Devotional thought for Today – 11/18/21

The Ten Commandments or the Law of God Series

Exodus 20:26 and Deuteronomy 5:20

The 9th Commandment: Can You Handle The Truth? - Off The Grid News

NINTH COMMANDMENT

In an earlier post today I noted how disgusted I was with the media bias and outright lies from the prosecutors in the ongoing Rittenhouse case. Truth matters, especially when an individual’s life (they have charged him with capital murder) is hanging in the balance. But the question is how does God look at the truth?

As always Keach is a good place to start our discussion today:

81. Which is the ninth commandment?

The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Ex. 20:16

82. What is required in the ninth commandment?

The ninth commandment requireth the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man,160 and of our own neighbour’s good name,161 especially in witnessbearing.162

^ 160. Zech. 8:16
^ 161. Jn. 5:12
^ 162. Pr. 14:5, 25

83. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?

The ninth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever is prejudicial to the truth, or injurious to our own or our neighbour’s good name. 1 Sam. 17:28Lev. 19:16Ps. 15:2, 3

A.W. Pink makes a great observation in his opening remarks on this commandment:

Take these words simply at their face value and they prohibit only the horrible crime of perjury or the giving of false testimony in a court of law.

But as with the previous Commandments, so it is here: much more is implied and inculcated than is specifically stated. As we have so often pointed out, each of the Ten Commandments enunciates a general principle, and not only are all other sins forbidden which be allied to the one named and prohibited, together with all causes and tendencies thereto but the opposite virtue is definitely required, with all that fosters and promotes it. Thus, in its wider meaning, this ninth commandment reprehends any word of ours which would injure the reputation of our neighbor, be it uttered in public or in private. This should scarcely need any arguing, for if we restrict this commandment to its literal terms it would have no bearing on any save that small minority who are called upon to bear witness in a court of justice.

In its widest application, this commandment has to do with the regulation of our speech, which is one of the distinguishing and ennobling faculties that God has bestowed upon man. Scripture tells us that “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21), that “a wholesome tongue is a tree of life” (Proverbs 15:4), and that an unbridled one is “an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). That our words are not to be uttered lightly or thoughtlessly is made clear by that unspeakably solemn utterance of our Lord’s: “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words, thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:36,37).

O how we need to pray, “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3).

The duties concerning our tongues may be summed up in two words: our speech must always be true and spoken in love (Ephesians 4:15). Thus, as the eighth commandment provides for the security of our neighbor’s property, so this one is designed to preserve his good name by our speaking the truth about him in love.

Thomas Watson likewise has a witty beginning thought on the ninth commandment:

The tongue which at first was made to be an organ of God’s praise— has now become an instrument of unrighteousness. This commandment binds the tongue to its good behavior. God has set two natural fences to keep in the tongue—the teeth and lips; and this commandment is a third fence set about it, that it should not break forth into evil. It has a prohibitory and a mandatory part: the first is set down in plain words, the other is clearly implied.

He then goes on to list uses of the tongue good and bad; lying, slander, exhortation, and reproof.

In case y’all do not think that truth matters as much today, let us look at some New Testament Scripture on the subject:

John 4:24 – God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

John 8:32 – And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

John 16:13 – Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

John 17:17 – Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

John 18:37-38 – Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.   (Read More…)

1 Corinthians 13:4-6 – Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,   (Read More…)

Ephesians 6:14 – Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

2 Timothy 2:15 – Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:   (Read More…)

1 John 3:18 – My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth

Then there is this one, maybe the most important verse about truth in all of scripture. John 14:6 – Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Digging into this statement by Jesus Himself we find doctrinal gold. Jesus says:

  1. He is true, incapable of lying
  2. He is the only way to get to eteranl life (Heaven)
  3. He is the way or path of righteous liveing
  4. All believers must accept this as true or deny Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior thereby calling Him a liar!

Remember, James 3 tells of the difficulties in taming the tongue. That does not mean we should give up and let fly anything out of our mouths. No, we must strive to be Holy, But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 1 Peter 1:15-16


Resources:

10 commandments: icons

Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5, The Ten Commandments

Keach’s Baptist Catechism of 1677 – Modern #44-92

Thomas Watson’s classic The Ten Commandments

Systematic Theology, Charles Hodge, Chapter XIX, The Law

The Ten Commandments, by A. W. Pink

The Doctrine of Law and the Grace Unfolded – John Bunyan

A Treatise on the Law and the Gospel by John Colquhoun, D.D

Devotional Thought for Today – 06/24/2021

Jonathan Edwards quote: Truth is the agreement of our ideas with the  ideas...

John 14:6; 17:17

With truth being so subjective today in the mainstream I thought it appropriate to look at what truth really is, or at least should be for true Christians and non-believers alike.

