Christianity and Social Networking

Facebook Emotions

HEARING THE EXPRESSION “YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT”:

Probably a more precise saying might be “You are what you speak.”

The words that come from out of our mouth and then posted on the social networks yield a much greater power than we realize.  How so?  Since I’ve been reading and meditating in the Book of Proverbs recently, I came upon the following verse which then launched me into today’s subject matter:

PROVERBS 18:21:  “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].”

An example to go with that PROVERB might be, “Those F-words on that sign carrying bigot, it just KILL ME!“; as you are posting the picture on your timeline page.  Am I exaggerating the point of the POWER of the tongue?  Maybe.  But I know personally, in disciplining myself, what kind of FRUIT do I eat?  If we all realized the POWER–what comes out of our mouth, we would be far more careful in choosing our words.  Even when quoting the Word of God, we must quote by God’s Spirit and not by our own motivations.

“CAN YOU JUDGE A FACEBOOK BY ITS COVER?” [Exerts by Jeff Strite]

Although “SOCIAL NETWORKING” has exploded as of late, the most popular is Facebook.  Jeff Strite mentioned, “that if the users of Facebook made up their own country, they would have the 3rd largest nation on earth with a population of over 400 million.  65 million of those people access their Facebook account regularly by cell phone or mobile devices.”

He goes on to say that “the average user has about 130 Facebook friends, spends more than 55 minutes a day on their site talking with friends, posting pictures and reading about other people they met online.”  Okay, I’m GUILTY!  I confess.

Essentially, Facebook is a place where people tell other people WHO THEY ARE!  Well, actually it’s a place where people tell other people who they THINK they are…   Well, actually, it’s a place where people tell others how they WISH OTHERS THOUGHT they were.

THE TEXT:  Luke 6:43-45 AMPLIFIED BIBLE :

“For there is no good (healthy) tree that bears decayed (worthless, stale) fruit, nor on the other hand does a decayed (worthless, sickly) tree bear good fruit.  For each tree is known and identified by its own fruit; for figs are not gathered from thorn-bushes, nor is a cluster of grapes picked from a bramble-bush.    The upright (honorable, intrinsically good) man out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart produces what is upright (honorable and intrinsically good), and the evil man out of the evil storehouse brings forth that which is depraved (wicked and intrinsically evil); FOR OUT OF THE ABUNDANCE (overflow) OF THE HEART HIS MOUTH SPEAKS.” ~
[The WORD Detective’s capitalization is for emphasis].


“CAN YOU JUDGE A FACEBOOK BY ITS COVER?”

There are Christians today, sitting right next to you in church, who gossip, slander, backbite and curse–this is NOT GOOD FRUIT (verses 43, 44).

Jesus said in Matthew 12:36:  “But I tell you, on the day of judgement men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, non working) word they speak.”

Whatever comes out of your mouth, reveals the content of your heart (verse 45).  It Becomes A Spiritual Discipline On Your Facebook Page.

Now the word DISCIPLINE means  “training, self-control, obedience” ~ The Roget’s Thesaurus In Dictionary Form.  It is a spiritual discipline–to watch what we put on our Facebook page, our  “social networking”; and what links we SHARE with others.  We must, as Christians bloggers, writers, church attenders, family  members, WATCH OUR WORDS!

PROVERBS 21:23:  “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from troubles.”

PROVERBS 10:19:  “In a multitude of words transgression is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is prudent.”

PROVERBS 17:27:  “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding has a cool spirit.”

CONFESSION:

“Calling things that are not as though they are.”

Some Christians get this concept confused.  Romans 4:17 says, “Who gives life to the dead and speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed.”  We are made in God’s image, we have been created to have dominion (POWER) over the earth (Genesis 1).

JOB 22:28:  “You shall also decide and decree a thing, and it shall be established for you; and the light [of god’s favor] shall shine upon your ways.”

However, our CONFESSION must be in line with WORD “things”; God’s Word–if not, we become ‘dabblers’ in witchcraft.  Harsh? Do some investigation of your own on the topic.

JAMES 1:26:  “If anyone thinks of himself to be religious (piously observant of external duties of his faith) and does not bridle his tongue but deludes his own heart, this person’s religious service is worthless (futile, barren).”

Are WORDS we speak and write on the Social Network, shouldn’t they be of the spirit; be a blessing and in love to the edifying of one another?

PROVERBS 10:20-21:  [20] “The tongues of those who are upright and in right standing with God are as choice silver; the minds of those who are wicked and out of harmony with God are of little value.  [21]  The lips of the [uncompromisingly] righteous, feed and guide many, but fools die for want of understanding and heart.”

SOWING AND REAPING:

Looking back at the expression “You are what you eat” and the more truthful saying “You are what you SPEAK.”

The first, is talking about a PHYSICAL TRUTH.  We are NOT just PHYSICAL BEINGS–  IN FACT, OUR PHYSICAL REALM SHOULD BE THE LEAST OF OUR BEING:

DEUTERONOMY 8:3:  “And He humbled you and allowed you to hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you recognize and personally know that man does not live by bread only, BUT man lives by every WORD that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.”

PROVERBS 18:20:  “A man’s [moral] self shall be filled with the fruit of his mouth; and with the consequence of his words he must be satisfied [whether good or evil].”

MATTHEW 15:10-11:  [10] “And Jesus called the people to Him and said to them, Listen and grasp and comprehend this;  [11] It is not what goes into the mouth of a man that makes him unclean and defiled, but what comes out of the mouth; this makes a man unclean and defiles [him].”

But We ARE Spiritual Beings:

It’s NOT what goes into our flesh BUT… what is IN our heart that can damage us.  It’s what comes out of our mouths and sometimes displayed on the Social Networks that yields our outcome.  Let me make it a little plainer:

–Your DECLARATION sets your direction.

–Your PROCLAMATION determines your position.

–Your SPEECH release your success.

–Your CONFESSION delivers your conquest.

–Your VOICE releases your victory.

–Your WORDS produce your wealth.

THERE IS A SPIRITUAL PRINCIPAL AT WORK HERE:

Our connections, our networking with the Social Media (Facebook, Google+, etc.), is and should be–SOWING AND REAPING.

GALATIANS 6:7:  “Do not be deceived and deluded and misled; God will not allow Himself to be sneered at (scorned, disdained, or mocked by mere pretensions or professions, or by His precepts being set aside).  [He inevitably deludes himself who attempts to delude God.]  For whatever a man sows, that and that only is what he will reap.”

In other words, if you SOW BITTERNESS, don’t be upset if your Facebook friends are bitter towards you.  If you are SOWING SELFISHNESS, don’t be upset if people are selfish toward you.  If you PLANT WORD SEEDS, don’t be surprised when they grow!  If you write on your Facebook “wall”; you’re old and worn out–don’t be surprised if your body starts to break down.  If you SAY that you’re “dumb”, then you are proving it:

PROVERBS 23:7:  “For as he thinks in his heart [soul], so is he…”

REALIZE WHAT IS COMING OUT OF YOUR MOUTH:

Before we make “comments” on someones Facebook page or someones posts, it can be and will be an overflow of your heart.  Computer lingo calls it, “Garbage in–Garbage out.”

One of my favorite verses to quote in the Old Testament comes out of the Book of Joshua: 

“This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it.  For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success”  (Joshua 1:8 AMP).

If you want to guard your tongue–get the Standard, the measuring stick–God’s Word.  Then before you go to your social network place, ask Jesus to help you.  Ask the Holy Spirit to prick your heart, every time something begins to come out of your mouth and inserted on the Facebook page that is not of Him.

AN ILLUSTRATION IN CONNECTIVITY:

Many pastors in our culture are connecting to cyberspace through the social networks.  One story is from a pastor, who shares an instance of “connectivity” with a “church member” of his flock.  See if it brings home the idea Cover?”  “Can You Judge A Facebook by its Cover?”

“I remember one women in our church who ‘friended’ me on Facebook (in other words, she asked to be able to read my posts and put her posts on my HOME Page.)  Now that was nice…it was a compliment to me and of course I said “YES.”  But then I began to notice a disturbing pattern in her postings.  What she wrote on HER Facebook (thus SHARING with me), often had foul words; so I sent her a private message saying, ‘I was offended by some of your conversations and news links with obscene material.’  She messaged me back, apologizing profusely and said she would STOP speaking that way and sharing inappropriate material on Facebook.  That lasted for about a day; then back to the same pattern.  So I sent her another message and her reply? There wasn’t an answer in writing a message but instead…she ‘unfriended’ me; cut me off from her Facebook page.  She did so because (in her mind), if I didn’t KNOW what she was saying and doing…she could keep on doing it.”

