Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Power of Apologetics

Let's talk apologetics!  Yay, my favorite subject.  Apologetics comes from the Greek word "apologia" meaning to give an answer.  And many have given answers, all the way back to the first few centuries of Christianity.  Of note, Justin Martyr who wrote in response to critics in ancient Rome.  If you ever get the chance read some of Justin Martyr's apologies.  I've been able to find them free online, Librivox has two of them I believe in free audio format.  

Justin Martyr wrote in response to Greeks and Romans who had a lot of interesting objections to Christianity.  They said Christianity was for the intellectually simple in society.  They didn't like a religion that used a cross as it's emblem.  They didn't like Christianity's view on marriage.  Come to think of it, the arguments against Christianity have hardly changed in over 1,900 years.  

To give an answer for the faith in my heart is a great relief in a culture declaring "God is dead!"  Not to mention the "tolerance" agenda, gay rights, and Christians being called "bigots."  Scary stuff.  Especially since I used to hold a lot of those same views.  I just didn't know any better.  Not to mention I was much more concerned with what was hip and popular, or hipster popular, than what the actual truth was.  There's parties to get to, you know?  

I digress.

When Paul the former Jewish terrorist turned radical follower of Jesus Christ spoke to the Jews in the synogagues he reasoned from the scriptures as to why Jesus Christ was and is in fact the Messiah.  They were God-believers, so he reasoned from the scriptures.  But when he spoke to the Gentiles (all non-jews in the world) like the Greeks and Romans, he provided defenses of the faith, interacting with the worldview of the people in those cultures.  
That's what we have to do in America today.  Fifty years ago that would not have been the case; the great majority fifty years ago could've probably been, for the most part, shown the gospel from the context of the pages of the Bible.  Not so anymore.  

People are eating up the lame arguments of the so called new atheists, and declaring their superiority over Christianity by welcoming in eastern mysticism, new age beliefs, and in general accepting naturalism (the view that everything has a material cause without any need for the immaterial).  In another way, evolution is rolled out as adequately describing reality.  Science.  In another way, LGBT rights is being rolled out as superior to the teaching of the Bible.  A certain intellectual elite are attempting to claim the moral high ground.

Of course we Christians know that what is popular is not necessarily true.  Or at least we should know that.  But I keep hearing about defections by Christian musicians (how surprising) and Christian denominations to the gay rights agenda.  Scary stuff.  When it's easy to speak the truth, sure, Christians stand up for the Bible.  What about when it's hard?  And you could lose your job over it?  When people around you are going to slander your name and label you a bigot?  Then it's more difficult.  But the intolerance of those telling us to be "tolerant" is just amazing.  Such hippocracy..

The new hate speech is entirely unreasonable and unacceptable.  And no I'm not talking about racism or sexism, I'm talking about the people using those words to silence those of different view points.  Those who hold to intelligent design as a scientific theory are told to keep their "religious beliefs" out of science, even though intelligent design models use the same scientific models used by Darwin in his theories.  Those who disagree with President Obama's policies are told to keep their "racist views" to themselves.  And a lot of the time that will work, it will get the opposition to shut up, because they're so afraid of being labeled such a terrible thing.  And I'm sure assuming Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016, I will then be told to keep my "sexist views" to myself.  

This new hate speech is really the new "politically correct" terminology.  It straw man's the view of another so it will be dismissed.

A fascinating example is when in Germany, as the Nazi's were gaining power and Hitler was dismantling the former democracy... There were these people claiming Hitler had this crazy plan to start a world war and exterminate the Jews, and all of this nonsense.  It was then that Hitler coined the term "conspiracy theorist" calling those who suggested such nonsense "conspiracy theorists."  Then Hitler invaded Poland, later France, and World War II began.  Hitler successfully used slanderous terminology to discredit the opposition so he could move forward with his plan to conquer Europe.  And he did, at least temporarily.  

We have to be on watch as Christians.  We need Christians trained in the art of Apologetics to look at and interpret the culture of the West and explain the continuing relevance and desperate need for Jesus Christ in a fallen world!  The arguments are powerful, and we need to continously counter the hate speech of the masses in the USA who are now embracing open sexuality, authoritarian government, and atheism.  

