Devotional Thought for Today – 04/02/2021

Comfort for the Grieving, Hurting, and Dying Series – Part III

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Yesterday we looked at the Stages of Grief and the importance of understanding what stage a person is in BEFORE we began any attempt to provide care, comfort and counsel.

I thought I would take the time to look at those stages individually from a Biblical perspective and hopefully with some practical application.

What Does the Bible Say About Denial? Psalm 14:1, Matthew 10:32-33, Luke 9:23, 1 Timothy 5:8, 2 Peter 2:1. These verse cover what I believe to be the three major “denial” themes of the Bible, Denial of God, Denial of Self and Denial of the Truth.

Of those verses the first in particular Ps. 14:1(AMP) The [spiritually ignorant] fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”They are corrupt, they have committed repulsive and unspeakable deeds; There is no one who does good. gets to the heart of Denial of God. We will definitely run into those in the ministry who are in denial of the situation and in denial of God. **Warning** that does not mean we should go off like a bull in a china closet and attempt heavy handed proselytizing. remember our goal, job, mission call it what you want is to provide care, comfort and counsel.

If I may divert for a moment, years ago before I converted and started going to church a relative said to me so now that your a “Holy Roller” I guess you think I am going to Hell? I said yup! How dumb a response, they were so upset they didn’t speak to me for a very long time. The point is we must chose our words carefully

Proverbs 16:23-24

23 The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.

24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

King James Version

The second theme Denial of Self is best summed up in Luke 9:23 (AMP) And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple]he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross daily [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]. Even for someone who is not suffering the grief form some form of loss this can be a very hard subject to understand. What is Denial of Self and how do we/I go about it daily?

Questions like, have I not suffered enough are common and we must be ready for them. First and foremost Self-Denial is not about us, I know this sounds ridiculous but we are talking Biblical perspective, so it is all about God. We are denying our own desires, interests, and especially our understanding of things and relying solely on the Triune God. There are many times do not understand God’s ways and that is okay because my faith in His sovereignty comforts me. I can not answer the question posed above all I can share is the biblical perspective of God’s comfort, Grace, mercy, lovingkindness and most importantly sovereign control.

The last Biblical them here is that of Denial of Truth and the verse I chose for this is 2 Peter 2:1 (AMP) But [in those days] false prophets arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will subtly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. This is obviously a verse concerned with false teachers arise from the ranks of “The Church.” The underlined text is key, for they will deny the very Lord God whom they had claimed to know as true.

Whenever tragedy strikes in any form the very first stage of grief (I have always wondered why Shock is not first out i don’t write the manuals) is Denying what we know to be true. My loved one can’t really be dead, I can’t really have cancer, etc. What the individual knows to be true is so painful at that moment, no matter how logical they just can not accept it.

Many who are in this stage also deny the need for help even though it is obvious to us and others they need it. C.S. Lewis is quoted as saying No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. How true, most folks in denial are in fear of the unknown, living without a loved one or facing that battle with the Big “C” it can be overwhelming and frightening. If we/they can deny the “reality” of the situation they can avoid the pain and suffering.

As a minister/Chaplain our mission is show sympathy while empathizing with the individual. Boiler plate statements like “they are in a better place” really do not cut it when someone is in denial of the event. Put yourself in their shoes, think how they are thinking what would you accept hearing, that?

Instead I think it prudent to remind them of a God who has promised to never forsake or leave us just as we are to let them know we will be there to help them through this grieving process. Again I can not emphasize enough in most cases we are the “Ministerial First Responders” not the long term pastoral custodians or counselors of these folks. Providing the immediate care, comfort and counsel that does not add to their (or their friends and families) pain and suffering has to be priority one.

RESOURCES:

GreifShare.ORG A six-week personal study for your journey from mourning to joy

Designed for those Grieving, I found it helpful tool to better understanding the GRIEF PROCESS.

Our Help for the Journey section provides daily reading and exercises to help you dig deeper into the grief recovery process.

The following from Ligonier Ministries I FOUND HELPFULL

Grief and the Christian

Good Grief?

Holy Grief

From Grief to Glory

Daily Devotional – Fragrant Prayer Part IV

What Does Psalm 141:2 Mean?

PSALM 141

Final Plea and Praise


CONTEXT

David was in distress when he penned this psalm, pursued, it is most likely, by Saul, that violent man. Is any distressed? Let him pray; David did so, and had the comfort of it.

