Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
Here is a recipe for those who want to know what it is and live in the fear of the Lord. Although the recipe looks simple at first glance it is not so when we look at it in some detail. At first sight, the prescription consists of four ingredients: restrain the tongue from evil, refrain from deceitful lips, stay away from evil and do good and seek peace and pursue it. The first ingredient, restrain the tongue from evil is almost impossible to achieve in this world where people talk and talk without end. Many think that if they talk pretty using convoluted and fanciful words they will be counted for wise when in fact the opposite is true for the more you talk, the more mistakes you’ll make. Additionally we have that people love to grumble and complain about everything and just for nothing and finally, people delight in criticizing others, ignoring the plank that they have in their own eye. Also, we have the issue of lies. Of all the seeds that Satan has planted in the heart of man the one that has put more roots is the seed of deceit. Everybody makes use of lies thinking they will resolve their issues and all they achieve is to dig themselves deeper into the hole.
Departing from evil by itself would allow us to go a long way in our path toward spiritual maturity but we know it is not easy to depart from evil when we are surrounded by it on all sides and our flesh is weak. How much more difficult to do good! Departing from evil is hard work, doing good requires a titanic effort from us. Finally the search for peace is not an activity encoded in the human genome, by contrast, we argue and fight for even the smallest things. We are never satisfied until we impose our ideas and our views on the ideas and the criteria of others. If we coming up with any of the four ingredients is difficult, imagine how much more arduous and tenacious it will be to put all four ingredients together. Through our own efforts we will never achieve anything. Only the transforming power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives without restrictions will allow us to enjoy the advantages and benefits of living in the fear of the Lord. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged Christianity, evil, fear of the Lord, God, good, good times, Holy Spirit, Jesus, lies, life, peace, Psalms
They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor
and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods;
they aroused the LORD’s anger by their wicked deeds,
and a plague broke out among them.
Many times, inadvertently but also irresponsibly we put ourselves under the yoke and the influence of idols, and this is something extremely displeasing to God. Our rebellious and disobedient carnal nature never stops wanting to take us back through roads of spiritual bondage. The apostle Paul described it this way: “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”  To allow our depraved sinful nature to lead us is to face God to tell him that we will do what we want and not his will because we are not interested in his plan for our lives.
We can find a solution to this unfortunate situation when we, through the Holy Spirit of God give death the bad habits of the body. This produces life for us because the presence of the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. Let us then seek the help of the Holy Spirit of God to put an end to all those bad habits that have kept us restrained and ineffective because of their heavy chains. With firm resolve let us seek he holiness that pleases God and do not let ourselves be guided by the enslaving influence of our idolatrous carnal nature anymore. God will bless our willingness to follow him and will give us the blessing that always accompanies obedience. To God alone be the glory!
 Romans 7:18-19
By the waters of Meribah they angered the LORD,
and trouble came to Moses because of them;
for they rebelled against the Spirit of God,
and rash words came from Moses’ lips.
Oftentimes when things go wrong the responsibility for what happened lies with the leaders. No wonder, since those who are in leadership positions are granted more power and this implies a greater accountability for the outcomes of their decisions. A good leader knows what he is exposed to and when something does not go as expected he takes full responsibility for what happened. However, on rare occasions, the responsibility lies not with the leader but on the followers. In the case of the popular protest against Moses because the shortage of water in the desert, the level of gossip of the people was so strong and so repetitive that it made Moses, an extremely humble man, to loose his cool and he ended up acting stupid and rashly carrying out the instructions that God gave him. Moses could blame the people, in fact, God disciplined the people for this and many other instances of complaint and murmuring. Moses’ failure was a result of his rebellious spirit which considered that what God had ordered him to do was a nuisance for his life.
We all receive God’s direction but sometimes we believe that the way we resolve the issues is better than God’s way and we end up rebelling against him. The basis for rebellion is pride and disobedience and we know that none of these things is pleasing to the Lord. When God commands us to do something and we think that there is a better way to do it, we should immediately stop and analyze where we are failing and identify what we need to do to fulfill God’s instructions to the letter. Otherwise it is very likely that we will end up falling into the deep pit of error and sin. Let us heed the voice of God and let us allow his Holy Spirit to lead us into the path of righteousness. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged anger, Christianity, discipline, God, Holy Spirit, Moses, obedience, Psalms, rash, rebellion, sin, trouble, trust, wisdom, words
Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
but an enemy multiplies kisses.
Frankness is a virtue little known in these post-modern times. In our desire to appear to be tolerant of the diverse ideas and opinions that circulate freely everywhere, we make the mistake of being silent when we should not and speak out when it is not convenient. We always seek to be overly careful when we say something, but we do it more for fear of hurting somebody’s feelings than for trying to be honest and concise. Jewish writer and biographer André Maurois said: “To be honest, do not say everything you think, neither say the opposite of what you think.” Frankness is closely linked to love. We know that perfect love casts out fear. So if we are not being honest with the people around us, we are letting fear overcome us and we are not acting as we should, that is, with love. The opposite of frankness and sincerity is hypocrisy and falsehood, both despicable things.
Let our thoughts and our actions be controlled by the Holy Spirit of God and we will see how we shall be invested with the courage to speak openly and honestly to others. Also, let us take care not to be rude and disrespectful to others because we will slip into abuse and aggression. It is possible that our words, even if carefully chosen, will not be taken well when we say them, but soon we will see how the person to whom they were addressed will appreciate what we have communicated to him. Gradually we will learn how to control this annoying but fleeting embarrassment that keeps us from speaking and acting with the frankness that we ought. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged care, Christianity, direction, faith, frankness, Holy Spirit, honesty, Jesus, postmodernism, Proverbs 27, sincerity, spirituality, virtue, wisdom
You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
Then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.
When one sins, that is, when one aims, shoots and misses the target, one feels frustration and, most probably, also shame of not being able to achieve the objective. To be successful at hitting the target requires three things: a steady hand, adequate training and talent to make the most of the weapon being fired. The steady hand is equivalent, in the Christian life, to steadfastness in faith and character. The apostle James said: “the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” How well could one aim if one fluctuates every moment of one’s life? Secondly, adequate training is the process of sanctification that God achieves in the lives of their children by means of trials and exposure to increasingly difficult challenges in order to strengthen us. Or, as the apostle Peter said: “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
Finally, the talent for using the weapon is equivalent to the capacity ─talents and gifts─ given to us by the Holy Spirit of God for the service of others. The apostle Paul said: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” In another place he says: “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it…. to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” I hope this apostolic illustration will guide you when you have to face the enemy’s attacks. Every victory achieved is a step forward in the way of justice and truth in which God has placed us. Hit the target! To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged faith, gifts, God, Holy Spirit, life, love, miss, Psalms, sin, steadfastness, talents, target, trials