Tag Archives: Jesus

Red Mist vs The Green Eye Monster

Proverbs 27:4

Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming,
    but who can stand before jealousy?

Ch Ch Ch Changes…

I was never that bothered about hitting 30. I just thought it would be a birthday like any other, the only significance being what others placed on it. I was wrong. Since hitting 30 my memory has declined, I can no longer stay up past midnight and operate the next day, sprained ankles take months to recover rather than days… you get the picture and it’s a grim one. I also noticed I was rapidly becoming a grumpy old man.

Red Mist

I decided to cheer up a bit, I couldn’t change some of the physical stuff but I could change the grumpiness, and I was doing so, and then we adopted a three year old boy! There is nothing that challenges patience greater than a child! I certainly look back on my own childhood now with a slightly different perspective! Raising a child certainly shows me the truth of the first part of this verse. For my son his anger can strike at any time with no obvious reasons and it cripples him. When I get angry it’s easier to spot the reasons but just as hard not to be overwhelmed and suddenly flip into hulk mode. Anger is overwhelming, but anger passes. Losing control is not comfortable, but it usually dissipates fairly quickly. The chemical reaction in our body does its work and then we come down. Our son certainly bounces back quickly, the events seemingly left in the past.

Green Eye Monsters

Just as we all experience anger, we all certainly recognise the pangs of envy. The writer of this proverb seems to be implying that jealousy is worse than anger. I wonder if it is because of jealousy’s lingering nature. Jealous leads us to be consumed by something we don’t yet have. At worst it can make us plot and plan devious schemes to obtain said items, at best it can lead to restless nights consumed with thoughts of our supposed ‘need’.

So What?

We may all agree with the verse in question but so what? Should we favour anger over jealousy? Anger and jealousy are both things that we are told God has experienced – so what is this verse all about? Well firstly I think there is a recognition that anger and jealousy are very much part of the human experience – there will be a day when they are gone, but for now we are stuck with them. But that doesn’t mean we have to indulge in them especially when they are both potentially destructive. This verse hints that we may not be able to control when they hit, but we can certainly limit the damage they cause.

Self Control

The problem is a lack of self control, we are encouraged to revel in our feelings as long as they make us feel better. This is world’s apart from the way of life Jesus choose, a life of self control and sacrifice benefiting others before himself. If we want to be more like Him we need to spend more time with Him drawing from His reserves of love, being strengthened to be self controlled and disciplined and getting grace when we invariably mess it up.

Philippians 2:1-11 (The Message) ‘If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.’


Afflicted and Ruined

Proverbs 26:28.
“A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.” (KJV). 

Life Lessons:

There are three main places where we go to learn things. One is the home – where we learn from our parents. Ideally, we learn here values, morals, good habits and etiquette. Second is the school, where we learn the three R’s – reading, writing and arithmetic. (I know, neither writing nor arithmetic – math – start with the letter ‘R’, but that’s what they used to call it back in the day). And finally, the third is the church, where we learn about the love of God, how to know Him, how there’s a hell to shun and a Heaven to gain.

At church, we have the benefit of learning from the wisest of all wise – God Himself. The Bible is the Word of God, and in it we learn wise lessons for living life. I want to challenge you, reader – do you read the Bible? If not, then what are you waiting for? A virtual treasure trove of wisdom awaits you!

SpurgeonCharles Spurgeon, an old Baptist preacher from the 19th Century (known affectionately as the Prince of Preachers) had this to say about the Bible: “The best food for you is the word of God itself. Sermons and books are well enough, but streams that run for a long distance above ground gradually gather for themselves somewhat of the soil through which they flow, and they lose the cool freshness with which they started from the spring head. Truth is sweetest where it breaks from the smitten Rock, for at its first gush it has lost none of its heavenliness and vitality. It is always best to drink at the well and not from the tank. You shall find that reading the word of God for yourselves, reading it rather than notes upon it, is the surest way of growing in grace.” The challenge is this: Read the Bible!