      • I. He prays for God’s favourable acceptance (v. 1- 2).
      • II. For his powerful assistance (v. 3,-4).
      • III. That others might be instrumental of good to his soul, as he hoped to be to the souls of others (v. 5- 6).
      • IV. That he and his friends being now brought to the last extremity God would graciously appear for their relief and rescue (v. 7-10).

The mercy and grace of God are as necessary to us as they were to him, and therefore we should be humbly earnest for them in singing this psalm. – Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary 

In the first installment we looked at Praying for God’s favorable acceptance. The second part of the series was entitled petitioning for His assistance, and yesterday we explored Praying to God for othersToday we close the series by looking at the final 4 verses with the theme of a Final Plea and Praise. 


Breakdown

v.7Our bones are scattered at the grave’s mouth, as when one cutteth and cleaveth wood upon the earth.

We have all had moments when life seems hopeless, like we have one foot near the grave. When nothing seems to be cohesive, nothing seems to be able to go in our favor, life is like a bunch of splitters of wood  cast about haphazardly. 

v.8 But mine eyes are unto thee, O God the Lord: in thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute. 

What to do when life seems so desperate? David’s response, Praise and  focus on God,  mine eyes are unto thee,  have faith in God,  in thee is my trust, focus on the eternal, leave not my soul destitute.  This last one to me is most significant. In times of trouble we have a tendency to focus on the present storm, when our eternal destiny is really much more important. 

Mine eyes are unto thee, O GOD the Lord. If you would keep your mind fixed in prayer, keep your eye fixed. Much vanity comes in at the eye. When the eyes wander in prayer, the heart wanders. To think to keep the heart fixed in prayer, and yet let the eyes gaze abroad, is as if one should think to keep his house sate, yet let the windows be open.—Thomas Watson.

v.9 & 10Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me, and the gins of the workers of iniquity.  Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst that I withal escape. David makes a final plea for safety from his persecutors. 

Snares, Gins, Nets. The usual method of capturing or killing the lion in Palestine was by pitfalls or nets, to both of which there are many references in the Scriptures. The mode of hunting the lion with nets was identical with that which is practised in India at the present time. The precise locality of the lion’s dwelling place having been discovered, a circular wall of net is arranged round it, or if only a few nets can be obtained, they are set in a curved form, the concave side being towards the lion. They then send dogs into the thicket, hurl stones and sticks at the den, shoot arrows into it, fling burning torches at it, and so irritate and alarm the animal that it rushes against the net, which is so made that it falls down and envelops the animal in its folds. If the nets be few, the drivers go to the opposite side of the den, and induce the lion to escape in the direction where he sees no foes, but where he is sure to run against the treacherous net. Other large and dangerous animals were also captured by the same means. Another and more common, because an easier and a cheaper method, was, by digging a deep pit, covering the mouth with a slight covering of sticks and earth, and driving the animal upon the treacherous covering. It is an easier method than the net, because after the pit is once dug, the only trouble lies in throwing the covering over its mouth. But it is not so well adapted for taking beasts alive, as they are likely to be damaged, either by the fall into the pit, or by the means used in getting them out again. Animals, therefore, that are caught in pits are generally, though not always, killed before they are taken out. The net, however, envelops the animal so perfectly, and renders it so helpless, that it can be easily bound and taken away. The hunting net is very expensive, and requires a large staff of men to work it, so that none but a rich man could use the net in hunting. Besides the net, several other modes of bird catching were used by the ancient Jews, just as is the case at the present day. Boys, for example, who catch birds for their own consumption, and not for the market, can do so by means of various traps, most of which are made on the principle of the noose, or snare. Sometimes a great number of hair nooses are set in places to which the birds are decoyed, so that in hopping about, many of them are sure to be entangled in the snares. Sometimes the noose is ingeniously suspended in a narrow passage which the birds are likely to traverse, and sometimes a simple fall trap is employed.—J. G. Wood.


APPLICATION

If you are a Truly Converted Christian and actively engaged in the biblical mandate to share the Good News you will experience difficulties in this life for like Christ the world will HATE us.    

We have choices, give up, fight on our own or like David, fight with Fragrant Prayer to the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Conqueror of Death.

