Friday, July 30, 2010

How Fast Do You Think You Were Going Back There?

This post has two illustrations about anger personal and application.

I may have shared this story before.  So if it sounds familiar forgive me.  There was one morning several years ago that I had a bad time getting ready.  I was angry with my wife and the kids.  I got the kids to school and was driving to work.  As I was thinking about the morning and busy blaming my wife and kids for the wonderful mood I was in I saw blue lights flashing in the rearview mirror.  I pulled over and the officer asked the question, "How fast do you think you were going back there?"  He said I was going 65 in a 55.  I thought for a moment "if only my family had not made my morning so bad I would not have got a ticket."  Later as a cooler mental state prevailed I recognized the thinking error of blaming my family for something that could not possibly be their fault no matter how difficult the morning was.  I also recognized the power of anger to make us speed through life in a destructive manner.  Latter when I shared with my wife she (to my shame) was very gracious, disappointed, but gracious none the less.

In the Scriptures there seems to be two speeds when it comes to anger Slow and Quick. 

He who is slow to anger has great understanding, But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.
Proverbs 14:29 (NASB)

God is "slow to anger."

You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.
Psalms 86:15 (NASB)

Being quick with anger is considered foolishness:

A quick-tempered man acts foolishly
Proverbs 14:17 (NASB)

Many verses command us to be slow to anger: Proverbs 14:29 (NASB), Proverbs 15:18 (NASB), Proverbs 16:32 (NASB), Proverbs 19:11 (NASB) and James 1:19 (NASB).

So let me ask you, When it comes to anger "how fast were you driving back there?" 

Have a blessed day!

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Proverbs on Anger

I plan on doing something with these proverbs dealing with anger in my next post.  I thought that I would post them early as an opportunity for reflection.  Happy is he who meditates on the Word of the Lord (Ps 94:12).

For jealousy enrages a husband, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. He will not be appeased by anything or be persuaded by lavish gifts.
Proverbs 6:34-35 (HCSB)

Hatred stirs up conflicts, but love covers all offenses.
Proverbs 10:12 (HCSB)

A fool's displeasure is known at once, but whoever ignores an insult is sensible.
Proverbs 12:16 (HCSB)

There is one who speaks rashly, like a piercing sword; but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 12:18 (HCSB)

A wise man is cautious and turns from evil, but a fool is easily angered and is careless. A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man who schemes is hated.
Proverbs 14:16-17 (HCSB)

A patient1 person shows great understanding, but a quick-tempered one promotes foolishness. A tranquil heart is life to the body, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones.
Proverbs 14:29-30 (HCSB)

A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath.
Proverbs 15:1 (HCSB)

A hot-tempered man stirs up conflict, but a man slow to anger1 calms strife.
Proverbs 15:18 (HCSB)

A worthless man digs up evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire. A contrary man spreads conflict, and a gossip separates close friends. A violent man lures his neighbor, leading him in a way that is not good.
Proverbs 16:27-29 (HCSB)

Patience1 is better than power, and controlling one's temper, than capturing a city.
Proverbs 16:32 (HCSB)

Whoever conceals an offense promotes love, but whoever gossips about it separates friends.
Proverbs 17:9 (HCSB)

A person's insight gives him patience1, and his virtue is to overlook an offense.
Proverbs 19:11 (HCSB)

A person with great anger bears the penalty; if you rescue him, you'll have to do it again.
Proverbs 19:19 (HCSB)

A secret gift soothes anger, and a covert bribe, fierce rage.
Proverbs 21:14 (HCSB)

Don't make friends with an angry man2, and don’t be a companion of a hot-tempered man, or you will learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.
Proverbs 22:24-25 (HCSB)

A ruler can be persuaded through patience1, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.
Proverbs 25:15 (HCSB)

The north wind produces rain, and a backbiting tongue, angry looks.
Proverbs 25:23 (HCSB)

A man who does not control his temper is like a city whose wall is broken down.
Proverbs 25:28 (HCSB)

Without wood, fire goes out; without a gossip, conflict dies down. As charcoal for embers and wood for fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.
Proverbs 26:20-21 (HCSB)

A stone is heavy and sand, a burden, but aggravation from a fool outweighs them both. Fury is cruel, and anger a flood, but who can withstand jealousy?
Proverbs 27:3-4 (HCSB)

