Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Tag: Proverbs 28

Politics and Power Structures

December 28 – Today’s Readings – Revelations 13-15 and Proverbs 28

What are we actually seeing here in these Chapters? There are negative spiritual “powers” at work – shaping the politics and power structures of this world. There are also “principalities” shaping the spiritual climate of the earth. The whole earth is under a tyranny of the Devil – except for those submitted to Christ!

Remember to balance this thought with the Scripture declaring “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.” [Psalms 24:1-2]

The truth of Scripture is that the Devil was cast down to Earth and really messed things up – but Earth rightfully belongs to Christ and the day is coming soon when we will no longer hear of “the Enemy of our Souls”.

In this spiritually dark world we live in, it is our job to keep ourselves very close to Jesus. We must constantly guard ourselves from being fearful of the enemy because one of his most powerful weapons is to instill terror in people. We must keep watch so that our focus is not one of fear but on being at peace with God. Remember, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” [John 4:18].

Our enemy, the Devil, will use all means at his disposal to keep people in bondage to sin and to influence Christians negatively. What are key issues that threaten us the most?

Pear pressure and propaganda – being squeezed into the world’s mold – “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” [Romans 12:2]
Being in awe of the Devil and his powers instead of being in awe of God – “He [Jesus] replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” [Luke 10:18]
Focusing on the material world instead of focusing on the spiritual world – “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” [1Timothy 6:10]
Not seeing the big picture – the fact that God is everything to us and in Him we will always be stable and spiritually fulfilled – “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” [Ephesians 2:6]
Actively turning away from all sin and living in an attitude of humility, repentance and victory.
Notice that we should never be consumed or in awe of what the Devil is doing – we should be consumed by what God is doing – His will and purposes in our lives. ALSO notice that we need to focus on following Jesus, not on when we will be taken to heaven! Let’s never let “prophetic” books like Daniel and Revelation make us lose perspective – after all – remember that this is a Revelation of Jesus Christ – not of the beast. We are created to do good works now, not be waiting for the future to happen.

Questions:

1. What “signs” do we see indicating that evil spiritual powers are at work in our world?
2. What should our general attitude be towards the enemy of our souls? – Towards God?

Causing Offence, Being Judgemental

June 28 – Today’s Readings – Romans 13-14 and Proverbs 28

Romans 14 contains a train of thought that is important for us in the 21st. Century. It has to do with not “offending” brothers and sisters in the Lord by our indiscrete behavior. It also involves not judging our brothers and sisters.

First of all, let’s talk about not offending one another. There are many behaviors that we could participate in as Christians, which have the potential of offending fellow “saints” in Christ. A brother could easily be offended if he saw you or I entering a bar for example – his past experiences with the “bar lifestyle” might have had everything to do with the destruction of his marriage, family and career. Perhaps my only past experience with alcohol had to do with a glass of beer at dinner with my family. Is it “wrong” to have a beer with your parents at dinner? Perhaps not – for you, it may simply part of wholesome fellowship. Is it “wrong” if you offend your brother in Christ while participating in this activity? Yes – because you have used your “Christian liberty” in a way that has caused another man to stumble. I use the example of “the bar”, not because it is the biggest or most pressing issue facing us in this discussion but because it is an easy one. Consider this however – “It is not for kings, O Lemuel – not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what the law decrees, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights. Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.” (Proverbs 31:4-7)

With regards to not “judging” your brother in Christ – we see here the flip side of not offending your brother. If you know that a friend of yours is in the habit of having a glass of wine with his wife on special occasions, you should be mature enough in Christ to not judge him for his choice of behavior. You will notice that I have deliberately chosen a “grey area” like having a glass of wine – I have not chosen an obvious, blatant sin like drinking too much and thereby losing proper judgment.

Here’s a question for you however – If the Holy Spirit communicates with us through our minds, and we dull our minds with a prescription drug, alcohol, or some street drug, will this impair our ability to hear the voice of the Spirit? You see, some of these things are obviously wrong and when the Bible calls something a sin, we should too. Failing to do so is the equivalent of not looking out for our brothers’ interests. No, judging one another for “petty” things is wrong but judging ourselves for issues that lead to death or for things that distance us from God is a responsible, Christian thing to do.

Questions:

1. Give other examples of issues that could be “ok” for one person but might “offend” another.
2. Give an example of a time when the Holy Spirit instructed you to do or not to do something because of not “offending” a fellow Christian.

My “Sacrifice”

June 27 – Today’s Readings – Romans 11-12 and Proverbs 28

In the first 2 verses of Chapter 12 we find the New Testament equivalent of burned offerings (sacrifices of worship) from the Old Testament; “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Instead of a lamb or a bull on the altar – it’s me! I offer myself to God day by day. I do what Jesus did but in a much smaller way – “sacrificing” my body, my mind, my energy, my pocket book, my relationships, my future, etc. to the Lord. This is my spiritual act of worship – my “worship” is not just about the songs I sing on Sunday!

Part two of the formula is equally important though – the Spirit of God is very busy – renewing my mind. This is where “the rubber hits the road”. What goes on in my mind is of utmost importance in my life and is to be an offering of worship to the Lord. My pastor often says, “We need to hang new pictures in the gallery of our minds”. How do we end up in trouble with our attitudes, our words and our actions? It all starts in the mind. God’s work in us must include our thinking processes and the way we allow our thoughts to roam.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:6-8)

This “thinking about” is an active process. If we focus our minds on the right things, then out the abundance of our minds, our mouths will speak and our actions will be guided. This is one of the great adventures of the Christian life. It has everything to do with my daily surrender to the Lord. If I want a gauge of how I’m doing today, then I need to check out my active, mindful submission to Jesus. Your mind will be renewed and you will be a New Testament worshipper as you offer yourself to Him!

Finally, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:” (Philippians 2:3-5)

Questions:

1.Tell of an experience in your Christian life, where the Holy Spirit “reprogrammed” your mind.
2. Tell of an example in Scripture where God was at work changing the way people thought.

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