Part 2: Heed & Seek

The most valuable correction we need comes from God

Job received gentle correction from God like a loving parent for a confused, hurting child. God doesn’t browbeat His children!

Job was spouting bravado:  “Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come to His seat! I would present my case before Him, and fill my mouth with arguments” (Job 23:4).   But all he could muster in God’s presence was “Well, shut my mouth!” [Job 40:4, RSV (Robert Standard Version)].

Because Job responded to God’s correction, God was able to continue on in Job 40 which meant more growth for Job!

As the Matthew Henry Commentary put it so well: “Those who daily receive what they have heard from God, and profit by it, shall hear more from Him “not to catch at comfort too soon!”  God comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable!

Our loving Father corrects every son or daughter He loves “for our profit” and deserves more respect than we give human fathers (Heb. 12:5-11).  I didn’t want to trouble my Dad!

Jeroboam vs. David

Jeroboam is rated in the Bible as being worse than 14 kings who were evil.  In contrast, David is called more righteous than five other good kings.  The chief difference between the two standard-setting leaders is spelled out in 1 Kings 13:33:  Jeroboam didn’t repent like David did.

The prophets decry a nation that “has not obeyed His voice, she has not received correction; she has not trusted in the Lord, she has not drawn near to her God” (Zeph. 3:2).   And a “nation that does not obey the voice of the Lord their God nor receive correction. Truth has perished” (Jer. 7:28).

God’s people are warned about being Laodicean, which is a challenge because that will be the proclivity of the Church at the end time:  “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other!   But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!   You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.   So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see.   I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference” (Rev. 3:15-19).

Yes, to be Philadelphian overcomers (Rev. 3:12) we must not only not hide, not only heed, but

We must seek

PassoverIt’s time to examine ourselves (1 Cor. 11:28).  When does Paul say to do this:  the time before we “eat of the bread and drink of the cup”—before the Passover service (March 29 this year) and the Days of Unleavened Bread (March 31 through April 6).  We do this seeking not to end up feeling so broken and worthless that we don’t want to take the Passover but to “examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5) and then eat and drink.

“For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged” (1 Cor. 11:31).

A few years ago a minister gave a sermon that has impacted me to ask God each year during this exam time: What’s the one thing you hate about me the most? What’s the one thing I most need to change? Something salacious? He spoke on humility.   Safe topic!   But hey, maybe the correct answer for us all because Satan’s downfall: pride!

Seek correction through extra Bible study

“All Scripture is … profitable for … reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16).

“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.   Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable” (Heb. 4:12-13).

We can ask God to show us any secret or presumptuous sins (Psa. 19:12-13).  These secrets might be obvious to all but us!

In the Bible we read about all the extraordinary details God wrote about building His tabernacle and temples. He wanted all the furnishings just so. He has standards! Shouldn’t we want to actively seek God’s instructions—yes correction— about how He wants us as His temples to be! (1 Cor. 6:19).  We probably need to throw out more than money changers!

“So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die” (Jer. 10:24, New Living Translation).

It’s goodness, one of those nine fruits of the Holy Spirit, that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4).  So we should repent and ask for it daily!

We need God’s mercy & Jesus Christ’s sacrifice more this year than ever.  We need to discern His body and blood and renew our new covenant commitment.  We need to be reconciled with our brothers and sisters before we bring our gift to the altar. We need to be totally yielded to God and His purposes. We need to be committed to finishing the Work God has given us as His Church.  We need to become a new creation in God’s hands.

We should claim “eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality” (v. 7).

Part 1:  Heed & Seek

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Heed & Seek

About 3 months ago, I received an email from a reader about an old post  “What’s It Mean … Ride on the High Hills of the Earth?”

And I’m thinking “That post about Isa. 58:14?  I wrote that about 2 years ago!   I wonder what she wants.

[paraphrasing] “You had a good message but you totally negated all the good and ruined it by your sentence right in the middle criticizing our President. God expects us to pray for our leaders and not speak bad of them. You messed up the good message!”

Who else loves correction as much as I do?

Who else would just as soon go the whole day without any? The whole week? Month?

How should I respond?

♥  Robert, you should be grateful for the thoughtful, constructive criticism and that she was willing to take the time to write you.
♣  You can write what you want!  Nobody tells you what to do.  Let her write her own blog!

♥  Robert, you profess to be nonpolitical and what you wrote sounds political.
♣  You were just trying to be topical, clever and interesting.   How could you resist when the Hebrew word for “high hills” = Bamah?

♥  Robert, you should humbly accept this loving correction. You have a good message and you don’t want to detract from it—if even one person objects to it.   You get in trouble for what you write or say—not for what you don’t.

OK, God’s Spirit and God’s Word say we must humbly heed correction and act on it

WordPress makes it easy to make changes so I deleted the offending sentence, and emailed the reader great thanks for her concerned and thoughtful comment.

A few days later I received a follow-up email (paraphrased): “Praise the Lord!  God is thrilled and so am I. Now you have gotten yourself out of the way and your ministry is going to take off. Praise God, he’s going to really bless this post now to His glory!”

This story has a strange ending

About a week later, I was surprised to see that this post had more readers in that week than in all the previous two years! Now every day somebody reads this old post and often several people.  Incredibly, google the subject and the top two spots are this post!

I couldn’t help wondering if this reader is a prophetess!  And hoping she might complain about another post!

Adam & Eve 2Humanly, we want to hide from correction.   This has been the case since Adam & Eve hid from God in the Garden, camouflaged in their fig leaves!

We should welcome correction and have a bias toward being responsive.  Of course we must discern and reject absolutely foolish counsel.

Combining a whole bunch of Proverbs that start with “He who hates correction,” well, he’s stupid, will die and leads others astray.  But “He who loves correction” gains understanding, is honored, prudent, at home among the wise and has life.

