Tag Archives: Faithfulness

Grow from Instruction

Proverbs 10:17

“He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.”

Customer Service

I worked in some capacity of customer service in the retail world for nearly a decade. I am pretty good at it, because I so enjoy interacting with people.

While the height of customer service is keeping people happy, I must admit to times I did not want to live by that standard (and must confess to not always upholding that standard, but I also know the saying “the customer is always right” was stated by fools!). Yet, I mostly did stick to making customers happy.

As an employee and an employer, I have worked with people of all ages who saw no point in making others happy.

You would think, after being corrected time and again, even being required to do the most mundane (and sometimes humiliating) tasks as punishment, would convince them to change, but no.

You would think losing hours and therefore money would convince them to change, but no.

You would think the threat of losing their jobs would convince them to change, but no.

They did not seem to care about others, or for anything.

Painful Growth

Those of us who persevered and kept our jobs (usually until we moved on to something else!), as I confessed above, had our own share of mistakes and problems. There are two main differences between us and those who refused to listen:

  1. We would not complain about how unfair everything was, but more importantly,
  2. When corrected, we sought to change wrong or ignorant behavior.

Nobody likes to hear they have messed up. Nobody likes to be told they are wrong. It hurts our feelings. It hurts our pride.

But we grow from that experience and pain.

It is the same in our walk with God.

God does not call us to leave behind our desires, our wants, and our sins to hurt us, though it does hurt when we leave them. God call us because He knows that when we persevere through the pain we prove we are truly His.

“Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. (5) And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: (6) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. … (11) Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” – Hebrews 12:4-6, 11

Great God, thank You for Your rebukes and correction. Help us to be obedient, to love Your instruction. Keep us from the foolishness of refusing wisdom and Your will.

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Gather Now!

Proverbs 10:5

“He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.”

Of Ants and Grasshoppers and Men

Many have heard of Aesop’s fable about an ant and a grasshopper. The grasshopper spends the summer having fun and not working. (My wife and I can understand that, as we both currently work in schools with summers off!) The ant works hard all summer saving up food for the winter months. When winter comes, the grasshopper is starving while the ant is thriving. Some versions show the message of grace by having the ant share some of its food with the grasshopper. (Darker versions only have the ant rebuking the grasshopper … who dies.)

The moral is that idleness and laziness can lead to ruin, but hard work pays off for tomorrow.

One of the problems of the so-called welfare state, in which the government covers most or all of individuals’ needs, is that many people become, well, lazy and dependent. This is the main reason most political conservatives distrust government programs which support people, such as prolonged unemployment benefits.

God’s Thoughts

One of my favorite passages from the Bible, Matthew 25,  includes the parables of the Ten Virgins, the Talents, and the Sheep and the Goats. They all have the same point: do not spend your time fooling around, but be prepared.

Sure, we are commanded to not worry about tomorrow, but the best way to not worry is to be prepared!

This is a good time to remind us all that these parables, and therefore today’s proverb, tell us that we cannot rest with an understanding that we are safe, that “I am saved!”

Jesus came to seek and save the lost, sure, but it came with a call: love others. A Christian’s salvation is evidenced by showing love to others; by feeding the hungry and clothing the naked; by weeping with the broken-hearted and healing the hurt; by seeking and reaching out to the lost; by preparing our hearts by drawing near to Him.

Great Lord, we thank You for having a plan for and saving us. Help us to not only prepare for our near future, to be good stewards of what You have given us, but also help us to prepare for eternity. Grow Your love in us, that we may love as You love.


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!


It Takes Passion

Proverbs 4:20-22

“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”

An intellectual gets great joy from learning and is invigorated by knowledge and good debate.

An avid reader gets great joy from a good book and has his or her spirit lifted by a great story.

A social person gets great joy from social interaction and is sustained by spending time with others.

A private person gets great joy from some quiet time and is refreshed by personal alone time.

God gives these desires … and uses them for His glory.

Nicodemus sought knowledge from the Teacher, and he was born again (see John 3:1-21, for example).

The Bereans found new life by reading the Scriptures foretelling the Messiah (see Acts 17:10-12).

Mary discovered everlasting life by talking with (and listening to) Jesus (see Luke 10:38-42).

Anna beheld her salvation after decades in prayerful solitude (see Luke 2:36-38).

These were all people who listened to the teachings of those who came before and especially of God. They kept God’s word within themselves and studied it fervently.

Do you?

It is not enough to just read books, talk with people, or seclude yourself from society. It is not enough to go to church services and functions or to do good things.

It takes a disciplined heart and a passion for God to truly live a godly life. And the best possibility for a long, healthy life this side of heaven comes from living a godly life (see verse 22).

Dear Lord, give us that passion for Your truth. Help us to cherish Your word and to live out Your commands.


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.


True Substance

Proverbs 3:9-10

“Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.”

It is great that the King James Version says “Honour the LORD with thy substance,” because most other translations say wealth. It is also great that it says “with the firstfruits of all thine increase,” because most other translations say crops or produce.

It is great, because these words say so much more.

Giving it all

Allow me to paraphrase: “Give God everything of who you are and let God use you and what you have, and give God the first part of anything you get above what you have.”

This is not a prosperity gospel message, but if you honor God with what you have He will give you more. If you continue giving back when you get more, you will find your barns (or bank account or pantry or whatever) full and more than you can handle.

But it is because you are thinking about God and others, not yourself and how comfortable you are. It is because you are focused on pleasing God, not growing your portfolio or your bank account.

Jesus mentioned it, too

In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus discusses that those who show they are good stewards of what they are given are given more. Those who sit on, hide, or squander what they are given will have it taken away. (But we must also remember that in all things “the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD,” (Job 1:21) must be true. Even good stewards may see everything taken away if it is for the good of the Church and glorifies God.)

The true increase and blessing is the joy of our Heavenly Father in our faithfulness and commitment to Him. We honor God because He deserves it and we love Him. We give because He gives and we love Him.

If we give simply because we expect something in return, then we should expect nothing. We are not honoring God; we are honoring ourselves.

Gracious God, Thank You for Your love and Your grace. Increase Your love in us. Give us giving hearts and a will to seek after You alone, that You may be glorified in us.


Resolving Resolutions (10:8)

While going through and organizing things on the site to make it easier for all to find thoughts, Anthony noticed we may have missed a verse!

The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall. -Proverbs 10:8, KJV

If you have been reading our site for any extended amount of time, you know that I greatly enjoy digging into the deeper truths and how Christ can be found in each verse.

Today, however, I will not be focusing on how the wise find Christ in the Bible while others claim other wisdom or how foolish this idea is. (There it is!)

Instead, this is going out on New Year’s Eve, and this verse is applicable today.

How many of us say each year “I am resolving to do this or that thing”? How many of us, year after year of promises, find ourselves failing mere weeks or even days into the new year?

This is not to say that making resolutions is necessarily bad. (Some people actually follow through on their resolutions!)

Rather, instead of constantly saying (prating on, if you will, like a resounding gong) how such and such will be done in the future, the wise look to the Bible and the Church to find how to change their lives, seek God’s help to make changes, and rely on His people to be held accountable through encouragement. (See 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and Hebrews 10:23-25)