Now that lady in the story, could hide what she was saying to her pastor, but she can’t hide those things from God.

JEREMIAH 16:17:  “For My eyes are on ALL their ways; they are not hidden from My face, neither is their iniquity concealed from My eyes.”

HEBREWS 4:13:  “And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but ALL things are open and exposed, naked and defenseless to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.”

The WORDS of JESUS in Luke 6:43-45.

Jesus is essentially telling us that God has a Facebook page on us.  God sees exactly who you and I are and that every word we speak is recorded; every action we do is shown.  That’s because God see us as we really are.

God is looking to see what kind of FRUIT we’re bearing.  JESUS says, “For there is no good (healthy) tree that bears decayed fruit, nor on the other hand does a decayed tree bear good FRUIT”  (Luke 6:43).

God LOOKS at what we are saying, including our Facebook entries and out blogging: 

“The upright man (honorable, intrinsically good) man out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart produces what is upright…for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth SPEAKS”  (Luke 6:45 AMP). 

God LOOKS at what we DO and how we say it: 

“Why do you call Me, Lord, Lord, and do not [PRACTICE] what I tell you”  (Luke 6:46 AMP).

QUESTIONS:

Can Christians and Social Networking really work together?  In my humble opinion…”YES” if…we are careful in our doing with the WORDS we convey to others.  I’ve been reading in Proverbs daily and ran across this verse:

“A SOFT answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger”  (Prov. 15:1).

A reminder to me and you, that WORDS are things!  The old saying “sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you” are LIES.  Calling someone a ‘name’ is never a positive thing; it’s a curse and not a blessing.  “Grievous words” will stir up anger.  REMEMBER, God is watching and our words that we speak and communicate on Facebook, are being recorded.

Six Habits Identifying A “SLUGGARD”

PART TWO: in continuance of… “My Lessons from an ANT FARM” as we seek out God’s Word in our PROBING IN PROVERBS.

What is a HABIT, aren’t there GOOD HABITS and BAD HABITS?

Wikipedia Dictionary defines HABIT as, “HABIT-(or wont) are routines [customs] of behavior, repeated regularly and tend to occur subconsciously; the process by which NEW BEHAVIOR becomes automatic and is HABIT FORMATION.  Examples of HABIT FORMATION might be:  If you lace up your running shoes and hit the streets as soon as you get in the house from work, you’ve acquired a HABIT.”

A BAD HABIT is simply a negative behavior pattern  Common examples; procrastination, fidgeting, overspending, and one of my personal BAD HABITS: nail-biting.

And how about a GOOD HABIT, did JESUS have a HABIT?  To answer that question, you have to go to Scripture for the answer:

So He [Jesus] came to Nazareth, [that Nazareth] where He had been brought up, and He entered the synagogue, as was His CUSTOM on the Sabbath day.  And He stood up to read”  (Luke 4:16 AMP).

If JESUS’ custom [HABIT, wont, observances:The New Roget’s Thesaurus in Dictionary Form], was going to church on Sunday, Saturday or whenever, that is an example to me of a GOOD HABIT!

Lets now look at SIX HABITS Identifying A  “SLUGGARD”.

HABIT #1.  SLEEP TOO MUCH.

PROVERBS 26:14: As the door turns on its hinges, so does the lazy man [move not from his place] upon his bed.”

It’s hard to get someone to do anything that takes away from their sleep time; their afternoon naps.  When my dad would fall asleep in his chair, watching TV I would shout, “Dad wake up and go to bed.”  He would reply, “I wasn’t sleeping.  I had my eyelids closed to keep the dust of my eyeballs.”

HABIT #2.  LOVE TO MAKE EXCUSES.

PROVERBS 22:13:  “The SLUGGARD says, There is a lion outside!  I’ll shall be slain in the streets!”

It has been said, “you don’t want to do something that any excuse will do.”  No one can find more excuses to NOT do something than the person who is too LAZY to do anything!

HABIT #3.  HAVING A “KNOW-IT-ALL”, UNTEACHABLE ATTITUDE.

PROVERBS 26:16:  “The SLUGGARD is wiser in his own eyes and conceit than seven men who can render a reason and answer directly.”

I have heard of some people who starve to death before they will admit they are LAZY.  But they won’t WORK for anything less than top salary.

HABIT #4.  THEY ARE PROCRASTINATORS.

People who LIVE second to second, reacting to whatever comes, instead of attempting to CHANGE THINGS before they happen.

HABIT #5,  THEY ARE IRRITATING TO EVERYONE AROUND THEM.

Especially those who are BUSY all the time.  Busy people with VISION and A DREAM to chase don’t have much patience and compassion with those who are not:

PROVERBS 10:26:  “As vinegar to the teeth and as smoke to the eyes, so is the SLUGGARD to those who employ and send them.”

Don’t EXPECT a “sluggard” to get the job done.  If you do, always be prepared to be disappointed.  Their inactivity and bad attitude will have leave a bitter taste in your mouth and make your eyes water in aggravation.  Most likely you will have to do the job yourself anyway.

HABIT #6.  UNWILLING TO CHANGE!

With the help of my Bible Concordance, the final condition I found of a “SLUGGARD.”

PROVERBS 19:15:  “Slothfulness casts one into a deep sleep, and the idle person shall suffer hunger.”

People who are unwilling to change their whole life, lack for the things they desire and need most.  FINANCIALLY, life will be a disaster.  Never satisfied with the things of this earth, especially for the things of God and not willing to pay the price to have them.

PROVERBS 10:4:  “He becomes poor who works with a slack and idle hand, but the hand of the diligent makes RICH.”

And more besides monetary benefits but lack also in spiritual wealth.  God will not honor those who REFUSE to seek after Him and WORK to make their lives an acceptable sacrifice to Him (“FAITH without WORKS” ~ James 2:17).

HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS!

Even SLUGGARDS can change, if they really want to.

Take a LESSON from the ANT which FORCES THEMSELVES and KEEP MOVING.  They will eventually come out of the SLUGGARD condition.

Nothing creates a dream or gives energy more than getting into the ACTION and make things happen.  The sheer satisfaction of accomplishing something worthwhile is usually all it takes to cure the “sluggard.”  Trust me, I know.  Instead of just TALKING about spiritual things, I got into the ACTION. and how I began to be a BLOGGER for God; the WORD Detective, etc.

BACK TO THE “ANT FARM”:

THE MESSAGE Bible starts Proverbs 6:6 with this phrase::

“You lazy fool, look at the ant”

How will our ATTITUDES change direction. “Your Decisions Determine Your Actions and Your Actions Determine Your Habits.” (8 Steps to Your Destination–steps 5 and 6).

Take a LESSON from the ANT and look closely at their industrious nature.  See how they PLAN the future, never cease to work to see that the work is done.  And “IF” our churches, filled with Christians, have that ATTITUDE, then there is NO LIMIT to where God will take us.  The CHOICE is yours.  As your MATURITY grows in Christ, perhaps you won’t have to look at ANTS so closely for instruction.  But until then…I know which CHOICE I took in the detective investigation of God’s Word in Proverbs.  THANK YOU FATHER and I give You the praise and the glory.

Lessons Learned from an “ANT FARM”

“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways and be wise!–    Which, having no chief, overseer, or ruler,    Provides her food in the summer and gathers her supplies in the harvest.    How long will you sleep, O sluggard?  When will you arise out of your sleep?  Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to lie down and sleep–   So will your poverty come like a robber or one who travels [with slowly but surely approaching steps] and your want like an armed man [making you helpless]”  (Proverbs 6:6-11 AMP).

MY ANT FARM:

I was about the age of 11 or 12 when a trade opportunity I couldn’t pass up was before me.  A buddy wanted to trade me an ANT FARM for an old baseball mitt.  And without any thoughts of negative reactions from my parents…I couldn’t refuse!  This was a “no brain er.”

