Sand Well

Sandwell Priory CC BY SA 2.0
Isaac dug out again the wells that were dug during the lifetime of his father Abraham. The Philistines had closed them up after Abraham’s death. Isaac gave them the same names his father had given them. Isaac’s servants dug wells in the valley and found a well there with fresh water.
-Genesis 26:18-19

Water gives life and we can not have life without water.  We take our water for granted most of the time, but to get the water is hard work, and that is part of why we get a water bill each moth.

Some people still have wells that they depend on and must maintain.  One thing that happens to wells is sand in the well water.  It must be filtered or the faucets and appliances get clogged and the water will not flow.  

Imagine that you had a well on your property that stopped flowing so long ago that you even forgot that it was there.  Perhaps it stopped flowing during your father's lifetime, when you were little, and buying water from others is the only life you have known.  You now have a water pipe from your local municipality, that you pay for, to get your water, and you sometimes buy bottled water at the store.

Imagine that, not only are you paying for water, but the well water on your property has minerals in it that are very beneficial to anyone that drinks it.  Everything encourages you to look the other way and not remember that the well, your well, your family's well is there; in your back yard.

Now, keep this picture of wells in your mind and think about the idea of inheritance.  God invented it.  We each have one and our families have them, as well as the tribes we belong to.  There is inheritance to be procured on all those levels.  There is gold in them there hills.

Much of our inheritances have been lost, stolen, or hidden; for many reasons.  God wants us to find our inheritances.  That is the green light.  All we have to do is some action.  Our actions are seeking and searching.  If you find something, it is because you searched, you went out and looked for it.  You searched because you desired what you wanted to find.

We have to get it that there is more, from God, and then seek it.  We might seek the well of God's inheritance and find it.  We might also have to clean out a well that we find.  We might have to guard that well from the enemy.

Children Shouting "Hosanna!"

Christ's Entry into Jerusalem by Bernard Plockhorst CC BY 2.0
People who were blind and lame came to Jesus in the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and legal experts saw the amazing things he was doing and the children shouting in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”, they were angry.
-Matthew 21:14-15

We used to sing a song, when I was a teenager, that went,
"Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the king of kings".  
I learned that hosanna means, "Lord save!"

In this scene, Jesus is healing people, in the temple.  The religious rulers and scholars are watching Jesus healing and children shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David".  They are angry.

The most popular title for Messiah was Son of David (1).  We say, "Jesus Christ".  Christ means Messiah.  Christ and Messiah both mean the Anointed One or God's Anointed King, who has come to save his people.  Everyone believed, based on the scriptures, that God's Anointed One (Messiah & Christ) would be the Son of David; that is, come from David's line (2).

Why are these guys angry?  I always thought they were ticked off because Jesus obviously, to them, was not Messiah; and not God's anointed one.  So, they reasoned, he should shush the children.

We have a picture of blind and lame people flocking to Jesus and he heals them.  The children's worship gives us commentary on what is seen.  God is saving by healing.  God's Messiah is here!

Salvation is not just a future place in heaven, but a changed life now.  The gospel is so powerful that it not only gains your place in heaven, but heals your life now.  It is actually easier to heal the lame than to forgive sin!. Some people have it backwards!

He forgives your sin and heals your diseases (Ps. 103:3).  Just because we have trouble getting healed does not mean God does not heal.  Whatever the ages of the blind and lame people that came to Jesus on that day, they had probably suffered a long time.  When they heard that Jesus was in town, they made their way to him, and he healed them.

The anger at seeing people healed and hearing children praise God is beyond the pale.  It shows a religious pride that is not true religion, but human control, out of touch with God.  They had more faith in themselves than in God.  They had a problem with the healing, the praise of Jesus as Messiah, and/or the proclamation coming from children.

Those who think that children can't be saved, can't know God, and can't know truth have got it backwards.  Actually God does the saving and God does the revealing.  We don't work up to it, but we kneel down into it.  Salvation and saving faith is easier for children than adults.  We get saved in our hearts and children have more open, soft hearts.

Listen to Jesus' words in Matthew 11:
At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you’ve hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have shown them to babies.  Indeed, Father, this brings you happiness.

“My Father has handed all things over to me. No one knows the Son except the Father. And nobody knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wants to reveal him.

