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 "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine"   2 Timothy 4:2

Council of men or Council of God

By S.J. Black

Several months ago my wife and I decided to go in search of a new church and started visiting a church in our area.

We had some concern that our children who are three-year-old twins might not do so well with a Sunday morning service. We had been going on Saturday night because having all day Saturday to let them burn off energy before going to church seemed to make them much more manageable when it was time to go to church and for the teachers in the children's area.

Our first Sunday visiting a new church was certainly an experience. The twins were well… "in a mood" to put it politely. They had been going through one of those difficult to manage phases that all children go through at times.

However, you can imagine how embarrassed we were when one of the twins walked up to the pastor after service and kicked him in the shin. Seems that they had learned a new "trick" either at school that week or that morning in the toddler class. To make matters worse when they were done crippling the pastor they decided to move on to a church member or two. It would have been nice if our child had done that on a previous occasion so that we could have had time to disciple him prior to his decision to 'unveil his new trick' right there in the church foyer.

Luckily, the pastor is an easygoing sort of guy who has three teenage children of his own, so he understood. This is not to say that we felt any less like crawling under a pew with embarrassment but it did open the door for me to go and have lunch with the pastor the next week. However, I really must admit that the pastor does look a bit funny preaching with the shin pads on over his slacks.

We had noticed that the pastor's three children were well behaved and since our children were going through a difficult phase it seemed wise to go and ask him for any advice or tricks he had learned about raising children. Not to mention our desire that if they were going to ask us to never come back we preferred a non-public forum.

When the pastor and I were discussing raising children there were a number of things that we found in the word of God about raising kids. Most of what we found is not what the "psychobabble" types would tell you about raising children today.

I was thinking about this the other night and it occurred to me that we touched on something that is a very interesting question not only in the area of raising children but in many other areas of the Christian's life as well.

The question is, "Are you following the advice of the world or the council of God's word?"

There is so much information out there these days, and it seems there is no shortage of those who would love to give you advice on some aspect of your life. But I find myself often questioning if advice lines up with the council of God's word or is the advice that of the fallen world.

Just traveling mentally through the last 15 or so years of my life and thinking of some of the things that I have seen in my own life and the life of others, I can think of many examples where if others or myself had followed the council of God instead of listening to the world we would have been much better off today.

The first example that comes to mind is when I was in college everyone would tell you that to be "cool" you had to go out to the parties and drink yourself stupid.

However, the word of God says in Ephesians 5:18, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."

If I had listened to those who had pointed out this verse to me when I was in the high school youth group I could have saved myself a tremendous amount of trouble both then and later in life.

The thing about alcohol is that it often keeps us longer than we wanted to stay and takes us further than we wanted to go. Most sin is this way, but it seems particularly true where alcohol is concerned.

After a number of years of constant prayer and study of God's word I can finally say that I do not even have the urge to drink any longer. However, it has been a long battle and the problem would have been much easier to 'nip in the bud' if I had listened to the word of God.

Another popular thing the world likes to say these days is that we should teach our children to 'have sex responsibly'. Maybe I am a stick in the mud, but I am very troubled when I read reports about sixth grade teachers teaching children how to put condoms on produce.

The word of God says that you should not have sex until you are married. But the world does not seem to have any desire to teach abstinence to our children today.

There were several people that I knew through high school and later in college that ended up having a child before they were anywhere near ready to be a parent. They have all made it through, but many are working at jobs that are well below their potential because they either never went to college, had to drop out of college or made a much lower grade point average than they might have been capable of if they had not had children.

The world's solution to unwanted pregnancies is to tell young mothers to have an abortion arguing that it is the 'woman's right to choose.' But does God say that a woman has a 'right to choose'? Let me word that another way that the liberals don't like to hear…Does God's word say that anyone has a 'right to choose…' to kill their unborn child? Does God say that once conceived a child is just a 'mass of tissue' and not a human up to a certain point in a pregnancy?

God's said to the prophet Jeremiah, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." (Jeremiah 1:5)

God also tells us in Psalm 139:13-16: "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

So one has to wonder, if God ordained a person's calling in life before they were born, are they not a living person to God at that point? If all of a persons days were ordained and written in God's book before they were born, is God not telling us that there is more than a 'bunch of tissue that is not yet alive' there at conception?