After the trade, my elation began turning to “what if…?’  What if mom or dad said, “You’re not going to keep ANTS in your bedroom, period!”  Well, that wasn’t exactly what was said.  Mom politely said, “Mel, if you are going to have an ANT FARM, you are going to have to keep it outside in the garage.” 

My immediate reaction was definitely not a positive one, but the alternative was worse.  So I began reading in books about ANT FARMS and about ANTS in general.  Did you know that ANTS are known to be the smartest species of insects with over 250,000 brain cells?  I would intently watch them every chance I had during the summer as they seemed to be so intense; busily go back in forth through the grains of sand, industrious in their doing.  And then one day as I brought the ANT FARM into the patio laying on top of a brick wall, it happened.  The ANT FARM fell off the wall onto the concrete slab and shattered, ANTS scurrying everywhere.  At that exact moment I looked up at the back screen door of the house and there standing with a smile on her face…was mom.  She didn’t say a thing, just a big smile and then turning around to go back inside, she said softly “I hope you learned something here.”  “Learn about what,” I thought.

THE SMALLEST OF GOD’S CREATURES:

It is reassuring to see how our God can even take the smallest creatures in His creation to teach us all a LESSON; in His provision and our role in making  provision for ourselves and working in the kingdom of God.

As we go about our daily lives, often we overlook powerful lessons learned from God’s creation.  One such incident is found in this passage of the Book of Proverbs.

“You Lazy FOOL, Look at the ANT” [House] ~ Proverbs 6:6 THE MESSAGE:

It will serve us well to EXAMINE the HABIT of the ANTS and see what we can LEARN as we “LOOK” at the ANT.  After all, the Word of God tells us to “go to the ant”; go check them out, see what they do, how they do it, and LEARN all you can.

ANTS may be the smallest insects on earth, yet they have LEARNED to build “cities” under the earth and survived since the Creation.  They’ve done so in DOING THINGS that come to them by instinct.

PROSPER LIKE THE ANTS- (verse 8):

It is nearly impossible to stop them from spreading all over your lawn.  They are always at every picnic, even without an engraved invitation or a A.R.B.A P. (ANTS RESPOND BEFORE ATTENDING PICNIC!).  ANTS just show up!

ANTS are some of the most industrious creatures on earth!  Have you ever seen a LAZY ANT?  When had had my child-hood ANT FARM for a short time, I never saw a ANT just standing still, lying around on a sofa, watching TV, or just doing nothing.  There are no “couch potato” ANTS!  They are constantly moving, carrying not only their own share of the load, but many are known to carry hundred times their own body weight with relative ease.  Oh that we could find enough Christians who were just WILLING to shoulder their part of the load.  Much less to carry the load for a 100 other Christians.  There are a few of these kind of workers in the church, but very few and I have probably been one many times.

One thing we ALL must realize, God didn’t create us to sit around and DO NOTHING!  We were created for WORK; to BUILD, to GROW, to continually LEARN to work and build  more.

GOD SET AN EXAMPLE FOR US!

“And on the seventh day God ended HIS WORK which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all HIS WORK which He had done”  (Genesis 2:2).

God set for us His example of working and industriousness which are the very character and nature of God.

Many of us say in the morning “Oh no, it’s morning already!”  What we should be saying is, “thank God for another day to do His work!”

WORK is a BLESSING and not a CURSE and what could we accomplish today in putting forth some effort?

EVERY GOOD THING IN LIFE…Requires WORK and EFFORT.:

Most of us are known by the work that we do; secretaries, accountants, construction worker, electricians, students, homemakers, electronic technicians, computer repair people, programmers and the list goes on.

A lot of people who don’t know your name but they IDENTIFY who you are by the WORK that you do.

WORK GIVES LIFE MEANING!

You don’t think that statement is true?  Consider for a moment these statistics from the Social Security Administration (S.S.A.):

“The average lifespan of people after retirement from their lifelong work…only 18 months.” 

WHY?  It might be because after they retire LIFE loses a lot of its ZEST.  It’s like they can’t wait to leave their WORK, just to do nothing at all.  The word RETIREMENT is never referred to or mentioned in Scripture.  People have come up to me after church and asked me if I was RETIRED.  I simply say, “No, I’m just in between jobs right now. Always looking though.”

There has to be something out there to replace your WORK; a hobby, some charity work, something…to peak your interest.  Years ago in San Diego, California I was a good friend with a retired plumber.  We were both in a similar field of occupation; he a plumber and I, sold plumbing supplies.  After he officially retired I asked him what he was going to do with his life now, travel, sit in his front porch rocker?  Willard explain to me “he would die if he just sat around.”  He wanted to get involved in a ministry of some sort.  Three months after, Will collected excess bread a t bakeries and grocery stores and took the bounty across the border to ‘cardboard city’ in Tijuana, Mexico.  No retirement for him!

Ecclesiastes 9:10 says,  “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for there is no WORK or device or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol (the place of the dead), where you are going.”

That means that GOD EXPECTS US TO WORK in every area of our lives.  Just as though we are WORKERS for Him.  Because we ARE WORKING FOR HIM!

“But let every person careful scrutinize and examine and test his own conduct and his own WORK.  He can then have the personal satisfaction and joy of doing something commendable [in itself alone] without [resorting to] boastful comparison with his neighbor”  (Galatians 6:4 AMP).

EVERYTHING we do reflects on our christian character.

AN ANT WORKS BECAUSE…THAT’S WHAT ANTS DO!

No one has to watch over ANTS to make sure they are doing their job.  An ANT doesn’t have to punch a time clock for his work never ends.  Sound familiar mothers?

An ANT doesn’t worry about how much he’s getting paid; because all the other ANTS are doing their part too.  The NEEDS of the colony WILL be met!  Come on church, are we observing the ANTS?

No one has to watch over the ANTS to make sure they are doing their job.  They don’t have to punch a time clock and their work, like a mother, never ends.

ANTS never worry about how much he’s getting paid as other ants are doing their part too!  The NEEDS of the COLONY will be met!

Looking Back At That Ant Colony.

If you ever own a ANT FARM, or even watched closely at an ANT HILL in your backyard, we can see it takes HARD WORK, STRICT DISCIPLINE on the part of EVERY ANT  to see the ANT COLONY survive.

The WORKER Ants:

They can’t go on strike because they don’t get paid more than the other workers.

The QUEEN Ant:

She can’t REFUSE to do her WORK or the whole colony dies.

Those ANTS Who Dig Channels and Tend To The Eggs In the Nest:

Each of these ANTS have a specific job to do and it takes ALL of them, WORKING TOGETHER to get the job done.

TEAMWORK IS NECESSARY:

Teamwork is a necessary part of OUR WORK for the Lord too.  There are NO unimportant people in the Church.  Even those who WON’T or DON’T carry their part of the work load are STILL IMPORTANT.  But they would be even MORE IMPORTANT by just putting their shoulder to the wheel when they are needed.

ANTS AT A MOTIVATIONAL SEMINAR?

Motivational seminars won’t ever help ANTS to move because they are too busy to need motivation.  I never saw an ANT in a colony, standing along a trail every few inches, with prod in hand making others to keep moving.  They just keep MOVING because they are ‘”self-motivated” by an inward strength of SURVIVAL.

There is nothing harder in the world than try to MOTIVATE someone who is unmotivated.  If you have or had a teenager and tried to get them to work when they don’t want to?  Have you ever tried to MAKE YOURSELF go outside in the wet weather, to do some weeding in your garden beds, or rake the leaves?

WE CAN LEARN MUCH FROM THE ANTS BY LOOKING CLOSELY AT THEIR HABITS:

BUT…people aren’t ANTS!  We don’t LIVE just on instincts of survival like they do.  We are able to think, to reason, to change our lives and circumstances to make life a lot easier; for ourselves and our family.

Personally, I think sometimes about making lives easier can be detrimentive to the growth of others around us and our own well being.  The SPARE TIME we create, if it isn’t used for something productive, becomes a road block to our path to success.  Because…it tends to make us THINK we can just sit down and do nothing but rest.  Rest IS GOOD, don’t get me wrong here.  I’m just saying, the more that you rest, the more you need to rest.  The more you SLEEP, the more you need sleep.  The less you WORK, the less you want to work.

