Category Archives: Truth

Stay On Track

Proverbs 4:27

“Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”

Pastor James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago and Walk in the Word Ministries uses a theme song for his radio broadcasts. The lyrics are:

To the left or the right, o-o-oh, I will not go.
To the left or the right, o-o-oh, I will not go, I will not go.
Walk, walk in the word. Walk in the word.
Walk, walk in the word.
This is the way!

As David mentioned yesterday, we need to focus on the path before us. To turn to the left or the right from the path we have been shown is to step into the ways of unrighteousness, wickedness, and evil. Fortunately, Solomon continues his advice by instructing us to “remove thy foot from evil.”

GET BACK ON TRACK!

Jesus warned us,

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” – Matthew 7:13-14 NIV

What is the most sure way of seeing, staying on, and getting back to the path of righteousness?

As James MacDonald’s ministry says, “Walk in the Word.” We need to read God’s word, know it, and live it.

This combined with daily prayer and meeting with other Christians strengthens our understanding and resolve to stay on the path.

Do not turn from God and His path. Stay focused on our Lord.

Lord Jesus, strengthen our resolve to not stray off the path. Broaden our understanding of Your will for our lives. Give us Your wisdom and the desire to stay on the path of righteousness.

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Watch Your Mouth

Proverbs 4:24

“Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.”
The Old Days

There used to be a day, when I was young, that foul language was not permitted in polite company. I remember going to see a movie with my parents, and right in the middle of the film we got up and left the theater. My parents were not going to sit through a bunch of “cuss’n.”

Back in the old days, before MTV and Southpark, it was not unheard of to punish a child who used “perverse” language. Now, it is not uncommon to hear small children curse like sailors. It used to be acceptable to wash a child’s mouth out with soap; but not anymore. Today’s children, not to mention the average TV show or movie, are accustomed to vulgarity.

Not Cuss’n

But this verse is not really addressing the use of four, six, or ten-letter words. Solomon is speaking here of something a little different. Oh, I’m sure this proverb could also be applied to the folly of foul language; but there is more to this verse than that.

If we take a look at the word “froward” in this verse, it means to be “distorted, or crooked” (Strong’s H6143). More than just advising his children to watch their language, Solomon was telling them that a wise man will speak straight, and not twist words to his own advantage.

Lies

If we were to dig down below the surface of this verse, I believe at the foundation we would find the command, “Thou shalt not lie.” And what is a distortion of the truth, but a lie?

It is so easy to lie when we get into trouble. It is also tempting to distort the truth (which is lying) for our own benefit. However, a wise man is one who understands there will always be consequences for lying; maybe not in this life, but eternity.

Used Cars

Several years ago there was a movie called Flywheel. In a nutshell it was about a used car salesman who realized God was not pleased with his gimmicks and half-truths. When he got his heart right, he put the “froward mouth” and “perverse lips far from [him].” In contrast he became a man of integrity whom people could trust.

You may not be a crooked used car salesman, but when was the last time you bent the truth? Was it when you tried to get out of that speeding ticket? Was it when you said that lunch was tax-deductible, when it wasn’t? Was it when you were late, but the right excuse would let you get by?

A wise man understands that there will come a day of reckoning. He understands that men will have to give an account for every idle word in the day of judgment (Matt. 12:36).

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. – James 1:26 NIV


Wisdom Is Life

Proverbs 4:13

“Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.”

As I finish my degree in Christian Leadership, I am beginning to focus on working toward eventually getting a Masters in Secondary Education for Math. I have had both memories of hearing others (and thinking myself) while in high school “Why do I need to know this?” as well as heard current classmates working toward teaching degrees and students at the elementary school where I work asking the same question.

Come to think of it, as children (and even adults) we ask more than anything:

Why?

Why do I have to do this? Why do I need this? Why is this important? Why should I care?

Asking these questions is not bad, but we should be willing to learn from the answers.

Why?

Because, those answers just might be “thy life.”

Jesus famously said “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) so that qualifies Him for authority. We should listen to what He says.

But beyond that …

We want to know as children why, because we want to know how things work. Some of us never grow out of that.

Parents share what they have learned from others and from experience what a child needs to know about how this world works so that they might have a better life, or at the very least that they might be able to live this life.

God the Father wants us to live life.

He sent prophets. He sent His Son. He sent His Church.

God has given us instruction for life, even to the point of coming in person to teach us.

Just as the things we learn as children help prepare us to be adults, the things we learn from God’s word – written, spoken, and lived out – help prepare us for eternity.

