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3 John 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words [are as] an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

Ephesians 6:23-24
23 Peace [be] to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Grace [be] with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

We want to bless the brethren by sharing the free health tips that we have learned over the years. Even if you are not one of the brethren, please feel free to read this booklet. You may become one by the time you are done reading.

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We are making a movie that will be given away for free. More details are available here. We are also giving away this ebooklet for free. The topic of the booklet is: What can be done, with no extra monetary cost, to optimize health? No, we are NOT talking about “free health care” from the government!

Why are we giving away this booklet? There are five reasons:
1) To bless the brethren.
2) Health, in its many forms (spiritual, relational, organizational, physical, emotional, mental, societal, financial), is a core value of our ministry, as well as a strategic anchor and a defining purpose.
3) This is something we have been studying for several years.
4) It somewhat defeats the purpose of a free health booklet by selling it.
5) To spread the word about our free movie project.

This booklet is something you can easily share with your connections, since it is free, encouraging, informative and, most importantly, honours God and His Word. The booklet simply contains our blog URL as the only “advertisement,” so if the reader is someone, or knows of someone, who might like to collaborate on this project, then they can decide for themselves.

By following this blog, you will also be notified of any new editions of the booklet. We are anticipating that several of you will know of additional free health tips that you would like to share, so we can add them to the booklet and periodically publish the expanded versions. Plus, we intend to have a list of the changes in an appendix at the end, so those who have already read it, can just pick up the new stuff.

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Proverbs
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary definition of proverb:


PROV’ERB, n. [L. proverbium; pro and verbum, a word.]

1. A short sentence often repeated, expressing a well known truth or common fact, ascertained by experience or observation; a maxim of wisdom.

The proverb is true, that light gains make heavy purses, for light gains come often, great gains now and then.

2. A by-word; a name often repeated; and hence frequently, a reproach or object of contempt. Jeremiah 24.

3. In Scripture, it sometimes signifies a moral sentence or maxim that is enigmatical; a dark saying of the wise that requires interpretation (Proverbs 1).

4. Proverbs, a canonical book of the Old Testament, containing a great variety of wise maxims, rich in practical truths and excellent rules for the conduct of all classes of men.


Strong’s Hebrew 4912


mashal — maw-shawl’ — apparently from 4910 in some original sense of superiority in mental action; properly, a pithy maxim, usually of metaphorical nature; hence, a simile (as an adage, poem, discourse): — byword, like, parable, proverb.


As we can see from the definitions above, proverbs are wise observations about how things work and what we can learn from it.

Considering all of the information in the world, some of it is useless. In contrast, some information is profoundly valuable. Also, there is a great variance in the reliability of some sources of information compared to others. Some information has very little value, whether it is reliable or not, even though it might be somewhat interesting, also known as trivia. Many news reports contain information that is both useless and questionable, also known as tripe. When you find knowledge that is both highly trustworthy and very valuable, that is called wisdom.

Proverbs 8:12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.

It is worth noting the fine distinction between wisdom and prudence. While prudence is more like good judgement, wisdom is the sterling knowledge that helps us have good judgement.

Proverbs are wise sayings. They are practical and tactical, based on a proper worldview, and on a foundation of good doctrine. There is good reason the Holy Bible calls them “proverbs.” It is important for us to take care and use the proverbs in the way God intends. They are not promises. They are not commandments.

For example, consider what would happen if I read a proverb and I thought it was a promise. If I then found even just one event where the outcome was not precisely the same as predicted by that verse in Scripture, that “failure” would cast doubt on all Scripture. Because of my own faulty treatment of one verse or passage, I would now conclude that the Holy Bible is not really reliable.

Proverbs are not commands in the same sense as The Ten Commandments. They are not moral imperatives. If you reject this wise counsel, you are a fool, even if you have not blasphemed God or treated your fellow man unjustly.

Proverbs 8:36 But he that sinneth against [wisdom] wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate [wisdom] love death.

This understanding does not cheapen the value of the biblical proverbs. Quite the contrary, they are some of the wisest observations ever made. That is why they are in the Bible. By putting them in Scripture, God did not change them from proverbs into something else. Since they are in the Bible, we know that they are valuable, in contrast to some other proverbs of questionable value. They are like pearls that God has given to us as a gift.

Proverbs 20:15 There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge [are] a precious jewel.

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Aesop

Mark 6:4 Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.

