“Come and Die”

As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
Luke 9:57-58 (ESV)

Men look for their own sense of purpose; but God wants to take His own beyond this into walking in the lively substance of He who is the very purpose. Your hopes of success or earthly blessing will not get you through the onslaught of the Devil when he with heaven’s approval tears all your hopes and dreams into pieces. And then, poor soul, what will you do? How long will you shake your fist at God? Not even the prospect of the grave shall give you solace thereafter, though you wished it would; for you have dug it far too shallow.

“But though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies.” (Lam 3:32) To be raised up most fully into the heavens, you must pass most fully through the blackness of death itself. The cross’s work is not finished until it finishes you. You must be crucified into the Life which is deeper than a mere sense of your own purpose. You must walk through hell’s onslaught, through the terrors of death itself; holding fast your flame before the cold black stare of Satan’s nothingness. Your sense of purpose is only as good as your ability to keep it; but if you would go to deeper and higher places with God, His depths and heights will demand of you its demise: for the kingdom of God is where men and their own aspirations go to die.

And He said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.
Luke 9:23-24 (ESV)

God in Christ brings us into His purpose by bringing us beyond ourselves – if only we will allow His death to be ours in this life daily; so that His very Life might reign in us, and consequently, we in His Life. God Himself must become our only means to His only ends; our only vision and our only Hope beyond hope. If you have another plan, may God shatter it beyond repair! O, let nothing be of any use to us but the keeping of the presence of God with us! It costs absolutely everything else; but there is no other way. Only then are we no longer entrapped in this world by the selfishness of seeking our own things; only then are we sufficiently broken vessels to pour forth the sweet aroma of Christ’s work for the glory of God alone.

Obedience to God as the means of finding our own sense of purpose is idolatry. His ministration will not be mocked even by what men call “ministries.” But obedience to God because He is worthy is its own reward to the humble; for it is the power of God moving within a man beyond that man’s capabilities, and it is the Spirit of God unhindered even by a man’s most seemingly pious desires. It is the legacy of those who have counted all as loss; it is the result of men reaching the end of their own rope, and finally letting go.

There is nothing more embittering than the anguish of defeat and loss without purpose. But there is nothing sweeter to the soul than the continual repentance whose heavenly joy is birthed by God’s own hand through said anguish; which finds strength beyond strength in the admittance of defeat; whose purpose is wrapped up in the mystery of Godliness at the willing loss of all else.

Let this mind be in us, which was also in Christ Jesus.

For Thine Is The Kingdom – Part 3

Part 2 can be read HERE
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THE CITY OF GOD IS OUR CALLING
“My kingdom is not of this world.” – Jn 18:36



“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
Matthew 6:10

This prayer does not request mixture, it rather acknowledges contrast. What great perversion is wrought by men concerning these words of the Lord! For they postulate that the church itself must impose heaven’s method of governance upon the earthly authorities, and establish the heavenly kingdom by the means of earthly rulership. Now they would not all explicitly describe it in this way, but this truly is what they seek to do and how they operate. They contradict the Lord’s silence when He was offered all the kingdoms of the earth by Satan; forgetting that even after He was risen, His all-encompassing authority was for the church to “preach repentance and remission of sins in His name among all nations,” (Lk 24:47), not to obtain cultural sympathy. For example, the persecuted apostles found no need to argue for any form of “free speech;” they simply spoke, because they were free men (Acts 5). Cultural influence is only acceptable as a coincidental product of discipleship; whereas a “discipleship” born of cultural or political influence is inauthentic and blasphemous in God’s sight.

