“Watch out for bad advice!” June 2

 

The Danger of Bad Advice - There is great danger in bad advice. God's commands and principles are not intended to limit our joy and blessings, but to protect us. Often we learn too late that going our own way or listening to the wisdom of fools leads to disaster and heartache.There is great danger in bad advice or trying to live life our own way.

A wise person seeks for wisdom all the time and keeps it “in his sight,” right in front of him to guide him. He doesn’t have to go looking for it when he needs it. He studies God’s principles for living and seeks to walk wisely at all times.

The fool, on the other hand, is looking for answers all over the place. Maybe Oprah has the answer or I’ll learn something from my horoscope or from some co-worker whose own life is a mess.

God’s commands and principles are not intended to limit our joy and blessings, but to protect us. And when we reject them, we often learn too late that going our own way or listening to the wisdom of fools leads to disaster and heartache.

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Kings 13 & 14
Psalm 69.16-21
Proverbs 17.23-24
John 12.27-50

 

Watch Out for Bad Advice

 

1 Kings 13 & 14:

Ungodly Counsel

 

In yesterday’s reading, Jeroboam had set up altars to false God’s to keep the people from going back to Jerusalem where they were supposed to worship. In chapter 13 God sent a prophet to Jeroboam to warn him his great sin was about to be judged.

Once it was obvious that the prophet was from God, Jeroboam invited him to “stay for dinner.” Perhaps he thought the prophet could get God to change His mind or maybe he wanted to kill him. Whatever the reason, God had already told the prophet that he was not to eat or drink there or even return home the same way he had come.

Once he left, another prophet caught up to him and claimed an angel had told him it was alright for him to eat and drink with him. Listening to his advice cost the Judean prophet his life!

God had already clearly spoken to him and he should have sought confirmation from God Himself as to any change in plans.

Like the Judean prophet, when God has clearly spoken to us, which He does primarily through His Word, we cannot allow some opposing message to sway us from God’s commandments and His truth.

This is also true when it comes to good Bible doctrine. We need the counsel of the Word and people who are solidly fixed in truth to help us understand God: His character, His principles, His commands, and His purposes for our lives.

In Galatians Paul said:

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed (Gal. 1.6-9).

Adult Woman Reading a Bible. CloseThere are all kinds of opposing “gospels” out there and all kinds of people giving all kinds of advice. Learn to recognize the real thing. Read God’s Word, spend time with Him hearing His voice in the pages of Scripture and then “the voice of a stranger you will not follow” (Jn. 10.5).

I’ve said it before but, we all need to be theologians and good theology does not have to be difficult to understand. Theology is simply the study of God.

If you want to read more check out my posts on “Bite Sized Theology.” I started this series some time ago, but my schedule at that time kept me from continuing it. I’ll be picking it up again soon. Here’s a list of the earlier posts.

Bite Sized Theology: Why Theology?
Bite Sized Theology: The Bible “The Book”
Bite Sized Theology: The Canon
Bite Sized Theology: What is special revelation?
Bite Sized Theology: Bible Study – How & Why?

 

The Danger of Bad Advice - There is great danger in bad advice. God's commands and principles are not intended to limit our joy and blessings, but to protect us. Often we learn too late that going our own way or listening to the wisdom of fools leads to disaster and heartache.

Proverbs 17.23-24:

Seeking Wisdom from Fools

 

Verse 24, “Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.”

A wise person seeks for wisdom all the time and keeps it “in his sight,” right in front of him to guide him. He doesn’t have to go looking for it when he needs it, like some lost set of keys.

Portrait of young couple reading newspaperThe foolish person, on the other hand, is looking for it all over the place. Maybe Oprah has it or I’ll learn something from my horoscope or from some co-worker whose own life is a mess. There are even people who will try to sound spiritual. Remember, the old prophet claimed he was speaking for God and it cost the man of God his life! Again there are many “gospels” out there vying for our hearts and attention!

But if we are faithful to grow and walk in the wisdom that we have, God will give us more wisdom and understanding and we will recognize bad advice when we hear it. Hebrews 5 tells us:

12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 69.16-21:

When Friends Desert Us

 

Verse 20, “Reproach has broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness; I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.”

Too often even the best of people desert us when we need them most. When that happens we must remember that God will never forsake or abandon us (Heb. 13.5). He is the one we must look to in our times of trouble. Though He may use people, we are not to depend on them, but on God alone.

 

 

John 12.27-50:

When We Harden Our Hearts

 

In verse 40 it talks about God having blinded the eyes and hardened the hearts of the Jewish nation as a whole. As we continue reading through the Old Testament, you can see the people continuously hardened their own hearts and turned away from God even as He continued to reveal Himself to them in miraculous ways. His judicial hardening (the final hardening of judgment) came after they had willfully hardened our own hearts.