In Aesop’s fable, it was proper for the fox to be in awe when seeing the lion. People can seem to become commonplace, especially those closest to us, and the temptation can grow to lose our appreciation and honour due to each human.

How much value does God place on one person? At conception, a precious human life begins. So precious, that it will never end. It is eternal, as ordained by God.

The more we learn about the masterful details of design in creation, the more awe inspiring this pursuit of study becomes. Yet, at the same time, it is easy to see that paradise has been lost, cursed, marred by sin. We can still appreciate those scenes of breathtaking beauty. And amazing designs remain to challenge our comprehension and discovery.

Each human soul bears the image of God. The astounding design of each person, the elegant complexity of the alloyed spirit, mind, and body, is exceptional. Yet …

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; … (Isaiah 53:6)

A lost coin does not lose its value because it is lost. It is that intact value that motivates us to search for the coin. The higher the value, the more diligent and persevering the search. So, now read the whole verse.

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

The stunning price paid; for each one; for you.

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

What joy was set before him?

You.

You are worth it … to Him … your salvation … your reconciliation to Him … your fellowship with Him … is His joy!

By no means does this say that you deserve God’s grace. The very definition of grace indicates that it is not deserved. God knows we don’t deserve to be pardoned, yet He also reckons that it is worth it. How much value does God place on one person? God did not value you any less than what He paid.

Yours is a unique life. You are rare; special. The creator of matter says that you matter. Regardless of how close to God you are, or how far from God you are right now, He still holds out His hand to offer a closer relationship with Him.

If you feel angry, then you are angry. If you feel worthless, that does NOT mean you are worthless! If you feel sad, then you are sad. If you feel irrelevant, then that feeling is a LIE! Yes, you are having that emotion, but that does not indicate that you are expendable. Do you see the distinction? Grasping this concept is vital. Feelings and emotions tell you about your state of mind, not your value.

By God’s majestic grace and decree, each soul is due honour, as a fellow human, bearing the image of the Creator.

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wings

Yes, the Bible quotes Satan, and the quotes are completely accurate. That does not mean we should quote Satan, as if he spoke truthfully. On rare occasions, I have seen quotes from Satan used as a trusted basis for doctrine. Granting the benefit of the doubt, we can assume it was an accident. Rather than refuting those specific arguments, it seems prudent to focus on the basic biblical principle, because it is imperative to consider the source and context of any basis for doctrine.

Satan is a Liar

Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

The words of Satan are not often quoted in the Bible. That is no surprise. Not only is he a liar, he is the father of lies. His native language is lying.

John 8:44 Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Acts 5:3 Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost

Every time the Bible does quote the words of Satan, the Bible also proves his words to be false. He is only quoted as an example of lies.

In Genesis chapter three, Adam and Eve took action based on Satan’s deceit, as if it were true, and it resulted in the greatest downfall in all of history.

In Job chapters one and two Satan challenges God regarding Job’s faithfulness, claiming that Job would curse God to His face if certain calamities befell. God allowed Satan to carry out those calamities upon Job. But Job responded to these by worshipping God and never cursed Him. Satan was proved wrong again.

Satan said in Luke 4:5-6 “All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them (all the kingdoms of the world): for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.” But Daniel 4:17 says “that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” In John 19:10 Pilate said to Jesus, “Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?” Jesus answered, “Thou couldest have no power [at all] against me, except it were given thee from above.” And Romans 13:1 says “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” Yet again, Satan was wrong and his words were infected with deceit.

Whenever Satan speaks, there is one guarantee: there is something about what he said that makes it wrong. It may sound like what he is saying is correct. It may contain some truth, like when he quoted Scripture, but only in a twisted, tainted way. This is not a grey area. Satan’s lies are just as black when he misquoted Scripture. He either changed the words, or left out vital context, completely changing it from a truth to a lie. Satan’s intent is to deceive and to corrupt.

Caution

We need to take heed to the scriptural caution. We would not want to place any value on Satan’s polluted words, even those quoted in the Bible, lest it be said of us, “For some are already turned aside after Satan” (1 Timothy 5:15). In this passage, Paul is instructing Timothy about warnings for Christians, so beware!

The verses in the Bible, where Satan is quoted, can really only be used as examples of how the Devil is wanting to lie, tempt, spoil, etc. The Bible does not need to individually and explicitly refute every nuance of Satan’s words, because he is completely censured — he cannot be trusted. Even when there is some defiled truth in the quote, there is no point in attempting to use the truth in those verses by scraping off the defilement. If you think there is a grain of truth in Satan’s words, the only way you can know it is true is if it is taught elsewhere in Scripture. Thus, instead of quoting Satan, simply quote the other Scripture verses where that same truth is already clearly and purely taught.