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the lawmaker from between his feet, until Shiloh come, and the obedience of the peoples to HIM.
Genesis 49:10 (LITV)

Shiloh has come. When Shiloh (Heb. “He whose it is”) came, the theocracy of earthly Israel ended, and the theocracy of Christ reigning within the hearts of men by the direct infilling of the Holy Spirit began. God’s answer to the Jews’ expectation is and always will be Pentecost, not dominion. If you do not partake in the Holy Ghost in this age, you will not partake in the kingdom in the age to come. (I say to partake in, not merely to partake of, which is different.) As long as you are without the first coming of Christ, you will most assuredly miss the second. You cannot reject the one and be able to recieve the other. This is the explicit teaching of the apostles…

“Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”
Acts 2:36-40 (ESV)

“Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” – The kingdom comes when God sees that the church is pure, unspotted by, and unmixed with the ways of this present world – and this can only begin in each individual “sanctifying the Lord God in their hearts” (1Pet 3:15). God’s will being done on earth does not mean that we demand the earthly governances to operate by our best conception of the heavenly standard: it rather means that HIS CHURCH is pure, and that as such, she worthily commands all men everywhere to repent, by which call He gathers His elect from the four winds of the earth. For truly the phrase “as it is in heaven” speaks of the perfect degree to which His will is done. It is a prayer that His will be adhered to on earth as obediently as it is adhered to in heaven. And what is His will for the nations on earth? To be divided. (Read Pt. 1) And what is His will for the church? To be united under His absolute Lordship wherever they dwell. But where the one is compromised to supposedly accomplish the other, there is Babylon; and of this our wicked and perverse generation is most assuredly guilty. They render unto Caesar what is God’s, and unto God what is Caesar’s.

By no means, therefore, can the the will of God being done on earth, in this age, imply anything that contradicts the spiritual chasm which the Lord God has set between the kingdoms of this world and His own kingdom since the fall of man. This is not a gnostic dichotomy, of which I have been accused by the simpletons; this is rather to point out the obvious boundary which God has set in lieu of man’s sin and Satan’s rebellion. There are realms of authority witheld from men, including from the church, until the new heavens and new earth appear. To overstep these bounds is not the zeal of the Lord, it is really the pride of the fallen one seducing us. It is not by human conquest that Christ subdues the nations, but rather by His final coming; and it is not by the cultural ingenuity or political zeal of religious men that the earthly kingdoms become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ:” but rather by the preserving of souls from out of this wicked generation; since in this age His reign takes place in their hearts, and theirs in His. Then the rest will finally be thrown into everlasting fire, and whoever remains are His body: those whom He has redeemed from out of all the nations, who overcame the draw of this present evil age by nothing except the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony; having become Israel His portion, which are Jacob His allotted heritage. “And so all Israel will be saved.”

And when He had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, “Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: *and we shall reign on the earth.”
Revelation 5:8-10

It is because God has an elect from out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation that the scriptures will be fulfilled which say, “God in Christ was reconciling the world to Himself,” and, “I will draw all men unto Myself,” and, “God so loved the world… that every believing one might not perish…” (accurate Gk. for Jn 3:16 – and note the specificity). Election is the scriptures’ rebuke to every form of universalism. For the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world has names excluded from it; though there will be names written in it from every corner of the earth. *[As for their “reign on the earth,” the saints here speak of it as a future event, in a passage which describes the culmination of His redemption in the present age. It therefore cannot speak of them reigining now.]

The Lord’s design for His own people from eternity is hanged upon the wisdom of His cross: wherein is both hidden and revealed the fulcrum of all justice, before which the wise are made foolish and the foolish are made wise. It would have been just and righteous for Him to have wiped out all of creation upon the commencement of the fall; yet He freely chose not to do so, being pleased to make the justification of the unjust a just reward for those who will have the sufferings of Christ at work in themselves by His mighty power. For in sin being made much of in ages beforehand, how much more now the glory of God in breaking sin’s hold! Who then is man to answer back to God, who finds fault with some, yet mercies others? The Almighty is under no obligation to show mercy; yet He has done so, while retaining for Himself all the rights to His grace. “What if God, desiring to show His wrath, and to make His power known, patiently endured the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of His glory to vessels of mercy, which He has prepared beforehand for glory – we whom He has called, not of the Jews only but also of the nations?” (Rom 9:22-24) This reveals no capitulation or moral compromise in God, but rather reveals the infinite glory of Christ who bore the sins of many in His own body on the tree, showing forth the longsuffering and patience of God toward all who will trust in Him.