Pray The Bible: Promoting, Encouraging, and Assisting God's People in Biblical Prayer

All my bones shall say, “O LORD, who is like you!” Psalm 35:10(ESV) For you keep the bones, and not one of them is broken. Psalm 34:20(ESV)

I lay down and sleep, for you, LORD, make me to dwell in safety. Psalm 3:5(ESV)

You have commanded your angels concerning me, to guard me in all my ways; to bear me up in their hands, lest I strike my foot against a stone. Psalm 91:11-12(ESV) And they are all ministering spirits, sent out to serve for the good of those who are to inherit salvation. Hebrews 1:14(ESV)

When perhaps there has been but a step between me and death, 1 Samuel 20:3(ESV) and when I have felt that I have received the sentence of death, 2 Corinthians 1:9(ESV) and have been ready to say, “In the middle of my days I must depart; I am consigned to the gates of Sheol for the rest of my years”; Isaiah 38:10(ESV) yet in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction and cast all my sins behind your back. Isaiah 38:17(ESV)

When the snares of death have encompassed me and the pangs of Sheol have laid hold on me, I have called on the name of the LORD and have found that gracious is the LORD, and righteous, yes, my God is merciful; I have been brought low, and he has saved me, Psalm 116:3-6(ESV) and has delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling. I will therefore walk before the LORD in the land of the living. Psalm 116:8-9(ESV)

Daily Devotional – Fragrant Prayer Part III

What Does Psalm 141:2 Mean?

PSALM 141

Praying for others


CONTEXT

David was in distress when he penned this psalm, pursued, it is most likely, by Saul, that violent man. Is any distressed? Let him pray; David did so, and had the comfort of it.

      • I. He prays for God’s favourable acceptance (v. 1- 2).
      • II. For his powerful assistance (v. 3,-4).
      • III. That others might be instrumental of good to his soul, as he hoped to be to the souls of others (v. 5- 6).
      • IV. That he and his friends being now brought to the last extremity God would graciously appear for their relief and rescue (v. 7-10).

The mercy and grace of God are as necessary to us as they were to him, and therefore we should be humbly earnest for them in singing this psalm. – Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary 

In the first installment we looked at Praying for God’s favorable acceptance. Yesterday’s  topic was petitioning for His assistance, and today we will explore Praying to God for others


Breakdown

v.5 – Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.

Of all the verses of Psalms this and the following may be one of the hardest to interpret. Let the righteous smite me… David is basically saying he would prefer to be severely reprimanded, corrected, rebuked etc.  by a righteous person than be in the company of evil. So he will pray for them. 

The righteous, etc. The minister cannot be always preaching; two or three hours, may be, in a week, he spends among his people in the pulpit, holding the glass of the gospel before their faces; but the lives of professors, these preach all the week long: if they were but holy and exemplary, they would be as a repetition of the preacher’s sermon to their families and neighbours among whom they converse, and keep the sound of his doctrine continually ringing in their ears. This would give Christians an amiable advantage in doing good to their carnal neighbours by counsel and reproof, which now is seldom done, and when done it proves to little purpose, because not backed with their own exemplary walking. “It behooves him”, saith Tertullian, “that would counsel or reprove another, to guard his speech with the authority of his own conversation, lest, wanting that, what he says puts himself to the blush.” We do not love one that hath a stinking breath to come very near us; such, therefore, had need have a sweet scented life. Reproofs are a good physic, but they have an unpleasant reception; it is hard for men not to throw them back on the face of him that gives them. Now nothing is more powerful to keep a reproof from thus coming back than the holiness of the person that reproves. “Let the righteous smite me”, saith David, “it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head.” See how well it is taken from such a hand, from the authority that holiness carries with it. None but a vile wretch will smite a righteous man with reproach for smiting him with a reproof, if softly laid on, and like oil fermented, and wrought into him, as it should, with compassion and love to his soul! Thus we see how influential the power of holiness would be unto the wicked, neither would it be less upon our brethren and fellow Christians. Holy David professed he would take it as a kindness for the righteous man to smite him; yea, as kindly as if he broke a box of precious oil upon his head, which was amongst the Jews a high expression of love. –William Gurnall.

v.6 – When their judges are overthrown in stony places, they shall hear my words; for they are sweet.

Most commentators agree David is speaking about those who would oppress him. At some point all our unrighteous oppressors will come to know the truth we spoke, why? Because all our words spoken in Christ are surely words; for they are sweet. That is why a true Christian never stops sharing the Good News. 

