Thursday, April 16, 2015

TAXING TIMES

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One of the concerns of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is suggested by a study they have been doing on: “IRS - Understanding Taxpayer Compliance Behavior:  While the tax gap reflects the extent of taxpayer noncompliance, it is also important to understand why taxpayers are compliant or noncompliant.” There have been various studies undertaken that cover a broad area and include: “Econometric analyses; Lab experiments; Field or natural experiments; Other modeling.” In other words, they are developing ways and means for the administration of and compliance to an envisioned Behavioral Tax. To some degree, a behavioral tax is already in place. There is a Tobacco Tax and a Gasoline Tax (which some would like to increase greatly for “infrastructure” revisions (which was the idea behind the original tax), To control carbon emissions, one government motivation was to close down the coal industry. To accomplish this entailed increased environmental regulation and additional taxation. Two of the results are the unemployment of Coal Miners and the increased utility rates. Another discussed area is the imposition of a Sugar Tax suggesting that this will curtail certain health issues (such as, obesity and diabetes). 

More than one hundred years ago, the concept of Behavioral Modification became a reality in the area of Clinical Psychology. In 1911, Edward Thorndike wrote an article on: “Provisional Laws of Acquired Behavior or Learning.” In his article, there was frequent reference to “modifying behavior” through varying stimuli. A summary of his intent was a development of: “techniques for increasing adaptive behavior through reinforcement and decreasing maladaptive behavior through extinction or punishment (with emphasis on the former). One of the assumptions of ensuing studies is: “One way of giving positive reinforcement in behavior modification is in providing compliments, approval, encouragement, and affirmation; a ratio of five compliments for every one complaint is generally seen as effective in altering behavior in a desired manner and even in producing stable marriages.” There is much more to the article and studies. For further data, go to:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behavior_modification.

When we think about the current taxing times, it conjures up the recollection of 1776 and the publication by Thomas Paine, titled: Common Sense. He communicated simply: “These are times that try men’s souls” as the American Revolution was about to take place. His broad appeal was to the common farmer as well as to the intellectuals. From a Biblical perspective, there are two considerations by which men’s souls will be assessed. 

The spiritual adaptation of Common Sense has at least two components. The first is II Corinthians 5:17, where there will be a dramatic behavioral modification: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” The old things have the broad reference to the lusts of the flesh and eyes, along with the boastful pride of life (I John 2:15-17). The second is found in I Peter 1:3-9, “(God the Father)…who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,..In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” Even though there may be “Taxing Times” because of one’s faith in Jesus Christ, one will be “protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Regardless of taxing time, have faith and confidence in the Living and True God. Consider these things with me.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

HUMILIATION

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It is sometimes difficult to watch and listen to the news and commentary about significant events that have or are taking place. Last evening, on The O’Reilly Factor, the host was on a rant about his theme of humiliation. It was in his reference the President and a series of current events that are occurring: Russia sending a state of the art Missile Defense System; Iran repudiating his interpretation of the Nuclear Treaty; a US Senate Committee voting unanimously to be involved in any final treaty proposals; the removal of Cuba from the State Terror list; the movements of the Russian Fleet and intimidating tactics of its Air Force; the lack of sufficient involvement and interest in the struggle of Ukraine; and the negative sense of Jordan and other Middle East nations about his detachment from pressing issues pertaining to ISIS and Iranian intrusion into several surrounding countries.

What is humiliation on a personal or national scale? When used as an adjective, one of the definitions is: “having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience” (dictionary.com). When used as a verb, one meaning is: “to lower in condition, importance, or dignity; abase.” One of the Synonyms indicates: “to subdue, crush, break. Humble, degrade, humiliate suggest lowering or causing to seem lower. To humble is to bring down the pride of another or to reduce him or her to a state of abasement.” Humiliation carries with it a sense of one being ignored,  disrespected, marginalized and disregarded. Such a one may arrogantly continue on with a chosen agenda but the effort in speech or negotiation is merely tolerated and actually ignored. By extension, a nation whose word was once its bond is now ignored. The national interests and presence no longer causes fear or respect by others. The trust factor has been diminished and words no longer are believed or appreciated. The national and international response to this nation and its elected officials is a serious concern. It has placed the nation and its allies at risk.

