Monday, January 30, 2012

Proverbs 29:20 commentary; don't be hasty with your words

20 ¶ Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

Hasty words have hurt many a friend and spouse. They’ve ended jobs and caused arrests. Words mean something and what you say this morning can have a tremendous effect on the rest of the day, the week, the month, or even the rest of your life.

Ecclesiastes 5:2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.

James 1:19 ¶ Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

There’s not much hope for someone whose mouth runs before their brain is engaged. There is also the simpleton who simply must have the last word in any discussion or argument. When you talk to them you just know they aren’t even thinking about what you’re saying but waiting to say something that has come to their mind.

We would be wise to be slow to speak according to God’s word and to choose our words carefully. A Christian’s words should have purpose.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

We’ve had plenty of examples of celebrity preachers who, when given the national spotlight, have said ill advised things that reflected their own opinions or weaknesses rather than God’s eternal truths designed to bring people closer to Him through Christ. Sometimes, having a pulpit that gets attention from the media, they simply say stupid things. Whether it be Jerry Falwell blaming 9/11 on abortion and homosexuality rather than on the malicious intent of the perpetrators and their leaders and our failed foreign policies or Pat Robertson claiming he could leg press a ton or Jeremiah Wright cursing America from the pulpit these men apparently believed their own press too much.

Often politicians will regret a random statement that came out of their mouth at an inopportune time. Recently, a rash of political leaders have been reported as saying some of the most embarrassing, moronic, and idiotic things like abortion providers, performing a legal act, should be hung as criminals. (Not too smart for a politician too gutless to fight to end and to propose legislation to curtail or limit abortion). Another was reported as saying it’s not good to help the poor because it only encourages them to breed. Some have used gun references implying, perhaps, to the unbalanced that their opponents were worthy targets of violence and this was done by both Democrats and Republicans. These things are bad if spoken without thinking and even worse if part of a planned speech.

Men in positions of responsibility and authority should use their words more wisely. And you and I at home should also be careful about what we say and not speak too hastily. I was terribly guilty of this as a parent and said many things in anger that I can never take back. There was more hope for a fool than for me. In fact, I have been a fool most of my life. I had learned to say what I felt at the time rather than what should be said or what was helpful. I fear I hurt young minds and hearts by my rashness and hot temper.

Ecclesiastes 7:9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.

To everyone out there, particularly to Christians, think carefully before you respond to anyone, particularly children. They remember and are affected by rash speech and unkind words. Keep in mind that it’s easier sometimes to forget a beating than it is a verbal battering. Our rash words can bring down a child’s view of his or her own value and that can have devastating effect on their lives. Think before you speak, particularly if you’re angry. Don’t be a fool.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Proverbs 29:19 commentary; the disobedient servant understands but doesn't answer

19 ¶ A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer.

By bringing this Proverb given to people who did not have appliances and modern mechanical conveniences to help them with their daily tasks into the modern world literally we can equate this servant with the employee of today. Some people will refuse to hear correction and although they understand what is being said to them and what they have done wrong they will refuse to speak or act as if they do.

But, leaving the worldly application to another time, let’s look at the application to the Christian. As a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 1:1; James 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1:1; Revelation 1:1) as well as His friend (John 15:15), a child and heir of God through Christ (Galatians 4:7,) we are called to obey Him (Romans 6:16.) What does Christ call us to do?

To love God and to love those around us for one;

Matthew 22:35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

To love our brothers and sisters in Christ;

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

This love, in God’s Bible, is often called charity. It is an active love that meets certain conditions and has certain characteristics. Look at 1 Corinthians 8:1, the entire chapter 13 of that letter, 1 Corinthians 16:14; Colossians 3:14; 1 Timothy 1:5; & 1 Peter 4:8 among others.

The Bible tells us what our attitude should be and how we are to live. We are to seek to have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16 & Philipians 2:5) and throughout the letters from Paul to the churches we find that humility, love unfeigned and pure, and a simple, focused morality are called for in submission to God while we look for Christ’s return to translate the church (2 Timothy 4:8; Titus 2:13), a subject I have given many verses on previously.

But, even though God has given us His word in a Book, we often understand but give no answer showing we do. Our response is as if we had no understanding. We cling to ritual, bigotry, and every kind of selfish device. Churches have turned their poor and their elderly over to the state and have focused their giving on bigger buildings and filling the pews rather than filling who is in the pews with God’s word, or even teaching them to feed themselves.

The statement here is that the disobedient servant will not be corrected by words. He knows what he has been told but will not answer as if he does. We have God’s truth in front of us but would rather follow Pastor Billybob into either socialistic drivel if we are politically leftist minded or a kind of selfish anarchy if we are politicaly right minded. We bring our own bigotry and prejudices with us and twist God’s word into pretzel knots in order to arrive at an end we want to present. The left wing Christian wants all the love of God without the judgment on sin and the right wing Christian wants all the judgment of God without the love, or so it appears to me from listening to the voices.

King James said in a political context, “I am ever for the medium in everything. Between foolish rashness and extreme length, there is a middle way.” (Antonia Fraser, King James (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1975), 63.

The problem for Christians is they know the truth. They have it right in front of them, but they will not answer as if they understood what they clearly understand. If you would just do what you are certain that God wants you to do and live the way it is clear that God wants you to live from His word then any confusion you have about the rest would be cleared up. We are certainly unprofitable servants.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Proverbs 29:18 commentary; no vision

18 ¶ Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Although this verse can be and has been used in a number of different ways, including preaching that without a view of who they are, what their standards are, what they believe in, and where they are going a nation, our nation usually, will fall.

The literal meaning here can be linked to another verse that speaks of no vision from God.

Lamentations 2:9 Her gates are sunk into the ground; he hath destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the LORD.

For a people who claim to belong to God, to insist upon His mercies and His blessing, as in the putting up of “God bless America” without any real devotion to God but just presuming upon Him and assuming we’re special is a sick joke of monumental proportions and an insult to the Creator of all things.

More specifically, for Christians to treat God as no more than an idea, a force, or a vague standard for sermon on the mountish behavior if you’re left leaning and ten commandment style thus saith the lord behavior on the right is an affront to God.

Americans have created at an American god, dressed like the cartoon character Captain America, believing that a thing is good just because we did it, following our government like sheep either to moral bankruptcy at home or perpetual war abroad or both. America is perishing not because of homosexuals or abortion or single mothers or Marxists but because Christians sit numbly in the pews each week if they go to meet with a church body at all and have no concept of the real person of God.

There is no real relationship with a risen Saviour in the lives of many so called Christians, if not in the majority of them. We are not ancient Hebrews under the Law, for certain, as Paul makes it clear on several occaisions, not the least of which is this one in his statement on the ultimate equality of all Christians eliminating ethnic, social, and gender distinctions;

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Even those who call themselves Fundamentalists, who insist that they believe the Bible literally, act as if they are worshipping a God out of a Hollywood script following someone who sounds strangely like Charleton “Moses” Heston in a beard and sandals speaking very slowly and ominously as the waters of the Red Sea close on the Pharaoh or a Max “Jesus from The Greatest Story Ever Told” Von Sydow talking like he’s had too many valiums and really, really just wants to take a nap.