Job boilsIn the book of Job, his three friends meant well.  How many friends do you have who would come sit with you for seven days—and then apparently for months (Job 7:3)?   Unemployed ones!

They talked from the wrong premise that Job must have sinned awful to be so cursed by God, and they weren’t giving Job the encouragement he needed and deserved. But they said some good points.  In Job 5:17 Eliaphaz said: “Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.”

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Pro. 27:6).  “The righteous should choose his friends carefully”  (Prov. 12:26).  “He who walks with wise men will be wise” (Prov. 13:20).  Hopefully you are a good ornithologist in picking out the birds of a feather you hang out together with!

“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”  (Prov. 27:17).   Hopefully you are a good blacksmith in picking out the mettle of friends and brethren!

Hopefully you choose carefully what you look at on Facebook from your friends.  Cat videos might give you paws to smile, but how wonderful if you receive daily edifying spiritual instruction.

Correction from our best friend

Hopefully you married a good mate who will help you be heirs together of the grace of life (1 Pet. 3:7).   He or she lives with you and knows you better than anybody.

So what should you do if your mate corrects you?

Write to Dear Abby?  Stomp off and put on your sound-proof headset? Give some correction back—dishing out more than you received!  Thank God you have a loving, courageous mate, heed it and act on it ASAP!

A Proverbs 31 woman (and a male member of the Church of God, characterized as a woman) will aim to be this to a mate:  “The heart of her husband safely trusts her.    She does him good and not evil all the days of her life … She opens her mouth with wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness.   She watches over the ways of her household”—SO SHE’S WATCHING YOU!

Each of you has an example of some correction you have received today from some source. If you’re married, I’m sure of it!

And if you’re alert to life … Dr. Richard Walther, a college library director, would often say:   No situation is wasted if you learn from it.

Minister Dan Dowd offers good advice:  Find good even in a bad situation.

“The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise” (Prov. 15:31).    I love that phrase:  the rebukes of  life!  Recently my sister one year younger had her aortic vessel break and miraculously survived the ordeal.  It “rebuked” my wife and me into considering how can we do better with our health.

Of course, foremost we need correction from our loving Father and Brother, especially at this special time of year.

Part 2:  Heed & Seek!

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Has The Great Tribulation Begun?

This claim has been showing up on the Internet—
what with all the hurricanes, eclipses, blood moons,
floods, earthquakes and North Korea

♣   The Great Tribulation is the fifth seal out of seven in Revelation (6:9-11).

four-horsemenIt follows the first four seals (vs. 1-8) which are also the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Matt. 24:5-7):  religious deception, war, famine and disease.  How appropriate that first rider to this discussion!

Forget hucksters and even misguided sincere opinions.  What does your Bible say?  I hope you’re like me:  That’s what I’m going to go by.  Straight from the horse’s mouth!  More specifically, the revelation of Jesus Christ which He gave to His servant John (Rev. 1:1)

Such scary horsemen imagery?  People say “Oh, we’re always had deception, war, famine and disease.”  Yes, but Matt. 24:8 says all these are like birth pangs—they will grow closer together and more intense.  So could the first four seals be completed and the fifth seal begun?

Rev. 6:8 declares that at the end of the first four seals, over one-fourth of the earth will be killed.  Have 1-1/2 billion died yet?

♣  The Great Tribulation is the same period of time as four other major events which are said to last 1,260 days, 42 months, or times/time/1/2 a time.   These are the same amount of time and at the same time.
♦   The Beast and False Prophet.  beastDo you see a 10-nation powerhouse in Europe that is the seventh resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire called Babylon the Great and that is dominating the whole earth and resulting in unparalleled prosperity?
♦   The Times of the Gentiles.  Have the non-Israelite nations taken away world dominance from the United States, Israel, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa?  They will and that’s why the Great Tribulation is also called the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7).   This is the time of Satan’s wrath because he knows his time is short.
♦   The Place of Safety.  Have God’s people been taken away to their place of protection (Rev. 12:14)?  I hope not because I want to be there!  The Church will be silenced from preaching the gospel around the world (Matt. 24:14) and making disciples in all nations (Matt. 28:18-20), resulting in a famine of “hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11).   That hits home!

So God brings
♦   The two witnesses.  Do you see two powerful figures commanding worldwide attention, clothed in sackcloth, the fashion the press will then be obsessed with?  Who “have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy” (Rev. 11:4-6)?  Too bad they weren’t around in Houston!  Do you see two servants of God where “fire proceeds from their mouth” and they “strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire”?  It’s a warm-up for the Day of the Lord and God’s Seven Last Plagues.

If none of these four events have begun yet, then could the event that occurs at the same time have already begun?

♣  Dan. 12:7 mentions  this same period of 3-1/2 times or 1,260 days.  It also specifies that 30 days before that, at 1,290 days, the daily sacrifice will be taken away and the Abomination of Desolation set up (v. 11).  Though there is renewed buzz about building a temple in Jerusalem, have you seen any sacrifices stopped, much less any started?  Imagine the furor in the Middle East when this actually occurs!

So, despite wild-eyed claims of religious furor

The Great Tribulation has not started yet

Since the sacrifices have not stopped yet [nor even started yet!], the Great Tribulation is at least 30 days away.

And it is assuredly coming.   Oh, not the end of the world, except for Satan’s being overthrown by Jesus Christ’s (Rev. 11:15).  You can hang your hat on it even when buffeted by 175 mph winds!  We are experiencing mounting calamities and the beginning of sorrows.  God says in the Bible that He uses extreme weather and mounting curses to get the attention of those who are spiritually awake and humble themselves (Lev. 26 and Deut. 28).


Watch Friday for
Chapter 14
“How Can He Be Righteous?!”
What’s It All About?

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