Archive for March, 2022

3-29-2022 – A Word to the Wise – Part 2 Covetousness may be defined as an inordinate desire to have that, which belongs to someone else. In Ephesians 5:5 Paul identifies covetousness with idolatry. For our purposes covetousness is to be seen as having a distinct quality that separates it from idolatry.

The characteristic that identifies the addict as being covetous is a feeling we will call insatiability. In the opening passages of Genesis, we find the roots of addictive thinking and subsequent maladies when the Lord warns Adam and Eve not to partake of the fruit of two specific trees. “But when the woman looked at the tree she saw that it was to be desired, that it was a delight to the eyes and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise”(3:6). The word “desire” is the word that helps us identify covetousness as the problem. In disciplining Eve, the Lord tells her that part of that discipline will be a desire, with the intense form of the Hebrew word meaning “a violent craving for” her husband.

Solomon has much to say about the problem and sheds further light on the source of insatiability. In Ecclesiastes 2:24 Solomon tells the godly person that “there is nothing better for a man than that he should eat, drink, and find enjoyment in his toil. This also is from the hand of God.” Where . . . it is from God . . . “for apart from Him who can eat and have enjoyment?” So the source of pleasure is God, and pleasure is given as a reward. It is, in turn, taken from him who turns to other gods.

Solomon then turns his attention to the insatiability aspect in chapter 6:1, 2 saying, and “this is an evil, which I have seen under the sun and it lies heavy upon men. A man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, land, honor so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires yet God does not give him power to enjoy them.” Why does God take the pleasure? According to the text God takes the pleasure because of covetousness, which is idolatry.

Another passage which reflects on this phenomenon is addressed in Haggai 1:1-11. An appalling situation has occurred, for the people have forsaken God and are only interested in their own pleasures. Haggai tells them, “is it time for you to dwell in your paneled houses while this house—that is God’s house– lies in ruins? Now therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider how you have fared. You have sown much and harvested little: you eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but never have your fill . . ..”(vs. 4, 6) The context of this passage indicates that there was no famine at that time. In fact, the passage mentions that there was some degree of wealth. Yet in spite of this wealth, little is being produced or replenished. The little phrase, “you eat but never have your fill” indicates that though they had the food, it was not satisfying. What is that feeling like?

One client describes the sensation, like this, “I eat and eat and get so full that I can’t hold anymore and yet I feel starved.” The Lord warns of this situation in Leviticus 26:26 indicating that the cause is disobedience. “You shall eat and not be satisfied.”

Jesus in Luke 12:15, warns, “Take heed and beware of all covetousness for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” These passages are saying that the power to enjoy food is a gift from God, and this power is withheld when a person focuses his attention on something other than God.

What we have been taking about is the driving force behind addictions, where and when that force originated, and how we give it ruling power in our lives. This force accounts for why the cocaine addict never gets enough of his drug, and why he must keep coming back for more. It reminds us of fatal attractions in our relationships, and why we continually return to another person desperate for assurance and affection yet find no satisfaction in his or her arms.

When we turn away from the Giver of pleasure, fulfillment is lost. Once lost, we are doomed to an eternal struggle for satisfaction, which never comes. These principles hold true whether the addiction is to food, chemicals, sex, or any other objects man may deify.

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3-26-2022 – A Word to the Wise – Part 1 What causes addiction? There are two basic causes of addiction: idolatry, and covetousness, each cause has a corresponding trait that identifies it. A person may have either or both of these root problems. The identifying trait or penalty for idolatry is compulsive-obsessive behavior. This is total absorption with the object of the addiction.

Compulsive addictive behavior enslaves one to the physical body. Concerns over physical needs choke out one’s relationship with God and with one’s fellow man. Jesus addresses idolatry in one of the sayings from the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 6:24 says, “No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

This passage is perhaps the most fundamental of all Biblical passages that deals with the root sin of idolatry. In sharp contrast to the self-induced anxiety over the quest for the material, Jesus calls our attention to His demands and rewards.

One of the characteristics we learn of God in the Old Testament is that He is an uncompromising God. The person who is unattached and uncommitted to His Son, can have as many distractions and commitments as he pleases. However, from His servants, He demands allegiance. “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of bondage. You shall have nothing else before me. I am a jealous God.” Then, He threatens to bring His wrath on the third and fourth generations. There is a continuing effect connected with one not making up ones mind in His service. We cannot

serve God and riches, or alcohol, or drugs, or sex, or food.

