Category Archives: revival

Food for Faith…

Oswald hit it on the head for me this morning in his devotional – he calls fear wicked. Oh how true when my moods control me instead of the love of Christ that should constrain me. I hope you enjoy and are challenged by this as much as I was:

Faith and experience

The Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. Gal. 2:20.

We have to battle through our moods into absolute devotion to the Lord Jesus, to get out of the hole-and-corner business of our experience into abandoned devotion to Him. Think Who the New Testament says that Jesus Christ is, and then think of the despicable meanness of the miserable faith we have—‘I haven’t had this and that experience!’ Think what faith in Jesus Christ claims—that He can present us faultless before the throne of God, unutterably pure, absolutely rectified and profoundly justified. Stand in implicit, adoring faith in Him, He is made unto us “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” How can we talk of making a sacrifice for the Son of God! Our salvation is from hell and perdition, and then we talk about making sacrifices!

We have to get out into faith in Jesus Christ continually; not a prayer meeting Jesus Christ, nor a book Jesus Christ, but the New Testament Jesus Christ, Who is God Incarnate, and Who ought to strike us to His feet as dead. Our faith must be in the One from Whom our experience springs. Jesus Christ wants our absolute abandon of devotion to Himself. We never can experience Jesus Christ, nor ever hold Him within the compass of our own hearts, but our faith must be built in strong emphatic confidence in Him.

It is along this line that we see the rugged impatience of the Holy Ghost against unbelief. All our fears are wicked, and we fear because we will not nourish ourselves in our faith. How can anyone who is identified with Jesus Christ suffer from doubt or fear! It ought to be an absolute psalm of perfectly irrepressible, triumphant belief.

Vengeance and Forgiveness and Getting Love Done

A Short Study on Why and How to Love

God’s judgment is mercy in that it protects finally those who have taken refuge in His love. So you could say that even in God’s judgment He is love. That is some kind of love. But what about us? How are we to deal with love and judgment and making things “right” in our lives? Our calling is to love God above all else and to love God means to trust Him and His timing for everything else – including that final day in court for this world and those who have offended us. It means that we trust Him to love us in the proper way and in the best way in the end. So logically we must leave some things up to God. That is where the ultimate job of judging must go – into the hands of an all knowing and all powerful God, knowing thing escapes His gaze and He is perfectly holy so He will judge. We must trust Him for that and only judge with righteous judgment so long as it is in accordance with our own sphere of responsibility. see John 7:24

We are told to judge ourselves and the church under the leadership of the local church. 1 Peter 4:17 says it well – “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?”

The passage in John 7:24  “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” asserts that there is a righteous judgment for us now. (and it is more than implied in Matthew 18) We are also promised the Holy Spirit which will lead us into all truth in John 16:13 so that by His provision we can judge in a righteous fashion in the sphere we are responsible for. Parents are to judge in a right way among their children. Our love is to abound all the more in knowledge and all discernment. That discernment is rooted in the Scriptures as we are led and shepherded by the Holy Spirit each day.

Paul puts the proper focus onto judging ourselves first and foremost: 2 Corinthians 13:5 says to “examine yourself…” The genuine Christian spends a lifetime allowing the Lord to illumine the innermost parts of his life by exposing himself daily to the Word of God so that thoughts and intentions and motives can be properly judged. This is in line with 2 Corinthians 10 that commands us to take every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ.

Having a judgmental attitude or lifestyle, however, is forbidden by James 4:12: “There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?” ( see also Romans 14:4) The previous verse in James 4 is even stronger, “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.”

Forgiving Love is Key 

Proverbs 17:9 says “He who covers a transgression seeks love,

But he who repeats a matter separates friends.”