It was very natural for the children to be spiritually aware that Jesus was the one.  Even though our children are immature psychologically and developmentally, do you imagine that their spirits are dumbed down?  Children can have spiritual interaction with God, just like adults, only it is easier for them, because they don't have all the junk in the way that adults do.

1. Barclay, Mark; p. 297
2. Isaiah 9:2-7, 11:1-9, Jeremiah 23:5 ff, 33:14-18, Ezekiel 34:23 ff, 37:24, Psalm 89:20 ff.

Sky Links, 1-20-14

Photo: Spacebridge by longobord CC 2.0
Firemen Correct Man Who Says Fire Is Not Real

You may have heard about a controversial book called Strange Fire?  Pneuma Review has a post with links to responses to Strange Fire by John MacArthur.  It is one thing to not understand Pentacostal/Chrismatic/Third Wave people, but it is another thing to say that Satan is the author the P/C/TW movements.  Here is the post to links of 21 leader's reactions to the SF book.  


I really did not know that there are christian people who believe that Jesus words before his resurrection do not apply to Christians today.  Frank Viola spoke about this in his latest podcast  on what he calls the Hyper Grace movement.

Marriage Compatibility & Personal Entitlement

Are you and your wife or husband compatible?  Out of the gate, many couples are not, or think they are, but really are not.  There might be an illusion of perfect compatibility.  When the haze lifts, you have someone before you that is completely different, who you will have to work hard to maintain relationship with.  Dave Black wrote these words recently:
The problem is when we allow our relational needs to assume greater priority than simply doing what God wants and tells us to do. I am unconditionally opposed to any line of thinking that undermines the concept of personal responsibility in marriage, but I also oppose the notion that following Christ guarantees a life of satisfying emotions and fulfilling experiences. So you're not "compatible." So what? Love each other any way.
I love that line in the movie Rear Window where the wise old nurse says to Jimmy Stewart, "For 30 years my husband and I have been two incompatible misfits, and we are still madly in love with each other." Marriages (especially in America) spend a disproportionate amount of effort on seeking self-fulfillment.
Dave's complete post on working with troubled marriages is here (AM, Jan. 9th).

Allison Vesterfelt wrote, How 20-Something Entitlement Almost Ruined My Marriage:
Our first year of marriage was really hard.

In one sense, you might have looked at our first year of marriage and wondered how we couldn’t have been blissfully happy.

We were living on the twenty-first floor of a beautiful condo building overlooking the ocean in sunny south Florida. Our wall-sized sliding glass doors opened to a balcony where we could watch the sunrise every morning. Any time we wanted, we could wander downstairs with coffee and books—to our private beach—and dig our toes into the sand. 
But there were also a few outside circumstances that made our otherwise luxurious surroundings less-than-comfortable.
The rest of Allison's piece is here.

The Gap Between The Church in The NT & What We Call Church

In this video of a talk by Francis Chan, called If Jesus Was The Pastor of Your Church, You Probably Wouldn't Go There; Francis talks about coming to grips with Jesus' call to discipleship: that it is all or nothing.  He spoke from Luke 14:
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus. Turning to them, he said,  “Whoever comes to me and doesn’t hate father and mother, spouse and children, and brothers and sisters—yes, even one’s own life—cannot be my disciple.  Whoever doesn’t carry their own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
“If one of you wanted to build a tower, wouldn’t you first sit down and calculate the cost, to determine whether you have enough money to complete it?  Otherwise, when you have laid the foundation but couldn’t finish the tower, all who see it will begin to belittle you. They will say, ‘Here’s the person who began construction and couldn’t complete it!’...  
“Salt is good. But if salt loses its flavor, how will it become salty again?  It has no value, neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. People throw it away. Whoever has ears to hear should pay attention.”
The YouTube video is rated 'mature', perhaps because the word 'manure' is spoken by Francis.  Don't let that stop you from watching.

Making Disciples Who make Disciples, Caring For The Least of These, and Church As Extended Family.