PROVERBS 6:9 – “How long will you sleep, O sluggard?  When will you arise out of your sleep.”

PROVERBS 20:13 – “Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes and you will be satisfied with bread.”

God calls those who LOVE SLEEP, “sluggards”.  That’s a pretty good description!  There isn’t a more “sluggish” time a day after I  have a daily afternoon nap and first open my eyes.  Why do I take afternoon naps?  Because I feel sluggish.

I’ll leave it there until I pick it up again with PART TWO: SIX HABITS IDENTIFYING A “SLUGGARD”.

Aren’t the BENEFITS OF WISDOM Worth the Effort?

A DETECTIVE’S SEARCH IN PROVERBS–PART 2

PROVERBS 2

When I was growing up as a child, one of my favorite things to do during school vacations was to go to Saturday matinees at the local movie house.  I would ask my mom if she would give me a dollar to go (yeah I know…a dollar?) and she would always say “Mel, IF… you mow the lawn this morning, THEN you can go this afternoon.”  There was always the “IF” and “THEN” after my asking.  Sometimes after I had finished a particular task, if she had the extra change, she would surprise me with some “treat” money i.e.; Bonbons, Popcorn, Milk duds…to enjoy during the movies.

SOLOMON S “IF s” and “THEN s” — Proverbs 2:

MY SON, IF you will receive my words and treasure up my commandments within you,  [2] Making your ear attentive to skillful and godly Wisdom and inclining and directing your heart and mind to understanding [applying all your powers to quest for it];  [3] Yes IF you cry out for insight and raise your voice for understanding,  [4] IF you seek [Wisdom] as for silver and search for skillful and godly Wisdom as for hidden treasures,  [5] THEN you will understand the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of [our omniscient] God” [Prov. 1:7]  (Proverbs 2:1-5 AMP).

As we begin reading the second chapter of Proverbs, we see how Solomon describes the BENEFITS from seeking after WISDOM…with an admonition to search WISDOM with ALL DILIGENCE (Proverbs 2:1-4).

He then gives us a list of the benefits COMING FROM THAT SEARCH in Proverbs 2:5-22 [The benefits of seeking after Wisdom are found only if we SEEK with proper disposition].

Mowing lawns, taking trash cans on a wagon for a block to the front street…with the WRONG TEMPERAMENT, an emotional out burst would always would bring disappointment–and a Eucalyptus ‘switch’ mom would strip the leaves from and use on my backside.  Tough love? Maybe, but my learning, my knowledge and my wisdom grew from my mother’s words.  I quickly learned that responsibility and my efforts were rewarded with benefits; spending money, a Good Humor 50/50 bar when I heard the sound of music playing from the ice cream man a block away (I never had an “allowance” growing up).

QUALITIES OF A DILIGENT SEARCH FOR WISDOM:

As explained by Solomon then…it requires a willingness (Proverbs 2:1).  A WILLINGNESS to be receptive to the words of others and to TREASURE (highly value and remember) the command of WISDOM.

It Requires An Engagement (Prov. 2:2-3):

1.  An engagement of the EAR–(willing to hear and pay attention).

2.  An engagement of the HEART–(willing to understand).

3.  An engagement of the MOUTH–(willing to ‘cry out’; The Hebrew word used is za’ ag; “not in a normal volume.”

It requires a high estimation (Prov. 2:4) in SEEKING and SEARCHING.  With the same fervor as seeking for silver and other hidden treasure.  Sort of like a ‘Word Detective.’  This diligent search for WISDOM requires an “all out” effort on our part.

A standing at the roadside patiently, with excitement and crying out so that everyone within radius of my cry would hear…”The ice cream man is coming, the ice cream man is coming!”

AS EXPERIENCED BY CHRISTIANS TODAY…

It requires HEARING the Word of God! [NOTE: “making your ear attentive to skillful and godly Wisdom”]  (Prov. 2:2).

In the gospel according to John, JESUS says:

“The watchman opens the door for this man, and the sheep listen to his voice and heed it; and he calls his own sheep by name (leads) them outWhen he has brought his own sheep outside, he walks on before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice”  (John 10:3-4).

Listening to preachers and teachers carefully (with all readiness):

“Now these [Jews] were better disposed and more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they were entirely READY and ACCEPTED and WELCOMED the message [concerning the attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God] with inclination of mind and EAGERNESS, SEARCHING and EXAMINING the Scriptures…”When I feel like it“, “Not today, I have other plans!”  NO, but   “…DAILY to see if these things were so”  (Acts 17:11).

Studying the Bible on your own (search the Scriptures daily)–Acts 17:11.

This requires MEDITATING on Scripture; on God’s Word “daily.”  What does it mean to “meditate” on something? Does it mean to READ MY BIBLE every day? YES, but even more. We need to MEDITATE!  Is “meditation” like some sort of ancient religious practice where you hum, or growl and make ‘spooky’ sounds?

The Greek language uses the word meletao, primarily, “to care for” (akin to melete, “care”; cf. melei, “it is a care”), denotes (a) “to attend to, practice.” [Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary]  And 1 Timothy gives us an accurate description and definition for “meditate”:

“Practice and cultivate and meditate upon these duties; throw yourself wholly into them [as your ministry], so that your progress may be evident to everybody”  (1 Timothy 4:15 AMP).

If you are not hearing God’s voice lately, or never have, start re-reading His words until you do; “throw yourself wholly” into what you are reading.  And it will be evident to those around you.  When you start meditating on God’s word, you will be applying or directing “your heart to understanding”–Prov. 2:2.

Taking the Time:

You are going to have to start taking time to REFLECT and PONDER on His wonderful wisdom:

“Whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and loveable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]”  (Philip. 4:8).

Like the Psalmist says of his MEDITATIONS in Psalm 119:97-100:

“Oh, how love I Your law!  It is my MEDITATION all the day.  You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies, for [Your words] are ever before me.  I have better understanding and deeper insight than all my teachers, because Your testimonies are my MEDITATION.  I understand more than the aged, because I keep Your precepts [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying them].”

IT ALSO REQUIRES DILIGENT PRAYER FOR WISDOM:

NOTE:  “cry out for insight and understanding” –Proverbs 2:3.

REQUIREMENT #1.  We MUST ask in prayer with FAITH (James 1:5).

REQUIREMENT #2.  We MUST persist in our asking (Matthew 7:7-11).

It REQUIRES the same effort that others expend in seeking material wealth; [NOTE: “seek wisdom as for silver…as for hidden treasures”]  (Proverbs 2:4)

In Christ are hidden ALL.THE TREASURES OF WISDOM and KNOWLEDGE:

“In Him all the treasures of [divine] wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God) and [all the riches of spiritual] knowledge and enlightenment are stored up and lie hidden”  (Colossians 2:3 AMP).

Here is a simple test for you to take.  To see if you are expending the proper effort to seek wisdom for yourself and your family.

If you worked as hard for your employer as you do seeking for God’s wisdom…would you have your job very long?

–Finding God’s wisdom today requires the same diligence it did in Solomon’s day.  Is the EFFORT WORTH IT?

Let’s go now to Proverbs 2:5-22 to find out what BENEFITS are available if we remain diligent.

BENEFITS OF A DILIGENT SEARCH FOR WISDOM:

The KNOWLEDGE of God and His PROTECTION requires understanding the “FEAR of the Lord and the knowledge of God”:


“THEN you will understand the reverent and worshipful FEAR of the Lord and find the knowledge of [our omniscient] God”   (Pr. 2:5).

“The reverent and worshipful FEAR of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [it’s the starting point and its essence]”  (Pr. 1:7).


That KNOWLEDGE of God, whose storehouse of WISDOM and UNDERSTANDING God gives to..Pr. 2:5a-7a.

You will have God’s heaven-sent protection guiding your life.  He is a shield to those who walk uprightly–Pr. 2:7b.  His SHIELD is also mentioned elsewhere in Proverbs:

“Every word of God is tried and purified; He is a SHIELD to those who trust and take refuge in Him”  (Proverbs 30:5).

He guards the paths of JUSTICE (which the righteous take).

“That He may guard the paths of JUSTICE”  (Pr. 2:8a).

“The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.  The sun shall not smite you by day, nor moon by night.  The Lord will keep you from ALL evil; He will keep your life.  The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth”  (Psalm 121:5-8).