Warnings against Lying and Flattery:

After that lengthy introduction, let us now come to today’s text. Here Solomon says: “A lying tongue hates its victims, and flattery causes ruin.” (NLT). Let us look at both of these warnings separately here.

First of all, in the KJV of this verse, Solomon tells us that a lying tongue causes affliction. The original Hebrew word sheqer translated lying means lie, deception, disappointment, falsehood, deceit, fraud, wrong, to testify falsely. And when you lie, you cause affliction. That Hebrew word dak means to oppress or crush someone. Anytime you lie about someone, you are afflicting, oppressing or crushing them. Think about that the next time you go to tell a lie! And Solomon also says here that when you lie about someone, it shows that you hate them.

Secondly, Solomon tells us that a flattering mouth works ruin. Flattery means to praise or compliment insincerely, effusively, or excessively. I don’t mind an encouraging word of affirmation if it is sincere, but someone who flatters insincerely causes ruin. So be warned – our words are powerful, and if we don’t use them wisely, we can cause affliction and bring ruin!


Cursed Curses!

Proverbs 26:2

“As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.”

Curses!

I recently watched a funny scene from the movie Despicable Me. Vector, the really bad guy, had stolen a stolen shrink ray and was playing with it in his bathroom (lavatory), and that’s when he purposely shrunk his toilet. He then proceeded to mock the toilet like it was a defeated enemy. When the shrunken toilet popped off the water line, Vector yelled, “Curse you, tiny toilet!”

Curses are as old as mankind, I suppose. They have been around long before Vector, Scooby Doo, Endora (Samantha’s mother), or the literal witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28:7). The first curses recorded in the Bible can be found all the way back in the book of Genesis. There God cursed the serpent (Gen. 3:14), the ground (Gen. 3:17), Cain (Gen. 4:11), and even the anger of Simeon and Levi (Gen. 49:7). So, it would seem that the earliest curses came not from witches, but from God.

However, when God pronounces a curse, it is usually a denunciation of sin (Nu. 5:21, 23; Dt. 29:19–20), His judgment on sin (Nu. 5:22, 24, 27; Is. 24:6), and the person who is suffering the consequences of sin by the judgment of God is called a curse (Nu. 5:21, 27; Je. 29:18).[1]  On the other hand, men use curses as tools to bring something about. However, the difference between a curse from God and a curse from man is capacity: man’s is limited, but God is omnipotent.

Capacity

Those who spew out curses typically have no ability to see them come to fruition. In Eccl. 8:4 we read: “Where the word of the king is, there is power.” In other words, a king can pronounce a curse on his subject’s land or life and have the ability to make it happen. But for most people, “damning” someone is pretty useless.

Click the picture to watch the video.

I once made a video depicting a monkey puppet making fun of evolution. The video asked the question: “What do you get when cross a monkey with time?” The answer was, “A man? No, just a monkey.” Immediately I received hate mail and curses from atheists around the globe.

On other occasions I have written about my views on marriage, which have brought even more hateful language, and even threats. The curses came by the boat load and generally read like this: “I hope you get sick and die!…go to hell!…damn you!” But therein lies the point of today’s proverb – cursed curses are useless.

Causeless

Solomon said, “the curse causeless shall not come.” Therefore, we should not fear the curses of fools, for they do not have the capacity bring about the end result. They presume upon a Power beyond their own to bring about the judgment they declare, but “there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

Let the witch doctor cast spells; let the voodoo doll be stuck with pins; let the curses come from Hell itself; they will fly by me like sparrows on the wind, for they are as powerless as the cursed fools who send them.


[1] J. A. Motyer, “Curse,” ed. D. R. W. Wood et al., New Bible Dictionary (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 248.


A Nagging Wife

Proverbs 25:24.

“It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.” (KJV).

nagging wife

Which Would You Choose?

