Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Don’t Be Pig Jewelry

Proverbs 11:22

“As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.”

Proverb or Nonverb?

If you want to run a great quiz round, make up a load of proverbs, mix them in with little beauties like this, and then ask which is the genuine article. I guarantee you will catch some people out. But just because a Proverb sounds made up doesn’t mean it lacks wisdom, or indeed a lesson for us to learn.

Pig Jewelry

As we look into this idea of pig adornment, we discover a theme repeated throughout the Bible: the contrast between the image we present and the person we are. Despite this, we spend an inordinate amount of time working on the outside rather than the inside, and yet the outside makes up for so little of who we are and is often easy to see past.

Consider how small the gold ring is compared to the pig. It may catch our eye, initially (after all it is gold), but let’s be honest, no amount of gold is going to hide the fact it is stuck on a pig.

The Eye of the Beholder

Similarly beautiful women may turn a man’s head, but my experience is that if there is no substance beneath the beauty, no discretion, then the attraction is waning. I may tolerate them, but it is clear they are a pig – so to speak.

But what happens when I turn this mirror to my own life? Do I see a gold ring, or a pig? Is my “beauty” being wasted on a muddy snout?

Beauty for Ashes

In truth, it matters little what I see, but how God sees me. Can I believe that Jesus loves me despite myself? It may be hard to believe, but he does! That’s the truth on which I will stand.

Isaiah 61:3 “to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes…”

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Worthless Toys

Proverbs 11:7-8

“When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth. The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead.”

Whoever dies with the most toys wins.

Have you ever heard that phrase? That is exactly what this verse is speaking about.

There are many people who truly believe (or at least really wish) that with more money, influence, and stuff they might be able to prolong life or even cheat death.

Quite frankly, that will never happen. In this world, people die, and there is no escape by our meager means.

It does not matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere.

There are many religions in the world that promise peace, life, or freedom.

In our Western culture, one of the current themes is that sincerity in the belief is what really sets you free.

Quite frankly, that is hogwash. You can sincerely believe your hand is indestructible, but that angry dog you just tried to pet does not care.

God is dead.

This is been a common theme since Time Magazine did an article in 1966, but starting earlier. In fact, one reason many atheists enjoy the theory of evolution is that ultimately God is not necessary if there is enough time and random circumstances.

Quite frankly, this is dangerously wrong. Newton’s Second Law of Thermodynamics and the fact that our Universe does indeed have a beginning prove at the very least that something outside of our Universe caused everything to be.

The Truth

There is a God. This God created everything, including humans. Humans messed up … royally. Therefore, God came to Earth as a man, Jesus of Nazareth. In His righteousness, He took the penalty humans deserved. Now, those who believe in this truth are delivered out of eternal trouble into eternal peace and life with God.

Those who refuse to believe or think they know better are still under the penalty.

Lord Jesus, thank You for taking our penalty. Thank You for life. Use our lives to save as many more of those who are perishing as possible. Teach us to love them as You love us all.


Don’t Fake It

Proverbs 10:9 

“He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.”

Walking Righteously

When I was a child I would watch my pop walking around wherever he worked, and he looked confident and like he knew where he was going. I saw many more people (my parents, my friends, my parents friends, many CEO’s of companies, male, female, etc.) looking confident and like they knew where they were going.

There are three things I learned while growing up:

  1. Many people are faking it.
  2. Many people are distracted by the worries of this world (meaning they are probably angry or self-righteous about something) which helps with looking confident or like they know where they are going.
  3. A few people have real confidence and really know where they are going, and many of them have peace.

Self-righteous, Angry, and Faking It

The problem with faking it, living angry, and being self-righteous is that … everyone knows! Most people are able to tell who is faking it, angry, or self-righteous.

These are people tend to make excuses or shift the blame.

The problem with making excuses and shifting blame to someone or something else is that the truth eventually comes to light, and it can be embarrassing when the truth comes out.

Knowing Peace

It is much better to walk a righteous – an upright – life. You can “walk surely,” or, as the NIV puts it, “The man of integrity walks securely.”

When living a morally upright life, you can have confidence in what you are doing.

When following Jesus Christ, you know exactly where you are going.