If I quote Satan as a source of truth, then I am a student of Satan. If my teaching is based on a quote from Satan, then I am encouraging others to be students of Satan.

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creation

Either God created the world, or it created itself. There is no third option. If you think there must be another option, then name one. Atheists have come up with quite a lot of explanations for how things could have come about without any divine intervention. Some are plainly desperate ravings but, if you didn’t know any better, some of their explanations might seem convincing. It is important to realize that they are just stating their wishes, their opinions, their rationalizations that they really hope are plausible.

Some of them claim that they are just stating scientific facts. Nothing could be further from the truth. Both Theists and Atheists have the same scientific facts. It is the interpretation of those facts that they are stating, not science. Science is knowledge. Science is testable, repeatable, and observable. Forensic science, in the present, can be used to help us determine what happened in the past. The most we can hope to gain from such scientific research is just clues, not eye-witness testimony.

When we interpret clues we come back to our beliefs that we already hold, to help us understand the meaning of the clues. So, it is our beliefs that are the basis for our conclusions, not the scientific facts. What we really need is eye-witness testimony, someone who was there and saw what happened, someone who is truthful and can be trusted. That is really the only way to know for sure what happened in the past. Otherwise we are just guessing. The statement of a guess is not knowledge, but opinion. Since a guess is not knowledge, it is also not science, regardless of scientific observations that are mentioned in conjunction with the guess.

If you start your investigations with the assumption that everything needs to be explained naturally, without any divine intervention, then you will gravitate towards any explanation that seems to favour or align with that assumption. That is in fact what the honest evolutionists will tell you they are doing. They reject any super-natural explanation for anything, regardless of the evidence, regardless of the eye-witnesses.

As Christians, we can take God at His Word. If we do not believe something could have happened supernaturally, then we do not believe in God. There is no reason to doubt whether or not God created the world the way He said He did. That would be silly. It is even worse when we take an Atheist’s word that his view about history is scientific. Even at the outset, when this heresy first began, there were solid biblicists who defended the historical reading of Genesis admirably. And we have the same today, if anyone would listen. Thank God there are many who do listen and thus reject such false atheistic teachings. There are also many who need no such defence, since they read their Bible and find it plain to see what God said, and they believe it.

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For the 100th blog post, we hope you will enjoy reading a magazine article for this project. Please give us suggestions if you know of any magazines that might like to use this article.

If we may also draw your attention to the top bar of the blog, you will find a new “page” called “Navigate Scripture” that we just launched. Please check it out. Thanks!

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When His Voice Is Heard

Introduction

The book of Job, in the Holy Bible, is a treasure that God has given to us as a gift. Apart from the revelation of God in this book, there are some secrets we would have no way of seeing. We get a glimpse into Heaven itself, when God meets with His angels. We hear an extraordinary oration by God upon the Earth. We learn about examples of faith and folly.

Lessons

One of the primary precepts of God’s design in this world, is that you reap what you sow. As a result of this principle, we often have troubles in our lives, stemming from our rebellion towards God. However, a big lesson we find in Job is that the suffering of an individual is not always the result of that person’s sins. God’s view of Job’s suffering is different than the conclusions of Job’s three friends. According to God, Satan had destroyed Job “without cause.” In contrast, Job’s three friends had condemned Job, assuming that his calamities were conclusive evidence of sin in his life. God reproved the friends’ line of reasoning as folly. God commanded them to repent of their slander, with sacrifices.

Another lesson we learn, from this precious historical record, is that God limits what Satan is allowed to do. We can trust God’s providence for our lives. Even when life is not going as we had hoped, God intends for us to learn and grow, plus enrich our relationship with Him. God knows best. We can trust Him to gauge and foresee the blessings only He can envision resulting from our trials. For example, Jesus suffered unimaginably, then died on a cruel cross. From an earthly perspective, when His friends saw Him suffer and die and laid in a tomb, this was the most tragic event in history. Not only was it the most agony ever suffered, but it was the highest injustice, due to His complete innocence. From an eternal perspective, this same event was the pinnacle of history. No greater deed has been done. No greater love has been shown. No greater victory has been won. The gap between these two perspectives, of the same historical event, is a wide chasm. We cannot see across this chasm, unless God shows us.

