Category Archives: Value and Worth

Sowing Discord

Proverbs 6:19b

“[These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:] … A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Aimed at the Church?

If there were only one of the seven things that God hates that could be directed at the church it would have to be the last in the list:

He that soweth discord among brethren.

I have lost count of the times I have heard Christian brothers and sisters moaning and complaining, criticizing and gossiping. Such displays of discord, disharmony and disunity usually take place inside the church building, often immediately after a service. How does that work? We enter a building we call God’s sanctuary, we go through the motions of worshipping God, and we listen as the pastor brings God’s word. Then when the service is over we may find ourselves talking to others about how the worship wasn’t very good, or how the pastor spoke for too long. Or perhaps we gossip about others in the church. If you are reading this blog and you have never indulged in such behavior then you probably are not a resident of planet Earth.

Hands Up!

It is time, brothers and sisters, to put our hands up and acknowledge that we have used harmful words, that we have sown discord in our church fellowships, and we have offended God by doing so.

Here’s the challenge. Instead of criticizing your pastor this Sunday, how about thanking him for his sermon, and for all the other stuff he does, most of which you will never see or know about.

Instead of moaning about the musicians, how about encouraging them, even if they played too slow, too fast, too quietly or too loud (in your opinion).

Instead of gossiping about others, how about getting closer to them and looking at them through God’s eyes?

Instead of complaining about everything you think is wrong with your church why don’t you stop for a moment and ask God where he would like you to serve more, better or differently within your fellowship.

Koinonia

Fellowship has to be the key. Fellowship is diametrically opposed to discord. Could your church be described as a fellowship? If not, why not?

Further Reading

The Importance of Fellowship in a New Testament Church

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A Proud Look

Proverbs 6:16-17a

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look...”

The Overlord

Most other translations translate this verse as “haughty eyes”.

People with this look are often considered arrogant and rude. A proud look, haughty eyes, comes when you look at another person convinced you are better.

Evidence of this is found in Jesus’ parable in Luke 18 with this prayer:

‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
NIV

These tend to be the people who refuse to associate with certain people and treat others as beneath them. They lord their righteousness over others, whether or not they really are more righteous.

The Needy Servant

A proud look can also come from someone in a more lowly position.

These are the people who have to help others and make sure everyone knows about. If you do not help out, you are not worth their time. Yet, if you need help, they will be the first to help, because all they really seek is the attention as being so good or to know they are better than someone else.

There are many ways in which this can be expressed, but these two examples are definitely prevalent.

Are you one lord’s your righteousness over others? Are you one who seeks the glory by debasing yourself to look “good”?

Lord, give us humble hearts, discerning minds, and a willingness to serve out of love. Remove our prideful passions and replace them with a passion for You!


Making Plans

Proverbs 6:6-8

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.”

In this world …

As Anthony pointed out yesterday, there is a lot of practical advice for everyday life found in Proverbs.

My wife and I work in schools. This means we have summers off from work. We have a couple of options when the summer comes:

  1. One or both of us can find summer jobs to cover expenses.
  2. We can set aside some of each paycheck to help cover expenses for the two to three months we do not work.

Especially with all of the economic concerns in our world today, it is a good idea to save up the money needed in case a summer job cannot be found. Doing this, however, requires discipline and a plan. It is not always easy to remember or even want to set money aside.

There are unexpected expenses that arise. A friend might call and say it is a great day to go out and do something. That new phone/car/movie might come out that everyone (including you and me) just has to have. These can make saving money hard, but we can learn from our friend the ant how wise it is to plan and implement those plans well.

In the next …

This passage is also a good reminder of what comes after this life. There are many who plan on waiting until the last moment of life to make any meaningful change in their lives and/or to follow God.

One problem with this is that we never know when we might die. A few are able to know their end is near and can make a conscious change, but most people are caught unaware through accidents, violence, wars, and sudden terminal illnesses.

The next problem is that we never know when Christ will return. He even warned us:

1Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Matthew 25:1-13

Showing discipline and actively preparing for whatever may come not only helps us in this life, it prepares us for the next.

Loving Lord, grant us the patience and discipline we need to have full and wise lives. Grant us the wisdom to prepare for unforseen circumstances as well as expected, and help is remain faithful until Your return!


Just Walk Away

Proverbs 4:14-17

“Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.”

Magnetic Attraction

When my daughter was eight we spent a week staying in a small Austrian village during the summer. The weather was glorious, the scenery fantastic, and the lake was perfect for swimming. We spent a lot of time by the lake, as did other holidaymakers, and the locals. Despite not being able to speak German, my daughter soon found that she could not stay away from the most mischievous of the local children. They had some sort of magnetic attraction. Nothing I said to her made any difference, she just seemed to gravitate towards the bad kids.

Why is bad sometimes so attractive? Back in Exodus when Moses vanished up the mountain it didn’t take long for the people to lose the plot and become disobedient to the point of making and then worshipping an idol. It is difficult to believe that even Aaron went along with the crowd instead of walking away from what he knew was wrong.

Walk Away

Walk away is the wisdom expressed in these verses. Walk away from wicked people. Walk away from temptation. Walk away from anything you know will be hurtful to God, and keep on walking. Sometimes it seems so hard to take that step and go in the opposite direction, even though we know it is the right thing to do.