Molong Nacua wrote some more about his journey to find out how to be obedient to Jesus today, in
House2House Questionaire:
I know how to evangelize and do crusades, start churches and to preach, start a band and do concerts at mall, do discipleship ‘classes’ and sunday schools BUT I do not know HOW to make disciples that makes disciples.
One insight that Molong shares is to treat people in the church as you would treat extended family:
It is important to “treat” each other’s members as part of your extended family. If someone is at fault or there’s a need of correction and rebuking I always ask myself, “What if he is my own brother/sister how should I talk to him/her?” I normally ended up not talking to the person unless I know exactly what to say, when to say, where to say and how to say it. At times, I wish I had a duct tape on my mouth. “He who manage well of his own children can manage the household of God.” This is what Paul says to his ”son in the faith” Timothy. Being the church is being family to each other. Now, that’s a lot of relationships in there.
Molong shares about family-based rather than meeting-based church life:
Because it’s a family-based relationships and not just meeting-based relationships, we don’t do meetings we just meet a lot as any normal healthy families do. We don’t “attend” a family, we are family. We live the Life of Jesus Together in the community in a daily basis (Hebrews 3:13) thus meetings is only a by-product of our lives being knit-together. As one of my fathers in the Lord Mike Peters would say, “A family that you “attend” is not a family, it is an orphanage. People in the orphanage may do-things-together, eat together or play together yet it is still an orphanage, not a family.”
The rest of his post is here.

Are You A Controller?
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
This always fascinated me.  I remember being drawn to the wisdom that the prayer imparts, but not getting it.  I am still learning this.

Don Miller wrote his thoughts about controllers in a piece called, How To Know if You're a Controlling Person:
I realized I was a controlling person not long ago when a therapist caught me in the act. I was wondering out loud why a friend was doing what she was doing and the thearpist questioned why I was trying to get inside somebody else’s head.

“What does it matter why people do what they do? Are you trying to predict behavior to gain a sense of security?”

It was a terrific observation. Trying to figure out why people are doing what they are doing is a preface to trying to control or influence them indirectly. If I really wanted to know why they were doing what they were doing, I could just ask. But I didn’t want to ask because it was none of my business. They had a right to think and do as they wished.

This is the Serenity Prayer, quoted by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971), as he remembers it, originally; in The Essential Reinhold Neibuhr, p 251
God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

I Want It That Way or Be Thou My Vision

There is a path that may seem straight to someone, but in the end it is a path to death.
-Proverbs 14:12

I was looking at a popular song from 1999, called "I Want It That Way", that has a chorus that cries out, "tell me why?"

The song starts out with desire that sounds like the Song of Songs, in the Bible.
You are my fire
The one desire
Believe when I say
I want it that way
I read a book by CS Lewis, when I was in college and starting to struggle with this idea of romantic love, called The Four Loves.  Those 4 loves are affection, friendship, eros, and charity.  We need all four of these.  Charity is the hardest one, which has to do with unselfishness and sacrifice.
Tell me why
Ain't nothin' but a heartache
Tell me why
Ain't nothin' but a mistake
Tell me why
I never wanna hear you say
I want it that way
Maybe the reason why songs like this are so popular is that the experience of desire, love, and heartbreak are universal.  You want someone.  That is fine and normal.  But do they want you?

Unrequited love is stuck on 'why?'  There may be a hundred reasons you will never know and the reasons may have nothing to do with you.  The person stuck on why is refusing to move on, grow, bury it, grieve it, and is stuck on selfishness.

'Why' questions are the wrong questions.  The 'what' is that you are lovable and somebody else loves you.  The answer to 'why' questions are not available to you, even from God.  Perhaps, part of the reason is that God does not want us looking backwards.  As the philosopher/theologian Kierkegaard said, we do understand our lives by looking back; but we don't get 'why' questions answered.

The 'what' answer is that God has a unique destiny for you.  The 'what' answer is that God loves you.  Those are the answers that give us life and move us forward with meaning.

There are stages of grief, that don't necessarily run logically, in order; and part of that is being upset and saying, "why?"  The answer is not to, "just get over it".  The answer is to grieve it, let it go; and letting it go is a process.  The healing process involves letting go and holding on.

What about falling in love?  If you start to explore charity love, you will find real love that is reciprocal.  Love without charity is selfish.  That love wants what it wants and sees the object of it's love as an object.  We objectify people.

Objects are like pictures or statues.  We posses them.  Selfish love treats people like objects.  Unselfish love, love tempered with charity or agape, treats people as people.  People decide, people have personalities, and real people can love you back how they decide to.

Something to think about is, are you seeing that person you want as a person or an object.  We go after, desire, and consume objects.  But we discover, listen to, invite, make a space for, and become acquainted with a person.