What a blessing!  To go through the rest of your life with God at your side; so close to you that His shadow is shading your presence, in any circumstance.  You have to get real close to someone or some thing before their shadow is cast upon you.

MORAL DISCERNMENT (understanding) FOR LIVING:

“THEN you will UNDERSTAND RIGHTEOUSNESS, justice, and fair dealing [in every area and relation]”  (Pr. 2:9a AMP).

“…yes, you will UNDERSTAND every good path”  (Pr. 2:9b).

David’s prayer in the Book of Psalms addresses understanding this way:

“Cause me to HEAR Your loving kindness in the morning, for on You do I lean and in You do I trust.  Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk, for I lift up my inner self to You.  Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; I flee to You to hide me.  Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; let Your good spirit lead me into a level country and into the land of uprightness”  (Psalm 143:8-10 AMP).

You will have great discretion (WISDOM) once it enters your heart and KNOWLEDGE is pleasant to you–(Pr. 2:10).  They will preserve and keep you–(Pr. 2:11; 6:22-23).  What a blessing to go through life with God’s WISDOM at your disposal!

DELIVERANCE FROM EVIL MEN…

Who speak perverse things: men who are contrary, wayward, naughty, obstinate, cussed, self-willed, unyielding, headstrong men (Pr. 2:12).  Also in Acts 20:30:

“Even from among your own selves men will come to the front who, by saying perverse (distorted and corrupt) things, will endeavor to draw away disciples after them [to their own party].”

Who leave upright paths, walk in ways of darkness–Proverbs 2:13 and 2 Peter 2:20-22. 

Who rejoice to do evil and delight in the perverseness of evil and delight in the perverseness of evil-Proverbs 2:24; 10:23.

Who are crooked in their ways, wayward and devious in their paths–Proverbs 2:15; Proverbs 1:10-19.

Wisdom can deliver us from evil men and their evil ways!

DELIVERANCE FROM IMMORAL WOMEN…

The seductress flatters with her words–Proverbs 2:16; 7:5-21.

The adulteress who forsakes her husband and covenant with God–Proverbs 2:17 and…

“Because the Lord was witness [to the covenant made at your marriage] between you and the wife of your youth…Yet she is your companion and the wife of your covenant [made by your marriage vows]”  (Malachi 2:14 AMP).

If you are married, listen up.  If you are reading this and are single…well, I’ve got some wisdom for you, too.

[SIDE-BAR by Dr. Creflo Dollar]  “God designed the institution of marriage.  He wants to see our communities, our churches, and our nation full of healthy, God-honoring marriages.  There is no use in preaching LOVE for your neighbor when you’ve lost love for your marriage.  So seek WISDOM and enjoy the benefits of the covenant relationship; between your spouse and God.”  Do you believe that? Really?

WISDOM can deliver us from immoral women and their destructive ways.

ENABLEMENT FOR RIGHTEOUS LIVING…

Proverbs 2:20:  “So may you WALK in the way of good men, and keep to the paths of the [consistently] RIGHTEOUS (the upright, in right standing with God).”

Psalm 23:3, 6:  “He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him–not my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.  [6] Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place>”

Proverbs 2:21:  “For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the men of integrity, blameless and complete [in God’s sight], shall remain in it.”

Psalm 37:3:  “TRUST (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and DO GOOD; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed.”

And last but not least:  “But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the treacherous shall be rooted out of it”  (Proverbs 2:22). 

“Mark the blameless man and behold the upright, for there is a happy end for the man of peace.  As for transgressors, they shall be destroyed together; in the end the wicked shall be cut off”  (Psalm 37:37-38).

WISDOM can empower us to live more blessed, if not longer, lives on this earth!

ARE NOT THE BENEFITS OF WISDOM WORTH THE EFFORT NECESSARY TO OBTAIN IT…?

1.  To KNOW God and ENJOY His providential care?

2.  To OBTAIN DISCERNMENT for making the right moral choices?

3.  To be DELIVERED from the ‘shenanigans’ of evil men?

4.  To be ABLE TO WALK in goodness and righteousness, living lives blessed by God?

And What Is The Effort Required To Obtain God’s Wisdom…?

1.  To HEAR the word of God–(“incline your ears to wisdom”).

2.  To MEDITATE on the word of God–(“apply your heart to understanding”).

3.  To ASK in faith for wisdom (“cry out for discernment…lift up your voice for understanding”).

4.  To HIGHLY VALUE ITS WORTH (“seek her as silver…as for hidden treasures”).

With such EFFORT on our parts, we will not only find ourselves as “God’s Wise Guys” but also for daily, practical living, also find Jesus Christ:

“In Him ALL the treasures of (divine) wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God) and [all the riches of spiritual] knowledge and enlightenment are stored up and lie hidden”  (Colossians 2:3 AMP).

JESUS is indeed the greatest benefit in diligently seeking WISDOM!

In the next blog, PART 3 of a study in Proverbs, we will be gazing at an Ant Farm or as some refer to it as “Ants In Your Pants.”  Keep watching and keep searching in God’s WISDOM through His Word.






Who Are God’s ‘Wise Guys’?

A DETECTIVE’S SEARCH IN PROVERBS–PART 1

HAVE YOUR BIBLES READY FOR A TREASURE HUNT:

Most of us are familiar with the phrase, “wise guys”.  In fact, there was a 1986 film starring Danny DeVito and Joe Piscopo titled Wise Guys.  the movie was described by Wikipedia as “A comedy revolving around two small-time mobsters from Newark, New Jersey.

On April 18th, 1986, Roger Ebert the film critic said this about the movie when it arrived on the Big Screen: “Wise Guys is an abundant movie, filled with ideas and gags and great characters.  It never runs dry.”

The Internets “Your Dictionary” definition of Wise Guys is, “are people who are brashly and annoyingly conceited, knowing, etc.; smart aleck.”

WHO THEN ARE GOD’S ‘WISE GUYS’ AND WHAT’S A  PROVERB? – A STUDY IN PROVERBS:

The Amplified Bible puts it this way:

“THE PROVERBS (truths, obscurely expressed, maxims, and parables) of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:”  (Proverbs 1:1 AMP).

In verse one, Solomon begins to reveal the reason for these proverbs.  “WISDOM” and “KNOWLEDGE” are two key words and are both similarly used in PROVERBS 1:7, 9:10.

“The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline”  (Proverbs 1:7).

“The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning (the chief and choice part) of Wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight and understanding”  (Proverbs 9:10).

I just began reading THE PROVERBS, not for the first time but as a devotional reading this past week.  Although Solomon is credited with writing some 3,000 proverbs (1 Kings 4:32), the book of Proverbs contains only about 900.  Consequently over the next few WORD DETECTIVE blogs, I will only be addressing a partial collection in the series.

The word “proverb” denotes “a description by the way of comparison.”  Many people make the mistake that KNOWLEDGE is WISDOM; a person with several degrees, certificates of biblical studies, etc.  And the reality is?  Many may NOT have any practical sense at all and may not know how to use the knowledge he or she thinks they have.

THE ‘OPEN DOOR’ OF GOD’S WORD:

Over the doors of the school of Plato these words were written in Greek:  “Let no one enter who is not a geometrician.” 

But Solomon opens wide the doors of his proverbs with a special message of welcome to the unlearned, the simple, the foolish, the young, and even the ‘wise guys’:

“That people may know skillful and godly Wisdom and instruction, discern and comprehend the words of understanding and insight,  Receive instruction in WISE dealing and the discipline of WISE thoughtfulness, righteousness, justice, and integrity,  That prudence may be given to the simple, and knowledge, discretion, and discernment to the youth—  The WISE also will [1] HEAR and [2] INCREASE IN LEARNING, and the person of understanding will [3] ACQUIRE SKILL and [4} ATTAIN TO SOUND COUNSEL [so that he may be able to steer his course rightly”  (Proverbs 1:2-6 AMP).

Now I capitalized and numbered some key words in those five verses for emphasis; and for illustration of “Who Are God’s ‘Wise Guys’?