Solomon refers to the path or way of the wicked. This is the broad road that leads to destruction. When we walk out on it every step we take adds to the weight of the burden Jesus carried to the cross. Every step on this highway to hell is another hammer blow against a nail piercing the hand of our Lord, who once said:

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” (Matthew 7:13 NIV)

Walk away from the wide road of those who despise God. Don’t follow them for they are walking in the wrong direction. There is only one road. Only one way – with our eyes fixed on Jesus:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV)


The Principle Thing

Proverbs 4:7

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”

I think God really wants us to understand that wisdom is the best thing we can get. How many times over the past few chapters have we been exhorted to get wisdom? And there is more to come!

In 2007, I had the blessing of living out this verse. Really it was a mixed blessing. I had to end an engagement to a woman. I lost my job. I left home with only three bags of possessions (to be fair, my parents still have a few of my things to this day), and spent months living out of those bags with nothing else. I knew no one when I got to Arizona, and I spent a few months practically homeless.

It was difficult and at times a little scary, but I have rarely been as joyful. I was so dependent on God for every moment. I almost literally gave up everything to get a hold of God.

What have you given up to get a hold of God?

He may be reaching out for us every moment of every day, but God wants us to willingly choose to love Him.

For some of us, we may have only to give up our past. For others it is giving up our habits. For still others it may be giving up wants and desires we once had. Like myself at one time, it may require a complete restart, giving up everything and everyone (to a point) in our lives to focus solely on God.

For some, such as many believers in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, it may mean giving up this life.

God’s wisdom is worth it. No amount of money can get it. It must be gratefully and humbly accepted from God.

Awesome Lord, teach us to love You with a passion we cannot comprehend. Give us Your wisdom and grace, and help us understand a little more how much You love us. Give us more every moment!


No Laughing Matter

Proverbs 3:34

“Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.”

Those Who Scorn

Have you ever been a scorner? The definition of the Hebrew word used in this verse is shown in Strong’s as ‘make mouths at’ to scoff, mock, or deride. Pause a while and let the meaning sink in. Would you want to be known as a scorner?

Our world is full of those who scorn. Some might call it comedy. If we consider stand-up comedians, then most derive their living from scorning others. Their targets may be politicians, celebrities, or even family members. Sometimes they pick on people in the audience. But you don’t have to be a comedian to scorn. It happens daily throughout all levels of society. It happens in schools, in the workplace, and sadly even in church.

Jesus knew what it was like to be scorned. There are many examples in Scripture of ways in which Jesus was mocked by the Pharisees during His public ministry. One such incident occurs in Luke 16 after Jesus told a parable about an unrighteous servant:

The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. (Luke 16:14 NIV)

Far worse was the mocking that Jesus endured after His arrest, during His trial, and even while He hung on the cross. I am moved to tears as I consider how and what He suffered, knowing that He did it all for me. He did it knowing that 2,000 years ago I would more likely have been one of the scorners than one of His followers. My failure to follow Him in the earlier years of my life places me firmly in that category. But the whole point of Jesus dying on the cross was to bring the possibility of forgiveness to all, even those who scorn.

The Opposite to a Scorner

The opposite to a scorner? It is defined in last word of Proverbs 3:34: He giveth grace to the lowly. God gives grace, kindness, favor to the lowly, the gentle, the needy, the humble, the meek, the poor. Jesus reemphasized this in the Sermon on the Mount, specifically in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12). Each Beatitude begins with the word ‘blessed.’ Which would you rather be? A scorner or one who is blessed?

Lord Jesus you know the times in my life when I have been far from being lowly, gentle, meek or humble. You have watched as I have joined in with the scorners. Despite this you chose to be a recipient of scorn, and you allowed yourself to be treated with appalling cruelty so that your Father could forgive me for mine. Through your absolute grace please bring to completion the change in my heart from being a scorner to becoming lowly. Thank you.


Blessed Houses

Proverbs 3:33

“The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.”

A few months ago I came across a TV show entitled “Million Dollar Rooms” – yes, you read that correctly – Million Dollar ROOMS! Not million dollar homes – but rooms! It is a show that takes you on a magical ride into people’s homes who have spent at least one million dollars on one (1) room in their house. We are talking unreal rooms.

For instance, one show took us into a home where millions of dollars were spent on a 40 foot water fall in the foyer accompanied by a mist machine and a full light and laser show. Another was a bathroom, where the owner was obsessed with gold. Everything in his bathroom was made of gold. The walls of his very large, walk-in shower was made out of gold bars. Unbelievable!

In the fall of 2011, I had the opportunity to go on a missions trip to Panama City, Panama, and help to take the gospel to four different Indian tribes. What I saw there was also unbelievable!

What I saw there were structures that were patched together with anything and everything. I saw huts that had not walls and homes where you would had to climb up a ladder into the house so the snakes would not be able to crawl into your home. Unbelievable!

When I read Proverbs 3:33, I could not help but think of these two drastic pictures. When we think of being blessed, most of the time we think of being blessed with money – however, I saw this verse in action when I was in Panama. It does not matter what our physical house looks like – whether million dollar homes or small little huts – God has promised to “bless the dwelling of the righteous”.

This verse comes down to what is inside, not our homes, but in our hearts. Are we wicked people who refused to follow God’s law and are cursed or are we a righteous people who seek to please God in everything we do and who are blessed?

The buildings we live in have nothing to do with if we are truly blessed or not. It is a decision that we must make every day to follow hard after a God who has done so much for us. It is a decision to keep our eyes fixed on HIM and HIM alone and to follow Him every step of the way.

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” – Joshua 24:15 (ESV)

Lord, give me the dedication of Daniel (Daniel 1:8) to make my home a place where we will serve You. Help me to choose you today and every day that you give me breath to tell others of your glory and your love.