Tag Archives: Family

He Says “Come”

Proverbs 19:7

“All the brethren of the poor do hate him: how much more do his friends go far from him? he pursueth them with words, yet they are wanting to him.”
“The poor are shunned by all their relatives– how much more do their friends avoid them! Though the poor pursue them with pleading, they are nowhere to be found.” – NIV

Poor and Lonely

How sad is it that when a person has nothing, even his own family will avoid him? This happens a lot, especially to people who are in need. Nobody seems to want to hang out around people who are poor. Being poor and needy can make one awfully lonely.

I know some people who need family and friends. They need support and encouragement, but none can be found. Why? The family and “friends” say, “The only time they call is when they want something.”

In reality, many of the poor in this world are poor as a result of their own unwise choices. But there are also many more who are needy out of no real fault of their own. They are the ones that could truly benefit from a caring family member or friend.

Closer than a Brother

In reality, a real friend or brother would not run from one in need. “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” – Proverbs 17:17 KJV

All I know is that I am thankful that the richest one in the universe never ran from me. Jesus is a friend that sticks closer than a brother and understands what it means to be rejected.

“For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” – Isaiah 53:2-3 KJV

I am so thankful that I serve a loving and generous God who not only knows my needs and doesn’t run away, but calls all men unto Himself…

“Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink– even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk– it’s all free!” – Isaiah 55:1 NLT

 


Six, or Half a Dozen

Proverbs 17:15

“He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.”

My Daddy Used to Say

Down here in the southern United States it is common to hear someone say, “Like my daddy used to say…” What did my dad use to say? He said a lot of wise things. Here are a few examples…

  • daddy“You haven’t really worked until you’ve shed some blood.”
  • “It’s colder than a witch’s upper torso outside.”
  • “I love your soul, but I’m gonna woop your flesh.”
  • “I brought you into this world; I can take you out” (he borrowed that from Bill Cosby…before the scandal).
  • “Right before God does something, the devil will always try to mess it up. So, if something bad is happening, God’s just about to do something.”

But when I read this proverb, the first thing that came to my mind was something else my father used to say all the time: “Six of one, half-a-dozen of another.” In other words, one thing meant about as much as another thing.

My God Says

Well, my Abba Father has said a lot of wise things, too. And when it comes to people who either justify the wicked (say what they are doing is OK) or condemn the just (say what is right is wrong), His disgust with them is about “six of one, half-a-dozen of another.” God despises them both equally.

Isaiah 5:20 – “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”


The Cost of Bribes

Proverbs 15:27

“He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.” 

“A greedy man brings trouble to his family, but he who hates bribes will live.” – NIV

Same Script

Have you ever noticed how most crime dramas on television are the same, at least in the writing department? When we read in Ecclesiastes 1:9 that there is “no new thing under the sun,” it especially applies to television and movie plots.

One reason that it is hard to come up with anything new is because men keep doing the same things over and over again. The stories are all so similar in pattern because the template is ingrained in man’s fallen nature. He keeps falling for the same old tricks every time, like fish that never question a swimming worm.

One common story line involves a man who needs money, takes a bribe, gets caught, then brings his family to ruin. It varies, of course, but whether it’s a politician who takes a bribe in order to keep his career afloat, or a discouraged policeman who deals confiscated drugs in order to take care of his sick children, the end is always the same – trouble.

Doing What’s Right

It is not always easy to turn down easy money. Sometimes the offer can seem pretty tempting. Several years ago my wife and I were asked to hire undocumented workers in order to keep down the costs of a cleaning contract. We were told over and over, “They work hard for little money…everyone does it…no one will find out.” We could have saved thousands of dollars in labor costs.

Doing what is right, however, is more important than money. Greed is the downfall of many. What would have happened my wife’s company had been visited by federal agents? How many lies would she have been responsible for when she filed payroll taxes? What would have happened to our family of one of us had been sent to jail?

Even when times are at their worst, doing wrong, taking a bribe, doing it for the money, is never good for one’s home. Somebody down the line will pay for poor choices made.


Related to Wisdom

Proverbs 7:4-5

“Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.”

Related to Wisdom?

If you are struggling with the point Solomon is trying to make through Proverbs, here it is plain as day:

The Wisdom of God is very, very, very, very, very important!

It is so important, we are told in today’s passage that wisdom should be considered our sister and understanding our close relative.

In almost every family, it is they who know “you” best. Whether it is your parents, your siblings, or your wife, only your best friend might know you better (which is why it is good for your spouse to be your best friend).

What God Says About You

God has several things to say about you:

God created you and knows you better than anyone else in all of Creation. God also has your back:

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

God’s wisdom and understanding is so great that it can save us from any temptation – whether it is a woman, a man, food, entertainment, drugs, alcohol, etcetera – because God knows what we can handle, what we are unable to handle, and the best way for us to escape when our own stupidity leads us into whatever confronts us.

Heavenly Father, grant us your wisdom and understanding that we may escape temptation. Give us the wisdom to live righteously and the understanding to know when we are tempted. Show us the way out when we become trapped by our own desires. Above all, may we be used to bring glory to Your Name!


Ornamental Wisdom

Proverbs 1:8-9

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they [shall be] an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.

