Tag Archives: Wickedness

Influencing or Infecting?

Proverbs 29:12.

“If a ruler hearkens to lies, all his servants are wicked.” (KJV).

The Influencing Leader:

A leader is defined as a person who rules, guides or inspires others. There are many different kinds of leaders in the world today: Parents lead families, coaches lead teams, teachers lead students, pastors lead churches, and government officials lead cities and nations. There are also people who don’t necessarily have a leadership position, but simply lead others by guiding or inspiring them.

We need leaders! Leaders help us to do what we need to do, and get where we need to go. I’m reading a book right now by John Macarthur where he says that “A true leader inspires followers. To put it simply, leadership is influence. The ideal leader is someone whose life and character motivate people to follow.” (The Book on Leadership). The world needs more good leaders today.

The Listening Leader:

The question a leader must ask is – who or what are you listening to? In today’s Proverb, Solomon warns the leader about not listening to lies or gossip. Once a leader starts down that slippery slope, their positive influence is greatly impacted. It’s so important for a leader to choose wisely those who are your closest advisors and friends, because they will either help you to become a better leader… or a worse one.

As a pastor, I have two different leadership teams that help me to do what I do. Our elders are those who help me to care for the people in our church, praying together and seeking God’s wisdom for our church family. Our church council are those who help me to make decisions regarding the finances and property of the church. With both groups of people, I look for people who are wise and spiritually mature, but also those who know the value and importance of unity.

In Psalm 133, King David wrote: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!  It is like the precious oil upon the head… For there the Lord commanded the blessing– Life forevermore.” If we want God’s blessing, we need to walk in unity. That means there can be no tolerance for lies, gossip or slander.

The Infecting Leader:

There’s an expression that says, “As goes the leader, so go the people.” If a leader allows himself to be corrupted by evil speech, the end result is that his people will be infected by it. The Message Bible paraphrase of today’s Scripture says: “When a leader listens to malicious gossip, all the workers get infected with evil.” A pastor’s actions affect his church. A parent’s actions affect their children. And a government leader’s actions affect an entire city… or nation.

So hear the challenge to all leaders: Be a good influencer, and don’t allow yourself to be influenced by evil words. Refuse to listen to lies or gossip, and fight for unity. Amen!

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Where Is Your Trust?

Proverbs 28:26

He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”

Common Core

There is a common teaching throughout the world and particularly popular in Western entertainment today.

That teaching is to “find yourself” by “looking inside yourself for true happiness.” It is closely related to the other teaching: “Follow your heart.”

Why are you a fool to follow these? They sound innocent enough.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Jeremiah 17:9

God has told us that our hearts are wicked and deceitful, and the world acts as great evidence through all of the problems, pain, and chaos caused by humans doing what felt right or seemed right.

At the core of who we are, we all share a common trait: sin.

Walking Wisely

How then shall we be delivered? How do we find happiness and peace?

We need to turn to the One who knows us completely, the One who knows all of our sin and all of our capabilities.

Only God knows all of this. And only God is able to deliver us from our sin and sinfulness.

To walk wisely is to trust in our Deliverer: God the Son, Jesus Christ, the One who died to free us from our sin and rose to life again.

Through the Holy Spirit, we are able to walk in all wisdom and righteousness.

Where is your trust? Is it in your heart that cannot be understood, or is it in the One who understands you completely and did everything to deliver you and give you peace?

Loving Lord, give us understanding and humility. Through Your Holy Spirit, deliver us in wisdom to walk with You and love all.


The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Proverbs 26:24-26

“He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for [there are] seven abominations in his heart. [Whose] hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the [whole] congregation.” 

The Big Shots

Yesterday, David looked at verse 23 dealing with those who cover up their wickedness to look good. These verses come out of that.

He mentioned the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. Today we tend to think about politicians or corporate bigwigs that put up a front to look good for their employees or their constituents. In truth, they are only out for their own gain.

The really bad ones are those who will stop at nothing, hurt anyone to get what they want or to be entertained.

The Church Enemy

The scariest ones are those in the Church.

Who are they? They are the church-goers who:

  • Gossip (sometimes through “prayer requests”)
  • Complain about everything at the church
  • Complain about everything in life
  • Live two separate lives: one at church and one everywhere else
  • Purposefully disobey the pastor or church teachings
  • Cause divisions (start fights, spread malicious rumors, etc.)
  • Give the minimum effort (and usually have excuses)
  • Never give any effort at church (and always have excuses, if they talk about it)
  • Those who justify every action they take (usually with “But you have to understand …”)
  • Who start debates with “I am a Christian, so …” and then attempt to defend non-Christian behaviors and actions.

I could go on for a very long time. They act like they love others, but they really hate.

The question is …

Did you see yourself in that list?

The scariest enemy is the one who acts like your friend. Read Galatians 5:19-21 for Paul’s list of who they are.

Heavenly Father, help us to remove all the falseness and pretense from our lives. Create in us a clean heart free of all malice, deceit, and wickedness. Help us to be followers of You and not the father of lies.


Spurious Gifts

Proverbs 21:27

27 The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?

Spurious gifts

Have you ever had someone give you gift, and it came from someone who you were sure did not like you?

Later it turned out that gift, which seemed like a nice and generous act at first, was actually a way for that person to mock or embarrass you in front of others.

Perhaps you have been in a workplace with a supervisor who did not like you. The only reason they did nice things to you was to look good in front of others or to benefit themselves in some way. In return, all you received was trouble or no credit, perhaps even getting passed over for well-deserved promotions.

These acts and gifts did not bring you joy or thankfulness. They only made you angry.

Spurious sacrifices

How do you think God feels when we bring poor or purposefully bad sacrifices and offerings?

