Avoiding the Things God Hates (Part 1)
Proverbs 6:16-19 “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”
God hates sin. However; there are times where certain sins disgust God. Therefore, those actions are considered an abomination to God. When we hear the word “abomination” our minds automatically go to homosexuality. While homosexuality is definitely in the list, it is something that does not stand alone. There are other actions that God considers an abomination. In this piece of scripture God list seven things that he considers an abomination. We will look at three of these seven today and will cover the rest next week. Here is a description of each one:
- A proud look. God hates pride. At the same time, God loves humility. Pride is the attitude of the heart that blocks the ability of God’s grace to flow through us. God resist those that are full of pride and gives grace to those that are humble.
- A lying tongue. One of the descriptions of God is that he is a God of truth. Lies, confine us and truth makes us free. A lie cannot stand alone. It constricts and confines us from living in the freed of the truth. We must not live our lives in a lie. We must walk in truth.
- Hands that shed innocent blood. Satan’s agenda is always to kill, steal, and destroy. The agenda of God is to give life and to give it more abundantly. God hates those that take the life of those that are innocent. The life of a baby inside the womb of its mother is supposed to be protect. God loves those who protect life, but hates those that take life.
Please understand that this list is to show us the need for repentance and correction. We must learn to avoid the things that God hates by applying the things that God loves. Are we full of pride? Are we living a lie? Is there so much hate and anger in our heart that we would enjoy the destruction of someone’s life? God hates that kind of attitude and he wants us to avoid those things.
- When you hear the word “abomination” what are some of the things that come to your mind?
- Why is it important to know what God hates rather than what God loves?
- What are some other actions that God calls an abomination?
- When you read this list, which one do you feel like is the biggest struggle among others?
I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. I hope that each of you are enjoying your family and traditions. However; at the same time, I know this time of the year is not always pleasant nor does it have good memories. Please keep this in mind: Regardless of how you process this time of year remember that God loves you and the birth of Christ is a demonstration of God’s love toward us.
I challenge you to pay attention to the discussion questions. They will help you reflect but also at the same time it will help you pursue some new beginnings. I challenge you to not allow the miracles of God from this past year hinder you from experiencing the miracles of God in the next year.
Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
The blessing of this verse and this name goes beyond the realm of just Christmas. It is a residing truth that we can carry with us throughout our everyday lives. Yes, at the core of the context is the fact that God became flesh and dwelt among us. The incarnation of Christ is at the heart of this context. However; the application reaches far beyond the realm the incarnation of Christ into the omnipresence of our Lord. It is the message that God is letting us know that He is with us. What does this do for the believer? It gives the believer confidence, it gives the believer courage, and it gives the believer comfort. We are reminded this Christmas that God is with us. We are reminded that God promises to never leave or forsake us. We are reminded that God promises that he will be an ever-present help in times of need. The world rages with its sinful schemes and philosophies but God is with us. Satan rages with accusations and discouraging tactics but God is with us. The storms of life may rage, but God is with us. It is such a powerful concept to realize that while the birth of Jesus was God’s plan to redeem us back to himself. At the same time, it acts as a reminder that God is with us. He steps out of eternity onto the stage of our lives to dwell among us. May the celebration of Christmas be a reminder that God is with us. Moving forward into the next year of life should be a reminder that God is with us. He truly is our “Emmanuel”.
- What has been some of your greatest experiences from this past year?
- What has been some of your greatest disappointments from this past year?
- What are the greatest challenges you feel like you will face in the next year?
- How does “God with us” help you move into the next year?
From the Boatman Family to you – We wish you a Merry Christmas!
‘But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. ‘
1 Corinthians 11:28
Reflecting upon yesterday’s communion service leads us to the phrase “let a man examine himself”. According to Webster’s 1828 dictionary the word “examine” actually means “to inspect carefully, with a view to discover truth or the real state of a thing.” When referencing the Strong’s definition, it does not veer very far from the same principle other than it involves the process of testing or proving. Therefore, the verse commands us to test or prove whether or not we are real. In a world of rising hypocrisy nothing could be more necessary. There is power in self-examination. It is something that is healthy and yet when done with an honest heart can be quite painful. God wants to operate with a clean heart. He wants us to make sure there are short accounts with him. When a person begins the process of self-examination, they must look in two directions.
