuel 16: 6-7) (this happened when Samuel was searching for someone to anoint Saul’s replacement as the King of Israel)

Value wisdom like your family

wisdom sisterSay to wisdom, “You are my sister,”and call insight your intimate friend, to keep you from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words.(Proverbs 7:4-5)

Value wisdom like your family. Treat wisdom like your own sister. For good reason too. Because a good sister keeps her brother from all obscene women. Her dauntless desire to be bold in the truth is a big deterrent to any adulteress. She will openly mock the Jezebel woman or the shameless woman who tries to induce her brother to sin. Though a seducer speaks to beguile a man into sexual immorality, the man will be very fearful of acting loose in front of his sister who will retaliate strongly. This can apply even if you think of wisdom as a brother who will not let his sister fall prey to the licentious man who only wants to use the girl. A good brother will protect his sister from all perverted men no matter what they promise.

Walking with wisdom, is not like you get a wise brother or sister walking alongside with you in the flesh. Here Proverbs 7:4-5 is about realizing the presence of wisdom around you. God tells you some warning about stealing and you believe him and avoid stealing. That is walking with wisdom. Not following God’s advice is like trying to get away from your great sister wisdom.

Some man decides he can do without sister wisdom, so he listens to the seductive voice of evil spirits and then goes into the occult. He without wisdom accepts his damnation very easily from the lying spirits. Had he walked with sister wisdom he would have given respect to her and shooed away all profane thoughts that whisper to him. O if he just would respect sister wisdom and leave the occult.

A young lady tries to roam around without brother wisdom. Voices of the world tell her ‘You will look very beautiful if you starve a little, it won’t harm you. Just think of how many men will admire you when you are a bit more thinner’. In absence of brother wisdom, she bites into the lie.So then she eats little, very little and gets a bit of praise about her looks and decides to starve a little more. This damages her health.

One fine day her old blind grandma who cannot see at all, calls her out at her place. The grandma lives with brother wisdom and the brother is quite amused to see the anorexic girl walking towards grandma. Brother wisdom gets a plan and whispers into the old lady’s mind. So then grandma says ‘O child I can’t see you at this age when I’m blind but your act of visiting me in my weakness shows me how beautiful you are’. The girl accepts her grandmother’s wisdom and wonders why she felt only being thin is beauty. As she walks out the house, brother wisdom starts walking with this girl again. The girl now leads a healthy lifestyle.

You might feel you lost out on life because you despised wisdom at some time in your life. The good news is that God can give you wisdom again. James 1:5 says that; If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

I encourage you to be with God’s wisdom by your side. The Gospel is the greatest wisdom of God that a man can ever receive. Though it is so great, yet it is easy to grasp if a person is willing to just pay attention. Plus you have the Holy Spirit to guide you and lead you into all truth. So take time and cherish the Word of God in your life.

Do not judge by appearances

mirror Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. (John 7:24)

Jesus in his great wisdom tells us not to judge by appearance but rather with right judgment. Here judgment is not necessarily about condemning anyone but rather having a right view of people and things.

You can apply this principle in many ways. This usually comes in handy in your interaction with others whom you either see or meet. You can apply this in relationships, church, buying things, leaders etc.

Relationships

A girl sees a robust looking man and decides to marry to him. She goes by his appearance alone. After two years of marriage, she now asks for divorce. Her reason for divorce is that her husband is a heavy drinker and beats her up every time he gets drunk. Suddenly his looks are no longer relevant to this bruised up girl.

A boy wants to marry a very attractive female whom he sees at a coffee shop. He keeps thinking if he should try his luck to meet her right away. So, immediately he approaches her for marriage but she says a no to him. Later in the newspaper he finds out that this woman is into drug trafficking and was arrested just days after she rejected him. He realizes how he just got saved from her.

Now just think for a moment if in both these cases the wisdom of John 7:24 was applied. Then both the boy and girl would try to observe behavior pattern, they wouldn’t make a hurried decision. They wouldn’t keep physical attractiveness as the only criteria for marriage. Most of all they would get the opinion of their family and wise friends before heading for marriage. This would save them a lot of embarrassment in the long term. (In fact some people may be ugly outwardly but inwardly are very beautiful in their character.)

