Proverbs 9:7 He that reproves a scorner gets to himself shame: and he that rebukes a wicked man gets himself a blot.
Proverbs 9:8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.
Proverbs 13:1 A wise son hears his father’s instruction: but a scorner hears not rebuke.
Proverbs 14:6 A scorner seeks wisdom, and finds it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understands.
Proverbs 15:12 A scorner loves not one that reproves him: neither will he go unto the wise.
Proverbs 19:25 Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.
Proverbs 21:11 When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.
Proverbs 21:24 Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who deals in proud wrath.
Proverbs 22:10 Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.
Proverbs 24:9 The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men
People shall mourn upon their breasts For the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine.
On the land of my people will come up thorns and briers,
Yes, on all the happy homes in the joyous city;
Because the palaces will be forsaken,
The bustling city will be deserted. The forts and towers will become lairs forever,
A joy of wild donkeys, a pasture of flocks-
Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,
And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
And the fruitful field is counted as a forest.
Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
And righteousness remain in the fruitful field.
The work of righteousness will be peace,
And the effect of righteousness,
Quietness and assurance forever.
My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation,
In secure dwellings,
and in quiet resting places,
This Present Crisis
Careless seems the great Avenger; history’s pages but record
One death-grapple in the darkness ‘twixt old systems and the Word;
Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,-
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own.
We see dimly in the Present what is small and what is great,
Slow of faith how weak an arm may turn the iron helm of fate,
But the soul is still oracular; amid the market’s din,
List the ominous stern whisper from the Delphic cave within, –
‘They enslave their children’s children who make compromise with sin.’
From This Present Crisis by James Russell Lowell
Life is about structure. We need external structure and we need internal structure. External structure is to support the internal structure. When external structure is absent, all the load of the responsibility is placed on the internal structure. That places too much stress and responsibility on the internal structure.
We were designed to live in societies that supply external structure to support our internal structure. Each system provides external structure for the internal structure of the smaller systems that depend on it.
The government is external structure. It provides structure to support the family and community. The government provides infrastructure of all kinds and a police force to maintain law and order. These are external structures to provide safety and services for the local communities.
The family is external structure. The individuals in the family have internal structure. The family provides the external structure to develop and support the internal structure of the individual.
A church congregation is external structure. The Spiritual life of the individual is his/her internal structure. The Church provides external Spiritual and social structure to support the internal Spiritual and social structure of the individual.
The Scripture and the Holy Spirit in the individual provide the strength for the internal structure. The Scripture and the Holy Spirit in the Church provide the structure of the Church which provides the external structure for the individual members.
When external structures are absent or not functioning well, the stresses for life are placed on the internal structure. If a family is dysfunctional, the internal structure of the individual has to provide all of the structure for life. That is too heavy of a load. People get overloaded very quickly in those kinds of situations.
If a church congregation does not provide for the Spiritual and social needs of the members, the members need to depend on their internal structure for their support and well-being. That is too heavy of a load on the individual.
We were made to function in social groups. We were not made to live alone. Social groups provide the needed external structure so we can develop into healthy, internally structured persons.
One of the reasons for many people needing counseling today is the lack of functional external structures. As the external structures of family, schools, church, and government fail to meet the external structural needs, the individual has to provide all the strength for life. That places too much demand on the internal structure for most people to deal with.
When we cannot deal with it, we then need to be propped up with counseling, medications, etc. so we can function in the compounded stresses of each day.
That said, in situations of duress, the internal structure will carry us through that time of life. Esther and Daniel were examples of the internal structure that was built into them early in life. That purpose carried them when strength failed. God did provide for them even in that time. He did and He will.
Jesus in the Garden prayed. He was supported by Heaven and by His prayers to His Father. When totally forsaken, His faith was still there. He knew that He knew that He knew that God was there even in the forsaken condition.
God has provided a wonderful plan for us to be supported by the structures around us and for us to provide those structures for those around us. Those provisions will sustain us even in times of aloneness. When father and mother forsake me, the Lord will lift me up Ps. 27:10. He will not forsake you.