There was a far more important event that occurred regarding humiliation. Theologically, it is referenced as The Humiliation of Jesus Christ.” After Martin Luther arrived at a place of understanding of the just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17), he would later write a Catechism that covered the basics of Christ’s purpose and accomplishment when He came to this earth. In Question 127, he asks and answers: “What was Christ's humiliation? Christ's humiliation was that as man He did not always or fully use His divine powers. Philippians 2:5-8, Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (NKJV). In Question 131, he asks and answers: “What do the Scriptures teach about Christ's life, suffering, and death? They teach that Christ endured poverty, contempt, and persecution in His earthly life; 2 Corinthians 8:9 Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich; Matthew 8:20, Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head; Isaiah. 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” His answer also includes reference to: “He suffered great agony of body and soul under Pontius Pilate and He died in excruciating agony on the cross.”n

In Isaiah 53:3-8 (NASB), we read about The Suffering Servant, Jesus Christ and His Humiliation: “He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him…He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away…” The thrust of Easter is that Jesus arose triumphant. Death no longer had its sting. The grave no longer had its victory. The sad reality regarding our nation is that the claim continues to be made that the United States indicates it is 80% Christian! When the survey question is asked, How many evangelicals are there in America, the response is: “There are about 2,154,000 evangelical/born again Christians in America as of 2008. This is according to the 2010 Statistical Abstract of the U.S. Census Bureau, which sourced its data from the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) 2008.” Sadly, most people think they will go to heaven when they die. However, they lack a substantive response to What/Who is a Christian. Are you a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ? Is it evidenced by your commitment to Jesus Christ and your obedience to His Word? Consider these things with me!  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

FALDERAL

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With technological advances, the public is subjected to a continuous and seemingly endless flow of words, including idioms and nuances. Terminology is expressed that is oftentimes disconnected from reality or fact. Definitions are altered that confuse and the so-called talking points of politicians and pundits can easily blur one’s understanding and confuse the one hearing or reading the designed remarks. While one is tempted to relegate this form of communication to politicians or attorneys, it does manage to infiltrate the areas of philosophical theology in general and religion in particular. If one accesses any number of religious groups on social media, there will be many instances of opinion offered rather than clear exegetical fact. That which causes one to receive an opinion offered rather than the fact of the matter depends upon how the words make one feel. It rests upon how it resonates with one’s personal opinion or desired and chosen lifestyle. 

What then is Falderal? It is defined as: “mere nonsense, foolish talk or ideas; trifles.” In other words, it all depends subjectively on the one who spends little time in regular reading and studying to determine that which is real and true versus that which imagined and false. Proverbs 17:27-28 (KJV) shares this word of wisdom and guidance for one’s understanding: “He that has knowledge spares his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise: and he that shuts his lips is esteemed as a man of understanding.” The NLT renders these verses: “A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.” A similar thought is shared in Ecclesiastes 5:2, “Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few.” There is another valuable principle regarding one’s use of words. It is given in James 1:19-20 (NASB), “But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” One of the most difficult lesson one has to learn, especially those who are part of the collective clergy, is to be known as one who is “quick to hear and slow to speak (or respond).” 

James has offered good counsel in his epistle in terms of words used and the accompanying falderal, emptiness and meaningless. For instance, in James 2:14-15, “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and be filled, and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?” Another illustration is given in James 3:5-10, “So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet  it boasts of great things…And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell…But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.” James is addressing the hypocrisy of one’s words and how often a person is complicit in that which is falderal.

