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.
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)
Thinking in the right direction
Colossians 3:1-11 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.In these you once walked, when you lived in them. But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all.
We are encouraged by the Bible to set our minds on things above and not on things on earth. It does not mean you totally neglect your earthly duties. It means that you realize that you have to follow wisdom that come above, which is from God in heaven.
There is good reason to do so, as when Jesus shed his blood by dying on the cross, he took upon himself all of your sin. So when you believe in Jesus you believe that he came to take away your sins, your old life of sinfulness is taken away and you become a new creation. You may not be dead in the physical sense but in spirit you are dead to sin and there is a promise for you in Christ that you will be resurrected. You need to therefore live with that in mind.
You must there keep away from all sinfulness because sin was your old nature, so you can’t keep walking in it any more. You need to walk in the new nature, which the holiness which Christ has imparted to you. Therefore, you need to set your mind on Jesus above and not on things of this earth.
Here are a few scriptures you can reflect on:
Romans 6:13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
Galatians 5:19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery
1 Corinthians 6:11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
2 Corinthians 5:14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
Isaiah 55:6-7 Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.