Jesus taught that we are to forgive one another – if we don’t we won’t be forgiven. In Matthew 6:14 Jesus said that if we forgive we will be. We are also told to be completely forgiving- Matthew 18:22 (seventy times seven – seven is perfect or complete in scope) and Jesus modeled that all the way to the end of his life by pouring out complete forgiveness to the seeking thief on the cross. During His life He taught his disciples that “by this will all men know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

The greatest motivation for us is how much and to what extent we are forgiven. He has completely freed us from the bondage and threat of judgment because He has forgiven us completely. This kind of love – a complete forgiving love –  is the key to the amazing spiritual bounty we have in Christ – who has given us all things richly to enjoy. He has given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Paul spends seven chapters explaining the gospel in his letter to the Romans and then leaps into exultation as chapter eight closes. In a hymn of praise that is also full of exhortation, He exclaims “if God is for us who can be against us?” He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Indeed we do have all things that accord life and godliness in our Savior!  All of this would be impossible if He had not forgiven us on the basis of His death on the cross. He was able to forgive because He paid the price and He paid the price because He loved us. He made the choice to love knowing full well the tremendous price.

Isn’t it actually a very  small price for us to pay to love and forgive – a little pride or a little fury – when it cost Jesus His very life? Isn’t it worth it to give your brother or sister the benefit of the doubt and not judge them because Christ is not judging you?  He knows your deeds and innermost thoughts and still loves you! Take that love and give it away. You will see His love multiply that way and that is what it is all about.

Deuteronomy 23:35 says “Vengeance is mine.” That settles it, it belongs to the Lord – but the New Testament goes beyond as does Jesus in His teaching. We are to overcome evil with good not by taking revenge and therefore trying to take His place.

Romans 12:19-21
Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

If he is thirsty, give him a drink;

For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Our lives are to be what Jesus’ life was. He taught truth and went around doing good. That good overcomes evil – if not in this life in the next one. It will be an influence for good now or a witness for God’s goodness and mercy in the next even in the midst of the flames of hell.

Paul said I have become all things so that I might win “some.” Oh for that precious few who will see Jesus in our hands and feet as unworthy as they are. We live “for things above.” Us taking vengeance now means we are not fully trusting God to take care of His responsibility for justice in His timing. Whatever is not of faith is sin.

John reveals that God is love and we know that He is perfect and right and just. We can trust His infinite love to always do right in the end – even if He allows men freedom for a short time to do evil. Maybe like the Roman who after he helped crucify the Lord some will see the love of God through us and exclaim with us, “sure this man was the Son of God!”

I close with two simple steps:

One is found in Jesus’ revolutionary teaching: from Matthew 5

Let’s call it “KNOW THE TRUTH

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

Jesus’ teaching is so straightforward. He is crystal clear – overcome evil with good.

The second step let’s call  “DO THE TRUTH in Me

Jesus also taught  “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

There is no way in the world we can carry out such a task as this accept that we abide in Him and are receiving from His divine power to be this kind of witness. Without Jesus’ power, we can do nothing – and “not taking vengeance”  when we are wronged is something.

When we do this – we fulfill the law of Christ and that is truly something. We are moving towards Jesus will for us to love as we are loved. We are becoming His disciples and what a good thing to be known for! This is the kind of love that “never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13)
Oh to see that love more fully demonstrated in our churches, in our families, in our hearts!

To God be the Glory, great things He has done!

By His grace and love and by His forgiveness let’s get His love done for His great glory!

Amen

Thoughts and Prayers for God Rejoicing

To Hear God Rejoice Again

I remember August 26th 1979 so well. It was a Sunday afternoon and I went to a church we rented because we weren’t sure that ours would hold all the people who were invited. That’s the day I saw my girl in a white dress she bought at an outlet dress shop in San Francisco. She glowed in that dress. When I saw her coming down the aisle time stopped and my heart raced. I rejoiced over her. She became mine. I never thought, at that moment that I could ever do anything that would bother her let alone cause her grief. I would make her happy for the rest of our days for as long as both should live.

Then life happened. Babies came and bills came and illness came and allergies and flat tires and…and more life in spades. I found out I was a sinner and over the course of many decades there were times when I was too arrogant for bliss to be a possibility. I made decisions that grieved her. At times I am sure she wondered what happened to that blond hair blue eyed Knight in shining armor who was so sweet and tender.

