Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Tactical Recon: Intelligence Gathering


When we seek to build influential rapport in any community we must know the players of that community. A relationship with those that hold power and esteem in the community need to be developed.

Know the players and you can structure your interaction with them accordingly for the best possible outcome. 

Knowing the influential people in your community is the key to positioning yourself as a “shaker and a mover” (i.e. someone that can be trusted, with insight and integrity to get a job done) within that community.


Knowing the people in your community works both ways. They get to know you as you get to know them. This can be a tremendous benefit since your visibility may encourage them to reach out you for certain community projects or input. This is your goal. Position yourself as a community leader – or at least as a community “wise man”.

The Strategy

Simply by knowing people is not often enough to maintain contact and interaction with them. You
have to build a community data base. A community data base is simply a written list of influential community people with an area to include certain informational data to assist you in building a more intimate rapport with them.

The journal should include their name, where they work, their position, and any personal information that will assist you in developing a deeper relationship.

This journal should also include the time and date of each meeting and what was discussed. This will help you develop a time line whereby you can measure the depth and continuity of your rapport. Most importantly you should notate your impressions as to their religious and philosophical worldview. Once you know how they think you can craft a plan to educate them in the principles of God’s Law and how to apply them to the culture.

Visuals

Most community leaders have had their pictures taken for the local newspaper, or for social media. When you build your journal may want to post their picture next to their name so that when you see them in the market place or during a community even you can recognize them and address them by name. 

You can also do this with non- community leaders. These photos can usually be accessed through their Face Book Page or some form of social media.

So often I am approached by someone in the grocery store that is familiar by face but I cannot place from where I know them. There is no context, which puts me at a disadvantage and I have to “fake it”. There’re familiar to me and I know I know them since they obviously know me, but I am at a loss since I have no reliable data to draw from. This is especially important with those in the communities who are influential but are less visible. Sometimes they are the ones who get things done – i.e. the town and county secretaries, court clerks, bank managers, store managers, town managers, city and town city workers, and of course the clergy.

Action Item

Start building your data base. For those of you who like to write things down, go out and purchase a note book or journal. Buy something ascetically pleasing. If you purchase an ugly notebook you may hesitate to use it. Get something you like and will use. Keep it in your car or in your briefcase, backpack, or glove box. This will keep it handy after making an important contact that you’d like to add to your data sheet. For those of you who are more “Techy” keep you smart phone ready to add your notes so that when you are at your laptop or PC you can log the info there. 

This makes posting pictures in the log easier since it is only a matter of cut and paste and you do not have to print and glue the photo into your journal. 

Purchase personal business cards. 

This can simply be a card with your name, contact info and a title if it is applicable. Make it a habit to liberally give away your card. By offering your contact info you are telling people that you are open to a call. It says I am offering myself to be involving in the community. By giving others your card you also encourage others to give you their card. This is the beginning of a relationship. As superficial as it may seem you never know how it may develop. That is how you begin your intelligence gathering.  

Now go and make some acquaintances. Build some influential relationships.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Tactical Recon: Credentials


Credentials and Influence

We live in an age where credentials matter. Professional credentials are an indication that the individual holding those credentials has been educated, trained and tested as to their knowledge and proficiency in that particular discipline.

Credentials say to the outside world, “I have studied, been tried and tested, and have been found by other professionals proficient in my area of study whereby I am now to be considered an expert.”

If nothing else credentials prove that the individual has gone through a rigorous educational gauntlet and has proven himself worthy of the title conferred. Credentials open doors while the lack of credentials closes them. 

Simply put, if you have credentials you have power and influence in the community. Moreover, when an individual has credentials he also has respect among his professional peers. This is critical when seeking to position yourself within any community for the Glory of God.

No More Excuses

It seems as if in today’s modern age especially amidst some Christian circles credentials are frowned upon. These folks use 1 John 2:27 as their excuse.

“But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you…”

Yet, this, however, does not mean that Christians do not need teachers and mentors. Nor does it mean that academic or profession letters after one’s name is superfluous and lacks meaning.  Nothing can be further from the truth.

Echoing Jeremiah, Paul explains;

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…   Eph 4:11-12

God tells Jeremiah that as a gift to His Church He raises up teachers for the maturation and unity of the Saints.

 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. 
Jer 3:15

Jesus Himself established the apostles as teachers when He commissioned them in Matthew 28.