THE 4 KEY WORDS:

1.  HEAR or LISTEN.

2.  INCREASE YOUR LEARNING.

3.  ACQUIRING SKILL.

4.  ATTAIN SOUND COUNSEL [even Pastors need Pastors].

“WISDOM” and “INSTRUCTION”:

Hokmah” in the Hebrew is a significant term found in approximately 150 places with the dominant sense of “WISDOM.”  WISDOM refers to knowledge coupled with inner quality that embodies the heart and life in conformity with purposes and character of God. hokmah has this meaning throughout most of its usage in a variety of contexts.  However, in several paces it also has the alternative meaning “SKILL,” or “ABILITY,” and can be communicated to us by the Spirit of Yahweh; to particular individuals~ *(taken from the Expository Dictionary of Bible Words-Stephen Renn Editor).  So the word “WISDOM” here in Proverbs 1 means “skill” and suggests a right use of knowledge.

“INSTRUCTION”:

The word means correction or chastisement.  In the Greek version, the same word is used in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 AMP:

“Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for INSTRUCTION, for REPROOF and CONVICTION of sin, for CORRECTION of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in RIGHTEOUSNESS (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action),    So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work”  (disciplined in righteousness).

“DISCERN and COMPREHEND” – (verse 2).

In the King James Bible, it says “to PERCEIVE the words of understanding.”  In the Amplified version it reads “discern and comprehend…”

To perceive suggests the possibility to hear words of understanding and especially spiritual things.  For it takes a special enlightenment of Holy Spirit for a man/woman to understand spiritual truth:

“Why do you misunderstand what I say?  It is because you are unable to hear what I am saying.  [You cannot bear to listen to My message; your ears are shut to My teaching]”  (John 8:43 AMP).

In 1 Corinthians 2:14. the apostle Paul says that the natural man can understand the natural but cannot understand the supernatural.

So if your “SPIRITUAL WISDOM” is coming from another source, it’s NOT from God but from man.

AN “INTELLIGENCE” WHICH INSTRUCTS –  (PROVERBS 1:3-4).

“WISE” or “WISDOM” mentioned here is a different word than verse 2.  It is “intelligence” which instructs in PRUDENCE (verse 4); the understanding sense of a “wise guy”; one who is skilled in applying that knowledge to his/her life.

“JUSTICE”:

Justice is more commonly rendered “righteousness,” while “judgement” is putting wisdom into practice (verse 3).

Verse 4 says “that PRUDENCE may be given to the simple”.  Who are the “SIMPLE”?  They are the inexperienced or unlearned and not the mentally deficient.  The philosophers excluded the young as unfit for their teachings and righteous principles of the time.  But the WISEST of men stoops to the humblest–a type of the WISE teacher mentioned in Matthew 18:3-4; 19:14-15.  So the older people have a duty to teach and the younger a duty to submissively learn.  There is no other way to pass on knowledge.

“INTEGRITY” or “PRUDENCE” has to do then with rightness or uprightness.  So the whole end of knowing wisdom, instruction and perceiving understanding is that one might practice holy living.  FALSE RELIGION is almost always guilty of hypocrisy preaching and not practicing (Matthew 23:2-4).

True Wisdom ~ (verse 5).

“True WISDOM is never stationary but always progressive.” [Faussett].  God’s ‘wise guys’ never assume to have attained perfection of KNOWLEDGE; it’s the FOOL who thinks he has attained a plateau of learning beyond who no one can teach him or her any further.

When I was a sophomore in college, I decided that I no longer needed to carry a full load of classes.  I had a good part-time job at a local grocery store that wanted me to become a FULL-TIME worker; a career!  That meant more hours, more money and more toys!  What more could a 20 yr old want in life.  It was a “NO DUH” moment–or was it?

Eventually after three years of college, thinking that I was wise in the purest sense, I dropped out of school and made the grocery business my career instead of graduating with a Teachers Degree in Biology.  That decision was made from a natural man, who was unwise in his thinking; for it lasted only for another two years.

We get the word sophomoric from the word sophomore: meaning characteristics of a sophomore; intellectually pretentious, juvenile; over-confident, immature.  I was all of that when I was young and more!  But none of my thinking was ever derived from the “TRUE WISDOM” of God.  Are there sophomoric Christians in your life right now?

The ‘Wise Guys’ of God are submissive.

The proud and rebellious are fools and NOT wise guy’s.  But how often do we all proudly refuse wise counsel from others?  And how about the results of our actions; of the hearing and learning that is mentioned in Proverbs 1:5?

“That people may understand a proverb and a figure of speech or an enigma with its interpretation, and the words of the wise and their dark sayings or riddles” (verse 6).

Anyone with workable ears can hear, but many do not understand what is heard.  This takes WISDOM.

“INTERPRETATION” is a big word!

It means eloquent speech or a speech that needs explanation because it seems mysterious.  The more we learn the more we need to learn.  Life’s mysteries open up as we learn and to stop learning is… folly.

The Fear Of the Lord (verse 7).

I wrote an entire blog sometime ago discussing The Fear Of The Lord for many people have misunderstood its true meaning.

“The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge.”

Solomon’s text for this section of Proverbs One is: “Beginning” = “principal part” and without a proper reverence for God and no knowledge will profit much without it.  “FEAR” = reverential trust and love; as a child has for its father.

To finish verse 7, Solomon refers to those who despise Wisdom, instruction, and discipline as “FOOLS.”  In the Bible a fool isn’t someone who is mentally deficient but one who is in rebellion to God’s Word; the TRUTH, His Wisdom and not mans.  One who lives as if there were no God at all:

“THE [empty-headed] fool has said in his heart,  There is no God.  Corrupt and evil are they”  (Psalm 53:1).

i.e., an unsaved person.

In Part 2 of the investigation into Proverbs and “Who Are God’s ‘Wise Guys’?; I will continue the study with: “Are Not The Benefits Of Wisdom Worth the Effort?”  If you want to look ahead to Proverbs 2, underlined in your Bible or jot down the “IF” s and the “THEN” s.  Get out your spiritual magnifying glass!

Watching Our Words!

When I was a small boy growing up, my mother from time to time, would misquote a Bible verse to me when the words from my mouth would foul the air.  I think the verse she had in mind was in the Book of Proverbs:

“He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from troubles” ~ Prov 21:23.

Now mom made it much more personal by inserting my name in place of the pronouns: “Mel, if you don’t ‘watch your words’ it’s going to get you in trouble.”  And the TROUBLE she was referring too?  A bar of soap, as in the above photo!  Today, that would constitute child abuse and a visit by DSHS (Department of Social and Health Services)!!

“What’s The Big Deal About Using Profanity””

I’ve heard young people ask this same question before.  Their explanation?  “It’s a normal part of modern communication; it’s the ‘street language’ of today.”

I am probably on FACEBOOK more than I should be [my wife is thinking, “No DUH!”].  And my thinking?  By having family and fellow Christians on the social media–each one of us could read and share our thoughts, even commenting at times about what was said or by linking others(YouTube; humorous quotes, etc.).   I am beginning to CHANGE my thinking!  I guess I’ve been too naive in thought in the words that often proceed out of someones mouth.  They didn’t ‘just slip out.’  The words spoken came from the place of the heart.  

Psalm 19:14 says,

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my [firm, impenetrable] Rock and my Redeemer.”

WHAT IS PROFANITY?

The word “profane” literally means, “outside the temple.”  The term “profanity” originally identified people or things as secular as opposed to religious.

Now PROFANITY in the American culture indicates secularization; an attack on Christian values.  Our media ratings of movies, music and videos continue to use LANGUAGE as the criterion.  BUT the standards of censorship over the airwaves are clearly ending.  PROFANITY is often used for ‘shock value’ in expressing anger and humor and even sometimes, used from the church pulpit–to illustrate a point of course.

The WORDS often are associated with sexuality and filth along with the names of the Deity; used to bring additional potency and disrespect to the expressions.  It has become politically correct in our culture by the blasphemous use of the name of God and His Son Jesus Christ and not regarded as “hate speech.”

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT THE WORDS THAT WE SPEAK?

The Bible recognizes the POWER OF WORDS right from the beginning.  God used WORDS by speaking His creation into existence and the GIFT OF SPEECH is but one aspect of man’s creation in the image of God (Genesis 2:19-20).