The major lesson of the book of Job centres on the glory of God. Since He is the Creator, any glory seen in His creation is just a small sample illustrating His own glory. The point of God lecturing Job on the topics of scientific and historical knowledge, was to highlight His own glory. The reason God spoke of the power of Behemoth, and the terror of Leviathan, was to accentuate His own glory. Job got the point and repented of his sin of reproaching God’s justice.

Folly … in the Bible?

It may seem strange to quote the following verse.

1 Kings 20:23 And the servants of the king of Syria said unto him, Their gods [are] gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.

Really, this verse could be a very good starting point for a thesis on systematic theology. This article is no such thesis. The reason the verse is a good starting point is because it is wrong. Yes, it is historically accurate, since this report of the Syrians giving this advice is true. It is wrong in a different way. Here it is saying, in the Holy Scriptures, that the God of Israel can only help armies when they are in the hills. I know it does not bother you to be reminded of this flawed reasoning in the Bible, since the context makes it clear that it is wrong; quite clear.

1 Kings 20:28 And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the LORD, Because the Syrians have said, The LORD [is] God of the hills, but he [is] not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.

This clarity makes it a good example of a principle of Bible interpretation. We need to interpret Bible verses in context. In the last portion of the book of Job, God is talking. God condemns some of sections of the book of Job as “folly” and some other parts as “words without knowledge.” Of course, God wants us to base our doctrine, and our lives, on trustworthy knowledge, rather than folly. So, we can completely expect to be able to discern between them, from the context. After all, the Bible cannot be fully authoritative, unless God has given us some reliable way to tell which parts of the record are sound, and which parts God has deemed as folly.

Quoting from Enoch

I chose Enoch as a notable example. This section could just as well be titled “Quoting from Noah,” for another example, or Abel. We confidently know from Scripture that Enoch was a righteous man (Hebrews 11:5) and that he was a prophet (Jude 1:14). So, like Noah (2 Peter 2:15), and Abel (Luke 11:50-51), Enoch was a preacher of righteousness. However, we do not always know when some portion of Scripture is quoting something taught by one of these patriarchs of antiquity. A quote from Enoch is mentioned once in Jude, but we cannot know if other biblical teachings are quoted from Enoch, since we are not always told the source.

There are some who make note that Paul quotes Eliphaz, one of Job’s three friends, as a Scriptural source. Let’s examine this idea. The final eight words in 1 Corinthians 3:19, that Paul quotes, matches the first part of the verse in Job 5:13 verbatim. When we look back to Job chapter four, we can see that the person who is talking, in chapters four and five, is Eliphaz.

It is good to point out that, though the English translation is word-for-word the same, the words of Eliphaz are recorded in the Bible in Hebrew, and the words of Paul are in Greek. So, it is not technically a word-for-word quote, though they do have the same essential meaning.

Paul does say, “it is written,” but who is he quoting? He doesn’t say who he is quoting, so we do not know with certainty. We just know that the source is authoritative.

If I quote Emerson saying “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness,” then a few years later John Maxwell uses that same quote, is Mr. Maxwell quoting me or Emerson? Of course, he is quoting Emerson. So, when Paul says the same short phrase as Eliphaz, that does not mean Paul was quoting Eliphaz. What if they were both quoting Enoch, for example? The reason this is important is because some would use this quote as a justification for themselves quoting from the arguments between Job and his three friends as the basis for doctrine. God takes exception with this, since He calls Job’s three friends’ arguments “folly” so grave as to be repented of with sacrifices (Job 42:8).

The content of rat poison can be more than 99% good food for rats. When God condemned the arguments of Job’s three friends as folly, that does not mean every word they said was utter foolishness. In fact, if they were babbling buffoons, then people would take them for jesters, rather than teachers, so their foolishness would be somewhat harmless. They would not be worthy of such noted attention from God’s judgement. It is the hidden error among the teaching; it is the sophistry, that is profoundly harmful. The next section will expand on the careful interpretation for separating the folly from the wisdom in the book of Job.

(Mis)-Quoting From Job

Let’s say I am preparing a sermon. If I am quickly hunting for verses that agree with a point I am attempting to make, it would be quite easy for me to happen across some verses in the book of Job that seem to fit. Unfortunately, if I am not aware of the context of those verses, I may mistakenly quote verses that God said were folly; oops.