Church

There’s a grim-looking unibrowed guest preacher at church. People are skeptical about his sermon that’s going to start. Yet he speaks only words of hope and encouragement in the name of Jesus Christ. The people who disliked his face suddenly wonder how could a stern looking person give them a wonderful sermon. Many now are convicted of their presumptuous thinking and pray for God’s mercy on them.

A new preacher comes to town and is visiting many churches. He comes dressed up in all white with a golden cross medal around his neck. Besides he looks angelic. Then at a church hall he gives a sermon and receives a standing ovation from the crowd in attendance. Even the resident preacher claps in approval. Little do the people realize that this preacher in white is a fraud. For that person goes city to city collecting money for a South American missionary outpost that doesn’t exist. Only after that preacher leaves the city when news arrives of his deception among the previous churches he visited. The resident preacher and his congregation feel stupid now.

If the people in such churches decided to not go by looks alone but instead research the facts they would not be conned. Also by not thinking bad of a person just because he doesn’t look handsome they would have avoided having a faulty opinion about the sermon before it was even preached.

Buying products

Often ads show that person buys a fancy looking pen and eventually shows him as a successful businessman after he bought the pen. And people who see such ads get induced to buy such a pen thinking of success that apparently comes with that pen. Months and years later these people are still earning the same thing and some are even out of jobs! Such type of people must realize that a dazzling pen is no guarantee of success.

There are some graphics on food products that show a happy looking person having a bite into the product. While there are similar looking foods in the market that just have the name of the product labelled in the packaging. People again blindly opt to buy the food product that has a happy face without checking on the actual nutritional value of the stuff they are buying. It’s odd to just assume that a happy face always means good food. In truth, the model you see on the graphics is smiling because he/she is paid money to do so for the camera. (Hope that sinks in)

Never buy a product even if they directly or indirectly imply health, wealth and happiness or even better relationships. You never know if they are just lying to get you to buy their stuff. Rather keep an open mind, think objectively and do your research. It’s that simple.

Leaders

In a democracy people often make the mistake of electing their leaders based on their looks. Just throw a pleasant and sober image of a family loving man and you get the majority thinking that he is the right person for the job. Add a well cut suit and his chances of being the supreme leader become even more. Then as years have gone by the same people who elected him into power now are lamenting over how he ruined the economy, increased the debt and got more good laws overturned. How badly do they wish they did their research on his ability to run the nation, before he got elected.

While a dictatorship too has a similar thing it not always the majority that elects the monster into power. Some of the dictator’s stooges are so convinced by the proud and confident looks of their leader that they go to any lengths to make sure they manipulate the rest of the country. So they murder, steal and deceive if they feel that a need arises to get their precious little hero appointed as the main ruler of the entire nation. Grand foolishness indeed.

If and only if the people of the world would use right judgement and check all the facts about their leaders there could be lesser corruption in the ways countries are run. Perhaps that would lead to better governance and what not. However, the unsaved still get beguiled by demons that look like angels of light and choose fools, cowards or sometimes just downright selfish rulers for themselves. No wonder believers in Christ are to not keep quiet but rather pray about these things, so that the leaders of the earth rule their country in truth and justice.

Finally, in general

As you have read on relationships, church, buying things, leaders you will understand that these are just four of the many areas in life where you can apply the principle of judging not by appearances but rather with right judgement. You can apply this in survival, combat, personal decisions, work and business decisions, financial decisions etc. To give you an example, just because there is a beauty in the surroundings in the calm before the storm, it does not mean that the storm will be beautiful. In fact you’d rather use that time of calm to start finding safe shelter from the storm. Use your mind, use knowledge and don’t be dependent only on your emotions that come by observing the beauty and ugliness in what you see around you. Discern well and live well.

Christ be with you!

