Category Archives: Trust the Lord

Fear Pressure

Proverbs 29:25 

The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.
Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety. (NLT)

There are occasions when we speak (or fail to speak) from a position of fear, rather than from wisdom. Mostly this involves other human beings and our relationships with family, friends, colleagues, folk at church, etc. We can end up walking on eggshells for fear of causing offence, when actually we need to take a stand, and perhaps even speak out, even though such action may make us unpopular.

There may also be occasions when we act from a position of fear, particularly when peer pressure is involved. The challenge is often one of fitting in, as opposed to being the odd one out. I remember such pressures from my seafaring days when the temptations were many, and the desire to be the same as others rather than different could be overpowering.

The fear of human opinion is indeed a dangerous trap, as stated in this proverb. We may not wish to conform, but we feel a need to be part of the crowd. We don’t want to be left out. In my school days that meant hanging around with the bad kids, much to the displeasure of my teachers and my parents. One of my school reports stated a correlation between my poor academic performance and the company I was keeping.

The solution to the problem is quite simply to trust God. This involves more than praying for forgiveness and asking God for a passport to heaven. Trusting God means living in a daily relationship with Him and consulting Him about all things, even the apparently mundane. It also means not being ashamed to be called His child, even if this makes us stand out as different to those around us.

We need to remember the example of Jesus who lived a life that was completely different to the norm. Such a life soon attracted the attention of those who took offence at the way Jesus lived, mainly because it highlighted the failures and hypocrisy of their own lives. But never once did Jesus indicate that He was afraid of these people. If Jesus had been afraid would He have turned over the tables of the moneychangers in the temple courts? If Jesus had been afraid would He have put himself in a position of betrayal leading to arrest, torture and ultimately death? We have to be different because Jesus was different. We have no choice but to live in this world, but we most certainly do not have to conform to its ways because of fear.

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Getting Fat

Proverbs 28:25 

He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat.

The use of the word ‘fat’ in this proverb in the KJV is rather interesting, not to mention challenging. I am already thinking of the larger people at church and having difficulty in relating their physical size to their faith. The other thought that crosses my mind is that not getting physically fat is a daily battle in middle age. While my mind tells me I can eat the things I did when I was younger, my body refuses to process the incoming delicacies at the speed it used to. So I am trying to eat better and less, and exercise more.

But this proverb is not about physical size. It is simply differentiating between those of us who think we have reached the point where our own resources are sufficient, and those of us who know that we have to life our lives totally reliant on God. Jesus said; “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” Acknowledging that we are spiritual tadpoles puts us in a place where God can begin to work in our lives. That requires trust. When we find ourselves able to trust God, we start to grow, or get fatter in Him.

Problems occur when we think that we can do life without too much reliance on God. Our hearts may not become instantly proud, but bit-by-bit we start to switch off from God as we look to ourselves rather than to God. John Eldredge, in his book ‘Beautiful Outlaw’ talks about a time when family and friends were urging him to take a sabbatical because of his physical and emotional condition. When John Eldredge finally came to Jesus for a solution Jesus told him there was just one problem that needed to be resolved: “You don’t look to Me – you look to yourself.”

John Eldredge writes: “The truth of it was indisputable the moment Jesus finished speaking. All the years of striving, sacrifice, loneliness, heroic exertion – so much of what I took to be noble about my life was suddenly exposed as godless self-reliance.” That sort of sums up this proverb. Proud hearts, self-reliance, call it what you will – it all leads to difficulties and strife. When we learn to look to Jesus instead of ourselves then He will anoint us,  equip us, and bless us according to His will for us. And the word ‘fat’ will come to have a new meaning.


Do You Want a King?

Proverbs 28:16  

The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.
A ruler with no understanding will oppress his people, but one who hates corruption will have a long life. (NLT)

When I typed the question ‘how many countries are there in the world?’ into Google I expected the answer to be around the 200 mark. One website provided more information than others naming dependent and disputed territories in the answer:

Since South Sudan became an independent state on 9 July 2011, there are now 195 independent sovereign states in the world (including disputed but defacto independent Taiwan), plus about 60 dependent areas, and five disputed territories, like Kosovo.

