Entertainment Values

Entertainment Values
What kind of media do you allow to entertain you?

Everyone enjoys a good movie, TV show, and song. But what kind of content are we allowing to entertain us? When watching or listening to mainstream content it doesn’t take long to run into crude joking, foul language, God’s name taken in vain, sensuality and sexuality, etc.… When we come across this type of content, do we stop (watching, listening), or do we put up with sin in order to be entertained? I think we have all fallen short in this area many times. But as Christians sin should never be allowed to entertain us. It’s time to start being more diligent in guarding our hearts and minds. We need to seek out options with values and messages that don’t promote sin and lies. Why would content creators quit making perversion when everyone is willing to put up with it?

We can’t avoid all forms of sin when dealing with the world, but entertainment is a choice we do have control over.

The Bible is Very Clear about what Christians Should Pursue

Psalm 119:37
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.

Proverbs 4:23
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

Romans 1:32
Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Romans 12:9
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.

Romans 16:19
For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.

1 Corinthians 15:33-34
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”  34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

2 Corinthians 7:1
Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

2 Corinthians 12:21
I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.

Ephesians 4:19-20
They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!

Ephesians 5:3-12
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Colossians 3:5-10
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you; sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

1 Thessalonians 5:19-22
Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

James 1:21
Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

1 Peter 1:14-15
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct

1 Peter 2:11
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.

1 Peter 2:16
Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

Titus 2:11-14
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

1 Peter 4:3
For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.

1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Revelation 3:17-19
For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

Revelation 18:3-5
For all nations have drunk
    the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality,
and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her,
    and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.”

Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,

“Come out of her, my people,
    lest you take part in her sins,
lest you share in her plagues;
for her sins are heaped high as heaven,
    and God has remembered her iniquities.


In case that’s not enough…

Deuteronomy 23:14
Because the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and to give up your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy, so that he may not see anything indecent among you and turn away from you.

Proverbs 3:7
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

Job 31:1
I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?

Mark 7:21-23
For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.

Romans 6:19
I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

Romans 8:5-8
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 12:1
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Romans 13:13
Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.

Romans 14:21 (Importance of not causing fellow Christians to stumble by our actions)
It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.

1 Corinthians 5:6
Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 

1 Corinthians 6:18-20
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 10:6-8
Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.

1 Corinthians 10:31
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Galatians 1:10
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Galatians 5:16-26
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Ephesians 4:29-30
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 

Philippians 1:27
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel

Philippians 2:14-15
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

1 Timothy 4:12
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

1 Timothy 5:22
Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.

1 Timothy 6:11
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.

2 Timothy 2:22
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

2 Timothy 3:1-5
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Titus 3:3
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

Hebrews 12:4
In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

James 1:27
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

James 3:6
And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.

James 4:3-10
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

1 Peter 3:10-11
“Whoever desires to love life
    and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
    and his lips from speaking deceit;
11 let him turn away from evil and do good;
    let him seek peace and pursue it.

1 Peter 4:7
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

2 Peter 1:5-8
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 2:4-10
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

2 Peter 2:15
Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing

Jude 1:4
For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Revelation 2:2
I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.

Revelation 2:20
But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.

Revelation 4:8
And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
    who was and is and is to come!”

Social Distancing Gone Too Far

 

Some interesting articles to go along with this short film.

People choose electric shocks over 15 minutes of thinking: https://www.spring.org.uk/2014/07/people-choose-electric-shocks-over-sitting-quietly-for-15-minutes-and-thinking.php

US adults consume over 12 hours of media a day:
https://www.emarketer.com/content/us-time-spent-with-media-2019 https://www.statista.com/statistics/276683/media-use-in-the-us/

How Did I Get Here?

Why do we have to be diligent in reading the Bible? Because we easily become careless and complacent in our lives, which leads us into sins that so easily beset each of us. And before long we have wondered farther off the path than we ever intended and are left thinking to ourselves; how did I get here?