When trusting in God, you have peace.

As discussed several times earlier, Jesus Christ is our Peace, our Path, our Righteousness, and our Assurance. When we walk  in His Holy Spirit, we are covered with Him. We walk in peace and righteousness assured that our path leads to glory and everlasting life.

Gracious God, we praise You for Your greatness and great love. Thank You for peace and righteousness, for giving us Your assurance through the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Help us live in that peace. Help us walk in Your ways. Give us assurance through Your Spirit in our salvation and Your Return.


A New Pickle

Proverbs 10:2 

“Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.”

Stolen Treasure

In the summer of 2002, I was a volunteer room leader at Manville Camp. The speaker that year was Rev. Robert Pickle. This is a man few would expect to be a Christian by just looking at him. Rev. Pickle is over six feet tall with a pony-tail all the way down is back, he rides a motorcycle and has tattoos all over his body, and he is an ex-con.

Yet this is a very large man with a very large heart for Christ, a man who cries whenever he thinks of God’s amazing grace in his life.

He related a story to us that summer:

He was a wanted man … but not in the way most people would like. He was in a very violent motorcycle gang. He grew his own marijuana, made his own drugs, and had many guns and knives. He was not afraid to use those guns and knives, either. He had killed dozens of men. He made a lot of money from drugs and stealing. In his own words, “I stole money through wasted lives and from stores and people.”

Because all of his money came from drugs and stealing, he could not spend most of it in case it came from cops or could be traced from a robbery. He ended up burying millions of dollars around his property. He was arrested one day (another great story, I promise you!), and he is certain there is still at least hundreds of thousands of dollars left unfound on that property.

He could not spend the vast majority of the money he had. It was practically worthless.

New Treasure

Rev. Pickle loves to share his story because he was a self-made millionaire who could spend none of it. His treasures were literally laid up in the earth.

Now, he knows his treasure is in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). He knows he has been made a treasure in Christ (2 Corinthians 4). He knows that if Jesus Christ had not sought him out to make him righteous through the blood of Christ, he would be dead today.

That is the real point of today’s verse:

We can only find our righteousness in Jesus Christ. He is the only way we can find life.

As David said yesterday, “It’s not how you start, but how you finish that matters.” With Christ in our lives, we will always finish this life well and enter eternal life.

Heavenly Father, we thank You that You sought us out to make a way for us through Jesus Christ. Draw us close, and show us real Life. Strengthen us in Your Holy Spirit to continually seek out Your righteousness. Help us to finish this life well – with You.


Eternal Wisdom

Proverbs 9:1-5 

“Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.”

Made-Up or From Before

Many in our world today will try to tell you that truth is what you make it. Wisdom is understanding how your world works for you.

In other words, make it up as you go along! You are what you want to be!

In a sense, that last part is true. We have a tendency to get in our own way, because we do not believe we can do something we are able to do. Or we do not believe others can love us. Or we believe that God cannot forgive us for what we have done.

But we know this is not true, because the Bible tells us so. We read just a few days ago:

I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. – Proverbs 8:23

Wisdom, whom we have discussed is God and realized in Jesus Christ, was established in eternity. This means wisdom is not something we can just make work for us or discover in ourselves.

Built, Bread, and Wine

Jesus Christ proved His Godhood through the Resurrection and ascension. He has told us:

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” – John 14:2-3 KJV

“And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” – Luke 22:19-20 KJV

The Moral

Jesus of Nazareth has built His house (the Church), has killed the “beasts” (sin and death), and sent out His call (the Great Commission).

To leave “simple ways,” seek understanding, turn from foolishness, and find wisdom is to find Jesus.

Father, thank You for revealing Your Son, Jesus Christ, to the world. Thank You for Your Wisdom and grace, as revealed through Your Holy Spirit. Thank you for preparing a place for us. Help us to cling tightly to our Lord, and help us to introduce Your Wisdom to the world through love, grace, forgiveness, gentleness, and humility, as Your Son did for us.

 

071912


Wisdom Was There

Proverbs 8:27-31

“When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: when he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: when he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.”