Beware of foolishness in worldly books

It’s common knowledge that there are lots of books printed so far. Some books are very useful such as cook books, car manuals, grooming books etc. These are quite objective in their approach and to the point. However not everything is worth reading as there are other books that are filled with foolishness that you must avoid.

There are certain books that are superficially considered as works of artistic grandeur. On closer inspection you’d realize that they contain moral or spiritual gibberish at best. You must do you best to discern what is really good for you to glean on when reading such things.

voltaire

Some people love poems while some love novels. There are people who relish classic literary works, while some revel in the contemporary. No problem in such hobbies as long they are not harmful. For instance gardening is no sin unless you are growing poisonous plants to harm others or yourself. Likewise, when reading various books they induce thoughts in the garden of your mind. You need to remove weeds of impure thoughts lest they choke the beautiful thoughts of piety, respect, gracefulness etc. The garden of your mind must be well watered with the word of God and never any substitute.

The wisdom of the world in some books can be shaky. They teach you that you are not took keep whining about your sorry situation but do something positive about it. You are encouraged to help yourself. While a worldly book teaches self-reliance it might also teach you to not help people in trouble as they are expected to help themselves. Such teaching on self-reliance is out of balance. I’d say that avoid such books that teach you not to help others. While its true that some people are way too lazy to help themselves, there are some who are too depressed to figure out how to get out of trouble. Not every self-help book is bad but that which teaches foolishness like not helping others is surely a bad one.

Take care what emotions are prominent in worldly books. As certain authors put in their own bitterness in their writings. Some are obsessed with suicide in their works and receive critical acclaim for that. However, the same critics get horrified when the author whom they praised actually committed suicide maybe due to divorce or loss of a fortune. What a tragedy at many levels? Three levels that immediately came to my mind. First, for the author’s life that got lost in gloom forever. Secondly, that the audience and critics celebrated suicide that people usually commit out of hopelessness. Thirdly, that such works that promote despair and suicide are still in vogue even after people came to know that the author wrote them not in the objective sense but out of their own grief which they tried to hide behind.

There are certain books that encourage you to feel helpless just because you are of a particular country, race or gender. Such things only promote you to believe in falsehood that you cannot breakout of worldly stereotypes. Keep away from such books.

Some authors are highly obsessed with sexual immorality. They portray love what is vulgar and hypocritical. They are more concerned with sinful please rather than right living. Nowadays in works of art even a bank robber is glorified if he has a relationship with an adulterous woman as long as he robs the rich and gives to the poor. The Bible doesn’t teach us to rob the rich and give to the poor.

There are certain books what promote unbelief. They will try to make you doubt if God exists. They will say lots of evil things about Jesus Christ. These are to be shunned outright. Because atheism and blasphemy are not in line with the Christian faith.

If you call yourself a believer in Christ then remember that is pointless to keep reading such books. Read what is wise and good and keep away what is sinful and vain. Moreover, read the Bible because it contains God’s message to us which leads us on to the right path.

A few scripture verses to reflect on:

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8)

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.(1 Timothy 6:20-21)

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.(2 Timothy 2:22)

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.(1 John 2:15-16)

Neglect prophecy at your own risk

Prophecy has always been a part of the will of God. Even before Jesus formed the church there have been prophets sent by God. Prophets were those who gave messages from God especially about the future concerning blessings and judgements.  

The Lord doesn’t want to hide prophecy. He wants people to know what he has planned out so that they can be secure in him.

Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.(Amos 3:7)

Jesus said, “So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time”. (Mark 13:23)

So pay attention to true prophecy because it will give you hope.

And we have the word of the prophets made more certain,and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
(2 Peter 1:19) 

Biblical prophecies were always due to inspiration by the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures themselves attest to this.

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:20-21)

So a true prophet is to be heard and prophecy is to be acknowledged positively. Its very important to always check if the prophecy is consistent with the Bible. Otherwise it could lead to deception.

Now only a false prophet would say there’s no Judgement day at all and you realize that the Bible clearly speaks of Judgement day. So would you do then? I’d reject the false prophecy of no Judgement day and then denounce the false prophet if he persists in that perversion of truth. I will also reject any prophecy that says that pay so and so amount of money to guarantee your salvation. Because the Bible says “believe in Lord Jesus and you will be saved” but it doesn’t say pay money for salvation.

