The Danger of Mockery

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Definition of Mockery :
  • behavior or speech that makes fun of someone or something in a hurtful way
  • mocking behavior or speech
  • a bad or useless copy of something

~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary

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Mockery, though it may at times illicit laughs and chuckles, is actually very damaging to a person’s mental and emotional state, and to the people around us. While some might insist that not all mockery is bad, there are very few (including myself) who can utilize it correctly in making a point without it crossing the line of inappropriateness.

The Apostle Paul (whom the Holy Spirit inspired to write much of the New Testament) made use of mockery in just a few instances in order to make a point in his teaching. Other than a very few number of instances in the scriptures, mockery is considered to mostly be inappropriate and damaging in most of its use.

SLIDING INTO MOCKERY MODE

The biggest danger with our foolish willingness to mock others and their life-practices is that we might end up being used by the enemy to injure someone. We certainly have no intention of consciously being used by the enemy, but he is sneaky that way. When we mock someone or something, it inspires and develops a sourness of soul in us and in those who listen to us. They develop the same bitterness, self-righteousness, and contempt toward others.

The church in Corinth was instructed to discipline a man who was engaging in extreme sin. When the formal church disciplinary action had run its course and achieved God’s purpose (repentance) in the man’s life, Paul warned the church not to slide into a self-righteous mode of verbally pummeling (i.e. mocking) him and overwhelming (i.e. wounding) him.

If we are not careful, we too can easily slide from appropriate correction into inappropriate mockery of an individual or a group. In regard to the enemy’s sneaky ways, and how we could be used by him to pummel a sibling in Christ, Paul instructed the church (now that the discipline process had run its course) by saying,

“Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.

in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”

~ 2 Corinthians 2:7-8,11

“You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.”

‭‭~ Romans‬ ‭14:10‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Too often (we) pastors, in the name of teaching and establishing a “right doctrine” within the church, will slide into mocking another group’s doctrine and practices. The mockery is expressed by choosing a person or situation that really does not accurately represent the other group, but for our purposes we will spotlight, exaggerate, misinterpret, and denigrate the whole group on the basis of a fringe player or a freakishly absurd event.

THE MOCKERY OF WORSHIP MUSIC GENRES

For example, the genres of music and songs that are used in the worship of God are often the subject of mocking within the church. Mocking songs and music that people use in their personal worship of God should not be done, at all!

Mocking hymn singers for some of their seemingly “old-fashioned organ music” and their “cold impersonal recitation of doctrinal statements” is an exaggeration and a degradation of something that is utilized in a positive, meaningful way by brothers and sisters in Christ for their expressions of worship. Just because hymns may not warm one person’s heart, stir their love, and ignite their passion for God does not make it permissible for them to mock those who do experience a genuine interaction with God in a very real way.

Mocking chorus singers for their use of repetitive phrases and their “lack of doctrinal meat” in their wording, accusing them of offering God “empty worship” and saying with contempt “God heard you the first time, He doesn’t need to hear it ten times!” is plainly wrong. It too goes against the Spirit of Christ. Just because choruses may not provide a form of recitation of doctrine or warm one person’s heart, stir their love, and ignite their passion for God does not make it permissible for them to mock those who do experience a genuine interaction with God in a very real way.

While there are some great hymns and great choruses, there are some (in both genres) that simply are not effective in helping most or all people to express their heart to God in song and worship. Likewise, some hymns and some choruses have been written in partnership with the deeply moving and inspiring ministry of the Holy Spirit.

THE CHURCH’S MOCKERY OF GOD

Imagine for one moment someone’s horror when they discover that they have been mocking a song (or lots of songs!) that God had personally given to the church to help a number of them (though not all are moved by it) express their faith, love, and worship to Him.

When we mock how people worship God, how they pray and intercede with God, how they give to God, how they work miracles (in the name of Jesus Christ), and how they preach God’s message, we are not just mocking them, we are mocking God! If we think we are insulated from God’s response to this “innocent fun,” we need to think again:

“For we know Him who said,… ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

‭‭~ Hebrews‬ ‭10:30-31‬‬‬‬‬‬

The psalmist also made reference to those who end up mocking God all day long, and how God will defend Himself:

“Rise up, O God, and defend Your cause; remember how fools mock You all day long.”