Are you an individual whose words are meaningless and empty? Are you a person who is preoccupied with trifles rather than with that which is substantive? Are you one whose talk is valued because  your walk is consistent with what you have said and expressed as your belief? In James 1:22, we read: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” Jesus had previously made a similar point in Luke 8:21, “My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.” Are you a genuine doer of God’s Word? Consider these things with me.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

INTRANSIGENCE

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At one time or another, all of us have encountered an Intransigent Person. It may have been in a place of employment, a classroom, a military tour of duty, or in the Church. In the area of politics, while compromise is often used as a word or concept, it is rarely applied in such a way that it finds uniform agreement with those who elected them to office. A classic example would be a President who bypasses the Congress, ignores the Constitution and dares to govern by Executive Orders. 

When such a pervasive attitude is allowed to dominate within the Church, it will always diminish the thrust and mission of the Church. Whatever is attempted will have to be approved by the “rule or ruin” personality or he will threaten to cut off his financial support or just leave and go to a different Church. Such a person is easy to detect. Overall, they project an persona, “it is either my way or the highway.” Those who would do an objective assessment would identify such a one as having a "rule or ruin" modus operandi and attitude. On the flip side, such a person is characterized by his “refusing to compromise or agree, and persistent inflexibility.”

There is a pattern and model that those within the Church should be committed to following. Two of the passages in God’s Word state it clearly. First, Philippians 2:3-8 (NIV), “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross!” These words are very clear and precise regarding one's attitude, namely, “have the very same mindset (attitude) as Christ Jesus.” Does that characterize who you are and how you conduct yourself in all interpersonal relationships?

Secondly, we have the compelling words recorded in Hebrews 12:1-3 (NASB), “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” The directive is abundantly clear, We are to “lay aside every encumbrance (weight) and the sin which so easily entangles us.” Those encumbrances and sins are categorically described in I John 2:15-17 (NASB), “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever." The areas addressed are “lust” and “pride.” Lust is a strong desire, drive or craving that is like a fire burning within one’s spirit and soul until personal satisfaction is achieved, despite or regardless of the cost(s).  Pride is “a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in conduct.” Such a one ignores the words of warning in Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Are you an Intransigent Person or one who has learned the Biblical objective for one’s life, Micah 6:8 (NLT)?  Be guided by, “The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Consider these things with me!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

DECLINE: A CHOICE OR A DESTINY

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A prospective presidential candidate was being asked a series of questions about his view of the nation and what he would do to bring about positive and constructive change if he became a candidate and was elected President. Without hesitation, he made the following statement: “Decline is a choice - not a destiny.” That phrase is one that summarizes many issues in one’s personal life. It has application to business decisions and governmental direction as well (does a nation lead or follow). In a rapidly changing culture, does the Nation or Church capitulate to the new norms unfolding or does it continue to remain established on the normal norms and Judeo-Christian ethical values?

Within the past 100 years, the foundations began to crumble within outstanding Universities and Seminaries. The once hallowed halls of academia allowed for a shift to evolutionary thought in Science and liberal interpretations in the Schools of Theology. As the decline occurred in the Seminaries, it soon began to impact the Denominations and Churches within the country. It should be remembered that: “Decline is a Choice - Not a Destiny.” Either by a devious or deliberate plan on the one hand, or apathy and indifference on the other, erosion and decline began and has been steadily gaining momentum. Even though new schools of learning were being established, they have not been able to gain the traction, notice or prestige that continues to be held by the very old institutions. 

Within the past 50 years, an evolution began within the framework of the values that had been long-embraced by the Nation and Church. Some of the basic values that were once cherished have entered the realm of decline. The list is long but it can be seen in the areas of Prayer and Bible Reading in the Public Schools discouraged and removed; Abortion on Demand being legalized by the Supreme Court of the United States; same gender marriages becoming legal in most states of the union; and many other intrusions into the realm of moral values and foundational principles. The Bible that at one time was central within our governmental institutions is no longer prominent. There are a few occasions when some religious reference occurs. Many times a speech may end with “God Bless America.” At one time that phrase had greater reality than it does today. I suppose a question that could be raised when that phrase is used is: Why should God Bless America? What have we done and what are we doing to deserve His Blessing rather than His Judgment? When we condone and legalize that which His Word and Law prohibits and condemns, have we not placed our nation where it is more deserving of His Curse rather than His Blessing? 

