Tuesday, September 29 2020
I took a look at Proverbs 6:16, which says, "There are 6 things the Lord hates - no seven things he detests -"
It goes on to describe several things (I count 9 actually): Haughty eyes
A lying tongue; hands that kill innocent people; hearts that plot evil; feet that race to do wrong; false witnesses who pour out lies; a person who sows discord among friends.
Some of these need explanation, others are quite clear. Haughty eyes depicts someone who is too proud to be counted with the ordinary. They are a step above everyone else. But, think about this in your own life. Those who are proud and will not speak to you because you are too tiny to be taking up their time? You feel inferior to them in so many ways that it even amounts to fear of their reaction? They rush past you as thought they have more important things to do? Do you know some people like that? Or, the horrible question is, are you sometimes like that? Well, I think we can all agree that sometimes we are too proud and we do need to stop this attitude to others, for all people are made in God's image. Being proud is not a happy ending for anyone.
Another aspect of haughty eyes, is someone who may have mental issues and feel too important to share with anyone - or are they simply not willing to see the truth in their own lives - I think of a person who is a psychopath, one who has their own agenda without thinking for a moment about consequences. I once saw a documentary about a psychopath who lived with a person in a shared place. This proud looking person (he had haughty eyes) decided that the fellow renter was the problem and eventually killed that person to be rid of them (in his head). Now, that is closer to the meaning in this context, surprisingly. But, I feel the warning coming to anyone who thinks they are above all other folk in rank and importance and cannot bow down to the level of the normal man or woman. Can it be that this person will move into a very bad place one day if this attitude is not curbed and the person repents? From my own experience, we all need to take charge of our attitudes regularly, revising and changing ourselves in our heads to be less proud and more kind to others.
Eventually, this passage heads back to 6:12 in the deeper mode. The person in 6:12, is called a worthless person, which is a very denigrading title for any human being, but for the sake of Scripture and the translators, it is said. The word actually translates into Belial, the devil's man, so it is an 'evolving' description of someone who allows any of these hateful things to happen to their own character.
Lying tongue: we all know what this is. When I got hacked exactly one year ago, 3 Indian/Australian people literally lied to me in such a way that I was astounded by their horrible news and believed for a moment, a fateful moment when they whacked me and took all my living away (more than one year's income for me). That is a lying tongue in this context because of the following hateful things these people do and did to me.
That same person can go on to even worse things: hands that kill the innocent. That is murder. Taking another's life for no good reason is hateful to God and the person who loves to lie and thrives in an evil way will eventually murder someone.
The next verse displays how they do these horrible things, or how they escalate in their minds first of all.
6:18 A heart that plots evil. Remember, those 3 evil people who stole my living, well, they plotted the hack to the last detail and headed down that dark path until they ravaged my account and my heart as well. They literally tore my heart and trampled upon it to the point that I did not want to live any more. Is that not a warning for everyone who loves lying and getting away with it?
Also, in this verse (b) their feet run to do evil deeds. So these people, finding someone's livelihood and taking it away, feel jubilant as they run for the hills, hearts beating wildly because of their success in their own eyes.
Beware as this is a very bad sign. Remember, God detests this kind of attitude and behaviour and they must answer to their maker one day and that is not a very pleasant thought, but it is the truth. God knows our thoughts before we do because He made us and knows how we tick. God hates this pathway of the wicked as it leads to misery and disaster in all its phases, ending in broken families and death.
In verse 19, it says: A person who sows discord in a family. If you have made problems by whispering in the ears of family members to sow discord (cause trouble for others) and gain favour with someone within the family, for instance, then make amends immediately. This is a false pathway that will lead to your death! Sorry, but this is what God gave Solomon (The greatest king in Israel and in the world at that time), so we must all take notice of our whispering and talking evil about others. It too will lead to death and destruction if it is not curbed.
(Bible hub Cambridge commentary) 12. a naughty person] Lit. a man of Belial. The Heb. word Belial means, “of no profit,” “worthless,” and, according to the Heb. idiom, a man of, or a son of (Deuteronomy 13:13) Belial, is an unprofitable or worthless person. Here, however, the word “Belial” is in apposition with “man,” “a man (who is) worthless, a good-for-nothing fellow.” The word appears to have been personified by the later Jews, and is used in the form Belial, or Beliar, to denote Satan (2 Corinthians 6:15, where see note in this Series).
Friday, September 25 2020
What is idolatry and why does God hate it?
Idolatry is the worship of Idols. This is a huge topic in the Old Testament and there are many Hebrew names for idols and its derivatives. I have often heard Christians saying loving money is idolatry, but there are far more significant aspects to this topic. I could probably write a book about this as there is a lot written on the subject.
