The Sword

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Put Your Sword in Its Scabbard


Jeremiah 47:6

"O thou sword of the LORD, how long will it be ere thou be quiet? put up thyself into thy scabbard, rest, and be still."

Two very important principles are found in this verse. The first principle is that at times the LORD does expect His people to fight. You will notice that the LORD asks about the sword, " long will it be ere thou be quiet?" In the next verse there is an answer to this question when it tells us that the LORD is the One Who gave the sword the charge. In other words, the LORD is not always for peace, but at times He does expect His children to fight when He gives the command.  

There is a need for the Christian to fight.  When truth is attacked, every Christian should stand up and fight.  I become weary of pacifists Christians who idly stand by and watch truth be attacked and compromised. When truth is being attacked, it is time to stand and defend it.  

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On the other hand, the other principle that was being taught is that there is a time for everyone to put their sword in the scabbard.  Notice it says in the verse above, "...put up thyself into thy scabbard, rest, and be still." Just as much as there is a time to fight, there is also a needed time to stop fighting.  Yes, there are some times when people should stand up and fight, but there are many times when people fight with each other when it is not needed.  

One of the times you should put your sword in its scabbard is with family. You only have one family, and you must be careful not to fight with family. I have found one of the reasons family members fight with each other is because they are trying to better each other. Listen, we are not in a competition to see who has the best family. Every family member must realize that they are all in this together.  There is no trophy handed to the best family at the end of life, therefore, stop trying to compete and start pulling for every family to succeed.  

Another reason families fight is because of meddling family members. I have watched family members try to read each others motives as to why they are doing something, only to cause hard feelings. It is time to put your sword in your scabbard with family. Don't allow yourself to judge the motives of other family members, and stop trying to meddle in their family affairs.  Take care of your own family and you will stay busy for the rest of your life.  

Yes, there is a time to fight, but when it comes to family put your sword in its scabbard and stop fighting.  Don't destroy your relationship with your family over petty issues.  No, you are not always going to agree with family, but you can still have a great relationship with every family member if you will learn to put your sword back in its scabbard.  Don't be guilty of wielding your sword with your family. Put the sword in its scabbard and enjoy the family God gave you.


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Identifiers of Pride


Jeremiah 43:2

"Then spake Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men, saying unto Jeremiah, Thou speakest falsely: the LORD our God hath not sent thee to say, Go not into Egypt to sojourn there:"

If you were to dissect sin, you would find that the core of all sin is pride. In fact, one of the first things that God mentions to take care of if you want revival is pride. In the verse above, it was pride that caused the men not to listen to the Word of God. Jeremiah preached the truth to these men and told them to stay in Judah, but it was their pride that caused them to think they knew more than they did. It was their pride that blinded them to their rebellious heart, which eventually led to their destruction. If these men would not have listened to pride, then they would not have lost their lives.  

It is no doubt that the greatest sin destroying people today is pride. It all started in Heaven when Lucifer's pride caused him to rebel against God. Still, today we find many Christians who let their pride lead them away from God's will for their life.  If you don't deal with your pride, then you will find heartache is to come.  

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We find in Jeremiah 43 some of the identifiers of pride. In verse 2, we can see that pride rejects truth. These men would not accept truth because truth was condemning them.  You must be careful not to let your pride cause you to reject the truth about yourself. Pride blinds us to what we truly are, therefore, because we are blinded to what we are we reject any truth that is spoken about us.  Let me remind you that you are a sinner, and as a sinner you are going to be wrong at times.  Don't let your pride make you think that you are right all the time.  

Second, in verse 3, pride blames others. These men blamed Baruch for what was said instead of accepting the truth about themselves.  Let me ask you, when is the last time that you ever accepted that you were wrong? Do you find that your first response to any situation is to blame others? Is wrong that happens always someone else's fault? Your best response to any situation is to blame yourself first.  Don't let your pride cause you to always blame others. Stop blaming your spouse for everything and accept the blame yourself. Stop blaming others for your child's wrong, and accept the blame.  Stop blaming others for things going wrong, and accept that you are wrong.  Look honestly at yourself and the situations you face, do you find it is always someone else's fault? If you say you don't, then when have you blamed yourself lately?  