For each verse in Job, discerning the context is critically important. You can probably think of some examples of verses in Proverbs, in the Sermon on the Mount, in the epistles, etc., that can stand on their own, so that the context is not necessary to apply them. In contrast, there is a ton of context needed for many verses in Job. Yes, there are handy verses for quotes, and some that do not strictly need the context. However, there are several chapters carrying God’s warning that the content is questionable. The only way we would be able to tell if something in these chapters was OK, is if it is taught as good doctrine in some other biblical passage, so we can just use that other passage for our text instead.

It is insufficient to just read the neighbouring verses in Job to get the context, or even the whole chapter. The Holy Spirit has provided guideposts to help us navigate. Please follow along.

Sign Posts

History does not conclusively tell us who wrote the book of Job. This we do know: He was a prophet inspired of God. Here are the boundaries that God led His prophet to put in His Word, for the book of Job, so that we can clearly see what God is calling “words without knowledge.”

We know that not all of Job’s words were “without knowledge” because chapter two says that Job did not sin with his lips, up to that point. So, we know that Job spoke uprightly before chapter three. But then, Job and his three friends argued; a lot.

The inspired narration (Job 38:1-2) makes it clear and specific that God was rebuking Job.

God called Job, “he that contendeth with the Almighty” and “he that reproveth God” in Job 40:2. God rebukes Job with the words, “Wilt thou also disannul my judgement? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?” in Job 40:8.

The thrust of God’s sermon is His own glory and that Job’s (and my) knowledge is so puny in comparison as to be pitifully insufficient to reproach anything that God might do.

Job gets the point, confessing and admitting that he did not know what he was talking about.

Job 40:3-4
Job answered the LORD, and said, “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee?”

Job 42:1,3,6
Then Job answered the LORD, and said, “… therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. … I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

God, Elihu, and Job all agreed that Job’s speeches, from chapter 3 through 31, contained “words without knowledge.”

Then God commended Job’s repentance as speaking “right” (Job 42:7-8), so we know Job was back on course by the time we get to the final chapter.

God also condemns the words of Job’s three friends as “folly” (Job 42:8), commanding sacrifices for repentance. There is no delineation indicating anything that the three said correctly, so it is all tainted.

Instead of including all of these arguments in the Bible, God could have just told us what was wrong about what they said, but He recorded the speeches, in chapters 3 through 31, as context to God’s rebuke and Elihu’s admonition. As such, they are valuable as a historical record.

In contrast, the words of Elihu, who was not one of the three erroneous friends, were recorded as the inspired Word of God, in chapters 32 through 37. His address aligned with God’s later message, though God had a more glorious pulpit! The main points of Elihu’s oration were that God is glorious and that Job and his three friends were out of line in their arguments.

From chapter 38 through the final chapter 42 we have God speaking, Job repenting, God approving of Job’s repentance, and the inspired narration, so these chapters are also “safe.”

When His Voice Is Heard

Job 37:1-5 (Elihu speaking)
1 At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place.
2 Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound [that] goeth out of his mouth.
3 He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth.
4 After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard.
5 God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.

The purpose of this article is not to take the place of your own study of the unparalleled book of Job. Hopefully, this was just an appetizer, to increase your hunger for more reading and studying of your own. When you read the Holy Scriptures, God is talking to you.

https://WhenHisVoiceIsHeard.com

Word Studies

WordStudies

Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity!

Yes, in the Bible, this verse has an exclamation point! No wonder!

1 Corinthians 1:9-10
9 God [is] faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and [that] there be no divisions among you; but [that] ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Matthew 7:7-11
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

If you seek The Truth, you will find it. Pray to God to show you The Truth, then seek it out.

1 Corinthians 11:17-19
17 Now in this that I declare [unto you] I praise [you] not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.
18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

Among everyone who knows The Truth there is unity. There will never be unity for anyone who is unconcerned with error in his own beliefs. For every true view there is no limit to the number of corresponding erroneous views. As Christians, we are to have unity. The road to unity is travelled by seeking The Truth and brotherly peace.

We do not intend give the impression that we need to scorn people who are wrong about something, or we would need to scorn everyone, since no one is all-knowing but God. What we mean is this:

1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Romans 15:1-7
1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
2 Let every one of us please [his] neighbour for [his] good to edification.
3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
6 That ye may with one mind [and] one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

Proverbs 30:5-6
5 Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

When a view is a matter of opinion, rather than The Revealed Scripture, then such a thesis must not be asserted as The Truth. It seems impossible to address the subject of unity without quoting John Amos Comenius, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” We don’t despise people who are incorrect, but we also don’t accept their false teachings as being as equally valid as The Truth. In order to grow in unity, we need to compare human teachings with God’s Word to prove them, to test them, to see if they are valid.