That makes 255. I grew up in the island of Guernsey, which is one of the dependent areas, being a Crown Dependency of the UK. Systems of government vary widely across the spectrum of states, dependent areas and disputed territories. One thing that seems common to all systems is the requirement for someone to be in charge. In Guernsey the Crown is represented by a Lieutenant Governor and a Bailiff. In the UK the Queen is a constitutional monarch who is represented in parliament by the Prime Minister.

The teaching in this proverb appears to be directed to monarchs, prime ministers, presidents, governors, and the like. We don’t have to look far in our world to discover that many of the leaders of the 255 nations and dependencies have either never heard this proverb, or have chosen to ignore it. In many countries, perhaps even our own, politics has become a system of power that enriches the incumbent politicians to the detriment of much of the remainder of the population. Perhaps that is why it was God’s preference for Israel not to be like other nations and be ruled by a king? When the prophet Samuel warned the people that a king would draft their sons into his army, and their daughters into his service, they ignored him. Even warnings of slavery to the king and taxation failed to change their minds (1 Samuel 8:10-20). The people’s response was; “Even so, we still want a king, we want to be like the nations around us.”

Isn’t that true for us too? We want to be like those around us? We forget that God calls us to be different. If we keep one foot in the world then we will be corrupted by it. If you think about it, what the world has to offer is a form of oppression. We don’t need a prince or a politician to oppress us, because the ways of the world will suck us in and keep us in servitude, oblivious to all that God has to offer. Do you want a king? Then you need to look beyond the world and the voices that try to drown out the gentle whisper of the true and incorruptible King.


The Two Adams

Proverbs 28:7

Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.
A discerning son heeds instruction, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father. (NIV)

The First Adam

A long time ago, God created everything. At the end of that creation process, he made humans, specifically Adam and Eve.

These people were created perfect, and the walked with God.

Then they messed it all up. They sinned. They did what God said not to do, and this rebellion led to generations of death, suffering, rebellion, and selfishness that continues to this day.

Because of Adam and his wife Eve, we all choose to rebel against God … at least in some way, and always in our own way, but always away from God. Too much blood has been spilled and suffering caused because of our sin.

We all shame, disgrace, our Father, God.

The Second Adam

Fortunately, God could not leave us alone. He started with a rebellious people, the nation of Israel. He showed grace and favor they did not deserve, and He showed them the way to live. They still failed, but the story does not end there.

Out of this people, God stepped into flesh: Jesus of Nazareth was born, the Son of God, God incarnate.

Jesus was the only One to ever live a sinless life, and He was killed on a cross so that as we spilled His blood it would cleanse away our sin. Three days later, He came back to life!

If we trust in His death for our forgiveness and believe that He now lives, we no longer identify with the First Adam but with Jesus, the Second Adam. If we heed His instructions to love God, love others, and love each other through the help of the Holy Spirit, we become heirs with Christ as wise sons (and daughters)!

45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.
1 Corinthians 15:45-49, NIV

Gracious Lord, thank You for Your grace and forgiveness delivered through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Help us to live in that truth daily and share it with the world!


The Boldness of the Lion

Proverbs 28:1

The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.

Paranoid

Throughout the ages there have been people who have worried about people chasing them, trying to hurt them, or always watching them. It was recently revealed that some people were right about the United States government!

However, usually these fears are misguided or wrong.

Another form of this fear comes from the person with a guilty conscience.

I have been this person. Perhaps you have, too.

I have said and done things that I knew were against the rules, and then I spent minutes, hours, days, even weeks worried someone would catch me in my lie. I became nervous in almost every conversation with anyone, and I eventually only wanted peace and to not be afraid.

The Lion

We are all guilty of something. That something is sin – separation from God by our own actions, words, and thoughts.