They shall hear my words; for they are sweet. This is especially true of all the words which David spake by inspiration, or the Spirit of God spake to him; articulately in his book of Psalms; concerning the Messiah, the covenant of grace, and the blessings of it; of the rich experiences of grace he had, and the several doctrines of the gospel declared by him; which were sweet, delightful, and entertaining to those who have ears to hear such things; or whose ears are opened to hear them, so as to understand them and distinguish them, but to others not. –John Gill.


APPLICATION

No one likes to be corrected, however the correction of a righteous man is but a sweat savor to God. Respond in kind with a Fragrant Prayer of your own for both those who would persecute and profit you. Also, do not neglect the thank God for the times of discipline that drew you nearer to the cross. 

Pray The Bible: Promoting, Encouraging, and Assisting God's People in Biblical Prayer

 Supplication to God for Others

We must pray for the whole world of mankind, the lost world; and thus, we must honor everyone, 1 Peter 2:17(ESV) and, according to our capacity, do good to everyone. Galatians 6:10(ESV)

I pray, as I am taught, for all people, believing that this is good and pleasing in the sight of God my Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth and of Jesus Christ, 1 Timothy 2:3-4(ESV) who gave himself as a ransom for all. 1 Timothy 2:6(ESV)

O let your way be known on earth, Psalm 67:2(ESV) that barbarous nations may be civilized, and those who live without God in the world may be brought to the service of the living God; Ephesians 2:12(ESV) and thus, let your saving power be known among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; yes, let all the peoples praise you: O let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Psalm 67:2-4(ESV)

For Support While Being Disciplined 

Though for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, yet later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness and proves to be for my good, that I might share your holiness. Hebrews 12:10-11(ESV)

I have had reason to say that it was good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes; Psalm 119:71(ESV) for before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. Psalm 119:67(ESV)

It has been but for a little while, and when it was necessary, that I was grieved by various trials; and I beg that all the trials of my faith may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom, though I have not seen, I love; though I do not now see him, yet I believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, and am longing to receive the outcome of my faith, the salvation of my soul. 1 Peter 1:6-9(ESV)

Daily Devotional – Fragrant Prayer Part II

What Does Psalm 141:2 Mean?

PSALM 141

Praying for His powerful assistance


CONTEXT

David was in distress when he penned this psalm, pursued, it is most likely, by Saul, that violent man. Is any distressed? Let him pray; David did so, and had the comfort of it.

      • I. He prays for God’s favourable acceptance (v. 1- 2).
      • II. For his powerful assistance (v. 3,-4).
      • III. That others might be instrumental of good to his soul, as he hoped to be to the souls of others (v. 5- 6).
      • IV. That he and his friends being now brought to the last extremity God would graciously appear for their relief and rescue (v. 7-10).

The mercy and grace of God are as necessary to us as they were to him, and therefore we should be humbly earnest for them in singing this psalm. – Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary 

In the first installment we looked at Praying for God’s favorable acceptance. Today’s topic is petitioning for His assistance.


Breakdown

Today in verses 3 and 4 the psalmist pleads with God to be kept from evil.  How often in modern evangelical circles do we hear someone pray to “put a hedge of protection around them (or someone) from all evil.”  Yet David is so much wiser that that. He knows the root of evil is not found from external sources but from within man himself (See Sunday Sermon Series) and so begins…

v.3 Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.

A truly converted man understands that the mouth is both the doorway of good and evil words. What can come from a man’s mouth can either harm or build up those around them. Here David says wisely Lord guard my mouth so that only things that Glorify you an build others up proceed from it. 

One of the best commentaries on this is W. Jay’s Sermon on “The Regulation of the Tongue.” Here is the link to Spurgeon’s condensed comments

Ps 141_3 W.Jay Comments

v.4 Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.

As we noted above the heart of natural man, is the root cause of all evil. Here David begs God to guard him against that tendency which still lives in even the most pious of men, Incline not my heart to any evil thing.

