The confidence of the foolish

Listen to this, all of you –
whether the world considers you lowly or honored, whether you are wealthy or in need – these words will share wisdom, and the truth pouring from my heart will give understanding. I have studied true and valuable pieces of wisdom from the Word of God, and I will share with you the dark warning that is uncovered in the light of revelation.

Fools will ask themelves,  “Why should I be afraid when trouble arises, haven’t I made preparations? Even if enemies surround me, like so many snakes and scorpions at my heals, can’t I look down on them from the high place that I have prepared for myself?”

Yes,  fools think much of themselves and of their own preparations. They trust in their wealth and their works (even in their religious preparations),  and boast proudly in their riches and evidence of their works,  while none of these things can redeem their own brother or friend from the coming destruction. They can’t offer a ransom for others (nor do many concern themselves with much more than themselves) – because the redemption of souls is not a cost they are ready to pay,  it is costly beyond what they are willing or able to buy.

And it is true that redemption by cost and sacrifice and purchase has ceased, because of the price paid by the Lord Jesus Christ from the cross to the tomb to the right hand of God Almighty, so that He can continue to live eternally with His children, so that they will not see the pit of destruction that this world so bitterly deserves.

The Lord sees wise men die, and the fools and those with no understanding. They all leave their wealth (those many things they have accumulated) to others. They believe in their things (more than they ever believed in the Lord) that their houses will not fall, that their land and possessions will be passed down through all their coming generations, with it remaining in the names (of men) that they honor so highly (while they give little if any real honor to the name of the Lord).

But the worldly man, the carnal man, even if he is a greatly honored man among men, doesn’t remain. Like the animals, he will die. Yes,  this is the end for the foolish who trust in themselves, and of those who revere their ways of worldliness as being wise.

Like sheep they will die,  and the world having been their master – death, the prince of this world, the end to the things of the world, will consume them (as they rot and are eaten by the worms).

The upright (who fear in the Lord and place their confidence in those things eternal) will have dominion over them in the morning (when the eternal light of His vindication is come into the world), and the essence of their being will be eaten away in Sheol, because they have no communion,  no habitation,  no place, and no memory in the presence of the Lord.

And we say,  “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me.”

They say, “I won’t be afraid if I become rich, when the glory of my name increases in the mouths of men; because when I die, I’ll carry nothing away; I know that any glory won’t descend after me into the grave.”

But while they live, they bless themselvesselves. And other worldly men will rise up and praise them when they do well for themselves. But these men will go to the same end as their fathers before them. They will never see the light of that morning, because a man who honored by men, but does not understand these things, is just like the animals that will be slaughtered and butchered, their end is in the same destination.

Hear this, all peoples; Give ear, all inhabitants of the world, Both low and high, Rich and poor together. My mouth shall speak wisdom, And the meditation of my heart shall  give understanding. I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will disclose my dark saying on the harp. Why should I fear in the days of evil, When the iniquity at my heels surrounds me? Those who trust in their wealth And boast in the multitude of their riches, None of  them can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him— For the redemption of their souls is costly, And it shall cease forever— That he should continue to live eternally, And  not see the Pit. For he sees wise men die; Likewise the fool and the senseless person perish, And leave their wealth to others. Their inner thought is  that their houses will  last forever, Their dwelling places to all generations; They call their lands after their own names. Nevertheless man, though in honor, does not remain; He is like the beasts that perish. This is the way of those who are  foolish, And of their posterity who approve their sayings. Selah Like sheep they are laid in the grave; Death shall feed on them; The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; And their beauty shall be consumed in the grave, far from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me. Selah Do not be afraid when one becomes rich, When the glory of his house is increased; For when he dies he shall carry nothing away; His glory shall not descend after him. Though while he lives he blesses himself (For men will praise you when you do well for yourself), He shall go to the generation of his fathers; They shall never see light. A man who  is in honor, yet does not understand, Is like the beasts that perish.
Psalms 49:1-20 NKJV

Our confidence is in His mercy

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.
Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You.
Psalms 33:18-22 NKJV

Our confidence is in your mercy,  Lord, not in our worthiness. We have nothing to boast in but you,  Lord. Our security is found in you,  not our works,  not our wealth,  not even in our religious sacrifices – only in you.