The God of the Bible is alien to most American Christians and they have no vision of who He really is. Ripping verses out of context at the urging of some preacher they take Jeremiah 29:11 and say God’s on our side regardless of our national sins, change the translation of the church clearly announced in Colossians 1:13; Genesis 5:24 with Hebrews 11:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:10 with Revelations 6:17; 11:18 which has special meaning in relation to how God created the universe with a non-Biblical word “rapture” that has no connection with the rest of Scripture, and change the meanings of many Biblical words and phrases like breeches, blessing, church, and house of God to suit an agenda rather than to honor God’s word faithfully.

America is perishing because America is starving from the famine of the word of God. There is no vision of God in America. There is a vision of a Roman deity, a god of the state, whether he be right wing or left wing, anarchist or totalitarian, but the God of the Bible, whom Abraham Lincoln acknowledged was on neither side in the American Civil War but on His own side, is not in our collective vision.

For want of it, the people are perishing. America is perishing because Christians are not faithful. Happy is he or she who loves God’s word, is in a constant prayerful state of reflection and communion with God, and who loves the Lord Jesus Christ far more than sports, their hobbies, their job, their material possessions, their political ideology, or even their flag and country.

The time is coming when you will have to choose; the God of the Bible or the god of the civil religion. Do you have a vision of Christ or a vision from Christ? Do you even know what you believe and why?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Proverbs 29:17 commentary; correct thy son

17 ¶ Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.

Solomon makes it clear all through Proverbs that it will delight him as a father if his son acknowledges the training he has been given and grows up into a strong but gentle king, with wisdom and understanding.

Unfortunately, as we read about Rehoboam in 1 Kings 12 we see that he was not very wise and lost a great part of his kingdom as a result of his arrogance and being the kind of king who would listen to bad advice. This is simply proof that children are independent moral agents and bad ones can be raised by good parents and good ones by bad.

Other kings gave advice to their children. King James, who did not have any part in translating the Bible that has his name attached to it but merely commanded that the work on it begin, wrote advice to one of his sons who never lived long enough to be king. The book, Basilicon Doron or ‘The Kingly Gift’ was supposed to be private with only seven copies approved to be printed and the printer sworn to secrecy but pirated copies got out and eventually he ordered it published. It became a bestseller, printed in several languages for 50 years, long after the king’s death. As it did not do Prince Henry much good in regard to kingly duties he never assumed it has been left to posterity for us to examine and to learn from. It is available free online to read if you like.

No Christian parent should shrink from their duty to raise their children in the nuture and admonition of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Nurture and admonition here are placed together as synonymous in relation to each other. The type of care and instruction a parent is to give is explained all throughout the Bible and the verses that deal with love, instruction, tenderness, and example far exceed the few extolling physical discipline. A son who has been raised with correction, instruction, example, admonition, and nurture will in all likelihood delight his or her parents, the Rehoboams notwithstanding.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Proverbs 29:16 commentary; the wicked's fall

16 ¶ When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.

Psalm 12:8 The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.

The Israelites are told here that when the wicked increase, sin increases also but the righteous shall see their destruction.

Psalm 37:34 ¶ Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it. 35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. 36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. 37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. 38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off. 39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble. 40 And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

One of the interesting things to note about these Proverbs is that they were written to a national people, a people who would be expected to assume that every one of their fellow citizens had a duty to follow the Mosaic Law, which was not only their religious duty but their civil. The wicked in this case would be those who did not follow that law but either served self alone or the heathen gods.

To multiply means more than just to increase in number but to increase in wealth and political power, as well.

Exodus 1:7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.

America has always had, like every nation, more than its share of wicked people; violent thugs on the bottom levels of society and exploiters and robbers on the top end. Our nation was birthed in human bondage and the institution of slavery was a prime foundation for wealth in the America before the Civil War. In fact, Lincoln admitted that the Civil War was a judgment from God on the entire country for the sin of enslaving other human beings.

As a nation we lied to and exploited the native inhabitants and no differently than many other nations, we murdered them to take their land. We then committed similar acts against our weaker neighbors to the south of us. During the Cold War we propped up vicious, evil dictators around the world as a defense against our enemy. These dictators were responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent people. At times we even turned our backs on those who needed our help against the Soviets, the Red Chinese, and their proxies from Hungary to Rhodesia.

But, in spite of our national sins, in spite of governmental hypocrisy and behavior that betrayed every one of our stated national values, the common man had a common faith. He had a simple faith and belief in Christ. Church was a place you at least visited regularly. Christianity was the common religion you at least paid lip service too. Living in a manner considered to be a normal standard of decency was accepted and understood as having value. You did care about what other people thought because your value as a human being was reflected in what others thought of your morals, your lifestyle, and your family.

People who involve themselves in the arts, in literature, in music, theater, and entertainment tend to be malcontented people, people who are not satisfied with the status quo, with things being the way they were. They tend to write about things, create works, and perform in ways that point to themselves as being special and different, as expressing their dissatisfaction with the world around them. They rebel and chafe against societal norms. Slowly but surely, as the country became more and more affluent and people had more and more free time to enjoy entertainment and amuse themselves these people gained influence. As American Protestant Christians had their “Common Bible”, as the AV had been called in the early days of our country, taken from them by unbelieving scholars and preachers who held up Germany’s “scholarship” as being the apex of scholarly brilliance in understanding the Bible and its underpinnings they drifted from reading the Bible and from it being the centerpiece in the home.
With time American Christians preferred not to hear God’s words or verses being spoken, memorized, discussed, and read in their homes but the opinions and rantings of the discontented, the “gifted”, the artistic, the social commentator, the musician, the actor. These wicked, self centered people multiplied in their perceived value to society and the common American Protestant, even fundamentalists, became swept up in their nauseating sins and excesses that were played out in the popular media daily.

Whereas once the Bible had been read in the home now there were magazines and novels of all sorts uplifting adultery, murder, and every kind of sleaze and ungodly rot that could be imagined just to keep the newspapers and other literature interesting. The acting became more and more outrageous as the theater came home in the form of radio and TV. Multiple productions could be watched and heard every day in millions of homes across the country. Not righteousness but wickedness grew like a weed so that even in the most modest American community the sins of Hollywood and Broadway became as commonplace as the radio or TV in the living room. It is not that these sins were unheard of in past times when actors and musicians were held in low regard as people of poor character and little value but that now these sins were uplifted and admired as the way to live.

We went from an actor killing a president to an actor becoming one. We went from the praising the music of Bach and Handel which uplifted the spirit to the music of Elvis and the Beatles uplifting the flesh. We went from reading about riots in Vienna, Austria over the wickedness of men and women holding each other in the dance of the waltz to modern day raves and foam parties where people actually have sex right on the dance floor. The wicked multiplied in influence, power, and we, as a people, identify more with the wicked than with God.

A small number of people in each generation rejected the deterioration of values. But, you can still go to a political party fundraiser and rally held by the party that claims to hold religious values high and watch a wicked music singer wearing immodest clothing shake and grind like a stripper in a bawdy night club as she belts out an irreverent tune.