If you had a choice between living in a big house and living in the corner on a roof, which would you choose? I believe most people would choose to live in a nice big house. But as Solomon is wont to do, he puts a little twist in his Proverb and says that it’s actually better to live on the roof… if there’s a brawling woman in that house!

But – what does the word brawling mean? If you look at some of the other ways this word is translated in other versions of the Bible, it reads: quarrelsome, contentious, nagging, and bitter-tongued. In other words, Solomon is talking about a contentious wife who likes to fight, nag, and stir up strife. If that’s the case, you would be better off on the roof, out in the cold with the wind and rain. If you ask me, neither one of these options sounds like fun!

Application:

How then should we apply this Scripture verse to our lives?

To the single young men: If you plan on getting married one day, take the time to prayerfully think through the choice of a spouse. Next to giving your life to Jesus Christ, there is no more important decision you will ever make. One of the deepest, most profound thoughts on marriage is this one: “Happy wife, happy life.” It’s true! If you have a wife who is quarrelsome, contentious, nagging and bitter-tongued, you will be miserable. So take the time to get to know your prospective mate before saying “I do!”

To the married men: If you have a wife who is peaceable, then thank the good Lord above. You are blessed! Proverbs 18:22 says, “Find a good spouse, you find a good life – and even more: the favor of God!” (The Message). However, if you have a wife who tends to be contentious, then pray for her. Pray that the Lord Jesus would change her heart, and that she would have the fruit of the Spirit in her life – which includes peace, kindness and gentleness.

To the married women: If I can be so bold as to give you a piece of (Scriptural) advice: Don’t be a nag! If you criticize and complain to your husband all the time, then don’t be surprised if he wants to spend all of his time out in the garage with his tools, watching football with the guys or being anywhere but with you. It’s no fun being around a woman who fights all the time.

A Post Script: Now lest some of you conclude that the Bible is picking on the women here, know that there are many Scriptural admonitions to the husband as well: Husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loves the church (Eph. 5:25), to love her and never treat her harshly (Col 3:19), and to treat her with honour (1 Peter 3:7). The bottom line? If a wife will respect her husband, the husband will love his wife, and if the husband will love his wife, the wife will respect her husband (Eph. 5:33). Amen!


Golden Apples

Proverbs 25:11-12.

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.” (KJV).

A Word Fitly Spoken: Timely Advice

I love the Bible. Not just because it is God’s Word, giving us wisdom for living life and teaching us how to get to Heaven – but also because of the majestic, poetic symbolism the Holy Spirit uses to communicate truth with us. In Proverbs 25:11, Solomon (under the inspiration of God’s Spirit) tells us that someone who gives a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. The New Living Translation says: “Timely advice is as lovely as golden apples in a silver basket.” It’s sweet. It’s beautiful. It’s awesome.

Words are powerful! I have experienced many times the truth of Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Every word that we speak can bring life – comfort, encouragement, and hope – or it can bring death – depression, discouragement, or hopelessness. I have had people lie about me, gossip about me, and slander my name, and I know how much it has discouraged and frustrated me. How much it has caused me to want to give up.

But I have also experienced the flip side of the coin – words of encouragement, timely advice, words fitly spoken, that have been sweet, beautiful and awesome. I have people in my life who encourage me – whether it is through spoken words, handwritten cards, or an e-mail note or Facebook message. I believe it was Mark Twain who said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” That’s so true!

An Earring of Gold: Valid Criticism:

In Proverbs 25:12, Solomon tells us that a wise reprover upon an obedient ear is like a golden earring. In other words, “Valid criticism is as treasured by the one who heeds it as jewelry made from finest gold.” (NLT). Not only do we need words to encourage us when we are doing well, but there are times when we need good friends who will speak the truth in love and let us know when we’re messing up in our lives. Their goal isn’t to hurt or destroy us, but to help keep us on the straight and narrow. Such people are more valuable than precious jewels.

It would be nice if every time a wise person corrected their friend that they would be met with an obedient ear, willing to respond to that correction, but that is not always the case. Sometimes even when we speak the truth in love, people will reject that truth because they don’t want to change. That’s unfortunate!

