Author Archives: Chris Jordan

A Bug’s Life

Proverbs 30:24-25.

“There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer.” (KJV).

ants

Little Ants:
In this passage of Scripture, we are about to be introduced to four little things, each one which will teach us an important lesson about life. Today’s first little thing is the ants. Now, this isn’t the first time we’ve been introduced to these little bugs. Solomon first referenced them earlier in Proverbs:

“Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6-8).

Wise Ants:
What do we learn about the ants? Even though they are little, they are wise. Even though they don’t have a captain, overseer or a boss, they gather their food and supplies to last them throughout the winter. That’s wisdom!

That’s amazing! Ants are bugs. Insects. The littlest, most insignificant of all of God’s creation. And yet, even without a mind or a soul, they are sometimes wiser than people! We would do well to look at the ant and learn a lesson from its life – if you can call it that.

Be the Bug:
In today’s Proverb, Agur adds some wisdom to what Solomon has previously taught us about the ants. He says that even though ants are not strong, they are wise and they plan ahead. What a great example for us! We might not be strong – and hey, we might not even be wise – but if we trust God and His Word and His wisdom, we can plan and prepare for the future. We can seek God’s wisdom and guidance from the Holy Scriptures every day, and avoid some of the pitfalls of life.

Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Likewise, Joshua 1:8 says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” If you want to live a bug’s life – planning for the future, then get into God’s Word.

For over twenty years now – since I first gave my life to Jesus Christ – I have endeavored to live my life in obedience to God’s Word. And although I haven’t done it perfectly, I can testify that it has brought me joy, hope, peace and provision that I wouldn’t have had if I had neglected God’s Wisdom.

Be wise. Be prepared. Be the bug!

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Beware the Birds

Proverbs 30:17.

“The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.” (KJV).

Family Devotions:

My wife and I have been married for almost 19 years, and we have four children that are now between the ages of 12 and 17. From the time they were young, we have always made our family devotion time a priority. No matter how busy our lives get, we always endeavour to gather together around the table at dinner time to share a meal together, connect, pray and read the Bible together. Sometimes we have read through a family devotional booklet, and other times we have simply read through a passage right out of the Bible and discussed it together.

When our children were much younger, we were reading through a little devotional booklet with wisdom Scriptures from the book of Proverbs. During that time, we came across the above Scripture from Proverbs 30:17. We told our kids, “You better make sure you don’t give your parents a dirty look, or the birds will come and pluck out your eyes!” Raised eyebrows and pensive glances soon followed, and I’m sure at least one of them was wondering if that would really happen. For some reason, this became one of their favourite Bible verses – or, at least one that they talked about the most!

Understanding Wisdom Literature:

From the time I graduated from Pacific Life Bible College in Surrey, BC in 1999, I taught there as an adjunct professor of Bible Research and Hermeneutics until I moved to Manitoba in 2007. One of the textbooks I used for my Hermeneutics class was Fee and Stuart’s How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. This excellent little volume explains how to accurately interpret the different genres of Bible literature – history, poetry, epistle, apocalyptic literature and the like.

In this book, they wrote: “The Book of Proverbs is the primary locus of prudential wisdom – that is, rules and regulations people can use to help themselves make responsible, successful choices in life… Proverbs teaches what might be called old fashioned basic values.” They also go on to explain that the Proverbs are generalizations, that is, that they express the normal course of events, and therefore, they are not to be viewed as absolute divine promises or guarantees. In other words, if you mock your parents or disobey them, this doesn’t literally mean that a bird will come and pluck your eye out. So what is this Scripture saying then?

In simplest terms, Proverbs is saying that it is wrong, bad and sinful to disrespect or dishonour your parents. Although there may not be an immediate consequence, sooner or later, you are going to reap a negative result in your life for sowing the seeds of rebellion. The wages of sin, the Bible warns us, is death. So don’t mock your parents! Honour, obey and respect them, and God will bless you for it.


This Generation

Proverbs 30:11.
“There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.” (KJV).

Today’s Generation of Young People:

There are several different definitions for the word generation: “the entire body of individuals born and living at about the same time; a group of individuals, most of whom are the same approximate age, having similar ideas, problems, attitudes, etc.” I believe that both of these definitions can aptly describe what Agur means by generation in this passage. And I believe that this passage is truer today than has ever been true before:

this generation

There is a generation – an entire body of individuals alive today – who both curse their father and don’t bless their mother. This has almost become the defining characteristic of today’s generation of young people. They are disrespectful – not only to their parents, but also to all forms of authority – government figures, police, teachers, coaches and even pastors. Just turn on the TV and you will be hard-pressed to find a positive program that promotes healthy family values, where the children honour and respect their parents. What a sad commentary on today’s society!

Cursing Instead of Blessing:

When I was younger, there were fewer people who would dare to disrespect their parents – at least not openly and to their faces. Yet today, there is a generation that curses their father. Today, they talk disrespectfully to their dad, and they talk disrespectfully about him behind his back. And not only do they curse their father (and their mother, too), but they also neglect to fulfill their duty to bless their mother (and father) by honouring and obeying them. It’s no wonder our world is in such a mess today!

