Tag Archives: God

Hear the Law

Proverbs 28:9.
“He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (KJV).

The Law is Good:

It’s unfortunate that even in the church today, many people have turned away from the hearing of God’s law. “We’re under grace, not law!” they protest. However, Jesus Himself said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” (Matt. 5:17).

Now it’s true that that no one can ever be right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” (Gal. 3:11). But that’s not the purpose of God’s law. You can’t get saved by keeping the Ten Commandments.

Having said that though, I do believe that God wants us to keep His law, not break His law. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15). We don’t keep the law to try to get God to love us, but because He already does love us in response to His love.

What Law?

When we speak of keeping God’s law, what are we talking about? We know that the ceremonial laws (the religious ceremonies, offerings and feasts of the Israelites) were fulfilled in Jesus, and because we don’t live in the nation of Israel, the civil law (their dictates for how to punish law-breakers) doesn’t apply to us. However, the moral law – the law that teaches us what is right and wrong – does apply to our lives as Christians. And not only the five books of the Old Testament called “The Law”, but indeed all of the commandments in the Bible – Old and New Testaments. Love your neighbour, turn the other cheek, treat others as you want to be treated, etc.

Listen to the Law:

In today’s Proverb, King Solomon gives us a warning. He says that if you turn your ear away from hearing the law, then even your prayers would be an abomination to the Lord. This is very similar to Psalm 66:18: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.” In other words, if we choose to disobey God’s law (which He gave us for our own good), then we shouldn’t expect Him to listen to our prayers!

Let me illustrate. If one of my children was to disobey me, and refused to apologize for doing something wrong, and they were to turn around and ask for the keys to the car, do you think I would give it to them? Not likely! This doesn’t mean I don’t love my child, but I’m not going to reward their rebellion by doing something nice for them.

The same thing is true with the Lord. He is more concerned with our relationship with Him than the things we are asking Him for. Therefore, if we will do our utmost to walk in obedience to His Word, and when we miss the mark, be quick to repent and ask for forgiveness, we will continue to enjoy His loving presence. Amen!


Justice Understood

Proverbs 28:5

“Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.”
“Evil people don’t understand justice, but those who follow the LORD understand completely.” – NLT
Media Courtrooms

One of the greatest hindrances to the legal system is the media. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that the public can find out what goes on our courtrooms. However, when the public relies solely on the media (especially social media) to keep them abreast of all the details of a trial, nothing but confusion, misinformation, and bad judgment can come from it.Conscience and law

Depending on who is reporting the news, one arrested for a crime might either be portrayed as a monster, or the second coming of Ghandi. Then, when one adds the prejudices of certain segments of society, it wouldn’t matter who did what, just as long as justice is seen to favor the group prejudiced against. In the meantime, as Rome burns, the media fuels the fire for the sake of ratings.

Perspectives

No matter the case, this proverb tells us that from an evil person’s perspective, compared to one who “follows the Lord,” he cannot, under any circumstance, be made to understand justice. No matter the reason for the verdict, if one is convicted for a crime, the evil will always cry, “Foul!

On the other hand, even good people can unwittingly align themselves with evil men. Without knowing all the details, only being fed what the media wants to dish out, they can resort to aberrant behavior. I have seen this happen many times, and have even been on the receiving end of unwarranted righteous indignation. Whatever happened to hearing both sides? Whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty?” Whatever happened to mercy?

“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” – Micah 6:8 KJV

Whom Do We Seek?

When we seek our own, selfish desires – the ones that cause us to have the verdicts turn our way – our understanding can be darkened. It is only when we seek the Lord and let Him handle the situation that our eyes and hearts are open to better recognize true justice.

However, crazy as it may sound, for the believer and follower of God, the most outrageous verdicts handed down by the most insane judges are only lower court rulings yet to be tried by the Judge of the Ages. His judgment will be true, righteous, and clear enough for the vilest to understand.

In the meantime, the wise man will never forget these words: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19).


The Praise Test

Proverbs 27:21.
“As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.” (KJV).
“Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised.” (NLT). 

Student Writing

The Purpose of the Test:

I don’t know of anyone who enjoys tests. I have three children in high school and one child in middle school, and none of them have ever expressed a joy about having to take a test. I’ve never heard one of them come home from school and say, “Dad, I’m so excited, we get to take a test at school tomorrow! I’ll have to study all night. Awesome!” But like it or not, if they were never tested, they would never know if they were learning anything in their classes, and they would never know if they were growing or progressing in their studies.