Jesus Christ is just as important today as two thousand years ago.  As we watch the USA and a lot of the world slipping into incredible debt (over 17 trillion owed by USA), wars, income inequality, corruption, and depravity we must continue to show why the USA is great.  The USA was founded by Christian men, on the principle of a sovereign moral God.  As the west rejects that to pursue their own sexual appetites and prideful arrogance we must call out to them: These things are false and wrong!  Jesus Christ is real!  God is real!  And you can know him too!  

So here are some wonderful presentations, giving an answer for the things we believe in our hearts.  Enjoy and keep up the fight for the hearts and minds of this great nation, and the world at large!

1. Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, William Lane Craig.

2. Intelligent Design and it's Rejection by the Science Community, Stephen Meyer & Eric Metaxas

3. A Message to Pastors regarding the value of Apologetics in Youth Ministries, William Lane Craig

4. Apologetics for those who feel Christianity has failed them, Ravi Zacharias

Related Posts:
Philosophy, Science, Logic, and History: Presentations on the truth of Christianity from Multiple Disciplines 
Recipes for the Babylonian Captivity 
Objective Truth on a Spiritual Battlefield 
The Philosophy of Jesus Christ
Jesus: The God who Came
Why is Jesus the perfect example to follow?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Believing in the Miraculous: The Work of Jesus Christ on the Cross

John 6:29 (NLT) Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

There is very little I can do to please God, but only to believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior.

Rebirth.  New life.  His gifts are many.  Watching myself being sanctified is just icing on the cake.  But it's so important to understand the total completion of the work of Jesus Christ.  It's so important to abandon myself to God.  I've got to place utter trust in the work of Christ.  

I must believe in the miraculous.  I must believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.  

Romans 10:9 (NIV) If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

It's just so simple.  Yet the alternative is so terrible, and so many can't seem to escape the illusion, the society, the modern mindset that can't seem to grapple with the simple message of the gospel.  

Many in the scientific field turn hard against the miraculous.  That's often the topic of apologetic work, 'are miracles possible?'  Why shouldn't they be?  Since everything that exists has a cause, the universe needs a cause, and that cause would have to be intelligent, omnipotent, and self-caused, thus God, thus what we humans consider the "miraculous" is not a big deal to God.  He created a universe from nothing, suddenly raising Jesus Christ from the dead doesn't seem like such a big deal!

1 John (MSG)  11-2 From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we’re telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us.
3-4 We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!

The joy is in personal contact with God himself.  I feel that joy sometimes, the incredible love of the Father interacting with my soul.  All thanks to Jesus Christ, and his atoning sacrifice.  He took the just punishment I deserved.  He stepped in for me.  And I can hardly understand the cost.  Terrifying enough that Jesus, God himself, was afraid of it.  The disconnection from God that I deserved, he received.  Incredible.  What love!   

So belief in Jesus Christ, his work on the cross, his defeat of death, his perfect life, is now mine.  His righteousness is gifted to me, so I can boldly speak to the Father of lights, the divine architect of the universe, space, time, reality itself.  My part is belief.  And I believe today, more so I place my trust there.  I trust Jesus Christ.  I trust God the Father.  And I know one day I will see my savior face to face.  That's a fact.  Until that day, praise him and trust him!  Amen.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Apologetics: Answering Atheism, Naturalism in the USA, and the Reliability of the Bible

Christian Apologetics is the reasonable defense of the Christian worldview.  Many would have you think that religious thought exists in a vacuum and runs absolutely contrary to reality.  That is not true.  It's not true.  

Christian apologetics is where a lot of the fire for my evangelistic spirit comes from.  Because people simply don't know, and no one is telling them.  The media is not telling them, the news is not telling them, the universities are not telling them, and the churches are absolutely not telling them the compelling reasons behind Christianity.  And only the Christian apologists stand alone, like noble knights of old, against the onslaught of lies, half-truths, and deceptions perpetrated in public schools, universities, the sciences, and the public square.  Naturalism is pushed in all those arenas, and Christian apologists stand to defend Christianity in a nation founded and lead forward by Christians.  And now in the last 80 years, Christianity is quietly evicted, while eastern mysticism is explored, and naturalism dominates the landscape.  

