Friday, March 21, 2014

A Pessimistic View of Psalm 23

This will give you a smile from my book Slaying Your Giants

Commentary on Psalm 23 
by Ima Whiner

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
“Shall not want”? Give me a break. I want lots of things. I’d like to have a nicer house, a better job, and a pay raise. I want people to do what I say, when I say. And I wouldn’t mind winning the lottery either.

He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
I have a problem with the words “makes me.” That sounds a bit legalistic to me. First you say I can’t want things; now you’re making me do things. 

He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
I don’t want to be guided down the paths of righteousness. I prefer the more scenic routes. How about leading me to Hawaii for a change? What about Vegas? I’m getting a little tired of the paths of righteousness. The next thing you know, you’ll be leading me down a dark alley.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for You are with me.
What am I doing walking through the valley of the shadow of death? I thought I was supposed to be lying down in green pastures. Did you take a wrong turn, or what? And you call yourself a Shepherd?

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
To tell you the truth, a rod and staff are not my idea of comfort. A rod and reel, I’ll take. A back massage would be even better. Skip the rod and staff.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
Great. Out of all the restaurants in the world, you choose the one where my enemies like to eat. I’m sure I’ll relish every bite of that meal.

You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.
I don’t want any oil on my head. I prefer shampoo. And for goodness sake, can’t you stop pouring before my cup overflows? What kind of waiter are you anyway? How would you like to have hot coffee spilled all over your hand?

Surely goodness and loving-kindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
I don’t want to be confined to a house forever. That sounds like a prison. It might be nice to step outside once every thousand years or so. I never will understand why so many people love the Twenty-third Psalm.
(Kent Crockett, Slaying Your Giants, Hendrickson Publishers, 2013, pp. 116-117) 
Watch this NEW VIDEO on The Antichrist.”  He will be a world ruler who will control all buying and selling by making everyone receive a mark on their right hand or forehead.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Drawing a Boundary Line

FACT: Some relationships will put you in bondage. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to keep this from happening. You probably know of a spiritually unhealthy and bossy individual who is uncomfortable to be around. This person acts authoritatively and might pose as a leader, but is actually a “controller” who is driven to make everyone do what he or she says.

These arrogant people won’t take anyone else’s advice because in their minds they always know what’s best. They manipulate others through intimidation, fear tactics, and mind-control. Those who live under their thumb are afraid to do or say anything that will upset them. You know that you’re under their control if you find yourself walking on eggshells whenever you are around them.

It takes tremendous courage to stand up to a domineering person and not be intimidated. God says, “Do not fear their intimidation” (1 Pet. 3:14). The Holy Spirit doesn’t use intimidation and pressure to guide His people. Drawing a boundary line will keep dysfunctional people from taking control of you. Without any boundaries, abnormal people will use you and abuse you.

You may not be able to control what others do, but you can control what you allow others to do to you. You must draw a boundary line to keep the bullies out, but allow the friendly people in. Richard Innis says, “Healthy boundaries are to protect ourselves from toxic people, from controlling and manipulating people, con artists, abusive people, and those who want to use us for their own ends.”

When Paul was being pressured to conform to those with ulterior motives, he drew a boundary line and stood firm against them: “But it was because of the false brethren who have sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour” (Gal. 2:4-5).

Contrary to popular belief, God does not call you to be friends with everyone. In some cases, He wants you to stay away from them and even says, “Do not even eat with such a one” (1 Cor. 5:11). You can be friendly to everyone, but you must use wisdom in selecting your friends. Choose those who will encourage and build you up, not browbeat and intimidate you. Remember this important truth—God has called you to peace, not bondage (Gal. 5:13).  Making Life Count Ministries
Many CHURCHES AND SMALL GROUPS are studying Slaying Your Giants which includes a 20-Lesson Discussion Guide. It’s filled with interesting stories, humor, and practical advice about how to conquer 20 giants (fear, depression, discontentment, anger)

WATCH THIS UPLIFTING MUSIC VIDEO by Nicole C. Mullen "Holy Captivated"

The Sure Cure for Worry contains amazing true stories and gives indisputable proof that God is in control and He doesn’t want you to worry.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Hypocrisy of the Pharisees

A businessman’s office wall was covered with award plaques and framed documents. On the wall was a diploma from the Harvard Business School, a “National Salesman of the Year” award, and a letter from the President of the United States. A visitor was impressed by his honors and asked, “How did you manage to accomplish so much in such a short time?” “It really wasn’t that hard,” the man replied. “I have a sign-printing business.”

Hypocrisy is trying to impress others by pretending to be something that we’re not. Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites 14 times in the book of Matthew alone. They performed their religious duties “to be seen” by men (Matt. 6:1). “To be seen” in Greek is theathemai, which is where we get our word “theater.” Jesus was saying that a hypocrite is an actor who plays a role. The actors on the Greek stage performed in the theater to be seen by an audience. Their reward for their performance was the applause they received from the spectators.

The hypocritical Pharisees were merely religious actors, playing the role of a righteous person in the “theater” of street corners, synagogues, and the temple. They longed for the praise of men, which was the reason they performed so many righteous deeds in public. When they received compliments and applause from their admiring audience, Jesus said, “they have received their reward in full” (Matt. 6:2).

The Pharisees serve as a warning to not become actors, who do the right things but with the wrong motives. We are hypocrites if we say that we believe God’s Word but live in a way that doesn’t line up. The antidote for hypocrisy is to live with a “sincere heart” (Heb. 10:22) and “love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith” (1 Tim. 1:5). The apostle Paul told us there is only one audience we need to please: “For am I seeking the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ” (Gal. 1:10)

Check your heart. Keep doing what’s right, and do it to please God.

Have you read about the strange customs of the Pharisees? Click on Who were the Pharisees? Be sure to read the 26 Questions, which helps to identify Modern-Day Phariseeism.
Slaying Your Giants is filled with interesting stories, humor, and practical advice about how to conquer 20 giants (fear, depression, discontentment, self-image, anger, and more)

The Sure Cure for Worry contains amazing true stories and helps the reader see God is in control.