Tag Archives: Law

A True Prophetic Vision

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. -Proverbs 29:18, ESV

A prophet declares the word of the Lord. In that sense, pastors and evangelists are prophets!

But we tend to hear the word “prophetic” and think “telling the future.” There certainly is an element of this, but we must remember the the other part of prophecy: revealing what is hidden … not just the future, but in our lives.

Most importantly, prophecy reveals God’s expectations.

Therefore, a good pastor and evangelist remind people that God has set His expectation for how we are to live (summed up in the Ten Commandments, which are summed up as “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself”), and that we will one day be judged by how we have done. More specifically, we will be judged by whether or not we followed God’s Son, Jesus.

The prophetic vision we have is that God has a standard, as modeled in Jssus, and He will be coming back to the earth in judgment.

If we neglect to teach and remind this world of this, people will throw off restraint and wantonly sin, either because they see no need for a Savior (“We’re basically good!”), or because they see grace giving them license (“We can do whatever we want, because God forgives!”)

We are either going to be judged guilty by how we rejected Christ or how we defiled Christ.

Only by believing in and emulating Christ’s sacrificial work – allowing His cleansing blood to cover us with forgiveness and grace to live a life of forgiveness, grace, and love – will we be ready for His imminent return.

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How to Keep Your Soul

He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his ways shall die. –Proverbs 19:16 KJV

The are two ways to take this verse. Both are simple.

Don’t break the law.

Obey laws, and things should go well in your life. Break the law, and you will suffer the consequences.

Obey God’s Law.

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. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Matthew 22:37‭-‬40, KJV

If you truly want to keep your soul, love God and love others.

The Bible explains how. Read it.


Give Them Wine

Proverbs 31:6-7

“Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.”

Debate Addressed 

Chris Jordan did an excellent job of dealing with 31:4 and 5. With wisdom and tact, he expressed both sides of the alcohol debate, ultimately showing that “under the new covenant of grace, all things may be lawful for us, but not all things are beneficial.”

My Baptist upbringing was one that left little room for debate on this subject. It was only after a lengthy (before computers) study of the word “wine” as used in the Bible did I begin to realize that there may be more to the debate than a simple black-and-white, drink-or-not-drink argument. Even king Lemuel’s mother understood there were times when alcohol could be useful (and not just in cough syrup).

The Perishing

Just today, not more than a few hours before writing this, I stood beside the hospital bed of a man in pain, a man dying. Cancer had taken over his body, his breathing and heart rate were rapid, and his mouth was dry. The family was standing around crying as they waited for the inevitable.

As I stood beside him, a nurse came in with a sponge on a little stick and placed it in some ice water, then put it in the man’s mouth. At that moment one family member said, “What he really wants is a milkshake.” Then the man’s sister said, “He should get whatever he wants.” Had he wanted a shot of Jack Daniels, they should have given it to him! He will be dead long before you, the reader, read this.

If alcohol was a sin (not just the consumption of it), then it would have been wrong for Lemuel’s mother to suggest giving strong drink to him that is “perishing.” But the king’s wise mother understood that when a man is at the end of his life or even the ends of his ropes, something that will ease his pain, or lift his spirit, is perfectly appropriate in moderation. But is to be used as a temporary remedy, one that can help one deal with his situation, not completely hide from it.

A Giving King

But there is even a deeper message in all this. What kind of king keeps hoards his wealth when his subjects are suffering? What kind of leader draws comfort from his cellars, while the poor search in vain for relief from their heavy hearts?

“Look at all you have,” Lemuel’s mother might say. “You have more than you need, and you don’t even need what you have. Therefore, open up your wine cellar; give to those who are perishing; lift the spirits of those who are discouraged; and lead your kingdom with clarity and compassion.”

Wouldn’t it be great if more kings, queens, presidents, and politicians would think less about what makes them happy, less about their own ambitions, and more about the needs of others? Most are drunk with the wine of power, forgetting the law and perverting judgment, while the powerless suffer.


Hear the Law

Proverbs 28:9.
“He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (KJV).