These three doctors of various disciplines walk through the facts on three key topics: Answering the objections of the new atheists, the Naturalistic framework and it's effect on the USA, and the reliability of the documents composing the Christian Bible.  Enjoy these video presentations on the truth of Christianity by some wonderful men of faith that stands the test of reason.

Dr. Ravi Zacharias answers the objections of prominent atheists.

Dr. JP Moreland discusses the dominance of the Naturalistic worldview in the USA and it's ramifications

Dr. Norman Geisler looks at the Bible and it's reliability.

Related Posts:
Can you see through the illusion?
 Philosophy, Science, Logic, and History: Presentations on the truth of Christianity from Multiple Disciplines
The USA and the Ancient Roman Empire 
 No Evidence for God?
 More Christian YouTube Material: Os Guiness and Frank Turek

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Academic Paper: The Image of God

The Bible is true and correct when it says that all people are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27 [ESV]). The image of God is a description by which the Bibles show how humanity is made in the likeness of God, in personality, in morality, in value, and in immortality (Elwell, 1984, p. 592). 

Though the image of God on man was distorted by the fall, it remained in tact and is restored when faith is placed in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross (Elwell, 1984, p. 593). If I claim to be a Christian, and I do, then that belief must be systemically applied to every part of my life (Prov. 3:6 [ESV]). 

My current occupation is as a Caseworker at the Salvation Army church and homeless shelter in my hometown. After graduation I will most likely continue my work at Salvation Army, and eventually take classes to become an officer in the army. I best live out Genesis 1:27 by coming along side hurting people and treating them with the dignity and respect they deserve as children of God made in the image of God (1 Pet. 2:10 [ESV]). Yet many of the people I work with are not children of God, so I invite them to know Jesus Christ. Since people are made in the image of God, they ought to know God. And I may be the only gospel these people hear. 1 John 3:17 (ESV) explains the concept of sharing and caring for those around us, it says: “But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?” 

 The language of the Bible is very clear when dealing with other human beings. Fellow humans are called brothers, sisters, and neighbors (Mark 12:31, Prov. 3:29, 1 John 3:15 [ESV]). Fellow members of the body of Christ are called family (Matt. 12:50 [ESV]). 

An important concept is that I love because God first loved me. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (ESV) well illustrates the passing of love from God to his followers and beyond; it says: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” People who are homeless, living on the street are greatly afflicted. I try to come along side them and offer them comfort in their afflictions. I do that by the grace of God, and because I am reminded how God comforted me in my afflictions in the past. No matter how low someone is, no matter what they've done, they do not “lose” the image of God which they were made in (Towns, 2008, p. 577). If I thought they were demons, or monsters or those destined for hell I would treat them as tax collectors, but I cannot say for certain where they are destined to end up, only God knows (Isa. 55:8 [ESV]). I only know that every human I meet is made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27 [ESV]). 

 If God deserves respect and love for who he is, it then follows that those created in his image should be treated with love and respect as well. An important part of living out the image of God doctrine is found in the showing of mercy. Luke 6:36 (ESV) says,”Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” The fall had it's terrible effects on man and the image of God in man, but the image remains and therefore as God the Father has shown mercy on man by sending Christ Jesus to redeem sinners, I must also show incredible mercy and even grace to those lost drug addicted, alcoholic, abused, abusive, and mentally unstable I meet in my life (Towns, 2008, p. 577). Or as Rivera (2013) said,”Jesus calls us to a self-sacrificing love that pushes us past our comfort zone into a world of risk and danger” (Rivera, 2013, p. 53). 

 If my Christian worldview is to be true, coherent and pervasive throughout all aspects of my life, it must go into my workplace, home life, nights out on the town, church life, and everywhere in between. Otherwise I'm living a life that will be systemically contradictory. To summarize, the doctrine of the image of God is best put into practice by going beyond myself, stepping out of my comfort zone, and helping those in need. But it also means treating all people in the world with dignity and respect, especially when it is difficult to do so. The doctrine of the image of God shows that humanity has great value, and it shows that every person is made for the purpose of being in relation to their creator, the one who made them (Ps. 100:3 [ESV]). The best way to live out the image of God doctrine in my chosen vocation is to humbly serve those I care for, treat them with dignity and respect, and love them as children of God, inviting them to know Jesus Christ the savior of all humanity (Phil. 2:1-11 [ESV]).