But, the judgment for this world is coming. As we struggled to combat social evils and national sins of slavery, child abuse, sexual exploitation, and inequality we gave up our personal commitment to at least pay lip service to doing right in our personal lives. The righteous, those who have truly trusted in Christ and who reject the world’s ways, will see the fall of the wicked but it will not come until Christ Himself returns to take control of the world.

I grew up loving TV and movies and music and I soaked my children in them as I raised them. So, I’m not pointing a finger at anyone but myself and people like me. Even after I turned to Christ and to His Bible I still fell back from time to time in the nasty praise of the world and my sinful ways. It is a constant struggle in a world of compromising and apathetic Christians who worship the state more than God and value worldly entertainments more than the Bible to listen to God speak to you through His words in His Book and be changed by Him.

Very few now read the Bible every day. Very few now take any time to praise God and pray daily. Very few raise their families with daily devotions and Bible reading in the home. Few even attend church weekly. Few even know what a Bible is or is not. The so called Bible belt has more problems with pornography, divorce, drug addiction, and alcoholism than the more liberal states. Wickedness and sin seethe and boil and stink like rotten garbage all over the nation.

So called Christians will sit watching a vulgar sporting event played out by millionaire union members, with half naked women prancing on the sidelines, as they smoke their cigarettes and drink their beers, having raced home from church if they even went to church, on a Sunday afternoon. Their children are surrendered to Molech while they scream praises or hurl insults at their favorite fornicating, degenerate athlete and ignore God’s word, His praises, His people, or His way.

But the end is coming. We learn from the Bible that God allowed the wickedness of Canaan to mature, to ripen, and to be fully grown before He sent in the Hebrews to claim it. Our nation, so blessed by God, so endowed with such wonderful possibilities has only so long to enjoy the fruit of its stinking sin. The righteous will see the wicked fall but its going to be a bittersweet victory.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Proverbs 29:15 commentary; disciplining a child

15 ¶ The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

Every parent knows you don’t have to teach a child to do wrong. Left to his or herself you can imagine what kind of messes a toddler would get into and does. Discipline gives wisdom. Parents who will not correct their children with either physical discipline or verbal correction do not love their children. Correction doesn’t have to include the rod and many parents today are afraid of using it but whatever a parent’s manner of correction they must be consistent and it must be done in love.

Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

A child is never to be physically punished but disciplined. A parent should explain to the child why the discipline has to be meted out and it should never be done in anger or when angry. If you can’t spank your child when you are calmed down you shouldn’t do it at all. The physical discipline mentioned in the Bible is not some gratuitous beating that a modern mother gives a spoiled child who was acting up in a grocery store or the screaming of an angry out of control father. The discipline is for a purpose, for the betterment of the child, not as revenge for a parent who has been embarrassed. After all, what you let your children do at home will be done in public as well, even if to a lesser extent because of their own embarrassment. Many of us fail at this concept of parenting. We become enraged when our child acts up in public, doing the very same things we let them do at home.

Francis Parkham, an American writer in the 1800’s and author of The Oregon Trail related how the Sioux Indians he lived with would never discipline their children, humoring them to an extreme, but when one acted up in public all the adults would turn and point at him laughing. The humiliation taught them that to be taken seriously as a member of the tribe they needed to act more mature, an effect that worked better as they grew older.
The inescapable fact is that the Bible allows for physical discipline of children.

Proverbs 23:13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. 14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

The worst thing a parent can do next to outright abuse, though, is to be inconsistent. A child deserves to know where they stand and to have an even hand, figuratively and literally, applied to them. They should never have to wonder just what the flashpoint is on their behavior. A Biblically minded family will be consistent, whether that is consistently strict or consistently liberal, but there must be no seesawing back and forth. Most of all mother and father must be on the same page and present a united front. This is particularly difficult in stepfamilies with the guilt that accompanies divorce and other modern issues of today’s family.

God corrected Israel on many occasions using the rods of Egypt, Assyria, Syria, and Babylon. But they would not hear and were scattered. Eventually, it was a Persian king that God raised up to send a remnant home again. Israel never achieved its former glory that it had under David and Solomon. These verses were written by Solomon under the wisdom given to him by God.

Christian families should have daily devotions and Bible reading and prayer. Their children should receive reproof and correction along with the blessings for being well behaved. The rod and reproof will not hurt them if done in love, consistently, and with their own benefit in mind.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Short History of the Christian Church

by John Fletcher Hurst,D.D., LL.D. (New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1892). Hurst was a bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church and first Chancellor of American University. He was born in Dorchester County, Maryland and died in Bethesda, Maryland. His having been polluted by German Higher Criticism during his education in Germany is not apparent in this work which is purely historical. He covers a wide range of denominations and religious sects from the most ancient past until the late 19th century (the 1800's). This is very interesting and opens the door to many old books that might still be found in some attic or on Its worth the read and some information that has been ignored for over a century is available to you in this book. Definitely a must for the student of American Christianity without the pollution of either Marxism or Ayn Rand's Objectivism. Just old fashioned concern for the lost and Hellbound.

Proverbs 29:14 commentary; the king who faithfully judges the poor

14 ¶ The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.

Matthew Henry said that the rich can afford to defend themselves but the ruler of any nation must defend the poor. The chief executive, the government, however a nation’s leadership is arranged, has an obligation to see to the needs of the weakest of their subjects. Rulers are called upon to be impartial in judgment.

Leviticus 19:15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.

Several times in Job, he trumpets his own mercy and care for the poor. Psalms, chapter 10 talks specifically about the wicked’s behavior toward the poor.

Psalm 41:1 «To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.» Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.

Those people who are poor and disenfranchised men of God spend a great deal of time talking about in the Old Testament. In the previous chapter of Proverb, Solomon said,

Proverbs 28:15 As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.

God here literally promises a Hebrew king that his throne will be established for ever if he faithfully judges the poor. In the following verse Daniel, speaking to Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, offers a similar sentiment.

Daniel 4:27 Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.

In a literal sense this verse is applicable to the Lord Jesus Christ who will return and rule for a thousand years physically on earth before history itself ends. That was the belief of the early Christians and that is what the Bible clearly states in Revelation, chapter 20 after Christ assumes control of all earthly nations as per Revelation 11:15.

“The apostles were apparently unanimous in believing that Christ would soon return to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.” (Will Durant, Caesar and Christ, The Story of Civilization, Volume 3 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1944), 575.

In the first three centuries of the Christian era Chiliasm, or Millennialism, was the predominant view stating the belief that the Lord Jesus Christ would return to rule from earth for 1,000 years between human history’s end and eternity’s beginning.

Christians believed it was “at hand” (Philippians 4:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; Revelation 22:10), a phrase that means “will happen quickly” (Deuteronomy 32:35) and is near (Jeremiah 23:23), yet, just as they missed the need for Christ to suffer, die, and be risen (Isaiah 53; Psalm 22; Hosea 6:2; Matthew 16:21-23; Mark 9:9-10) they missed the fact that 1,000 years is but a day to the Lord or a watch in the night (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8), and if 2,000 years pass before He returns what is that to God(Ecclesiastes6:6)?

Christ’s reign will be with an iron rod (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 2:27) but just and fair. All through the Old Testament the command to treat the poor humanely, with mercy, and with generosity is laid out which one reading of the Psalms will show you in too many verses to present here. The righteous king, of whom Christ is the most righteous of all, will be and is merciful to the poor. His reign begins with a thousand years but His reign will be for ever.

Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Latest Reading

War As I Knew It, by General George S. Patton, Jr.

Edited by Beatrice Ayer Patton, the General's wife, with the help of his Deputy Chief of Staff, Colonel Paul D. Harkins, with an introduction by Douglas Southall Freeman. This is an excellent source for understanding the motivations and decisions Patton made. It also overthrows the slander spewed by the movie bearing his name making him look like some type of terribly vain and petty martinet. This book, along with the British book on Patton and his armies I read earlier, give a much more fully focused picture of America's best fighting general who was much like General Ulysses S. Grant in his tactics, in my opinion, giving preeminence to constant motion and being on the attack, plus willing to suffer a high casualty rate in order to ensure success that would save lives later. A must read for students of World War II.

Proverbs 29:13 commentary; both the poor and his oppressor need Christ

13 ¶ The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the LORD lighteneth both their eyes.

The contrast here is between the poor and the deceitful rich man, the usurer who charges interest to the poor (Exodus 22:25; Leviticus 25:36; Ezekiel 8, 13, 17: 22:12), the oppressor (Proverbs 22:22; Amos 4:1; Zechariah 7:10; James 2:6.) Notice the use of deceit by parallel phrasing in the following verses.

Micah 6:10 Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abominable? 11 Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights? 12 For the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.

The implication here is regarding the man who gains his wealth by trickery, particularly taking advantage of and preying on the poor.

God is the only one who can enlighten the minds of both the victim and the victimizer. Salvation for the just and the unjust, the evil and the good, the poor and his oppressor can only come through Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit of God opens up the eyes of the poor man and the rich to their need for salvation, to the wickedness of their hearts, and whether or not in this wicked world system you are the bug or you are the windshield you desperately need Christ before you die and “split Hell wide open” entering therein.

We can understand the deceitful and crooked going to Hell but the point is that being the poor victim doesn’t mean you get a pass in eternity. Both types of people must be saved or spend eternity in agony undescribable and regret unending.

Proverbs 22:2 The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Proverbs 29:12 commentary; leaders who listen to lies

12 ¶ If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.

Chief executives who surround themselves with fawning sycophants will listen to lies and follow through on what they are told. Their advisors are wicked and their only value is to pump up the chief’s ego. This verse has shown itself throughout the history of kings, prime minsters, and presidents. A leader who has a vision no matter how poorly it lines up with the facts or with responsible government will surround himself with people who will reinforce that vision. He will receive false intelligence because he wants to receive false intelligence. He has no regard for the truth, only his own glory or the justification of his own worldview. The counselors and advisors he puts in positions of influence around him are only there to validate his personal convictions, not to tell him the truth.

The wicked servant will see which way the wind is blowing, what the desires of his boss are, and then provide himself as a cheerleader for those desires in order to gain advantage with his leader. Nation’s with a large, bloated bureaucracy are particular susceptible to opportunists who know just how to spoon feed their masters’ egos in order to rise above the pack. A leader over wicked servants like this can become more and more distant from reality and truth as he never hears it. He only hears what he wants to hear and anyone offering a position counter to his own will be excluded from his inner circle of advisors.

I suspect a few of our own presidents have been like that just by how they violated their own promises to the people in sayings like, “he kept us out of the war,” and “your sons will not fight in another war in Europe,”, and “the US can’t be the world’s policeman anymore” that were ignored when push came to shove. It is true that some events are thrust on a chief executive but also true that some events become excuses to justify actions that were planned far ahead in spite of promises, not in good faith, and “out of trust.”

It is important to remember that this Proverb would have been addressed to kings and rulers under God’s authority in the Kingdom of Israel. This is a comment on the rule of the so called faithful although this Proverb can be applied to any level of government or business.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Proverbs 29:11; running off at the mouth

11 ¶ A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.

We all have this evidence in our memory. You said too much in a job interview. You said the wrong thing to your spouse or friend. You said too much to your boss at work. You said too much to a potential customer. A wise person doesn’t say everything he could say but everything he should say. The interviewer doesn’t need to hear your negative opinions of your last employer. Your spouse doesn’t need to hear all that you think needs to be said about how she doesn’t cook this or that like your mother. Your friend doesn’t need to hear from you what a failure he is. You don’t want to talk yourself out of a sale.

We all remember some of our TMI moments, as in ‘too much information.’ There is a time for silence. When a Bible believer witnesses to a stranger or a family member there are a lot of things he or she could say, but shouldn’t. Saying everything that’s on your mind is not an effective presentation of the gospel. Some of the things you might FEEL like saying are from your flesh and are not glorifying to Christ.

The news is full these days of petty politicians bringing their ‘running off at the mouth’ disease into the political debate with such things as, “women have handicapped children because they had abortions in the past,” or “don’t feed the poor, it enourages them to breed,” and the like. Just because something is in your head doesn’t mean it should come out of your mouth.

With regard to our own religious beliefs, we should have the discernment to follow Paul’s admonition;

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

People need to know that Christ is the only answer for a dying world and they need to know that we are all sinners bound for Hell without Christ in rebellion against a Holy God who offered us a way to get beyond that veil between us and Him by His own death on the cross, a ransom for sin, and by our acceptance of it as payment for our sin; by our trusting in Christ, God in the flesh, to have eternal life and to get to heaven, and getting there in Him alone. They’ll realize, if they honestly consider and the Holy Spirit has been working on them, how wicked their hearts really are. Harping on how they’re dressed, their tatooes and piercings, hair style or color, or what’s playing on their television completely misses the point in a way that some moron screaming unintelligible Bible verses through a megaphone at a gay pride rally misses the point.

Pick your words and don’t say whatever’s on your mind in some self righteous display of being what Paul, in the wisdom given to him by God, calls “wise in your own conceits.” (Romans 12:16) . You are an ambassador for Christ, His spokesman on earth. Are you witnessing for your own glory or for His? Trying to score points? Do you walk away smugly self satisfied that you’ve done your job, they’ve heard the gospel, no matter how mean spirited and hateful you put it? Just because it comes into your head doesn’t mean you have to be a fool and let it come out of your mouth. Remember, in the Bible God’s hardest speeches, His most angry comments, are reserved for the self righteous among the so called believers, Jew or Gentile, for those who honor Him with their mouths but whose hearts are far from Him.

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Monday, January 16, 2012

What do "the gates of hell" mean in this verse?

Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The gates were a place of judgment.

Deuteronomy 16:18 Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment.

Deuteronomy 17:8 If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the LORD thy God shall choose;

Zechariah 8:16 These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates:

Logically, then the judgments of Hell will not prevail against the church.

(Of course, the rock Jesus was talking about was Himself, specifically the statement of faith that Peter had just made which is the ultimate foundation and confession of the church;

Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Here is evidence of the rock Jesus speaks of;

2Samuel 22:3 The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.

Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

1Corinthian 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.)

What do "attain unto" and "apprehend" mean in the Bible?

Philippians 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

Attain unto, in this context, means to understand, to wrap my mind around.

Psalm 139:6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:

To apprehend also means to conceive by the mind according to Dr. Samuel Johnson's dictionary from the 1700's. Modern dictionaries will give a meaning as to understand something.