When I was pondering this song, I noticed that the tune had similarities to the old hymn. 'Be Thou My Vision'.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
This song is about having God, in Christ, be the center of your life.  Make Christ the love of your life and then find the person who you will marry.  Pretty simple.

Bad Fruit, No Fruit, Firewood Thee

Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.
-Matthew 7:19

What did Jesus mean when he said this?  The immediate context, was that he was talking about false prophets, and the larger context was the sermon on the mount.  The sermon on the mount is Jesus talking about how his disciple lives.  It is all about ethics.  Christian ethics are summed up in loving God with everything within you and loving your neighbor as your self.

False prophets are, in a word, unethical.  How do you identify one?  By their bad fruit.  That bad fruit is what they do or don't do.  The hallmark or the unethical person or the false prophet is that they say one thing and do another.  What they do is what we see and tells us what they are.  They can talk all day and charm us, but what they do is their fruit.  False prophets are also pretentious.  They are frauds and posers.

But, when Jesus talks about cutting down the tree,
“It is not merely the wicked, the bearer of poison berries, that will be cut down; but the neutral, the man who bears no fruit of positive virtue must also be cast into the fire.” (Spurgeon)

"Interestingly, Jesus does not speak of what the tree does, but of what it does not do: in the last resort it is not the tree that actively bears bad fruit that is condemned, but one that fails to produce good fruit" [Morris, 178].
 So, failing to do the right thing, is sin.  Not producing fruit means a useless tree that gets destroyed.  God does not seem to care that you know stuff, that you think stuff, even that you dream stuff.  It is what you do that counts.  And not doing anything counts against you.

There is faith and there is unbelief.  Faith does things, unbelief does sinful things or does nothing.  There is no such thing as do-nothing faith.  That is a harsh reality.  You don't usually get paid for doing nothing and faith without works is dead.

You might be thinking, "but what about my deep roots or strong branches?"  The truth is that it's the fruit that counts.  Jesus said that.  Fruit comes from roots.  What's the fruit or where's the fruit?

Thinking good thoughts is good.  Being prayerful is good.  Listening is good.  Imagining is also good.  But what is that all producing?  Show me what you've got.  Cards on the table.  Show and tell time.  Let me taste what you've produced.  What do you serve to hungry people- metaphorically?

God and people are looking for our fruit.  What do you produce?  Just as we are evaluated in the marketplace by what we do, we are also evaluated by God for what we do.  What you produce is what matters to people and to God.  So, what are you producing?

Spurgeon, Exposition of Matthew, Chapter 7
Morris, Matthew, p. 178

It Will Cost You Everything

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure that somebody hid in a field, which someone else found and covered up. Full of joy, the finder sold everything and bought that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls.  When he found one very precious pearl, he went and sold all that he owned and bought it.
-Matthew 13:44-6

These two stories paint the picture of people who give up everything when they find something.  That something for us is the kingdom of heaven, which is the rule and reign of God in our lives.  When we find the kingdom of heaven, it is only natural to give up everything for it.  It costs us all, but we get to be fully under the care of the King.

To be the King's subjects, it will cost us everything.  That is the cost, everything.  It is not a fee or a percentage, like a membership or add-on.  And it is not like a new full-time job.  It is a new life.

After being a Christian for years or decades, God will come calling, and ask us to give up everything again.  Do you want the pearl?  Do you want the treasure?  Then it will cost you everything.  This call from God is not just for new believers. 

The King can come at any time and ask you to give up everything, and why wouldn't you, if you could see what he offers.

These parables are not about salvation, because the cost of salvation is faith.  To enter the kingdom, it only takes faith.  There is no self sacrifice.  You enter the kingdom and get salvation with all your problems.  Like the song says you, "come just as you are".  You don't have to get cleaned up.  When you enter the kingdom, you begin a relationship with the cleaner upper.

These parables are about finding the kingdom.  The kingdom will cost you everything.

If you are unwilling to pay the cost, you can still be a Christian, but you will be missing God's best for you.

It is interesting that the treasure and the pearl are hidden.  Only the man looking for them finds them.  They are not in plain sight to all.  When Jesus was born, the wise men sought him out and found him.

God has an inheritance in the kingdom, for every Christian.  To obtain it, there is a cost, and maybe some excavation will be involved.  But it is worth it. 

