Category Archives: Paths of Life

Roots of Power

A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved. -Proverbs 12:3, KJV

I can already hear what some people are saying:

If a man can’t be established by wickedness, then why do so many tyrants, despots, and fearmongerers take power?

The short answer is that they have effectively sold their souls to the Devil.

And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
Luke 4:5‭-‬7

Here is the kicker, though: we know that their foundation is weak. Christ is the firm foundation on which stand.

These leaders are like trees growing in dry, drought-wrought land. They seem strong and powerful, but when storm clouds come, they will be easily uprooted.

As Christians, however, we are grafted into the strong Root of Jesse.

And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.”
Romans 15:12

Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Matthew 24:30

When Jesus returns (or these leaders die), then it will be known how faulty their foundations were, that God is the only true foundation to have. Their roots will be torn up, but our powerful God is our own root.

Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Luke 4:8

Advertisements

A Tale of Two Dads

Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish. -Proverbs 12:1, KJV

Loves Knowledge

My dad has always loved knowledge. For a long time he had a subscription to National Geographic magazine. He still enjoys watching a good documentary. (Sometimes even a bad documentary.)

He made sure his children understood why he loves these things, to be able have a better understanding of our world and the people and places in it. Then he could avoid stupid mistakes, or, when a mistake was made or he flat out did something wrong, he could learn from it.

Hates Correction

A friend of mine had (yes, past tense) a dad who “never did anything wrong.” He taught his kids how to weasel out of responsibility, to not get caught. Since nothing was his fault, he could live with a “clean conscience” knowing no one was coming after him. His only sense of discipline was in crafting better excuses and his body to deal with those who got in his way. (One day, this mentality is what helped lead to his … past tense-ness.)

Outcomes

Clearly, my dad’s instruction and discipline helped to lead me toward Christ (which then led my parents to Him).

My friend and his dad never (or at least not yet, for my friend) saw a need for the Savior. If nothing is your fault, you are guiltless, right? It is easier to fight or weasel your way out of trouble.

Wisdom sees our need for knowledge and correction, and those will ultimately lead to our good God.

Oh, and happy father’s day!


All About Integrity

Proverbs chapter eleven is all about integrity.

What does inegrity entail?

Honesty

Telling the truth and doing what’s right is important. Honesty is life-affirming, acknowledging the image of God in others, and, honestly, keeping life simple. It is easier to keep your story straight when you tell the truth and do what’s right.

Responsibility

Doing what’s right, doing what one ought, is also life-affirming. Sin is most often associated with what we did wrong, but it includes what we don’t do that we should. If we did what was needed when it should be done (right away or when time allows), life would be easier. Owning mistakes is included, as growth comes more quickly. It is irresponsible to shift the blame or hope “someone else will do it.” It is better to do what is right, even if someone else could or should do it.

Generosity

Giving to others or taking up the burden of another demonstrates generosity. And – you probably guessed it – it is life affirming. It shows love to others. It tells others “You are worth it.” It clears up problems before they even exist or before they are out of control.

Living with Integrity

If you want to live with integrity, live out the concepts of Proverbs. Take five minutes and read the entire chapter and see how integrated and interrelated all of these concepts are.

They represent God’s character, and living with integrity makes your character more like His.

“Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)


From Joke to Redemption

Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding. -Proverbs 10:23, ESV

The past 20 years has shown so many movies and TV shows that glorify dangerous and stupid acts as comedy. In fact, as of this writing there is a new film being released by a veteran of this genre about an amusement park that minimizes safety (and they do all their own stunts).

All for a laugh.

What pains me is that this veteran of “comedy” is incredibly intelligent and a good actor.

A Changed Man

I have written in these pages before about my own life. When I was in high school, before Christ grabbed hold of me, I had pretty much given up on this world. I was a master liar who manipulated situations to cause pain to others. I found it a joke, much like these movies, but only on the emotional and psychological levels as opposed to physical.

But when Christ transformed my mind by His Holy Spirit, those “jokes” were no longer funny. Suddenly wisdom and compassion were my joy.

This is the difference between the world and a Christian. The world sees pain as a joke, as entertainment. A Christian sees pain as part of a fallen world, redeemed through Christ’s sacrifice to edify His Church and ultimately end suffering.

If He redeemed this joke of a man to a tool of understanding, He can do it for anyone. Even that “veteran.”

Even you.


Your Choice Affects Your Destiny

If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it. -Proverbs 9:12, KJV

I argued with this verse. Wisdom won (naturally):

Me: “What do you mean?! My wisdom could benefit others, and my scorning of wisdom could hurt others!”

Wisdom: “Ah, but what is the deeper meaning of what I am telling you?”

Me: “Am I wrong?”

Wisdom: “No, but do I lead to, as you quoted me as saying before?”