In the REVELATION of God’s law, WORDS, ACTIONS were assigned to a moral value: lying, blasphemy, taking the Lord’s name in vain, cursing, were all examples of sinful speech forbidden in the Mosaic Law.  Now you might be thinking at this point with a “BUT”.  “BUT aren’t we under the New Covenant and not under Old Testament Law.”  Yes and No.  As believers in Christ Jesus, we are set free from the Law through FAITH (Romans 3:20-26).  But the apostle Paul doesn’t stop there.  He further states in Romans 3:31, “Do we then by [this] FAITH make the Law of no effect, over-throw it or make it a dead letter?  Certainly not!  On the contrary, we confirm and establish and uphold the Law.”

New Testament Understanding–BLESSING AND CURSING:

Scripture in the New Testament commands born-again believers to be PURE IN OUR SPEECH. and the controlling of our tongues:

“But the human tongue can be tamed by no man. It is a restless (undisciplined, irreconcilable) evil, full of deadly poison.    With it we BLESS the Lord and Father, and with it we CURSE men who were made in God’s likeness!    Out of the same mouth come forth blessing and cursing. These things, my brethren, ought not be so”  (James 3:8-10 AMP).

Now read and listen to Colossians 3:7,8 in the MESSAGE Bible:

“It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that STUFF [‘doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it–verse 5] and not knowing better.  [8] BUT you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, PROFANITY, DIRTY TALK.”

Christians should KNOW BETTER and always honor the purpose of SPEECH, our words, by the using of our mouths.  To praise God and lead others to obey the Lord through FAITH in Jesus Christ.  Every word we speak and every breath we take, including our comments spoken on social media, should be “gracious”;seasoned with salt” ~ Colossians 4:6.  Sharing someone else s  “funny” link, that shows people picketing on a street, holding signs with bold 4-Letter words, doesn’t bring glory to Jesus nor does it “season with salt” other people’s opinions about YOU! Their opinion about you is, “You’re just like me. I think I’ll share that with all my buddies at work. It’s cute!”  THINK about it before saying and sharing, “What would Jesus say if He saw this same image?”  That cliche my be outdated to some, but not to us who fear the LORD.

WHAT CHRISTIANS ARE CALLED UPON TO DO:

We are called upon to live differently, act differently from the world of unbelievers.  Remember, we are often the only BIBLE that unbelievers will ever read.  We don’t need to speak or share PROFANITY to win a ‘cursing’ unbeliever to Christ anymore than I need to drink alcohol to win an alcoholic to Christ.

The words of Scripture have all the POTENCY and POWER that we need in this world to reach the hearts of the lost.

A “NOT-CURSING” WITNESS:

“As hard as it seems for Christians to actively SHARE their faith, the passive act of NOT engaging in PROFANITY can open lots of doors.  Many times my not-cursing has caused people I work with to ask me about my faith.  PEOPLE DO NOTICE!” ~ by Steven Wales.

How can the world see JESUS in us, to see that there is really something different about us, if we speak and behave as the world?

EPHESIANS 5:

Paul gives us reference points when it comes to our WORDS, our speech patterns and our thought-life in Ephesians 5:1:

“THEREFORE BE imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].”

There you go!  Would Abba Father use these words, or put profane images on the social media today?  Paul’s not done yet:

“But immorality and ALL impurity or greediness must not even be named among you, as is fitting and proper among saints (God’s consecrated people)”  (verse 3).

NO SLIP-UPS here as an excuse–but “ALL impurity…”

“Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, no coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness [to God]”  (verse 4).

The next verse is worse than a “bar of soap” in your mouth if the PRACTICE of “filthiness”, “foolish and sinful, silly talk” is your testimony to those around you.

“For be sure of this: that no person practicing sexual vice or impurity in THOUGHT or IN LIFE, or one who is covetous [who has lustful desire for the property of others and is greedy for gain]–has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God”  (verse 5).

You can’t cough and spit that distasteful ‘bar of soap’ out of your mouth!

ASSOCIATIONS AND THE COMPANY WE KEEP:

Should Christians be selective in the “FRIENDS” we hang around with in person and on the social media networks?  The apostle Paul points us to the answer in (verse 7):

“So do not associate or be SHARERS with them.”

Whose the “THEM”?  Those who are categorized in verses 3-6 of Ephesians 5.  And if you struggle with your language, your words, your thoughts as given in Scripture; “anger, rage, bad feelings towards others, curses and slander, and FOULMOUTHED abuse and shameful utterances from your lips” (Colossians 3:8 AMP), all my words will be of no avail.  BUT if you meditate on God’s Word daily—“bind them about your neck, write them upon the tablet of your heart,” you will be WATCHING YOUR WORDS in speech and your FACEBOOK entries (Proverbs 3:3 (b)).

TRANSFORMATION BY RENEWING–“Strip off the old self with its evil practices”:

The second biggest decision in your life, next to being ‘born-again’ into the kingdom of God, is found in Colossians 3:10 and Romans 12:2:

“And have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] RENEWED and REMOLDED into [fuller and more perfect knowledge upon] knowledge after the IMAGE (the likeness) of Him Who created it.”

“Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be TRANSFORMED (changed) by the [entire] RENEWAL of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may PROVE [for yourselves] what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].”

“Make Known His Doings Among The People”

Over thirty years ago, in southern California, I sang in a men’s gospel trio.  Our name was coined from the leader, and REAL musician Dave Fischer.  We thought we needed a ‘catchy’ name other than The Dave Fischer Trio and one night came up with, The Fischermen’s Trio [spelled that way on purpose].  One night after singing at an event, a man came up to me and asked, “Have you caught any?”  “Caught any what?” I answered.  He had a big smile on his face when he replied, “FISH!”  Trying to be courteous, I smiled back and said, “the spelling of our group was different than what it sounded like. Our name wasn’t FISH-er men but FISCHER-men.”  I was trying to be informative and yet appreciative of his attention.

The smile on his face seemed frozen as he just looked at me.  And then he said, “Yeah, I know.  But if  we are ALL disciples of Christ as the Bible says, should we not be all FISHERMEN?  For Jesus said to Peter and Andrew, ‘Come after Me [as disciples—letting Me be your Guide], follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men!”  Now the Amplified Bible adds the brackets, but the meaning is continuous with the man’s quoting from Scripture.

PSALM 105:1-5:

O GIVE thanks unto the Lord, call upon His name, make known His doings among the people!  [2] Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; meditate on and TALK of all His marvelous deeds and devoutly praise them.  [3] Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those rejoice who seek and require the Lord [as their indispensable necessity].  [4] Seek, inquire of and for the Lord, and crave Him and His strength (His might and inflexibility to temptation); seek and require His face and His presence [continually] evermore.  [5] [Earnestly] remember the marvelous deeds that He has done, His miracles and wonders, the judgments and sentences which He pronounced.”

Now I might not be a fisherman in the truest sense, but I have a few friends who are.  They are so into FISHING, they are the kind who bait their own hooks, tie their own fishing flies, check out the tide-tables for the next month and spend an entire weekend camping out at Cabela’s [a sporting goods national chain].  Now those avid FISHERMEN are more than willing and eagerly ready to go out fishing at a moments notice.  Just ask them.  Now me personally, I could write down everything I know about fishing on a 3″ x 5″ note card.  Although, my dream was to LEARN how and go FISHING with someone who really knew how to FISH!  Always been my dream and still is at my young age of 70!!

ARE YOU WILLING AND READY TO GO FISHING?

In the book of ROMANS, the apostle Paul is explaining in his letter of intent to the believers in Rome.  His message isn’t just to the believers but to Greeks and to barbarians (to the cultured and to the uncultured), both to the wise and the foolish (Romans 1:14).  He tells them that there is an OBLIGATION, a duty to perform in ‘FISHING’.

“So, for my part, I am willing and eagerly ready to preach the Gospel to you also who are in Rome.  For I am not ashamed of the Gospel (good news) of Christ, for it is God’s POWER WORKING unto salvation [for deliverance from eternal death] to EVERYONE who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance, to the Jew first and also to the Greek,  For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith]. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright shall live and shall live by faith”  (Romans 1:15-17 AMP).

“POWER WORKING” RELEASED:

In February of 1985, I was informed by the new management who had just acquired the company I had been employed by for the past 15 yrs.  “You are going to be replaced as Branch Manager.”  Fortunately, my severance pay and profit-sharing would pay the bills for my family for a period, but then what?  I knew that the Lord would provide, He always had.  I trusted in Him after all…or did I really TRUST Him?  More to come.