There in and irony that in the liminal place where Christians and the kingdom meet, that there would be the Christian who would refuse the kingdom or refuse their inheritance.  There was no question for the men in the parables about selling everything to get the field with the treasure or to buy the pearl.  It was a no brainer, a good deal, in fact; a steal.  They decisively went for it.

So, why would any Christian today, hesitate to surrender their whole lives, give up everything to follow Jesus?  This is what Dallas Willard wrote about this in, The Divine Conspiracy, p. 293:
And one of the things that has obstructed the path to discipleship in our Christian culture today is the idea that it will be terribly difficult thing that will certainly ruin your life.  A typical and often-told story in Christian circles is of those who have refused to surrender their lives to God for fear he would "send them to Africa as missionaries."
   And here is the whole point of the much misunderstood teaching of Luke 14.  There Jesus famously says one must "hate" all their family members and their own life also, must take up their cross, and must forsake all they own, or they "cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26-27, 33).  The entire point of this passage is that if one thinks anything may really be more valuable than fellowship with Jesus in his kingdom, one cannot learn from him.
If we don't have an epiphany and get it, if we don't see the priceless value of Jesus, of the invitation to walk with him; then we can not understand him and learn from him.  If we do see and get it, then we will be like the men in these parables and decisively sell all for the treasure filled field or the priceless pearl.  When we are afraid he will send us to Africa, China, or the inner city; we simply don't see, we don't get it, and we are not able to count the cost.  We need a moment us clarity: "open the eyes of my heart, I want to see you".

Jesus will show you your inheritance that you will gladly give up everything for, if you will just ask him to.  God will give you the grace to see and to decisively act.

Act Like Men

Act like men.
Be brave.
Be courageous.
-1 Corinthians 16:13b (ESV/NASB, CEB/NKJV, NIV/NLT)

Being a man has been misunderstood in our time.  It is almost a lost art.  We got a revelation of the Fatherhood of God, but what we missed was that God wants to take boys and make them into men.  God also wants to take adult boys and make them into men.

There is a time to be held at God's bosom, singing, "Father, I want you to hold me...".  After all, Jesus told us that we have to become like children to see the kingdom of God.  But, there is a difference between child-like and childish.  Men must give up childish things and act like men.

Bravery and courage are two of the attributes of godly manhood.  Women are by nature, nurturers, and men, not as much and not meant to be.

When we sang, "Father, I want you to hold me", we were asking God to nurture us.  God is not a man, nor a woman, but he is Father.  Man and woman were made in God's image.  The manly aspects and womanly aspects both come from God, who is Father.  In that song, we are really asking God to mother us with healing nurture.  We need it.  It is authentic.  But, God training you to be a man is something more and something different.  It is about bravery and courage.

Consider David, in the Old Testament.  He is a man's man.  He was the man after God's own heart.  His life was all about intimacy with God.  He wrote songs just like the one I've been quoting.  But David was also a warrior and he knew God also as warrior king.  

Consider Paul.  Paul wrote the love chapter, he wrote about the fruit of the Spirit, and he also wrote, :act like men", and "I put away childish things".  Who was the love of Paul's life?  Jesus Christ.  What was Paul's constant companion?  Suffering.

When you are called to be a man, you must be courageous and brave.  Why?  Because that is what you need to face suffering.  Actually, every famous man in the Bible has one thing in common.  They suffered.  

Men endure suffering.  Men lead their families through suffering.  Men stand in suffering. 
God makes a man out of you through suffering.  It has always been the way of Christ.

Machismo and misogyny are perversions of manhood.  It is not a choice between that and being effeminate.  The godly man is strong and gentle.  He might bump you, because he is not a soft woman; but he is gracious and has got real love.  Manly love is sacrificial.  It is taking a bullet for those you love.  It's risking your life to save others.  It's the "no one left behind motto".

Jason: Welcomed Paul Into His Home

What is more, Jason has welcomed them into his home. Every one of them does what is contrary to Caesar’s decrees by naming someone else as king: Jesus.”

Timothy my coworker says hello to you, and Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my relatives. 
-Acts 17:7, Romans 16:21

The man Jason was a Thessalonian.  Jason is the name that Hellenistic Jews used for Jesus or Joshua and it means "to heal", or "one who will heal".  The transliteration of Jason in Greek is Iason.  What we know about Jason, is that he welcomed Paul and Paul's coworkers into his house.  Jason took Paul's welfare under his responsibility.