However, sometimes instead of discerning prophecy by the scriptures people use a wordly approach. They simply ignore prophecy or act like sceptics. Scepticism is not a substitute for discernment. Also labelling every prophecy as false without even checking may cause you to miss being part of a great move of God.

Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good.
(1 Thessalonians 5:19-21)

People have got into trouble because they have either rejected or ignored prophecy. Due to legalism in certain churches, only prophecy that comes from the top leaders is considered valid while other people who gave prophecy are told to keep such things to themselves and repent of their ‘sins of pride’. By such standards of legalism, great prophets such as Daniel, Isaiah etc wouldn’t be heard if they were on earth today just because they are not ordained religious leaders. Yes that’s the logic of legalism though it always claims to ‘defend’ the faith. So even legalism is a bad way to interpret prophecy.

Sometimes there’s outright rejection of prophecy and sure enough disaster and death follows. The ancient Israelites most of the time rejected the call to quietness and trust in the Lord and instead they kept worshiping false gods. Though they sometimes did heed the prophets and repent of idolatry, they later back tracked on prophecy and they rejected it.

What followed next was the defeat of Israel by various kingdoms. Israel cried out for relief and God forgave them and did restore them.  However, their heart was not fully with God. So, God again sent his prophets to them. Yet they didn’t listen to prophets who spoke of God’s sovereignity, love and mercy. They kept sacrificing not just animals but even fellow humans and kids to false deities!

Due to this, severe judgement arose from God with the result that an evil and sadistic empire known as Babylon attacked Israel like a ravenous wolf tears up its prey on a dark winter day. Empires such as it spread terror where they went and even more in Israel. Most Jews then were either killed or exiled over to far off lands, with only the poorest of the poor left to tend the land of Israel. The glory of Israel was dimmed out due to their repeated rejection of prophecy. Even to this day Israel never experiences true peace and security. Please don’t think that God has forgotten about them. There’s Biblical prophecy about them and Jesus reconciling in the future. Amen.

Now not every rejection of prophecy brings instant death. Sometimes you just miss a brilliant opportunity to improve yourself or others in the mental, physical and spiritual without much effort. You miss a time of God’s favor and then replicating the benefits yourself would otherwise take years of self discipline to achieve or even be unachievable by human standards.

If Peter wouldn’t have given heed to visions related to Cornelius the Roman and Gentile then the church today would never open its doors to people who are Gentiles. (A person who is not a Jew is called a Gentile by the Jewish people). God never intended salvation through Jesus be only limited for the Jews but rather also to everyone else who believes in the Gospel. Peter’s reaction to this prophecy changed the future for many Gentiles yet to be born. Thus we see that a positive response to genuine prophecy affects both the present and the future dramatically.

Prophecy can sometimes be very time specific, so avoid an indefinite delay tactic in discerning. Write down or make a recording of the prophecy you got. Make note of the time, place etc. Then simply pray in the Holy Spirit and remember the words of the Bible. Ask the Lord for wisdom on this. Have hope in Christ!

I remember an incident when a man in a room where people were gathered for prayers got a shocking revelation. It was that a young woman among them secretly had hidden poison in her bag and would commit suicide later. The prayers were slowed down and after some discerning he made known the prophecy to all over there. That woman started panicking and others in the room found out that she indeed had poison in her bag. After being found out, nobody started a blame game on her. Instead they prayed for her and with her. This woman with much tears repented of her desire to kill herself and is still alive today. Just imagine for a moment that the person who recieved the prophecy decided not to bother about. That woman wouldn’t be alive today.

Here are a few scriptures to reflect on which pertain to prophetic blessings, warnings, affirmation of prophecy and discernment as well :-

1) I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles. First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come,scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised?” (2 Peter 3:2-4)

2) Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it. (Revelation 1:3)

3) 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. (1 John 4:1)

4) And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:28)

5) You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. (Matthew 24:6)

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