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Strife

The Bible has a lot to say about strife.  These are just a few verses that discuss strife and the causes of strife.  The first mention of strife is between Abraham’s herdsmen and Lot’s herdsmen.

Genesis 13:5-8 (ESV)

5 And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents,
6 so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together,
7 and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were dwelling in the land.
8 Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen.

Proverbs 10:12 (ESV) Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

Proverbs 13:10 (ESV) By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom.

Proverbs 15:18 (ESV) A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.

Proverbs 16:28 (ESV) A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.

Proverbs 23:29-30 (ESV)

29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?
30 Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine.

Proverbs 28:25 (ESV) A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.

Proverbs 29:22-23 (ESV)

22 A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.
23 One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.

Galatians 5:19-21 (ESV)

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,
21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.



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What Did Lot Do Wrong Here?

Genesis 13:10-11 (ESV)
10 And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the Lord  destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)
11 So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other.

What did Lot do wrong here?

Was it being selfish and taking the best Abraham offered like many accuse Lot of doing?



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An Abomination – John MacArthur

Previously in the post Where is Sodom? there was some discussion about abominations. Here is John MacArthur explaining abomination and what that includes.

Thus, homosexuality is viewed in Leviticus as morally equal to sins such as adultery, incest, and bestiality. As noted earlier, such sins are wrong in any age and in any culture, because they violate the design for marriage that God established at creation.

God’s utter hatred for homosexual behavior is brought home by the word “abomination,” which describes what God thinks of it, and any other violation of His intended plan for heterosexual marriage. The word occurs repeatedly in this context (Lev 18:22, 26, 27, 29, 30; 20:13) and is also “a term especially frequent in the Book of Deuteronomy, [which] refers to an act that is abhorrent or repugnant, such as idolatry and inappropriate worship of God (see Deut 7:25; 27:15; 17:10; 12:31; 18:9-14).”

In the same way that idolatry is a perpetual offense to God’s moral character, subject to His wrath and condemnation, so also is any perversion of His design for marriage.

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John MacArthur

So using this explanation divorce, adultery, idolatry, homosexuality, worshiping a false god, or even worshiping our own made up Jesus can be considered an abomination to the Lord.  We need to be careful to not think we ourselves have not committed an abomination to the Lord while labeling others as abominable in His sight.  Inappropriate worship of God can cover a huge area.



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Do You Sigh And Groan Over All the Abominations?

This is an interesting passage especially in light of the passage in 2 Peter 2:7-9.

Have you groaned and lamented to the Lord enough so that you are marked by the Lord?

Do you cry out for lost sinners?

Or are your tears for yourself and for your own?

When was the last time you cried out to the Lord for lost sinners?

Ezekiel 9:3-6 (ESV)

3 Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub on which it rested to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed in linen, who had the writing case at his waist.
4 And the Lord said to him, “Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.”
5 And to the others he said in my hearing, “Pass through the city after him, and strike. Your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity.
6 Kill old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one on whom is the mark. And begin at my sanctuary.” So they began with the elders who were before the house.

2 Peter 2:7-9 (ESV)

7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked
8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);
9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,

Psalms 119:136 (ESV) My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.


Matthew Henry Commentary

Ezekiel 9:1-4
Now observe, 1. The distinguishing character of this remnant that is to be saved. They are such as sigh and cry, sigh in themselves, as men in pain and distress, cry to God in prayer, as men in earnest, because of all the abominations that are committed in Jerusalem. It was not only the idolatries they were guilty of, but all their other enormities, that were abominations to God. These pious few had witnessed against those abominations and had done what they could in their places to suppress them; but, finding all their attempts for the reformation of manners fruitless, they sat down, and sighed, and cried, wept in secret, and complained to God, because of the dishonour done to his name by their wickedness and the ruin it was bringing upon their church and nation. Note, It is not enough that we do not delight in the sins of others, and that we have not fellowship with them, but we must mourn for them, and lay them to heart; we must grieve for that which we cannot help, as those that hate sin for its own sake, and have a tender concern for the souls of others, as David (Psalms 119:136), and Lot, who vexed his righteous soul with the wicked conversation of his neighbours. The abominations committed in Jerusalem are to be in a special manner lamented, because they are in a particular manner offensive to God. 2. The distinguishing care taken of them. Orders are given to find those all out that are of such a pious public spirit: “Go through the midst of the city in quest of them, and though they are ever so much dispersed, and ever so closely hid from the fury of their persecutors, yet see that you discover them, and set a mark upon their foreheads,” (1.) To signify that God owns them for his, and he will confess them another day. A work of grace in the soul is to God a mark upon the forehead, which he will acknowledge as his mark, and by which he knows those that are his.
(from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, PC Study Bible Formatted Electronic Database Copyright © 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All Rights reserved.)