We are designed to live in supportive community. But if and when that fails, we do not despair because God will be there. God is there. Praise the Lord. Meanwhile, let us build strength into our children and our church members so they are strong when they need to be.
Healthy families and healthy churches develop structure; not by demanding lock-step compliance but by training and teaching truth and discipline and by shepherding with love and grace and guidance so that we all come to the stature of the fullness of Jesus Christ. That is God’s plan. That needs to be our plan also.
The Map is Not the Road
The map is not the road.
The wrapper is not the candy.
The picture is not the person.
The advertisement is not the vehicle.
The brochure is not the vacation.
The building is not the Church.
The blueprint is not the house.
The bread is not the body.
The cup is not the blood.
The word is not the WORD.
It is so easy to confuse the symbol for the real. It is so easy to be enamored with the symbol all the while missing the truth of which it is symbolic. Symbols are necessary. Symbols are easy. They can even become idols.
The same religious leaders who killed the lamb for the Passover, killed the LAMB of GOD. How could they do that? In the presence of the WORD they missed the essence of the word. How could they do that? In search of the truth, they missed the TRUTH for which they searched.
The religious leaders knew the prophecies but killed the prophets. They defended the temple of the Lord but killed the LORD of the Temple. Nicodemus was a teacher of the law but was perplexed by The Teacher of the Law. They knew the symbols well but missed the truth which the symbols proclaimed.
The wedding is not the marriage. The wedding is indispensable. It is critically important. The wedding takes a day but the marriage takes a lifetime.
Would anyone, in the presence of their beloved, stare at the picture of that person? Whether that person is their spouse or their grandchild or their best friend? Would the beloved not feel slighted as the focus was placed on their image and not on the person? It would make no sense. We need to ask ourselves how God must feel with our thoughts of Him. He gave us symbols but wants us to use them to bless Him; not to be enamored with His symbols.
This is not to depreciate symbols. Symbols are very important. They are critical to understanding and to life. But, they are symbols and must be regarded as such. They have a very important purpose. They point us to truth and to TRUTH. We maintain them so we do not forget. The flag is not the nation but the nation is embodied in the flag. So we keep and honor the symbols to remind us of their symbolic value.
Let us take care that we regard symbols as symbols and do not allow them to be come ends in themselves. They can become idols. We can focus on them so much that they become the focus and we neglect the important concepts they represent.
We also need to value the truths for which the symbols stand. We keep symbols to remind us of the truths. Jesus said, “This do in remembrance of me.” We do not do to just do. We do to remember. We do to perpetuate truth to the next generations.
We need the map. We need the road more. The road is where we live. The map is what we consult to make sure we are on the right road.
Read the map but travel the road with Jesus.
Jesus is your way, your truth, and your life.
But above all these things put on love,
Which is the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts,
To which also you were called in one body;
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom,
Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
Singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
And whatever you do in word or deed,
Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
Giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
There are two Kingdoms.
The kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world.
You need to learn to recognize the differences between them.
You need to keep the kingdoms separated in your heart, mind, and life.
There are tensions. The tensions are between the kingdoms.
The tensions are at the boundaries where the two kingdoms meet.
The tensions are not in your heart or mind. They should not be. They dare not be.
Do not internalize the tensions and the struggles.
When your heart is divided, you internalize the tensions.
When you internalize the tensions, it divides your heart.
It works both ways.
The tensions are not in your mind and heart.
The tensions are where the kingdoms meet.
The tensions are between the kingdom of this world and the Kingdom of God.
The tensions are between two loyalties. Either to this world or to God.
Be fully committed in your own mind. Then you will have peace of mind.
Keep your heart with all diligence. Then you will be settled on the issues of life.
Commit your life to the kingdom of God and you will have peace of heart.
Keep the tensions at the boundaries between the kingdoms.
The tensions are real and are meant to be there.
When you internalize the struggle you allow the Devil to sow doubt in your mind.
The renewing of your mind gives discernment to understand the implications of the two kingdoms.
We have the mind of Christ.
Jesus Christ is made to us wisdom……
I Cor. 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us:
Wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption
Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness
And all these things will be added unto you.