Lord, give us people in our lives who will speak encouraging words of life to build us up and encourage us when we need it. But also give us people in our lives who will be wise reprovers, who will challenge us when we get into sin or error, and help us to have an obedient ear that is open to correction. Amen!


Don’t Be Lazy!

Proverbs 24:30-34.

“I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.” (KJV). 

The Fields Preached a Sermon:

In today’s Proverb, Solomon describes a story from his personal life. He tells about a time he was walking by the field of a simple, lazy man, and – no surprise – it was overgrown with weeds, the fence was knocked down, and there was no fruit. The lesson he learned? If you are lazy, and spend all your time napping, you will become poor really quickly, and you won’t be able to do anything about it. What a great lesson for today’s generation!

lazy

Today’s Lazy Young People:

I don’t know about you, but I have noticed that a lot of young people today lack any sort of work ethic. They don’t want to do anything, and they want everyone to do everything for them. There is a song by Bruno Mars that I think so perfectly captures the spirit of today’s generation: “Today I don’t feel like doing anything, I just want to lay in my bed.” It is aptly named simply “The Lazy Song.”

I know that I am greatly (and perhaps unfairly so) generalizing here, as I know that there are many young people who are diligent and hard-working. However, such persons are so rare that when they are seen, they are taken as a notable exception to their peers, and are looked upon as extraordinary.

The Book of Proverbs has a lot of warnings to the lazy man (or woman):

  • 12:24: The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor.
  • 12:27: The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, But diligence is man’s precious possession.
  • 13:4: The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.

Application: How Then Shall We Live?

First of all, if you’re 30 years old and still live in your mom’s basement playing video games all day long – go out and get a job! (That challenge is only partly tongue-in-cheek). God’s Word challenges us to be diligent and hard-working people, and warns against a lazy lifestyle. The Bible says, “Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Colossians 3:23, NLT).

If you work hard and are diligent, God will bless you. So don’t be lazy!


Small Strength

Proverbs 24:10.

“If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” (KJV).

The Crisis:

It was the fall of 1994 in Surrey, BC, and I was 22 years old. I was involved in full-time ministry as the assistant youth pastor at Victory Christian Centre (now called Relate Church). And I had just gotten engaged to Liza. Everything was going my way. We were going to get married, have lots of children, and serve the Lord together.

And that’s when it happened.

I got called into the pastor’s office and he told me that because of the financial difficulties that the church was having, they were going to have to lay me off. I was still welcome to work with the youth on a volunteer basis if I wanted to, they just didn’t have the money to pay me anymore.

And that’s when I started freaking out. How was I going to get married in less than six months? I couldn’t start a family without a job! And so I made the decision to call off the wedding.

The Challenge:

But thank God for fellow believers in the church, amen? One of my friends shared the above Bible verse with me. He said, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” Ouch! That was a Scripture spanking for sure! He was saying that if I was to give up just because of a difficult challenge, then my strength was small.

You see, it’s easy to appear strong and look like you have it all together when everything is going good in your life. But when a crisis comes up, then you find out what’s really in your heart. And so I made a decision to step out in faith, go ahead with the wedding, and trust God to provide for my needs.

Chris and Liza - March 25, 1995

Chris and Liza – March 25, 1995

The Conquest:

I’m happy to report that even before two weeks had passed and I was finished at the church, I had another job already lined up working as a prayer minister for an international television ministry. While I was working there, I learned a lot about prayer and had many great experiences that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

I still worked with the youth in our church until the Lord called me to the youth ministry at another church down the road – Bible Fellowship Church (now called Horizon Church). We have four wonderful children, and have been married for over 20 years now. God is good!

What kind of adversity, crisis or challenge are you facing today?

Life is hard, but I want to challenge you to look to the Lord today to help you with whatever you’re going through! “I will lift up my eyes to the hills– From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.” (Psalm 121:1-3).