While we can easily stand in judgment of the sinners in our midst, do you pray and lament for them?

If your salvation from judgment was dependent on your sighs, groans, prayers and tears for the lost and the glory of God, would you be saved?



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Things The Lord Hates

Just a few verses to ponder.  The point of these verses in Scripture is to show us how wicked we truly are, how Holy God is and how we need the salvation from the Lord.  We can never earn our way into Heaven.

Proverbs 6:16-19 (ESV)

16 There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

Proverbs 16:5 (ESV) Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.

Proverbs 8:13 (ESV) The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.

Psalms 97:10 (ESV) O you who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV)

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,
10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Galatians 5:19-21 (ESV)

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,
21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.



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Where Is Sodom?

What is Sodom referring to in Scripture?

I have found three different types of references to Sodom.

1) Sodom the City

Sodom, of course, in Scripture refers to a real place, a real city.

We are told the location of Sodom.

Genesis 10:19 (ESV) And the territory of the Canaanites extended from Sidon in the direction of Gerar as far as Gaza, and in the direction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha.

Then later Scripture tells us about the men of Sodom.

Genesis 13:13 (ESV) Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.

Then the judgment of the Lord is given due to Sodom’s sin.

Genesis 19:13 (ESV) For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”

Judgment came immediately and totally to Sodom.

Genesis 19:24-25 (ESV)

24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven.
25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.

Another reference throughout Scripture to Sodom is as a picture of sinful cities.

2) A Type of City

Sodom is a type of other cities who are taken over by sin and due to receive the judgment of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 29:22-28 (ESV)

22 And the next generation, your children who rise up after you, and the foreigner who comes from a far land, will say, when they see the afflictions of that land and the sicknesses with which the Lord has made it sick—
23 the whole land burned out with brimstone and salt, nothing sown and nothing growing, where no plant can sprout, an overthrow like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in his anger and wrath—
24 all the nations will say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land? What caused the heat of this great anger?’
25 Then people will say, ‘It is because they abandoned the covenant of the Lord, the God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt,
26 and went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they had not known and whom he had not allotted to them.
27 Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against this land, bringing upon it all the curses written in this book,
28 and the Lord uprooted them from their land in anger and fury and great wrath, and cast them into another land, as they are this day.’

Isaiah 1:9-10 (ESV)

9 If the Lord of hosts had not left us a few survivors, we should have been like Sodom, and become like Gomorrah.
10 Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah!

Zephaniah 2:9 (ESV) Therefore, as I live,” declares the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Moab shall become like Sodom, and the Ammonites like Gomorrah, a land possessed by nettles and salt pits, and a waste forever. The remnant of my people shall plunder them, and the survivors of my nation shall possess them.”

3) Spiritual Condition

Yet the most interesting reference to Sodom is spiritual.  The passage in Ezekiel 16 refers to Sodom both as Israel, particularly Jerusalem, and as a spiritual condition.  Reading the whole chapter would be helpful but here is a portion.

Ezekiel 16:46-51 (ESV)

46 And your elder sister is Samaria, who lived with her daughters to the north of you; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you, is Sodom with her daughters.
47 Not only did you walk in their ways and do according to their abominations; within a very little time you were more corrupt than they in all your ways.
48 As I live, declares the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done.
49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.
50 They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.
51 Samaria has not committed half your sins. You have committed more abominations than they, and have made your sisters appear righteous by all the abominations that you have committed.

The whole chapter in Ezekiel lists sin after sin of Israel.  In just the above portion abominations, corruption, pride, excess of food, prosperous ease, not aiding the poor and needy, and haughtiness are listed.  Most of these are referring to the sins of the heart.  Even though they are called Sodom there is no specific reference to homosexuality.  Does that mean homosexuality was not a problem?   Of course not.  But homosexuality is the outgrowth or the fruit of the sins of the heart.

Jerusalem is also a symbolically Sodom because of false prophets and because they crucified the Lord.

Jeremiah 23:14 (ESV) But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: they commit adultery and walk in lies; they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his evil; all of them have become like Sodom to me, and its inhabitants like Gomorrah.”