God had to knock that knight off his horse several times and drive some sense into him. He had to humble him. It took a long time. (God’s still working on the “knight” of course) She waited patiently. She trusted and I am sure she prayed – God answered. He’s good at humbling people and answering prayers for it. Now she could rejoice over her knight once again. More importantly, the Knight could rejoice over his bride again. He could see how faithful and loving and beautiful she really was maybe because he had things put back into perspective for himself.

                         Oh Lord give us your perspective on things!!!!

We will at some time probably grieve the ones we love. We are all in the flesh still. To grieve the Lord though, what a loathsome possibility and reality that is. It almost seems like an impossibility in a way. Can God subject Himself to being grieved by an arrogant but lowly man made of dust? The Scriptures declare it so we better not make theological rules that dismiss this fact. By faith we must believe it to be true and deal with it. What a grievous thing thought to grieve God Himself.

                  Oh God as a people we have been grieving you for so long, for millennia I think.

From the fall to Noah and the deep down grieving over us that led to flood/water judgment that seems to pick up again because of the obstinate wilderness wandering and then the awful idol worship of Ahab and Jezebel….it is exasperating to rehearse how many times God’s people let Him down let alone the pagans of the world.

We, as a race have run a course of madness.

                Oh God have mercy. Humble a people now Lord and make them lowly so they may stop     the insanity of actually grieving you – for you are the God of all the earth who only does right by His creation.

The Hope of the Scriptures

Zephaniah 3:12 says “But I will leave in your midst, a people humble and lowly. They shall seek refuge in the name of the Lord.”

This happened because God had removed from their midst the proudly exultant ones. (see Zephaniah 3: 11) God intervened. The result was a humble people and that result was God rejoicing and the absence of further grief and shame in this “people humbled”. Lies and deceit and injustice faded too. The people prospered in this way and God was pleased to the point of loud singing.

                     Oh God! Have mercy again and humble us again!

                     Make us right and we will cause singing instead of weeping in heaven. WE long to hear you sing over us oh God – to sing and shout and exult over a remnant who love you, who appreciates mercy and have put lies and injustice behind. 

                      May we know your presence in our midst and then may we shout “a Mighty one who will save!” Then oh Lord, we will hear the singing. You will rejoice over us with gladness, you will quiet us by your love, and our humbled ears will be able to hear singing from heaven. No grieving, but exultant singing…LOUD!

 

                     Oh Lord that you would again receive pleasure from this humble people and we would no longer suffer the reproach of sin and rebellion. Then we can sing too…with the prophet of old a new song…the song of the redeemed… In humble response to hearing your… rejoice again!

The Lord your God is in your midst,

a mighty one who will save;

he will rejoice over you with gladness;

he will quiet you by his love;

he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

 

Supplement to Subtract

As Christian we all get concerned sometimes about removing worry, doubt or fear or some nagging sin from our daily life. We know, most of the time what the truth is about ourselves and whether or not we are sleeping well with a good conscience or whether we are being kept up with something or someone that is weighing us down. Sometimes we think, “this is has been an issue for so long…how can I get rid of it?” Here are things to think about from a different angle. These are two portions of God’s Word that have stuck in my mind recently and have been a real help to the extent that I obey them and learn to trust Him more in the process. I hope they help you too! I find that they carry truth that is vitally linked together as I want less of me and more of Him!

 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,  and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
2 Peter 1:5-7

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Hebrews 11:6

Faith is Key and…
Faith is the key.  We must start with trusting and believing Him. Then and only then does Peter say add to “it” – faith – and good will follow, but it does include the ‘ands’ that link these qualities together.  Later in the chapter (2 Peter 1:9) it says that if we don’t we will lose our eyesight and become nearsighted. It reminds me of when Jesus said that to him who ‘had’ more would be given and to him who had nothing even what he did have would be taken away in light of investing in the kingdom of God.(Matthew 25:29) It sounds as if God expects us to continue to grow, not shrink or coast or plateau but to increase. God is into to adding and not subtracting. But what if we need to truly ‘take away’ some things from our life….habits, sins, etc.? I think it has more to do with adding, and that in the adding the subtracting begins to happen as a result. The more we are attracted to Him, the less the draw will be towards sin and the wisdom of this world.