A greedy person provokes conflict, but whoever trusts in the Lord will prosper.
Proverbs 28:25 (HCSB)

Mockers inflame a city, but the wise turn away anger.
Proverbs 29:8 (HCSB)

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man holds it in check.
Proverbs 29:11 (HCSB)

An angry man stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered man2 increases rebellion.
Proverbs 29:22 (HCSB)

For the churning of milk produces butter, and twisting a nose draws blood, and stirring up anger produces strife.
Proverbs 30:33 (HCSB)


1. The word for patience in Hebrew is a combination of two words "slow" and "anger"

2. Literally Master of Anger

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Cain Became Furious

In the course of time Cain presented some of the land’s produce as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also presented an offering -some of the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions. The Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but He did not have regard for Cain and his offering. Cain was furious, and he looked despondent. Then the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you furious? And why do you look despondent? If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it." Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let’s go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Genesis 4:3-8 (HCSB)

The first violent sin was the result of unresolved anger.  Perhaps that is why Jesus said:

You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, "Fool!" will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, "You moron!" will be subject to hellfire.
Matthew 5:21-22 (HCSB)

or why John said:

Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
1 John 3:15 (HCSB)

That unresolved anger can lead to violence whether verbal, emotional, psychological, or physical there can be no question.  That is why this is such an important issue to address. 

There are two way to interpret what God says to Cain.  Traditionally God gives us a admonition.  He warns that unresolved feelings of anger and feeling down give sin a foothold in your life.  I imagine a predatory animal just waiting to pounce.  It seems that sin is a opportunist taking advantage of our emotional state to do it's dirty work.  In this case the goal is to do what is right, rule over sin, or it will rule over you. 

The second way is looking that the interpretation from Hebrew to English more literally.  The word interpreted sin in this verse is "chatta-ah" in Hebrew.  This word can either be interpreted sin or sin offering.  If we go toward the latter then it would seem that God was giving Cain instruction on what to do with his sin.  Consider this translation:

And Jehovah saith unto Cain, "Why hast thou displeasure? and why hath thy countenance fallen? Is there not, if thou dost well, acceptance? and if thou dost not well, at the opening a sin-offering is crouching, and unto thee its desire, and thou rulest over it."
Genesis 4:6-7 (YLT)

In this case he says if you have done well then there is acceptance.  We know that God did not accept his sacrifice so then God goes on to say there is a sin offering at the opening (door) waiting for him to rule over it.  If this is the interpretation then I believe the whole interaction makes sense.  Cain offers a first fruits or grain offering offering to the Lord from the produce of the ground (See Lev 2:14).  Abel did this as well, however he (either in place of or in addition to) brings an animal sacrifice.  It is clear later in the Old Testament and then fulfilled in the New Testament that there is no remission of sin without a sin offering. 

For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the most holy place by the high priest as a sin offering are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the gate, so that He might sanctify the people by His own blood.
Hebrews 13:11-12 (HCSB)

So Abel's offering was not accepted because it was substantively better but rather it was a more complete (excellent) sacrifice offered in faith that God would remove sin (i.e., be approved as righteous before God; see Heb 11:4).  What is more if we follow this interpretation God provided Cain a second chance by putting a sin offering (at the door) which Cain subsequently rejected and went out and murdered his brother.  How often do we do the same when it comes to being angry.  We do not go out a literally kill someone, but we do reject the grace that God provides us and move into the greater consequences of greater sin brought about by passionate anger. 

Regardless of which interpretation you would follow there is action that is needed when it comes to dealing with anger.  Perhaps in this case we could take it to have double meaning (which does occasionally happen in the Bible) since they do not contradict each other.  First we must guard against sinful anger by doing what is right in the first place with a spirit of sacrifice (Rom 12:1-2).  Second, if we are angry we must be on guard to not sin (Eph 4:26).  If we do not guard ourselves then we will likely fall into sinful response in our anger.  Finally, if we do sin there is a provision of God's grace waiting at the door (Rev 3:19-20).  We must receive this provision of grace and allow Christ to overcome our anger at the moment it comes to us. 

Three principles:

  • Protective: Do what is right.
  • Awareness: Be on guard against sinful anger
  • Restorative: Repent of anger and trust in God's grace through Jesus

May God Richly Bless You

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thankful for Friends that Make me Think and Help me with my Plank

I have got some feedback from friends that this sermon "The Time is Now" is a bit strong.  One has said that it is hypocritical for me to speak of such lofty things but not do what I say.  Another said that decent people hold the interpretation that the Bible says we are not to judge so I may be alienating them.  I am thankful for friends who are willing to ask me challenging questions and confront me if I have gone astray. 