In thinking about “Decline is a choice - not a destiny” one can easily relate to Biblical History and the evidence of bad choices being made that impacted one’s life and destiny. Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden had an opportunity to obey one directive from God the Creator that would enable them to remain in a perfect relationship and fellowship with God. Their decline was based upon their choice and it ultimately became the decline for the entire human race and history that has followed. There is this summary in the middle of The Resurrection Chapter - I Corinthians 15:20-22  (NASB) that states: “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.” If one chooses to follow the path of the first Adam, he will most assuredly be on the slippery slope of decline. This will be his destiny - physical and spiritual death. However, if one makes the deliberate choice to embrace Jesus Christ and His values, his destiny will be eternal life and the reality of entering God’s Heaven. 

The words of Joshua 24:14-15 should be boldly proclaimed today. Joshua and Caleb were two men who had made a wise choice of following the Lord wholeheartedly. Prior to his death, Joshua reviews Israel’s History with the people. He then states the words in verse 14-15, “Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Would they make the wise and right choice? What choice would you have made? 

In 1845, James Russell Lowell wrote a Hymn that contains these meaningful and purposeful words: “Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide, In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side; Some great cause, some great decision, offering each the bloom or blight, And the choice goes by forever, ’twixt that darkness and that light.” The words stated earlier - “Decline is a Choice - not a Destiny” - are valid for the Church and Nation today. What or Who will prevail - the culture or Jesus Christ? The Hymn concludes with these words: “Though the cause of evil prosper, yet the truth alone is strong; Though her portion be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong; Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown, Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own.” For the people of God, this is our moment to choose. If we choose that which is culturally trendy, our destiny will be decline and demise. Choose today Whom (or what) you will serve. It is either the solid rock, Jesus Christ or the eroding culture that is trending toward captivity and entrapment in the cultural maze. Consider these things with me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

THE SILENT LAMBS

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The culture of the world and our nation is going through many transitions. Things that were at one time unthinkable and intolerable are becoming legal and accepted. At one time, they were condemned and now they are being condoned. The rule of law is marginalized and moral standards are being eroded. We see evil, wickedness and atrocities abounding and the silence in that regard is deafening. Those who comment about events as they unfold are ignored because of the manner in which their view is expressed and presented. A person who decides to become a Presidential candidate indicates that in recent elections more than one half of professing Christians chose to sit on their hands and decided not to vote. The result has been that those elected have placed the values of the non-voter on the slippery slope that is heading toward oblivion and it is dragging the entire nation with it. The world is jeopardized as the blind lead the blind toward the precipice of destruction.

The Biblical Christian is as culpable as the marginal professing ones. In recent days, a friend posted a public domain graphic on her Facebook Page and had it removed by a FB censor. No reason was given but perhaps the misguided individual objected to the graphic content. It pictured an image on a cross and the use of John 3:16. It was sad that with all the Biblical and nominal “Christians” on Facebook, very few made any comment or offered a protest of any sort. The apathy is astounding and the silence is deafening. How well do we love The One who was suspended on the cross of Calvary? How well do we cherish the substance of John 3:16 that tells us of God’s love demonstrated by the gift of His Son who would be The One who was suspended on that cross and result in all who would believe in Him should never perish but have everlasting (eternal) life? Does that message mean anything at all to us? Is it something about which we should remain silent? Do we believe as the Apostle Paul did (Romans 1:16), “I am NOT ashamed of the Gospel of Christ (John 3:16) because it is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe, both the Jew and the Gentile alike.”

The sound Bible Commentaries reminds us that sheep/lambs are a species that cannot be driven by a cowboy as cattle but must be led gently and with gentleness to verdant (rich with vegetation) pastures. This idea and concept is demonstrated within Psalm 23 (paraphrased from NLT): “The Lord shepherds me and I have everything that I need; He leads me to a safe place to rest; He finds peaceful streams so I can quench my thirst; He renews my strength; He guides me along correct paths; in the darkest and most dreaded places, He delivers me from my fears because He is close beside me; He makes preparations for me even when I am surrounded by enemies; He overflows my life with multiple blessings; His goodness and unfailing love surround me always; and He will bring me into His eternal dwelling place where I will live with Him forever.” 