Faith Does Not Camp Alone But is Drawn to the Light
Like Jesus, faith does not abide alone – see John 12:24 – the seed goes into the ground to die for sure, and then to bring increase. Hebrews says we must believe  that He ‘is’ – i.e. have faith in Him for His existence – and also it adds that I must trust that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. The object in Hebrews 11:6 is twofold, if we are to be pleasing to God and if we are to be drawing near to Him we must believe things about Him. Being the King of the Universe – the Most Holy God of purist light and glory – we are beholden to please Him but also to be (seemingly invited) to desire to draw near to Him!  It is too good to be true, so yes, “I’ll take two measures of drawing near to Him please!!” How could I not want to get close to a God who is this amazing – that He wants me to? But what is the Bible trying to really say in Hebrews and how does that relate to 1 Peter 1:5-7?

God’s Good Desire – Our Closeness to Him
What I am learning from Hebrews 11 is that God actually desires a sinner like me to trust Him. But what specifically am I called to trust in? That He is a rewarder. That is inviting. That is a welcoming God – He wants to reward me. Is it for good works? No. It is a reward for simply believing in Him and wanting to be close – drawing near. This tells me something. He is good. He is really good. He is loving. 1 John 3:16 (the other John 3:16 in the Bible) says that love is defined – love is graded and at the top of the curve is Jesus dying for us so that we could be brought back into relationship with God. You want to know what love looks like – look at Jesus giving up His life to make it possible for me to get close to Him. My sin separated me – it killed our relationship and only His death made it possible – but I had to believe it – accept it – and believe that when I did I would receive an instant reward – Him.

Even after I am in Him for awhile I can receive more – by growing in my faith and knowledge of Him. My obedience and being further set apart for His glory means I am going to be rewarded time and time again with more of Him. I am continually drawing near to Him, in deeper humility, in more thanksgiving and in more obedience and He is no man’s debtor. He rewards me with new understandings of eternal truth that does not change. I am the one being changed.

God’s Goodness – Virtue
What does this have to do – for heaven’s sake – with 1 Peter’s ditty? It is the first thing in the list, virtue. We are told before anything else to “supplement” or add virtue to our faith. It means moral excellence or purity. In a word – goodness on a God-scale. Not just good feelings or karma or my idea of goodness – purity of motive and thought and a deep goodness that is linked, inseparably to God. He alone is virtue, and He is virtue incarnated. Jesus was good. Jesus is the perfect reflection of the nature of God (see Hebrews 1) and when I want to understand the goodness of God the best place to start is with Jesus. When Peter says to add virtue to my faith – it is really the natural thing to do. In faith I am already focused on Him and when you look at Him you want Him. You want more of “I am my beloved’s and He is mine” to be the natural exchange of two persons – one divine one human. That is relationship. My growing in faith means adding more of His traits so that more of His image is restored in me – contrary to and in total resistance to the fall – God is restoring what was lost in Eden!

This changes virtue from the legalistic mentality to the true beauty that it is. It is glorious because it is a reflection of  the very heart of our God – He is good – and He loves to share/reward those who turn to Him with His goodness/virtue simply because purity is a good thing. There is no fly in His ointment, no spot or wrinkle or anything that corrupts – it is pure, purer than the whitest snow…

Purity means Peril & Progress
That ‘virtue” of purity is so rare in our world – and everything the world is doing fights it -villain-like against this. The devil is corrupt and wants to share his corruptness and thereby ruin people so He hates what is not corrupt, namely purity or virtue. He is “good” at it. We must identify his schemes with the lens of Scripture and the guidance of the Spirit – not just so we can campaign for goodness but so that we can be good. When we do, the light will be so glorious that others will be drawn to it, first in curiosity, but then some will be prompted to believe. They, like us will be drawn into the dance of faith, learning and adding to and growing up in Christ. The side benefit being in the battle for mature faith will be the great subtraction. When you get a taste of this God of ours – you lose the propensity for worry about the affairs of this life. The more settled you become, the more determined, the less distracted. You become more like Jesus. You subtract immorality, because you want to get virtue – but not by ‘subtracting’ first but by supplementing faith with it and the other qualities mentioned in 1 Peter 1. You are really in pursuit of Christ in this ‘faith’ walk – and He then in turn gives you – He rewards you, with more of Himself and you want more and it is more, of Him – and He draws you closer, and then you want to be like Him. It is a good cycle because it is upwards and not the normal downward spiral that so many seem to fall into even within the church.