That being said in this case I do not believe I am going beyond the text.  A nice person can say "BJ you are judging me," but the contradiction is that they are judging by making the statement.  There is a so called belief that judging is wrong and to be avoided.  However, if you apply that belief to anyone you contradict the value of non-judging.  The belief is self-contradictory.  In fact I would go so far to say that those that hold the banner of tolerance with the greatest of zeal are some of the most judgmental people I know! 

What is at stake is the very idea of truth.  If there is truth then we must use our God-given ability to discern to arrive at truth.  Along the way that will require us to make some judgments (more likely a lot of judgments).  Holding the belief that one can live life without judging is simply saying "there is no truth" in disguise (or at least that truth is not knowable).  I call this evil, not out of a spirit of self-righteousness, but rather a position that there is no truth or that truth is unknowable is completely out of step with what the Bible teaches.  It is evil because it contradicts the Bible.  A nice person can say something that contradicts the Bible, I can say something that contradicts the Bible.  Either way the statement is evil, even when the person making the statement is a nice person. 

I have to be on guard though.  Such powerful statements about judging can lead me to become prideful or have others perceive that I am being prideful.  I have to be careful of this.  Spiritual Pride is destructive as saying there is no truth.  I can be right technically, but wrong relationally. 

If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:2 (HCSB)

That is why I am working on my planks.  I recently added this picture on my computer desktop.   I put it there to remind me to check my own planks.  The eye in the plank makes me think of having a plank in my eye.  I figure if I am going to challenge others to live out authentic lives and put away evil in their lives then I ought to be doing that myself else I be a hypocrite.   I want to live out the truth of:

Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
Matthew 7:5 (HCSB)

Thank you to all of you who give me such wonderful feedback both on and off my blog.  I love each of you with the Love of Christ and hope that you would always feel that you can approach me with questions or concerns.  I also am open to the fact that even in this response I am off base.  If you believe that I am please let me know.  I will pray that God would help me get the plank out of my eye I that I may see clearly and help others.  What are your thoughts?

God Bless You All

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Anger Defined

This is going to be my first post in a series on the subject of anger.  I have completed a word study based on the Hebrew and Greek words that are translated into the word anger or angry in English.  I came up with 15 different types of anger and 33 words (or word combinations) that translate to the English word anger.  That is quite a bit from the simple view I had of anger before I started this word study.  This post is a summary of the word study that I did in preparation for this series. 

Nose (Breathing Hard) Anger

There are times when angry we breath hard.  This picture is captured in the Hebrew by "nose anger."  Here are some examples of the anger of breathing hard.

Simeon and Levi avenging their sister's rape (by one man) by killing all the men in that community Gen 34 Gen 49:7
Moses toward Pharaoh when he would not listen Gen 11:8   
People of Nazareth toward Jesus when he said that a Prophet was without honor in his own hometown Luke 4:28
Idol makers (profiteers of false religion) when Paul and those accompanying him led people to Christ Acts 19:28  

Hot Anger

Very often people will explain to me that they feel hot when they are angry.  There is an expression that describes a person as a "hothead."  These are some examples of hot anger.

Esau toward Jacob when Jacob conned him out of his birthright and blessing Gen 27:44
Naham toward Elishia when he did not heal him in the manner that he expected. 2 Kings 5:12
Esther has several anger examples, The king toward his wife Esth 1:12,
Haman toward Mordecai Esth 3:5 and Esth 5:9,
The king toward Haman when he discovered his plot to kill Esther's kin Esth 7:7,
husband toward the man committing adultery with his wife Pr 6:34
Nebuchadnezzar toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego for not worshiping his image Dan 3:13

Burning Anger

If there is heat then there must also be a source of heat which is often burning.  Below are examples of burning anger. 

Jacob with Laban when he did not honor his covenant but tricked him Gen 31:36
Jacob's sons when they found out that their sister was raped Gen 34:7
Abner toward Ishbosheth' accusation that he slept with Saul's concubine 2 Sam 3:8
David toward God when he struck down a priest 2 Sam 6:8
Jonah when God saved in Ninevahites Jonah 4:1

Exceedingly Angry

More burning anger, but in this case exceedingly so.