This would perhaps explain why there are many woman who sadly have had abortions in the past that have never found a way to get rid of the guilt they feel later in life. The people who support 'abortion rights' never mention to a woman or young couple considering an abortion the term "Post Abortion Stress Syndrome" or "PASS." There are women out there who have had their lives literally ruined because of having an abortion. However, the world and its advice will never tell you about this fact.

I feel so sorry for those who are dealing with PASS, and pray that they would seek the Lord regarding dealing with the issue. It is not their fault that they were told lies or at least not given all the facts when they were young and scared. However, they do have to deal with the consequences in their lives. Just like those of us who bought the lie that partying would make us 'cool' and had to deal with the consequences of our decisions in our lives.

How about finances? There is another topic for which there are no shortage of people who would love to give you advice today. This is also a topic that the Bible has quite a bit to say about as well.

The world would tell a person that they need more and need it faster. What you mean you don't have the latest gadget that the Joneses just bought? Heavens you must be poor or something!

There are people in this country today that are spending themselves into debt that is incredibly outrageous and well beyond their means.

Does this really even line up with common sense? It for sure does not line up with the way God would have us to manage our money.

The Lord tells us that we should be happy with what we have in the book of Hebrews and Paul told Timothy that the love of money is the root of all evil:
"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13:5)
"For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." ( 1 Timothy 6:10)

Financial trouble and the stress that it creates is at the top of most any list that you can find for why couples decide to divorce. Perhaps this is what Solomon had in mind when writing, "He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house." Proverbs 15:27

However, Solomon's words could also be directed at the workaholic who can never seem to find time to spend with their children. Many wonder later why their children are not even remotely well adjusted or have rejection issues that lead to all sorts of other problems like alcoholism, drug abuse and teen suicide to name a few.

Several years ago, I walked away from being a supervisor at one of the 8 largest public accounting firms in the nation. At the time, I was one month away from my annual review and being promoted to manager. I was on a fast track to partner and had never met a consolidated corporate group or partnership tax return that I didn't like. At one time, I worked a lot of hours because I loved my job. But as I came to know the Lord and started to draw closer to Him, it quickly reached a point where I could no longer stand my job.

On my last day at the old firm I almost felt like running for the elevator when it was time to leave. I couldn't stand the cutthroat politics, the greed involved in dealing with rich clients or spending all of those hours at the office. The hours certainly kept me from spending time with my family not to mention I never had the time or the energy to read God's word or pray. During the busiest part of tax season I would often go two months without even making it to church.

The partners thought I was insane to leave for less money and taking a job doing bookkeeping and some light tax work at a family run business. They tried to tell me that I would not like the new job because I was used to being the 'best of the best' with all the money, opportunity and so forth. To be honest it all sounded a bit like "blah, blah, blah" to me when they were talking.

It is wonderful to tell them on the occasions that I run into them now that not only have I never been happier and that my finances are in as good or better shape than when I made more money working for them to earn it the hard way with the hours and the stress.

Having found the Lord, my priorities had done a hundred and eighty degree turn and I knew the Lord was telling me to leave. Spending seven days a week with no time for the Lord or my family because I was busy developing clever tax schemes to make the rich richer did not interest me any longer.

It really is no surprise that my finances are doing just as good or better now to be honest. Jesus told us in Matthew 6:33, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

It is interesting that the world says work harder to make more money so that you can go after the alleged power and prestige. But God's word says humble yourself before the Lord, seek His kingdom first and be happy with what you have.

Another lie the world seems to like these days is 'situational ethics' or the lie that there is no absolute right or wrong. This has to be the number one lie coming out of the pit of hell these days. There are many places that God gives us a clear definition of what is right and what is wrong regardless of the circumstances. Just as an example there is the Ten Commandments.

Perhaps this is why the God haters in this country today are trying desperately to have the Commandments thrown out of our public life? The Commandments state clearly that there are absolute rights and wrongs and most often the God hating liberals are on the 'wrong' side of the issue. They do not like being reminded that they are sinners. Well, it is just a personal theory anyway.

As this world continues to grow more vile and fallen around us I think that there is one passage of Scripture that we all need to keep in mind in Colossians 2:8:
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

In other words, in all things seek the council of God from His word and avoid listening to the advice of the world because the advice of the world will most often lead you astray by telling you a lie.



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