1 John 1:7 … if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

The Scripture is not of any private interpretation, so there is only one correct view for each doctrine. So, one obvious aspect of unity is when two people have learned the proper biblical precepts about a certain topic, then they will be in agreement and unity about that topic.

However, I will never be able to learn all there is to know about true doctrine, so how can I ever have unity in doctrine? By not holding fast any doctrine that has not been proven by God’s Word and by allowing others to learn according to God’s divine schedule for that person, rather than my own. When I take this approach, then I am always seeking The Truth and I am always in unity with those who are seeking The Truth, those who are students of The Holy Bible. I am learning. I may share with you what I have learned. I may want to learn from you what you have learned.

The only people we would have occasion to correct, would be those who teach for doctrines the commandments of men. Biblically, this correction seems to be one of the duties borne by the role of the New Testament prophet, if you read 1 Corinthians 14, then take note of verse 29.

But, what about sophistry? There are times when we are misled into believing that a false teaching, or opinion, is biblical. The way it has been explained to us makes it seem to be supported by Scripture. There are three ingredients to the recipe that removes the effects of sophistry from your beliefs: humility, prayer, and seeking.

Ephesians 4:1-6
1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 [There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all.

Ephesians 4:11-16
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

We have a choice to make between patience or strife. Patience is a key to unity and brotherly peace.

2 Timothy 2:23-26
23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men,] apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

James 3:13-18
13 Who [is] a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but [is] earthly, sensual, devilish.
16 For where envying and strife [is,] there [is] confusion and every evil work.
17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

Philippians 2:1-8
1 If [there be] therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, [being] of one accord, of one mind.
3 [Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

James 5:9-11
9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.
10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity!

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gavel

For their unpardoned evil here on Earth, each person will be judged, convicted, and sentenced. Some of the consequences for these actions will come in this life, some in the next. Nations are also judged for their actions. But a nation does not have an after-life, so all of the consequences for national actions must be faced here on Earth. God is a just Judge and requires justice.

There are several times in the Bible when God pronounced His judgement on a nation. With one exception, each time God gave the option to repent and avoid destruction. There is one time in the Bible when God said He would not offer pardon for the nation. It was when that nation had shed much innocent blood. The king who was responsible had already repented, after decades of evil, and had become a believer, but that was not sufficient in this case. The only options they were given were different forms of national destruction. There was no option available to avoid the downfall of the nation.

So, if a nation promotes abortion, does that mean they are doomed without hope? Do we want to find out the hard way? This sentence of justice does make sense. Government is an institution of God. The purpose of government is to punish evil. When a nation’s government turns to promoting evil, it does not make sense to expect that nation to get away with this evil for long.

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tractor-crossing-sign

Every endeavour has its detractors. If they had their way, we would have no liberty, no technology, no literature, no art …

As tractors pull forward, detractors pull backward. While we would rather not have hindrances to our progress, they can provide some benefit. It can be like exercise that makes your project stronger. Muster up as much courage, integrity, and humility as you can find, then sincerely consider the question, “Do the objections have any merit?” What can you enhance about your venture so that your detractors’ objections no longer have any merit?

We would like to hear from you! Of course, it is always nice to hear from those who have encouraging words to say. We are quite intent on improvements, so we also welcome constructive criticism.

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not

It would be humorous, if it was not being taken seriously. Some call it being politically correct (PC). Are people really this easily offended? Or are they just hunting for yet another way to get control of others? I guess it is some of both. The noisy complainers voicing their petty irritations, as if they were victims of a crime, and the politicians taking advantage of the complaints to pile on more regulations.

Now, I am not making any excuse to be unkind. However, this is a matter of courtesy and grace, not legislation.

What if I walked around Cork city and was allowed to dictate what I wanted removed because it offended me? I assure you there would be quite a few things that would go. I would not lobby the legislature for such powers, because I believe in liberty.

If I say something that is merely offensive, get over it. I have done you no harm. Of course, it is not OK for me to threaten you, as if I was a clear and present danger. Of course, it is not OK for me to slander you. Other than that, freedom of speech is a good thing. If you do not agree, then go live in some country that does not have freedom of speech.

If I say something offensive to Pippin, the ethical limit of Pippin’s response is to say something back at me. If Pippin tries to use the government to bully me into refraining from saying anything he doesn’t like, then that is tyranny. There is enough tyranny in this world without Pippin trying to add more.

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