Third, in verse 4, pride always wants its way no matter what. Christian, if you are not careful you will let your pride drive your decision-maker.  That is not good!  Pride will always think that its way is right because it will blind your eyes to right. You must always set your desire completely aside, for if you don't your pride will cause you to always want it your way.  

Be careful not to let pride control you. The end result of pride is destruction and death. Don't let your pride destroy you and the one's you love. Face your pride, get rid of it and let humility control your every action. The best way to do this is to always defer to others, and pride will step out of the way.


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Follow the Followers


Jeremiah 38:5

"Then Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hand: for the king is not he that can do any thing against you."

There is a game that many children play called, "Follow the leader." The principle of the game is to teach children the importance of the followers following their leader. When the followers follow the leader, and the leader leads in the right direction, then everyone wins.  Though life is not a game, it is important that in every role we follow the principle of following the leader.  

Why was Judah in such a mess in Zedekiah's day? Very simple, they had very weak leadership! Zedekiah showed how weak of a leader he was when he said, "Behold, he is in your hand: for the king is not he that can do any thing against you." This is the sign of weak leadership.  Weak leadership follows its followers instead of leading its followers. Followers don't need to lead themselves. They need someone strong enough to tell them what they need to do, as well as someone who will lead them while they are doing it.  Leadership is to lead, not follow, that is the purpose of leadership.  

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In today's society, you will find many leaders who are not leading their followers.  It seems as if leaders are following the followers instead of the followers following the leaders. As along as the leaders follow the followers, then you will continue to have a dysfunctional society.  

Parents, your responsibility is to lead your children. No parent should follow their children's leadership. Sadly, in many homes you see children leading and this is to their own detriment. God commands the children to obey their parents, not for the parents to obey the children.  Every parent should realize the importance of leading their children.  

Likewise, the husband needs to start leading instead of following in the marriage. I know we talk a lot about how a lady should not lead, but when the husband won't lead, then someone has to step up and lead.  Men, it's time you stop being the follower and start being the leader God intended for you to be.  

In our churches, we need pastors who will stop following the followers and start leading them. The whole reason why we have Christian rock in our music programs and the hipster society taking control of the churches is because the pastors are following the followers. If pastors would follow God and lead the church, then there would not be liberalism inside of the church.  

Christian, be sure that in every relationship you are fulfilling your proper role of following or leading.  If you are a follower in a certain relationship, then be sure to follow and stop fighting against the leader.  If you are a leader in another relationship, then you need to be sure to lead and not follow the followers.  Whenever the leaders follow the followers you will find that compromise and heartache will follow, but when the leaders follow God and lead their followers in the way God wants them to go, then joy and success will come.  Let's not live life following the followers, but let's live life following the leaders.

The Greatest Life

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The Greatest Life is the Christian Life


Psalm 37:1

"Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity."

When God says, "Fret not thyself because of evildoers..." He is commanding you not to become envious about those who don't live righteous lives. God knew that Christians would start looking at what the "evildoers" seemed to get away with and would consider not doing right themselves.  Let's face it, quite often it seems that the world seems to have a lot of fun with their sin.  Whenever you look at the television programs and advertisements, they always portray those who live in sin as happy people. That is the problem, we only see what they portray and not the real life of these actors. When you look at their real life, you realize that sin does not pay. Yet, we still must have a way to remind ourselves that the Christian life is the best life. God show us four ways to keep the Christian life in its proper perspective.  

First, trust God!  In verse 3, God commands you to trust Him in spite of what the heathen do. Christian, there will be many times in your life when you will just have to trust that God is right.  You may not see that God is right, but you must trust Him that He is right.  