This is done through giving what we feel like when it is time for tithes and offerings. (Malachi 3:6-12)

This is done by saying “Yes, Lord! I will do whatever you ask of me!” when you have no intention of doing anything. (Malachi 3:13-15)

This is done by saying you are a Christian and then calling evil things good. (Malachi 1)

We must always check our hearts as we deal with people and with God, that we may willingly and joyfully give what God desires and deserves. (2 Corinthians 9)

Lord, forgive us for our wicked selfishness and idolatry. Help us to love you and offer true sacrifices (Isaiah 58). Help us forgive those who treat us as wickedly as we treat You.


Duplicitous

Proverbs 11:3

“The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.”

Perverse

The NIV words this verse in this way: “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” Notice the first part is the same. Technically, so is the second part.

The KJV reminds us that sinners are perverse. When most people hear or read “perverse” they tend to think of sexual deviants of various sorts, but that’s not the primary meaning. Consider how Merriam-Webster (.com) defines “perverse”:

a: turned away from what is right or good :corrupt

   b:improper, incorrect    c: contrary to the evidence or the direction of the judge on a point of law <perverse verdict>

a: obstinate in opposing what is right, reasonable, or accepted :wrongheaded

   b: arising from or indicative of stubbornness or obstinacy

From this we see that all people are perverse in some way at some point (or all points) in life. We also see that it is because of a willful disobedience.

For many this means destruction. This is not just losing everything or dying, but it could very well have bad eternal significance.

This also means that, for Christians, we are frequently duplicitous. We wish to serve God, but we put forth a mindset contrary to what our Judge would have for us.

In the parable of the sheep and the goats of Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus says that those whom He calls goats think they are good people. When He comes to judge the world, their duplicitousness will prove their doom. As He said in the final two verses, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

What Do We Do?

As one of my favorite passages words it:

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. – James 4:7-9

Heavenly Father, help us live a life that honors You. Clean our hands and purify our hearts that we may not be perverse or double-minded. Thank You for saving us from our sins, now please save us from ourselves. Make us a people of integrity, grace, and love.


Don’t Fake It

Proverbs 10:9 

“He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.”

Walking Righteously

When I was a child I would watch my pop walking around wherever he worked, and he looked confident and like he knew where he was going. I saw many more people (my parents, my friends, my parents friends, many CEO’s of companies, male, female, etc.) looking confident and like they knew where they were going.

There are three things I learned while growing up:

  1. Many people are faking it.
  2. Many people are distracted by the worries of this world (meaning they are probably angry or self-righteous about something) which helps with looking confident or like they know where they are going.
  3. A few people have real confidence and really know where they are going, and many of them have peace.

Self-righteous, Angry, and Faking It

The problem with faking it, living angry, and being self-righteous is that … everyone knows! Most people are able to tell who is faking it, angry, or self-righteous.

These are people tend to make excuses or shift the blame.

The problem with making excuses and shifting blame to someone or something else is that the truth eventually comes to light, and it can be embarrassing when the truth comes out.

Knowing Peace

It is much better to walk a righteous – an upright – life. You can “walk surely,” or, as the NIV puts it, “The man of integrity walks securely.”

When living a morally upright life, you can have confidence in what you are doing.

When following Jesus Christ, you know exactly where you are going.

When trusting in God, you have peace.

As discussed several times earlier, Jesus Christ is our Peace, our Path, our Righteousness, and our Assurance. When we walk  in His Holy Spirit, we are covered with Him. We walk in peace and righteousness assured that our path leads to glory and everlasting life.

Gracious God, we praise You for Your greatness and great love. Thank You for peace and righteousness, for giving us Your assurance through the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Help us live in that peace. Help us walk in Your ways. Give us assurance through Your Spirit in our salvation and Your Return.


A New Pickle

(Note: Please keep the author of this post, Daniel Klem, and his family in your prayers. Daniel lost his mother last week. She was 53.)

Proverbs 10:2 

“Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.”

Stolen Treasure

In the summer of 2002 I was a volunteer room leader at Manville Camp. The speaker that year was Rev. Robert Pickle. This is a man few would expect to be a Christian by just looking at him. Rev. Pickle is over six feet tall with a pony-tail all the way down is back, he rides a motorcycle and has tattoos all over his body, and he is an ex-con.

Yet this is a very large man with a very large heart for Christ, a man who cries whenever he thinks of God’s amazing grace in his life.

He related a story to us that summer:

He was a wanted man … but not in the way most people would like. He was in a very violent motorcycle gang. He grew his own marijuana, made his own drugs, and had many guns and knives. He was not afraid to use those guns and knives, either. He had killed dozens of men. He made a lot of money from drugs and stealing. In his own words, “I stole money through wasted lives and from stores and people.”

Because all of his money came from drugs and stealing, he could not spend most of it in case it came from cops or could be traced from a robbery. He ended up burying millions of dollars around his property. He was arrested one day (another great story, I promise you!), and he is certain there is still at least hundreds of thousands of dollars left unfound on that property.

He could not spend the vast majority of the money he had. It was practically worthless.

New Treasure

Rev. Pickle loves to share his story, because he was a self-made millionaire who could spend none of it. His treasures were literally laid up in the earth.

Now, he knows his treasure is in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). He knows he has been made a treasure in Christ (2 Corinthians 4). He knows that if Jesus Christ had not sought him out to make him righteous through the blood of Christ, he would be dead today.

That is the real point of today’s verse:

We can only find our righteousness in Jesus Christ. He is the only way we can find life.

As David said yesterday, “It’s not how you start, but how you finish that matters.” With Christ in our lives, we will always finish this life well and enter eternal life.

Heavenly Father, we thank You that You sought us out to make a way for us through Jesus Christ. Draw us close, and show us real Life. Strengthen us in Your Holy Spirit to continually seek out Your righteousness. Help us to finish this life well – with You.