But if there is anything we are out to pile up for ourselves, it is the material, the perishable, to gain by whatever name and by whatever means the temporal. Jesus says we cannot have it both ways. We cannot go on pleasing ourselves and have a relationship with Him. So, we are warned against attaching our hearts to things of a material nature.

Jesus gives some reasons why our hearts do not belong on the material. One reason is because earthly things are temporary; they steal the heart away. Do you remember that short verse in Luke 12:34 where Jesus speaks about our anxiety? He says, “For where your treasure is there will be your heart also”. If our treasure is in God, our heart is going to be in heaven, but if our treasure is in earthly things whether they are food, drugs, sex or any other addiction, then like Scrooge, we are going to be scrounging around trying to get more. Where the heart is put, the whole self will be. So one type of addiction is rooted in idolatry.


A second type of addiction finds its roots in covetousness.

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3-13-2022 – A Word to the Wise – ENVY

Matthew 27:18 “For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. “

Envy is one of the most devastating of all the sins. It is the sin of Cain, David and Bathsheba, Daniels’s enemies, Joseph’s enemies, Amon, Eli’s sons, Jesus’s enemies, and Gestas.

Wait a minute who is Gestas? That is the person we are going to talk about. Dymas and his cohort Gestas are the probable names of the two criminals on the crosses next to Jesus. What is important is that Dymas ended up in paradise with Jesus and Gestas was lost. Why?

The text gives us a clue, from Gestas’ mouth “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.” (Luke 23:39). Gestas is only interested in being rescued regardless the cost. Dymas questions him, hey man, don’t you fear God? This man is innocent we are guilty. Out of envy Gestas could not repent, Dymas on the other hand, sinner that he was in the last few minutes of life sought the Savior and his dying mercy. Envy was not at the root of his sinful life, but it buried Gestas, and Judas.

This is the core issue with envy, unlike jealous it has no redeeming factors it seeks what another has and desires to destroy the other person.

My mother sixty years ago pointed out that the root sin of homosexuality is envy. At the time I did not understand her wisdom in the matter. Homosexuals demanding of God that they be different than how the Creator made them regardless of the cost to self, or others, or even to God.

It is imperative that we seek out and make sure envy does not lie at the root of our sins. History has shown this one sin has led to the murder and death of more individuals than any other, from the cause of the Great flood to the death of Jesus on the cross (For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. Matthew 27:18) to the manic Herod, Hitler, Stalin, and a host of others guilty of genocide. Envy is the one sin that knows no bounds.

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3-5-2022 – A Word to the Wise – There are a few passages which are difficult to understand, interpret, or explain. The section from Matthew 27:51-28:6, is at the top of the list. I would like to offer an explanation. This is my opinion and interpretation of the passage.

51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

28 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he[k] lay. (ESV)

First note that Jesus died at 3 pm. on the 3rd of April 33 A.D. This period was the only time for several years previous and many years after when these Passover events fell on a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Passover in that era could fall on any day of the week. To the Jewish world Saturday night is the first day of the week, that is very important if one is to properly interpret the passage.

I want to draw your attention to Mt. 27:52. Here we have the statement that many saints rose from the dead shortly after Jesus’ death and went into Jerusalem.

Many believe that Jesus rose from the dead early Sunday morning, However, the text never says that. In fact, I would suggest that Jesus actually rose probably after the close of the Sabbath which would be Saturday evening to the Jews the first day of the new week.

The angel says he had already risen. If that be the case, what did he do on Saturday night until early Sunday morning? Remember according to Genesis the evening begins the new day.

Beginning with his death and until early Sunday morning I believe two very important activities occurred.

First consider I Peter 3:18-20. “18 For Christ also suffered[b] once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which[c] he went and proclaimed[d] to the spirits in prison, 20 because[e] they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.

I am suggesting that the first sermon the Lord taught upon his death was to these imprisoned souls while he is dead from Friday night to Saturday morning. I suspect the content was the same as to the two on the road to Emmaus, showing from scriptures God’s plan. I would suppose they had the opportunity to repent.

Afterwards, the second sermon was taught. This lesson occurred after rising on Saturday evening the first day of the week. This audience I suspect were the righteous saint who rose from the dead but did not leave the tombs till Jesus left.

Same sermon different audience for a different reason. These righteous souls were to go into Jerusalem and testify about Jesus and how he fulfilled the predictions from the Old Testament. These saints had to have a purpose and had to testify to something. That something had to be taught to them.

Moreover, I think they are of the time period of Jesus. The people would not have recognized Jeremiah, Isaiah, or other ancient prophets, or figures.

