“Wise Fools” July 30

 

Wise FoolsAn unwillingness to accept and believe the truth can start an individual or a society on a dangerous downward spiral. But the rejection of God is not done in ignorance. Romans 1 tells us that creation alone provides each of us with enough knowledge to know there is a God. It’s not a lack of truth. Instead, men and women suppress the truth because they don’t want to hear it. They don’t want to respect God’s authority in their lives. The consequences are evident in our world today.

Many of those who reject the truth most vehemently are the most educated in our society. Our schools, colleges, universities, and professions are full of people who think they are wise with all their science, business acumen, and knowledge. But God says they’re fools!

 

Today’s Readings:
Nehemiah 12 & 13
Psalm 89.30-37
Proverbs 22.3-4
Romans 1.1-32

 

Well, here we are finishing up the book of Nehemiah. Do you realize we have finished well over half of the Old Testament, 16 books in total and a good part of Psalms and Proverbs? We’ve finished the four gospels and the book of Acts, the historical books of the New Testament.

bible on a chairNow we are starting the Epistles of Paul in the New Testament, beginning with the book of Romans and tomorrow we’ll start the book of Esther in the Old Testament. It’s exciting to see the progress we’re making.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Well, on to the word …

 

Wise Fools

 

Romans 1.1-32:

An Overview

 

As we start the book of Romans, it might be helpful to consider a couple of things. Romans is primarily a book of doctrine, but don’t be put off by that. It doesn’t mean it’s a dry book with no relevance to our lives, quite the contrary! This epistle (letter) has some of the most important truths for us to understand in our Christian lives. In his Study Bible, John MacArthur says:

“The overarching theme of Romans is the righteousness that comes from God: the glorious truth that God justifies guilty, condemned sinners by grace alone through faith in Christ alone.”

That is the foundation of our faith. If you are a newcomer to reading through the Bible or you’re new here, you might find it confusing that at the end of Acts, Paul is in Rome and here in Romans he is expressing his desire to go to Rome. It’s important to remember that the books of the Bible are not always arranged in chronological order.

In the New Testament the first four books are the Gospels, the four accounts of Christ’s life and ministry. Acts is the historical overview of the first three decades of the Church, ending its account in about 60-62 A.D.

quill pen scroll parchmentThe rest of the New Testament, except for the book of Revelation is a series of letters written by various church leaders to churches and individuals meant to be circulated to others within the church. They’re not in chronological order, but are grouped by author. Romans through Philemon, and possibly Hebrews, were written by the Apostle Paul. Romans was written about 56 A.D. before his imprisonment and journey to Rome.

 

The Joy of Christian Fellowship

 

So here we are in chapter one and there’s so much in this chapter. I love verses 11-12 where Paul is expressing his desire to visit Rome:

“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established—that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.”

What a picture of the joy of Christian fellowship and one anothering (Rom. 15.14; Gal. 6.2; Col. 3.16; 1 Thess. 4.18, 5.11; Heb. 10.24-25; Jas. 5.16; 1 Pet. 4.9).

 

Not Ashamed

 

Then verses 16-17:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

Are you tempted to be ashamed of the gospel? In the workplace? Or with your unsaved family? Are you afraid to share the truth because someone might make fun of you or think you’re simple-minded? Even after being beaten, stoned, ridiculed, and all the rest, Paul was “not ashamed of the Gospel”!

 

Claiming to Be Wise

 

Then beginning in verse 18, we have what can be called “the downward spiral of sin.

This passage explains how an unwillingness to accept and believe the truth can start an individual or a society on a downward spiral. But this rejection of God is not done in ignorance. Paul tells us that creation alone provides each of us with enough knowledge to know there is a God.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.

It’s not a lack of truth. Instead, men and women suppress the truth because they don’t want to hear it. They don’t want to respect God’s authority in their lives. The result and its consequences are evident in our world today.

And sadly, many of those who reject the truth most vehemently are the most educated in our society. Our schools, colleges, universities, and professions are full of people who think they are wise with all their science, business acumen, and knowledge. But God says they’re fools!