Hear this, all peoples;
Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
Why should I fear in the days of evil,
When the iniquity at my heels surrounds me?
Those who trust in their wealth
And boast in the multitude of their riches,
None of  them can by any means redeem his brother,
Nor give to God a ransom for him—
For he sees wise men die;
Likewise the fool and the senseless person perish,
And leave their wealth to others.
But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave,
For He shall receive me. Selah
Psalms 49:1, 5-7, 10, 15 NKJV

Confidence, boldness, no fear

And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear.
Philippians 1:14 NLT

Paul was imprisoned for preaching the gospel. He wasn’t satisfied only telling those who wanted to hear about Jesus this Good News,  he was preaching it boldly and confidently and without fear to the people that hated hearing the truth, to the ones who would rather not have light shined on their sinful lives, to the ones who wanted to stone him,  kill him,  and imprison him.

That’s a powerful and strong testimony if we don’t care about the temporary consequences, if we are not so afraid that water down the truth so that it conforms to the type of message the world’s is comfortable receiving, if we are bold and confident and we have such fear and awe of God that it is more important to share truth, even when it will cause divisiveness and division and a reaction of repulsion from those who are in darkness.

So many of us today are more afraid of offending someone than we are of not warning them so that a seed of Truth might be planted and that they might find their way out of being a slave to their sin. So many will say things like “I’ve been hurt by the church” and “the reason people don’t want to go to church is because those people are judgemental” – when it really isn’t that anyone focused on them and made them feel unwelcome,  it’s that they didn’t like the light being shined on the truth that they are a sinner. The truth is that many of the lost would rather believe for themselves that they are a “pretty good person” and that knowing about Christ is enough to justify them continuing to be conformed to the ways of this world & living in sin.

You see, I’m interested in seeing the church grow. But the church is the body of true believers of Christ who pick up their cross and follow him. It isn’t some church membership list and it isn’t saying we are His with our mouths and proving we aren’t with our lives.

But there are so many false teachers and gathering places of false teachers today who are pandering to itchy ears, who have no interest in repentance,  who will deny the very power that can overcome sin in their lives, and who skillfully sidestep questions and make every bent argument in an attempt to avoid standing firm upon the foundation because they are more concerned about someone turning their backs on them and not accepting them than they are about the truth being shared boldly,  confidently, and without fear.

These are the same ones who will talk all day about Matthew 6:33 and mention a wonderful Kingdom and treasures and rewards and promises,  and they will mention that God is a provider and that He will add blessings to your life – but the very blessings they are interested in chasing and selling to these people they gather to dine upon are the things of this world.

And they sneak away from talking about righteousness,  or they diminish and blaspheme the Holy Spirit of God by acting as if it has no power to overcome sin in people’s lives and that it is simply “a coat that we put on to hide our true nature” and deny the transformation of repentance that is a necessary component of salvation. Doesn’t their very teaching uncover what it is that they are, and what it is that they are doing? Aren’t they wolves who “put on the skin of a sheep to hide their true nature” so that they can gobble up the sheep, living off of them and feeding of of the sheep instead of feeding them? Isn’t everything to them about an outward show, an appearance and a performance, a form of faked and imitated godliness that denies the very power that could make them holy? Aren’t these the very ones that Jude warns us have crept into the gathering places and have twisted the message of a costly, valuable grace, and of a single,  narrow gate, and of a faithful walk along the narrow path, and of trials, tribulations, and sufferings in this world, and of being a new creation not conformed to the world – and for the sake of prideful numbers of false conversions,  for the sake of prideful numbers of sinner’s prayers spoken,  for the sake of prideful numbers of the Baptism of John, for prideful numbers of attendance and membership in their country club gatherings – they have forsaken the Word of God – they have forsaken the baptism of the Holy Spirit – they have become teachers of lasciviousness – they have wormed their way into the church to receive glory and honor from mere men while robbing Christ of His glory.

I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment. In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings.  But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion. When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness. Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want. But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them. But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,  and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives. Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.
Jude 1:4-24 NLT

So I say,  let us be bold and confident in sharing this truth. Let your light shine and share the Truth of this Good News with little concern about whether they will hate you or love you, just with the grattitude that you have the opportunity to follow in His footsteps – even if it sets the world at odds against you.

