Category Archives: Reward

Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 3rd Week of Advent – Day 7

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. -John 18:36-37, KJV

mountains with crepuscular ray

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

As we round out the third week of Advent, we shift our focus from the earthly ministry of Jesus to His Kingdom.

This world will never fully see the Kingdom of Heaven, just a taste through its subjects, we Christians who spread the Kingdom throughout this fallen world. We carry His voice to every corner of the planet.

And what is Jesus saying through us?

“You have rebelled against your Creator, and your sins are immeasurable. But I came to redeem you back to Me, to cleanse you of your sins, and one day I am returning to bring you home.”

Be of good cheer, dear Christian. You are cleaned and redeemed, and He is coming again soon!

King Jesus, continue to make us faithful citizens of Your Kingdom, and move through us to reach this world for Your glory.

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Has Grace Got You?

In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice. –Proverbs 29:6, KJV

When we get in trouble for doing something we should not have been doing, we sure do feel bad.

When we get away with something wrong, we are relieved, but the snare of guilt refuses to let us relax completely.

When we are forgiven, golly gee, are we happy!

It is just like MercyMe’s song, Grace Got You.

It combines these last two points and explains them very poetically, and it is how Christians should feel!

Sing,
So the back row hears you.
Glide,
‘Cause walking just won’t do.
Dance,
You don’t have to know how to,
Ever since, ever since grace got you.

Laugh,
‘Till your whole side’s hurting.
Smile,
Like you just got away with something,
Why?
‘Cause you just got away with something,
Ever since, ever since grace got you.

We essentially get away with all of the times we rubbed our sin in God’s face, all because He sent His Son to die on a cross in our place of punishment.

The question then becomes, how do we respond when others wrong us?

Just as God forgave us, we ought to forgive others. This is one of the greatest works we can do in Christ’s name. The hope is that they will see this (and other good works) and turn to Christ.

Then, we can all sing together the praise of the One who created and forgives us, rejoicing in His grace and love.

May we sing God’s praises continually. (Colossians 3:16-17, 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18)


The Message I Shall Repeat

He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour. -Proverbs 21:21, KJV

Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor. -Proverbs 21:21, ESV

Sometimes I feel like all I do is repeat myself.

But with the words of Life, it is good and proper to have things repeated.

Case in point, there is only one way to find righteousness, and it is summed up in the [two] Greatest Commandment[s]:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”
Luke 10:27

Jesus also tells us,

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness
Matthew 6:33a

“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
John 14:6

If you truly desire life, righteousness, and honor, seek God through Christ. It is His righteousness gifted to us through His sacrifice on the cross and imputed by the Holy Spirit that brings these rewards.

And I will repeat it all my days.


A Beauty of Gray

The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head. -Proverbs 20:29, KJV

I have always wanted gray (or even white) hair.

I know. I am fairly odd.

I have three friends who all went white-haired in their twenties. A few others were noticeably gray by 25.

As for yours truly, I have earned a few gray hairs over my few short years.

At least I am tall and lanky so that I have some semblance of strength. I am a bit of a gentle giant, and that garners some respect (mostly from my wife who can’t reach top shelves or move heavy boxes or bags easily.)

But why do I want gray hair?

I instinctively understood it as a child, but grew to understand it better as I grew.

It is not just that it can look dignified. Gray hairs tell others we have been through life. They tell others we have struggled through some of life’s problems and come out wiser.

Gray hairs are earned by learning life lessons the hard way.

I have been through my share of struggles and have earned some grays, but the Lord blessed me with thick, persistently dark hair.

It almost scares me to consider how much wisdom He yet wants me to learn (“fear the Lord”), but the few grays I do own have taught me to trust His lessons and timing.

And that is beautiful.


The Ultimate Feast

She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, -Proverbs 9:3 KJV

Knowing of Wisdom’s firm foundation in the truth of God and that true wisdom loves others, it is only natural that Wisdom calls others in to enjoy her fruits.

The imagery of sending maidens also tells us that wisdom works with others, brings them alongside to enjoy the pleasant work of loving God and others.

I am immediately reminded of the parable of the Great Banquet in Luke chapter 14. When a man had a banquet, all of his guests gave excuses for why they could not make it, so he sent his servants to tell any who would come to enjoy the feast.

Let this remind us that the ultimate wisdom points to Christ, and ultimately it is wise and loving to share Christ with all who will listen.

For all will be present in some form at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19), whether as the invited guests or those who are slain and feasted upon by the birds of the air.

Those of us who respond to Wisdom’s call feast on the fruit of righteousness, while those who reject the call are ultimately made the feast.


Planning Evil and Digging Holes

Proverbs 28:10

“Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession.”

Don’t Be Naive

The first thing we should understand from this proverb is that there are most assuredly those who want to lead “the righteous” astray. Not only do they want to cause them to sin, but they want them to fall into an inescapable pit. There are certainly evil people out there who want to see good people fall.

Those who don’t fall prey to the traps set by the wicked are the ones who are alert and on guard. They are not naive, but “sober…vigilant; because [our] adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Don’t Be Too Confident

The second thing we should note is the result of leading the righteous astray. Solomon warns that he who does such a thing is guaranteed to fall into his own pit, just as he did in Proverbs 26:27, “Who diggeth a pit shall fall therein…”

Actually, Solomon’s words sound much like his father’s. Writing about evil men who think God will never judge them, he said…

“Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous– you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God! … If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow; he has prepared for him his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts. Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies. He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made.” – Psalms 7:9, 12-15 ESV

If I were an evil man planning to lead the righteous astray, I would be a little nervous. Wouldn’t you?


From Riches to Rags

Proverbs 28:6 

Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
Better to be poor and honest than to be dishonest and rich. (NLT)

There was once a vertically challenged tax collector who climbed into a tree to see over the heads of the crowd when a famous itinerant Teacher came to town. The gentleman in question was reasonably wealthy, but should not have been. Why not? Because he was a civil servant. He gained his wealth not through fair wages but by cheating the taxpayers of the town. Did he feel any discomfort or remorse about the way in which he accumulated his riches? Possibly not, but something drew him to a Teacher with no visible wealth, just a wealth of wisdom in His words.

The tax collector was called Zacchaeus. When the Teacher came to the tree he looked up and told Zacchaeus to come down out of the tree, and immediately invited Himself to dinner. The dinner party that followed was a life-changing event for Zacchaeus and resulted in him donating half of his wealth to the poor. The reminder probably went in the compensation he promised to anyone he had ever cheated. Scripture does not say that Zacchaeus was reduced to a life of poverty because of his encounter with the Teacher, but it seems likely. Not everyone who met Jesus was changed in this way, but everyone has a choice. Listen to the words of eternal life, or walk away (as one rich young man did).

This proverb is very similar to Proverbs 19:1, which also teaches that it is better to be poor and honest, than dishonest and a fool. The fact of the matter is that God does not measure wealth in worldly terms, but examines each human heart to discern whether wisdom is present and in what quantity. Zacchaeus appears to have been blinded by the shiny things of the world, but had sufficient wisdom to recognize the need for change in his life. His encounter with Jesus didn’t just change his life, but totally transformed it. I can’t imagine that anyone in the crowd saw that one coming.

Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; not one of them does good! (Psalm 53:1 NLT)