21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools.

How scientists can study the intricacies of the human body and the wonders of the earth and deny the existence of God is beyond me. It takes more “faith” to believe a lie than to believe the truth! But they are putting their faith in the wrong things. You have to wonder what the Day of Judgment will be like for some of them, when their utter foolishness has been totally exposed and “every knee bows” to the God of the universe—too late for them to accept Him personally.

Because of their sin and rejection, three times it says, God “gave them over” or “gave them up” (Rom. 1.24, 26, 28). You can see in this passage how lives and societies spiral downward. The more they turn away from God, the more they turn toward sexual immorality and other sins, eventually reaching the point where it’s commonplace. At the bottom of the spiral we see these verses:

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

Debased minds, sexual immorality, maliciousness, murder, hatred toward God, pride, disobedient children … doesn’t that describe our world today?

And at the very bottom we see this phrase “but also approve of those who practice them.” That is what so many in the LGBTQ movement want, not just the freedom to do as they please, but universal approval. And if you disagree they want to be able to attack you, call you “intolerant,” charge you with discrimination, or worse.

As you read today’s passage in Nehemiah, imagine how he would respond if he visited our nation today? When he returned to Jerusalem and found people buying and selling on the Sabbath and ignoring other clear commandments of God, it says, “So I contended with them and cursed them, struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God …” (Neh. 13.25).

We can’t stop standing for the truth either. I’m not advocating that we act unloving. In fact, 2 Timothy 2 says:  Continue reading

“Politicians, Greed & Worthless Religion” July 26

 

Politicians, Greed & Worthless Religion - Greed can raise its ugly head in any area of life: in politics, in business, even in the family. Just as ugly is worthless religion. What does God value in the way of Christian service and religious activity? Are you relying on things that are worthless to God?

Greed can raise its ugly head in any area of life: in politics, in business, even in the family. Just as ugly is worthless religion. What does God value in the way of Christian service and religious activity? Are you relying on things that are worthless to God?

 

Today’s Readings:
Nehemiah 3-5
Psalm 89.1-4
Proverbs 21.27
Acts 26.1-32

Politicians, Greed & Worthless Religion

 

Nehemiah 3-5:

Greed and Selfishness

 

Nehemiah and the people continued to rebuild the wall, but not without opposition. Nehemiah’s response was the same one we should have when we encounter problems. Chapter 4, verses 8-9:

“… and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.”

Nehemiah and the people prayed, did what they believed God wanted them to, and left the rest in the hands of God!

Chapter 5 changes focus and talks about problems among the people themselves. Some of the Jews had taken advantage of the hard economic times and had charged high rates of interest and even taken some of the other Jews as slaves to repay their debts. This was forbidden by the law. God takes a very serious view of this kind of behavior and Nehemiah dealt with it accordingly. Verses 11-13: Continue reading

“Entitlement, Contentment & Hard Work” July 25

 

Entitlement, Contentment & Hard Work - Many people today, including believers, have an entitlement attitude. We want what others have and refuse to be content where God has us. In some cases, we are lazy and not willing to do what is required. Instead, we grumble, complain, and sometimes become bitter and resentful.

Many people today, including believers, have an entitlement attitude. We want what other people have and refuse to be content where God has us. Sometimes we work hard and and can’t understand why they seem to get ahead and not us. In other cases, we’re lazy and not willing to do what is required. But either way, instead of trusting that God knows what’s best, we grumble, complain, and even become bitter and resentful.

 

Today’s Readings:
Nehemiah 1 & 2
Psalm 88.11-18
Proverbs 21.25-26
Acts 25.1-27

Entitlement, Contentment & Hard Work


Proverbs 21.25-26:

Grumbling, Complaining & Coveting or Faithfully Working & Obeying?

 

“The desire of the lazy man kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. He covets greedily all day long, but the righteous gives and does not spare.”

These two verses make me think of a story I read about a famous pianist. A man came up to him once and said, “I would give my life to be able to play like that.” The pianist replied, “I did.”