And those who have this mystery at work in them rise not unto earthly gain as though it is Godliness. For in this world we are rather exhorted:

Therefore let us go to Him outside the camp and bear the reproach He endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His Name.
Hebrews 13:13-15

Not by might or by power, but by the Spirit of Christ, He has begun, as our psalmist cried, to “judge the earth.” (Ps 82).

And this is the judgment: the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light because their works were evil.
John 3:19

“For what fellowship has light with darkness?” Do not let this warning pass you by. Consider the day when Israel made a covenant with the deceitful Gibeonites in exchange for earthly utility (Joshua 9). It was grievous enough that the leaders of Israel did not inquire of the Lord regarding the Gibeonites before swearing an oath of protection to them – but we today are far worse: for we, even when we do inquire of the Lord, and He tells us what they really are, we still make covenants with them from behind a facade of ignorance regarding their true nature. Until all of our Gibeonite oaths are renounced, and the son of the slave woman kicked out, God’s people will have no sustained power to do His will. Let not those who think to have crossed the Jordan be sure of themselves as did the children of Israel in the deception of the Gibeonites; for the Jordan crossing is only the first step in the taking of the promised land. These are the most elementary schemes of the devil; meanwhile, there are even more deep and more treacherous waters through which we have yet to wade before we find rest beyond Egypt, which is also Babylon.

Now the synagogue of Satan are the high priests of Babylon; and in response to their doctrine the apostle wrote:

Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.
For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.” Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now.
But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.”
So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.
Galatians 4:25-31

Ever have the false prophets slowly drawn men of God away from their rightful post (apostasy – to leave one’s post) by speaking things which even may come to pass, leading us to follow after their gods (Deut 13:1-3). And who are their gods? They are those principalities which the god of this age has used to infatuate the prophets with earthly glories! And for the sake of earthly gain they will even prophesy of the true prophets, saying, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” (Acts 16:16-18). By their smooth words they steal the flock of God away to the idolatry of earthly power, to the erection of the tower of the city in which all the nations fornicate. For in their own unity, the hearts of men find no need of the unity that is found only in Christ.

The whore is Babel, the city of man’s unity; but the church invisible is true Zion, the city of God’s unity. God divided the nations at Babel; He unites the nations in the redeemed souls of His heavenly kingdom. But when man seeks to do this for himself on earth, he rebuilds Babel every time; and every time, it falls. God will not be mocked.

Of Zion it is said over Babylon:

On the holy mount stands the city He founded; the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.
Glorious things of you are spoken, O city of God.
Selah
Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon; behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Cush – “This one was born there,” they say.
And of Zion it shall be said, “This one and that one were born in HER”; for the Most High Himself will establish HER.
The LORD records as He registers the peoples, “This one was born there.”
Selah
Singers and dancers alike say, “All my springs are in YOU.”
Psalm 8
7

For THINE is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever! Amen.

From Babylon to Zion bright,
Let children tread above the mire.
For gods in which man takes delight
Shall drag him to eternal fire.

The rulers fought for kingdom-come
Without a thought of Christ within.
How much indeed will be the sum
Of judgement if we likewise sin.

There is no rest, no throne on earth,
That grasping, we shall have repose.
But God in Christ has made a birth
In which His kingdom is disclosed.

– Brendan

True Religion

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
James 1:26-27

The religion toward which every man’s heart is naturally drawn is characterized by a boasting in his own spirituality through the outward show of lofty words, and even lovely deeds, while inwardly there dwells secret depravity unchecked. But true religion in the sight of God is characterized by the golden harmony of authentic selflessness and personal holiness.

There is a sureity of tongue that is born not of holy confidence, but of arrogance; and yet there is also a self-deprication that is born not of humility, but of pride.
The spiritual worship that is to be the very walk of every child of God is a daily offering of life to receive Life; it is the fragrance of holy conduct born of the fear of the Lord’s mercy. For he in whom the demerrited mercy of God does not invoke a reverence unto obedience has not known God.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Romans 12:1

To “worship in spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:24) is directly equivocal to living a selfless and holy life. For to be authentically selfless only flows from the shattering recognition of the mercy of God; and to be truly holy is to be true – which is to be without mixture in one’s dealings with He who is all-knowing.