- They must examine their relationship with Lord.God does not want you to examine the religious activity, but God does not want us to examine our personal relationship with him. Are we talking with him? Are we trusting in him? Are we living for him? Look closely at the relationship and examine whether or not is a real one. Is there truly proof that you have a relationship with the Lord?
- They must examine their relationship with Others.Sometimes this can be more difficult than the first one. The reason is because God does us no harm and people can cause harm on so many levels. However; God wants us to make sure we are right with others. God does not require that we trust people, but he does require that we try to be right with others. When an examination is done on yourself can you truly say that you have done your best to be right with others? We must accept the fact that in order to be right with God we must be right with others.
- What are the tools necessary for a self-examination?
- What is so hard about doing a self-examination?
- Would you rather someone else tell you what is wrong with you or would you prefer to examine yourself? Why?
My apologies for being a few days late with this article. The past week was so victorious! I rejoice in what God did last week. Seeing my best friend from age three trust Christ and then hearing her and her husband share their testimony was more than I can explain. Through all this we were able to see 6 people come to know Christ over the past week. I watched God do so much. God reminded me that when things are the darkest is when His light is shining the brightest. I welcome you to go the following link and watch her testimony. I have no doubt it will be a blessing to you!
A Hardened Heart
‘Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: ‘
It is amazing how God uses his word to guide us through circumstances. The concept of a hardened heart is something that needs to be addressed. It is amazing how God uses a softened heart, but it is also amazing how destructive a hardened heart can become. Harden hearts are not limited to only unbelievers. Over the years we see how the hearts of some of God’s children can become hardened. It is vital that we realize the more our hearts are hardened toward the things of God the less sensitive we become to voice.
What causes a hardened heart? There are several examples throughout the Bible of what causes hearts to become hardened. It is easy to see the effects of the hardened hearts but it requires a little more investigation to see what may cause hearts to become hardened. A heart becomes harden when people begin to practice sin on a habitual level. Sin has a hardening effect on a person. After habitually practicing such things the spiritual senses become unresponsive to the things of God therefore rendering a heart to harden itself to spiritual matters. We also see hearts hardened over pride. When people harbor pride they are allowing their hearts to become hardened. Pride is the root of all evil and while it a sin in and of itself…it still merits identification as a major contributor to the hardened heart. Many times hearts become hardened because of how much pain and suffering a person experiences. The pain that one encounters has a tendency to cause them to build walls that not only shuts out people but it also shuts out God. It is scary to think how life in general can cause such damage to a person’s sensitivity to the voice of God.
Ultimately, the harden heart comes from the absence of God’s presence. When God begins to remove his presence from our lives it begins to take away all the things that keeps us sensitive to his Spirit. God’s presence is one that brings compassion, mercy, grace, longsuffering, and patience. The absence of God means that the attributes of God are removed. Therefore, when you feel your heart hardening…run to God’s presence. Without God we can do nothing. Without God we are nothing. It will be the presence of the God of all comfort that softens the heart of man. Therefore, run to God and do it quickly before it is eternally too late.
- What does a hardened heart look like or how can you identify a hardened heart?
- What are some situations we encounter that cause our hearts to be hardened?
- What is the difference between a heart that is hard and heart that does is cautious?
- What are emotions we tend to feel when our heart becomes hardened?
- What is the cure for the hardened heart?
“The Ability is Available”
Philippians 4:10-13 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Philippians 4:13 is one of the most quoted of Bible verses. Sadly, it is also often the most misquoted of Bible verses. We have all heard this verse quoted in the context of giving us some sort of super human strength when it comes to being able to run faster, jump higher, or lift more. Philippians 4:13 does not give us the ability to score the winning touchdown, hit the walk-off homerun, or ring the game winning basket. Matter of fact the blessing of Philippians 4:13 teaches us how to emotionally, spiritually, and mentally get through the toughest of times of our life.