And so, to reject the importance of being taught by notable teachers for the express purpose of becoming proficient in a skill amounts to rebellion caused by either laziness or misinformation, which will result in a lack of positioning power within the community.Teachers are a gift from God especially those who teach of the things of God. 

The duty of every saint is to be proficient  first in the doctrine of God so as to be notable teachers in the things of God. But when it comes to community influence, recognition by the general populace is essential and that recognition comes by way of credentials.

Credence and the Open Door

As a minister within our community I have enjoyed professional recognition among both my pastoral colleagues and the community at large simply because I am an ordained minister. In 2001 that may have been enough. In 2018 it is no longer the case. Letters among the clergy are almost a necessity if they are to be taken seriously by their peers and the general community. 

And so in 2004 I decided to go back to school (not an easy thing) to obtain my graduate degrees. That decision proved to be invaluable. I cannot stress enough how many additional opportunities God has brought to me simply because I had letters of academic proficiency after my name.1

With a professional testimony the individual can begin to interject his or her ideas of influence into many community areas. As professionals we can offer our services on a volunteer basis in order to “get a foot in the door” for greater opportunities. As professionals we can set ourselves up so as to be “called upon” for our professional analysis and recommendation dealing with sensitive cultural issues. This is the key to positioning. This is one of the concrete tactics of Christian Recon.

What to Do? Where to Begin?

1.    If you are able to go back to school do so. Get a degree in something of cultural value. Most of you reading this are Christians so you may wish to look into a theologically based degree. Christian counseling may be an area where you can start since there are many volunteer programs that can use that knowledge and skill. At our New Geneva College (newgeneva.us) we train our students in many areas from a Christian Recon position of community activism and service so they can be a driving force for CR. This is just one idea but there are many.

For further discussion on training and obtaining an academic degree you can write to me personally at pastor@hisglory.us

Several years ago I was asked to be an expert witness in a court case in Canada. What I learned was priceless. It seems as if the Canadians think very highly of individuals with professional degrees. I was told that if an American comes to Canada with “any” graduate credentials, i.e. PhD, ThD, M.Div. MACS, MAR etc, he or she will have no trouble getting employment in a very worthy position with an impressive pay scale.

At one point, in the very lengthy court testimony, I was asked for my opinion to which I responded, “Would you like my professional analysis on that?” To which the jurist answered, “That is the only reason why you are here. I want your professional opinion.” One of the lawyers for the family I was representing later told me later that the jurist had a very high regard for my credentials (any American credentials for that matter) and that is what swayed him to render a favorable decision in our behalf.

It was on that day that I fully realized what influence professional credentials have in the affairs of men.

2.   Volunteer to be placed on a county, city or town board. Those manning certain local governing boards have clout. These are the decision makers of the community. Rub shoulders with these people. Get to know them. Get them to know you but remember the principles of my previous blog recommendation about listening and building rapport.


3.    Volunteer at a local food kitchen or start one at your local church. Call the mayor to participate and any other governing officials. Ask them to assist. Call the local newspaper for coverage. Become visible.

4.    I’m sure there are family counseling centers in your area. Some might even be Christian based. This too is a great place to volunteer. We were involved in the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center for years. In this venue you get to impress upon these mothers the importance of having the baby and not aborting it. Use the time spent in that position as another serviceable skill in your resume as you continue building your credentials.

5.    The CASA volunteer program. These are the letters for Court Appointed Special Advocate. The CASA is a court appointed official whose duty it is to assists children who have been neglected or abused by their parents and who have been taken into the foster care system. This is usually in the case of severe parental substance abuse, sexual abuse and/or various traumatic events that place the child in a dangerous position. The CASA is the voice for the child and advocates for the child’s best interest hopefully working with various government, counseling and ecclesiastic entities to eventually  return the child to the parent, or if that is absolutely impossible to secure an adoption family for that child until the age of 18. This is a rigorous training program and should not be considered lightly. The rewards, however, are great, and the possibility to make serious positive changes for the child, the families and even the institutions involved is also great.

Sacrifice is Essential


While these concrete tactics suggest some powerful ways of insuring serious lasting Biblical changes in your local community, it is of no avail if you are not willing to sacrifice yourself for others in the advancement of the Kingdom. Talking, writing, debating and/or arguing about how to advance the Kingdom of God will come to nothing if something is not actually executed in your local community. Everything begins with your willingness to die to self and serve the living Christ.

