Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

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!

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The Good Life

Proverbs 3:1-2

“My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.”

The Lord’s Prosperity

The last entry I wrote on 2:16-19 mentioned people preaching a message other than Christ. One of those mentioned was “wealth and health,” which some have called a “Prosperity Gospel”. Something quite interesting about this passage is that some translations of the Bible mention long life and “prosperity.”  The Message puts it this way:

They’ll help you live a long, long time, a long life lived full and well.

Honestly, I like the way the KJV and others put it “For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.” Let us look at what remembering the Lord’s commands means:

Peace:

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

Long life (which I think the NIV does a spectacular job of explaining clearly):

We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
1 John 5:20, NIV

Keeping wisdom in our hearts – keeping the Lord Jesus in our hearts is the only way to peace and a good life. Jesus is the only good life.

Lord Jesus, dwell in our hearts. Remind us always of Your love and grace, and help us to share You with our world. Bless us, Lord, with all of You.


Listen to the Warning

Proverbs 1:24-27

Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; (25) But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: (26) I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; (27) When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.

Working Backwards

Let’s look at the above passage, starting from the end, then working back to the beginning. Fear, destruction, distress and anguish: all of these are the result of something. They are all consequences of unwise, foolish choices.

I deal with children, young people, and plenty of adults who complain about their circumstances. Many times they come to me weeping and asking, “Why? Why? Why?” With tears flowing, their faces red, they look for answers, but not before blaming every one and every thing besides self.

But let’s work backwards. Why are they in such distress? Why are they afraid of the future? Why has everything fallen apart? Could it be that they refused wise counsel? Could it be that they are suffering the consequences of foolishness? Could it be they would have “none of [His] reproof?”

Wisdom Calls

Wisdom is not silent. Wisdom calls from the mouths of parents, teachers, and ministers; especially the Word of God. Wisdom says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Pro 16:25 NIV). Wisdom says, “Don’t stay out too late…don’t have sex before marriage…work hard and don’t complain…be faithful, even when you’re tempted.”

The one who finds himself in distress and anguish should look back in time. Was there not a hand outstretched? Was there not a voice of warning? Calamity has come, and now Wisdom can’t help but laugh and say, “I told you so!”

“Trust Me”

It didn’t mean as much until I became a parent. My dad would warn me with words like, “Trust me son, you don’t want to go through what I went through.” Now I say the same thing to my children. “If you’ll listen to me, you won’t have to make the same mistakes I made, nor live with the pain.” Will they do what I say, or set at naught my counsel?

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Pro 3:5-6).

Oh Lord, soften our hearts and help us to yield to your wisdom.

 


Can You Hear?

Proverbs 1:20-23 

Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: (21) She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, [saying], (22) How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? (23) Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.

Wisdom’s Call

Do you hear wisdom’s call?

God reaches out to all people in all circumstances.

Most times it is our conscience reminding us we are doing something we probably should not be doing. Sometimes it is through others offering advice. Sometimes it is through a dream or a thought. Occasionally God (or one of the angels) speaks directly.

As I said, it is usually through our conscience, which I argue definitely can mean “in the streets” and “the chief place of concourse”. These were places people were most likely to hear a proclamation. God can easily strike our conscience:

12For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

14For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

15Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

16In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. (Rom 2:12-16)

The “Simple”

In the Creation versus Evolution debate, the pro-abortion versus pro-life/anti-abortion debate, or even the carpet color versus sign font debate within churches, both sides argue for the wisdom they have and the strength of their moral (or lack-thereof) superiority.

Many Bibles have a note listed for the word “simple”: The Hebrew word rendered simple in Proverbs generally denotes one without moral direction and inclined to evil.

No matter who is right in these debates, the verbal attacks denote someone who is “simple” in mind and/or spirit. People such as this love their way and choices more than what may be true. They “delight in their scorning” and “hate knowledge” while claiming to be tolerant and knowledgable.

When our conscience speaks up (or someone gives advice, or we have a dream, or God directly speaks), may we not only listen but turn from our own limited knowledge (repentance!). Not only can it save us from trouble, but we can receive full wisdom (not necessarily full understanding) through the Holy Spirit.

Heed the Call

Holy Spirit, guide our hearts and our minds. Help us to clearly hear and respond to Your leading. Give us Your wisdom and the strength to obey, in Jesus’ name.


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.


Sweet Ride

ford-290615_1920Do you remember when you turned 16 and your parents bought you your first new car?

Yeah, me neither.

That’s okay though, because growing up sharing the family auto(s) was actually a good thing.  And anyway, just because I got my driver’s license didn’t mean I automatically deserved a car, not by a long shot.  Having a license isn’t a “right”, or something I earn.  Sure, I did a little study and answered a few questions, but in reality, a license is something bestowed—a trust. Continue reading


The Protection of Wisdom

For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.” – Proverbs 2:6-8

God gives wisdom.

The first thing to realize is that He gives wisdom to all, regardless of faith or belief, as evidenced by people of all backgrounds who make wise decisions in this world.

This is why, in verses 7-8, he explains more deeply that He sets aside sound wisdom for the righteous, the saints of God.

To keep it simple, non-believers (those who do not believe in God or believe in a different god than that revealed in the Bible) become futile in their thinking. They believe and teach things that are contrary to God’s truth and even sound reason, and they bring others with them. (See Romans 1-3, 1 Corinthians 1)

For the faithful, God’s wisdom does three things:

  1. Shields (the buckler): We are protected from lies and deceit, because we know the truth and can see deception more clearly. Arguments against us fall flat.
  2. Guards (keeps): Truth is protected, because lies cannot hold up. Whereas a shield deflects, a guard holds back. I am reminded of a contrast of debates I saw in which one man had to keep coming up with answers because he did not rely on the Bible, but another man shot down his opponents initial questions by simply quoting the Bible (with brief, simple explanations as needed). There was no need to continually adapt to new attacks, because his initial, biblical answers ended the questioning.
  3. Supports (Preserves): God’s truth will always sustain us. We do not need to be concerned with future attacks, debates, or seemingly contradictory evidence. Nor do we need to worry about “slipping” in faith, word, or deed. We may stumble, but His truth remains for us to eternally fall on and hold us up. (See Matthew 10:16-20, Mark 13:9-11; Luke 12:8-12; John 14:26)

The ultimate sound wisdom given to the faithful – while helpful in fighting off the “wisdom of the world” – is that we will “understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.”

In other words, we will find the truth of Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sins, and everlasting life.