Elwell, Walter A.. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1984.

Rivera, Ted. The Heart of Love: Obeying God's Two Great Commandments. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2013.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version : the ESV Study Bible.. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Bibles, 2008.

Towns, Elmer L.. Theology for Today. Mason, Ohio: Cengage Learning, 2008.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Proverbs Chapter 20: Wisdom from God's Book

Chapter twenty of Proverbs is incredibly powerful, so powerful it will blow your mind.  Let's have a look at wisdom written over 2,500 years ago that still holds entirely true to this very day.

20 Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls.
    Those led astray by drink cannot be wise.

Alcohol is a slippery slope indeed, as God points out.  Alcohol leads to brawls.  Physical fights, or screaming matches I've found this to be extremely true.  The modern society makes us believe we're in control, but the Christian warrior knows that temptation is powerful and addiction is a very real possibility, or as God calls it, slavery.  It leads many astray.  Of course we don't want to see that.  So we often remain blind to it.  But it's true.  How many people do you know who spend the week working a job they hate and then drink heavily on weekends?  I know many of such a description.  That's just the tip of the ice berg.  At least that crew can function, think of the alcoholics who lose everything, even their lives to drinking!  The danger is imminent and real.  I always thought.. it couldn't happen to me.  It could.  It did.  When drink is my leader, I can't gather wisdom because I'm always pushing that rock up the same hill, drink, get more, drink, get more.  It never ends.

The king’s fury is like a lion’s roar;
    to rouse his anger is to risk your life.

Simple, but true.  Piss off the guy in charge and you're in trouble.  Doesn't make it right, but it happens to be true.  Don't rouse anger, very simple.

Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor;
    only fools insist on quarreling.

Pick your battles wisely friends.  Peace makers make it.  Sometimes, especially at work, sometimes I know I'm right.  I know for a fact.  But I don't want to fight a battle.  So I just let it slide.  Sometimes it's better to just let it slide.  Allow peace.  Sometimes I need justice when justice isn't key.  Sometimes peace is key.  Only a fool would allow battles over minor issues.  Sometimes even major issues, I just need to let it slide.  Preserve the peace.

Those too lazy to plow in the right season
    will have no food at the harvest.

There is a right time for everything.  

Though good advice lies deep within the heart,
    a person with understanding will draw it out.

Do you know how to draw the truth from the heart?  Jesus had a very powerful method, he asked tons of questions and when people asked him questions, he asked them questions.  Ask questions.  Open people up within their own assumptions.  Questions are rarely as honest as they seem.
Many will say they are loyal friends,
    but who can find one who is truly reliable?

Everyone when asked is going to claim to be a truly loyal person, friend, lover, etc.  But what's the truth?  
The godly walk with integrity;
    blessed are their children who follow them.

Integrity is one of those rare qualities that hardly exist today.  Integrity is like a rumor in the world today, and even so in the church.  Shocking, but true.  The Godly do indeed walk with integrity, and we'll know it by the fruit a person produces.  Observe and watch.  Watch how a person interacts with their children.  Watch how a Pastor treats his wife and coworkers, and especially his volunteers.  Watch how he treats new people in the congregation.  Watch actions, not so much words.  Very quickly the "fruit" is revealed, and if it's rotten you've discovered character, integrity or lack thereof.  Sometimes I wonder what I would be like today if my parents had raised me in integrity.  I've been blessed none-the-less by the grace of God, through incredible mercy.  Something I didn't deserve.  But I wonder.  If you walk in integrity your children will see that, and be blessed by it.  
When a king sits in judgment, he weighs all the evidence,
    distinguishing the bad from the good.

 Sit in silence, think, think, and think.  Some of us spend too much time alone, but many of us spend too much time with people.  It's only in quiet contemplation that we can distinguish in life, what is good?  What is bad?  And what is in between? 
Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart;
    I am pure and free from sin”?