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Second, in verse 4, God says to delight yourself in Him.  The word "delight" means "to get pleasure from." In other words, God is telling you the way to keep from being envious of the wicked is to get your delight from God. Just like the wicked get their pleasure from sin, you need to get your pleasure from God.  Christian, serving God can be fun, and on top of that it is rewarding in the long run. One of the reasons why Christians become envious of the wicked is because they don't enjoy life. Learn to lighten up; laugh and enjoy life. To never laugh or enjoy the things of life is not one of the requirements of being a Christian. God wants you to enjoy life, just serve Him while you're enjoying it. Get your pleasure from doing right.  

Third, commit your way to God. In verse 5, God says that you must commit your way to Him if you are going to avoid becoming envious of the wicked.  In other words, decide you are going to walk God's way no matter what happens. Until you become that committed to God's way, you will always be envious of the wicked.  

Last, in verse 7, God says to rest in the LORD. To avoid becoming envious of the wicked, you must be patient and realize that God will come through for you, and will also reward the wicked for their ways. God's timing is not always our timing, therefore you must be patient realizing that God is keeping a record and will come through at the time appointed.  

Christian, don't become envious of the wicked's lifestyle.  It may seem fun at a distance, but it is filled with regret.  Follow the four steps above to avoid becoming envious of the wicked. If you will follow these steps, you will find the Christian life is the best life.


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Growth's Process


Jeremiah 12:2

"Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins."

One of the most exciting things to watch in life is growth.  On the other hand, one of the most frustrating things to wait on is fruit.  Yet, in order to enjoy the fruit of your labors, there must be a time of planting and then patience during the growing stage in order to see your fruit.  

Several years ago, when I had been in evangelism for about ten years, I was becoming frustrated with my ministry because I couldn't see the fruit of my ministry.  Don't get me wrong, I saw the LORD work on a weekly basis in every meeting, but I really wanted to see some long-standing fruit from my years of ministry.  I stayed with what God called me to do, and it wasn't long before I started seeing the fruit of my ministry.  Men who were called to preach were now coming to me as pastors and missionaries thanking me for my ministry.  People whom I led to the LORD were contacting me to thank me for taking time to lead them to Christ.  All of this happened because I had to go through the complete growth process in order to experience the fruit.  

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In the verse above, God explains the whole growth process that a person must go through in order to see fruit.  The first step in the growth process is planting. When you start planting, you are full of dreams, but planting can also be frustrating.  You must remember that repetition is very important in the planting stage. Whether you are growing a Christian or a young child, repetition of truth is very important.  This is why we must avoid needing something new to give, for the greatest teacher is repetition. I have watched many pastors try to preach something new that no one else has preached only to hurt those whom he pastors.  Repetition of truth is what drives home the seed of truth in the hearts of the people.  When a parent is rearing a child, especially in the early stages, repetition is very important to drive home the right way to live.  

Growth is the second stage in this process.  The growth phase is an important stage to watch because weeds will start growing as well.  It is in this stage that you will have to remove the bad habits that people pick up. Correction is needed in this growth phase.  Along with correction, the feeding of truth is still important. Preachers and teachers need to use correction in their preaching and teaching to remove the weeds of bad habits.  Parents must use correction in order to remove the bad habits in their children. If you want to see good fruit, then you must continue to feed truth and correct bad habits.  

The final stage of the growing process is fruit.  Reaping is hard work!  In order to reap you will have to be patient and longsuffering with people so that you can see the fruit of your labors. Too many people give up before they get to the reaping stage and never see the fruit of their labors.  

Christian, don't give up, for you will get fruit.  Parent, don't give up, for the fruit of your labors will be seen. God placed you on this Earth to reproduce. If you are going to fulfill God's purpose to bring forth fruit, then you must go through the process of planting, growing and reaping in order to see fruit.  Don't try to skip any stage, and be sure to stay with it until you see the whole process through. Going through the whole growth process is how you will experience fulfillment and joy in life.

It is not inherited!

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Spirituality is Not Inherited


Jeremiah 5:7

"How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses."