I am not advocating neglecting family or any other God-given priority to seek selfish goals, but so often we want things that others have without being willing to do what it takes to obtain them. In the case of a lazy man, he covets the things that others have worked to obtain, but isn’t willing to do the same.

This is an attitude that is rampant in our society today. Many people, even Christians, have an entitlement attitude, even about spiritual things. Continue reading

The Jesus Code: Have you let fear or loss of focus derail you? + LINKUP

 

The Jesus Code

Chapter 14 of The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.

This week’s question: “Should such a man as I flee?” (Nehemiah 6.11).

Nehemiah had what may have been considered a cushy job in Babylon, but he had a heart to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls that had been destroyed and were still in ruins.

He started out well and after six weeks he was closing in on the finish line, but when the end was in sight, an enemy sought to derail him. Hawkins writes:

Sanballat— Nehemiah’s longtime nemesis— and his deceitful friends made a final attempt to derail him. They sought to trick him into a meeting that was designed to get him off on a side street. “Come, let us meet . . . in the plain of Ono” (Nehemiah 6: 2) was their invitation. 

Many of us have gotten off on a side street. Sometimes in our careers or perhaps in our marriages. And other times in our ministries. We started out with a great plan or goal, but the enemy came along and distracted us.

Nehemiah, however, refused to get distracted. He sent Sanballat a message, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” (v.3).

When Sanballat realized he had failed to distract Nehemiah, he tried another tactic: the threat of danger. He sent a secret informer who said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, at night they will come to kill you” (v. 10).

But Nehemiah responded, “Should such a man as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!” (v. 11).

The author goes on:

In contrast to Nehemiah’s perseverance, we live in a day when we see a lot of men and women fleeing, running out on responsibilities and opportunities and away from risks. This escapism takes all kinds of forms. Too many wish with the psalmist, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest” (Psalm 55: 6). Guess what? You don’t have any wings! You can’t just fly off. You can’t run out every time things don’t seem to go your way.

How about you? Have you allowed yourself to get sidetracked? Do you need to refocus on the purpose you had when you started your blog or other ministry? Do you need to recommit to your marriage or some other endeavor? Is there some area where you have let fear or escapism take over?

Let me know in the comments.

Next week’s question is: “If a man dies, shall he live again?” (Job 14.14)

Last week’s question: “Why are we sitting here until we die?” (2 Kings 7.3). Read it here.

 

You can get a copy of The Jesus Code and follow along with these 52 vital questions. The chapters are short and can easily be read in one sitting. If you do, I’d love your feedback. Click here to get the book or here for Kindle.

Blessings,
Donna

 

 NOW IT’S TIME TO LINKUP:

linkup

 

Be sure to sign up for the “Christian Living” emails so you won’t miss upcoming posts or notifications of each week’s LINKUP.


I sometimes LINKUP with these blogs:

Mondays Making Your Home Sing Mondays The Beauty in His Grip What Joy is Mine/Monday Musings A Proverbs 31 Wife Darling Downs Diaries The Art of Homemaking Mom2Mom Linkup
Tuesdays Rich Faith Rising Unite Linky Cornerstone Confessions Titus 2 Tuesday Teaching What is Good Time Warp Wife Solo Deo Gloria Sisterhood More of Him Testimony Tuesday
Wednesdays A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Juana Mikels Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesdays A Little R & R Whole Hearted Home So Much at Home Mom’s Morning Coffee Women with Intention
Thursdays Serving Joyfully/Thriving Thursdays 3-D Lessons for Life/Thought Provoking Thursdays The Deliberate Mom/Shine Blog Hop I Choose Joy
Fridays A Look at the Book Christian Mommy Blogger Fellowship Fridays Blessing Counters Missional Women Faith Filled Fridays Faith & Fellowship Bloghop Grace & Truth Linkup
Saturdays Still Saturday The Weekend Brew
Sundays Spiritual Sundays Sunday Stillness

This post may contain affiliate links, but I only recommend books and resources that I believe are theologically sound and beneficial to the reader. Thank you for supporting this blog and ministry by supporting my links!