A BAD RAP

Somewhere along the line, Wisdom has gotten a “bad rap”.  Ask the man on the street about finding Wisdom, and some will likely visualize a Buddhist monk sitting cross-legged, passionless, in a trance-like state.  If you want to discover wisdom, he would say, take your questions to those guys.  Of course the monk will never answer the question as you pose it; rather, you’ll get a Zen-like contradictory statement in reply.

Ask others about finding Wisdom, and they will bring to mind the scolding voice of a worrisome grandmother:  “Put on your hat or you’ll catch your death of cold!  Take an umbrella – it looks like rain!”

Frankly, I find both of those “visual images” for wisdom unattractive, unappealing, and unscriptural.  How different is the Wisdom of Holy Scripture!

 Wisdom was present at creation.  Yesterday we considered how the personified voice of wisdom in Proverbs 8 points especially to the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, by whom God the Father created the cosmos.  In today’s verses, Wisdom is present as God establishes the clouds above and the oceans beneath.

What is of special interest in today’s verses, however, is Wisdom’s demeanor in verse 30:  Wisdom rejoices in the work of creation!  Wisdom dances with delight!  And when the work of creation was completed, with mankind filling the earth, subduing it, and having dominion over all creation (Genesis 1:28, Proverbs 8:31), Wisdom is laughing and dancing for joy, delighted in all that God has done.

DOES JESUS LAUGH?

To even pose the question sounds, well, a bit sacrilegious – and therein lies our problem.  Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God, took raucous delight in the work of Creation.  Jesus Christ, our Singing Shepherd, sings over the Flock with joy and gladness (Zephaniah 3:16-17).  What about His (and our) enemies?  Do they bring a furrowed brow of worry to his face?  Not at all!  Rather, “He who sits in the heavens laughs!  The LORD holds them in derision” (Psalm 2:4).

LIGHTEN UP, PEOPLE

The path of Wisdom is the path of laughter, joy, and delight.  Those who know the One who is Wisdom can afford a holy chuckle every now and then. We can laugh at ourselves, at our own foibles, silliness, neuroticism and mistakes.  We can chuckle at the goodness of Christ who somehow incorporates our screw-ups into his glorious redemptive plan.  We can even laugh the laughter of the Redeemed,

Then our mouth was filled with laughter,

            And our tongue with shouts of joy!” (Psalm 126:2)

Heavenly Father, we take ourselves so very seriously.  Forgive us, Father.  As we seek to know the way of Wisdom, fill us with joy, delight, and laughter!  Through Christ our Lord we pray:  Amen. 


Wisdom’s Primacy

Proverbs 8:24-26

“When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.”

Yesterday we considered Proverbs 8:22-23, and the theme of Wisdom’s Possession.  Today we look at the subsequent three verses, and the theme of Wisdom’s Primacy.

WISDOM’S PRIMACY

Proverbs 8:24 – 26 point us back to Genesis 1, and the seven days of Creation.  We are reminded of that time when the earth was without form and void (Genesis 1:2a), before the waters were gathered together and the dry land appeared (1:9).  Long before the oceans filled their basins, before the mountaintops pierced the skies, wisdom was there!  Indeed, Proverbs 8:24 – 26 teaches the Primacy of Wisdom.

Wisdom precedes Creation itself, for wisdom is found in the nature of the Eternal God.  In fact, in these verses do we not hear the echoing voice of the Lord Jesus, God’s Eternal Son, the One in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3)?

THE PRIMACY OF CHRIST

Jesus Christ is described in Colossians 1:15b as “the firstborn over all creation”.  Elsewhere, the Apostle John speaks of Christ as God’s Word, who was with God, and who was God, the Word through whom God spoke creation into existence (John 1:1 – 3).  The Wisdom who was present when “as yet {God} had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world” (Proverbs 8:26), is none other than Jesus Christ!

WISDOM IS A PERSON!

The exciting thought I would have you consider today is that wisdom is a Person!  Wisdom is more than a mixture of native intelligence, cunning strategy, and moral discernment.  The Lord Jesus is the embodiment of wisdom.

Seek Him.  Know Him. Worship Him.

Heavenly Father, please open the eyes of our hearts to see Jesus Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  We want to know the One through whom you created the cosmos.  Thank you, Father, for hearing our prayer, for we ask it in Jesus’ name: Amen.