 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.Mt 10:42

1 My graduate degrees took 3 years to complete. My Doctoral work had been a work in the making for almost 20 years. I am presently taking courses and am undergoing advanced training in several non-Theological disciplines for targeted positions of influence. Learning should be constant. Educational accomplishments impress people. It shows that you are a devoted and diligent scholar. But be sure that whatever your degree is it is something that can be used for the Advancement of God’s Kingdom. Having an academic degree for the sake of having an academic degree is simply a prideful thing. We have too many “Ivory Towers” of academia. We do not need any more. What we need is honest people who want to use their accomplishments for the Glory of God in the real world. Your degree must have a concrete reason behind it otherwise you are wasting your time.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Tactical Recon: Listen & Convey


Listen carefully; and then listen some more.

No one likes to be preached to. As Christians we are naturally ready (or should be ready) to give an apologetical answer for every question that others may ask concerning Scripture, and its application to the real world. However, when seeking to build rapport with those in your community, you must suppress the urge to argue them into what you are proposing. The more you try to convince someone, if you have not developed an intimate and open relationship first, the more they may resist.

What we must remember is that people really do not want to hear what anyone else has to say. They may listen for a moment, but only so that when their turn comes they can talk about themselves. In fact, very often, while they are listening to someone else’s story they are eagerly waiting for their turn to tell a better story or relate a more exciting experience they had.

People love to share their experiences more than they like to listen to the experiences of others no matter how exciting they may be. And so before any one will listen to us we must first listen to them.
Convey vs Convince

Once an opportunity opens where you can actually get their attention do not try to convince your hearers of anything. Instead of laboring to change their mind via a convincing argument, simply convey pertinent information to them. Give your audience the necessary data to form an educated opinion. When you convey information to your hearers, you are equipping them to think in a particular way which hopefully results in a change of mind.

Be careful not to try to convince your hearer that your ideas are the best. Simply convey the facts, and the way those ideas can be implemented for a better community and then let God deal with the individual. Remember, Convey do not try to Convince. Present the Truth and then gauge the response.

Tactic: Ask Questions

The best way to make people feel more at ease is to ask them open ended questions allowing them to control the situation. Open ended questions make them fell as if they are controlling the discussion when in reality they are divulging their philosophical world and life views giving you an accurate idea of where they are coming from ideologically and theologically. Get them talking. You’d be surprised how people are apt to open up. This will determine whether or not the relationship is worth cultivating, or to want extent it is worth cultivating. Remember every relationship is important – some more than others.
 
                                                Visibility, Availability & Consistency

Be available and be consistent. This strategy will not work if you do not make yourself available to the community. If you really want to make an impact in the culture you must be visible. Furthermore, your efforts must be consistent. If you find it difficult to make yourself visible then make it a point to frequently walk through the local Walmart  just to look for opportunity to engage people you know or people you believe you need to know. If you wish to be a positive force in your community force you must be a visible force of availability and consistency.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Tactical Recon: Rapport & The Human Element


It’s All about Human Contact

Christian Reconstruction was never meant to be impersonal but rather relational. Institutions are not persons in the sense that they cannot be related to as one would relate to another human being. You cannot build rapport with institutions. Institutions are comprised of people. If an institution is to be transformed the people of that institution need to be transformed first. 

The way this is accomplished is by building a positive relationship with its administrators.

For instance: The institution of a community’s judiciary is not some vague and impersonal institution. It is made up of real people; judges, commonwealth attorneys, defense attorneys, court officers, the DSS workers, even the staffers who work in the records department. Changing any institution requires the changing of its people. Human interaction is the key. That is where ideas are shared and policies developed. This is where CR beings. Any strategy which neglects or minimizes the human element is destined to fail.

The Challenge

In order to exact Biblical change in any culture one must first challenge the secular status quo of that culture. People are not easily convinced. They are not easily responsive to any changes in what they know or what they are used to no matter how detrimental it is to them. This is especially true when they are suspicious of those encouraging change.

Begin with the ‘Who’ and Establish a Rapport

Building rapport with people is the foundational framework for action. Build rapport and you can change the world. Positive interaction is the path to establishing trust. Without trust nothing of consequence can happen.

1.      Begin focusing on the individual.

2.      Get to know the people in your community.

3.      Integrate. Speak to all kinds of people who are situated within your community. Do not let race, or social status get in the way of your positioning goal.


4.      Introduce yourself to everyone, especially those in authority. As a minister this task is easy, but for a simple citizen it may be a bit more challenging.

5.      Don’t be afraid of initiating a conversation or visiting your community officials for no other reason than for a personal introduction. Talk to them. Engage them in conversation. Inquire as to their situation.