I have posted much on these verses (see below) in the past so today I offer an excellent article from Pastor John MacArthur and Grace to You Ministries from over a decade ago that is still on point today:

What Is Truth?


OTHER RESOURCES:

What is truth?

Truth Bible Verses

Seven Pillars of Biblical Truth

Jesus Said “I AM” Part VI

Saturday’s Military Devotional – Dogmatic?

Devotional Thought for Today – 04/13/2021

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

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Over the past 9 articles, we have looked at the basics of what a Chaplain/Ministerial duties or mission is (provide compassionate care, comfort, and counsel) and the Stages of Grief. We noted the importance of understanding what stage an individual is in so that we can better minister to their needs.

Today I would like to discuss some dos and don’ts that I have gleaned over the years. As a reminder, my primary duties as Chaplain have been with inmates (and ex-mates) and veterans, of that population however quite a few have had mental health, serious physical, terminal illness, or other issues that I hope to relate to all areas of Chaplaincy.

Some of the things I find most important when dealing with individuals in the Stages of Grief, or the DO’s (I put them in alphabetical order)

  • Affirmation – reassure them that the feelings of grief are normal and support them in the process.
  • Acknowledgment– Do not try and sugarcoat the situation. I am not suggesting we be blunt, rude, or anything of that nature. I am referring to the language that Paul mentions in Ephesians 4:29, Colossians 4:6.
  • Empathize – One of the best explanations for this I studied explained it this way; Pity: I acknowledge your suffering, Sympathy: I care about your suffering, Empathy: I feel your suffering, Compassion: I want to relieve your suffering. In short, empathy is sharing feelings of Grief with the individual, while Sympathy is feeling sorry for them. No one wants you to throw a pity party for them or feel sorry for them, they need you as a professional to provide Compassionate Empathy.
  • Listen – I do not care if you have to sit there for 15-20 minutes before they say 3 words, be willing to listen. everyone has a story and 99.9% need to tell it.
  • Listen without Judgement – Folks will not talk if they think you are going to censor their speech.
  • Truth – Always be truthful, if you don’t have an answer say so, do not “wing it” folks will see right through that.

Some of the most common MISTAKES I find when dealing with individuals in the Stages of Grief, or the DON’Ts (I put them in alphabetical order)

  • AdviceMy advice to you is…, that is not our mission, they are going to get that from the Job’s of the world. Stick to the mission and use biblical counseling.
  • Assume – Never assume you know what they need, yes they need Care, Comfort, and Counsel, but I am speaking of the application of that here.
  • CichésThey are in a better place now, It was God’s will, or At least he/she is not suffering. These may all be true but are of no help especially in the initial stages of Grief.
  • Criticism – Even unintentional, saying something seemingly as harmless as, I know but you can… tells them that you think they are doing something wrong and are criticizing or judging their actions. They are suffering enough we need not pile it on.
  • Mr. or Mrs. Fix It – Never promise what you can not do. Sometimes there are individuals beyond our help that need professional counselors.
  • Pity – See Empathize above
  • Story Time – Unless directly asked keep your war stories to yourself. They only distract from the issues at hand.

I hope these are a help, when I first became a Chaplain I was basically thrown to the wolves, with no training so I made many mistakes listed above. If you have anything to add to either list please comment below.


Prayer

Heavenly Father, I pray that no unwholesome words would proceed from my mouth, but that the words of my lips and the meditation of my heart may be gracious and good. I pray that my speech would give compassionate care, comfort and counsel to those whom I meet. All the while giving honour to Your name by speaking the truth in love. This I ask in Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Modified from Source: https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/Ephesians/4/29


Crisis Hotlines

855-FAQ-HOSPICE (327-4677) – Hospice Hotline

1-800-662-HELP (4357) Mental Health Hotline

1-800-273-8255 National Suicide Prevention Hotline

1-800-273-8255 Veterans Crisis Hotline

1-800-985-5990 Disaster Distress Hotline

Devotional Thought for Today – 04/02/2021

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

Palliative Care Icon , Free Transparent Clipart - ClipartKey

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

Theirs Was a Better Generation

This in part was sent to me and was too true not to pass on. 

Has Hollywood lost touch with American values? - Los Angeles Times

Would someone please remind me again how many of today’s Hollywood elite put their careers on hold to enlist in Iraq or Afghanistan?  UH, Almost NONE.

The only one who even comes close was Pat Tillman, who turned down a contract offer of $36 million over three years from the Arizona Cardinals to enlist in the US Army after September 11, 2001, and serve as a Ranger in Afghanistan, where he died in 2004. But rather than being lauded for his choice and his decision to put his country before his career, he was mocked and derided by many of his peers.

[I will add here, that while I have no real issue with anyone not enlisting, I have real issues with folks not supporting our troops. It is one thing to disagree with war efforts another altogether to disparage those fighting for your freedom to open your mouth.]

