Category Archives: hope

Rest Will Come…One Day

Proverbs 29:9

“If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.”

The first thing we should understand is that this proverb’s setting, according to most commentaries, is in something like a courtroom. The word “contendeth” implies such. However, as we watch the “wise” contending with “fools” in courtrooms around the world, it is becoming harder and harder to determine which is the defendant.

In most situations, if you were to walk into a courtroom, you would expect the “wise” to be on the side of the prosecution, while the “foolish man” would be the other guy: the one slobbering on himself, freaking out, and making outrageous, unreasonable arguments for his case. But sadly, especially in the cases where God is on trial; where morals, faith, and family are under assault; where Christ is deemed an unnecessary and offensive part of Christmas, the “wise” are on the defense.

Consider the following commentary on Proverbs 29:9. As you read it, think of those who want to remove any resemblance of faith and religion from the public square, such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation, American Atheists, Richard Dawkins, etc.

He makes his argument not by logic, reason, or clear evidence but in a range of wild responses in which he “rages [a verb for “earthquake” in 30:21; Amos 8:8] or laughs,” probably in a mocking, sneering fashion to try to sway the verdict. The “peace” that ought to come from reconciliation, or at least a sound decision, is impossible. The matter bubbles on interminably to the pain of the wise and the distress of the community.[1]

English: Professor . Español: Profesor Richard...

In a public speech to his fellow atheists gathering in Washington, D.C., Richard Dawkins gave some suggestions. When contending with those who believe in God, especially Christians, he advised: Mock them. Ridicule them. In public…with contempt. Chillingly, in predictive fashion, the Bible says “that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts…” (2 Pet. 3:3). We must be getting close.

One day the Righteous Judge will hold court, but don’t lose hope. Even though we may have acted like fools in one way or another, those of us who’s Advocate is Jesus Christ (1 Jn. 2:1) have nothing to fear. Wisdom personified will argue on our behalf.

The foolish man, however, will be able to argue his own case. And once again, with rage and contempt, spewing out all manner of hatred and vile, he will attempt to justify himself.

But on that day, God will not be mocked (Gal. 6:7). 


[1] David A. Hubbard and Lloyd J. Ogilvie, Proverbs, vol. 15, The Preacher’s Commentary Series (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1989), 462.

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Cancer of Conceit

Proverbs 26:12

“Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.”

Snobs

One of the problems with the modern atheist movement is attitude. Arrogance, snobbery, and conceit may have been present all along, but having a condescending attitude is now the new trademark of Darwinists, or should I say, “Dawkins-ists”? They love to belittle creationists; berating them, making fun of them, even to the point of tears. Richard Dawkins even said of Christians: “Mock them…ridicule them in public…with contempt.”

There are always those who believe they know everything (like teenagers). They will look down their noses at others with different opinions, never giving any credence to their proposals. Solomon would say there is little hope for a person like that.

But are atheists the only ones with attitude problems? What about the Calvinist who believes any disbelief in his theory is due to a lack of education and willful ignorance? What about the denomination that insists to be a member of any other is a sin? What about the man who takes what a woman says with a grain of salt?

Arrogance is a cancer covered by many different skins.

Dangerous Doctoring

Most of us have no idea where cancer comes from; it can appear without any warning. The healthiest people can get lung cancer, even when they don’t smoke. Skin cancer can appear overnight, even on a person who never gets a sunburn. But the key to survival is early detection, not denial.

Some people experience the symptoms of disease, but refuse to go to the hospital. The worst offenders are people with some medical education, because for some reason they think they know as much as the doctors do. They refuse to seek medical attention and say, “I can handle this myself.”

Some people believe that aliens gave them cancer, but at least they have enough humility to seek help. Of the humble crazy person and the proud medical student, which has more hope of survival?

Humility

Have you ever met people who know just enough to be dangerous? Their self-confidence becomes a substitute for true wisdom, thereby making them “wise in their own conceit.” But at least a fool, if he admits he doesn’t know everything, can find help before his world falls apart.