The Law is Good:

It’s unfortunate that even in the church today, many people have turned away from the hearing of God’s law. “We’re under grace, not law!” they protest. However, Jesus Himself said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” (Matt. 5:17).

Now it’s true that that no one can ever be right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” (Gal. 3:11). But that’s not the purpose of God’s law. You can’t get saved by keeping the Ten Commandments.

Having said that though, I do believe that God wants us to keep His law, not break His law. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15). We don’t keep the law to try to get God to love us, but because He already does love us in response to His love.

What Law?

When we speak of keeping God’s law, what are we talking about? We know that the ceremonial laws (the religious ceremonies, offerings and feasts of the Israelites) were fulfilled in Jesus, and because we don’t live in the nation of Israel, the civil law (their dictates for how to punish law-breakers) doesn’t apply to us. However, the moral law – the law that teaches us what is right and wrong – does apply to our lives as Christians. And not only the five books of the Old Testament called “The Law”, but indeed all of the commandments in the Bible – Old and New Testaments. Love your neighbour, turn the other cheek, treat others as you want to be treated, etc.

Listen to the Law:

In today’s Proverb, King Solomon gives us a warning. He says that if you turn your ear away from hearing the law, then even your prayers would be an abomination to the Lord. This is very similar to Psalm 66:18: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.” In other words, if we choose to disobey God’s law (which He gave us for our own good), then we shouldn’t expect Him to listen to our prayers!

Let me illustrate. If one of my children was to disobey me, and refused to apologize for doing something wrong, and they were to turn around and ask for the keys to the car, do you think I would give it to them? Not likely! This doesn’t mean I don’t love my child, but I’m not going to reward their rebellion by doing something nice for them.

The same thing is true with the Lord. He is more concerned with our relationship with Him than the things we are asking Him for. Therefore, if we will do our utmost to walk in obedience to His Word, and when we miss the mark, be quick to repent and ask for forgiveness, we will continue to enjoy His loving presence. Amen!


Leaving Mayberry

Proverbs 28:2

“For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.”
“When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.” – NIV
Mayberry

Have you ever noticed that where you see peaceful, law-abiding, respectful, and neighborly people, you rarely see police? Who needs a patrolman at every corner, a police car on every street, and a S.W.A.T. team on stand-by when there’s no crime to speak of?

Publicity photo of Andy Griffith and Don Knott...

Publicity photo of Andy Griffith and Don Knotts from a Jim Nabors television special. Griffith and Knotts revive their Andy and Barney roles for a skit on the show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you remember Andy Griffith’s old show and the town of Mayberry? Mayberry was a fictitious place where Andy was the sheriff and Barney Fife was the deputy with one bullet. The jail in Mayberry was usually occupied by a drunk named Otis, but he had access to the key and could “check out” as soon as he felt sober.

Do you ever remember Andy and Barney having to bust Meth dealers and prostitutes? Was there ever a cry for gun control or government-run healthcare? Was drunk driving a big problem? And, do you ever remember seeing a camera sitting atop the lone red light downtown?

My City

My city…your city…there’s not much difference: none are the Mayberry of the past. There are small towns here and there that resemble Mayberry on the surface, even ones that maintain low crime rates. However, I would dare say there are very few places these days where the sheriff and his lone deputy take the evenings off.

Everywhere we turn there are people calling for more police, traffic cameras, and surveillance of all kinds. Voices from every corner cry out for more supervision and less freedom – for more “princes” in a land lacking “men of understanding.”

“For the transgressions of the land…” Why are there so many laws and lawyers? Why are there so many who feel they need to rule over us? Could it be that we refuse to abide by a higher law? A law written on our hearts (Hebrews 8:10)?

It looks like we’ve left Mayberry far behind.


Give Them Wine

Proverbs 31:6-7

“Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.”

Debate Addressed 

Chris Jordan did an excellent job of dealing with 31:4 and 5. With wisdom and tact he expressed both sides of the alcohol debate, ultimately showing that “under the new covenant of grace, all things may be lawful for us, but not all things are beneficial.”