One of the greatest blessings of my life is my heritage.  I feel very blessed because I was born into an independent Baptist home. In fact, I am a sixth generation Baptist preacher. Because of God's grace, I have never seen the wickedness of the world in my family.  I grew up in a home where my parents guided me in the ways of the LORD.  Though I am blessed with this heritage, the LORD holds me more accountable to walking in His ways than those who have had to learn His ways on their own.  

In the verse above, God was angry with the second-generation Israelites who forsook Him for other gods. God lays His case out for what He did for them by saying He fed them until they were full.  In other words, He blessed them to the point that they wanted and needed nothing. Yet, though God blessed them in such a great manner, they still forsook Him to serve other gods. 

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If you are a second-generation Christian, you must be careful about allowing your heritage to become "old hat" to you. What a privilege you have had to grow up in a home where you did not have to see the pains of sin. There are many people who were saved out of a life of wickedness and have seen the pain that sin causes.  As a second-generation Christian, you must realize that God holds you to a higher standard than those who don't know any better.  Let me give you several quick thoughts that second-generation Christians must keep in mind.  

First, spirituality is not inherited. Just because your parents are spiritual does not make you spiritual. If you are spiritual, it is because you live a spiritual life.  Every generation is responsible for its own actions. 

Second, every generation must seek to know the LORD's way. Though you may know about the LORD's way because of your parents, you must personally seek to know His way by walking in His ways.  Let me put it this way, the LORD's way is not a knowledge, but His way is an experience and a lifestyle.  The only reason why you are in the LORD's way is because you are living in His way.  

Third, second-generation Christians must not think they have missed out. It is sad that the second-generation Christians in the text above forsook God for other gods.  Just because you have not experienced the "fun" of the world does not mean you have missed out. Yes, you have missed out!  You missed out on heartache, broken relationships, wrecked lives and God's judgment. That is what you miss out on by walking in the LORD's way.  Don't become so enamored with the world that you think you have missed out.  

Last, every generation must become the first generation.  Though you are a second-generation Christian, you are the first generation in your life.  You must live as if there were no previous generations who sought the LORD.  You must be that first generation to show the LORD's way for the generation who follows you.  Always remember, you cannot inherit spirituality, therefore you are the first generation.

Spiritual Retirement

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Spiritual Retirement Age


Isaiah 62:1  

"For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth."


Have you retired on God?  It seems as I travel that there are more and more people who have spiritually retired.  What I mean by this is that they are still faithful to church, but they hardly do anything in the church.  Many of these who have spiritually retired rely upon their past spiritual accomplishments as their basis for justifying their spiritual retirement.  

According to the verse above, until righteousness reigns supreme, there should be no spiritual retirement. You will notice it says, "I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth." Apparently, in God's eyes there is no spiritual retirement age.  The only time God justifies anyone spiritually retiring is when righteousness rules in everyone's life.  Micah 2:10 says, "Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest..." God commands every Christian to arise and keep building and restoring lives until righteousness reigns.  

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As I think about this verse, several thoughts come to mind.  First, you should not rest until you have conquered your own sin. Spiritual retirement is not an option until all sin has been conquered in your own life. Christian, one of the reasons you should not spiritually retire is because serving God is how you conquer sin. You will not conquer sin by sitting on the sidelines watching others serve God.  Being that you are a sinful human, that would mean you have no business spiritually retiring because you still have sin to overcome.  

Second, you should not spiritually retire until every person has conquered sin.  I think you are starting to get the picture, spiritual retirement will not happen until we get to Heaven. As long as people continue to sin, it is your responsibility to help them overcome their sin.  There is no time to rest when sin is destroying lives! It is not time to spiritually retire until righteousness reigns in the heart of every person.  