Revelation 11:7-8 (ESV)

7 And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them,
8 and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified.

Throughout Scripture we are given lists of the sins of our heart and flesh.

Matthew 15:18-20 (ESV)

18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.
19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.
20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

Galatians 5:19-21 (ESV)

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,
21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

When we relegate the sin of Sodom to just one particular sin, heinous though it may be.  We have missed the point.  Judgment will come to all whose hearts are defiled and are not turned to the Lord.  While one place may be characterized by homosexuality, another maybe characterized by murder, another by pride and striving and yet another by false teachers.

So if Sodom is everywhere and in our hearts.  Where do we flee?  We can’t flee from the cities because the country is just as sinful, maybe not as obvious, but sin does reign in the hearts of all mankind until the Lord calls them.  We can’t isolate ourselves in our homes because sin is there in our own hearts.

So how do we flee Sodom?

We flee to the Lord seeking His mercy and protection.  Otherwise we are still in Sodom.



Psalms 11:6 (ESV) Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
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Are You Raising Up Praise Worthy Fathers?

What your young men are today is very likely what they will be as Fathers. 

Are they selfish and self-centered?

Are they given to pleasure and shun work?

Are they impatient with others?

Do they listen to those in authority over them?

J.C. Ryle in Thoughts for Young Men

What young men will be, in all probability depends on what they are now, and they seem to forget this.

Youth is the planting time of full age, the molding season in the little space of human life, the turning point in the history of man’s mind.

By the shoot that springs up we can judge the type of tree that is growing, by the blossoms we judge the kind of fruit, by the spring we judge the type of harvest coming, by the morning we judge the coming day, and by the character of the young man, we may generally judge what he will be when he grows up.

Young men, do not be deceived. Don’t think you can, at will, serve lusts and pleasures in your beginning, and then go and serve God with ease at your latter end. Don’t think that you can live with Esau, and then die with Jacob. It is a mockery to deal with God and your souls in such a fashion. It is an awful mockery to suppose you can give the flower of your strength to the world and the devil, and then put off the King of kings with the scraps and remains of your hearts, the wreck and remnant of your powers. It is an awful mockery, and you may find to your loss that the thing cannot be done.

I dare say you are planning on a late repentance. You do not know what you are doing. You are planning without God. Repentance and faith are the gifts of God, and they are gifts that He often withholds, when they have been long offered in vain. I grant you true repentance is never too late, but I warn you at the same time, late repentance is seldom true. I grant you, one penitent thief was converted in his last hours, that no man might despair; But I warn you, only one was converted, that no man might presume. I grant you it is written, Jesus is “Able to save completely those who come to God through him” (Hebrews 7:25). But I warn you, it is also written by the same Spirit, “Since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand, I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you” (Proverbs 1:24, 26).

Believe me, you will find it no easy matter to turn to God whenever you please. It is a true saying of the godly Leighton, “The way of sin is down hill; a man cannot stop when he wants too.” Holy desires and serious convictions are not like the servants of the Centurion, ready to come and go at your desire; rather they are like the unicorn in Job, they will not obey your voice, nor attend at your bidding. It was said of the famous general Hannibal of old, when he could have taken the city he warred against, he would not, and in time when he would, he could not. Beware lest the same kind of thing happens to you in the matter of eternal life.

Why do I say all this? I say it because of the force of habit. I say it because experience tells me that people’s hearts are seldom changed if they are not changed when young. Seldom indeed are men converted when they are old. Habits have deep roots. Once sin is allowed to settle in your heart, it will not be turned out at your bidding. Custom becomes second nature, and its chains are not easily broken. The prophet has well said, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil” (Jeremiah 13:23). Habits are like stones rolling down hill–the further they roll, the faster and more ungovernable is their course. Habits, like trees, are strengthened by age.  A boy may bend an oak when it is a sapling–a hundred men cannot root it up, when it is a full grown tree. A child can wade over the Thames River at its fountain-head–the largest ship in the world can float in it when it gets near the sea. So it is with habits: the older the stronger–the longer they have held possession, the harder they will be to cast out. They grow with our growth, and strengthen with our strength. Custom is the nurse of sin. Every fresh act of sin lessens fear and remorse, hardens our hearts, blunts the edge of our conscience, and increases our evil inclination.