My Baptist upbringing was one that left little room for debate on this subject. It was only after a lengthy (before computers) study of the word “wine” as used in the Bible did I begin to realize that there may be more to the debate than a simple black-and-white, drink-or-not-drink argument. Even king Lemuel’s mother understood there were times when alcohol could be useful (and not just in cough syrup).

The Perishing

Just today, not more than a few hours before writing this, I stood beside the hospital bed of a man in pain, a man dying. Cancer had taken over his body, his breathing and heart rate were rapid, and his mouth was dry. Family were standing around crying as they waited for the inevitable.

As I stood beside him, a nurse came in with a sponge on a little stick and placed it in some ice water, then put it in the man’s mouth. At that moment one family member said, “What he really wants is a milkshake.” Then the man’s sister said, “He should get whatever he wants.” Had he wanted a shot of Jack Daniels, they should have given it to him! He will be dead long before you, the reader, read this.

If alcohol was a sin (not just the consumption of it), then it would have been wrong for Lemuel’s mother to suggest giving strong drink to him that is “perishing.” But the king’s wise mother understood that when a man is at the end of his life, or even the ends of his ropes, something that will ease his pain, or lift his spirit, is perfectly appropriate in moderation. But is to be used as a temporary remedy, one that can help one deal with his situation, not completely hide from it.

A Giving King

But there is even a deeper message in all this. What kind of king keeps hoards his wealth when his subjects are suffering? What kind of leader draws comfort from his cellars, while the poor search in vain for relief from their heavy hearts?

“Look at all you have,” Lemuel’s mother might say. “You have more than you need, and you don’t even need what you have. Therefore, open up your wine cellar; give to those who are perishing; lift the spirits of those who are discouraged; and lead your kingdom with clarity and compassion.”

Wouldn’t it be great if more kings, queens, presidents, and politicians would think less about what makes them happy, less about their own ambitions, and more about the needs of others? Most are drunk with the wine of power, forgetting the law and perverting judgment, while the powerless suffer.


Unturned

Proverbs 29:18

18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
18 Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. (ESV)

Writer’s Block

I spent several days writing and re-writing this entry. It could have gone several different ways, and it has. However, in the mean time I attended a Christmas Eve Mass with a Roman Catholic friend.

Sick Churches

There has been a sickness in most churches for a long time.

It does not matter if we are talking about Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Protestants, Evangelicals, or any other form of Christianity.

The sickness has many symptoms: a denial of the works of the Holy Spirit, a lack of passion to serve others, a lack of desire to serve others, a lack of passion for the things of God, a lack of a felt need of the things of God, a denial of certain passages of the Bible or truths of God, and on and on.

It is the root cause that is the real issue: the people are not inspired to turn.

Teaching Turning Teaching

For all of the negative things ingrained in many of us raised in Protestant or Evangelical churches, the truth of this passage was revealed during a Roman Catholic Christmas Eve Mass.

The Church comes alive when the Spirit of Truth is free to flow through the people. The problem with many churches is they have a tendency to quench the Spirit.

This is not to say that all of these churches are on the wrong path. It is to say that too many times we try too hard to help God. Sometimes we get too busy to let God work through us. Sometimes we do not trust the promises of God or that His promises are for today … or for “me”.

Sometimes He works through us to get it right.

During the Christmas Eve Mass, we were reminded of some of the prophecies given about the coming Messiah born over 2000 years ago. We were reminded of the promises we have been given in this life. We were reminded of the prophecies of the second coming of Messiah and challenged to believe and share these truths.

We were not guilt-tripped. We were not given a teaching on morality or how to be happier. We were not told to step through certain hoops to accomplish anything.

We were only given the Word of God that transcends time, circumstances, and our understanding.

The Holy Spirit of God was given freedom to move.

All present felt the Word of Life challenge and strengthen us, rebuke yet encourage us, to turn from our selfish desires to pursue His Kingdom and His righteousness.

That is what this verse is talking about today.

Awesome God, give us the vision and understanding to know Your Word. Move by Your Spirit in our lives to seek You and share You with others. Help us to find our fulfillment in You alone!