Again, I have reached these conclusions from nearly 40 years of study. The conclusions maybe incorrect I do not think anyone will be lost or saved on these interpretations. However, it does provide us another understanding about the events which scripture does not delve into rather just mentions in passing.

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3-4-2022 – A Word to the Wise – WHEN MARRIED TO A FOOL

In our time we find ourselves faced with complex marital problems. One of the more serious situations is when faced with being married to a fool. Yes, such situations exist. So as a Christian what steps does one take, and not take? It is important to recognize what one should do, and not do. The book of Proverbs is very clear about this situation lets investigate.

Prov. 20:3 ” it’s an honor to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be arguing.”

The spouse must both recognize and take responsibility for their own behavior. This circumstance warns that a key trait of foolishness is strife. One should not engage the angry behavior of the spouse. Doing so makes one a fool and at all costs you do not want to be the fool in these matters. So, clothe yourself in honor.

Furthermore, Prov. 25: 19

“Trust in a faithless person in time of trouble is like a bad tooth or a foot that slides.” One of the chief traits of the fool is a lack of character, they are not trustworthy. So, avoid the consequences of placing or trusting such individuals. Living with a fool does not mean you have to trust them.

Next know: “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” Prov. 18:2 The biggest mistake I have seen in marriages where one of the spouses are foolish, is the mate wants to confront, chasten, condemn, find fault, try to correct, or teach. You must understand fools will not be corrected, and the only opinion important to them is their own.

Now we turn to even more specific details involved with working with foolishness.

One of my most favorite proverbs I suspect, I have quoted over 10,000 times, Prov. 9:7 “he who corrects a fool gets himself abuse.” Do not I say again; never, ever, correct a fool if you do your going to get hurt, it may be physical pain, intellectual hurt, or most certainly emotional suffering. Just do not do it, if you do, understand you will deserve the consequences.

There are other do not’s that I would encourage you to keep in mind.

Do not accept gifts from an angry spouse

Frequently a foolish spouse will recognize that the mate is disappointed with them for their behavior. To appease the disappointment, they will give a gift. Unfortunately, the spouse will take this as a sincere attempt to get right for bad behavior. It is not a recognition of bad behavior. The fool thinks you deserve the punishment handed out they just do not want the consequences of their behavior, so they attempt to appease you. Therefore, the proper response is to immediately return or refuse to accept any gifts regardless of its value. To accept a gift under this circumstance is to open yourself to intense hatred. Do not accept any gifts from a fool.

Moreover, do not accept praise from an angry or abusive spouse. The problem here is one interprets the praise as genuine; it is not the fool does not understand praise, its purpose or even its proper use. It is only an attempt to confuse and undermine the spouse. It is never genuine for fools has no concept of trustworthiness.

Often a mate will give something to a foolish spouse the hope being to influence and change behavior. Actually, the mate is hoping for something in return, kindness, acceptance, gratitude. It will never happen do not give expecting anything in return from a fool.

Being honest I can hear denial; my spouse is not a fool. So, what are some major attributes that define or point to foolishness, how may it be recognized? Some of the simple ones to see and will be contested are alcoholics, drug abusers (yes this includes marijuana), immorality (yes that includes porn), and a host of other addictions. These are key traits of foolishness.

It is imperative for the innocent spouse to learn and exercise their biblical and legal rights. Numerous times I have seen the innocent spouse refuse to exercise their legal rights under the law. Romans 13 points out that the laws of the state are given for our protection when we refuse to follow these laws then we put ourselves in the position of refusing God’s protection. When we do this then the consequences are our own.

In Texas and most other states one is required by law to report physical and emotional abuse. To not do so renders a person guilty under the law and responsible for the consequences.

Moreover, the church has certain responsibilities toward the innocent spouse but too often the church refuses to exercise intervention. Intervention that in some circumstances could have prevented serious injury or even death.

So, when married to a fool, be wise.

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3-3-2022 – A Word to the Wise – “When we all get to heaven’” I think we may be in for some real surprises. Let me name a few.

First, I suspect rollcall is going to be a surprise for who is there, and those who are not. Another surprise will be the classes we attend. Now that is going to be astonishing. There are new songs to learn and must be rehearse so that means rather large music class attendance.

Further, some intense bible classes where we learn many things from both Testaments along with a host of other material long hidden in the ages. Startling answers to simple questions we do not even know how to ask.

Next there will be the classes where we will be expected to teach the angels. So, I do not mean to overwhelm you with all of this, but things might be somewhat different than imagined.

Thus, I do know we will not be sitting around sipping coke or drinking heaven brand coffee. But I would not be surprised if a tear glistens on your cheek when you first see Jesus.

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