When Peter was being reestablished in his relationship with Jesus Christ, on three occasions he is asked by Jesus about his personal level of love for Him (John 21:15-17). The focus Jesus wanted Peter to have was the care and feeding of His sheep and His lambs. It is significant when Peter is writing to the believers who were being persecuted and scattered in 65 AD of The Lamb who had been slaughtered in their behalf.  In I Peter 1:18-19 (ESV), he reminds the persecuted believers: “you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” The Good Shepherd (John 10) had given His life in behalf of the sheep and lambs. The words and music written by Twila Paris capture this message in the words…”Your gift of Love They crucified. They laughed and scorned him as he died. The humble King They named a fraud And sacrificed the Lamb of God.”

As we approach Palm Sunday, the song flowing from our hearts should be the words written by Matthew Bridges (1852): “Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne. Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own. Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee, And hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.” Is this the Hymn in your heart and the reality of your life? Don’t be a silent lamb any longer. Proclaim and Crown Him today as the King of your life! Consider these things with me!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

WORTHY AMBITION

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It seems as though the media is saturated with reports about celebrities and their ambitions. Actors, politicians, athletes and newscasters become personalities that are constantly before the public. There are times when one of the basic childhood rules should be practiced, “Silence is golden!” However, certain people have the propensity for making comments about every detail and nuance of life. It matters little whether it is some local event that has occurred or an international crisis that is taking place, they believe the population of communities and nations are sitting on the edge of their seats just waiting to hear them pontificate about events as they interpret them. The media is complicit as well with their blaring banners and approach when they use terms such as “Breaking News” or “Exclusive Interview.” As one changes the Channel or Station, nearly all are claiming to have the official “Breaking News” and “Exclusive Interview,” Depending on who is reported or being interviewed, many times their words can inflame or exacerbate a situation. Facts become sacrificed to opinion or bias. Little consideration is given for a time to implement the words of wisdom in Proverbs 17:27, “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.”

When it comes to The Church and those who dominate the stage of religion, there is a word for the servant of the Lord in Ecclesiastes 5:1-2, “Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few.” The Apostle Paul was very clear in terms of what motivated him to speak and the topics he addressed. An insight into his ministry approach is given in I Corinthians 2:1-7, “And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.mWe do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom.”

Those who dominate the religious platform and stage with their rhetoric and dogmatism about world events can and do cause delusion and discouragement among people who constitute their audience. Misrepresentations are repeated and become more diluted as they are repeated. As world events unfold and are interpret as being the end times, the delusion expands. It is at this juncture that one should give consideration to that which Paul shared in I Thessalonians 2:9-12, “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” The Lord expects His people to be knowledgeable of His Word and to abide by what it teaches and instructs. Men and their interpretations can gain them popularity and allow them to sell many books. Their popularity and interpretations should never be allowed to usurp one’s personal study of God’s Word and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in to all of God’s truth. 

That which is lacking are those of whom it can be said: (1) This person walked with God (Enoch); (2) This person believed God and it was credited to him/her as righteousness (Abraham); (3) This person followed the Lord God wholeheartedly (Caleb); (4) This person lived an exemplary life before God “By faith” (Hebrews 11). There’s plenty of room and space for there to be an increasing number of people to be so identified before the Lord. One illustration that stands out is indicated in The Book of Job (1:1), “There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” Because of the consistency of his life and his reverent walk before the Lord, the devil even took notice of his exemplary life. In Job 1:8-10, we note: “And the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? Then Satan answered the Lord and said, Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.” One of the things needed more than ever before are godly people who walk with fear before the Lord and who desire God’s hedge around them and their family. Is this your goal and worthy ambition? Consider these things with me!