How, therefore, does the selfish man walk humbly, and the sinner live holy? By the application of the cross to every facet of his life and being, spirit soul and body. For he to whom the cross of Christ truly applies shall bear his own cross also. And it is this bearing of the cross which promises the abundant entrance into the heavenly kingdom. In the urgency of such a life in God, there is found the foretaste of eternal rest; and in the overcoming obedience of such a faith, there runs a trust which takes hold of a purely God-ward contentment.

“The truly religious man does everything as if everything depends on himself, and then leaves everything as if everything depended on God.”
– Joseph Parker

Finney – A Lesson From History

When we sanitize the long and sorted history of God’s people by filtering it through our personal traditions, we miss out on a greater appreciation for the saying, “The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

On to the subject matter…

Now to him who works, the reward is not counted as grace, but as something owed. But to him who doesn’t work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.

Even as David also pronounces blessing on the man to whom God counts righteousness apart from works, “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whom the Lord will by no means charge with sin.”

Is this blessing then pronounced on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. How then was it counted? When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision?

Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. He received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while he was in uncircumcision, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they might be in uncircumcision, that righteousness might also be accounted to them.

Romans 4:4-11 (WEB)

Now consider this quote:

“There can be NO justification in a legal or forensic sense, but upon the ground of universal, perfect, and uninterrupted obedience to law. This is of course denied by those who hold that gospel justification, or the justification of penitent sinners, is of the nature of a forensic or judicial justification. They hold to the legal maxim, that what a man does by another he does by himself, and therefore the law regards Christ’s obedience as ours, on the ground that He obeyed for us.”
– Charles G. Finney, Systematic Theology, 362

Why not instead say that faith without works is dead, as say the scriptures? The claim of justification without any sanctification is self-deception; but this does not permit us to throw out the former because we do not see enough of the latter. They are both part-and-parcel of the grace of God in salvation. This conflation of the two leads to a denial of what both are. For there is judicial righteousness, and there is experiential righteousness – and the two are not at odds (except in the minds of some). They are both present in true salvation, yet they are distinct in function; for the one is the begining and underpinning of the other. It is not without purpose that the apostle Paul frequently structured his letters according to this principle. Peter then shakes awake our sleepy hearts from interpreting Paul carnally, and puts in us the fear of God, convicting us of God’s holiness; and James with John clarify the synthesis: that the righteous will practice what has been given to them, and the rest are evidently not of His sheep.

It is not a question of too much or too little grace; it is a question of authentic grace. It is not a question of to much or too little law; it is a question of authentic law. Now the authentic article of faith is the divine law being written upon the heart of a man by the finger of God, and it is the giving of empowerment to obey such by the indwelling Holy Spirit – and this is all of grace. For no man has this inherently: he must be granted it from heaven. To deny this justification by faith in order to begin sanctification is to remove a foundation before building a house.

Who could bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is GOD who justifies.
Romans 8:33 (WEB)

To set out upon a sanctified walk without being justified by faith is to set out across a bridge with no beams supporting it. It is doomed to fail, for it has no basis. It has no preexsisting grace by which to affirm that the way is sure and the goal attainable; and it has no ever-present grace to remind us that even what we have attained is all by God’s mighty power.

The man Finney often preached well against the tyranny of the self; but at times offered little more than the pitiful power of the fallen human will as its antidote – which only can perpetuate the cycle of said tyranny. (Rom 7). It is a sad truth that a great wealth of spiritual excitement and conviction can dwell alongside a ghastly lack of staying power.

Now this may be objected to by those who are aware of Finney’s teachings on the Holy Spirit, which are numerous and in many aspects quite excellent. But the Holy Spirit, were He bound by the choices of the human will or limited to man’s “uninterrupted obedience to law,” would have no power to sanctify us. For the will of man is the very first and primary matter that the Spirit comes to set right in us. For the law of God is not written on our hearts until the Lawgiver by the Spirit does so; and if He cannot do so without a sinner’s permission, then it will most assuredly never happen. But if we accept such teaching, we are left quite to ourselves, and we deny much of God’s help, however unwittingly.