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” – Isaiah 57:15

Lord, help us to recognize our faults and weaknesses. Help us to “seek you first,” rather than relying on our own wisdom, for You are our only Hope.


Refreshing News

Proverbs 25:25

25 As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.

Tough Times

Nobody really likes war.

They are dangerous, costly in economically and physically, and it shows the violence and hatred within humanity.

As I write this, Syria has been in a major internal conflict, and chemical weapons may have played a role. Several countries have considered getting involved.

Fortunately, we heard recently that Russia is working with Syrian leaders to remove chemical weapons and perhaps ease tensions between the two sides.

While it is still playing out as of this moment, it is a relief to know we may not have to send our young men and women into danger and the Syrians may get a break from the bloodshed.

Refreshing Drink

If you have ever hiked a considerable distance in the heat, you appreciate a cold glass of water. As the verse today states, getting good news is like that, such as feeling the tension of a possible armed conflict and hearing it may have been averted. When your mind and body can relax after that much tension and adrenaline, it is so refreshing to drink in that kind of news.

May you do not need to imagine this, but imagine with me that you have lived a life full of troubles. You have had a string of bad relationship after bad relationship. You lost a loved one. Your finances never seem to meet all of your obligations and needs. You have been mistreated by loved ones. You struggle with trusting anybody.

You just want some rest and peace. You would love some water for your tired soul.

Jesus offers some good news. As He said to the Samaritan woman in John chapter 4 (NIV):

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Drinking of the Holy Spirit, God coming into us by believing Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died for our sins, is only true refreshing we can get from the pain this world gives us.

As we trust Him, he fills our souls with Himself and releases and redeems our hurts and fears, giving us full rest. As He said elsewhere, 28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29).

Lord Jesus, grant us Your peace and refresh our souls by Your Holy Spirit. Help us to trust You and to overcome our circumstances.


Refreshed

Proverbs 25:13

13 As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.

Working Up a Sweat

I was born in upstate New York, so I know some things about snow.

I was raised in central Illinois, so I know some things about harvest time.

I currently live in Phoenix, Arizona, so I know some things about wanting some of that snow again!

I have worked in corn and soybean fields in the middle of summer.  I have also done many different things outside during the summer in Phoenix. They can be very hot and demanding on the body. It is the kind of thing where you long for a just a moment of snowfall to get relief from the heat and exhaustion.

It is kind of like getting a hold of some ice-cold water in the middle of those days, but it cools the entire body.

Refreshing the Soul

Whether a sinner far from God or the godliest saint alive, we all go through times when life just seems too much.

It feels like it has been forever since we have found encouragement, spent time with friends, had a fulfilling day at work, or just a day off.

Having that one person who comes along and says just the right thing, hangs out with you, makes your work feel worth it or helps you get through the worst part of your work, or takes a shift for you can feel like that sudden snow at the end of a late, hot summer day.

Likewise, when the weight of this world weighs heavy on your shoulders, that person who shares the gospel or a word of encouragement from God can be just as refreshing.

It is the One who literally took on the weight of the world on His shoulders coming into your heart and lifting it up.

It is so refreshing knowing the Lord of Creation and Lover of your soul is there with you.

Dear Father, grant us peace throughout our days and in our troubles. Help us to rely on You. Help us to carry your refreshing grace to our tired and burdened world.


There is a Day

Proverbs 22:8

He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.
Those who plant injustice will harvest disaster, and their reign of terror will come to an end. (NLT)

Injustice has been part of our world since the first act of iniquity in the Garden of Eden. The simple act of listening to the wrong voice, resulted in God being disobeyed and had terrible consequences. Adam and Eve were removed from the perfection of the Garden to make their way in a world dirtied by sin. A world in which iniquity and injustice multiplied to the point where we find ourselves today.

But it will end. The reign of terror that began in Genesis will end in Revelation when our Lord Jesus returns. There is a day when He will return and sweep iniquity and injustice aside. He came once. He is coming again. He promised. Hallelujah!

There is a day, that all creation’s waiting for,
A day of freedom and liberation for the earth.
And on that day

The Lord will come to meet His bride,
And when we see Him

In an instant we’ll be changed.