Last, you should not spiritually retire until every person on Earth is saved. The greatest reason why you should cancel your spiritual retirement plans is because people are still dying and going to Hell. Christian, Hell is a real place; and people are still dying and going there. How can you enjoy your spiritual retirement while people continue to slip off into a burning Hell for all eternity? It is not time to spiritually retire, it is time to grab your Bible and go tell people how to be saved. It is not time to spiritually retire while thousands of cities have no church to tell them how to get saved.  It is not time to spiritually retire while the world goes without a clear presentation of the Gospel. Until there is no fire in Hell, and until there is no person who is not saved, you should stay busy trying to reach every lost person with the Gospel of Christ.  

Have you spiritually retired?  What do you do for Christ other than attend church? It is time to get busy serving God and realize that your rest will come when you get to Heaven.  Until then, cancel all of your spiritual retirement plans.

Defusing the Enemies Weapons

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Defusing the Enemies Weapons


Isaiah 54:17
"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD."  


Defusing weapons is normally a very dangerous task. I can only imagine the adrenaline and fear that goes through the minds of bomb squads whose job it is to defuse the bombs that were created to hurt people.  Yet, when you know how to defuse a bomb, then that weapon that could hurt you does not cause as much fear for you because you know how to keep it from hurting you and others.  

In the verse above, God shows the Christian how to defuse the weapons that their enemies use against them.  Christian, we are in a spiritual war, and because we are in this war there will be enemies who will try to hurt you.  You must not be shocked when someone tries to attack and hurt you for you are in a war.  In the verse above, God gives us the answer as to how to defuse the weapons of our enemies.  Let me show you several things that will help you to defuse the enemies' weapons.  

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First, there will be weapons formed against you. God would not tell you about weapons being formed if you would never have to face them.  If you are going to serve God, then you must expect people to form weapons that will hurt you.  

Second, the verse above does not say that the weapons won't hurt you.  Christian, the only thing that God promised in the verse above is that the weapon won't prosper.  When the enemies' weapons hit you and hurt you, don't become disenchanted with God and quit.  You will be hurt at times, but you must keep on going.  

Third, this weapon is the tongue of the enemy.  Notice it says after talking about the weapon, "...and every tongue..." After God tells you that there will be weapons, He then tells you what their weapon is.  Christian, the enemy will say hurtful things about you if you do right and serve God.  One of the most hurtful weapons is the tongue.  The tongue is vicious! When you serve God, you must expect people to attack you with gossip and untruths.  

Fourth, what they say will not benefit them or their cause. This is where it starts getting exciting because God said, "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper..." The enemy may say hurtful and untruthful things about you to try to advance them and their cause, but God said that it would not help them.  You must understand that when people try to hurt you with their tongue that they are only hurting themselves.  Oh, they may hurt you for a little while, but it will not benefit their cause.  

Last, you overcome their tongue by serving God.  Notice God said, "This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD..." Notice the word"servants" in this verse. God is showing us that the way to defuse the weapon of what your enemies say is to keep serving God.  When you continue to do right and not let what people say about you stop you, then you are defusing their weapon.  Continuing on, and doing right is the best way to vindicate that you are right.  

Christian, if you serve God, you will have people attack you through vicious rumors and untruths.  In times like these you must defuse what they say by continuing to do right.  Time will show your character if you keep going.  You are the only one who can defuse the enemies' weapons, and you do this by continuing to serve God.


God Knows

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God Knows


Isaiah 37:28 "But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me."


Do you remember when you were a child how it seemed that your mother had eyes on the back of her head because she knew what you were doing without seeing you do it? I remember how often my mother would get on my siblings and me when we were doing something that we shouldn't have done.  We would wonder how she knew what we did, for we hadn't told anyone.  

In the verse above, God is saying that He knows all about us. God sent a message to Sennacherib through the Prophet Isaiah that He knew all about this wicked king.  There were three things that God said He knew about this king; He knew where he lived, where he was going and his weaknesses. God warned this king that though he thought he was invincible that He knew all about him and how to destroy him.  