‭‭~ Psalm‬ ‭74:22‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

A fool is one who is willingly ignorant of God, willingly rejects God, or willingly denies God’s existence. In this case, a fool is also someone who mocks God (and the things of God) while denying they are doing anything wrong.

FINAL THOUGHT

Let’s discontinue the use of the “mockery method” in our teaching, in our preaching, in our conversations, in our debates, etc. We can more fully engage in studying, discussing, and discovering right doctrine without using the “mockery method” on people we don’t agree with, or against the mysteries that we do not yet understand.

 

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#PastorsTip #Mockery #Worship #Prayer #Preaching #Teaching #MockeryMethod #MusicGenre #Hymns #Choruses #WorshipMusic

Honoring The Voice Of Our Conscience

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English Language Definition of Conscience :

: the part of the mind that makes you aware of your actions as being either morally right or wrong

: a feeling that something you have done is morally wrong

~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary

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Scripture teaches us to honor our conscience. It is an integral part of our being, and though it is not perfect (and can undergo heavy damage during our life if it is unguarded) we need to honor it. Just as we are called upon to honor our parents even though they are human and imperfect, likewise we are to honor our own conscience.

OUR CONSCIENCE + GOD’S TRUTH = GUIDANCE

Developing a healthy knowledge-base [in our heart and mind] of the truth of God through the study of the scriptures (through reading, discussion, and listening to preaching and teaching) is foundational to keeping our conscience healthy. Our implementation of God’s truth into and through our life in agreement with our healthy conscience is critically important.

Living and speaking in truth is then confirmed by a healthy conscience:

“I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit…”

~ Romans‬ ‭9:1

GUARD THE CONSCIENCE OF THE WEAK

Not only should we guard our own conscience, but we should help to guard the conscience of the weak, the young, or the spiritually immature. Their conscience may not be as healthy and discerning of what is right and wrong. They may see you doing something that you have a right to do (according to your healthy conscience) but their unhealthy or damaged conscience may impress upon their own mind and heart that doing that is wrong.

Our appropriate response should not be condescension, but loving and with honor for their conscience. Patiently instructing them and helping their conscience to heal and/or mature is more important than us insisting on our “right” to do whatever unimportant thing we are doing with which their conscience disagrees.

In the early church a question had arisen: Can Christians buy the food (meat) in the local market place that had been used in sacrifices to idols? Paul said yes, there isn’t a problem with the food (because there is only one true God), so you can buy it and eat it with a clear conscience. Eating the food is not a participation with other god’s.

“So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that ‘An idol is nothing at all in the world’ and that ‘There is no God but One.’”

~ 1 Corinthians‬ ‭8:4‬

Though Paul answered this question and made it clear to the church, there were still some whose conscience was not adjusting to the truth as quickly as others. He added this caveat:

“But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.”

~ 1 Corinthians‬ ‭8:7-8‬

Our rights to participate in things that are not foundational to Christian discipleship should be laid down when it will be beneficial to another. This is called… “Love.” Our obligation to love overrides our rights to non-foundational matters in life. Our conscience should first be sensitive to others’ needs before we participate in things that wound our weaker neighbor’s conscience.

“Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols [and thus dishonor their conscience that tells them it is wrong]*?

So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.

Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin [going against their own conscience]*, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.”

~ 1 Corinthians‬ ‭8:9-13‬,  [abc]*  Inserted by author for clarification

When Paul says “I will never eat meat again,” he is not saying he became a vegetarian for the rest of his life. He is not saying that the chutch needs to forever bow to the dictates of the consciences of the immature and the weak. He is simply saying that he will walk in-step with (and not wound) his weaker neighbor’s conscience until such time as they mature and are healed.

GOD IS STILL THE FINAL JUDGE

Even if our conscience approves of something, it does not transform it into a righteous or acceptable something. Right is still right, and wrong is still wrong. Even the Apostle Paul spoke of having been faithful to his conscience, but acknowledged that his own conscience was not perfect and still not the final judge of his life and motives.

My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.”

~ 1 Corinthians‬ ‭4:4‬

FINAL THOUGHTS

Developing a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, reading and studying the scriptures, listening to the church leaders as they disciple us, honoring our own conscience in daily living, and lovingly honoring and protecting the conscience of the weak or broken, these are all components necessary to building, healing, and maintaining a healthy and clear conscience.

Some people choose to accept the “teaching” of the world, and by so doing they wound and twist their own conscience until it is no longer healthy enough to lead them even in the most basic ways of right living. The most basic right and wrong is no longer discernible by their conscience.