6.      Listen to them BEFORE you give anyone your opinion.

7.      Gather intel. Know where they stand on the issues before you put your foot in your mouth and sever the relationship before it gets started.

8.      Build a contact list. Take their contact info – give them yours.

Rapport Tactics

In Janine Driver’s book, “You Can’t Lie To Me”, the world renown body language expert for the CIA, FBI, ATF and the International Chief of Police, explains that in order to gain trust your body language and your intention must match. When speaking with people you must be open and welcoming in your posture. That means hands out of the pockets, arms not crossed, and no looking around as if you’re waiting for a helicopter to land on your head. You get the point.

Eye contact is also important. Aim for steady but not oppressive eye contact. Staring or squinting can get a bit creepy so be calm and relaxed. Driver advises that in order to gain trust one must lead with empathy by putting yourself in the other person’s situation. That requires listening as well as being transparent, or as Driver phrases it, “Being Human.”

She says,

“Being in rapport with someone [is] having them feel warm and trusting toward you [which] increases the likelihood that they well be honest with you….Building rapport convinces people that you are trustworthy and makes them want to help you…People in rapport with each other are predisposed to co-operation” pg 78

These tactics are essential if relationships are to be built. Once that is established then, and only then, can you begin to explore relevant hot topics of the day.

According to Christian counseling professionals, Sbanotto, Gingrich and Gingrich, there is an early, middle, and then later sequence for realizing a particular goal. Within our realm of CR it may look something like the following:

The Early Sequence

Initial contact: This is where the rapport building begins to take place.



The Middle Sequence

Commitment: During this middle sequence there is the development of a higher level of contact even a freedom to discuss ideas. This is the point where you might begin to introduce various CR ideas.

Intimacy: From this posture of willingness to discuss ideas there should be a growing Intimacy where deeper discussions being to emerge. At this stage there is a comfortable relationship between you and the other person. This is where your ideas can be further explored in detail. This is a critical point in your relationship. If you have developed a trustworthy rapport your ideas will at least be given audience.

Later Sequence

Implementation:  This is where you begin to find common ground as to implementing Biblical principles and policies, and where the application begins. At this point you will want to suggest a specific course of action hoping that your hearer will agree to its veracity.

Stimulation:  At this juncture your ideas not only resonate with your hearer, but that your hearer will be stimulated enough to share your ideas with others with the intent of implementing them within the community and possibly joining in an effort to bring these ideas to fruition.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Tactical Recon - Positioning: The Key to Christian Reconstruction


Whenever a plan is hatched, which relies heavily upon influencing people with new ideas, it must be realized that such an endeavor takes TIME. One of the problems with the modern CR movement is lack of patience. CR (Christian Reconstruction)  is not a quick fix. 

Long term planning is essential. Successes and failures need to be experienced. It may take years to gain respect and trust. Convincing the citizenry of your integrity and your willingness to be a part of the community, and a positive force in its well being, is a long term endeavor. Superficial involvement will accomplish nothing. You cannot simply enter into a community and dictate how you think it should be structured. If you go into CR with a big head of steam you will be shut out and no one will ever listen to you no matter how great your ideas are. Remember CR is about people. Care for people and they will care about what you have to say.

Read “Singleness of Purpose”

Maintenance & Monitoring

Once a strategy is agreed upon, and the plan is enacted, it must be maintained and monitored. Commitment to the long term is essential. Well meaning people begin all kinds of ministries but very few bring it to efficacious fruition. It is very easy to begin a thing, it is much more difficult to maintain it over time. Only after a certain amount of time has elapsed can a determination be made whether that plan is accomplishing what it was set out to do. That means concrete goals and measuring points must be first established before executing any CR effort. If you cannot measure a strategy, you cannot know if it is working. Sometimes results are evident immediately while at other times results are slow to come. Every result has its own time clock. Proper analysis, therefore, takes time. A projects means absolutely nothing unless it can be maintained and groomed into something effective. This is a long term effort.

How to Measure Positioning Success

Depending on your goal, success is measured differently. If the goal is community positioning and cultural influence, success is measured in a number of ways.

Ask first: “What does influence look like in the community?”

Do people seek your advice or opinion? 

Are they interested in your political analysis on current issues? 

Do they call on you when there is a decision to be made on certain community issues? 

Does the local store owner or postal clerk confide in you asking for some response to their situation or a community issue? 

