Tag Archives: Warning

Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 2

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” -Matthew 3:2

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John’s primary message while baptizing people in the Jordan River was to repent.

Repent literally means “to change your mind.”

Stop thinking the way you do! Stop only thinking about what this world says, and think biblical thoughts, heavenly thoughts! Realize Jesus is Lord of all and Savior of the world!

You may think you are a good person, or that your good deeds will outweigh your bad deeds. But God says you do not understand how much help you need, how great a chasm separates us and Him.

The message of John and all of Jesus’ disciples is “Change your ways! Turn to God! Repent and believe!”

We cannot come to Christ unless we are willing to change.

Great God, thank You for leading us to Your Son. Continue to conform our minds to Your will as we bring others along.

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Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent

Welcome to the second week of Advent!

Tradition holds that the second week of Advent is about preparing ourselves for the coming Messiah, with John the Baptizer being our model. This is when our focus turns from the promises to fulfillment of Messiah. Obviously, there is a connection between each week, as we begin by looking out our need for the promised Savior, and then we move to finding the truth of the living Savior.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. -Isaiah 40:3, KJV (see Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4)

John was prophesied centuries before either he or his cousin, Jesus, lived. John is also the final of the Old Testament Prophets. He was the last to prophecy the coming Messiah before Jesus began His ministry.

He was an ascetic – someone who separates from society in many ways through denying comforts and desires, including diet and habits, for religious purposes. (See Numbers 6 to understand more of John’s asceticism, known as the Nazirite vow.) He seemed pretty crazy and weird, but he laid the groundwork for the Messiah.

What did this mean?

He called out sin, decried fame, and [literally] pointed to the Lamb of God, the Messiah.

As Christians – believers in the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus – we are likewise called to point to the Savior. We are to prepare the the way for His return and encroaching Kingdom.

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
-Matthew 28:18-20

How are you pointing others to Jesus?

Good Lord, give us a passion for sharing the Good News of Jesus – to call out sin, love people, and glorify Your Name.


REPENT!

He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. –Proverbs 29:1, KJV

Do you know that person who is always right, has an excuse, and/or just ignores those who confront them?

(Is that you?)

Most of us do not like being around such people too long (sorry, if you are one.) Living this way can therefore lead to loneliness.

But it does get worse.

Consider the following:

  • Pharoah was told enslaving the Hebrews was wrong, and he refused to let them leave Egypt. He ended up in the bottom of the Red Sea while in pursuit of them.
  • The Israelites were told not to worship other gods, or they would be overrun by their enemies. They were.
  • The Israel (Northern Kingdom) and Judah (Southern Kingdom) kings were told to repent and reform their countries or be taken into captivity. They were.

Ultimately, though, (you may already know where this is going) if we refuse to accept the gospel, repent of our sin, and allow the Holy Spirit to conform us to Christ’s image, we end up “without remedy” in the torment of the lake of fire.

Listen, then, to Peter: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38) and eternal life.


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.


When to Answer the Fool

Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. -Proverbs 26:5, KJV

This is a fairly easy verse to understand: tell someone when they are doing something wrong, otherwise they may think they have it all figured out and are doing nothing wrong.

I could stop there, but perhaps some examples could help.

Children need to be told what is right and wrong, or they grow up thinking everything they do is okay and even good, if they survive! (My parents told me not to run I to the street, for example.)

A gossip will continue spreading lies and mistruths unless they are confronted and corrected.

Most importantly, people are on their way to Hell, thinking they are okay or even right in their beliefs, unless the Gospel is shared with them.

There are times to know when to stop and “shake the dust off your feet,” as mentioned in the previous verse or by Jesus Himself (Matthew 10, Luke 9, Mark 6). That is for another post!


Strange People Lead to Deep Pits

The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the Lord shall fall therein. -Proverbs 22:14 KJV

This will be slightly longer today, and dark.

A strange woman can be an adulterous, a prostitute, or simply a deceitful woman. I also think God will let sinful people, male and female, to fall into “strange people” – Male and female.

The most common rebuttal to this verse is “God doesn’t abhor (hate) people!”

Paul gave a rebuttal to this rebuttal:

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:21‭-‬32, KJV

If you choose to hate God (go against His Word) by following strange teachings, He will let you follow them into the deep pit you walk into.

Trust in God. Believe His Word and follow His statutes and thus be saved from the pit.


The Cries of the Poor

Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard. -Proverbs 21:13, KJV

I have pretty much always been a compassionate person. There was a time, however, when I followed a party line and believed the poor must have done something to deserve it.

This is especially crazy knowing my family went through a time when we almost ended up homeless, wondering if there was enough food to feed the five of us each day.

Personal Rebuke

But God sent me a bit of a rebuke, and in late 2007 through early 2008 I spent most nights on the streets of metro-area Phoenix. If you can not learn more compassion for others when alongside them, you are truly hard of heart.

I was fortunate (though my parents worried like crazy), but others may not be.

Throughout Scripture, God sets His expectation for His people: to love the widows, orphans, and the poor.

In the literal understanding, help those who do not have enough. This is loving your neighbor.

Deeper Cries

The deeper understanding is to help those who are spiritually poor. Help them find the truth of who Christ is. Feed their spirit and mind with God’s Word.

To not do so is to condemn them – and yourself – to eternal death and judgment, to cries of the poor who will never find rest. That is why to ignore the cries of the poor will lead to your own crying that will not be heard.

Believe in and share Christ and be saved.