For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace; because the mind of the flesh is hostile towards God; for it is not subject to God’s law, neither indeed can it be. Those who are in the flesh can’t please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if it is so that the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if any man doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
Romans 8:6-9 (WEB)

And how is the Holy Spirit obtained?

I will pray to the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, that He may be with you forever, the Spirit of truth, whom the world can’t receive; for it doesn’t see Him, neither knows Him. You know Him, for He lives with you, and will be in you.
John 14:16-17 (WEB)

The more true obedience to His maker that a man walks in, the more he ought to behold the gracious preordination of God in every step along the way, and all the more quickly should he therefore yield himself unto the doing of that same will of God. But the man who becomes proud of his own obedience sees it only as the doing of his own will, and mocks the grace of the God who had soveriegnly worked it all in him. This man takes little delight in being humbled; and rather than simply surrendering to the will God, he constantly makes treaties with his Creator, thinking it to be the Lord’s method. Man’s desire to “be like the most high” of his own accord and by his own means is insatiable; and it must be crushed by the overbearing power of the Spirit of Grace, who is the mouth of the fount of true sanctification.

Do I hereby condemn Charles Finney? No! Based on many other things he said, I actually believe that he himself had a real and powerful walk with God. For by God’s grace, many who are attracted to vain philosophy may yet be constrained by His power to truly know and walk with Him despite their most carnal notions; and they are herein most blessedly inconsistent. Finney also lived in a day of great spiritual slumber – and despite the shear reactionism behind such of his teachings as those here quoted, he was apparently not without a good measure of real fruit. I dare any one of us to presume that we were the better man for that hour. God knew what He was doing.

The legacy of those things which we call the movings of Christ throughout the ages is one often beset with the mixture of man’s disasterous religious recipes and earthly philosophy.

O Lord, give us eyes to see that which is pure, holy, and becoming of You; that we may test all things, and hold fast to what is good!

Quote – Ignatius Of Antioch

“Let not those who seem worthy of credit, but teach strange doctrines, fill you with apprehension. Stand firm, as does an anvil which is beaten. It is the part of a noble athlete to be wounded, and yet to conquer. And especially, we ought to bear all things for the sake of God, that He also may bear with us. Be ever becoming more zealous than what you are. Weigh carefully the times. Look for Him who is above all time, eternal and invisible, yet who became visible for our sakes; impalpable and impassible, yet who became passible on our account; and who in every kind of way suffered for our sakes.”
– Ignatius of Antioch, in his letter to Polycarp

On Being Lukewarm

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing;” and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Revelation 3:15-18

To be spiritually lukewarm is not merely to be partially safe and partially in danger; it is rather to be in imminent danger and think ourselves safe.

It is not to be partially on fire for God and partially cold toward Him, it is rather to be unconcerned with our temperature altogether.

It is not to be partially in light and partially in darkness; it is rather to be blissfully ignorant of how deep we may truly be in darkness, and unenlightened of the Light which calls us out.

It is not merely to be half asleep and half awake; it is rather to be deep in slumber as we dream of the day in self-deception.

God would rather us know our evil and love it than feign loyalty to Him as proudly ignorant traitors.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Revelation 3:20-22

Thought – “God Gave Them Up”

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness… …For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections…
Romans 1:24-6

When God is stretching out His hand to save, those most in line with His will are reflective vessels of His action. But likewise, when God is giving over a people to their own devices, those who are most in line with His will are reflective vessels of the same. The functioning members of Christ do not contradict Him; and that which does is by definition the spirit of antichrist which is the spirit of the age. And the perpetuation of that world system is self-destructive, for so is the inevitable way of the world. To get caught up even into its trappings flatly contradicts the call of God’s own. There is no higher purpose than that which is found in the counsel of God’s inner sanctum; where not a vestige of the vanity around us has any place.

Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord : They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
Proverbs1:24-33