Can you comfortably call upon any local or state wide government officials for a sit down?
Do they call upon you for a sit down? 

How often do government official ask you to join them for lunch? 

Are you able to address your community leaders by name? 

When in a crowd do community leaders, or state reps go out of their way to greet you or are you invisible until the next fundraising event? And do they greet you by name? 

Will the local newspaper editor print your letters without editing?

Are you asked to speak, or pray, at local political rallies, events or meetings? 

Does the dispatch at the local sheriff’s office, the staffs personal, the sheriff and his deputies know who you are; by name?

These are some of the ways you can know if you hold any clout in your local community. Visibility is the part of the success of community positioning. Positioning is getting into a community or a culture and visibly integrating yourself within that community or culture so that you are trusted. Only when people know you, and trust you, will they listen to you.

Nothing of Godly change can happen unless this happens first. I cannot stress this enough.
Get to know the people in your community. 

Here are some things you can do to position yourself in your community.

1.      Observe city, town, and county meetings. Rub shoulders with the officials. Ask questions. At first do not offer advice or opinion. Not yet anyway. Make yourself visible. Build trust.

2.      Join the Chamber of Commerce if you have a business or just observe their meetings.

3.      Apply with the county office to get onto a county committee. Serve in a community endeavor. Get to know the players.

4.      Go to school board meetings. This will assist in analyzing their policies and keep an eye on their budget.

5.      Many communities have art shows, festivals and various events all of which have a steering committee. Volunteer your time. Get to know the people. Gather intel. Be personable. Build a reputation of integrity.

6.      Introduce yourself to the local sheriff, postmaster and clerks. Visit the treasurer’s office. Learn his or her name and be able to recognize them in the marketplace so you can greet them by name. The treasure holds a critical position in the community.

The list of possibilities is exhaustive. Be creative. Get out from under the social media tyranny and away from the Face Book keyboard and get into your community and show yourself. Otherwise you are simply involved in a teapot tempest preaching to the choir. Nothing of importance will ever be accomplished.

Be; and then you can Do

Only when you have shown yourself trustworthy, as a knowledgeable individual with character integrity can you do anything of value.

You must first BE, so that you can DO.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Tactical Reconstruction


Tactical Reconstruction aka Tactical Recon

With all the talk of Christian Reconstruction, (CR), and the duty of Christians to advance the Kingdom of Christ, there is more talk these days than real action. While disseminating information and ideas is good, even important, and usually begins the process of CR, it is not, in and of itself, enough. 



In fact, if all there is is talk, then it no longer amounts to CR or the actual work of Advancing Christ’s Kingdom. If CR discussions never amount to actionable and measurable results it cannot, by definition, be called CR. Perhaps it should be called “Recon Pontification”. CR must be actionable so that it can be measured to see if it has been effective. Only then can we claim to be reconstructionists.

What is Tactical Recon (TR)

CR must have concrete directives and goal all of which result in a measurable community change God-ward. Without the actual application of a concrete plan nothing of any consequence can ever happen. The introduction, execution and monitoring of a tactical plan within a given community is what CR should be about. Anything less is just cheap talk.
The Plan

Tactical Recon will periodically post in detail, various community action plans that have already been executed, are still being executed, or will be executed by Christian Reconstructionists locally, within the realm of the U.S., and in the international community.

TR will explain why these plans were considered, how they were executed, if they succeeded or failed and why, what might have been done differently for a greater impact and how are they being maintained.

TR will also set forth a “success barometer” so certain plans can be accurately measured. In other words, how does one measure the success of a certain community action program? Is every community action program measured by the same standard? What are the goals of the plan and are their benchmarks being set to know whether or not the plan is effectual? All these are questions that must be taken into consideration when advancing Christ’s agenda.
The Essential Questions

Whenever an action plan is considered one must first figure out the area(s) to target. And so we ask the questions of: Who? What? Where? When? How? and most importantly Why?
Who do we target, i.e. what group or institution?

What needs to be targeted and How do we propose to initiate the plan?

Where is this plan to be executed; locally, state-wide, politically, the clergy, community groups , law enforcement, home school groups, school boards, social workers, postal workers, businesses, etc?

When is the best time to execute the plan?

And Why are we seeking to address this issue with this plan?

Once these questions are answered CR can begin in earnest.


The Schedule

This Ambassador School Blog will take up these discussions concerning Tactical Recon by posting various Actionable Plans that anyone can execute in their own community. They will be detailed descriptions of What, Where, When, How and Why they were executed and the effects which they had, if any, on the community and its people.