Cain when God did not accept his offering leading him to murder his brother Gen 4:5-6
Saul when people praised David greater than they praised him 1 Sam 18:8
David when he found out his son Amnon slept with his half-sister Tamar 2 Sam 13:21
Sanballat (and others) when Nehemiah was rebuilding the temple walls Neh 4
Nehemiah when he found out about social injustice among the Jews Neh 5:6

Smoking Anger

After heat and burning we have smoking anger.

Double Anger

Here we have a combination of burning anger with breathing anger something I call "double anger."

Jacob with Rachel when arguing about her not having children Gen 30:2
Potipher while listening to the false accusations against Joseph that he attempted to rape his wife. Gen 39:19
Moses toward the people of Israel when they worship false gods while he was on the mountain Exodus 32:19
Balaam the Prophet with his donkey hitting the donkey with a stick when he refused to move in the face of God's avenging angel Num 22:27
Balak with Balaam when the prophet did not curse Israel Num 24:10
Zebuel the governor of Shechem against Gaal inciting rebellion against king Abimelech Judges 9:30
Sampson when his wife betrayed him by sharing his secret with his enemies and he went out and killed 30 Philistines to take their clothing Judges 14:19
King Saul when the Amorites threatened the Israelite town of Jabesh 1 Sam 11:6
Eliab with David (his younger brother) when David came out to see the battle with Goliath 1 Sam 17:28
Saul toward his son Jonathan for siding with his friend David over him.  Jonathan with his father as a result 1 Sam 20:30, 34
David with himself before he realized Nathan was talking about his treachery 2 Sam 12:5
Elihu toward Job and his three friends Job 32:2-5 (consider the Lord's Response)

Provoked Anger (irksome, react against or rebel)

Provocation is the anger that is in reaction to someone else.  Someone has done something or the perception is that they have done something wrong against us so we are moved to anger. 

Peninnah toward Hanah (taunting her because she was childless Hanah toward Peninnah v 16) 1 Sam 1:4-16
King Asa toward Prophet Hanani when he told him the Lord was against Asa 2 Chron 16:10
Jeremiah toward the people of Israel over them going for idols Jer 8:19
The people of Israel toward God over showing Grace to foreign nations Deut 32:21 and Rom 10:19
Children toward fathers stirring them up Eph 6:4

Moses against the people of Israel ending up in his disobeying God (striking the rock rather than speaking to the rock) Numbers 20:10 and Ps 106:33
Israel against God Numerous examples of rebelling against God

Splintered, Cracked, or Chipped Anger

I picture a great tree being bent over in a storm to the point it begins to splinter and crack with this type of anger.  It seems that Moses experience this anger in leading the people of Israel.  Another phrase that comes to mind "he simply cracked." 

Nobles (men) at women for not obeying Esth 1:18
Pharaoh toward his servants when they offended him  Gen 40:2
Moses toward the people of Israel when they did not obey the Lord's instruction Ex 16:20
Moses toward Aaron's sons when they did not eat the sin offering (according to the Lord's instruction) on the day their bothers were stuck down by God Lev 10:16
Moses toward Israel when they did not follow his instruction to kill all the Moabites Num 31:14
Philistines against Achish for brining David with him to fight alongside them 1 Sam 29:4
Naaman when Elisha did not heal him in the manner he expected 2 Kings 5:11
Elisha toward Jehoash for only striking the arrows three times when more would have been greater victory (faith?) 2 Kings 13:19
King toward his wife Esth 1:12
Two Eunuchs toward the king when they planned to assassinate him Esth 2:21 
Jerusalem city officials when they mistakenly believed Jeremiah was deserting to the Chaldeans Jer 37:15

Outburst (quick/arrogant) Anger

At times the anger is quick and quite strong.  This outburst of anger leads to consequences down the road.

Jacob's sons when they found their sister was raped Gen 49:7
Country of Moab against Israel Isa 16:6 and Jer 48:30

Frothing at the Mouth Anger (indignation)

Rabid dogs come to mind with this type of anger.  But in reality this type of anger is more of indignation that rabid anger. 

Jeremiah toward revelers Jer 15:20

Desire/Passionate Anger

Our desires and passions are very strong.  At times these desires get the better of us.  However they don't have to even Jesus experienced this type of anger and yet did not sin. 