None.  None could ever say such a thing.  But what I can say is that Jesus has cleansed my heart, therefore I am pure and freed from sin.  But it begs another question in my mind.. suppose that every person is a sinner, and they are, I am, and once they meet Jesus Christ he were to say, now all your sins are forgiven, and he gives you a robe of white.  But what if Jesus Christ then said, now as you walk through the world keep this robe utterly white and stainless, if you sin even once you will then burn in hell.  How many people do you think would go to heaven?  0.  Because after encountering Jesus, we're still sinners, saved by grace, but sinners we remain.  Everyone continues sinning.  Often immediately after I sin I assume well, now God's done with me.  Not so.  His grace is enough, even in the face of my daily sins. 

10 False weights and unequal measures[a]
    the Lord detests double standards of every kind.

Me too!  Like "tolerance."  Liberals are really saying, you need to endorse and approve of my opinion on that issue, and if you don't it's an outrage and we're going to deliver you to justice by calling you a bigot, racist, homophobic, or sexist.  And if you're a big name in a big company, we're going to get you fired.  That's called a double standard.  You need to tolerate and approve of my view, but I'm going to be very intolerant toward your view, because you're wrong and I'm right.  That's not tolerance. 
11 Even children are known by the way they act,
    whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right.

It's not about what we say, it's about what we do.  Ever seen a kid who is just a total snot?  Even children are known by how they act.  Not by what they say, but by what they do.  All of us know right and wrong, we can see it clearly.  And we know others by how they conduct their lives.  Very simple, yet always and forever true.  No relative truth here, it's all objective and timeless in God's book.

12 Ears to hear and eyes to see—
    both are gifts from the Lord.

The secret to happiness is gratitude.  Everything I am, everything I have, every good thing I have is a gift from God.  Even more so, every bad thing I have or do or am or deal with it is also a gift from God.  Because he works it to my good.  And yours.  So thank him for the pain too, because it's changing you into who you're suppose to be.  A grateful child of God.  
13 If you love sleep, you will end in poverty.
    Keep your eyes open, and there will be plenty to eat!

Of course 8 hours a night is vital.  But a lazy bum is gonna starve.  It's true. 

14 The buyer haggles over the price, saying, “It’s worthless,”
    then brags about getting a bargain!

Ever had this one?  Someone is trying to buy something from you so they talk about all it's failings, what's wrong it, like a car, oh the tires are bald, oh this, oh that, so they can get a better price.  Such manipulations, ugh!

15 Wise words are more valuable
    than much gold and many rubies.

If I'm an idiot and I have gold, I'll probably spend it on stupid crap and end up with nothing.  But if I have nothing and I gain wisdom, then I an acquire all the gold and rubies (money) I want, and once I have it I'll use it wisely and invest it wisely, and continue to gain more and more.  Wise words are more valuable than money without wisdom.  

16 Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger’s debt.
    Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners.[b]

When I was 14 I paid a girl, a stranger I randomly met at the mall 20 dollars to steal a video game for me from Gamestop.  I was hanging with some mall rats I had just met and I was complaining about not having enough money for a new videogame I wanted.  This shady character offered to steal it for me in exchange for 20 dollars.  I eyed her suspiciously.  She saw my suspicion and said, "What am I going to do?  Just steal the money?  Why would I do that?"  And that statement convinced me, see, why would she do that?  I gave her the money and she disappeared.  Needless to say, I never saw that twenty dollars or the videogame.  Why would she steal the money?  Because shes a thief and a liar.  But, so was I.  I should've taken security, like her jacket or her government ID.  Because she was a stranger.  But more so, I shouldn't have been paying a stranger, a foreigner to be stealing for me!  God's word is right.

17 Stolen bread tastes sweet,

    but it turns to gravel in the mouth.

