When you have a discussion with a Brother at church, what generally do you talk about? Is it the weather, sports, activities, or the things of the Lord? Is your conversation empty or edifying? “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another” (Romans 14:19).
Warning labels began being applied to poison substances in the mid 1800’s and without doubt have saved many lives. Ingesting harmful substances can cause longterm health repercussions and even prove deadly. We knew a family whose son had his throat seriously burned by drinking out of a cup that appeared clean but once had lye in it. It was a rough road for him for a long time.
My Brothers, none will argue that ingesting sewage is harmful, and there’s been no argument to my warning regarding moral sewage in previous Seriously articles. What your eyes, the windows to your soul, dine on have great impact on your soul and resulting spiritual walk.
Don’t you wonder how many dads have a poor relationship with the Lord due to their optical “malnutrition.” They have never experienced a close “sweet” walk with the Savior. They haven’t hungered and feasted on His Word because their appetite is poisoned. Sadly, they don’t even know what they are missing.
“The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness” (Luke 11:34-35).
“Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).
Paul begins Colossians 3:1 with the phrase, “If ye then be risen with Christ” is another way of saying, if you are saved, because what was to follow wouldn’t apply to those who are hell-bound (John 3:36). Then he continues, “seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). The lost care nothing for heaven, because they are consumed with the world. The world is their life and what they love.
That is not to be the case for someone who has been redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb. His eternal home is not earth, but heaven, where our Lord Jesus is.
John admonishes similarly in 1 John 2:15, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” We draw near to what we love because it has our thoughts and focus.
The networks can’t tell you how to think, but they tell you what to think about, because whatever they stream, you fill your mind with.
A dad’s response following last weeks’ Seriously.
“Yes! Well said. I fully agree. If you recall, I work as a psychiatrist. One of my most common non-pharmacologic prescriptions for people I treat is, “stop watching the news all day.” It makes one depressed and anxious. I usually tell them to set a limit of 10-20 minutes per day, then turn it off. But really, never turning it on in the first place would be even better. Thank you for pointing out this truth from God’s Word!”
Living in Florida I remember being fascinated any time I heard about a sinkhole event occurring, sort of like a modern Korah, Dathan, and Abiram moment (Numbers 16). Likely that single event of Numbers would hold the all-time, world record for sinkhole devastation.
There is a costly, modern day sinkhole of another sort that impacts many (most?) men today. Sadly, few recognize the longterm consequences. However, I’m confident there is a horrific “cost” to God’s kingdom due to all the hours it sucks out of men’s lives and the negative impact to their souls. What is it? It is the news, and man’s insatiable “need” to be informed about every illegal, disastrous, scandalous, juicy, gory, and immoral event that the networks can find to keep their ratings up.
Do I hear cries of “Heresy!” “Outrageous” “Insanity!”? Please extend me a bit of grace. Consider what the result of mentally “ingesting” the list from above? What profit is there? Does it build you up in Christ? Does it enrich your life or foster love, joy, or peace? Do you have a far greater hunger to read God’s Word as a family than you do to listen to or read the news? How many families are starved for the Bread of Life, while Dad is feasting on the sewage of the world?
Since it is a shame to speak of the works of darkness, it is certainly not good to listen or read them. “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret” (Ephesians 5:11-12).
My Brothers, Scripture tells us what we are to feed on. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
It was a hot day during summer vacation. My buddy Jack and I were taking the shortcut home across the vacant lot. I glanced back at Jack, and to my horror, he was tossing lit matches over his shoulder. Why? He was Jack. By the time we got the grass fire stomped out, our tennis shoe soles were severely melted.
I wonder how many professing Christian dads reading this are playing with fire. You might lose your wife, your children, your home, and even your job. Maybe you aren’t tossing matches over your shoulder, but those compliments to other women, or special movies or “racey” TV shows (I’m confident that some of today’s commercials would have caused Job to cover his eyes), spicy Youtube videos you watch or books you read may be lighting a little fire of a different sort. Could you be saying, “Doin no harm. I can handle it.”?
Consider Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived. God appeared to him and warned him. Still he ruined his life and tore up the nation because he wouldn’t obey his God Who told him to not take foreign wives. “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father” (1 Kings 11:4).
Might you and I do well to steer way clear of s*xual temptation? Its power is so strong, we won’t overcome it. We must run from it.
“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).
There was an expression I heard and then used growing up when I was ready to be finished with a project or school report, “Good enough for government work.” However, once I was saved and began reading my Bible, I learned that God calls His children to a higher standard. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
May I challenge each of us to consider our walk with the Lord. I shared before about not being satisfied with being barely on the good side of the “line of sin.” That is a “good enough” mentality. There should be no “good enough” when seeking Him. “Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore” (Psalm 105:4).
“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 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 1:14-15).
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).
My Brothers, may we give Him our all.
This week, like last, we are still fishing in the boat, but looking for those with different needs.
Brothers, many people are hurting who come to church (they came to the right place). Their pain may not be obvious, since they can put on a smile and make appear as if everything is fine. Your smile and caring conversation could be what communicates to them that they are loved, valued, and wanted. It is even possible that over time they will feel safe in your friendship and will let you see behind the smiles to the pain. Maybe it will be in the form of a prayer request, or it could be an invitation to meet for coffee. But it starts with looking around and reaching out to someone you don’t know rather than stoically sitting in your seat at church.
“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment” (Philippians 1:9).
Our natural tendency is pray for our needs, but what about praying for those headed for hell? May we search our hearts as to how concerned we are for our lost neighbors, relatives, workmates, and acquaintances. God didn’t save us so we can have “fire insurance,” but He saved us to bring Him glory and reach the lost.
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).
I have a wonderful way to pray for the lost by using a “prayer board.” This is a “whiteboard” where I list people to pray for daily. I use a fine-tipped, dry erase marker and have different areas on my board for family, believers, and then the lost. Even though the whiteboard is fairly large (15 x 24 inches) by writing small, I can list many on it. It is in my office in a place where no one else sees it.
I am outgrowing my current prayer board, but the Lord provided my next one. One morning while Teri and I were walking, I noticed a large picture out for the trash. I carried it home. When I need it, I will remove the back and existing print, and spray paint one side of the glass white. Then it is ready to go.
May we be found faithful.
Fear is often the reason why people don’t share Christ (I’ve had first hand experience.). However, the compelling, overcoming force in our sharing are the greatest commandments which are to love our God and neighbor (Mark 12:30-31). Our relationship and love drives us to obey our Savior. This is so important that in each of the four gospels we are commanded to tell others.
- “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19).
- “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
- “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47).
- “Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21).
If we haven’t been sent elsewhere, we are to go to those in the locality we are living. The “why” is terribly important. It is because we love the One Who died for us, AND we love our neighbor.
If you are lacking love, likely that is a problem of either not saved, or love of self, and/or love of the world. That means something is broken.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).
Many believers have recently been focused on the events prior to and including Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. Then attention typically turns to the disciples, hiding in fear for their lives. Their hopes and dreams of reigning with Jesus were likely exchanged for mental images of being crucified themselves. Have you ever imagined yourself in that position? What a blessing that most of us have not experienced persecution for our faith.
I wonder how many of you are fearful to share your faith. Are you actively sharing your faith? “… as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21). The question isn’t how many you have led to Christ, but are you sowing seeds? If we truly love the Lord Jesus and others, may we not miss any opportunity.
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).
(To be continued.)