In today’s Proverb, Solomon tells us that the refiner’s fire is used to test the purity of silver and gold. As these precious metals are heated up, all of the scum and junk that’s hidden within them come to the surface so that the refiner can remove it from the top, so all that remains is precious and pure. In the same way, a person is tested when they are praised.

The Fire of Praise:

When you stoke up the fire of praise, you will quickly find out what is in a person’s heart. Someone said once about praise that “vain men seek it, weak men are inflated by it, and wise men disregard it.” How do you respond when someone praises you?

If someone becomes proud or conceited when they are praised, and take the glory that only God deserves, they will show that they are really a weak or a selfish person. However, if when someone is praised he responds by giving God the glory, and endeavouring to live a life that reflects that shows that they were indeed praiseworthy, then they are a humble or a wise person.

There is a story told that at a Washington, D.C., press conference in 1952, Sir Winston Churchill was asked, “Doesn’t it thrill you to know that every time you make a speech the hall is packed to overflowing?” Churchill responded by saying, “It is quite flattering, but whenever I feel this way I always remember that if instead of making a political speech I was being hanged, the crowd would be twice as big.”

Giving and Receiving Praise:

We’re not saying here that praise is bad. It’s not necessarily bad to give or receive praise. In fact, Romans 12:3 tells us that we are to give honor to whom honor is due. But we are also warned: “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.” (Proverbs 27:2).

So if you see someone do something praiseworthy, commend them for it! But if you do something noble, don’t boast about it. Do it as unto the Lord, and let him reward you for what you have done. If someone praises you for something you do, then reflect that glory back to the Lord, the one who gave you the grace to do it in the first place. Amen?


The Eyes Have It

Proverbs 27:20

“Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.”
“Death and destruction are never satisfied, and neither are human eyes.” – NIV

I, I

I enjoy video games. I have done for a long long time. I have worked in a video game shop. When a new big game comes out I find it hard to resist: I want to play it, to experience it. I knew the latest Grand Theft Auto would be a well deserved 18: but I am a sensible deserving adult, right? However upon playing a portion of the game I just simply decided that I didn’t want this kind of thing in my life. I can appreciate that it is a good game: the mechanics work well but for me the mechanics are implemented in a dark fashion. So I got rid of it. To be honest it was a sacrifice. I enjoyed most elements of the game but when it forces me in a direction that I don’t want to go in and have no chance to skip, I have to make a choice.

Why? Because what I fill my life with dominates it. What I let my eyes see affects my actions. Or as Jesus put it: what I fill my heart with will eventually come to the surface. Let me be clear – I’m not suggesting that playing dark or violent video games will turn a person into a killer: just that at some point, on some level, it will have an impact on their mood and outlook. That’s why despite me enjoying parts of the game, especially the chance to play online with friends, I have decided it’s not for me. I guess it crossed a line that I didn’t want to. Now I still have games in my collection that involve things like shooting so what does this verse have to say about them?

Balance in Favour of God

The eyes are never satisfied. They take everything in and the more they see of one thing the more they want it. Be that video games, films, porn or purity. People talk about our lives being in balance but for me the key is to make sure your eyes see enough of God that they just keep wanting more. The times I have genuinely spent focusing on God are the times when all other things in my life take a back seat. You may not like video games but I guarantee there is something in your life that is your go to thing when God is not central. The thing you spend most of your time doing, or thinking about when you aren’t doing it. If we could make God that thing, a lot of our other problems would fade into insignificance.

Matthew 6:33 ‘But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’


Iron Men

Proverbs 27:17.

“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” (KJV).

Iron Man

Men’s Ministry:

In addition to our weekly Sunday morning worship service, we also have many different specialized ministries in our church: We have a children’s ministry program which includes classes on Sundays where our kids can learn the Bible at their level of understanding. We have a youth group program for our grade 7-12 students that I have the joy of being personally involved with. We have a Christian 12-step recovery program called Overcomer’s Outreach, home groups, women’s ministry, and a men’s ministry. For some reason, the most challenging ministry we have in our church is our men’s ministry.

For as long as I have been the pastor of our church, we have had a challenge getting a good, solid men’s ministry group in place. Our main monthly meeting has been a breakfast meeting where the men gather for fellowship and to hear a challenging or inspiring teaching or testimony. However, we always seem to have a hard time getting men to commit to coming out. I’m not sure why, and I wonder if other churches have the same issues.

