Category Archives: Promises

My Presumption of Tomorrow

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. -Proverbs 27:1, KJV

As I write this, it is the day before this posts online.

That seems rather presumptuous of me to assume that you are reading this the next day (or farther in the future).

The thing is, I am not sure anyone is reading this. For all I know, before anyone gets the chance, the Lord has returned and brought the world as we know it to an end.

However, this is scheduled for a Sunday. Therefore I continue this by encouraging you to get to your local church and worship God through song, hearing the preached and taught Word, and enjoying fellowship with other Christians. (If you went on Saturday, cool.)

In terms of being confident you are reading these words, though, I explain my presumption.

Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
James 4:13‭-‬15, KJV

Do you not see that James and Solomon were in agreement? But James explains Proverbs 27:1 in more detail.

To explain, I presume people are reading these words because I trust that God is in control. At the very least, I have obeyed His command to expound on scripture. At best, I have done so to your benefit in Christ.

Maybe no one is reading these words, but, if the Lord will, you are.

I do not boast in any skill I have or that I know you are reading this.

No, I boast that the Lord has spoken, has sacrificed Himself for me and for you, and He has risen to glory. And He is in control.

And I shall continue as long as it is called Today. For Tomorrow (capital “T”) shall be with the Lord, and all boasting shall cease, for He is fully present with us and all sin and rebellion and fear is gone.

Lord willing, you are there, too.

Advertisements

Your Name Is More Valuable

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” – Proverbs 22:1

Sales

I have had more than a few years of experience in the area of sales. I have, over the years, sold everything from credit card services to funeral pre-arrangements. Right now I sell for Aflac (the company with the Duck), and I hope to have a long relationship.

However, there have been times when I’ve been instructed by sales managers to do whatever it takes to close the deal. At one point one crook of a sales manager (I quit after this) told me, “After all, those people are not your friends.” I said, “Everyone is a potential friend.”

Sales can be a tough way to make a living – it’s actually hard on me right now – but some things are far more valuable than money.

Your Reputation

Some may think this is just a thing I say to gain trust, but it’s the honest-to-God truth. I tell people they can trust me because I have a reputation to protect.

Even though I could make a sale and make some money, what good would it do, in the long run, if word got out that I was untrustworthy? How would that affect my ministry? How would that affect my ability to lead a church, or share the gospel?

Oh, you don’t know how much I would love to open a few new accounts and pay my bills! I don’t want “great riches,” only enough to pay for necessities and a little more, plus enough to lay aside for later. “Tiny riches” would be fine with me!

But all the riches in the world are not worth ruining one’s name, especially when one’s name is associated with the Name above all names, Jesus Christ.

I’d rather have a good name that brings honor to His name than all the gold in the world.


Please Enjoy the Hymns (Don’t Move Landmarks!)

Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set. -Proverbs 22:28, KJV

I am fairly certain I fall under the Evangelical Christian label, so there may be some who will try to change that label based on what I have to say today.

Based on this verse, do not neglect tradition!

“Wait,” you may say, “you sound like a high-liturgy (i.e. Lutheran or Presbyterian) Christian or even Roman Catholic.”

Well, I reply, there is nothing inherently wrong with tradition. As a product of the Reformation, I do believe in Sola Scriptura, Scripture Alone.

With this, what I mean is that traditions that do not contradict Scripture nor distract people from Christ are to be honored.

Besides, many creeds and theological truths were cemented in Church history. They have become ingrained in our traditions. They are snippets of truth that have been hashed out by our spiritual predecessors. To ignore and forget them …

… well, look at the state of the Church today. There is widespread theological confusion and ecclesiastical animosity.

Translation: we cannot agree about God and the Bible, and we distrust those we should call brothers and sisters in Christ.

Because we “remove the ancient landmarks” the Church fathers set.

This does not mean blind faith in old teachings. Study and think through why we believe these teachings. (i.e. The canon of Scripture, the Trinity, Heaven and Hell, etc.)

To ignore what has historically come before leads to what we see today and failing to live as one as Jesus and the Father are one (John 17:22-23).

Also, please enjoy more of the old hymns! They are often so rich in truth!


God Can Change the Flow

The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. – Proverbs 21:1 KJV

So often we – yes, you and I – feel it’s useless to pray for our leaders, especially those like presidents, kings, and even dictators. We pray but never see any results, like our prayers were never heard.

I’ll be the first to admit, it can get discouraging, especially when we are exhorted to intercede for those in authority:

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. – 1 Timothy 2:1-2

But what we have a hard time comprehending is how God can bring about change in what seems unchangeable.

The king’s heart…the president’s heart…the prime minister’s heart…is as hard to change as the course of a river. You and I cannot do it, but God can.