UP NEXT: 


“Positioning: The Key to Christian Reconstruction”

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Offering of a Thankful Heart

The over-all message of Psalm 50 is actually a rebuke upon the Religious hypocrite who is determined to ACT OUT VARIOUS religious rituals, but refuses to offer God the Thanksgiving-Glory due Him. The Psalmist Asaph is warning the hypocrite to mend his ways by reflecting upon the UNSEEN Saviour Who is only SEEN by the eye of Faith.

While the hypocrite is able to perform outward works, in a show of religious observances, he is unable to manufacture sincere gratitude for the work of Grace. He is unable to be sincerely thankful for the various Providences that have blessed him and guided him throughout his life, simply because he has not actually experienced the work of grace.
This Psalm is a wake-up call for all of us, who have reaped an abundance of God’s Blessings, and yet remain in a posture of murmuring and discontentment.

Jonathan Edwards notes that…

“Affections that are truly spiritual and gracious…arise from those influences and operations on the heart, which are spiritual and Divine.” Religious Affections p 197

According to the puritans, Edwards and Thomas Shepherd, Asaph the Psalmist is exposing two kinds of hypocrites; the Legal and the Evangelical.

Edwards observes,

“There are two sorts of hypocrites: the first, are deceived with their outward morality and external religion… The other, are those that are deceived with false discoveries and elevations, which often cry down works, and men’s own righteousness, and talk much of free grace, but at the same time, make a righteousness of their discoveries, and of their humiliation, and exalt themselves to heaven with them.

These two kinds of hypocrites Mr. Shepherd, in his ex-position of the Parable of the 10 Virgins, distinguishes by the names of legal and evangelical hypocrites, and often speaks of the latter as the worst. And ‘tis evident that the latter are commonly by far the most confident in their hope, and with the most difficulty brought from it.” Ibid P173

Asaph identifies the first hypocrite as one that is deceived by the keeping of outward ceremonies in verses 9-13 he is the legalist.

Ps 50:9 I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds. 10 For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. 11 I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. 12 If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. 13 Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?

In these verses Aspah identifies the Evangelical moralist, who is actually an antinomian, who relates to the Covenant of Free Grace, but is void of true Love toward God by not being thankful. That is the test of sincere love and appreciation toward God. i.e. A thankful heart.

Asaph continues to explain.

Ps 50:16 ¶ But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? 17 Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.

Asaph tells both of these hypocrites in verse 14 to…

… Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High...

The problem with the hypocrite is that he holds onto a false hope, and a false confidence that he is one of God’s Elect.

Again Edwards observes.

“When once a hypocrite is thus established in a false hope, he hasn’t those things to cause him to call his hope into question, that often times, by the occasion of the doubting of true Saints. At first, he hasn’t that cautious spirit, that great sense of the vast importance of a sure foundation, and that dread of being deceived. The comforts of the true Saints increase awakening and caution, and a lively sense how great a thing it is to appear before an infinitely holy, just in of mission to judge. But false comforts put an end to these things, and dreadfully stupefy the mind. Secondly, the hypocrite has not the knowledge of his own blindness, and the deceitfulness of his own heart, and that mean opinion of his own understanding, that the true Saints has. Those that are diluted with false discoveries and affections, are ever more highly conceded of their light and understanding.”

Drawing from the Law of God in Leviticus 7:12, Asaph reminds the hypocrite that a

Thankful Posture’ is an essential component when offering up the required ceremonial scarifies of Peace, and that thankful posture does not exhibit itself ONLY when things are going well. Thanksgiving is the posture of the True Saint at every season.
God is, however, very clear in that this Peace offering was to be offered WITH Thanksgiving otherwise it would not be an acceptable offering. Whenever contemplating the Peace Treaty, which God had CUT with Israel, the people were to be Thankful. A sincere heart of thanksgiving was what yoked the sacrifice with the people and which made the sacrifice acceptable.

Ro 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Rev George Barlow comments,

1Th 5:16 ¶ Rejoice evermore.17 Pray without ceasing.

And for the record, (to reiterate) a Thankful heart does not show itself in giving thanks once
in a while, over the dinner table or in private devotion, or when things go well, but rather the thankful heart is FILLED WITH Thanksgiving at all times. Thanksgiving is the exercise of love and faith for all that God is and in all that God does. God impresses this ROOT of LOVE in the declaration of the Great Commandment, knowing that LOVE is the well spring of all other affections which is inaugurated and fed by the indwelling of God, the Holy Spirit.