Hebrews 3.7 says, “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says. ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion'” and verses 12-13, “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

We, too, must set our hearts to obey in all things. Those “little” willful “rebellions” are not little to God because they reveal our heart attitudes and set the stage for rebellion in other areas, and before we know it, we have hardened our hearts. Let’s be doers of the Word and not hearers only in all areas of our lives (Jas. 1.22).

 

Closing Thoughts:

bible illuminationWe have completed almost half of the Bible. Have you noticed how frequently our Old Testament reading relates to the New Testament passage or to Psalms or Proverbs or vice versa? I’m continually amazed at people who doubt the validity of God’s Word. As we read more and more of His Word and get the big picture, we can see that it is one continuous story told by a variety of men over a period of several thousand years. Men who were guided and inspired by God in such a way that they wrote the actual words of God. No one but God could bring about such an amazing feat!

As the Apostle Peter said:

“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1.19-21).

Blessings,
Donna


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“It’s not fair!” January 30

 

It's not fair!It’s not fair! Have you ever looked around at the lives of others and thought just that?

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 9 & 10
Psalm 17.8-15
Proverbs 5.21-23
Matthew 20.1-16

 

It’s not fair!

 

Matthew 20.1-16:

Unfair Labor Practices?

 

In “The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard,” a businessman hires workers at various times throughout the day. At the end of the day, he pays the same wage to those who were hired just before quitting time as to those who worked all day. Some of them said, in effect, “It’s not fair!”

Have you ever felt like those laborers who were hired early in the morning? Perhaps, on the job or, possibly, in your spiritual life?

Maybe you were raised in church. Or maybe you were the “good” son or daughter, the one who didn’t rebel against your parents or your Christian upbringing. Or maybe you’ve been a believer for a long time, faithfully serving Him and there are things you’ve prayed about that haven’t happened.

Maybe you got a diagnosis you didn’t want or your spouse walked out on you? Then you see some new believer all excited because God has done something great for her!

Or maybe you’ve had a hard time accepting the fact that your “n’er-do-well” brother-in-law got saved after years of drug use and wild living and now everyone acts like he’s the golden boy! It hardly seems fair.

We can be so like the older brother in the story of the Prodigal Son (Lk. 15.11-32). He was mad because his father forgave his wild younger brother and even threw a party when he came home (more about that when we get there).

But, if we’re honest, we might look back and admit that though we may not have “run off” into riotous living like the prodigal, there have been many times when our hearts were far from God, times we harbored bitterness and unforgiveness, times when we were selfish, manipulative, unkind and unloving. Instead of being upset over God’s grace in the lives of others, we need to get down on our knees and thank Him for His grace in ours.

And no matter what … even when it doesn’t seem fair to us, we can trust in the goodness of our sovereign God. A great book to help you understand His goodness and sovereignty in the midst of difficulty is the book It’s Not Fair! by Wayne Mack.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Exodus 9 & 10:

On Dogs & Sows

 

God is about to deliver His people from Israel, but so far Pharaoh has refused to let his cheap labor force leave Egypt.

Over and over he agrees to allow them to go, only to harden his heart when the “crisis” of each plague is over and the “pain” is not so intense (see Jan. 29 post, “Sleeping with Frogs”). Don’t we often do the same?  Continue reading

“Sleeping with Frogs” January 29

 

Sleeping with Frogs - Frogs ... they're everywhere! ... in their homes, in their beds, in their bowls, in their ovens—everywhere! Yet, when Moses, God's messenger comes to Pharaoh and asks when he'd like them removed, he says, "Tomorrow." "Just let me spend one more night with those frogs." How about you? Are there any frogs you're keeping around for another sleepover?Frogs … they’re everywhere! … in their homes, in their beds, in their bowls, in their ovens—everywhere! Yet, when Moses, God’s messenger comes to Pharaoh and asks when he’d like them removed, he says, “Tomorrow.” “Just let me spend one more night with those frogs.” How about you? Are there any frogs you’re keeping around for another sleepover?

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 7 & 8
Psalm 17.1-7
Proverbs 5.15-20
Matthew 19.1-30

 

Sleeping with Frogs

 

Exodus 7 & 8:

Hard Hearts

 

It’s time. God is about to deliver His people. But first, He prepares Moses and Aaron for the task ahead:

¹ So the Lord said to Moses: “See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet.You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them” (Ex. 7.1-5).

“I will harden Pharaoh’s heart.” At first glance, that might seem a little unfair! Is God on His throne pointing to one person and saying I don’t like the way she looks, I think I’ll harden her heart? God is God and He can certainly do as He sees fit, but that is not the picture we see here.

