SORT BY Relevancy
We need personal honesty, and a lessening of fear, if anything we do will have any chance of pleasing God.
We have a softening society, one that seems more feminine and less firm and reliable with each passing day. We have bought into the importance of self-esteem, that happiness is essential, and that every man should get in touch with his inner child...or inner female. How's that workin'?
Not surprisingly, while the Bible challenges all men to be sensitive to women and children, it also STRONGLY admonishes them to be neither women nor children.
In this time when "feelings" seem to matter so much, the timeless truth is roles matter so much more. For those who want to see truth prosper and prevail, there is a clear edict, and that from the Most High: Play the Man.
Pharell Williams has earned retirement money, enough perhaps to support a small city, via a song, in which he encourages people to, "Clap Along, if you feel that Happiness is the truth..." and there is no harm in that.
However, and while the majority of people want and seek happiness, it is difficult to find much suport for the idea that God has much concern for His people's, or anyone's, happiness.
Very few people understand the concepts of heavenly joy and glory, seeing as they can only be grasped by faith, and are rarely experienced in this life; they are part of the promise regarding the life to come. Until then, man that is born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble.
If you know the nature of people, and the condition of the world in which they live, it is not difficult to understand why God asks few, if any, people to "Clap Along, if you know what Happiness is to you..." Neither is it difficult to understand that, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
This is very straightforward.
Since Adam's fall, trouble and suffering became, and does remain the human norm.
The trouble comes when people believe the same God who brought suffering to the human condition has a grand plan to remove it, for anyone, during their time under the sun.
The primary thing you want to communicate leaders is how to lead. Relentless focus on the objectives to be achieved is why you have leaders.
Unfortunately, that focus is no longer sharp, because we have sought leaders where God would not have us look, and asked leaders to be attentive to matters of secondary importance.
Unless and until that changes, growing and sustaining the church of Jesus Chrst will be an increasingly difficult task.
Among many human failings the saint of God must overcome is knowiing what is, and what is not, his concern.
It is easy for a man to want to know what God requires of others or, worse yet, to believe he knows and to the point that he believes he should regulate the behavior of his fellow saints.
The truth is somewhat different. While God establishes men as examples for others, no man truly has charge of another. All answer to God...and the questions he answers to the Almighty are rarely anyone else's business.
"Walk a mile in my shoes before you judge me" is a saying that has become a proverb. These days it has "morphed" into, "You don't know (anything about) me", as people look to avoid anyone having making an unflattering commentary on their lives.
However, there is a silliness and shallowness to this. Jesus, though acquainted with suffering, never walked a mile in anyone else's shoes, yet it would be strange to hear someone say that the Lord does not know them...but of course, He is the Lord.
Yet Paul was an under 5-foot, hook-nosed, Pharisee of the Jews who had lived by the strictest of codes. Nevertheless, he was able to persuade many people, with whom he had nothing in common, to turn to God, by telling them about their lives through the preaching of the gospel.
Among the only times in Scripture when divine power was "small" is recorded in Matthew 13:54-58
And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
The journey to faith in God contains numerous obstacles, nearly all have their root in what we see:
The man whose son was demon-possessed, seeing only his child's torment, had his belief compromised,
Peter, as he walked on the water, saw the boisterous wind, and his faith gave way,
The apostles, upon seeing the Lord captured, scattered and went into hiding.
Indeed, as Jesus said to one who pleaded for a dying child, "Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe."
God commends faith that is not eye-dependent:
John 20:29 "Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."
1 Peter 1:7-9 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
So reality is best perceived with eyes ignored. Can you believe?
There is nothing new about children conceived outside of wedlock; it can be found in scripture, as far back as Genesis, even in the house of Judah, who unwittingly impregnated his daugher-in-law, believing her a harlot when he had intercourse with her. Let's just say, of that situation, it was complicated.
Interestingly, the Lord Jesus is a direct descendant of one of the twin boys born of that physical union (see Matthew 1:3 and Luke 3:33). Depending upon how one reads, Boaz, who married Ruth the Moabitess, and was the great-grandfather of King David, may himself been conceived out of wedlock.
Finally, the Lord Himself was not conceived in the usual way, and his mother was thought a fornicator (see John 8:41), and his earthly father Joseph was presumed a cuckold.
It would seem God regards illegitimacy differently than do we, and this is not a new phenomenon. Upon seeing a 13-year-old Ishmael, Abraham's son by her handmaid Hagar) mocking the newborn Isaac, whom she bore to Abraham, Sarah declared that Ishmael would not be an heir alongside Isaac, and petitioned her husband to cast out Hagar and Ishmael.
Perhaps Sarah could not separate the child's conception from how she blieved his life should be, and what it should contain. That thinking remains common even to this day...but it has never been God's thinking.
How we view people, if based upon anything they could not control, says much more about us than it says regarding the person at whom we are looking. The same is true regarding our view of people that overlooks how they handled those things that are in their control.
The Lord, unsurprisingly, has much to say about the raising of children...and most of it falls on either deaf or confused ears.
That many still regard the children given them as reflections of themselves lies at the root of many problems. It is easy and customary to say that a child "looks like" a parent or other family member and somehow conclude that might be an indication of the person that they are. How foolish.
If Adam and Eve were once the same body, yet they had different minds, different souls, and indeed were not the same person, how is it that someone that God fashioned in a womb for some 40 weeks must be like...anyone else?
We do children a disservice, we risk messing up their lives, when we choose to what we want for children and, effectively, blame God's word, rather than do as God says with children, properly raising them...and ourselves.
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