To practise wicked works with men that work iniquity. The way the heart inclines the life soon tends: evil things desired bring forth wicked things practised. Unless the fountain of life is kept pure the streams of life will soon be polluted. Alas, there is great power in company: even good men are apt to be swayed by association; hence the fear that we may practise wicked works when we are with wicked workers. We must endeavour not to be with them lest we sin with them. It is bad when the heart goes the wrong way alone, worse when the life runs in the evil road alone; but it is apt to increase unto a high degree of ungodliness when the backslider runs the downward path with a whole horde of sinners around him. Our practice will be our perdition if it be evil: it is an aggravation of sin rather than an excuse for it to say that it is our custom and our habit. It is God’s practice to punish all who make a practice of iniquity. Good men are horrified at the thought of sinning as others do; the fear of it drives them to their knees. Iniquity, which, being interpreted, is a want of equity, is a thing to be shunned as we would avoid an infectious disease. And let me not eat of their dainties. If we work with them we shall soon eat with them. They will bring out their sweet morsels, and delicate dishes, in the hope of binding us to their service by the means of our palates. The trap is baited with delicious meats that we may be captured and become meat for their malice. If we would not sin with men we had better not sit with them, and if we would not share their wickedness we must not share their wantonness. – C.H. Spurgeon


APPLICATION

Righteous in prayer is necessary for it to be an acceptable Fragrant Prayer. In other words the motive and the asking must be in line with God’s will.  Today ask, no beg for God’s abundant Grace to fill you life and grant your petitions. 

Pray The Bible: Promoting, Encouraging, and Assisting God's People in Biblical Prayer

DAILY DEVOTIONAL FOR JAN 4, 2021

Commend Yourself to the Grace of God

We may then recommend ourselves to the conduct, protection, and government of the divine grace, in the further services that lie before us and in the whole course of our life.

And now, let us be enabled to go from strength to strength, until we appear before God in Zion; and while we pass through the valley of Baca, let it be made a place of springs, and let the rain of divine grace and blessing fill the pools. Psalm 84:6-7(ESV)

Now speak, Lord, for your servants hear. 1 Samuel 3:9(ESV) What does my Lord say to his servants? Joshua 5:14(ESV) Grant that we may not turn away our ear from hearing the law, for then our prayers will be an abomination; Proverbs 28:9(ESV) but may we listen to God, that he may listen to us. Judges 9:7(ESV)

And now, the LORD our God be with us, as he was with all our fathers; may he not leave us or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to himself, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules. 1 Kings 8:57-58(ESV) And let our hearts be wholly true to the LORD our God all our days, 1 Kings 8:61(ESV) and continue so till the end; that then we may rest and may stand in our allotted place, and let it be a blessed place at the end of the days. Daniel 12:13(ESV)

Daily Devotional – Fragrant Prayer Part I

What Does Psalm 141:2 Mean?

PSALM 141

Praying for God’s favorable acceptance


CONTEXT

David was in distress when he penned this psalm, pursued, it is most likely, by Saul, that violent man. Is any distressed? Let him pray; David did so, and had the comfort of it.

      • I. He prays for God’s favourable acceptance (v. 1- 2).
      • II. For his powerful assistance (v. 3,-4).
      • III. That others might be instrumental of good to his soul, as he hoped to be to the souls of others (v. 5- 6).
      • IV. That he and his friends being now brought to the last extremity God would graciously appear for their relief and rescue (v. 7-10).

The mercy and grace of God are as necessary to us as they were to him, and therefore we should be humbly earnest for them in singing this psalm. – Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary 


BREAKDOWN

Today we are just going to look at v.1-2 here the Psalmist (David) Cries out or pleads with God to hear and accept his prayers. 

¹Lord, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto theeOur petitions to God must be heartfelt and not a last resort but a matter of habit. 

Unto thee…unto me. Our prayer and God’s mercy are like two buckets in a well; while the one ascends, the other descends. —Ezekiel Hopkins.

Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.  Prayer like any sacrifice before God should not be set about in a haphazard manner. We should be seeking to present it as a Fragrant Aroma to God.  

As incense. That in general by incense prayer is signified, the Scripture expressly testifieth. And there is a fourfold resemblance between them:

1. In that it was beaten and pounded before it was used. So doth acceptable prayer proceed from a broken and contrite heart: Ps 51:17.

2. It was of no use until fire was put under it, and that taken from the altar. Nor is that prayer of any virtue or efficacy which is no kindled by the fire from above, the Holy Spirit of God, which we have from our altar, Christ Jesus.