 
The trumpet sounds
And the dead will then be raised
By His power,
Never to perish again.
Once only flesh,
Now clothed with immortality;
Death has now been

Swallowed up in victory.
 
We will meet Him in the air

And then we will be like Him,
For we will see Him, as He is,
Oh yeah!
Then all hurt and pain will cease,
And we’ll be with Him forever,
And in His glory we will live,
Oh yeah, oh yeah!
 
So lift your eyes

To the things as yet unseen,

That will remain now
For all eternity.
Though trouble’s hard

It’s only momentary,
And it’s achieving

Our future glory.
 
(Phatfish)

Well Water (Cool Counsel)

Proverbs 20:5

“Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.”

Well Water

Once when I was on a mission trip to Romania, a few of us spent a couple of days in a little town called Beuj. I remember not having a canteen or thermos (water bottle) to carry with me as we traversed the little roads around a farm in 90+ temperatures. We could only go so far away from a well.

You see, there was this little well in the town. We knew that we could walk a mile or two away, but only a mile or two. Any more and we would die of thirst before we got back. We were walking around handing out Bibles and hymnals, along with invitations to a community service at which I was going to preach. That well water was so cool and refreshing in that summer heat of 1992.

Cool Counsel

well-w-bucketThere is refreshing counsel deep inside a wise man or woman, and there are many dry and thirsty souls who need it. Sadly, many of those would-be wells of wisdom are covered, blocked, or labeled “unworthy” by the wells themselves.

If God has done a work in your life, let the Holy Spirit use you, your past, and your insight. God never wastes a tear. The pain you have gone through may have produced a deep well a struggling soul may need to make it another mile.


A Wounded Spirit Kills

Proverbs 18:14

“The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?”
“A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?” – ESV

Ripped from the Headlines

How was I to know that on the same day I sat down to write this entry [originally written 4/07/13], news of the tragic suicide of Matthew Warren (age 27), Pastor Rick Warren’s son, would be all over the headlines? There was no way I could know, but God did.

After a long, long battle with mental and physical illness, including debilitating depression, Pastor Warren’s son ended his own life in a “momentary wave of despair.” Saddleback Church (where Warren is pastor) said in a statement, “Despite the best health care available, this was an illness that was never fully controlled and the emotional pain resulted in his decision to take his life...”

Doesn’t “momentary wave of despair” sound a lot like “a wounded spirit who can bear?

Strong Willed

There are countless stories of people who struggled through the pain and suffering of debilitating disease and deformity. Their stories inspire us all to be thankful for what we have, even if it is only bare feet – some people have no feet at all.

Not long ago I saw a video of a man who had no arms or legs. At one point it seemed like he had no future, for it seemed impossible for him to accomplish even the most basic tasks of life. Yet, with perseverance and a strong will, not to mention the belief that he “could do all things through Christ,” he has done everything from surf to dance with his wife at their wedding. As a matter of fact, it was this man who nearly brought Rick Warren to tears on a show he appeared on with Oprah Winfrey.

Crushed Spirit

But when a man or woman’s spirit is crushed, when all hope is gone, life becomes very hard to bear. The fact is that plenty of otherwise healthy people die every day from despair.

Solomon knew what many people discover too late: one can have everything, but life without hope is no life at all. Sick people can endure pain for years, but a healthy man can die overnight from a broken, wounded heart.

Hope for the Wounded

The Apostle Paul once said that “if in this life only we have hope…”, then we are sure to be miserable (1 Cor. 15:19). Whether that hope be in Christ, or money, or relationships, or good health; if it is a hope that is only for the here and now, it is pretty much worthless in the long run. Hope that never has a hope of being realized is no hope at all.

But praise God this life isn’t all there is! Job, the most miserably treated man in the Bible, could have given up in despair, but from the ashes of his life he cried out…

“I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes–I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” – Job 19:25-27 NIV

Thank you, O God! Thank you for the Hope we have in You! Bear us up with your Spirit and strengthen our hearts.