Paul stayed with Jason for the three weeks while he was in Thessalonica.   The new church there would later receive the two letters that we have in the New Testament.  When a riot was stirred up by those who were upset by this new work, the rioters came looking for Paul and company at Jason's house.  Not finding Paul, the thugs dragged Jason and others before the city officials to accuse them.

Jason had to post bail to be released.  So, Jason not only housed and fed Paul, and gave him a secure place to sleep; but Jason also was dragged to court over God's work through Paul and had to pay bail to be released for something that was not his nor Paul's fault.

Jason welcomed Paul and his associates into his home.  Jason became like a person of peace.  Jason gave Paul a base.  The gospel comes to it's hearers with power in the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 1:5), but the people bringing it are human. 

When Jesus trained the first disciples in how to do missions trips, part of the plan or way was to find a person of peace, who would receive them (Luke 10:5-9).  Some examples are Cornelius (Acts 10), Lydia (Acts 16), the jailer (Acts 16), Aquila & Priscilla (Acts 18), Justus (Acts 18). A concise teaching on Persons of Peace, by Tom Wolf is here.

What Jason did for Paul was just like what Martha and Mary did for Jesus (Luke 10:38) at Jesus' favorite place, Bethany.  What Jason did for Paul was also like what Zaccheus did for Jesus, when he welcomed him into his home (Luke 19:6).  What Jason did for Paul was also like what Rahah did for the spies, whom she sheltered in her Jericho flat (James 2:25).

Without the hospitality given, we would not have any of these stories and the propulsion forward of the gospel or salvation history.  Missions, church growth, and apostolic & kingdom activity does not work without hospitality.  

Five to ten years later, Jason was probably with Paul in Corinth (Romans 16:21).

What Are You Living From?

But these other people’s deeds?  I have avoided such violent ways by the command from your lips.
-Psalm 17:4

One question for the Christian is how to live in the world.  How then, shall we live? There are two ways of life in the world.  One is living from God and the other is to live from your self.  People living from God may struggle to, "do so", and be on a journey of learning, "how to", and that is good.

In the other camp, there are is variety of ways that people don't live from God.  Some purely serve their self, while others serve other gods, and there are those who pretend to serve the real God, but are fakers.  It is worth remembering that it was the (most) religious people who wanted Jesus dead.

The two ways of life in the world are the violent ways and the ways of God's word.  Every young person has to learn to walk in the way of God's word.  The violent way says that, "the ends justify the means", "get all you can and can all you can get", and "you deserve it".

These three ways of violence are ways of pure selfishness or robbery.  The word violence means destruction or robbery.  When we do violence, we destroy or rob others.  There is much violence in word and deed in the world today.

The way of, "the ends justifies the means", stands in opposition to the ways of God.  Doing wrong to do right is not God's way.  You cannot cheat to get righteousness.  The way of the world is to compromise or be expedient, "for the greater good".  That is not the way of God's word.  Follow God's word and not the violent way.

The violent way that says, "get all you can, for your self", is not the way of God's word.  The way of God's word is to earn all you can, and to give away all you can, while saving all you can; as John Wesley was fond of saying.  Our appetites are to be disciplined.  Our souls are to first seek God, to first give to God; and then satisfaction will ensue.

The way of violence is the way of, "you deserve it", the way of narcissism.  There were two popular self-help books, I noticed lots of my peers reading, in high school, that gave me pause, even in my young mind: "Looking Out For #1", and "Winning Through Intimidation".  I knew that these ideas went counter to what I had learned as a Christian, in church my whole life.

These selfish, narcissistic, human-centered ideas were violent robbery of others.  There is the violent way of success in life where you grab and take and force.  In stark contrast, there is God's way, expressed in God's word.  "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being and with all your mind",  (Deut. 6:5 & Matt. 22:37).  Secondly, "love your neighbor as you love yourself", (Lev. 19:18 & Matt. 22:39).  That is the summation of living by the word of God that the psalmist has in mind, from Jesus.

The advice from the psalmist who was inspired to write these words, is to avoid the violent ways of the world by living by God's word.  We know that God's word is a person who is Jesus Christ.  We live by and through Christ, his words and his life; and it is a cross walk, his cross and mine.