1.    First. Thanksgiving out of a pure loving heart is the Christian’s DUTY
It is the WILL and thus it is the Commandment of the Sovereign King that you humble yourself and bless Him by Thanking Him. 
It is the WILL and thus it is the Commandment of the Sovereign King that you humble yourself and bless Him by Thanking Him.

Those who honestly and sincerely thank God, do so out of the Spirit’s prodding – and it is of the highest privilege to be moved by the Spirit of God. Whenever we thank God, it is because He has given us something that was not part of our being to begin with. The privilege is that we have been given something from GOD!!!! 

Think of it. God has given you something that you didn’t have before and moreover that you never deserved in the first place. A heart to love Him, Thank Him, Praise Him, and Pray to Him.We have God as our God and Father. He is also the Universal King of the Universe. HE gives only to His Own, conferring upon them a great honor which IN TURN Thanks Him for such a mercy.

The beginning of Wisdom is the Fear of the LORD. That fear is an honoring and awe inspiring aspect of the saint. This impresses upon the mind of the Christian exactly WHO GOD is, and what is commanded of him for his own benefit. AND so it is in the saint’s best interest (in His wisdom ) To Give Thanks to the Lord.

Moses explained to Israel that obedience to the Commands of God was WISDOM.

De 4:5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.

 IN Psalm 105 the Psalmist sets Thanksgiving as a PREREQUISITE to calling on God for His Help and Deliverance.


Knowing that God is well pleased with Thanking Him, that knowledge in and of itself is an Excellency of knowledge and understanding.

Paul tells the Philippians,

Php 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ

The rendering of Thanksgiving is a character dynamic of the Regenerate. It is a Necessary attribute for the Christian without which one remains doubtful of his or her conversion.

It reminds us that He is generous because we are needy. We must be ever so conscious of our need for charity. By accepting our poverty of body, soul and spirit, in light of the Grace that has been given to us, we, out of sincere NECESSITY, give thanks. The Christian should naturally take delight in Thanking God, knowing that God delights in us, when we are sincerely Grateful. As the Apostle declares, and as all of us should likewise declare…




Moses says this.

Le 7:11 ¶ And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he shall offer unto the LORD. 12 If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried.

The Law is very explicit in what type of sacrifice this was.It was for the Peace offering, which meant it was symbolic of the Peace Treaty between God and His People, according to the Covenant cut with Blood – representing the Lord Jesus.

Paul explains,

Eph 2:14 ¶ For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the
middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.


Whatever was offered – whether it was the cakes mingled with oil, or the anointed unleavened wafers of fine flour – it was UNACCEPTABLE - if was offered without Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was the main Component of this ceremony of Peace and remains so throughout eternity. It was not so much the material cakes and unleavened wafers that Israel was thankful for, but what those things signified that moved the people to praise and Thank God.

But there was something more to this sacrificial offering. This offering was made with an oath, It was coupled with a VOW. In other words it was a requirement.
Ps 50:14 Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High

Adam Clarke explains,

"Now these were offerings, in their spiritual and proper meaning, which God required of the people: and as the sacrificial system was established for an especial end; to show the sinfulness of sin, and the purity of Jehovah, and to show how sin could be atoned for, forgiven, and removed; this system was now to end in the thing that it signified,-[i.e.] the grand sacrifice of Christ, which was to make atonement, feed, nourish, and save the souls of believers unto eternal life; [and] to excite their praise and thanksgiving; [and to] bind them to God Almighty by the most solemn vows to live to him in the spirit of gratitude and obedience all the days of their life. And, in order that they might be able to hold fast faith and a good conscience, they were to make continual prayer to God, who promised to hear and deliver them, that they might glorify him, [according to the next verse of Ps 50:15.]..which states: Ps 50:15 And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”

The rendering of sincere Thanksgiving established a spirit of gratitude which WAS REQUIRED in payment of Israel’s oath. Biblical vows, if they were to be valid, had to be voluntary. God is calling on Israel to voluntarily praise and give Him thanks for His fidelity and grace. The VOW was a promise that in everything, the people of God were to ‘Give Thanks’ from the outpouring of gratitude for the LORD and HIS work.

This is the intent of the Apostle when he counsels the Thessalonians.

1Th 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

He makes it a point to tell the Thessalonians that it is GOD’s WILL (Which is His commandment) that His people render thanksgiving in everything. Paul is able to say this because he understands that ALL THINGS work together for good.