God said He had heard the cries of his people in Egypt (Ex. 3.7), cries against which Pharaoh had already hardened his heart. When we harden our hearts and refuse to show compassion on others, why should we be surprised if He withholds compassion from us?

Even as believers, though we don’t lose our salvation, we can damage our fellowship with Him and set in motion laws of sowing and reaping (Gal. 6.7-9). And if we repeatedly harden our hearts, it may be a sign that we are not really saved, because the Bible teaches that though believers may sin, they will repent.

Even in these passages in Exodus, Pharaoh continues to harden his own heart. Ten times it says Pharaoh hardened his heart and ten times God hardened his heart. God’s hardening was judicial hardening in response to Pharaoh’s personal, sinful hardening.

We see a similar picture in Romans 1 beginning in verse 18. We sometimes call this passage the downward spiral of sin. We see men and women refusing to respect God as God though they know the truth and choosing to continue in their sin. In verses 24, 26, and 28 we see the response of God. It says He, “gave them up …,” “gave them up …,” and “gave them over …” John MacArthur says in his Study Bible, “When men consistently abandon God, He will abandon them by removing His restraint and allowing sin to run its inevitable course.”

This results in hearts that are more and more hardened by their own sin. As we look around our world today, we see this in abundance. It’s interesting that the example God uses in Romans 1 is that of homosexuality. Consider that as you listen to the news.

 

One More Night with the Frogs

 

One of the plagues God brought on the Egyptians was frogs (Ex. 8.1-15). Can you imagine? Frogs are everywhere—in in their homes, in their beds, in their bowls, in their ovens—everywhere! When Pharaoh had once again promised to let the people go, Moses said, “Accept the honor of saying when I shall intercede for you …” In other words, “When do you want me to get rid of the frogs?” And Pharaoh says, “TOMORROW!” Tomorrow? “Yes, let me spend one more night with the frogs!”

It seems ridiculous, yet, there can be things we refuse to give up in spite of the consequences. Areas where we are saying, in effect, “Let me have one more night with these frogs!”

Then notice verse 15, “But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them, as the LORD had said.”

How many times have you and I repeated the same pattern? We have a crisis Continue reading

June 2 “The danger of bad advice” & LINKUP

There is great danger in bad advice. God’s commands and principles are not intended to limit our joy and blessings, but to protect us. Often we learn too late that going our own way or listening to the wisdom of fools leads to disaster and heartache.

bad advice

Today’s Readings:
1 Kings 13 & 14
Psalm 69.16-21
Proverbs 17.23-24
John 12.27-50

1 Kings 13 & 14:

The danger of bad advice

In yesterday’s reading, Jeroboam had set up altars to false God’s to keep the people from going back to Jerusalem where they were supposed to worship. Now in chapter 13 God sends a prophet to Jeroboam to warn him this great sin is about to be judged.

Once it’s obvious that the prophet is from God, Jeroboam invites him to “stay for dinner,” Perhaps he thinks the prophet can get God to change His mind or maybe he wants to kill him, but whatever the reason, God had already told the prophet that he was not to eat or drink there or even return home the way he had come.

Once he leaves, another prophet catches up to him and claims that an angel told him it was alright for him to eat and drink with the older prophet and it ends up costing the Judean prophet his life! Continue reading

January 29 “Sleeping with frogs”

Frogs

Frogs … they’re everywhere! … in their homes, in their beds, in their bowls, in their ovens—everywhere! Yet, when Moses, God’s messenger comes to Pharaoh and asks when he’d like them removed, he says, “Tomorrow.” Just let me spend one more night with those frogs. How about you? Are there any frogs you’re keeping around for another sleepover?

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 7 & 8
Psalm 17.1-7
Proverbs 5.15-20
Matthew 19.1-30

Exodus 7 & 8:

When we harden our hearts

Have you thought about the statement where God says He will harden Pharaoh’s heart? At first glance, that might seem a little unfair! I mean, is God on His throne pointing to one person and saying I don’t like the way she looks, I think I’ll harden her heart? God is God and He can certainly do as He sees fit, but that is not the picture we see in Scripture.

Remember that Pharaoh had already hardened his own heart. When God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, He told Moses that He had heard the cries of his people in Egypt, cries against which Pharaoh had already hardened his heart. When we harden our hearts and refuse to show compassion on others, why should we be surprised if He withholds compassion from us? Even as believers, though we don’t lose our salvation, we can damage our fellowship with Him and can set in motion laws of sowing and reaping (Gal. 6.7-9). And if we repeatedly harden our hearts, it may be a sign that we are not really saved, because the Bible teaches that though believers may sin, they will repent. Continue reading