In this context it would be to know Christ as Christ knows him. So, in my mind I might say that these verses tell me that if by any means I might understand the resurrection of the dead, not that I understand it now, or am complete in my knowledge, but I follow after that I might understand and know Christ like he knows and understands me. Just don't change the words or you'll ruin the cross references for perfect and attain unto.

What does "perfect" and "perfected" mean in the Bible?

Perfect means finished and complete. A perfected Christian is one who has the fruit of the Spirit, is complete in all understanding.

2Chronicles 8:16 Now all the work of Solomon was prepared unto the day of the foundation of the house of the LORD, and until it was finished. So the house of the LORD was perfected.

Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.


Spent the day with Beth and the cats. I finished and submitted my papers for American in the 20th Century and the Civil War. I can only hope the professors feel better about them than I do. Going back to work tomorrow. Meekah lay across my arm for a long time. Whitney slept next to my right arm while I worked on the computer. I can't believe my three day weekend is over. Looking forward to work tomorrow, with a lot of God's word on the drive.

Proverbs 29:10 commentary; hater or prayer

10 ¶ The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.

As Cain in his self righteous worship unwanted by God hated his brother Abel and murdered him as related in Genesis, chapter 4, so Christ warns His disciples throughout the Gospel of John that the world will hate them because it hates Him. It is particularly interesting that the most bloodthirsty murderers of Christians between the Roman Empire and modern times have been others who went by the name of Christian and Christ warned His Jewish disciples about their own people that those who killed them would think they were doing God a service in John 16:2. The Roman Catholic church during the thousand year period between 500AD and 1500AD is credited by various authors with the murder of other people who went by the name of Christian to the tune of 5 million to 50 million depending on whom you read in much disputed histories. This figure includes people who were accused of witchcraft when their only wrong was to uplift the name of Christ, honor the Bible in their own language, and trust in Him and not the Roman church for salvation. You’ll find even today that many of a Bible believing Christian’s worst enemies are others who call themselves Christians but regard the Bible as a book of advice more than the living words of God.

While historians like to talk of how brutal the Aztecs were in sacrificing human beings to their war-like gods, the people of Europe were executing up to 400 people per day with crowds watching the evil for entertainment that numbered in the tens of thousands at times. The Aztecs were a nation of boy scouts compared to Europe at the same time.

Since we know in our understanding of how the Bible was translated by the King James translators under God’s inspiration (2 Timothy 3:16) which is the wisdom (2 Peter 3:15) and understanding (Job 32:8) He gives to men, whether in writing originals or copies or translations, He has ordained for such work we understand how it is to be understood and read. In this case, when two clauses are separated by a colon the second clause folds back on the first to clarify meaning. The upright and the just are synonyms here, the same individuals. The bloodthirsty hate the upright and just but they seek his, referring to the bloodthirsty’s, soul. Christ has called us to love our enemies and pray for them, first in talking to his beard wearing, temple going, Sabbath observing, pork abstaining Jewish disciples in Matthew 5:44;

Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Then, God’s missionary to we Gentiles (Romans 15:16), Paul, says;

Romans 12:14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

We are just and upright only by virtue of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us by virtue of the new birth in Christ. We have no righteousness of our own and left to our own selves are bloodthirsty, wicked monsters. We are compelled to pray for those lost and unsaved people who would gladly murder us, even pray for their soul’s deliverance from the lake of fire. For instance, how many American Christians prayed for Osama Bin Laden’s deliverance from Satan, do you think? How many are praying for the salvation of President Ahmadinejad of Iran right now?

The bloodthirsty who happen to be those among the Christian culture in America that would hate us for our stance on what constitutes a Bible, the independence of our churches, our personal convictions, or views on separation or whatever the case need our prayers, as well, and not our hatred and contempt. In fact, all Christians who claim to be Christians should be praying for each other, particularly if we believe the other to be wrong, rather than spewing vitriol.

The bloodthirsty and the wicked hate people, the upright and just pray for them. It’s as simple as that. Which group do you belong to?
(For confirmation of the use of the colon see Hunter College Reading/Writing Center: Punctuation and Capitalization, Using the Colon and Semi-Colon, 1.d. “a clause following a sentence which explains the sentence.”

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Teaching two boxing classes after lifting weights. Its going to be a really good day, I think. I brought Beth coffee and we have prayed together and I have taken care of the cats. Louie, as usual, was very affectionate and appreciative. I have ordered some B12 to try to help reverse the effects of his diabetic neuropathy although his walking and sitting have improved. Shakey is sleeping the sun. Meekah is sitting in the chair next to mine. Whitney has chosen to stay in their room to nap on their overstuffed chair.

Okay! We went to our Pastor's surprise birthday party down in Stewartstown, then got some groceries on the way home. Just chillin' now with my crew.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Proverbs 29:9 commentary; arguing with foolish people

9 ¶ If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.

There is no good to be accomplished arguing with a foolish person. He or she is convinced that his way is the right way and nothing that can be said or proven otherwise will matter.

Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

He despises correction and refuses to hear.

Proverbs 23:9 Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.

There are many other statements in the Bible about arguing with people who have set in their heads one thing and refuse to hear. You can argue and argue until you’re either blue in the face or your fingers are sore from typing. The foolish person will only argue to a point and then because his or her argument is weak they will begin attacking you personally. They simply must have the last word even if that last word is “yeah, but still…”

There are people who, in spite of the incredible complexity of life, insist that it happened by random chance. In spite of the fact that the possibility that a random mix of amino acids given any time length can form into a polypeptide chain that can form into a functioning protein is mathematically an impossibility akin to a tornado going through a junk yard and leaving behind a fully functional 747 there are people who need so badly to be a random accident of nature in order to justify their sin you can argue with them until the end of history and get nowhere. There is no rest.

There are people who look at mankind’s history and at the evidence of their own lives and still believe that man is basically good and in no need of a Saviour. You can argue with them all day long and it won’t matter.

There are people who, when shown that more things have been written about Jesus Christ than any man in history, more songs praising him written than any man in history, more wars fought over him, more people willingly going to their death for him, and living for him than any god or man throughout history and they will still question his existence. Go ahead, argue with them.

There are Protestants and non-Catholics, whose entire foundation of belief is based on the written word of God and who claim that the Bible they use is just as good as any other, who don’t feel compelled to read it, who don’t believe God speaks to them through it, or that he can change who and what they are by their reading of it and submitting to it daily, and you can teach and preach about the importance of Bible reading and sound Biblically true sermons heard regularly and they will argue with you until they are blue in the face that their seared, worldly conscience is good enough evidence of Christ’s calling on their lives.

There are people who will tell you that the Authorized Version of the Bible is a flawed if culturally and historically significant translation even though you point out that 98% of all Bible manuscripts agree with it rather than their preferred version, that the early church “fathers” quote verses just as they are in the AV, that even unbelievers like the editors of the Harvard Literary Guide to the Bible agree that it is the only Bible that can legitimately be called The Bible, that it was the foundation for the greatest missionary endeavors in Christian history, that its word self defining qualities, cross referencing, and meaning by parallel phrasing attributes defy all explanation as to human effort alone, or that the Bible itself says that a translation can be inspired, and you will never convince them because it would overthrow their entire view of who they are and their relationship with God and they will never, ever stop arguing with you.