Young men, you may fancy I am laying too much stress on this point. If you had seen old men, as I have, on the brink of the grave, without any feelings, seared, callous, dead, cold, hard as stone–you would not think so. Believe me, you cannot stand still in your souls. Habits of good or evil are daily strengthening in your hearts. Every day you are either getting nearer to God, or further off. Every year that you continue unrepentant, the wall of division between you and heaven becomes higher and thicker, and the gulf to be crossed deeper and broader. Oh, dread the hardening effect of constant lingering in sin! Now is the accepted time. See that your decision not be put off until the winter of your days. If you do not seek the Lord when young, the strength of habit is such that you will probably never seek Him at all.


What habits have we let develop that will be a detriment to our sons in their Fatherhood and soul later in life?



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Who Are You Quoting & Why?

This weekend I had the opportunity to listen to a couple of speakers at a church nearby.  As is to be expected with our family we all carried our Bibles and I was prepared to take notes like I usually do.  But the first night I didn’t make any notes nor did I ever have a verse to turn to.  But that was the introduction, the meat would come later, right?  Now I must admit that there were a few tidbits of interesting information but nothing new, nothing that was a new idea or thought to me.

Then Saturday comes in which I’m optimistic that there will be some Biblical truths and treasures to glean, even if I wasn’t as optimistic as on Friday.  But honestly until one of the last sessions there was no need to even open my Bible.  Now granted there were a few verses quoted but not something that needed to be turned to.  I expected a Biblical Conference to be … well you know … Biblical?

Now don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the people and the families we met and the between the sessions fellowship was great.  But I left feeling quite disappointed and honestly as if I had wasted my time.  We have very few Saturdays free from activities and this could have been one of them.  The facts and information presented might would have been useful for the average church member who attends church on Sunday AM, sends the children to daycare and public school while voting for “Change, change.”  But as most present were longtime homeschooling families the information wasn’t new but especially it wasn’t based purely on Scripture.  That is my biggest and most serious concern.

I can’t begin to tell you how many quotes, excerpts and expressions where given from a particular couple of individuals.  The ________ said this about this subject.  __________ predicted this decades ago.  Everything has developed just like _______ said it was going to.  _______, __________, __________, …..  The reason I’m not naming names is because it really doesn’t matter whose name is there.  The point is the focus on an individual and what they said, an unbalanced focus without the accompanying negatives. 

It doesn’t really matter if they are quoting Spurgeon, Calvin, Wesley, Warren, Pearl or Hinn, once someone is so focused on quoting one individual to the seeming exclusion of others there is a major problem.  The only time such a focus on quoting an individual should occur is when you are giving a biography of a particular person.  But any good biography covers both the good and the bad; the truth and the error in a person’s life.  But what happened this weekend wasn’t biographical, it was honestly more easily idolatry of a particular person’s writings.  I know that sounds harsh, but honestly when there are more quotes from __________ than from Scripture, what have you got but idolatry?

See it doesn’t even matter how accurate a particular individual is when he speaks, no man (or woman) alive or dead is more accurate and worthy of quoting more than Scripture.  This is an issue that even obviously committed Christians easily fall into.  I’ve heard / read many individuals who are constantly saying “But Calvin says in his Institutes…”, “Spurgeon taught that ….” or “____________ said ….”.

This is a serious problem that often is unnoticed by the individual doing it.  Just as sometimes you don’t realize how you say “Uh” every couple of words when speaking until you hear a recording, often people don’t realize when a respected figure has moved from respected to idolized.



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The Problem

This quote has been attributed to many so I can’t give the original source. But is it accurate?

The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart.

I think so.

Matthew 15:18-20 (ESV)
18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.
19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.
20  These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

Proverbs 4:23 (ESV) Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.



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Economy and Haggai

The book of Haggai is God’s rebuke to the Israelites for focusing on themselves, their pleasure and their houses while ignoring the House of the Lord, His Temple.

Believers today are the Temple of the Lord.

Ephesians 2:19-22 (ESV)
19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
20  built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,
21  in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.
22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (ESV)
16  Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

We believers in America seem to have allowed the Temple, our bodies and the Church, to become run down and defiled with sin.  The Lord will rebuke and punish us for doing so.  Does it not appear that our wages are put into a bag with holes in it?  Maybe the Lord is blowing away our wages for having the wrong focus.

Haggai 1:6 (ESV)  You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.

Haggai 1:9 (ESV)  You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away.

Something to ponder upon. 



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