Do you really believe He is there?

The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. -Proverbs 15:3 KJV

Do you actually believe that God is omniscient – knows all things – or omnipresent – everywhere?

If you struggle with secret sin, figuring no one really knows about it, then you probably do not really believe God can see everything or knows everything.

Do you really believe God is watching all the time?

If you mistreat others, steal looks at an attractive person, or conveniently overlook a transaction in your favor, then you probably do not really believe God can see everything or knows everything.

If you have constant, nagging fears and doubts, worry about what is going to happen tomorrow, or refuse to trust others because they might wrong you, then you probably do not really believe God can see everything or knows everything.

God is there.

Trust Him. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you daily, continually. Allow Him to change you, to grow you into the image of His Son. Let the Holy Spirit move in your life.

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What’s on your summer reading list?

gossip

Another insightful painting by beloved Norman Rockwell.

Bob and I were watching a really interesting TV show on the top 100 popular books.  Now, how they came up with that short list, I don’t know, and it ranged from John Bunyan’s Pilgrim Progress to modern day novels that have influenced people in, well, other ways.

One of the neat things about this program is that it’s interactive, meaning you go online and cast your vote for your favorite book (among the short list, naturally), and you can vote once a day until the show’s finale.  Which means you can stuff the ballot box, I suppose. 

During the show, different people were interviewed on their Number One choice, and I was impressed how this divergent sampling of human effort has influenced individuals, and in some cases, greatly.

Like me.  One of John Bunyan’s other books, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, was my door to deliverance in a very real way.  But that’s another story, and anyway, I doubt that’s on the list.

The point is that words, or communication of any sort, are powerful.  That includes not only what we put out but just as importantly, what we take in.  In Proverbs chapter 15, information transfer of some sort is mentioned at least fourteen times!  And they didn’t even have social media yet!  Here’s an example of output:

“The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing,
    but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness.”

Most of us have probably been party to both—my hand is raised.  What we perhaps don’t emphasize enough is the personal responsibility of intake:

“Plans go wrong for lack of advice;
    many advisers bring success.”

What I choose to listen to (or read) is actually just as important as what I choose to say (or write, as it were.) We all know the damage done by slurs on social media.  But do we realize that the damage is done not only because those things are put out there, but because they are read? In other words, the reader is just as culpable as the writer.  Always.

I know that I can be quite impacted by stories, mental images both from descriptive writing and the silver screen.  It’s the way we are wired, since the word (lower case “w”) is powerful, being created so by God Himself.  Therefore, what I choose to listen to is also powerful decision.

Sometimes earplugs are a good investment. 

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Proverbs 15: 2,22 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Are my conversations pleasant and beautiful?

Hot Air

Hot Air

God’s goal for me is that my conversations are pleasant. Arguing and fights aren’t what God has in mind.

  • Love is the key.
  • Respect is imperative.
  • My conversations can be beautiful.
  • Imagine that is what people say after I leave them. “What a beautiful conversation that was.”

If people aren’t courteous to me, I don’t have to get angry, I can just walk away. I can withdraw from confrontation.

Jesus challenges me with the following: “When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don’t welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way. You can be sure that on Judgment Day they’ll be mighty sorry—but it’s no concern of yours now.”

Congenial conversation — what a pleasure! The right word at the right time — beautiful! ~King Solomon | Source: Proverbs 15:23


Your Answers Matter

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. -Proverbs 15:1, ESV

We see evidence of what this verse is saying all over the world in the middle of 2018.

Several nations are at odds with each other over words being said.

People groups within nations are at odds with each other, fighting over the meanings of words or how they are said.

A major issue?

Most people are using harsh words and refusing to listen. Everyone is a racist or a bigot or a Nazi or stupid or ignorant …

No one is apparently an image-bearer of God. But they are.

And most people just want to be understood and given assurances they will be okay. We may disagree, but we can gently discuss things.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Romans 12:18, ESV


Know the Witness

A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies. -Proverbs 14:5, KJV

Yep.

Okay, this verse may be rather obvious, but there really is more to say.

For example, this is a reminder that you can trust people to be who they are. So, do you keep company with those who will tell you the truth, even when it hurts, or with “Yes Men” and chronic liars, those who are always only in it for themselves.

Another line of thinking: how do you respond to each of these people?

Do you lash out at the faithful witness or accept their words?

Do you treat the liar with contempt and hatred or with enough respect for the image of God in them to help protect both of you from the effects of their lies?

If you know their character, it is easier to respond. Always fall back on truth and God’s word, holding yourself and others to that standard.

There is no easy answer for how this is done, and it can depend on each instance with each person, but trusting in our Faithful Father to guide us by His Holy Spirit will be our protection and salvation.


The Fountain of Youth

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning away from the snares of death. -Proverbs 14:27

Many stories – movies, books, television shows – have focused on the fountain of youth, the mythical spring/pool that endows those who bathe in/drink from it with healing, restored youth, and enduring vitality.

Similarly, the search for the cup of Christ – the cup Jesus drank from at the last supper and then later collected His blood, therefore having the same qualities as the fountain of youth – has been a perennial story, stretching back to Arthurian legend.

Even the so-called Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s stone – again, restoring and prolonging life – has been a goal for many, and popularized most recently in the “Harry Potter” series.

Many people have dreamt of finding any or all of these, and some of those have tried.

However, these should be understood as what they are stories.

Stories that point to the truth:

Everlasting life is found only through the Lord Jesus Christ.

First, we fear the wrath of God, and then we driven to the cross, where Christ’s sacrifice rescued us from that fate.

This is how “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning away from the snares of death.” The only fountain of life is found in Christ through the Holy Spirit.


Mock Sin & Mock Christ

Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour. -Proverbs 14:9, KJV

Fools mock at the guilt offering, but the upright enjoy acceptance. –Proverbs 14:9, ESV

In a previous entry, Michael discussed the dangers of hanging around with and even engaging others who refuse to believe in God.

One of those reasons is addressed in this verse.

Most people in this world will find it foolish to make atonement for sin, if there even is such a thing! The reasons vary:

  • As stated, there may not be sin. This categorically denied by most people, as they decry injustice, otherwise known as sin.
  • Good outweighs the bad in our lives. However, we can return to the analogy of being before a judge who convicts you on the crime, not your character.
  • Would a good God really condemn people? If he is really loving he would just forgive. Well …

Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Hebrews 9:22 ESV

God is good, but He is also just. His justice demanded atonement, and that atonement was achieved fully in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Those who find this truth and believe it will find the imputed favor of God, the acceptance of Jesus.

Don’t mock sin. Mock sin, and you mock Christ’s sacrifice.You are guilty of that sin and in need of That Sacrifice.