Jesus toward people in the synagogue because they desired to test Jesus over seeing a man healed Mark 3:5

Jealous Anger

Jealousy is a huge trigger for anger in some cases.

Philistines toward Isaac over his success as a shepherd Gen 26:14
Rachel toward her sister Leah because her sister was able to have children but she was not Gen 30:1
Joseph's brothers toward Joseph about his dreams Gen 37:11

Malicious Anger

When anger and ill will meet up it is a deadly mix.  You have the desire to harm combined with the motivation to do something about it.  This type of anger is to be avoided.  There were no examples of this word used, but I am sure we can think of some personal examples.

Grudge Anger

We can also hold on to anger and when we keep it (as is the case in this type of anger) then it will become bitterness in our souls.  We poison ourselves against others.  

Bitter (Poisonous) Anger

Bitterness and poisonous thoughts will keep anger going and growing

Simon Magnus when he sought the Lord's blessing with money Acts 8:23
Jews toward Jesus for healing on the Sabbath John 7:23

 


Well that is a summary and examples of the various types of anger as described in the Bible.  I think that we may over simply the feeling of anger.  It seems that anger is a rather complicated emotion.  I would even go so far as to say it is as complex as love.  Interestingly both are rooted passions.  Passions and desires bring out the very best and, unfortunately, the very worst in all of us.  There is hope when it comes to anger though.  Twice the Bible says "be angry, but do not sin (Psalm 4:4 and Eph 4:26)."  In my upcoming posts I will take a look at how one might accomplish this. 

 

God Bless You.

 

 


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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What is Beautiful?

Having two beautiful daughters gets a dad thinking about how culture defines beauty.  As Christians we ought to be counter-cultural on this issue.  Beauty as the world defines it is vain and destructive to the souls of women (and men).  When society says you have to be something that you cannot be it is an unfair and unjust proposition filled with disappointment if you stand by and support it.  Here is a video that made me think about this issue.

The band is Everlife and the video was produced by Ransomtv a part of the Billy Gramm Evangelistic Association.

Tell the girls in your life they are beautiful. 

Have a blessed day!

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Update on Anger Series

Well I am going to stop promising when I am going to post on anger.  I think it will be a series (God willing).  Every time I look into God's word on this subject I discover a new facet that I did not know was there before.  One thing that I am learning is that anger is far from a simple emotion.  It is a complex highly nuanced emotion.  In my training as a counselor I had been taught that anger is a autonomic response to real or perceived threats.  That is true to the extent that the anger is rooted in a threat, but I am finding the the sort of animalistic (evolutionary?) explanation of primal instinct is far from accurate to describe the whole subject.  As I am reflecting on this I think that perhaps this is why the field of counseling has such a difficult time treating anger problems.  Our view is overly simplistic.  Any way these are some of the thoughts rambling through my brain for what it is worth.  I will post as soon as I have something that is understandable and not rambling (like this post).

May God richly bless you all!

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Overcoming

I am still working on a series of posts dealing with anger.  It seems that summer has got the better of me writing.  I hope your summer is going well.  I had a verse come to mind just now about the other day as I was dealing with a stressful situation.  It seemed to me that the devil was working to get me down.  I felt frustrated and hurt.  I wanted to lash out.  Have you ever been in this place?

Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.
Romans 12:21 (HCSB)

In my sermon I suggested that evil was looking for a way to destroy our lives individually, our families, our churches, and our nation.  But we (speaking of Christians) have the Holy Spirit of God within our lives to overcome, to conquer evil.  The trick is to overcome with good.  What is good you ask?

Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Be in agreement with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord. But If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head.
Romans 12:9-20 (HCSB)

This seems like a good enough list to me.  As always, I've got some work to do. 

God Bless You All!

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sermon: The Time is Now (7/11/10)

Here is my sermon from last Sunday.  I am working on some posts about anger.  But it is taking longer to develop than other posts.  I expect I will have some of them out by the weekends.  God bless you all.

Audio: The Time is Now

Text:

A recent letter to Reverend Billy Grahm reads

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Does anybody really believe in the devil anymore? You wrote something in your column recently that made me think you did, but I thought that kind of thinking went out with the Middle Ages. — R.C.L.

DEAR R.C.L.: It has been said that one of Satan's most successful strategies is to convince people that he doesn't even exist. Another surely must be to make people believe that he is simply a harmless, comic character (with, for example, a pitchfork and a red suit)...