In the Ten Commandments – God’s Top Ten of rules for living life that He gave His people when He delivered them from slavery in Egypt – one of those top ten rules was about how children were to treat their parents: “Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12). These are not the Ten Suggestions or the Ten Options – they are God’s Ten Commandments! We are commanded to honour our parents, whether we feel they deserve our respect or not, and whether we feel like it or not.

But notice that here is the first of the commandments with a promise of blessing: If we honour our parents, we will prolong our life. Quoting this commandment in the New Testament, Paul says that when we honour and obey our parents: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” (Eph. 6:3). Do you want to be blessed? Do you want things to go well with you? Do you want to live long and prosper? Then refuse to be a part of this generation that curses its father and refuses to bless its mother. Honour and obey your parents in the Lord – for this is right. Amen!


The Pure Word

Proverbs 30:5-6.
 “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” (KJV).

God’s Word is Trustworthy:

I love the Bible for so many different reasons. It is the Word of God. It’s a love letter from God to us. It gives us wisdom for living life. It provides joy, peace, hope and comfort. It teaches us how to know God. It shows us how to find freedom from sin, guilt and shame. But I also love the Bible because it is trustworthy. Agur, son of Jakeh tells us that every word of God is pure. There are no lies, mistakes or errors in the Bible. You can trust it! God is faithful, and you can count on Him to fulfill His promises.

Agur tells us that God’s Word is a shield to those who trust Him. A shield is a defensive weapon to protect you from the attacks of an enemy. We know that faith comes by hearing God’s Word, and the Bible also tells us that faith is a shield that will quench all of the fiery darts of our enemy. So when we trust God and His Word, He protects us from the enemy. Just like an umbrella will protect you from getting wet on a rainy day, so God’s Word will protect you from the devil.

Don’t Add To His Words:

Not only is the Bible pure, but God’s Word is also perfect and complete. The Bible has given us everything we need that pertains to life and godliness. In the Bible, we discover how to be saved, and also how to live a life that brings God honour and glory. Therefore, we don’t need anything more than the Bible. There are many different religions that try to add to the wisdom of the Bible. Some churches add their traditions, confessions and creeds and make them out to be as important as the Bible, though they are imperfect. False religions – such as the Mormons – have added more books to the Holy Scriptures, but they are all untrue man-made teachings.

In this Proverb, Agur gives a strong warning to those who would add to the Bible: If you add to God’s Word, God will rebuke and correct you, and you will be found out to be a liar. Let this be a strong warning to anyone who would presume to teach or proclaim something in the name of the Lord that God has not spoken!

The Challenge to the Preacher or Teacher:

This Scripture is a sobering challenge to every preacher or teacher of God’s Word. James, the brother of Jesus, echoes this thought in James 3:1: “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.”

Preacher! Trust the Bible. God’s Word has the power to transform people’s lives. We don’t need to add the wisdom of man – Oprah, Doctor Phil, or the latest self-help teachings! Even though the Bible was written over two thousand years ago, it is still relevant, living and powerful. As you minister the Word of God, it will heal the brokenhearted, comfort those who are mourning, and set the captives free. Amen!


God’s Favour

Proverbs 29:26.
 “Many seek the ruler’s favour; but every man’s judgment cometh from the LORD.” (KJV).

The Ruler’s Favour:

It seems like everybody is seeking the favour of a ruler. I’m sure Solomon – who wrote this Proverb – saw this often in his role as the King of the people of Israel. People would come before the King to ask a favour of him for themselves, for their family, or their community.

To seek the ruler’s favour means that people want an audience with a leader to gain some sort of advantage or blessing. This can be in many different realms: It could refer to politics where someone wants the favour of a government ruler; to education where someone wants the favour of a teacher; to the family where a child wants the favour of a parent; or to sports where an athlete wants the favour of their coach. For whatever reason, they think that if they can have an audience with their ruler or leader, they can get what they want.

The Lord’s Judgment:

In contrast to this, Solomon says that we would do much better off if we were to seek favour (justice or judgment) from the Lord instead, because ultimately, all favour, promotion and blessing comes from Him anyway. Earlier in Proverbs, Solomon taught us, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes” (21:1). This truth reminds us that God is the sovereign Lord over everything, and that all judgment ultimately comes from Him.

This morning at church, we kicked off our new year with our youth leading worship. One of the songs they sang was, “Blessed be Your Name.” In this song, written by Matt Redman, he declares, “You give and take away, you give and take away. My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be your name.” This is a great reminder to us that the best thing we can do is trust God to give us what He thinks is best for us, and to praise Him whether the sun is shining down on us, it’s a rainy, cloudy day.

Lord, help us to remember that you are ultimately in control, and that you are good, and that you have good plans for our lives. Help us to lift up our eyes to You, the Lord, the one from whom our help comes. Help us to live lives that bring you honour and glory, in everything we say and do. In Jesus’ precious name, amen.


Beware the Angry Man

Proverbs 29:22.
“An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.” (KJV). 

