"Daily frame me more and more into the likeness of Thy Son, Jesus Christ." - George Washington

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pure Conscience

Solomon, the wisest man of all time, still stumbled and allowed things in his life that led him astray. He worshiped at the high places, which were used to sacrifice and burn incense in the pagan manner. For a time, even the bronze serpent was worshiped - faith was misplaced, in something that had no power of its own. (2 Kings 18:4)

1 Kings 3:3
Solomon loved the Lord, walking [at first] in the statutes and practices of David his father, only he sacrificed and burned incense in the high places.

1 Kings 11:7
Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abominable idol of Moab, on the hill opposite Jerusalem, and for Molech the abominable idol of the Ammonites.

He also broke laws laid down in Moses' time by amassing horses from Egypt, riches, and foreign wives to himself.

2 Chronicles 1:14-16
Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen; he had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, which he placed in the cities [suited for the use] of chariots and with the king at Jerusalem. And the king made silver and gold in Jerusalem as common as stones, and he made cedar as plentiful as the sycamores of the lowland. Solomon’s horses were brought out of Egypt; the king’s merchants received them in droves, each drove at a price.

1 Kings 11:1-4
But King Solomon [defiantly] loved many foreign women—the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites. They were of the very nations of whom the Lord said to the Israelites, You shall not mingle with them, neither shall they mingle with you, for surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods. Yet Solomon clung to these in love. He had 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines, and his wives turned away his heart from God. For when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not perfect (complete and whole) with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.

Deuteronomy 17:16-17 clearly states that no one ought to ever do such things, for they led to misplaced trust (in the chariots, which were the trump card in any battle, and also his riches which provided financial security and ease), and lowered defenses and standards [compromise], in trying to please others and fleshly desires (his foreign wives).

Unchecked sin, even small indulgent things, will wreak havoc in your life in every way. It comes back to bite you, no matter how small it is. Also see Judges 2:2-3.

Numbers 33:55
But if you will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those you let remain of them shall be as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your sides, and they shall vex you in the land in which you dwell.

Joshua 23:13
Know with certainty that the Lord your God will not continue to drive these nations from before you; but they shall be a snare and trap to you, and a scourge in your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good land which the Lord your God has given you.

Indulged sin - it pricks, vexes, scourges, traps. Sin will not be benign.

A dull and calloused conscience is the result of unchecked sin.

Ephesians 4:18-19
Their moral understanding is darkened and their reasoning is beclouded. [They are] alienated (estranged, self-banished) from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the ignorance (the want of knowledge and perception, the willful blindness) that is deep-seated in them, due to their hardness of heart [to the insensitiveness of their moral nature]. In their spiritual apathy they have become callous and past feeling and reckless and have abandoned themselves [a prey] to unbridled sensuality, eager and greedy to indulge in every form of impurity [that their depraved desires may suggest and demand].

Unchecked sin and a calloused conscience is a deadly, grave danger. It only takes one sin to lead to much greater sin. It sets you off track, it manipulates your path and your moral compass.

Matthew 6:23
But if your eye is unsound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the very light in you [your conscience] is darkened, how dense is that darkness!

Titus 1:15
To the pure [in heart and conscience] all things are pure, but to the defiled and corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are defiled and polluted.

It is also wide open door for Satan to use. And he will use it.

1 Peter 5:8
Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.

Be sober. Be vigilant, cautious. Be humble, sensitive. Seek the Lord, and do whatever it takes to remain in right standing with him and to keep your conscience pure and at peace.

Psalm 19:12-13
Who can discern his lapses and errors? Clear me from hidden [and unconscious] faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then shall I be blameless, and I shall be innocent and clear of great transgression.

Acts 24:16
Therefore I always exercise and discipline myself [mortifying my body, deadening my carnal affections, bodily appetites, and worldly desires, endeavoring in all respects] to have a clear (unshaken, blameless) conscience, void of offense toward God and toward men.

Not Our Own Understanding

“Now I am in some measure enlightened, I can easily perceive that it is in the adjustment and concurrence of these seemingly fortuitous circumstances, that the ruling power and wisdom of God is most evidently displayed in human affairs. How many such casual events may we remark in the history of Joseph, which had each a necessary influence on his ensuing promotion! If he had not dreamed, or if he had not told his dream; if the Midianites had passed by a day sooner, or a day later; if they had sod him to any person but Potiphar; if his mistress had been a better woman; if Pharaoh's officers had not displeased their lord; or if any, or all of these things had fallen out in any other manner or time than they did, all that followed had been prevented; the promises and purposes of God concerning Israel, their bondage, deliverance. Polity, and settlement, must have failed: and as all these things tended to, and centered in Christ, the promised Savior, the desire of all nations, would not have appeared... Thus we see a connection between Joseph's first dream and the death of our Lord Christ, with all its glorious consequences. So strong, though secret, is the concatenation between the greatest and smallest events. What a comfortable thought is this to a believer—to know that, amidst all the various interfering designs of men, the Lord has one constant design, which he cannot, will not, miss, namely, his own glory in the complete salvation of his people; and that he is wise, and strong, and faithful, to make even those things which seem contrary to this design, subservient to promote it.”
-John Newton

Sometimes, God takes unusual paths to bring about His will. As he led the Israelites—not straight to the land of Canaan by the direct route, but to the Red Sea, where they would be trapped and have no where to go, but by the way which the Lord provided. The circumstances are never what they seem to be, God always has a bigger plan and a path that you could not anticipate.

Proverbs 3:5
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.

2 Kings 6:15-20
When the servant of the man of God rose early and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was around the city. Elisha’s servant said to him, Alas, my master! What shall we do? [Elisha] answered, Fear not; for those with us are more than those with them. Then Elisha prayed, Lord, I pray You, open his eyes that he may see. And the Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. And when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, Smite this people with blindness, I pray You. And God smote them with blindness, as Elisha asked. Elisha said to the Syrians, This is not the way or the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek. And he led them to Samaria. And when they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, Lord, open the eyes of these men that they may see. And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw. Behold, they were in the midst of Samaria!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Are Dirty Jokes Alright?

Ephesians 4:29
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Ephesians 5:3-4
But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

Ephesians 5:11-12
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.

Proverbs 14:9
Fools mock at sin, But among the upright there is favor.

Proverbs 4:23-24
Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth, And put perverse lips far from you.

Psalm 19:14
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.