...Yes, Satan is real, and we see evidence of his evil workings every day. How else can you explain the irrational acts of violence and terrorism that ravage our world? How else can you explain the way we fall for his temptations, although we know they'll only bring us disaster?

Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2010/07/09/2073663/billy-graham-satan-is-real-and.html#ixzz0tNoq6t49

Evil Exists

We should not be surprised when we hear of evil things and evil people. We are often shocked and terrorized by evil. However evil permeates our very existence. Laws are not made for people who keep the law, but for those that break the law. The reality of evil is so strong that we do not even need to get beyond ourselves to come face to face with the reality of evil.

So I discover this principle: When I want to do what is good, evil is with me.
Romans 7:21 (HCSB)

However Paul gives a cure for this:

All those led by God's Spirit are God's sons.
Romans 8:14 (HCSB)

Being led by the Spirit of God is our cure for evil. However, there are many who reject the offer of salvation through Christ that do not have the Spirit of the living God. For them evil is a very present reality that holds the the distinct possibility that their actions will be at least influenced by, and often controlled by evil. Over time we are lulled to sleep by those in power making us unaware of this very present evil that touches us everyday. The evil exists. It exists in many forms! We can not be unaware of this fact.

We also cannot be fearful of this fact. That evil exists there can be no question, but fearing evil can be equally damaging to our calling and mission. If you fear evil you will be sidelined and ineffective for God. God has a plan and purpose for your life. If you fear evil you will never accomplish that purpose in my opinion. Ours is fearless pursuit or at least it should be.

Don't get me wrong there is fear, but not of evil. We ought to fear God. God is awesome in power. He strengthens the feeble. He appoints the rising and falling of nations. His power sustains our very existence. We are held in the palm of His hands. We are here out of the goodness of His grace. The blast of His breath would completely annihilate all of existence. His power, His Majesty, His righteousness, His piercing knowledge is what we ought to fear. These minor evils that so hold our attention are nothing absolutely nothing compared to the awesome power of almighty God.

Jesus said:

Don't fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Matthew 10:28 (HCSB)

Yes we ought to fear God and not evil.

So how can we deal with evil? First we must realize that there is not only evil, but there are evil men as well. That is not to say all that do evil are hopelessly evil there is time to repent and turn to God. There are a class of men that have given themselves to evil. That is to say they have embraced evil with the full knowledge of evil. They are not deceived as much as they are simply rebellious. These men and women come from all walks of life. Some are poor, some are rich, some are pleasant and nice, some are mean and gruff, some will flatter you with pleasant sayings, some will curse you with vulgar words, Some will look like the very image of perfect love, some will pour out venomous hate. These men and women are destined for destruction. They have an appetite for violence. This violence is not always physical, at times it is emotional, psychological, but it is always spiritual. Spiritual violence is there creed. They twist the goodness of God in order that God would be seen as evil and man as good. At times they are very stealthy and proclaim God, but upon closer examination the God they claim is not really God, but simply and extension of the evil that is in their souls.

Sometimes this special class of evil humans penetrate the very walls of our churches.

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and will bring swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their unrestrained ways, and the way of truth will be blasphemed because of them. They will exploit you in their greed with deceptive words. Their condemnation, pronounced long ago, is not idle, and their destruction does not sleep.
2 Peter 2:1-3 (HCSB)

These false prophets and false teachers will lead many astray. It is not those lead astray that bear the greater guilt of evil committed, but those that are especially evil and false that will face greater destruction in God's judgment. It is hard though, because at times the false teachers and false prophets seem like the nicest people in the world. How could they do so much good and yet be false. Their intent is not on leading others to the Lord, but rather on a personal lust for money, power, or praise of men. It looks good on the surface, but in their hearts is a great wickedness. We cannot be for one moment be held in the captivating speeches of these evil men and women. We must be with great clarity of thought, strength of wisdom, recognize the very lies that pour from their mouths. The sewage that is their teachings cannot be tolerated no matter how sweet they make it sound. Sewage is sewage no matter how sweet.