3. It naturally ascended upwards towards heaven, as all offerings in the Hebrew are called twle, “ascensions”, uprisings. And this is the design of prayer, to ascend unto the throne of God: “I will direct unto thee, and will look up”; that is, pray: Ps 5:3.

4. It yielded a sweet savour; which was one end of it in temple services, wherein there was so much burning of flesh and blood. So doth prayer yield a sweet savour unto God; a savour of rest, wherein he is well pleased. —John Owen.


APPLICATION

Prayer is necessary. It is part of the fellowship we enjoy with God. I am convinced God answers all prayers offered in a righteous (God glorifying) manner. God DOES NOT answer prayers in the manner we choose. One way we can insure that our prayers are righteous is to ask, no beg God for their acceptance:

DAILY DEVOTIONAL FOR JAN 2, 2021

Beg for the Acceptance of your Prayers for Christ’s Sake

We may then beg for the audience and acceptance of our poor weak prayers for Christ’s sake.

Now may the God of Israel grant us the things we have requested of him. 1 Samuel 1:17(ESV)

Let the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, our Rock and our Redeemer. Psalm 19:14(ESV)

Let your eyes be open to the plea of your servants and to the plea of your people Israel, giving ear to them whenever they call to you, for they are your people and your heritage. 1 Kings 8:51-52(ESV)

O our God, let your ears be attentive to the prayers that we have made: O do not turn away the face of your Anointed One; remember your steadfast love for David your servant, 2 Chronicles 6:40-42(ESV) even Jesus, who is at your right hand interceding for us. Romans 8:34(ESV)

Lord, you have assured us that whatever we ask the Father in Christ’s name, you will give it to us. John 16:23(ESV) We ask all these things in that name, that powerful name that is above every name; Philippians 2:9(ESV) that precious name which is as oil poured out. Song of Solomon 1:3(ESV) O make your face to shine upon us, Numbers 6:25(ESV) for the Lord’s sake, Daniel 9:17(ESV) who is the Son of your love, Matthew 17:5(ESV) and whom you always hear. John 11:42(ESV) Good Lord, enable us to hear him, and be well pleased with us in him. Matthew 17:5(ESV)

I pray the your prayers for 2021 are fulfilled in God’s will alone. 

The Fool

The fools are easy to spot unless of course you live among them. Oh they look like everyone else and they even spout out the same rhetoric as seemingly the majority of media, but they have a hidden secret. The preach tolerance for all but have no tolerance in them for anyone that opposes their narrow worldview.  

They think we are stupid for our beliefs but quickly invoke God’s name regularly (cursing and such). They are quick to call us (Christians) all sorts of names like bigot, hater, racist, homophobe, and so many more.  Yet they are also the same ones who are first to demand the killing of innocent babies in the womb, (or more recently after birth) assault anyone who differs from their self righteous opinions, yell and scream obscenities at Christians and call them out for doing go works just because we believe differently than them.

The bible has much to say about fools, today’s verse is one of the better known from the book of Psalms (Wisdom books) 

1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. Psalm 14:1

Dice el necio en su corazón:
    No hay Dios.
    Se han corrompido, hacen obras abominables;
    No hay quien haga el bien. (RVR 1960) 

CONTEXT: 
    1. Foolishness is not a issue of bad thinking but of a bad heart
    2. Man is corrupt at his core
    3. Man is incapable of doing good on his own accord

Man will always be and play the fool apart from God. Without the saving blood of Christ to change a man from the old fool to the new creation he is incapable any righteous act on his own accord.

RESPONSE: 

How do we as Christians respond to a fool? The answer of course lies in the Bible this time in the book of Proverbs 26:4-5

 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

I have to admit the first time I read this I was so confused. For those old enough to remember the “Three Stooges” I thought the bible had me doing the Curly Shuffle.

So breaking of my study helps and some language dissection later I realized what was actually being said here was quite sensible:

v.4  Never argue with anyone who is close-minded and arrogant. Do not even pretend to agree or acknowledge their folly unless you wish to be culpable like them. 

v.5  Go ahead and respond to those who have foolish concepts but are not close-minded or above reason. Otherwise he will think you agree with him. 

Most times it is better to walk away and just ignore (do not verbally engage) the person Proverbs 29:20 better we not get involved and start an argument looking the fool ourselves or being drawn in and accused of something worse Proverbs 26:17.  That is not to say be rude and intentionally snub someone but use grace, love and wisdom to not engage in their foolish argument.