As Jesus said:

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
John 6:63

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
John 14:21

The only way to eternal life is to believe and follow Jesus’ instructions, His commands. Read your Bible, learn His ways, and put them into practice.

Lord Jesus, give us a passion for your words. Give us ears to hear, minds to understand, wisdom to implement, and the strength to live.


Write This Down

Proverbs 3:3-4

“Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.”

Write it Down

I don’t know about you, but I can’t leave the house without a list in front of me. Well, that’s not totally true. Leaving without a list is easy, but getting everything done is not. It’s important to write things down.

Every once in a while my wife will send me on an errand to the grocery store. She will say, “Anthony, would you pick up a, b, c, and d, but only 1 of b, and 4 of a. And DON’T forget to get the c with the blue lid.” Are you kidding me? Write it down!

Necklace and Stone

In the proverb for today we read the suggestion to bind mercy and truth around one’s neck, even to write them “upon the table of thine heart.” In effect Solomon is saying, “Son, write these things down; don’t forget them.”

Unlike the “goodness and mercy” that David described following him all the days of his life in Psalm 23:6, the mercy and truth that we are to exhibit toward others is quick to flee. Solomon instructs his son (and us) to not only remember them, but bind them to us and write them in stone. Otherwise, we may forget.

When Mercy and Truth Forsake

The times when mercy and truth are apt to flee is when we are faced with situations in which we are tempted to be unmerciful and to lie. Have you ever been tempted to get even? To lie on your time sheet? Have you ever been tempted to what is wrong in order to get ahead? Don’t.

Even if you have to wear mercy like a necklace; carve truth into the stone of your heart; never let them out of your site. If you let them get away, then you will not find favour with men, nor please God.

A Prayer

Dear Jesus, never let me forget to be merciful and truthful in my actions toward others. Help me to be an example of the mercy you showed at the cross, and a conduit of the Truth that sets men free. Write your law upon my heart so that I may find favour in your sight.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 4

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. -Matthew 3:7-9, KJV

It is not enough to come from a Christian (or Jewish) home.

With Jesus’ first Advent, it was mostly the religious leaders who refused to change, because they “knew it all” about faith.

As we await Jesus’ second Advent, it is not enough to have grown up in church or attend church regularly. It takes repentance and a willingness to actually listen to the teachings and commands of Jesus, to show love and compassion to others and commitment to God’s truth.

Do not trust in your ancestry or upbringing. Do not rely on the faith of your parents, siblings, or friends. Turn to Jesus for yourself, and believe.

Saving God, do not let me rely on my own knowledge, skills, or history. Give me a passion for You, Your Word, and Your Church.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent

Welcome to the second week of Advent!

Tradition holds that the second week of Advent is about preparing ourselves for the coming Messiah, with John the Baptizer being our model. This is when our focus turns from the promises to fulfillment of Messiah. Obviously, there is a connection between each week, as we begin by looking out our need for the promised Savior, and then we move to finding the truth of the living Savior.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. -Isaiah 40:3, KJV (see Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4)

John was prophesied centuries before either he or his cousin, Jesus, lived. John is also the final of the Old Testament Prophets. He was the last to prophecy the coming Messiah before Jesus began His ministry.

He was an ascetic – someone who separates from society in many ways through denying comforts and desires, including diet and habits, for religious purposes. (See Numbers 6 to understand more of John’s asceticism, known as the Nazirite vow.) He seemed pretty crazy and weird, but he laid the groundwork for the Messiah.

What did this mean?

He called out sin, decried fame, and [literally] pointed to the Lamb of God, the Messiah.

As Christians – believers in the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus – we are likewise called to point to the Savior. We are to prepare the the way for His return and encroaching Kingdom.

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
-Matthew 28:18-20

How are you pointing others to Jesus?

Good Lord, give us a passion for sharing the Good News of Jesus – to call out sin, love people, and glorify Your Name.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent – Day 3

road covered with sand

Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery on Pexels.com

Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way . . . –Hosea 10:13a, KJV

The first week of Advent focuses on the Prophets, which begins with the reminder that we are sinners in need of salvation.

Hosea reminds us that our sin comes from following our own path, a path built on lies, injustice, and counterfeit claims of truth.

But the Lord of Truth is coming to right wrongs and redeem, so let us prepare ourselves!

Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord , till he come and rain righteousness upon you. -Hosea 10:12, KJV

Lord of Truth, guide us in all truth, revealing our sin and removing it, and lead us in righteousness and mercy to see where Uou are moving.