We all have a right to feel paranoid about someone watching us, and it is understandable for people to live in fear. It should break our hearts and cause us to tremble at the thought we have forsaken our Creator … and Savior.

Fortunately, we can find boldness and peace:

Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.
Revelation 5:5, NIV

We find our boldness and peace, we find righteousness in Jesus Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah!

Confess your sins, repent of your sins, and trust in the fullness of Jesus. Find boldness in Him!

Gracious Lord, help us to overcome our fears and failures. Help us to trust in Your grace and forgiveness, and embolden us to live a life for Your glory!


The Eyes Have It

Proverbs 27:20

“Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.”
“Death and destruction are never satisfied, and neither are human eyes.” – NIV

I, I

I enjoy video games. I have done for a long long time. I have worked in a video game shop. When a new big game comes out I find it hard to resist: I want to play it, to experience it. I knew the latest Grand Theft Auto would be a well deserved 18: but I am a sensible deserving adult, right? However upon playing a portion of the game I just simply decided that I didn’t want this kind of thing in my life. I can appreciate that it is a good game: the mechanics work well but for me the mechanics are implemented in a dark fashion. So I got rid of it. To be honest it was a sacrifice. I enjoyed most elements of the game but when it forces me in a direction that I don’t want to go in and have no chance to skip, I have to make a choice.

Why? Because what I fill my life with dominates it. What I let my eyes see affects my actions. Or as Jesus put it: what I fill my heart with will eventually come to the surface. Let me be clear – I’m not suggesting that playing dark or violent video games will turn a person into a killer: just that at some point, on some level, it will have an impact on their mood and outlook. That’s why despite me enjoying parts of the game, especially the chance to play online with friends, I have decided it’s not for me. I guess it crossed a line that I didn’t want to. Now I still have games in my collection that involve things like shooting so what does this verse have to say about them?

Balance in Favour of God

The eyes are never satisfied. They take everything in and the more they see of one thing the more they want it. Be that video games, films, porn or purity. People talk about our lives being in balance but for me the key is to make sure your eyes see enough of God that they just keep wanting more. The times I have genuinely spent focusing on God are the times when all other things in my life take a back seat. You may not like video games but I guarantee there is something in your life that is your go to thing when God is not central. The thing you spend most of your time doing, or thinking about when you aren’t doing it. If we could make God that thing, a lot of our other problems would fade into insignificance.

Matthew 6:33 ‘But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’


Protecting Assets

Proverbs 27:13

“Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.”
“Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger’s debt. Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners.” (NLT)
Taking a Garment

The verse today relates to the previous.

There are many dangers which we must be constantly watching out for.

Whether in business (such as banks) or personal life, we have to make sure we are not being taken advantage of in some of our dealings.

For example, suppose you have a friend who is always helping others financially, and he always asks you for help with a promise to repay. Over time you learn that he never makes good on that promise.

To help in such matters, you can ask him for something valuable as a way of urging him to repay.

This item serves as a reminder of a debt that is owed.

Reminder of the Debt

This passage has little to do with spiritual matters, but there is another debt in our lives that a constant reminder.

In Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 we find a list of things called the 10 Commandments. In Romans (specifically chapter 5), Paul tells us that the Law, the 10 Commandments, was given as a reminder of our sin. It shows us how we fail to live up to loving God.

The Law shows us our debt.

Fortunately, our God has shown us grace and forgiveness. He paid our debt by sending His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, to live a perfect, sinless life and die on a cross to pay the debt we could not pay.

To receive the full grace and forgiveness He has offered us, we need only believe that Jesus is God made flesh, paid for our sins on the cross, and rose again to life and now lives with the Father awaiting the time to return and redeem His faithful.

Heavenly Father, help us to be good stewards of what You have given us. We admit we are sinners in need of grace and forgiveness. Thank You for offering that grace and forgiveness through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Give us the faith we need to live in the light of that truth every day!