There are people who say they believe the Bible literally, even use the AV, and yet refuse to define words and doctrines the way the Bible does and will argue with you all day long that something is true merely because it is their favorite celebrity preacher’s opinion rather than the testimony of God’s word. You will get no rest because they will not yield. Argue as long and as convincingly as you like, point out the verses and the clear statements in the Bible and they will scoff, show scorn, and eventually say you are a godless reprobate because you believe, like the Bible says, that the church is the people, the house of God is the family of God, that translators’ understanding and wisdom can be given by inspiration, that you can’t lose your salvation, that Satan currently runs the world, even their own government, and that Hell will be cast into the Lake of Fire but they aren’t the same thing, and you can talk until you pass out from lack of oxygen and they will not hear you. There is no rest.

Whether these people mock and laugh at you or get extremely angry and call you a fool you will get no rest. Give it up. Just do what you know to be right, search the Scriptures, do your own research, and follow God in faith, hungry to see what He will do next. Always remember that probably at some point in your life, you are where they were. Just always be willing to kindly and without wrath give them a reasonable defense of your position.

Remember, no one has ever come to Christ by human argument alone. There must be a work of the Holy Spirit involved in opening up their heart and mind. You aren’t the Holy Spirit. You are simply a messenger bringing them something they need to hear. Pray for them. Let God do the rest.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Proverbs 29:8 commentary; when the scornful rule

8 ¶ Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath.

The scorner is linked to the wicked man in Proverbs 9:7. He is the opposite of the wise man by contrast in the following verse. He doesn’t listen to rebuke in Proverbs 13:1. Even when he looks for wisdom he can’t find it in Proverbs 14:6. He won’t go to the wise for advice and he doesn’t like people who correct him as per Proverbs 15:12. He is proud and haughty; arrogant, and his wrath, his constant anger, is a reflection of his immense pride as well. See 21:24. In Proverbs 22:10 we see that he’s the cause of contention and strife and reproach and when he’s kicked out all of that goes with him. In 24:9 he thinks sinful, foolish thoughts and he’s an abomination to men.

When scorners rule, a city or a nation are in deep trouble. Democracies tend to be ruled by the men who can afford to run for office, by the elite, highly educated, proud, and arrogant. They have no problem sending someone else’s children to die for their failed diplomacies. They have no problem causing someone else’s children to be killed for their own personal plans or prejudices. Their main concern is not how they spend the money the state extorts from its citizens in the way of taxes on virtually everything but air but how they can dupe the public enough to get them reelected. The system is set up that way and attracts those kinds of people.

The Scriptures say;

Daniel 4:17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

Satan himself said to Jesus;

Luke 4:5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.

The 19th century viewpoint among Christians was predominantly postmillennial. They were going to bring in the kingdom of heaven on earth without Christ physically present but with them ruling in his place much like the Catholic Church believed it had been doing for 1500 years. That view began to die out when the horrors of World War One and Two’s total war showed them that mankind was perhaps not capable of building a better world. 150 million dead and displaced in the 20th century knocked a hole in the “Glory, glory, hallelujah, His truth is marching on” crowd’s belief in a perfect world run on Christian principles.

The fact is that Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and rules over the kingdoms of this earth, including the USA, until Christ returns to take control (Revelation 11:15). The best we can pray for now, besides Christ return, is that we can push and pull the government into occasionally doing right and holding it accountable for its actions. But, it is important to not fall into the postmillennialist trap of believing that mankind himself will do what God has said he will not and like Lorenzo Dow, famed 19th century evangelist, believe that the very creation of America was the fulfillment of prophecy as the stone in Daniel that smote the feet of the world’s great powers and then grew to be a great mountain that covered the whole earth. This blasphemy was common place until the 20th century’s wakeup call.

Scornful, wicked rulers ensnare a nation. We need a wise man and wise men to run the country. God’s wrath is on the nations of men.

Jeremiah 10:10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

Some people try to pretend that the world is a wonderful place full of beauty, knowledge, wonderful architecture, arts, learning, and goodwill. But, you can dress a pig up in an evening gown and makeup and it’s still a pig. In reality, the only thing that separates us from savages in New Guinea is some nifty looking buildings.

Of course, our culture can hardly help the decay it is experiencing because of who we hold aloft as admirable and worthy of respect.

Psalm 12:8 The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.

With scorners in power in either party, perhaps God’s wrath has not come down full on America because there are still a few wise men and women who know what a Bible actually is and believe it and keep praying for mercy for the America that is today’s Babylon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Latest Reading

Liberalism and Its Challengers: From FDR to Bush, by Alonzo L. Hamby. Truly, the only people in this book that Hamby actually likes are FDR and Reagan, the great communicators. Now, Hamby is a leftist liberal so he detests Reagan's political views, however, he admires him as a leader and a statesman. It is Lyndon Johnson who gets the business. Hamby clearly thinks that Johnson is a pretender to FDR's throne. Reagan admired FDR and set about to overthrow Johnson's "Great Society". Anyway, if you are an Eisenhower, a Nixon, a Johnson, a Ford, or a Carter fan look out. Actually he seems to feel sorry for Ford, who was way over his head. Its worth the read if you can stay open minded about your favorite chief exec getting trashed. There is indeed a huge difference between FDR's liberalism and Johnson's.

Proverbs 29:7 commentary; consider the poor

7 ¶ The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.

In the Hebrew kingdom of the ancient world, under God’s law, created to separate the Hebrews as a distinctive people, unique among a host of wicked, Gentile nations the poor were supposed to be taken care of in specific ways. The Hebrews were to leave some food in their fields for the poor and for the foreigner living among them to get during the harvest. Clearly, the poor were expected to do some work to get it.

Leviticus 23:22 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.

The Hebrew was to be generous to the poor.

Deuteronomy 15:11 For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.

The instructions given to the kingdom of Israel regarding welfare for the poor were more like American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s (FDR) programs of the 1930’s where you even had out of work executives whose only business attire was a suit sweeping a city sidewalk or cleaning up a park. You could get government aid, but if you were able and healthy enough to do so you had to work.

Somewhere in the 1960’s welfare programs became a handout with no expectation of work on behalf of a healthy, able bodied individual. Then, in the 1990’s President Bill Clinton introduced a type of “workfare”, a word first coined by 60’s civil rights leader, James Evers, and first used in a speech by President Richard Nixon. This was designed to get the welfare recipient into employment. Some on the left criticize it as simply moving the poor person into a different category and not employing them at all.

We also have many working poor in our country. There are people unable to find full time work with benefits or a living wage and will work two or three part time jobs just to maintain a roof over their head or food on their table. There is usually nothing else left for improving their lives and many of these people don’t have health insurance.

There are no Christian countries and never have been as only a person can be a Christian. There is no communal or group salvation. Each and every individual is responsible for coming to Christ. Certainly, the United States was founded on Christian principles and often by many men who claimed to be Christian of some stripe or the other. However, leaving the political world aside let’s look at the individual’s responsibility to the poor, both within and “without the camp” under the doctrines of grace.