This is so true.  It's a powerful rush to sleep with another man's wife.  Or to steal from a grocery store.  It's exciting and intense.  But only in the moment.  Later, it turns dark.  Much like drinking to get drunk.  Or using drugs.  The first time you use a drug, wow, it's incredible.  A very positive experience in terms of how great you feel.  But over time it turns to gravel in the mouth.  You end up chasing that first experience that was so great.  And no matter what it always falls short.  And eventually it starts to eat away at your soul and even your body, even to the point of taking your life.  Stolen waters are always sweeter, until the poison takes effect.  Theres a wait period.  But it always happens.

18 Plans succeed through good counsel;
    don’t go to war without wise advice.

Sometimes we get a lot of bad advice on how to proceed forward, such as when Job was mourning over his pains and losses.  But good counsel is vital.  Don't underestimate outside input.

19 A gossip goes around telling secrets,
    so don’t hang around with chatterers.

I don't like my secrets being told around town.  I've been around people who would puke every word to others, and if there wasn't anything juicy they'd just make stuff up, and pass that around.

20 If you insult your father or mother,
    your light will be snuffed out in total darkness.

Oi vey.  That's tough stuff.  Mysterious and true.  Anyone have any thoughts on this one?  I'm not a father so I can't say much about this.

21 An inheritance obtained too early in life
    is not a blessing in the end.

One of those things I truly love about God's word is it constantly acknowledges and deals with the weakness of the human will and ability to make wise decisions.  The world, psychology, society, they ignore that.  Because they want me to buy, buy, buy and cave to all the temptations.  It makes them money.  Young people are stupid, including me, and we make bad decisions.  If my parents died and left me money tomorrow, I can't say how well I would spend it.  I'd probably want to just give it to a church somewhere or a charity as soon as possible just so someone else would have the money, before I took off on a spree or bought stupid crap that I don't need.  Now that's not a pretty analysis.  It doesn't make me look good to my readers, but it's an utterly honest analysis in sight of the Lord.  And that's all that matters.  Remember that one teachers, honesty and straightforwardness must trump appearances.  

22 Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.”
    Wait for the Lord to handle the matter.

When I'm angry, the last thing I want is to "let go and let God."  That's when I wanna handle it myself.  But it's precisely then that temporary emotions can cause big problems.  Very big problems.  Let God handle it.  Long term handle it.  And that's never fun.. because he might just introduce the guy who pissed me off to Jesus and then he'll never get his due!  But oh well, God is correct let him handle it.  

23 The Lord detests double standards;
    he is not pleased by dishonest scales.

Me too.  I don't like injustice.  Nobody does, aside from those who profit from it I suppose.  It's kind of like when George W. Bush invaded Iraq it was so evil and the anti-war left protested constantly against Bush and his war mongering.  They just never shut up about it.  But once President Obama was elected, and he bombed Libya, escalated the war in Afghanistan, and waged a quiet drone war in Pakistan... crickets, the anti-war left was utterly silent.  Because it was ok if a democrat did it, but it was wrong if a republican did it.  That's what you call a double standard, and God detests a double standard.  Another example.. in the 2012 republican primaries when the mainstream media ignored Ron Paul and focused all attention on Romney.  The appearance of fair reporting, but an agenda is actually taking place.  Or when Liberty University (the college I attend) endorsed a draft dodging Mormon CEO of a corrupt banking institution (Romney) and gave him an honorary doctorate degree, while me, a struggling college student has to pay 10s of thousands of dollars to painstakingly piece together a bachelors degree.  Once again, double standard.  Or when a corrupt banking institution called the HSBC conducts business in a criminal manner on a massive scale, billions of dollars, and they receive a very large fine, but no prison time, meanwhile a woman in my area of central wisconsin is caught stealing money, 10 thousand dollars or so, from her business and she is sent to prison for 8 years.  Double standard, one set of rules for the upper class, another set of rules for the working class.  Tyranny.  God despises it.  So do I.  2nd time it's been mentioned in Chapter 20 alone!  God really doesn't like double standards.  I know how he feels, double standards really, really get under my skin.  Because it's so dishonest and make lies look like truth.  Ugh!

24 The Lord directs our steps,
    so why try to understand everything along the way?

Seriously!  Why am I so obsessed with getting it?  Settle down kid, stop struggling.  God's got you.  Jesus atoned for you.  You're producing fruit here and there.  Take it easy, stop trying to understand every little thing.  Trust God.