Are you certain? Why?

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
Philippians 1:6 NLT

We can be confident that if God has started a work in us, that it will be completed. We can be confident,  when we look and see lives that are being filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit,  with the change that comes from seed that has been planted and watered and has been budding and growing over time into a new and changed character in a person that there is something spiritual at work inside them. And when God starts a work in someone,  He intends to complete it,  so we can find confidence in His being faithful and true.

I look to the story of Balaam and his donkey. That very same donkey that he had ridden all of his life suddenly began acting quite different than usual. It resisted the way that Balaam wanted to go because it knew that if he went that way Balaam would be killed. But Balaam was concerned about how foolish he was looking to those around him by his not being able to follow in the same path where those men with him were going. He wasn’t concerned with the why, and he didn’t think about whether or not this path might be contrary to God’s will,  he intended to follow it. So he began beating his donkey.

“But I am the same donkey you have ridden all your life,” the donkey answered. “Have I ever done anything like this before?” “No,” Balaam admitted. Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the roadway with a drawn sword in his hand. Balaam bowed his head and fell face down on the ground before him. “Why did you beat your donkey those three times?” the angel of the Lord demanded. “Look, I have come to block your way because you are stubbornly resisting me. Three times the donkey saw me and shied away; otherwise, I would certainly have killed you by now and spared the donkey.” Then Balaam confessed to the angel of the Lord , “I have sinned. I didn’t realize you were standing in the road to block my way. I will return home if you are against my going.” But the angel of the Lord told Balaam, “Go with these men, but say only what I tell you to say.” So Balaam went on with Balak’s officials.
Numbers 22:30-35 NLT

If we know someone, especially if we have known them long enough to know their character,  the baseline of their normal behavior, we can also recognize when there is difference in their behavior that is “out of character” for them. We can have reasonable expectations for how both their emotional feelings and rational mind are going to work together to respond to a situation our circumstance, because we’ve seen the evidence and know their patterns. But there are also spiritual influences that can alter this normal/baseline behavior.

We can recognize the spiritual influence of growth and change in ourselves if we have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and we are indeed born again Children of God, because our lives will be altered and we will bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This is how those who are spiritual can make right judgements about whether or not someone is “in the faith”. In fact, this is how we can encourage others to have confidence that God will complete the work that He has begun.

And it is not because someone pretends that they are perfect and without sin, because those are blind, lying to themselves, without any real understanding of the ways of c Good,  but blinded by their own prose and religious attitudes. It is also not because of a strong but short lived interest in God because someone has come to the knowledge of their sin and have felt shame and guilt and reacted in emotion towards the Word of God for a short time and then turned back to the ways of the world.

Paul in this letter to the Philippians can have confidence in what the Lord is going to accomplish in their lives because he has seen the change to their character,  the change to their baseline attitudes,  the change to their desires and motivations that comes from a new heart and the teaching and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Paul can confidently trust in the Lord and encourage them that the Lord will complete His work in them, not just because He saw them say a prayer,  not just because he saw them dunked under water, but because he saw the evidence of true change in their lives. If we know the change of repentance, if we examine our lives and see true change and interest in following the will of God,  we can find confidence in that.

But if we are more interested in following in the ways of the world, and we are frustrated that we can’t go the way of the world, afraid that we are going to look foolish in the eyes of the world if we don’t walk that same path that they are walking – if we are more interested in our own way, we might need to examine ourselves for fruit and determine whose way and life is truth and which leads to destruction.

Just because you’ve ignored that other voice in your head because it sounds foolish and limiting and restrictive doesn’t mean that you are wise or right.

Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.
Proverbs 12:15 NLT

I wonder how often we beat and resist the very donkey in our lives that has c a message from God for us,  because we are more interested in listening to the world than God?

This is why it is important that we examine ourselves – not so that we can think that, we’ve arrived – no,  that is pride! But so that we can have confidence in the Lord that He is, at work in us and that our deceitful heart is not deceiving us.

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord , search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”
Jeremiah 17:9-10 NLT

Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you ; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.
2 Corinthians 13:5 NLT

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
Galatians 5:16-26 NLT

Can I trust in the Lord and have confidence that He will complete the work that He has started in you,  friend? The answer depends not on God,  but on you,  whether or not you have believed,  received and repented so that His work has yet begun in you. Because His promises are faithful and true.