We must at first be willing to break with all that is false in ourselves. But there is a great lie, great deception that seeks to destroy the very core of God's Church, to destroy the foundation of this living body, to soil the wedding garment of the Bride of Christ. My dear friends if you did not know it already we are are war with this evil. Its desire is to destroy us. Evil knows that if good is out of the way then it will reign. The deception is quite simple. It is a dagger pulled from the very scriptures themselves. It his put on by these hateful, deceiving lying murderous evil men and women. Yet is sounds a pure as the whitest of whites. Do you want to know what it is?

God teaches us to not judge others.

If you have sympathy for this statement, then let me tell you as plainly as I can, "Repent or be destroyed by this utterly false belief." If you do not feel a sense of revulsion at the belief that "God teaches us to not judge others" then I say it is time to wake up, open your eyes, and get angry! The devil has had a great sway over the church in this one belief. It has become the center piece of Christianity in the United States. Yet the premise to not judge is completely illogical. I would go so far as to say the only way to not judge is to be dead. Our brains are completely incapable of not judging. You might find a few Buddhists that will claim that they have achieved this state, and yet if you spend any time with them at all you will find they too judge. Judging is a very core of conscious awareness. So why would Jesus make such an outrageous statement to not judge? The plain truth is that he did not. In fact the passage that is most often quoted as the central teaching of "do not judge" is not really about judging, it is about hypocrisy.

This is what the false teacher will say to you:

Do not judge, so that you won't be judged (Matthew 7:1).

Seems pretty straight forward. It is Christ saying plainly to not judge. What the problem is that the verse has been taken out of context. What these false teachers will conveniently leave out is in verse five.

Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
Matthew 7:5 (HCSB)

Jesus was not condemning judging. It was hypocrisy that was his focus. Jesus is plainly saying that to judge others you must have first examined your own life and got that right. Once you have examined and removed sin from your own life, then you will be able to help others with sin in their own lives. You see Jesus turns judgement into a loving act in which you take care of your sin in order that you can help others. Strange that we do the exact opposite. In our effort to avoid being judgmental we avoid helping others. You see that is the trick. If you do not judge, you do not see, if you do not see, you cannot help, If you do not help you cannot love. Love is the way. Jesus loves you too much too leave you in sin. We ought to do likewise.

Shocking isn't it. If you are brave enough can you raise your hands if at any point in your life you believed that the Bible taught us to not judge others. I know I have. Yet this is just one teaching among many that these evil false prophets and teachers are pouring out into mainstream Christianity in the United States and around the world.

I want to draw your attention to one more thing before moving on. In this same passage that is often quoted as saying God teaches us to not judge Jesus says:

Don't give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them with their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces.
Matthew 7:6 (HCSB)

Two things:

One, if God teaches us to not judge then how in the world can we determine if someone is a dog or a pig. The teaching contradicts itself and is therefore complete nonsense.

Two, Jesus seems to be saying that our judgment ought to be reserved for those that are like us seeking to get sin out of our lives. Those that are dogs and pigs ought to be avoided all together.

Evil can also manifest itself in government. You see government is the power over people. And evil power hungry people will use government to carry out their evil plans. We need to recognize that it is not the government itself that is evil, but rather becomes evil when disreputable men usurp it's authority. When these men and women hold positions of power we are not to fear. We are called to witness.

You will even be brought before governors and kings because of Me, to bear witness to them and to the nations. But when they hand you over, don't worry about how or what you should speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour, because you are not speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.
Matthew 10:18-20 (HCSB)

When evil men use government to destroy us their intent is overcome. Why? By bringing us to the public square we have been given a greater audience than if we simply remained quiet in our homes. Government is the servant of God, so when evil men use it to advance their agenda it will always fail. Our job as believers is to stick to the message and not be turned. We do this by trusting in God. I think of the Prophet Daniel at this point. There were evil men that intended to use the government to destroy him by setting him up. How did Daniel respond? He kept on doing what he had always done and trusted God. As a result he was given a platform to speak the words of God that was much wider than he had before these evil hateful murderers started. He even may have had the opportunity to witness to the king in the process.

The wonderful truth in all of this is that the Holy Spirit of God is there with us giving us the words to speak when that time comes. We are simply a vessel that carries God's message to the nations. He never leaves or forsakes us. If they mock us then we will draw the attention of others, if they fine us we will see a flood of financial support, if they take us to court Christ will be our attorney and they will stand condemned. If they imprison us our followers will grow in number. If they murder us our voice will scream from the grave robbing our enemies of sleep and encouraging the faithful to greater works that we could imagine doing on our own.