Thankfully, Christ offers healing to them, and if that describes your condition, He offers you today a pathway of healing for restoring your conscience to a healthy condition. You can begin the process right now by simply calling out to Him, “Lord Jesus, please rescue me!” and then let the healing process begin…

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#PastorsTip #Conscience #Maturity #Immaturity #Healing #Sensitivity #InnerVoice #Scriptures #Bible #HolySpirit #Jesus #Christ #God

Are You Being Called A Never-Changer?

While anyone CAN change for the better with the divinely supernatural intervention of Jesus Christ, not everyone WILL change even with His full intervention.

Healing and empowering the human heart and mind to be able to transition from darkness into light is what the divine mission of Jesus Christ is all about and has been since the beginning of humanity.

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”

~ John‬ ‭8:12‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

No one except God knows who will—and who will not—change for the better. Are you experiencing the heartbreak of having a parent, spouse, or relative chronically declare at you (with utmost certainty!) that you will never change, that you will never amount to anything worthwhile? Or, does the devil whisper with rage into your ears that you are a never-changer, that God doesn’t want you, that it’s too late for you, that you have “fallen off the wagon” one too many times?

There is great news, my friend. No one, regardless of how well they may know you and every single one of your active quirks, practicing habits, illicit addictions, fiery lusts, dark secrets, (you know, all that stuff) have NEVER had the ability to know whether you [in partnership with Jesus Christ] are capable or willing to ever change for the better. Not your parents. Not your spouse. Not your children. Not your pastor. Not your sheriff. Not your friends. Not your counselor. Not your teachers. Not your enemies. Not the angels. Not the demons. Not the devil. Not even you!

The only one who knows if you are a never-changer of it you will change for the better is God. Scripture even declares that a husband and wife, the most intimate and influential of human relationships, does not provide either spouse an accurate verdict about the other.

“How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?”

‭~ 1 Corinthians‬ ‭7:16‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

The only one who knows if you are a never-changer or if you will change for the better is God.

For some people God provides the healing and deliverance they need so they can make an unencumbered choice to change for the better. Perhaps they were so bound by an extraordinary Personality Disorder, by a past trauma, by a drug addiction, or by a life of such deep sin-experience that they needed a more-than-average person’s dose of divine supernatural intervention. Having received what they needed from God, they then squandered their freedom and returned to their previous state. They are the ones who never change for the better, the never-changers, but only God was the one who truly knew that about them. Even though God already knew they were never-changers, that they would never change for the better, He still reached out to them and gave them an extraordinary opportunity.

“If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: ‘A dog returns to its vomit,’ and, ‘A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.’”

‭‭~ 2 Peter‬ ‭2:20-22‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

My friend, there is NOTHING and NO ONE in this world that pre-destines you and locks you into being one of those never-changers.

Were you conceived out of wedlock; are you known as “The Bastard Child?” I’m sorry you may have been labeled as such by some, but rest assured the circumstances surrounding your life’s conception has NOT pre-destined you to be a never-changer.

Were you left on someone’s doorstep as an infant, an unwanted child with no identity and not a single known blood relative on the planet? I’m truly sorry your life has been absent those things, but rest assured the anonymity of your heritage has NOT pre-destined you to be a never-changer.

Have you committed, been arrested, and convicted of multiple felony crimes and spent twice as much time in prison as you ever spent living as a free citizen, and now you are on parole? Are you hearing the devil whisper “You are a never-changer, you @&$!?*%#” into your ears day and night? My friend, since when does the devil care about giving you accurate advice? Your ex-con status does NOT prove you were pre-destined to be a never-changer!

The only one who knows if you are a never-changer or if you will change for the better is God.

Regardless of what you think, and what others think and have said, no matter how “impossible” your journey of change for the better may seem, God deals in the “impossible” everyday. You see, what is impossible for us is standard everyday can-do stuff for God!

“Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!’ The disciples were amazed at his words.

But Jesus said again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’

The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, ‘Who then can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.’

~ Mark‬ ‭10:23-27‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Changing for the better does not mean we become perfect overnight. The change is a journey, it’s a process, it has a steep learning curve. While some people receive the kind of miracles that unfold instantaneously, most receive the kind of miracles that unfold throughout a daily journey and a process of change.

