“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (Hosea 4:6)
This lament over the ancient apostasy of Israel embodies an agelong principle that surely applies to those nations today that once professed Christianity but are now dominated by humanism. Our own nation is experiencing an awful scourge of moral anarchy among our children and young people, and the reason why is because their parents and grandparents have largely “forgotten the law of thy God.”
America—particularly its intellectual leadership—has “rejected knowledge,” so its people are being “destroyed for lack of knowledge.” This ignorance exists despite an abundance of supposed actual knowledge (i.e., “science”) in our educational institutions, for such facts are almost universally taught in a secular context. Our teachers have forgotten that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7).
Even in evangelical and fundamentalist churches and schools today, there is often too little emphasis on knowledge and too much on experience. Christian faith is not “feeling”; it is a volitional commitment to a true intellectual understanding of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish,” said Christ (Luke 13:5). The Greek word for “repent” means “change your mind!” One can only believe right if he first thinks right, and this requires true knowledge.
Listen again to Hosea’s warning: “The LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy [i.e., kindness], nor knowledge of God in the land” (Hosea 4:1). “They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7). HMM
This week at our Mom’s Morning, several of the young mothers shared about their mornings—how they got up early (while it was still dark!) and had their devotions. Each one shared the precious wonder of quietness as they drew near to God before little feet began to patter. That is one of the most frightening things on earth in the eyes of our Archenemy. In fact, I can only think of one other thing that would be more frightening to him—fathers having their devotions!
Raising children has never been easy. Every era has its own set of challenges. We recently watched a movie as children were pulled from their parents and shipped to another location because Hitler’s army was coming. I can’t even begin to imagine the heart-wrenching horror of having to do such a thing. Sadly, in my home state of Pennsylvania, we read once again about the unspeakable abuse of children in the Catholic Church. How do you parent through something like that? Michael Pearl states that “for the first time in the history of the world, Satan has mainline, 24-hour-a-day, intravenous access to the hearts of children… into the brains and hearts of children” (No Greater Joy, March/April 2018 p. 25). With the enemy’s ability to encroach our homes, we must be doubly on guard to protect and nurture our little ones!
But… there are parents who are fighting back! They are building a wall of protection for their children, staying alert to the strategies of a most artful and expert foe! They fill their homes with the sounds of God’s music. They faithfully come to church with their little ones. They guard the eyes and ears of those precious little souls who are in their watch care. But most of all, they are looking inward and allowing God to change THEIR hearts to be more like the Master, and that, my friend, is Satan’s worst nightmare! When moms make the effort to rise before their children to spend time in the Word, Satan trembles. When they not only read the Bible but apply it to their hearts and lives, Satan shrieks. And when they allow the Holy Spirit to use what they have gained from the Word to change to be more like the Master, Satan fumes. They whisper those sweet words of Jesus into their hearts and then into the ears and hearts of their children, and Satan flees! What a beautiful sight!
Are these moms perfect? They would tell you, no! Do they have perfect children? No again, but they are determined to what it takes to mold their children into soldiers for Jesus Christ, ready to do battle against the Enemy when it is time for them to take up their swords.
As Satan’s time of total defeat draws nearer he is ratcheting up his attacks. We can see signs of that everywhere, but I am so thankful for this next generation who are determining to “hold the line.” It truly is a beautiful sight!
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.3 John 1:4
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. James 4:7,8
How is your “press” going? Are you “pressing?” I’m not talking about removing a wrinkle in your shirt—I’m talking about checking for a possible wrinkle in your life.
The Greek word for press is more often translated as “persecute” (24 times–the only thing I can figure is, if you are going to persecute someone, it says something about your dedication to a cause!), but it is also translated as “follow” or “follow after” ten times. (I’ll list some of those verses at the end. I thought they were very helpful. Comparing scripture with scripture is one of the best ways to study the Bible and gain a deeper understanding of its meaning.)
Philippian 3: 14 is the only place which translates the word as “press,” and the illustration which Paul is alluding to is that of a runner pushing himself towards the finish line. I’m not a long distance runner (unless you consider running to the mailbox 50 feet away as a long distance!) but I would think that the most difficult part of the race is the middle where you cannot see any signs of the finish line, and isn’t that where we spend most of our time?
So, that makes me throw out another question: Can you see the prize? According to Paul, the prize is not just crossing the finish line but a “high calling” or the race itself. Winning the race is not just a single moment of completion but the culmination of hours of running and training! Commentator Albert Barnes puts it this way:
God has called us to great and noble efforts; to a career of true honour and glory; to the obtainment of a bright and imperishable crown. It is a calling which is “high,” or upward—that is, which tends to the skies. The calling of the Christian is from heaven, and to heaven. Compare Proverbs 15:24 (The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath), He has been summoned by God, through the gospel of the Lord Jesus, to secure the crown. It is placed before and above him in heaven. It may be his, if he will not faint or tire, or look backward. It demands his highest efforts, and it is worth all the exertions which a mortal can make even in the longest life. (emphasis added)
We all need to be “pressing,” diligently seeking to finish well. I’m not sure how that translates for you today. It may mean not hurling angry words at a clerk or fellow driver or thinking the worst of someone who chooses not to do what you think they should. OUCH! Or perhaps for you, dear mommy, it means showing patience to those little gems who are driving you crazy!! (Showing them patience does not mean letting them have their way, but guiding them in the right way with a right heart.)
Each of us has a race to run, and every born-again believer’s race should include a local church. OUCH AGAIN! (I’d better stop all the toe-stomping or no one will read my posts!) Seriously though, there are shut-ins, doctors, and other occupations that just cannot be in church on a Sunday morning but too often, we make all kinds of excuses for missing out on the best part of the week! Here’s the last question:
Can you honestly say that you are running your Christian race well and not be involved (concerned, occupied, implicated, immersed, enmeshed, entangled, aboard, participating, on the team, with us, on our side—all synonyms!) in your church? A very famous preacher said this:
Today thousands of local churches are dying because of Christians who are unwilling to serve. They sit on the sidelines as spectators, and the body suffers. God calls you to a service far beyond anything you could ever imagine. He created you for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for you to do (Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.). Whenever you serve others in any way, you are actually serving God.
I can certainly “Amen” that statement! Do you need to follow the Nike motto and “Just Do It?”
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Philippians 3:13-15
Here are some of the verses that use theGreek διώκω (diōkō) translated as “follow after:”
Rom 14:19Let us therefore followafter the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. (This verse actually had the Greek word in it twice. I’m not a Greek scholar, but it looked as though you would say, “Let us, followers, therefore follow…”)
1Co 14:1Followafter charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.
Phl 3:12Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I followafter, that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
1Ti 6:11But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.