Ladies and Gentlemen, I submit to you that this is not America today than it was seventy years ago. And I, for one, am saddened. My generation grew up watching, being entertained by, and laughing with so many of these fine people, never really knowing what they contributed to the war effort.

Like millions of Americans during WWII, there was a job that needed doing they didn’t question, they went and did it, those that came home returned to their now new normal life and carried on, very few ever saying what they did or saw.
 
They took it as their “responsibility”, their “duty” to the Country, to protect and preserve our freedoms and way of life, not just for themselves but for all future generations to come. As a member of a later generation, I’m forever humbly in their debt!

Click on the link below to see nearly 100 of the many Hollywood elitist who put it all on the line when it mattered. 

America’s Greatest Generation

Victims, Inc

American Greatness logo

Victims, Inc.

On both a personal and societal level, victimhood is truly deadly. Nonetheless, our culture celebrates it.

Victim chic has taken over the culture and the political narrative.

All we seem to hear day in and day out are excuses as to why someone or some group can’t make it in America. We are told why they are held back; impeded or deprived of their rights and deserve compensation, government handouts, special treatment, or even reparations for events that happened hundreds of years ago…

READ MORE > >

 

 

Devotional Thought for Today – 30/03/2021

Isaiah 55:8 - “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither...

Isaiah 55

Isaiah 55 can be divided into two sections:

Verses 1-7: God’s free gift of salvation is offered to all who will receive it. Those who are spiritually hungry and thirsty may come to eat and drink “without money” (or freely). He promises an “everlasting covenant” to the Gentiles like the one He established with Israel. His invitation to all men is clearly stated by the appeal, “Seek ye the Lord” and “call ye upon him.”

Verses 8-13: God’s sovereignty and omniscience are extolled by the statement that His “thoughts” (i.e., purposes and intentions), and “ways” (derakim, or “directions”), are “higher” than ours.  –https://bible-studys.org/index.html

Our text for today comes from the latter, v.8-9, For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LordFor as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

A few years ago an interesting press release hit my inbox, citing a recent survey by the Barna Research Group. It seems most folks do not know that some of their favorite biblical quotes aren’t actually from the Bible. See how much you know—which of these famous phrases is found nowhere in scripture:

“To thine own self be true.”

“God helps those who help themselves.”

“The truth will set you free.”

“God works in mysterious ways.”

The only phrase above that is in the Bible is “the truth will set you free,” in the Gospel of John. According to Barna’s poll, only 24% of adults knew that.

So what does that have to do with today’s devotional?  How many times have you heard folks say the last one? Hundreds, maybe more, so unbiblical.  Let us look at a few points:

God’s ways are different and better Proverbs 14:12

His knowledge is boundless and ours limited Psalm 147:5 

The mystery is to those outside the faith 1 Corinthians 2:6-16

The great mystery is revealed to the saints Colossians 1:26, 2 Timothy 2:15

When we say or agree with someone saying “God works in mysterious ways” we are acknowledging that God’s will can not be known for our lives.  That the God of the bible is unpersonable, unrelatable, and by proxy uncaring. I don’t know about y’all but that is definitely not the God I read about in my collection of Bible’s no matter the translation. 

TODAY’S PRAYER

Lord God, I come to you today denying that you are a God that can not be known, that all your works are mysteries and we are but puppets in this life.  You promise to instruct me (Ps 32:8) in your ways and watch over me to ensure my walk, I pray your Holy Spirit will guide my path daily.  Grant me the ability to serve in your will daily, with understanding and compassion. – AMEN


What is the mystery of God referred to in the Bible?

Nadler on God: He’s ‘No Concern of This Congress’

 “God has no authority in the House of Representatives”  was the quote filling social media, of course, it was false, and worse many “Christians” were spreading it. Mr. Nadler’s own words were dumb enough there was no need to embellish them. 

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Nadler on God: He’s ‘No Concern of This Congress’

There were a lot of powerful arguments against the Equality Act, but Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) resorted to the ultimate authority: the Bible. During an intense debate on the House floor, the Florida representative said it was time for his colleagues to hear the truth about the transgender issue. But Democrats aren’t interested in the truth — or God. And far-Left radical Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) didn’t mind saying so…

READ MORE > > 

 

French Postmodern Chickens Come Home to Roost

It is hard to imagine that France, long considered the most leftist-liberal of European countries would be concerned about growing leftist-liberalism in America. 

BreakPoint Daily

French Postmodern Chickens Come Home to Roost

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Recently, a New York Times article quoted a French government official as saying, “There’s a battle to wage against an intellectual matrix from American universities.’’ The article went on to explain that “prominent [French] intellectuals have banded together against what they regard as contamination by the out-of-control woke leftism of American campuses and its attendant cancel culture.”

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