Please, do not give up, and only listen to the voices that speak the truth and the hope that is consistent with the intervention of Jesus Christ that bolsters you to stay on track everyday to change for the better. If you get “off track,” if you “fall off the wagon,” if you “crash big time,” please DO NOT give up on your journey of change. Rather finish the race and cross the finish line having made 10,000 mistakes during the race, than to give-in to the voices of the never-changers who are telling you that you are a never-changer too.

See you at the finish line!

 

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#PastorsTip #Jesus #Supernatural #Intervention #Change #Transform #Transition #Journey #Process #Race #FinishLine #NeverChanger #Impossible #Healing #Equipping #PersonalityDisorder #Addiction #Habit #SetFree #NewLife

They All Have Soul-Value In God’s Eyes

Public figures, whether they are involved in politics or entertainment, or have become known through their having served society heroically in some unique manner, each of them seem to provoke each of us to form an opinion of who they are and what kind of value their life contributes to the world.

Maybe they seem kind, maybe they seem cruel; transparent or deceptive; generous or self-centered; humble or proud; community minded or power hungry despot; loving Christian or angry atheist; spiritual or humanistic; health-conscious or glutinous slob; multi-cultural or racist; wise or foolish; intelligent or unintelligent; self-controlled or addicted; etc.

Whatever the truth may be about each of the public figures (and God knows every detail of every person, the absolute truth with regard to who a person has been and has become) and regardless of how we see them, let’s always remember this:

God sees each of them as having soul-value, and He REALLY wants to rescue each them from the same destination that we all share if we do not accept the intervention of God through Jesus Christ.

Their soul-value is not increased by their huge public popularity, nor with the positive value of what they bring to the public by way of happiness (entertainer) or a better lifestyle (politician or business executive) or a cancer-free body (surgeon). Neither is their soul-value diminished by their criminality, cruelty, deceptiveness, greediness, or power-hungry escapades.

Their (and our) soul-value in the eyes of God comes from the fact that they are His kids who have gone astray. He wants them back! He wants them to come back not by force but by choice. He will provide everything they need to come back, but He won’t force them to come back to Him.

When we see public figures, let’s remember that they are just human beings too. They have soul-value too. Let’s pray for God’s provision to breakthrough in their lives so they can return to Him without being distracted by other people or things.

“…everyone who believes may have eternal life in Him. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.

But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

~ John‬ ‭3:15-21‬

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#PastorsTip #Stars #Candidates #PublicFigures #John316 #SoulValue #Salvation

Looking For A Life-Defining Purpose

Recently a quarterback for an NFL team remained seated during the national anthem while the entire stadium all around him stood to honor the flag and country.

He says he remained seated as a form of protest against a supposed run amuck white police force across the nation who is murdering the masses of the minorities.

Colin Kaepernick is simply exhibiting a classic symptom of a person who is in desperate search for a life-defining purpose and meaning.

Being born and raised with a mixed race heritage seems to have left him without a sense of identity as to which people-group he might feel most comfortable relating with.

Being adopted by loving white parents didn’t help to further establish his sense of belonging or purpose.

Being a hard working and successful college student and college football player didn’t satisfy his longing for belonging to something worthwhile.

Being (for a time) a first-string quarterback in the NFL with football and promotional contracts throwing more money into his bank accounts than he might possibly ever spend in his lifetime (unless he squanders it) has left him empty.

Now facing the possibility of being cut from the team (and maybe from his career) because a of lack-luster performance he is once again reaching for purpose.

We have seen this before in all walks of life.

We will see this again at every level.

The fact is simple: our purpose is not found in making a public stand for something that doesn’t really cost us anything except some publicity and some boo’s. Life-defining purpose that is satisfying and is worth living for is the purpose that is worth giving up EVERYTHING for.

Living for Christ is more than paying the cost of some publicity and some boo’s. It’s even more than giving up riches and fame. It’s giving up everything.

But in return we receive a satisfaction that only comes through having a Life-Defining Purpose that is completely wrapped up in the name and person of Jesus Christ.

So, to Colin I say this: “When you have exhausted yourself, when you have frustrated yourself, when you are ready to give up… Give Jesus Christ a call out. Yeah, I know the world laughs at the idea, but the only ones that aren’t laughing are the ones who have already reached the end and in one last desperate attempt at finding purpose, they called Him. He is Real!

#PastorsTip #Kaepernick