25 Don’t trap yourself by making a rash promise to God
    and only later counting the cost.

God, if you get me out of this mess, I promise.. blah blah blah.  
26 A wise king scatters the wicked like wheat,
    then runs his threshing wheel over them.

If you've got a serious issue, don't just drive it off, run it over twice.  Then back up over it again and make sure it's down permenantly, don't want that sucker getting up again and biting you.  Double tap the problem.  Sometimes I need two meetings in a day to stay good, I call it my double dose of recovery tuesday, friday.  Go the extra mile when need be.

27 The Lord’s light penetrates the human spirit,[c]
    exposing every hidden motive.

God knows all.  He sees my motives, even when I don't. 

28 Unfailing love and faithfulness protect the king;
    his throne is made secure through love.

It's not always about strength, authority, and justice.  It's about love and mercy, and even grace.
29 The glory of the young is their strength;
    the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.

 This is a very deep truth.  I don't want to say a lot about it, because I can't say I'm comprehending the bottom line here.  Glory seems an odd word to describe the strength of the young.  I've checked multiple translations and it's almost always translated "glory."  What could it mean? 
30 Physical punishment cleanses away evil;[d]
    such discipline purifies the heart.

 Verse 30 here is the reason I decided to write through Proverbs Chapter 20.  I saw it paraphrased "sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways."  Wow.  Wow and wow.  How true is that one?  I read that said, no way, it doesn't say that in there.  I went onto and searched Proverbs 20:30 and sure enough, the principle is clear and it's definitely true: pain purifies the heart.  I've found that to be true.  Earlier in my life I was a fun junkie, a pleasure junkie, and I loved anything that felt good.  We'd hang out with friends, and we'd just laugh and laugh, and make disturbing sexual jokes and laugh even more.  Just on and on and on.  Nothing of substance ever said or looked into, just laughing and more laughing.  It wasn't all bad.  Laughing is not evil.  But when making perverse jokes, cussing, stealing, doing drugs, drinking, using people, and setting things on fire is all you do, it's become evil.  Nothing is inherently evil really, synthetic heroin is useful for treatment of chronic pain, but when it's being injected into the arms of teenagers daily, it's become a very evil practice.  Anyway, in retrospect, I was laughing my way to hell.  It's a cliche, but it's just true, I'm sorry.  It wasn't until I really endured pain, and a lot of it, that my questions and searching became meaningful.  Otherwise it was just all fun and games.  Nothing serious.  But when I was in jail in solitary confinement for two weeks, that really refines the meditations of the heart.  I began to question and search.  And eventually years later, after an incredible amount of pain, jail, more jail, probation, lost friends, dead relationships, family chaos, smashed cars, charges, three day comedowns, eventually being raped, and multiple suicide attempts, that I finally had a Bible in my hand daily and I was searching for the truth of life, the universe, and everything.  Jesus Christ responded to a prayer at rock bottom, because pain had refined my search to the point of desperation, and a need for answers.  

In the end, Jesus Christ saved my life, sovereignty of God, and I called out completely without holding back, an inner scream, to the throne of God, for help, responsibility of man.  The passion of Jesus Christ, his atoning suffering on the cross, that was the punishment, the pain that I deserved.  My heart needed the purification.  Jesus Christ's heart was already perfectly pure, yet he received the pain.  As a result, a double positive met a negative, and an inversion in reality occurred, a paradoxical blast of atonement flew out from the death of Jesus Christ the perfect on the cross.  A supernova explosion of redemption went out, lingering before all people.  I simply chose to accept it.  

So through pain my search was refined.  Pain itself could not cleanse my heart by itself.  Pain and punishment had to be heaped on my savior Jesus Christ, yet the paradox is his heart was already perfectly clean.  The paradox at that moment of the sins of the world falling in punishment on a clean pure heart caused redemption, atonment, righteousness to flow out, and through the refining fire of pain in my life I was able to seek out that truth, find it in the Bible, and call out for help from my Lord Jesus Christ.  

Jesus saved me, and cleansed my heart, by receiving my punishment, and now his righteousness is the righteousness that cleansed my heart.  Amen.