Idols: (taken from my beloved Youngs Analytical Concordance to the Bible (1982)
Basically, idols are identified as objects of terror, vanity, mighty one, a god, nought, a thing of nothing, horror, a cause of trembling, a figure, a cause of grief.
One fascinating description is "things rolled about or around" (big idols) In other words, this is a very bad idea but humans go there and love it. For some strange reason we as humans want to believe in something we can hold, feel an see. (A very bad idea in a pandemic as well as for spiritual growth)
Isaiah 57 is a good chapter to study this subject. Its heading in my version (New Living) is Idolatrous Worship Condemned
Here are some of its content: It begins with a call to those who are worshipping: "Come here you witches' offspring, offspring of adulturers and prostitutes"
We need to understand the spiritual connotation here that the people of God have turned away and are actually making love with idols, turning themselves into the above.
Verse 2 is interesting as it says, "Whom do you mock? Making faces and sticking out your tongues?" Here I get the impression that these faces are the idol carvings made by the people and of course, a representative of their own makers who are mocking God. So, when we see these terrifying carvings (some found recently in Iraq) we see a carving by people of something they wish to relate with and to. On purpose these carvings are made and depict the idea the carver has of their own God. A monster who will guard their temple and who might live inside and terrify those who dare enter within.
Today we admire the artisans who carved these idols but must remind ourselves that these are made of rock, wood or other natural materials and are formed by a person or persons with instruction from their designers for a purpose. Today we can say how extraordinary these are but they are a relec to history and the people who lived in that place at that time. Likely they worshipped this carving that has tumbled down from its high position. It seems absurd to us today that someone would worship a piece of stone or great carving, but that is a very likely idea. The people in this passage are the Israelites who the Lord says, " worship your idols with great passion" and we know what that sounds like, don't we. They also do these things in secret (Read Ezekiel Chapter 8:9,10, 15, 16... for more strange ideas people had) "...I saw the walls engraved with crawling insects and detestible creatures... I also saw the various idols (round things literally dung or cow pads) worshipped by the people of Israel. Including Tammuz (God of Syrian Phonician idol, Adonis in Greece, and the sun. ) Everything from cow pads to engravings of strange looking people-animals.
This is a cow patty or dung and the Queen of Heaven from Wikipedia. Note the sun, horns, arrows, wings, lion, faces. We can see that the Israelites went from bad to worse, carvings to cow patties, how low could they go? If we think about God, the creator of all things, He had no option but to destroy not just the images but the people who were in love with their own works of worship. In Ezekiel, 10, we see that God (the Lord Almighty) lifted off and removed himself from their temple. (Ez 9) If we consider this whole scenario, the people had grasped at idols for their power and living, and of course, it failed them absolutely. For us, the lesson is to put God (Jesus) first in our lives as He has revealed himself as real, living and willing to help humans when they ask, seek and knock at His door. We must be careful not to allow strange things to take our minds into some place where we ought not to be. We are all still human, but with the knowledge of hindsight and history, we can evade a disaster in our own lives.
I guess the moral of the story is, don't worship anything that is visible to the naked eye! Worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth Jesus said. It's a jolly good idea. God misses out and we miss out even more as we will not find the way to Heaven by going frantic about cow poos, or any poo, or carvings, big or small, bowing down to them. Not even a cat! Bad idea. Cow pattie from Google search.
Wednesday, September 23 2020
Don’t be surprised if you see a poor person being oppressed by the powerful and if justice is being miscarried throughout the land. For every official is under orders from higher up, and matters of justice get lost in red tape and bureaucracy. 9Even the king milks the land for his own profit! (Ecclesiastes 5:8) (King Solomon)
When we experience this pandemic, I am sure many folk are wondering what on earth is happening in the spiritual realm? For someone who is familiar with the Bible and its history, and knows Jesus Christ as Saviour of their soul, we have no excuses at all.
I thought it might be beneficial for all of us hit by this invisible killer to be able to figure out other aspects than our immediate health and welfare on earth, and to understand its spiritual significance. And we may be able to assist God in His work to fulfil His wishes regarding his human family here on earth.
I have been watching Daniel Andrews every day during the past weeks and months, trying to work things out for the benefit of Melbournians Victoria Australia. He is doing a great job by the way. I watch the figures going down and I feel happier and although I don't live in that region I still feel empathy and affected by what its citizens are going through.
Being stuck inside by preference (my own) I try to keep occupied and have been catching up on movies I missed during the past 20 years or so. I watched a movie called "In the Name of the Father" a couple of nights ago, and I had to watch to the end. I may have seen some of that movie a few years ago, but I could not remember exactly what it was about.