Do you get it dear friends? There is nothing that evil can do to triumph over us when God is on our side. There is no thing that can silence the Holy Spirit of God from taking the message to the world. We have nothing to fear. However:

If you do nothing in a difficult time, your strength is limited.
Proverbs 24:10 (HCSB)

Doing nothing is limiting according to God's Word. He has a plan for us we are to:

Rescue those being taken off to death, and save those stumbling toward slaughter.
Proverbs 24:11 (HCSB)

We are on a mission to rescue lost, dying, deceived souls. We have a responsibility to love hurting and suffering people. Their very lives depend on our faithfulness to the cause. We have a high responsibility to accomplish the task. Ignorance is no excuse:

If you say, "But we didn't know about this," won't He (God) who weighs hearts consider it? Won't He who protects your life know? Won't He repay a person according to his work?
Proverbs 24:12 (HCSB)

Brother's Sisters it is time to get out of our complacency, our comfort, our easy living. Wake up there is a war going on here and our time to act is now. No excuses.

"No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."
Luke 9:62 (HCSB)

What is to be our response to evil? Jesus said:

Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves.
Matthew 10:16 (HCSB)

The serpent always symbolizes Satan from the beginning of the Bible to the end. It seems a strange thing for Jesus to say that we need to be like Satan in some way. However, if you have any military background at all you will understand that Jesus is saying that we must think like our enemy. It is not a pleasant exercise, but we must begin to think if I was evil, what would be the best way in infiltrate and destroy my life, the life of my family, the life of my church, the power structure of education, government, religion. You many not want to bear the thought, but the fact is that the Satan and the forces of evil in this world are planning your, our destruction. He is actively looking for a way to either destroy you, sideline you, or render your walk with God ineffective. When Jesus says to be as shrewd as serpents" He is plainly telling us to think like the enemy. We need to understand his ways. Why? If we do not then we will be caught unaware in evil's trap.

Yet harmless as doves. The Dove in the New Testament is a very obvious symbol of the Holy Spirit. In our understanding the enemy and nature of evil there is a risk of becoming like them. Our protection is the connection to the Holy Spirit of God. We cannot fall into using evil to overcome evil. That also is a trick of the Devil. If evil can sway you to act evil then it will gladly sacrifice itself for the greater victory of having you destroyed, sidelined, or ineffective. We must allow the love of God to flow through us by His Spirit. Our understanding needs to be as wise as our evil enemy, yet holding on the righteousness of God. Our knowledge of good and evil needs to be an awareness of evil yet unmoved to join it, but rather be in the place of guidance by the goodness of God. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives. The word harmless in the Greek is a-ke-rai-os. The "a" prefix means "not." The keraios means mingled or filled. So in understanding this statement Jesus appears to be saying to understand evil as Satan understands evil, not mingling or filled with it even as the Holy Spirit understands evil yet is not mingling with or filled with it.

My dear friends. We cannot miss this point. That we are to understand evil yet be separate from it is of highest important. We can lose the battle at two points. If we do not understand evil then we will be ambushed by it. When we understand evil then we can see it coming and plan a Holy Spirit directed counter attack. We can also loose this battle at another point. We cannot We must not we have to determine in our hearts that we will not mingle with or be filled with evil. We need to turn from, remove, kill, destroy the evil that is in our lives.

Are you ready? Are you willing?

If this sermon seems militant to you it is because it is militant. I will not apologize for the forcefulness. If this word is too hard for you then please try to stay out of the way. We have precious little time to be spreading the gospel of God accepts you just the way you are and God teaches us to not judge other. Don't you get it? There is no power in that gospel. Those that preach it do so to there own destruction. The true power of the Gospel is in trusting in Jesus Christ turning from your wickedness and getting active in advancing the kingdom of God. Jesus' loving sacrifice was for you. He died that we might live. We do not fight a battle of flesh and blood, but we do fight a battle that seeks to destroy the spiritual forces of darkness. This sermon is a call to arms to any that would listen to it. Even if no one in this room will stand with me I will stand for the Lord our God. I am tired of seeing the enemy and evil men taking territory in our lives. We have to have the love of God that overcomes the dark evil days that we live in. Will you shine that love before men? Will you stand with me?

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What do I know of Holy

Here is my daughter singing a very lovely song once more.  I hope it blesses you as it did me!

What do I Know of Holy

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