About a month later, I received a phone call from a previous business associate, who had called for two reasons:  [1] To give me his condolences and [2] He knew of a job possibility, if I was willing to check it out, in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Would I consider the opportunity to move the family to the Islands?

Now I never had the opportunity, or the money to go to Hawaii before, but maybe, just maybe God wanted me to go.  To provide for us, not where we were in the rainy Northwest, but to prosper us in tropical, sunshiny Hawaii!  Could it be???

So I decided to at least check it out, to see about housing, working conditions, the Hawaiian people and the potential of a new employer and of course, their sizing up my fit with them.  After putting our house up for sale; while waiting for our children to finish school, I went to an earthly paradise while my wife stayed on the mainland to finalize details of the property.

After two months of living in Hawaii and being away from my wife, I came to the conclusion, I might have made a terrible decision.  Was I still TRUSTING Jesus?  I came down with what as known as a horrible disease called, “ISLAND FEVER!”  You can only go around an island so many times; I felt that I was living on Alcatraz!!  And by the way, for all of you who think I was crazy…living and working in paradise is much different than a week’s vacation in paradise.  Why would God send me here if this was my feelings?  Was I being selfish because I wanted to live like the “rich and the famous”  No, that wasn’t it.  Was it because I missed my wife so terribly?  Well, there is some truth there but… God’s plan was laid right before me and I didn’t see it coming.  I had stopped trusting God and had put my trust in ME!  Much later I discovered that God had sent me to Hawaii… on a ‘FISHING TRIP’!

FISHING IN HAWAII AND LETTING DOWN THE NETS:

“As He [JESUS] was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He noticed two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, throwing a dragnet into the sea, for they were FISHERMEN”  (Matthew 4:18).


For the short time that I lived and worked on Oahu, I managed to room and board with a young couple, who both worked for the same company I worked for.  They were struggling financially, so I offered to pay them rent for their spare bedroom, and help relieve the stress resting on their lives.  They accepted joyfully and I became a part of the family as a father, brother, etc.

Since the couple had a 3 yr old daughter, the young mother was working part-time and was scheduled in the afternoons.  Since her husband worked in the same department as I and both of us had to be into the office at 7 A.M., we decided to drive together in the commute.  Honolulu traffic in the mornings and late afternoons is…lets just say, I let him do the driving!

Since there was plenty of time to chat in our coming and going, Holy Spirit reminded me that I might be the only BIBLE that Sandro has read; so I threw out the dragnet and waited for the results.  I didn’t quote Bible verses, nor did I preach but I did the same thing that I had always tried to do back home; careful of the words I spoke; attended a great little church near Pearl Harbor; fixed my brown-bag lunch before I went to bed every night, washed my clothes, chatting with the couple in my doings.  In other words, I practice a LIFESTYLE type of evangelism.

One evening before supper, I was reading my Bible outside in the Lanai [Hawaiian patio] when Sandro came outside and sat down across from me.  His wife was preparing supper in the kitchen while THE MEN, we chatted continuously until the dinner bell sounded.

SANDRO:  “I noticed Mel that you get up early on your only day off to go to church every Sunday [I worked 5 1/2 days every week].  Why?”

I paused for just a second and answered, “Since it was Jesus’ custom to go to church [Luke 4:16], and I enjoy Christian fellowship too, I go to church once a week.”

And then, to some what of a  surprise at first he asked, “What is your definition of a Christian?  Is all you have to do is go to Church on Sundays?”

THE ‘NET’ IS FULL!

I always carried in my wallet and still do today, The Four Spiritual Laws.  Since a pastor shared them with my wife and I some 13 yrs before as we accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior [user friendly], I asked the young man, “Sandro, have you ever heard of The Four Spiritual Laws?”  Could I have shared out my Bible with him, it was laying on the table in front of me?  Perhaps the 8 Steps in Romans, etc.?  Yeah, I probably could have but for this brief moment in time…the Holy Spirit chose the little wrinkled tract in my wallet.

After going through THE FOUR STEPS and using my Bible to point out some specific salvation verses,  I asked Sandro the question:  “Would you like to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?”  He didn’t even hesitate “If it means that I will become a Christian, YES!”  That day, a new babe in Christ was welcomed into the KINGDOM.

Now there is more to the story but I will share that in another blog sometime with you.  My part was to be a disciple, an obedient follower and cast God’s net into the sea of humanity and leave the results to Him.

LETS DON’T BE ISOLATIONIST:

Psalm 105:1 “…make known His doings among the people.”

We have been given a function of not being isolated to just one day of the week; to remain within the walls of our churches.  The Scripture verse says to “make known His doings.”  We here on earth know the POWER and GLORY of God and tasted firsthand the redeeming power of the cross.  But do we let that POWER show in our everyday life?  I don’t know about you folks but I believe that most of us need to wake up!  At times we appear to be “walking zombies.”  Witnessing with a frown is useless.  So too is a ‘have to’ approach; to ACT Christian to the point where it seems fake.

Keeping It Real.

You don’t have to have made a TV movie of a Christian experience to share with others.   What you do need is to be able to answer the question “why.”  Why are you here?  Why do you follow Jesus?  Why is it you believe what you do, and say what you say?  If we can’t answer these simple questions, then why should anyone want to listen, much less follow us.

Keeping It Simple.

“Make known His doings…”  Why?  Because SALVATION is available to every person on the planet and not just to the select few in a church setting.  We are not to HIDE in church, hoarding the gospel to ourselves.  God’s plan for His disciples is to take His Word to every kindred, tongue and people.  I’m not saying you must stand on a street corner with a sign and preach to the passers by.  It’s more than that!  It is letting the gospel of Jesus Christ show up in our lives:

–How we deal with our co-workers.

–How we deal with the guy down the street.

–How we deal with our brothers and sisters.

If we say one thing and do the opposite, we are HYPOCRITES and are no better than those who condemn Jesus.  HYPOCRISY will drive people away and ISOLATE the church faster than admitting we’re flawed.

AND WHAT HAS HE DONE?

“[Earnestly] remember the marvelous deeds that He has done, His miracles and wonders”  (Psalm 105:5 AMP).

Most of us don’t carry around a Bible on our person.  I remember at a Billy Graham Crusade in San Diego when I was a counselor on the field.  People were beginning to leave when I noticed two extremely large men carrying a smaller man by his arms towards me.  The smaller mans feet weren’t even touching the ground.  They stopped in front of me and said,  “We are Marines from Camp Pendleton. We were saved last night and we want our friend to do the same tonight!”  I explained the Lord doesn’t work that way and I went on to share with the man the Word.  He too accepted Christ that night.

So like Peter and Andrew, we need to be prepared for all occasions  Psalm 105:2 tells us we are to “Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; meditate on and talk of His marvelous deeds and devoutly praise them.”  Praise, worship and meditation are preparing the NETS, and baiting the hooks.  If you think that is BLUNT in the approach, you’re right.  Blunt or not, WORSHIP and PRAISE releases the POWER.

Meditate On and Talk” About…

In the first chapter of the book of Joshua, God’s Word explains how to be successful in our lives and to those around us who do not know about what God has done:

“This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall MEDITATE on it day and night, that you may OBSERVE AND DO according to all that is written in it.  FOR THEN you shall make your way prosperous, AND THEN you shall deal wisely and have GOOD SUCCESS”  (Joshua 1:8 AMP).

MEDITATE on the Word and TALK about it FOR THEN…AND THEN…you shall deal wisely and have GOOD SUCCESS.

TWO TYPES OF CHRISTIANS IN THE WORLD:

1..There are those who are PRETENDERS,

2.  And those who are NOT PRETENDING.

Those who PRETEND say the right things at the right times and do good things ONLY when it will glorify themselves.

The ones who aren’t so good at PRETENDING, acknowledge they have faults and sin on occasions.  But they are the ones who step back, let go of pride and ego and let God have control.  Remember what JESUS told Peter and his brother Andrew,

“Come after Me [as disciples—letting Me be your Guide]. FOLLOW Me, and I will make you fishers of men”  (Matthew 4:19 AMP).

Are you willing and eagerly ready to come after and follow JESUS and meditate on His Word?  Because if you are…He will make us ALL…FISHERMEN!