It was about injustice and its implications for an innocent family (Irish) living in Belfast during the bombings, which was a horrible time for everyone, no matter their religion or beliefs. I was so taken aback by the movie that I actually cried and prayed about injustices that harm whole communities deeply. Then I began to wonder if anyone would like to know more about what God hates? This is a short note on injustice. I read about it in many passages of the Bible and I certainly know it is one of God's top hates.
This is just a short study that I have noticed when I read the Bible, which I hope everyone is reading diligently by now, especially Christians! Now is the time for answers and the answers are definitely in here, the Bible. In Micah 3, here are a few words the Lord sends to the Kingdom of Jothan, Ahaz and Hezekiah, concerning Samaria (Kingdom of Israel) and Jerusalem (Judah).
"...Listen to me, you leaders of Israel. You hate justice and twist all that is right. You are buiding Jerusalem on a foundation of murder and corruption. You rulers make decisions based on bribes; you priests teach God's Laws only for a price...Yet you all claim to depend on the Lord. "No harm can come to us," you say..." (3:9-10) And so it goes on, laying bare the sins and injustices being carried out in the name of the Lord.
The result of these injustices (which went on for hundreds of years) was this: v 12: Because of you Mount Zion will be plowed like an open field. Jerusalem will be reduced to ruins! (which happened)
The Lord asks his people: Who will hear these lessons from the past? (Isaiah 42:23)
Can we say that we have learned from reading historic lessons? If we do not, we are destined to repeat every one of them.
Every day the news brings us incidents of injustices happening all over the globe, including cyber theft and every other injustice we can wish against.
This virus is boneless evil that loves company and loves injustice and harming anyone who comes near to it.
We must fight this virus with everything we know already, its sneakiness, its danger, its love of harming and its horrible affects that remain within our bodies.
We can also fight against injustices and allow God to show us our own injustices that harm others. In some intangible ways, this virus is connected to our condoning of injustices and our neglect of helping others who have been harmed by injustice, either by governments or individuals.
One of the characteristics that drew me to God and a reason I accepted Jesus as my Saviour was the notion that I could become more just and have more good attributes in my own conscience. That is still my ongoing goal.
If you want to study more about the injustices that God hates, go to a concordance or online and google injustice. (Wrong, violence, injury) KJV only has one entry with this name! But there are other translations with clear explanations.
For me, I hate injustice a lot and will continue to try and seek justice for all wrongs that I am aware of and also pray I will never be unjust to anyone. (Deliver us from evil)
https://www.openbible.info/topics/injustice (this looks like a good study for us all)
Monday, September 14 2020
How is it possible to shout for joy in a pandemic world? For those of us who check the statistics of the Coronavirus out daily, and who mourne for the loss of loved ones, it is an impossible thing to do, or is it?
We are all missing the joy of living in a relaxed and joyful way, planning our next function and with whom to dine!
Our lives are now changed for ever. Everyone in this generation, living in these pandemic times from the Arctic to the Antarctic are affected by this virus, a horrible little splot without significance except its deadliness. I read that it is white, yellowish with a touch of red on its receptors under microscope. It is invisible to the naked eye.
Take another look at Psalm 32 to see that this virus has a second cousin that prevails around the globe today and has always done so. That second cousin is SIN
Sin is simply doing wrong in as many ways as there are grains of sand, you could say. Sins are small, unseen, but their affects are obvious! Maybe not to every eye as each one of us has a secret place where our sins hide.
King David says about this topic: Verse 5: Finally, I confessed all my sins to you (the Lord) and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, "I shall confess my rebellion to the Lord." And you forgave me!
That is the victory point: God the Lord forgave David his sins. He is now ecstatic with relief and wants to share this moment in time. He writes his song down and sings it (my notion here). But, he was a musician and I am sure he would be singing like a lark.
Our own victory begins deep within our hearts, where only the Lord can see clearly. Like the virus, our sins are hidden but the consequences are devastating to our lives, our health and our loved ones.
Forgiveness from the Lord is like a vaccine for the Covid 19 (still waiting for that moment)
For now, confess your sins to the Lord and feel the forgiveness rushing over you and shout for joy.
Wednesday, September 02 2020
Some very worrying reports are being broadcast from the media. People are struggling with lockdown in many and varied ways. Some are mentally not coping with being separated from their everyday life whilst others are struggling without fresh air and worrying themselves sick in the process. However, folk are not going to a doctor if they need to. They are keeping the little strength and funds they have. Clinging on to their last resources in any way possible. Fear is the culprit as we are given instruction after instruction, followed by rule upon rules.