Paul tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ, though he was rich, made himself poor for our sakes.

2Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

With regard to caring for the poor within the house of God, the family of God, the church, which is the body of Christ on earth, Paul tells us;

2 Corinthians 8:12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. 13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: 14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: 15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.

And in this context he says in an often abused passage by preachers trying to raise money for a new parking lot or a basketball court rather than the poorer brethren’s needs;

2 Corinthians 9:6 ¶ But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) 11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.

So, in context the Christian has a responsibility before God to help his poorer brothers and sisters. This is considered a good work and is the active result of having charity toward your brothers and sisters. Paul calls those Christian who are rich in this world to distribute and communicate, two words that mean supplying a physical need.

1 Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

And returning back to the context of the earlier passage about giving bountifully and as God has laid it on your heart Paul brings us to the point where our mercy and benevolence is expressed not only to those in the church but the poor in the world, as well. The wicked choose to look the other way.

2 Corinthians 9:11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; 13 Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; 14 And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

This is a voluntary function, a Christian work done because a person is saved, not to get saved or to stay saved, or even to purchase salvation. It is from the heart and not done as a political act, at the point of the proverbial gun. So you must separate in your head your duty to the state and what you do out of love for Christ and for the brethren. They are two entirely separate things, although you probably will not object to your tax money going in part to help people simply because you are generous.

Christian giving is not political. Considering the poor is a Christian duty and an act of love, not a nuisance that gets in the way of you taking vacations to Cancun or building a nest egg for your children’s ease of living. And God will take care of you. Paul, after thanking the Philippians for being generous in supporting him in his missionary efforts promises;

Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

The wicked simply don’t care about the poor. It doesn’t even cross their mind. “I”, “me”, and “mine” are their trinity. Neither Ayn Rand nor Karl Marx were followers of Christ when they were on the earth. But believe me, if government welfare was efficient and went where it was actually needed rather than being a tool with which to buy votes then people like Bill Gates wouldn’t set up a foundation to help people. They’d just write bigger checks to the government and take fewer deductions.

In any event, once you have met your own survival needs then look to the needs of others, first in the church, then in the world. God will take care of you.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Proverbs 29:6 commentary: can you sing and rejoice?

6 ¶ In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.

Examining this verse by contrast, with the clause after the colon helping to define the intention of the cause preceding it is clear that the Proverbs says that the sin of the evil man does not produce joy or happiness, but that it is the righteous that sings and rejoices.

This applies in life and after life as for eternity those who belong to Christ will be praising God and rejoicing in His presence while those who reject the free gift of salvation through Christ will spend eternity in a lake of unquenchable fire. This isn’t a political statement nor is it an exercise in exclusivity as God has offered the free gift of eternal life to all men regardless of race or ethnicity or national origin. Its there for the taking. Salvation is predicated only upon belief in and trust in Christ alone; no church, creed, dogma, doctrine, or works can save you. Salvation is predicated upon a belief and trust in a risen Saviour. Don’t add to it based on your favorite preacher’s agenda or your own desire to control others.

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Certainly in this life, the error of sin will catch a person on fire all by itself. People who reject common sense and God’s standards laid out in the Bible often find themselves in dire situations with sexually transmitted diseases, unplanned children, poverty, alienation, prison, and the misery that comes from having no options left. When we follow our heart as our right to do we find that the wicked human heart will lead us down a path of self destruction. I’ve known many people who started out in life bent on a course of self satisfaction only to find that within a few years they had been left with little to show but a broken body, a fractured mind, and the fallout from sin that leaves behind wounded and innocent children destined to grow up to repeat the sins of their parents, without the Holy Spirit’s intervention.

If the Christian is miserable, and some are, it is because he or she has chosen a carnal lifestyle, focused on themselves and on self worship, and has no Fruit of the Spirit of God shining through them.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

If the Christian is miserable it is because they don’t have any love for their fellow Christians, which is what the word charity means in the Bible. You can’t have a love for people you don’t know. If you don’t join with other believers in worship you can’t love them and if you attend a church where people discharge their “duty” on Sunday morning but have no fellowship with the other believers you can hardly feel love for your brothers and sisters in Christ. Now, with the internet there is even less of an excuse not to fellowship with at least a couple of other believers online worshipping God and searching the Scriptures for what God has to say to you.

1Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

Loving and caring for your brothers and sisters in Christ is a command straight from Jesus Christ.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

If Christians, particularly Fundamentalist Christians, spent more time doing what God has told them to do; displaying the fruit of the Spirit and loving the brethren, and less time worrying about what other people do and whether or not others live in a way that mirrors their own or have the same personal convictions that they do they would certainly be happier and able to sing and rejoice and more likely to draw the unsaved to Christ.

The transgression of the evil man is a snare. It binds and enslaves him to his own flesh, the world’s preferences for him, and to Satan himself. It ends in physical and spiritual destruction. There is no joy in the natural outcome of living for your flesh, whether you be bound for Hell or for Heaven in the end. Don’t worry about me being a hypocrite. I’m speaking as much to myself as to all of you when I write these commentaries. When I work on them I pray for light from God. If the light God gives me condemns my behavior or calls into question my walk with Christ, then so be it.
Truth is truth, whether or not it pleases my flesh.

The righteous doth sing and rejoice regardless of his or her circumstances. If you can’t do that then,

2Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Proverbs 29:5 commentary; of flattery and flatterers

5 ¶ A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.

There have been several warnings against flattery in Proverbs, particularly that one should look out for it and not be deceived when someone tries to get an advantage over us with it.

Proverbs 2:16 To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;

Proverbs 6:24 To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.

Proverbs 7:5 That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.

Proverbs 7:21 With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.

Proverbs 20:19 He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.

Proverbs 26:28 A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

Proverbs 28:23 He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.

The person who flatters you, who pumps you up, pays undue attention to you, and exaggerates your better traits is after something. He or she is laying a trap for you. People in authority are prone to have people flatter them to gain some advantage. Many a powerful man has been knocked out of his place by his own lust and the attentions of a young woman. People who know where they are going, though, and what their purpose here on earth is are not so prone to being found the victims of their own weakness for self worship and the flattery of another.

When someone knows what is in man as Jesus did spoken of in John 2:25 and when someone knows the condition of the human heart as in Jeremiah 17:9 then the flatterer will have a frustratingly difficult time with him or her. However, the fact is that if certain people ever change their religion it will be because they no longer think they’re God. Those kinds of weak people, even in positions of power and authority, are susceptible to the damaging flattery of someone, particularly those who seek to entrap them.

Young women are notoriously susceptible to the kind of flattery from men designed to overthrow them and bring them to ruin. Fawning words and unnecessary attention to your appearance or even your character can and often are a thinly disguised attempt to put you in a vulnerable place where you can be taken advantage of. I know you crave to hear someone remark that you’re pretty, or smart, or really nice but beware of men, young or old, who do that. Rather than receiving a compliment you may be victim of someone who wants to steal your pride from you. Of course, if you know what the human heart‘s condition is and what is in man you will not be so easily manipulated.

Beware of flattery and flatterers.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Proverbs 29:4 commentary; corrupt leaders destroy a nation

4 ¶ The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.