Me: “The fear of the Lord … OH!”

If we listen to Wisdom, we are led to salavific knowledge. We see our need for a Savior, for Jesus the Messiah. We may lead others to Christ, but it is our own soul that is affected. We cannot do that for others.

If we scorn Wisdom, we deny we need the help of the Savior. We may lead others astray, but it is our own soul that is affected.

As I asked yesterday, how do YOU respond to God’s Wisdom? Do you scorn Wisdom or affirm Wisdom? Do you choose eternal life or death?


Am I Living in a Land of Impoverished Confusion?

Image result for life of meaning

What does Lady Wisdom say to me?

  • I’m living in confusion and impoverished by it. I should leave the land of confusion and begin to live. I have a choice. What will I decide?
  • I can have meaning in life. Jesus has given it to me. The gift is available to me. That is some very good news.
  • I should act like I have a life of meaning. Does what I do reflect the wisdom I have in my life? Can others see the meaning and feel it? Do I get it? Do others see it?

“Leave your impoverished confusion and live! Walk up the street to a life with meaning.” ~King Solomon |  Proverbs 9:6 (The Message Bible)

Wisdom and understanding is a God-given perception of the spiritual and meaning of God’s ways. It results in my having sound judgment and decision-making. In particular, it gives me the ability to discern spiritual truth and to apply it to my daily walk with Jesus.

Biblical wisdom refers to practical skills associated with understanding and living a successful life. Wisdom is often associated with trust in and fear of God (Deut 4:6; Prov 1:7).

Understanding God’s word. The New Testament presents Jesus as a teacher — a role often associated with the wise in the ancient world. This connection is apparent in Jesus’ use of parables to instruct — teaching methods also used by sages (see Prov 1:2–7).

When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? | Mark 6:2

There is far more to Jesus’ teaching than simply the adoption of wisdom forms  —  which prophets in Old Testament times also used to convey their message. The content of Jesus’ teaching is not constrained to wisdom by His use of parables. It is also prophetic. It is miraculous. It is priestly.

The teachings of Jesus convey the Way. They convey the Truth. They convey Life!


Are you listening?

headphones-152341_1280I am at a venerable point in life when my adult children, (all in their 30’s at this writing), have been saying thing like,

“Mom, I heard you coming out of my mouth!”, or…

“Is that how Dad would treat Mom?”, or…

“I’m ‘channeling’ you, Mom”, and one of my personal favorites after the birth of a granddaughter,

“Mom, I’m sorry for all the #*@!! I put you through.”

It’s a time when you realize that something, by God’s grace, got through, is still getting through.  Sometimes it sure seems like our kids just aren’t paying attention.

But they are.  In more ways than one.

I love the New Living Translation header for Proverbs chapter 7:

“Another Warning about Immoral Women”

Emphasis on “another”.  Just in case you missed the first one or two. 

Can’t you just see the kid rolling his eyes?  That whole oh-mom-do-we-have-to-talk-about-this-again attitude. 

To which the obvious answer is emphatically affirmative.  Because it’s critically important that the child is told why.  Because they have friends who haven’t been told.  Because there’s a society drooling in anticipation to ensnare him in something dangerous and deadly.

Like chapter five, this chapter isn’t just for the guys, either.  And actually, taken as a whole, it can be seen as something more than sexual promiscuity, something far deeper and far more insidious—

Seduction.

How interesting that Babylon is personified in Revelation as a prostitute.  Babylon, the representation of all that is anti-Christ, all that would seduce me away from Christ and set up her own kingdom within my heart.  If I read Proverbs chapter seven and insert the word “Babylon” in place of “woman”, it brings out a whole new context.  It forces me to look at myself, my decisions, my desires in an uncomfortable light. 

Seduction.  Undoubtedly, sex is one of the vehicles that the enemy perverts for this purpose.  It’s definitely a strong one, but it’s only one.  He has many options when it comes to seduction.

  • People’s applause and affirmation, (including family, loved ones, people whose opinions “count”),
  • Financial security, (an oxymoron, BTW),
  • Emotional comfort zone

You know, like sex, all these can be good things!  We need affirmation, I appreciate my husband’s detail to retirement preparation, and emotional security is important to every other kind of health, so that’s not the point.  Instead, when these things (and there are many others) draw us away from God’s intended purpose—intimacy with Himself—then Seduction is at work…overtime!

I appreciate the in-your-face strategies that given in this same chapter, including 1st-person observation revealing the woman’s tricks, calling attention to the son’s heart (something sorely neglected in our day), the use of flattery, the lie of anonymity, and the advice to not even start down that path.  It reminds me that I need some strategies as well…

“…so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.”

The words of the Parent ring just as true today, in all areas of life.  I aspire to be an attentive child.

 


2 Corinthians 2:11 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

2 Corinthians 2:11 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.