Believe it or not, rivers changing their course is not as uncommon as you might think. But in an article I was reading on the subject , one sentence stood out, and I think it illustrates perfectly how God works.

“Rivers changing direction is relatively common, according to the scientists, but is usually caused by tectonic forces, landslides or erosion.” – USA Today

The heart of the king can be changed as easy as God can send an earth-shaking event into his life. The heart of the president can be changed as quickly as the foundation on which his beliefs are built suddenly slide out from under him. The heart of the corrupt dictator can suddenly change when the full effect of erosion leaves his policies a wasteland, allowing a simple rainshower the power to wash him away.

The God who made the rivers and changes their courses is the one who holds the heart of the king. His hand is mightier than the heart.


Am I seeking good and God?

Seek good and find delight

There are many things I can be the student of in life. Seeking good is God’s goal for me and should be the only priority.

God wants me to go after wisdom and good like there is no tomorrow. In fact, we all know that there is a reality called “here today, gone tomorrow”. I have today.

How do I spend my time? What kind of TV do I watch? What am I searching for on the internet?

Am I seeking good and God? It is an essential question. Is my priority the kingdom of God where Jesus is the Master? Is it? Is it really?

Of course, there is a consequence to being a student of evil. It is sad but God warns me that if I seek evil I will become evil.  I will find what I seek. It is my choice.  Jesus alerts me that there is a way that leads to life. That way is Jesus.

May I seek good. May I find delight. So be it.

“The one who seeks good finds delight; the student of evil becomes evil.” ~~King Solomon (Proverbs 11:27)


Debts & Promises

My son, if you become surety for your friend, If you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by the words of your mouth. So do this, my son, and deliver yourself; For you have come into the hand of your friend: Go and humble yourself; Plead with your friend. Give no sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids. Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
Proverbs 6:1‭-‬5, NKJV

Co-signed

Have you ever needed to take out a loan or get a service (cable, telephone, electricity, etc.), but your credit was … lacking? You need a co-signer to get that loan or service.

Perhaps you have been on the other side and have been the co-signer. It can be scary either way. I have been on both sides.

I have had to pay debts friends and family could not pay, and sometimes it was a struggle financially.

This could be a lesson on Christ’s sacrifice posting our debt of sin. Instead, this is about seeing how our promises can catch us.

Leaving the Altar

You see, our commitments have effects on others. We promise to pay that bill. We promise to be at that event. We promise to carry our fair share.

And then we don’t.

We put up the strong front and commit to keeping other promises.

Say, tithing.

But Jesus says, “if you bring your gift to the altar, and then remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and first go be reconciled to your brother before returning to offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23‭-‬24)

In other words, humble yourself, and do what is right.

If as the one who owes, confess your wrong or inability and seek forgiveness. If as the one who is owed, forgive the debt (of the promise, of the burden) and move on (possibly through making a plan or as simply releasing all responsibility).

The big point is to hold onto the relationship above all else.

That is why Jesus sacrificed glory, comfort, and life: to forgive our debts and broken promises to restore the relationship. And He arose to guarentee it for eternity.


As Bloodthirsty as Cain

Proverbs 29:10 

The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.
The bloodthirsty hate a person of integrity and seek to kill the upright. (NIV)

What amount of hatred is necessary for a person to want to kill another? We only get four chapters into Genesis before we read about the first murder, amazingly the result of sibling rivalry. Cain, the eldest son of Adam and Eve, becomes jealous of his younger brother Abel. That jealousy intensifies when God favors the harvest gift brought by Abel, and tells Cain to get his act together. Instead of listening to God Cain lets his jealousy fester, and in a blind rage plots to kill his brother. You would think that by the time Cain and Abel take a walk into the fields together Cain would have relented, but he hasn’t.

As with many proverbs it would be easy to read this one and believe that it does not apply to us. We probably identify ourselves with the upright person of integrity rather than the bloodthirsty. Yes, there may be times we might have thought or even said we could kill someone, but we tell ourselves it was only ever a thought. The problem is that for Cain the act of murder began with just a thought. Knowing how thoughts can translate into actions Jesus warned: 

“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. (Matthew 5:21-22 NLT)

Sobering teaching indeed and a reminder that God knows our minds, our thoughts, our words before they are formed, and our deeds before they are done. If we consider this teaching without taking into account the life and death of Jesus then we would conclude quite rightly that it is completely impossible for any mortal being to come near to God. We are not worthy. We are as bloodthirsty as Cain. But our merciful God through His indescribable grace sent Jesus so that even the most bloodthirsty and heinous human being could be redeemed at no absolutely cost to humanity. If we fix our eyes on Jesus and surrender to Him the past no longer matters. If we allow the beauty of Jesus to flood into our lives everything changes, for He makes all things new.