An Attack Against Men:

I wonder if part of the reason for this is the fact that our enemy – Satan – has declared war on the souls of men. True, he hates the entire human race, but for some reason, he is targeting the men, and trying to keep them from living totally sold-out lives for the Lord. I think he knows that if God can get a hold of a man’s heart, that he can do great things for God. Think about what would happen if we had more men in the church like Paul and Barnabas, “men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 15:26).

And so this is why the enemy tries to keep men busy. Whether it is by fostering a workaholic attitude or getting them out of balance and distracted by things like sports, hunting or fishing, his goal is that they neglect their necessary roles as husbands, fathers, and men of God in the church. (Not that there’s anything wrong with those things in and of themselves – it’s all about balance).

We Need Iron Men!

Today’s Proverb is the theme verse for the men’s ministry in our church: “As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.” What Solomon is saying here is that we as men need to be in fellowship with one another – in strong, deep, mentoring relationships with one another, so that we can stay sharp and in keen. In our relationship with Jesus. In our relationships with our wives and children. In our relationships with others in the church and in the world.

The preacher Dwight Moody is quoted as having said: “The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in and by the man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him. I will try my utmost to be that man.” Will you? If you’re not involved in a meaningful, mentoring relationship with other men in your church who you are accountable to, I want to challenge you to do so today. Let’s sharpen one another in the Lord!


Forever Family

Proverbs 27:10.

“Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.” (KJV).

Never Abandon a Friend:

It’s unfortunate that we’re living in a world today where people don’t value friendships like they once did. Ours is a throwaway society where – if people get upset, hurt or offended – they abandon friendships. One of the biggest signs of our times is the fact that there is even a button on the social networking site Facebook where you can unfriend people!

In another Proverb, Solomon writes that “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (17:17) and “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (18:24). Ultimately, I believe those verses best describe our friendship with Jesus, but they are also an example for us to follow: to love at all times, to help people in their day of adversity, and to stick closer than a brother.

When Things Get Rough:

The Hebrew word eyd that is translated as calamity here means distress, burden or calamity. It is also translated in other versions of the Bible as “disaster”, “in your time of need” and “when things get rough” (The Message). In other words, when life happens! We all have days like that – like over a month ago when my oldest son Caleb was in a car accident. He and three of his football teammates were in a terrible collision that resulted in all of them being taken to the hospital. One of them had a concussion. Another one broke his nose. I thank the Lord that he and his friends are alive and recovering nicely. However, a month later and we are still working things out with our auto insurance company. The day of calamity, indeed!

Solomon gives us this advice for what to do in the day of calamity: Go to a friend for help. This is why it’s important that we never abandon friends, because we never know when we will need a helping hand. In the New Testament, over and over again we are encouraged to bear one another’s burdens, or share each other’s troubles and problems (Galatians 6:2). It is important though that as much as we should be willing to help others, we also need to learn how to ask people for help when we are in need as well.

We are Family:

I thank God for the church. The church is the family of God, and the Bible tells us that God sets the solitary in families. Church is a place where we can love and care for one another, pray for one another, encourage one another, and help each other.

If you don’t attend a local church, I want to encourage you to find a good Bible-believing church in your community and get involved. You will find support, help and hope there! And if you do attend a church, be faithfully committed to being a part of the body of believers there. Even though you might be doing well and feel like you don’t need them, maybe someone there needs what you have to give. We are family!


Kiss Me Kill Me

Proverbs 27:6

Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
    but an enemy multiplies kisses.

It Makes Sense

This is one of those proverbs we can look at and agree with. We all know it makes sense. It is much better to have friends who will be honest with us even when it hurts, then friends who will just pamper and flatter us even when we are clearly in the wrong.

The trouble is something making sense doesn’t guarantee we will follow the advice. In this case there are multiple reasons why we ignore this advice, our society is much more comfortable with flattery, even when it’s false, than truth; it can be hard to receive truth from a friend; we can find it difficult to speak truthfully to our friends in case they decide to ditch us.

First Things Firsts

To see more meaningful relationships we need to be ready to be examples. We need to be people who are good at taking criticism, and also brave enough to give it. Many people misread the plank in the eye parable. They use the excuse that as they will never be perfect, and therefore always have impaired vision, they cannot challenge other’s behaviour. I have even heard parents say that they cannot challenge their wayward ward because they were just as bad when they were children. But we only need to read to the end of the parable to see Jesus intention –

Matthew 7:5 (emphasis mine) ‘You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.’ 

We are to be wounded and we are to wound. And all the better our friendships shall be for it.