Parents

It is interesting that verse eight of Proverbs 1 includes reference to both a father and a mother. Not one or the other, but both. Solomon in his wisdom knew that balance was required, and that a family requires two parents to provide guidance and instruction to children. This is what God intended from the beginning (Genesis 2:24).

Going to school in the 1960s just one of my classmates did not have two parents. The reason he grew up with only a father was that his mother died giving birth to his sister. Fast forward to now and many children can rely on only one parent, even in Christian circles. While many single parents do a magnificent job, it was not God’s intention for a family to consist of one parent.

Ornament of Grace

Although verse eight appears to be directed at the young, there is a significant challenge to parents in verse nine. Initially any new parent is likely to be more overwhelmed by the gift of the child, rather than by the challenge of parenting that lies ahead. The challenge and the responsibilities are clearly defined in the prose of these verses. The instruction of a father and the law of a mother are to be an ornament of grace around the head of a child and chains around his neck.

The Hebrew word used for grace also translates as kindness and beauty, something precious to be attached like an ornament or a necklace. And that is a challenge. Do we consistently parent with grace, with kindness? Can our children respect us sufficiently to learn from our instruction? It is important that they can and do.

What do your children see in you?


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.


Thank you, Duolingo

international-2684767_1920I’m learning Swedish.  Slowly.  I have a working vocabulary of, I dunno, 70 words?  Our second granddaughter is 50% Swedish (our son-in-law is 100%), and they live about an hour outside of Stockholm. 

Now, when my son-in-law heard of my little project, he informed me that only 10 million people on the globe speak his language, as compared with the 1.5 billion that speak some form of English, his point being that it wasn’t necessarily practical to learn his native tongue.

Since when does a grandmother need to be practical?? Continue reading


Peace and Strife

Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife. -Proverbs 17:1 KJV

The last time I wrote on this verse, I talked about the families of close friends of ours who had lived with my wife and me.

Once again, I am going to talk about a friend who had lived with us.

This (grown and middle aged) friend had a girlfriend with grown kids of her own. Naturally, he was over at her house regularly. Both of them are devout Christians and attend church regularly.

However, her children pursue very worldly lifestyles, and when living at home were quite selfish, lazy, and confrontational when their wants and needs were not met to their expectations.

Our friend began telling us that he almost hated going over there. Rather, he liked coming into our home, because there was an air of peace that he did not feel when her kids were around.

We did not always have the greatest food, but he could sit in peace. We set high expectations with grace, but still with firmness.

Which home describes yours? Is your household one the promotes peace or one full of strife? Do you tolerate worldliness in your home or combat it with biblical teachings?


A Tale of Two Dads

Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish. -Proverbs 12:1, KJV

Loves Knowledge

My dad has always loved knowledge. For a long time he had a subscription to National Geographic magazine. He still enjoys watching a good documentary. (Sometimes even a bad documentary.)

He made sure his children understood why he loves these things, to be able have a better understanding of our world and the people and places in it. Then he could avoid stupid mistakes, or, when a mistake was made or he flat out did something wrong, he could learn from it.

Hates Correction

A friend of mine had (yes, past tense) a dad who “never did anything wrong.” He taught his kids how to weasel out of responsibility, to not get caught. Since nothing was his fault, he could live with a “clean conscience” knowing no one was coming after him. His only sense of discipline was in crafting better excuses and his body to deal with those who got in his way. (One day, this mentality is what helped lead to his … past tense-ness.)

Outcomes

Clearly, my dad’s instruction and discipline helped to lead me toward Christ (which then led my parents to Him).

My friend and his dad never (or at least not yet, for my friend) saw a need for the Savior. If nothing is your fault, you are guiltless, right? It is easier to fight or weasel your way out of trouble.

Wisdom sees our need for knowledge and correction, and those will ultimately lead to our good God.

Oh, and happy father’s day!


My Daughters

Proverbs 31:29 

“Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.”

What Matters

Over the years I have met many people. Sadly, many of those cared not about the virtues praised in this chapter, only fame, popularity, wealth, and beauty. Parents are often more concerned with whether or not their daughters make the team, wear the crown, win the ribbon, get the rich husband, or fit into that certain dress.

IMG_8999

Alicia on her wedding day.

However, I don’t care so much about all those things. Sure, I want my daughters to be liked and well-off. It even makes me swell with pride when they win awards or turn heads with a glamorous gown. What matters to me is that they become women of honor, courage, strength, and faith. What matters most is that they honor God.

Praise

Unfortunately, most girls get praised for being sexy, selfish, and seductive. Instead of praising the hard-working woman who is faithful to her husband and God, who takes care of her family, we tune in each week to reality shows that make millionaires out of harlots and place a premium on vanity, not virtue.

Haley and Katie @ Bryan College

Moms and dads, husbands, it is our responsibility to praise the woman “that feareth the Lord” (31:30). Whether they be young and in school, or mothers and grandmothers, our “daughters” should be praised for doing “virtuously.” And what higher praise could there be than to say, “Of all the virtuous, godly, Proverbs 31-like women in the world, you are the best“?

That is the praise my wife desires. That’s the praise I hope to teach my daughters to seek.