Bribery in all its forms is condemned by God. Any public official who takes or demands a bribe should be taken out and horsewhipped, not just removed from office. A key part of public service is public trust. Without it you simply have a run of the mill barbarous government. It has been said that the U.S. government is totally corrupt, bought and paid for by corporate and union interests, plus influential men of great wealth.

Both the taking….

Exodus 23:8 And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous.

Deuteronomy 16:19 Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.

Amos 5:12 For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.

And the giving of a bribe is soundly condemned.

Proverbs 17:23 A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.

This Proverb states that a corrupt government, influenced by the taking of gifts, cannot stand for long. This is a clear warning for any nation whose leaders take gifts and bribes to pervert judgment. Without a dull, glassy eyed electorate or hidden hands to prop it up for special interests such a corrupt government cannot exist for long.

How does the king, the chief executive, the leadership establish a nation? By judgment. What is judgment?

It is synonymous with justice.

Genesis 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

It is to be done with righteousness.

Leviticus 19:15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.

It is to be done in an impartial manner.

Deuteronomy 1:17 Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.

It is to be done without regard to the social status, political power, or legal status of the individuals being judged. (A stranger is a foreigner.)

Deuteronomy 24:17 Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow’s raiment to pledge:

All of God’s ways; his precepts, statutes, commandments, testimonies, and words are judgments (read the first dozen or so verses of Psalm 119.)

Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

There is no place in righteous judgment for the taking of gifts.

1Samuel 8:3 And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.

(A word of note to Christians. The Holy Spirit will refer to verses in the Old Testament by allusions, paraphrases or quotes in the New. At times a different word is inserted into the verse to show that in God’s plan and for our edification the two words mean the same thing. The following verses show us that truth is the victory or triumph of God’s judgment just as we can see the relationship between to “bring forth” and “ send” [examine closely Exodus 3:10]. We know that Christ is THE truth (John 14:6) and God’s wisdom [1 Corinthians 1:24; 30] through whom we have victory [1 Corinthians 15:57] and Christ has the victory over Satan and death and Hell [1Timothy 1:15; Hebrews 2:14; Revelation 1:18.] That would be a good subject for a sermon, perhaps.

Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.

Matthew 12:20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.

It is an interesting exercise to look for other parallel verses like this. I’ve found many.)

A corrupt government cannot be a just government. A corrupt government cannot stand for long. At the rate we are going the United States will be a flash in the pan in the long course of history.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Latest Reading

Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in Americaby Allen C. Guelzo. This book is surprising in its depth and in the richness of its writing. Gettysburg College's Allen Guelzo deserves his ranking as one of the premier Lincoln historians. Its fascinating to see how the Civil War changed Lincoln from a profane railroad lawyer who mocked the Bible to a President who fretted about God's will. Very intriguing story.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Proverbs 29:3 commentary; keeping company with immoral people

3 ¶ Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.

I am reminded of the story of “The Prodigal Son” in the gospel according to Luke that begins like this;

Luke 15:11 ¶ And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

In earlier Proverbs the young man had been warned.

Proverbs 7:6 ¶ For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, 7 And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, 8 Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, 9 In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: 10 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.

Clearly, in one respect, this is a prophetic reflection of God as the Father and Israel as the son, as Israel is called in;

Exodus 4:22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:

Here is the opinion of one student of ancient religion; “The connection between sexuality and spirituality is so strong and so ancient that the first “coin” ever minted granted access to sacred sex rites. The shekel in ancient Sumeria represented a bushel of wheat donated to the Temple of Inanna to feed the orphans and priestesses who lived there. In recognition of the offering, the donor received a token with a picture of Inanna on one side and a sheaf of wheat on the other. This coin was redeemed at the temple on feast days in order to participate in the fertility rites. The fertility rites included sex with the Goddess – represented by one of the Temple Priestesses – and insured a fertile, prosperous year for those who honored the Goddess in this way.

The ancient Sumerians were not the first—nor the last—to recognize a strong connection between sex and spirit. A long tradition of sex practiced in connection with spirituality lurks in the history of many world religions. Hinduism has a history of sacred sexual practices that continues to this day. Erotic teachings, derived from Tantra and other belief systems, have been incorporated into some Buddhist and Hindu sects. Ancient Judaism had separate words for whore and sacred whore, indicating a spiritual connection with sex—under certain circumstances.

Egyptians, Persians, Semites, and Babylonians all had sacred whores—variously named Horea, Houris, Harine and Hor, all precursors to the word “whore” —in their temples. Greek priestesses performed sexual rites in the Temples of Aphrodite. Rome had her Vestal Virgins and held orgies, called Bacchanalia, dedicated to Bacchus.”

Israel’s dealings with the pagan religions of Satan that God had deliberately opposed when He separated them from the Gentile world consisted of compromise and embracing the sensuality and carnality of those religions. That included consorting with temple prostitutes both male and female and mixing that religious practice with the one that God had given them.

Deuteronomy 23:18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

2Kings 23:7 And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.

Temple prostitution continued down through the years and the city of Corinth had nearby Acro-Corinth (Upper Corinth, the Acropolis of Ancient Corinth) where the Temple of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sex, had 1,000 short haired, sometimes with head shaved, temple prostitutes in a culture where both women and young boys engaged in the practice. Hence, Paul acknowledges the Biblical legitimacy of the Corinthian Christian demand that women have long hair, possibly to distinguish them from prostitutes, just before he comments that if any man be contentious that this is not a concern in other churches. Unfortunately, many agenda driven preachers don’t read the entire passage and have created a doctrine for all Christian women out of thin air.

Bringing the focus down to an individual neither the Hebrew son nor the Christian son would honor his parents if it was his practice to participate in such wicked religious rites. Although we don’t have a specific institution of religion that honors such practices today there is still and always will be a strong religious component to sexual matters. Young Christian men and women have abandoned their faith because of the allure of sex and the siren song of a lover who regards not God. This is because of the sinful nature of their own hearts and the failure of adult Christians to extol the joys of legitimate marital union with God’s blessing.

Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

Certainly, the number two reason for the apostasy of Christian youth with regard to sexual matters after the wickedness of the human heart is being shown all their lives by sick example and twisted word that what God has given a man and a woman to enjoy with each other is somehow morally dirty, clumsy, or ungodly.

Clearly, by this Proverb, immoral behavior is not wisdom and it is a way by which a young man is brought to poverty.

Proverbs 6:26 For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.

It does not honor your parents to be wicked and immoral. It is not wise to follow that path. It is not what God has laid out for any Christian. It will destroy you and rob you of more than your substance, your money, your inheritance, in the end. Immoral behavior, young man or woman, will rob you of your joy and make your life a misery, plus make a shambles of the lives of the innocent children that come from it. Don’t be a wicked fool and spend your life in regret with unhappy marriages or living arrangements, unexpected children, disease, and ruin. Search out God’s word for the fulfillment of your personal desires and needs and find a partner who loves Christ, not by searching for them, but by being the kind of person you should be for Christ and waiting on God to provide.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Lastest Reading

This Great Struggle: America's Civil Warby Steven E. Woodworth. This is one of the best written and easy to read books on the Civil War you will ever find. I recommend it highly. Its packed with information but doesn't overwhelm the reader.