Spiritual Cheating

July 22, 2009 at 9:01 am | Posted in Biblical neighbors, Ezekiel | 24 Comments
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The Bible shows that, throughout history, God’s people have been given the responsibility of being witnesses to their lost neighbors, while being warned of God not to join in with any sinful practices.

However, in the Old Testament we find, time and time again, God’s people succumbing to the worldly and fleshly activities of unbelievers they lived among. This is still a problem today, as Christians grieve the Holy Spirit by crossing the line, and going from being “in the world,” to living like we are “of the world.” To show the seriousness of this in the Lord’s eyes, He likens such unfaithfulness to fornication and adultery.

As God’s people began to dabble in idol-worship, pagan religious practices, and making treaties with heathen nations, rather than trusting in the Lord their God, He used the prophet Ezekiel to speak forth some of the strongest language in the whole Bible.

Thou hast also committed fornication with the Egyptians thy neighbours, great of flesh; and hast increased thy whoredoms, to provoke me to anger.

Ezekiel 16:26

Believers today must avoid the temptation of committing spiritual prostitution. We must not invest the great blessings we enjoy into worldly, or flesh-driven, pursuits, even those of our neighbors.

The How versus the Who

July 3, 2009 at 9:39 am | Posted in Biblical Eyesight, Biblical neighbors, John | 12 Comments
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The Lord Jesus was known for healing the blind. He did this not only out of compassion and to prove He was the Messiah, but also as the prelude to a spiritual lesson. Once, when He encountered a beggar who had been blind since birth, Jesus made clay out of spittle, and applied it the man’s eyes. When the man obeyed Jesus, and washed the clay from his eyes, he could see for the first time!

Almost immediately, the man’s neighbors, who had known him to be blind his whole life, began to question the miracle.

The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened?

John 9:8-10.

When Christ miraculously changes the life of a believer today, this pattern will often still hold true. First, the neighbors will notice. Second, they will begin to wonder “how” the change was wrought. However, this is really the wrong question. What the observers in John Chapter 9 should have been asking was, “Who?” instead of “How?” When your neighbors see a God-made change in your life, and want to know “how” it was done, take that opportunity to tell them instead by “Whom” it was done.

Friends or Foes?

May 22, 2009 at 9:32 am | Posted in A Little Alliteration, Biblical friendship, Biblical neighbors, Selected Psalms | 10 Comments
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The great psalmist of the Bible, David, was surrounded on all sides by threats, enemies, danger, and slander. He described his condition in Psalm 31:11: “I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.” Malicious lies have a way of spreading, and fake friends, perceiving that someone is persecuted, tend to make themselves scarce in the time of need.

David’s response to this situation should be an example for us today: He put his trust in the Lord, believing that his “times” were in God’s hand (Psalm 31:15). Understanding that God is in complete control of all circumstances is a great source of comfort, and a great encouragement to draw near to Him. What enemy can intimidate us when we are in His hands?

Noisy Neighbors

May 13, 2009 at 1:15 pm | Posted in A Little Alliteration, Biblical neighbors, Selected Psalms | 8 Comments
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Much of the “double-speak” in today’s exploitative society can be frustrating. A large corporation which fires dozens of employees is said to be “downsizing.” Innocent bystanders injured in a war are called “civilian casualties.” A self-serving flatterer is called a “smooth talker.” Such duplicitous language has even crept into the church, as those who try to undermine the vision of their spiritual leaders, and disrupt the unity of a body of believers, call themselves “change agents.”

David, in his day, called upon the Lord to end this type of vain speech.

They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things:

Psalm 12:2-3

God has given us a great gift in being able to communicate through talking. What a shame if, as believers, we usurp the use of our tongues, and use them to spread gossip and stir up trouble, instead of surrendering them to the Holy Spirit for the building-up and encouraging of others in our church family. Our prayer should be that our “communication” is not really “manipulation” in disguise.


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