So the natural thing to do is to copy Him because you are falling in love with Him more each day. Probably the first thing you learned about God is that God is holy – pure – all good no evil, not one little bit. He is virtue. The definition of all that good is the three times Holy God. But do we realize how much more we are saying when we say that God is good that goes beyond just holiness? He is good in that He loves. The son wants to be like his dad because he has realized that his Dad is a hero – that he is a “good guy.”  When we are drawn into Him, into Jesus, we are drawn by chords of love. The love is love because it is good love. It wants what is supremely good for its object. Then we want to be and to act like Him, the originator and the continual giver of perfect, loving goodness.

1 Peter’s message begins by stating that “by faith” is the only way to go – but we not to stop at faith alone because it is not alone by definition but meant to go on and on in faith, supplementing our faith first with virtue and then with every single facet of who God is. In this we subtract sin and bring every thought into captivity to Christ. Though Satan will, no doubt try to come after and steal it, and though we may stumble and fall sometimes in our faith pursuit of it – we must add virtue to our faith. We must persevere by His grace and continue to fight the good fight…of faith!

Love
The end of the list is so packed with poignancy. 1 Peter 1:7 says the end is love. The book end on the left is moral excellence and on the right end – love…with equal measures of knowledge, self-control, stead-fastness, godliness and affection filling out the middle of this ‘cake.’ I believe that the best definition of God’s nature, fully revealed in Jesus Christ is love. Love is the most delicious part of the cake, it is the essential icing and not just empty calories. 1 John 4:8 says this implicitly – God is love. 1 John 4:19 says we love because He first loved us.

So what we have is…you start with faith, you grow in faith by adding to, or supplementing your faith with qualities starting with virtue. When He is done growing you up in Himself you become like Him – and you end with love, the genuine love that is only from Him is now in you. So really, you are richer and not poorer for all the giving that you must do. The only thing that is subtracted is that which is not pure, or non-Godly. When He is done with us we will resemble His Son – the true epitome of and expression of pure, divine love.

Hallelujah for the Cross and all that flows from it down to us, the place where love was poured out and came down to us!

It is what drew out our trust and hope – and this kind of hope does not dissapoint.
Indeed, we love because He first loved us!

Amen

Return

The Simply Awful State of our Union
Today I was led to read the book of Hosea. I could only get through the first six chapters and had to come up for air. Air is in chapter fourteen, the last chapter in the book. Israel and Judah, (for the land is still divided) had gone ‘whoring’ after other gods for so long that the prophet is commanded to take a whore for a wife and children are produced whose very names signify the consequences of the people’s immoral and idolatrous ways.

The first is Jezreel. This is a place name though it means ‘God will sow.’ What God would sow is immediately apparent in that God promises to punish Israel. Jezreel was a place of bloodshed. Jezebel’s agents murdered Naboth just to give King Ahab his garden. Gideon fought there as did Deborah. It seems that the word punish is better translated “visit upon” and it drives home the point that the one time obedient King Jehu who righteously slaughtered evil Omri and the priests of Baal/Ahab, but then later failed to walk in the ways of the Lord, would himself be “visited upon” with the same wrath he displayed in the valley of Jezreel. To be named ‘Jezreel’ has great significance as a lesson for continued faithfulness to the Lord and should be just as onerous a name to give to a child as  Chernobyl would be today.

The next ‘baby names’ are easier to pick up just from a glance. “No Mercy” is the girl and “Not a People’ is the next boy. What a graphic illustration of impending judgment and rejection, and of the inevitable consequences of unfaithfulness to the amazing Husband that God had been to Israel since the day of their deliverance from Pharaoh, in the promises to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, in the giving of the Law, and their final entrance into the promised land.

After all the blessings, Israel had turned on her God and whored after others. She was an unfaithful woman, a prostitute. God says enough, enough, enough of it for thirteen chapters. Hosea is tough to read. It is tough because it is still accurate.