As we come to the end of 2013, am celebrating 21 years that I have been in full-time ministry. The first 14 years were spent as a youth pastor in Surrey, BC (on the west coast of Canada), and for the past 7 years as a lead pastor in Beausejour, MB (in the middle of Canada). This past year has been the hardest one that I ever went through, and found myself getting so discouraged that I actually entertained the idea of leaving the ministry. Why? It all started with an angry man.

About a year and a half ago, a couple in our church in leadership got hurt, angry and offended. But instead of dealing with the offense with the person that had offended them (as Jesus instructed us to do in Matthew 18:15), they chose instead to begin to lie, slander and gossip about that person – and that person was me. It was today’s Proverb in action: “An angry man stirs up strife.” And stir up strife he did! The result of the lies he told about me was that many families in our church left – about 25 of the 150 people we had in our church.

I was hurt, confused and disillusioned. Here was someone that I had brought on my leadership team and poured my heart and life into mentoring for years, and in a moment of time – in one angry e-mail – he severed the relationship with no real explanation for what he had done. When I asked him what I had done wrong, he simply said, “I don’t want to talk about it, God will reveal it to you.” To this day, I don’t know what I did that got him so angry that he set a chain of events in motion that tried to destroy our church.

But I thank God for the awesome promise that Jesus gave me during the beginning of this ordeal: “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18). I thank God for His grace that carried me through this challenging trial. If it wasn’t for His loving, providential care for me and my family, I am sure we would have walked away from the church and the ministry this past year. But God is faithful, and I thank God for many of our good friends in our church family who rallied around us, supported us, and stuck with us through the firestorm of lies and hate.

The second half of today’s verse says, “A furious man abounds in transgression.” Not only was the result of this angry man’s stirring up strife hurtful to the church as a whole, it also wounded the hearts of many people in our church – including families and even young youth and children. When anger is left unchecked, it becomes a destroying wind that wounds all of those in its path. It is a sin that leads to many other destructive and hurtful sins.

I thank God for Pastor Anthony Baker and the other contributors at Proverbial Thought who invited me to blog through Proverbs together with them a little over a year ago. As I have written devotional reflections in the Book of Proverbs over the past year, it has been very therapeutic for me personally as I have walked through this challenging time of ministry. Many times I have reflected upon a Scripture that has given me comfort or challenge when and where I have needed it. I pray that God would use His Word to encourage and inspire you in your life as well. As we head into 2014, I pray that you would make a commitment to get into God’s Word every day!

p.s. can I encourage you to pray for your pastors and Bible teachers? We are all in a battle, and we need God’s protection from the attacks of the enemy! Thank you… blessings to all of you today.

RELATED POSTS:

The 5 Minute Challenge – Bible Reading Schedule (At The Beausejour Pulpit Blog).

BOOKLET - Bible Reading Schedule


Wise Parenting

Originally published on Dec. 25, 2013

Proverbs 29:17.

“Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.” (KJV).
“Discipline your children, and they will give you happiness and peace of mind.” (NLT). 

Foolish Parenting:

There is an unfortunate parenting model that has emerged in recent days that has proved to be detrimental to the well-being of children. The philosophy says that a parent should become best friends with their child. Included in this idea is the belief that the parent should give their son or daughter the freedom to explore the world around them without any kind of boundaries, rules or restrictions. If you’ll forgive my lack of political correctness here, these are some of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard!

I know of a couple who decided that they wanted to be their kids’ buddies instead of their parents. They literally let their children get away with anything. No rules. No boundaries. No consequences. I watched them with great concern when their children were younger, and at one point, I said to my wife Liza, “If they don’t start disciplining their children, then when they become teenagers, their daughter is going to get pregnant, and both of them are going to end up ruining their lives with drugs and alcohol. Fast-forward several years: Both of these children ended up become sexually promiscuous, the teenage daughter got pregnant multiple times, their son got his girlfriend pregnant, and both of them had issues with drugs and alcohol. And the sad thing is that this story gets repeated over and over again in the lives of many parents and children.

Wise Parenting:

In today’s Proverb, Solomon says that if a parent will correct or discipline their child, the resulting benefit to the parent will be happiness and peace of mind. When my wife and I started having children, we made the decision to parent them according to the principles in the Bible. “If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don’t love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them.” (Proverbs 13:24, NLT).

Because we love our children, we knew we had to parent them, and parenting them included rules and boundaries, discipline and negative consequences for their actions. Today, we have four children ages 11-17, and we are so thankful to the Lord that they are Christ-like, obedient children who are kind, loving and respectful. We don’t worry what our children are going to do when we’re not around because we trust that we have trained them up in the way that they should go, and we know that they won’t depart from it. Does this mean that our children are perfect? Of course not. But they are good, and their mom and I have happiness and peace of mind.

I want to issue this challenge to all of the parents reading this today: Your children don’t need a buddy. They have lots of friends. But they do need a parent. Someone to give them boundaries and guidelines to help them learn to live right. Train them in the way that they should go, and God’s Word promises that when they grow old, they will not depart from it. Amen!

Family Group Hug

From left to right: Austin (13), Tori (15), Caleb (17), my wife Liza, myself, and Hannah (11).