I am probably coping better than many people as I have been working alone as a writer for many years. Also, I make little or no money from publishing and writing. Sometimes I make a few dollars, but not nearly enough to pay for even this website, so I am not worried about money in that sense. Regarding health, I do have some worries but nothing too horrible to go mad over. I love my family and am sad and a little worried about not seeing them much, distancing when we meet, or going to my overseas family after such a long time. Of course I miss them every moment, especially my children. Also, there is no hope on the horizon. I think that is the worst part of this lockdown. We do not know for how long or how severe it can get even in the months ahead.
The medics and government officials are definitely trying their utmost to give us information to keep us feeling cared for. But, all in all, is the fact that we are struggling in many ways and some are struggling a great deal, to the point of having no hope at all.
I am going to try and bring facts from God to you all, and to myself, to show us how to cope with a lockdown without hope.
1. I thought about Jeremiah, the prophet. He was God's voice for Israel for 70 years and what he had to do for his entire life was horrific if we think about it for a minute.
He had to bring bad tidings over and over to his own people. He was barely 16 when he received the first breaking bad news, and he had to fight every time he had a message. He suffered despair and anger, along with disappointment and many tears of pain and affliction. He also wrote the Book of Lamentations, which is completely sad and sorrowful. One thing he had to suffer was a massive lockdown. He was flogged for telling the message. He was locked in an old sistern (well) and left to die. This is what happened: Jeremiah 26:8
"Kill him" all the people at the temple cried. They mobbed him. Quickly, the officials brought a court together at the Temple Gate and heard his case. Some people spoke up for Jeremiah, who claimed that the Lord had predicted that ...a thicket should grow where the temple now stands..." Ahiham stood up for Jeremiah, but was dumbed down. He persuaded the officials not to turn him over to the mob, who were ready to kill him. Jeremiah told everybody to submit to the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar.
After this Jeremiah was put in a cell and could not even visit the temple. Jeremiah is 55 years old and is still being attacked at 61. At this point he is put into the cistern instead of a cell and left to rot. There was a thick layer of mud at the bottom and Jeremiah sank into the mud. Almost all the bread in the city was gone, so Jeremiah could even die of hunger before he suffocates. (Jeremiah 38: 6). Now a king comes into the scene, from Ethopia, not Jerusalem. He is King Ebed-melech. This King of Ethopia rushed to the King of Jerusalem Zedekiah, and told him to rescue Jeremiah. Zedekiah (shamefaced?) called for 30 men to go and rescue Jeremiah with old rags made into ropes that they got him to put under his armpits and they pulled him up. Jeremiah was then returned to the prison yard again. Jeremiah continued to bring the message from the Lord. Because of his reputation, the captain of the Babylonians, Nebuzzaradan, looked for Jeremiah and was told to give him "anything he wants" (39:12). Jeremiah continued to bring the word of the Lord through this whole saga. He eventually went to Egypt with some of his people who still refused to worship the Lord God of Israel only, but burned incense to all sorts of idol gods (wood and metal). The Lord gave a message to the whole world through Jeremiah, who kept doing as the Lord told him to do. Nebuchadnezzar went to Egypt and no doubt met Jeremiah down there, but we do not know for sure. (Jeremiah 43)
Jeremiah lived until 560 BC and died at the age of 88. (Ezekiel Timeline) One of the verses written by Jeremiah is:
"But the Lord stands beside me like a great warrior. Before him my persecutors will stumble. They cannot defeat me" (Jm 21:11)
Let us all take a leaf from Jeremiah's book and stand firm in the Lord because the Lord stands beside those who believe in Him.
"If you search for the Lord with all your heart, He will be found by you." "Come to me all you who labor and are heavy burdned and I will give you rest" (Jesus)
"This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day (Jesus' crucifixion) I will put my laws in their heats and I will write them on their minds." (Heb 10:16)
Please do not be offended by the portrait of an unknown Aboriginal man in my Blog.
No bad intentions are meant in any way if this man reminds you of someone you know. I show no disrespect to coloured people and ask that you forgive any indiscretion you think you may find here. I respect the original folk who lived in this land before others arrived. God bless you all.
Remember, I have an Irish heritage and being a portrait painter has been part of my life since age 3 or 4 when I drew girls in fine dresses. It is simply my artistic expression. I love bringing an image to life in my art and in books, so it gives me immense enjoyment. When I created this picture I loved every moment and learned a lot about skin colour, people's expressions and the difficult in bringing an image to life. I fell in love with this painting and will always treasure it.