The battle

“You know more about your ledgers than your Bible; you know more about your magazines and novels than what God has written; many of you will read a novel from the beginning to the end, and what have you got? A mouthful of foam when you are done. But you cannot read the Bible; that solid, lasting, substantial, and satisfying food goes uneaten, locked up in the cupboard of neglect; while anything that a man writes, a best seller of the day, is greedily devoured.” -Spurgeon


“There is not a place beneath which a believer walks that is free from snares… behind every bush there is the lion seeking to devour; under every piece of grass there lies the adder. They are everywhere.” -Spurgeon

 


The command to be diligent

You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies and his statutes, which he has commanded you. -Deuteronomy 6:17
You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. -Psalm 119:4


I have stored up your word in my heart, 
that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. -Proverbs 8:17


But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.  And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him -2 Peter 3:13-15


“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children—
 how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’ -Deuteronomy 4:9-10


And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. -Deuteronomy 6:6-8

Have You Sacrificed Relationships Because of Selfish Ambition?

Have you sacrificed relationships because of selfish ambition? I have. It may look different for each of us; possibly athletic achievements, career advancements, the pursuit of wealth and possessions, social status, online fame, etc.… Anything that so consumes us we loose sight of what is really important and of those around us. We all have to ask ourselves if our personal goals and pursuits are really worth sacrificing relationships for?

We have an opportunity to have a good relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
We have an opportunity to have a good relationship with our families.
We have an opportunity to have a good relationship with friends and others around us.

How we relate to God and how we relate to people are of utmost importance.  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

If our goals hinder these relationships, maybe we should re-evaluate our goals.

Alcohol is Always a Good Time, Right?

We live in a culture that loves its wine and alcohol. Where I’m from people go to bars if they want to find a girlfriend or boyfriend. Others drink because of the stresses of life or it’s their idea of having a good time. But alcohol is a substance that can easily control a person. Whether through personal experience or through observation we have all seen this. I’ve seen women go home with guys they would have never gone home with if they were sober. I’ve had drunk people tell me things they would never tell someone in their right mind. I’ve seen drunk people act like complete fools and idiots, and I’ve seen drunk people become very angry, aggressive, and easily agitated. While drinking may not be condemned as a sin, getting drunk is. “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). But the Bible says a lot more about it than just this. We would be wise to reflect on what God says about it and be willing to reevaluate our own lives.

Galatians 5:19-21
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Peter 4:3-5
For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

Proverbs 20:1
Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

Proverbs 21:17
Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not be rich.

Isaiah 5:11
Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them!

Isaiah 5:22
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink,

Proverbs 23:29-31
Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
Those who tarry long over wine;
those who go to try mixed wine.
Do not look at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup
and goes down smoothly.

Proverbs 31:4-7
It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
it is not for kings to drink wine,
or for rulers to take strong drink,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed
and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
and wine to those in bitter distress;
let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.

Isaiah 28:7
These also reel with wine and stagger with strong drink; the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, they are swallowed by wine, they stagger with strong drink, they reel in vision, they stumble in giving judgment.

Hosea 4:10-11
They shall eat, but not be satisfied;
they shall play the whore, but not multiply,
because they have forsaken the Lord
to cherish whoredom, wine, and new wine,
which take away the understanding.

Micah 2:11
If a man should go about and utter wind and lies, saying, “I will preach to you of wine and strong drink,” he would be the preacher for this people!

God, Show Me A Sign

How does the Holy Spirit work in the life of Christians? Is it through promptings that are based on a feeling we might get at any given moment? Is it through an unknown and ambiguous sign? I’m sure most of us have been in situations when you get a feeling or urge that you should do something and then a few moments later you start to think better of it and question whether this is really something you should do or not; before you know it you’re on a teeter totter going back and forth in your mind. Was this a prompting from the Holy Spirit?

The Bible says God is not a God of confusion but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). So, what does the Bible say about how the Holy Spirit works and leads in a Christians life?

