Tag Archives: Wickedness

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.

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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

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.


A Wicked Heart

Proverbs 6:18a

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations…”

Personal Wickedness

When I was younger, way back in high school and before going to church, I heard stories of fantastic crimes, near-perfect crimes, and comic book villians. It inspired me to devise all manner of crimes (sneaking a candy bar from the store, sneaking small amounts of change from my mom’s purse, sneaking a can or two of soda pop from my teacher’s stash under his desk, etcetera) to test my mettle and intelligence.

Hollywood Wickedness

Movies seem to have caught that itch, as well. War movies to come out of Hollywood used to hide much of the true horror of battles. In the past few decades war movies have gotten progressively more gory, and now we also have movies such as the Saw series, the Hostel series, and all manner of violently gory horror and action films.

There is also a rise in movies in which the villain is the “hero” of the movie. They are written in such a way that we, the audience, sympathize with and even cheer for people committing crimes and being all-around bad (though sometimes with endearing moments).

We were warned … a lot …

Paul warned Timothy, and therefore us, that this would happen:

1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds,who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.
2 Timothy 3:1-8, NIV

In other words, society will decide to do their own thing and call good things bad and bad things good, and we will glorify sin and desire all things ungodly (sound at all familiar to anyone?).

And we were warned in Isaiah:

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Isaiah 5:20

Lord, give us the wisdom to see past deception and a desire for truth and goodness. Help us to not focus on our own desires, selfishness, and violence. Help us to focus on Your will, Your love, Your grace, and You. Be our light and our life.


Starting Fights?

Proverbs 3:30

“Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.”

My dad and I have some similar stories from our youths. He was a lot rougher than I, but we both had our ways of treating other people which were not as wholesome as they could have been.

My dad was the kind of boy who would disrupt class because he could. He would start fights and usually finish them, too. He would even punch a guy for looking at him the wrong way.

I would occasionally physically respond/retaliate/initiate with people (especially my younger siblings), but my weapon of choice was words. I would stretch the truth to see what I could get away with saying. I would tell someone a mis-truth (using elements of truth) to get a reaction. I would start rumors to watch the impending chaos.

Usually, the other person/people had done nothing to us, at least not meriting our actions.

The rest of Proverbs paints a picture that people such as the younger me and my dad are wicked and destined for destruction.

The NIV states the verse this way:

Do not accuse a man for no reason—    when he has done you no harm.

There may not be anyone on this planet truly innocent, but we can be innocent of certain things. When we prey on the innocence of others through deceit, violence, malice, or just because they were the ones in our way at that moment, our victims are innocent.

Keep in mind, the person who said “I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood,” the blood of Jesus, was an Apostle. Judas Iscariot, a man who walked and talked with Jesus for about three years and knew Him intimately, accused the Son of God and had Him dragged away to death.

We need to remember that though we spend time going to church services and even reading our Bible, if we do not put our faith into action we can easily slip into sin.

We need to remember that we all, like Judas Iscariot, have accused Jesus and put Him on that cross.

We need to remember that only the Holy Spirit can truly guide us in all righteousness.

Precious Lord, thank You for your forgiveness of our lies and abuses, for putting You on the cross. Thank You that You have redeemed our lives. Guide us by Your Holy Spirit every moment to not bring harm to the innocent but to lift them up and lead them to You.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent – Day 3

road covered with sand

Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery on Pexels.com

Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way . . . –Hosea 10:13a, KJV

The first week of Advent focuses on the Prophets, which begins with the reminder that we are sinners in need of salvation.

Hosea reminds us that our sin comes from following our own path, a path built on lies, injustice, and counterfeit claims of truth.

But the Lord of Truth is coming to right wrongs and redeem, so let us prepare ourselves!

Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord , till he come and rain righteousness upon you. -Hosea 10:12, KJV

Lord of Truth, guide us in all truth, revealing our sin and removing it, and lead us in righteousness and mercy to see where Uou are moving.


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!