I hope the answer is yes. Our I hope if the answer has been no up to this moment,  that it will be yes today and forevermore and eternity as you surrender your life to Him,  choosing to now walk in the one way,  the one truth,  the one life,  Jesus Christ.

Choose the narrow gate of our only Hope in Jesus Christ, and walk the narrow path of Faithfulness, and the Holy Spirit of Christ will come upon you and anoint you with the Love of God that pours out upon His Children.

There is no greater peon,  there is no greater prize, than to serve at the feet of the Lord and never leave His presence – and I’m not talking about one day after you are dead. I’m talking about today, now, while your service is of use in waking others to the truth.


Strong in Love

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NLT


We face spiritual attacks upon our lives daily – but once we have Christ in us,  these “attacks” shift into being tests, into challenges – and once we set our hope firmly upon Jesus Christ as our Savior, we can recognize them as opportunities.


The world might ask, in what kind of mad,  twisted realm do trials,  sufferings and persecution become opportunities? And we can explain to them that our own nature, we can understand the normal reaction of the flesh towards these things – we understand that being hurt by another,  the flesh cries out for payment of revenge in return. But we also have another voice that is active and alive in our lives, which tells us that even when it is to our clear detriment in this life,  even when it will not clearly benefit us in any way,  that we have the opportunity to choose to bring love,  peace, patience,  joy,  kindness,  goodness,  faithfulness,  and self control into this world even as a response to the evils of this world.

And when we do,  and when it is clear that it was not for our own benefit or gain or manipulation – what clearer and undeniable testimony might we raise up so that another might realize the truth of Christ who lives in us? How can someone who considers themselves or enemy and considers themselves an enemy of God deny our pouring out blessing upon their lives as repayment for the pain and hurt and disappointment they have dealt or to us? But isn’t this the very example of Christ,  that He loved us even when we were still sinners – that He went to the cross for each and every one of us who might choose to turn to Him and bear His name upon our hearts and our lives?


So we have a great encouragement for standing guard against the attacks of the enemy,  but we have a great opportunity to see them with open eyes for what they really are – moments on this earth in our own lives where we might be like Christ in the garden at Gethsemane – where we might say,  take this cup from me Lord if you will, because it is bitter for me to drink, but it is better that your will be done than my own.


And what is amazing is that once we are on other side of the trial,  once the Lord has moved that mountain and cast it into the sea because of our faith as small as a mustard seed that proved us faithful and clinging to Him firmly – we find that He is faithful and true and that He does bring us through and provide for us and bless us. And as we learn to do this,  moment by moment,  decision by decision,  as we serve the one that we have chosen to be our master,  we are molded,  we are shaped to be more and more like the thing that influences and directs our actions,  more like whatever is master over our lives.


So we remain on guard because we should know who is in control. Are we still a slave to sin that is holding us captive and controlling or lives?  Then we need to find freedom from our captors,  we need to ask Christ to break those chains, and we need to walk out of that prison cell as we are sent on our mission to bring Christ to the world by being Christ in the world. We are the body of Christ,  being led by the Holy Spirit, bringing His good work and love and truth into this world – or we are dead flesh, waiting to be tossed into the flames with the sin that we have chosen to worship by allowing to have mastery over our lives.

If you admit that you have sinned, that is good,  because otherwise there is no truth in you and you would be a liar in the deep depths of darkness. But do you realize that there is one who offers you a spirit of power and strength and confidence over sin?  Do you realize that the Holy Spirit is not a voice of timidity or fear or guilt or shame – but one of deliverance,  of renewal, of victory over sin and temptation and the tricks of the enemy?


So how do we walk in strength when we are so weak ourselves in the flesh? We choose to walk in His authority and power,  we choose to accept His annointing upon our lives. We seek for His will to be done in our lives, knowing that whatever the cost, He is the only prize worth receiving. 

Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.  But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”
Luke 10:19-20 NLT

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord ’s favor has come. ”
Luke 4:18-19 NLT

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:34-35 ESV

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
1 John 4:7-12 ESV

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 5:14 ESV

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Romans 13:8-10 ESV