The great principle of this text is this: “once I learn how to “be” it then gives the ability to “do”. If we can learn how to “be” low, or how to “be” hungry then we fail to realize our ability to “do” the work of God. Our ability to “do” all things hinges on our learning how to be content. It is important that we understand ability to become unstuck is when we understand that God gives us the ability through his Son, Jesus Christ, to do all things. Everything hinges on our relationship with Jesus Christ. John 15:5 teaches that without Jesus we can do nothing. Jesus Christ is the source of our strength. We are encouraged, enabled, and equipped by applying this piece of scripture to our lives. There is no greater encouragement to the believer than to apply the truth that we can be in whatever state and still be able to accomplish the work of God and the will of God.
Why is this verse so significance when it comes to our ability to get unstuck from the ruts of life? First, we must realize that the deeper our relationship with Christ becomes the less we feel limited to perform the work of God. So many Christians never get out of their rut because they fail to even try. We will never truly know what we are truly capable of doing through our relationship with Christ until we actually try. The will of God can be followed. The work of God can be fulfilled. The ability is available…we just need to learn how to “be” before we tap into to what we can “do”.
- How do we go about learning how to be content in whatever state we are in?
- What does Philippians 4:10-13 teach us about getting out of the rut of life?
- What becomes our greatest hindrance to living out Philippians 4:13?
Isaiah 43:18-19 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, andrivers in the desert.
If a person begins to listen to those around them close enough, they care hear the concerns of their heart. Over the past few weeks I have heard the work “stuck” a lot. It seems like individuals as well as the church can get “stuck” from time to time. It is part of life and it is something that happens as life happens. Living on a farm, I have definitely experienced the frustration of being stuck. It never happens on purpose, but it will happen nonetheless.
If getting stuck is a part of life, then how does one go about getting unstuck? When I get stuck on a tractor then all I do is call someone with a bigger tractor and they are able to pull me out. I have learned that it is not quite getting my life out a rut is as simple as having someone pulling me out. This question has led me on a journey that I have begun at our church.
Getting “stuck” or getting into a “rut” usually results in the desire of God doing something new or fresh in our life. It is like the oil in our life has lost its potency and we need some fresh oil. Isaiah 43:18-19 shows us that God “will do a new thing”. The excitement of God doing a new thing comes with a stipulation that is very difficult. The key to experiencing God doing a new thing in our lives hinges on what he tells us to do in verse 18. We must forget the past. We all know that past can be paralyzing, but if you were to study the entire chapter of Isaiah 43, we would learn that God does not bring up past mistakes, he brings up past miracles. We all live the idea of forgetting past mistakes, that is something we want to do, but we have a tendency to get “stuck” in past miracles. We need to understand that God wants to do a new thing and not an old thing. He still wants to perform miracles, but he will not do it the same way twice. God never wants us to forget his faithfulness, but we never need to assume that God will perform his miracles in the same manner. Ask yourself the question: “Did Jesus heal people the same way throughout his ministry?” The answer is “no”. God is still a way maker, but in order to get unstuck we do not need to get caught up in the “way” and pay closer attention to the “who”. God will pull us out, but he may pull us out a different way the next time. Therefore, the key to getting out of the rut is by not allowing the process of God dictate the promise of God. God will fulfill his promises…but he may not do it in the same manner.
One of the things that bother me is when people talk about “the good ole days”. It is like when I hear them talk about that period of time (whenever that was) it makes me feel like God is done. Isaiah prophesized by saying God would do a “new thing”. God is not only still working miracles, I truly believe our best days are still before us. Just because God did it a certain way thirty years ago does not mean he will follow the same pattern today. We must not allow the method of God in the past to dictate the miracle of God today.
- How do we become “stuck” in the ruts of life?
- What does it feel like when we become stuck? (Emotionally/Physically/Mentally)
- How does past miracles hinder our ability to see God at work within our lives?
- Does God doing a “new thing” make us uncomfortable, excite us, or both? Why?