He tells the Saints at Rome,

“It is our duty to be ever grateful... The Christian can meet with nothing in the way of duty that is not a cause for thankfulness, whatever suffering may be entailed. When we think of the ceaseless stream of God’s mercies, we shall have ample reasons for [uninterrupted] Thanksgiving.”

According to the Apostle Paul the command to give thanks isn’t isolated from the Command to rejoice and pray. He rather enjoins the three together.
Continual Prayer and Rejoicing are also commanded as being part of the will of God

He puts together a kind of Trinity of commands for the benefit and well being of the saints. Rejoicing, Prayer and Thanksgiving.

Observe the connection made between prayer and thanksgiving  when writing to the Philippians and Colossians,

Php 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

 Col 2:7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

 Col 4:2 ¶ Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.

The Rev George Barlow again observes,

“The secret of a happy life is in harmony with the divine will… It is the will of God that his people should be rejoicing, praying, and grateful; and this will is revealed by Christ, as declared in his gospel, as received in his church, and as observed by those in communion with him. What a revelation is this, not of an arbitrary demand of the impossible state of the affections toward God, but a beautiful and consolatory discovery of the largeness of his love and of the blessed ends for which he has redeemed us in Christ. The will of God supplies constant material for gratitude and praise. These are the three marks of a genuine Christian. 1. To rejoice in the mercy of God. 2. To be fervent in prayer. 3.To give thanks to God in all things.” Homiletic Commentary pg 543

If one were to take careful notice of the various Psalms, one would immediately see that there is a powerful and obvious theme throughout; Praise and Thanksgiving for God.

Throughout the Old Testament the Prophets have lifted up the Name of the LORD in Thanksgiving and Praise.

Ps 26:6 ¶ I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD: 7 That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.

Ps 69:30 ¶ I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.

 Ps 95:2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

Ps 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

 Ps 107:22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.

Ps 116:17 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.

Ps 118:1 ¶ O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.

 Ps 147:7 Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:

 Isa 51:3 For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

 Jer 30:19 And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.

What all these Old Testament prophets were praising and thanking God for, was not only
what He had done in their history, but MOREOVER, IN ANTICIPATION of what He was going to do through the LORD Jesus, in all of history. And so when Paul speaks of the giving of thanks, he often focuses upon the aspect of the spiritual and temporal victory effectuated by the resurrected Christ.

1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2Co 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

2Co 9:15  Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

Col 1:12 ¶ Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.

Re 4:9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,

 Re 11:17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

Consider for a moment the ROOT of Thanksgiving

The root of a Thankful heart is LOVE ; a Love Toward God. When the heart is filled with LOVE and Devotion to God, it is reflected in Thanksgiving. This type of Love focuses on God and His Redemption though the Crucified and Risen Lord Christ. Love toward God is expressed in Thanksgiving. There is no other way about it. If you do not have a thankful heart you may not be a Christian.

De 6:4 ¶ Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Jesus adds an additional but extremely important nuance to the Commandment.

Mt 22:37  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

The sincere contemplation of the mercy of God with the mind should, result in a brokenness to the point of praise and thanksgiving. This is to be expanded further to include a love toward our neighbor which Jesus declares as the second great commandment.

Mt 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

This commandment teaches us that the hypocrite’s thanksgiving, IF HE SHOWS ANY SIGN OF BEING THANKFUL, only goes as far as himself and not to his neighbor.

Observe the parable of the wicked Hypocrite.

Lu 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

You see this man VERBALLY gave thanks, but his heart was far from the love of God and love toward his neighbor, rendering his thanksgiving UNACCEPTABLE even damnable.

The Great Puritan Thomas Vincent explains that it is LOVE toward God that excites all other reactions, and in this case Thanksgiving.

He lists 8 considerations for the Christian to contemplate which can be used to encourage and excite the heart and mind to Love and Thanksgiving.


2.    Second: Thanksgiving is a PRIVILEDGE.

3.    Third: It is a great HONOR to be able to Thank God.
 
4.    Fourth: There is also WISDOM in rendering Thanksgiving to God.

 6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations…

Ps 105:1 ¶ O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.

5.    Fifth: There is also an EXCLLENCY in Thanking God.

6.    Six: There is also the NECESSITY of Giving Thanks.

7.    Seventh: There is also a USEFULLNESS in the giving of Thanks.

8.    Finally, Thanksgiving is A DELIGHTFUL practice.


2Co 9:15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.  AMEN