Wake Up Call
It would be less tough if it didn’t apply to our world, our country, our states, our counties, our cities, our families. Family Safe Media reports that “the pornography industry is larger than the revenues of the top technology companies combined: Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and EarthLink.”  The numbers behind this assertion are several years old… So what is the current state of affairs in our nation now? Where are we really at morally? Only God knows. But we know this, young men and woman are leaving the church in droves. The church itself seems less potent than ever. Is it because we are morally degraded and getting high on sin and not on God. Isn’t it because we are not all we claim to be?

What about God? Is He happy when divorce in the church is just as common in the world? Is He going to bless a nation or a church that is morally compromised? He will not be patient forever. He is  a loving God but He is holy as well.

Hosea stands as a call to repentance and renewal. God pulls no punches in it. He promises to be a lion and a leopard and rip us apart as a “no people” with “no mercy.” As a country we will become Chernobyl. Over and over Hosea calls out to point out the sin, and not just the sin, but the heinous and horrid and whoring and sickening aspects of our sin.

Hope
Oh, this doesn’t sound like grace but it is. To see the need in all of its awfulness is not just motivating, it is the truth. God hates sin. Sin is not just a bad idea or a bad choice, it is abhorrent and a stench in the Almighty’s nostrils and IT WILL BE DEALT WITH post haste.

We must come to grips with it or it will ensnare all of us. Compromise will destroy not just our institutions like marriage and family and our economy it will destroy people, even the babies. The spirit of whoredom (Hosea 4:12) inundated the glorious land to the point where parents laid their infants in the arms of pagan gods to be burned alive and then kissed the idol. (13:2) God says that person will be done away with so completely that he will burst into flames one day and be as “smoke from a window” himself. God is the one who draws a line from the sin of immorality then to idolatry and then murder and then to final judgment. Indeed it would be better for that person to have a millstone tied to his neck and drowned than to receive what the Lord has planned for him.

Oh wait, I entitled this paragraph “hope.” There is no hope unless we let the weight of our sin crush us towards repentance. Hope comes when we turn from sin and return to God. The air of chapter fourteen is not available until we are in a position to see our sin and hate it and turn to God with the wonderful words of confession and pleading for mercy from God to “take away all iniquity, accept what is good” and “pay” with an offering of sacrifice. For us in the New Testament the offering has already been made. But the words must still be given. The ‘Return’ must still be effected. We must destroy the idols. We must pound them into dust. WE must seek Him while He may still be found.

We must resolve as Judah was told to know that

Assyria shall not save us;

we will not ride on horses;

and we will say no more, ‘Our God,’

to the work of our hands.

In you the orphan finds mercy.”

The hope comes from a broken and contrite spirit…in realizing our “orphan” status is real, and in then fleeing youthful lust and returning to the Father humbly, and then being willing to walk in the ways of righteousness.

This orphan finds mercy. This is air. Air we can breath.

God promises to “heal” our apostasy.
“Love” us freely.

What more could we really want than to have the God of the Universe love us freely?

Some will no doubt read this and ask theological questions of me. Don’t you believe in eternal security? Yes, but sin is real. True repentance is in the heart of those who will be secure but don’t kid yourself. The New Testament is full of warnings against sin – see the whole of 1 Corinthians written to Christians. We must still speak with the prophetic voice of the Bible. In our day we are too afraid of making some theological mistake when what we simply need to do is to proclaim all of the Bible all of the time. Let God sort out the tares. Let the Holy Spirit be unleashed to convict the world and the church of sin and righteousness and judgment…it is His job but we are ambassadors whose job according to Daniel in the last days is to turn many towards righteousness…and therefore to shine like the stars forever!

Daniel says the wise will understand. The wicked will not. God says the wicked have no hope but the one who returns does.

Hosea ends with these poignant words.:

O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols?

It is I who answer and look after you.

I am like an evergreen cypress;

from me comes your fruit.

Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;

whoever is discerning, let him know them;

for the ways of the Lord are right,

and the upright walk in them,

but transgressors stumble in them.

Selah