The Holy Spirit is…
-Active in salvation.
(John 16:8-11; Titus 3:5)
-Active in assurance of salvation. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
-Active in Sanctification or the spiritual growth of a Christian. (2 Thessalonians 2:13; John 14:15-16)
-Active in guiding us in truth. (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13)
-Active in the perseverance of faith. (2 Timothy 1:13-14, Romans 8:1-17; Ephesians 3:14-19)
-Active in helping us pray. (Romans 8:14-15; Romans 8:26-27)
-Active in giving us wisdom or the practical application of our faith. (Romans 12:9-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8)
-Active in promoting Christian unity. (Ephesians 4:1-4)
-Active in fighting sin and pursuing righteousness. (Ephesians 6:10-20)
-Active in reasonable and practical Christian living. (Proverbs; Isaiah 11; Philippians 4:4-9)
-Active in discernment. (1 John 4:1-6; Acts 6:10; Hebrews 5:14)
-Active in producing the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16-26)

As we can see the work of the Holy Spirit is based in truth, the truth of God’s word; not in an ambiguous feeling or sense. The work of the Spirit helps us in practical daily Christian living. The Holy Spirits work is helping us actively live our faith out in a fallen, sinful, and hostile world towards God and His word. We need the Spirit to open our eyes to the truth of the gospel, to flee sin and pursue righteousness, to have the courage to share the gospel with those around us, to endure suffering and persecution, and to live with wisdom and discretion.

There is nothing ambiguous about that, rather it’s first and foremost about learning to become obedient and submissive to God and His word. And when you are living a life seeking obedience to Him, then He will guide you in His way and His time in those areas where there may be more freedom in choice; such as what job should I work, where should I live, who should I date or marry (within the Christian faith), etc…

We should not be living our Christian life based on senses, feelings, or perceived signs from God; but rather our lives should be guided by the Holy Spirit who practically helps us live out the truth found in God’s word.

A final warning about reckless living
Proverbs 14:6
One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.

Jeremiah 23:32
Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the Lord, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them. So they do not profit this people at all, declares the Lord.

2 Timothy 3:1-5
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Gospel – Returning to the Truth

Time to get back to what the Bible says about the gospel:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them. Thus says the LORD, “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no God. I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right.” This God—His way is perfect, the word of the LORD proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our Fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, Jesus Christ, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom He also created the world. For God says of the Son, “Your throne O God is forever and ever. You, LORD, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands.” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. And God spoke all these words saying, “You shall have no other god’s before me. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I, (Jesus), say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. You shall not steal. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or anything that is your neighbors.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. On account of these the wrath of God is coming: evil desire, covetousness (which is idolatry), anger, wrath, malice, slander, obscene talk, and lying. Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” And without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, He was buried, and He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

For it is by grace that you are saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Design

Psalm 119:73
Your hands have made and fashioned me;
Give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.

When God gives His commands to us through His word there is always a purpose. We have a tendency to think of God as someone who tells us what to do or not to do with a ‘because I said so’ attitude. Like we’re supposed to blindly follow with no reason given. However, this is an incorrect way of thinking and an incorrect view of God.

God is the Creator and therefore He knows exactly how His creation was made to function best. So, when we read the Bible and see that God tells us to pursue certain things and avoid other things; He is saying those things because not only is it right, but as Creator He knows what is best. We get in trouble when we start to think our way is better than God’s way, this is sin.

Psalm 119:80
May my heart be blameless in your statutes, that I may not be put to shame!

Fear of the Lord

If you were to ask someone what comes to mind when you hear the word “fear,” most would use examples of having a fear of snakes, heights, or death and so on. The principle being conveyed is one of wanting to stay away from those types of fears. We are scared of those things and thus we want nothing to do with them. However, when the Bible talks of the “fear of the Lord,” a totally different principle or concept is being conveyed. The Bible is God’s Word and in Proverbs 1:7 it says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” The Bible is God’s way of revealing Himself to us and also revealing how we can live in a way that is pleasing to Him. It would make no sense if this fear being referred to meant to be “scared of”, thus making us want to stay away from Him, especially when the Bible’s purpose is the exact opposite. Rather, when we take the whole of scripture we see that the fear being referred to is more along the lines of reverential awe. Or to simply be more concerned about what God thinks of your life than anyone else. Thus to fear God in this sense is simply to submit to God, knowing that God’s ways are always better.

To see how scripture clarifies this concept, consider the following verses; In Psalm 112:1 it says, “Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who greatly delights in His commandments.” Proverbs 19:23 says, “The fear of the Lord leads to life, So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.”