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Let me remind you that God knows all about you as well.  First, God knows where you live.  This should be comforting to every Christian.  God says in the verse above, "But I know thy abode..." What a comfort it is that I don't have to tell my address to God for He already knows it.  Because God knows your address, He knows where to find you when He wants to use you. Christian, you don't need to promote yourself, for God knows your address and will find you when He needs you.  In the mean time, keep doing right until God comes to you to use you in a great way.  

Second, God knows where you are going. This is convicting! You may think you can get away with doing wrong, but God knows where you are going.  God said in the verse above, "But I know...thy going out, and thy coming in..." You can't fool God, for He sees everything that you do in life.  Though no one else sees your wrong, God sees it! Therefore, you should always be careful about what you do, for God knows where you are going.  

Last, God knows your weaknesses. God said in the verse above, "But I know...thy rage against me." Christian, if God knows your weaknesses, then He also knows how to help you overcome them.   You can overcome all of your weaknesses if you will ask God for His help.  

Furthermore, because God knows your weaknesses, He knows how to be merciful to you as you strive to overcome them. It is encouraging to me as a sinful man that God remembers that I am weak. This is why God is so merciful and longsuffering with His children, for He knows we are weak. Don't take this as permission to do wrong, but take God's mercy as a challenge to overcome your weaknesses.   

Let me say in closing, because God knows you this well, you should take this as a lesson to study yourself so you know yourself as well as God does. One of the mistakes many Christians make is not knowing their own patterns as well as God does. The better you know your strengths and weaknesses, the better chance you have to overcome and avoid the weaknesses you have, and to strengthen yourself as a Christian. Always keep this in mind: God knows where you live, where you're going and what your weaknesses are. It should be comforting, convicting and encouraging to know that God knows.

Spotting a liberal

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Spotting a Liberal


Isaiah 32:8
"But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand."


Spotting a liberal is not always the easiest thing to do.  Many times a liberal will disguise themselves as a conservative and end up fooling good people. There are times when preachers will portray themselves as a conservative only to be revealed later as a liberal. Politicians often will carry a conservative title so they can get elected, when in all reality people later find that politician to be a liberal.  Trying to spot who is and who is not a liberal can sometimes be difficult.  

In the verse above, God shows us how to spot a liberal.  He says, "But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand." In other words, God is saying that a liberal will eventually expose himself by his own actions.  A liberal may disguise himself as a conservative for gain, but if you will watch them long enough you will see who they really are.  Christian, whether it is in the political or spiritual world, it is important for you to spot who is a liberal and stay away from them.

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The term "liberal" in itself will tell you that a Christian has no business following or supporting such a person. By definition, a liberal is one who is "licentious; free to excess." In other words, a liberal is one who believes it is right to do whatever you want to do.  A liberal is one who cares not for the principles of the Scriptures.  A liberal is one who wants to be the authority and not point people to God as their authority.  

So how do we spot a liberal? One word in the verse above shows us how to spot a liberal.  The word "deviseth" carries several definitions that will help you spot a liberal.  The word "deviseth" means, "advertises; advises; guides; plans; writes; or argues in defense." In other words, a liberal is one who may say one thing, but their actions reveal they are a liberal.  A liberal will scheme up liberal plans.  A liberal advises people with liberal theology. A liberal advertises liberal people.  A liberal will use liberal illustrations and people to defend what they say.  Simply put, if you will look beyond their personality and charisma, you will see that everything they do is liberal.  

Christian, be careful that you don't allow liberals to influence you.  Just because someone carries a conservative title or stands where conservatives use to stand does not make them a conservative.  Many times liberals will disdain the one who preceded them and will do everything in their power to make their predecessor seem liberal or like a bad person. Watch out for these people!  Look beyond personality, charisma and position and look at their works as a whole, for their works will tell you that they are a liberal.  If a person does and says the same things liberals say, then they are a liberal.  

It is your responsibility to decipher who is liberal and not to follow them, for you lead others to follow the liberal when you choose to follow them.  When you look at the works of a liberal, you can spot them, for their works reveal their stand. If a person's works reveals that they are a liberal, then stay away!