Tag Archives: Jesus

Better Fruit

Proverbs 8:18-19

“Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.”
A Tear

As I was reaching up to type these words, I wiped a tear from the table in front of me. The odd thing about it was that I had to stop and think what it was. Evidently, it had been a while since I last saw one drop.

I am sure there will be more. And really, that’s a good thing.

Tears are valuable. They teach what happiness and indulgence never can. They teach us that we are weak, that we break, and that we are incapable of fixing everything, if anything.

They tell us we’re dependent on God. And really, that’s a good thing.

A Better Fruit

To many, a fallen tear on one’s table is nothing more than a drop of water. However, to the Christian, the one who loves Wisdom, it is a glistening jewel-like seed, the fruit of which far surpasses the earnings of any other investment.

The “durable riches and righteousness” of wisdom are far better than the rarest currencies on Earth. What grows from the tears of a humble heart cannot be purchased with all the money in the world.

“Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.”

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. – Rev 21:4

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Seek and Find

Proverbs 8:17

“I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.”

The Simplicity of Wisdom

This verse appears to require little explanation. Perhaps we should consider it a blessing that there is such simplicity in wisdom. There is also wisdom in simplicity. It makes it easy when something isn’t difficult to understand. Put simply, “God loves those who love Him.” While Scripture teaches and Jesus demonstrates that God offers His love to this fallen world unconditionally, God’s love has to be received, and it has to be reciprocated.

How to Love?

When as a teenager I found myself falling in love with my wife all I wanted to do was spend time alone with her. This was difficult for much of the year because I was serving at sea. The long absences made our time together even more precious. When I was home on leave and Marilyn wasn’t at work we spent as much time in each other’s company as we could. The longer I spent with Marilyn the deeper my love for her became; to the point that we knew we wanted to spend our lives together. We were married on 14 April 1979.

Progressing from Honeymoon

For our honeymoon Marilyn and I spent a week in the beautiful island of Guernsey, where I grew up. Walking together one day through the quaint streets of St Peter Port I was suddenly and completely overwhelmed with love for my wife. It was an incredible experience, a unique honeymoon blessing.

Every honeymoon has to end, but love between marriage partners should continue to grow. As love grows it changes. If it does not then there is a risk it may fail. After thirty-three years of marriage our love is very different to how it was during those carefree days of youth.

Equally, it is essential that our relationship with God progresses from the honeymoon period when we first came to know Him. It is vital that our love for God grows and develops, strengthening our relationship with Him. It doesn’t matter how far we have traveled on our faith journey. Regardless of how much we think we have grown, we still need to be overwhelmed by God’s love every day. But in addition to us receiving love from God, I truly believe that Proverbs 8:17 is stating that God desires to be overwhelmed by our love for Him.

How can we show God that we love Him? The answer is the second part of the verse:

Those that seek me early shall find me.

Why early? Because setting aside distractions and committing to spending time alone with God early each day shows that our love for Him is more important to us than anything else in our lives. Perhaps only then will we realize how important we are to Him. The Father of Jesus loves us very much.

 

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No Comparison

Proverbs 8:10-11 

“Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.”
Can’t Buy Me Love

I was only a tiny tike when the Beatles made girls scream and cry like someone was burning them with a hot iron. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t even born when their music hit American shores. But the first thing that came to mind as I read these verses for today was a song that the Beatles recorded back in 1964, Can’t Buy Me Love.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The song talks about money and all the things it can buy; everything, that is, except love. Love has to be given freely, or else it’s something else (like discussed in chapter 7). True love cannot be bought with even the most valuable stones or purest gold.

On the other hand, it is reported that after the Beatles became superstars, Paul McCartney thought it might have been better to rename Can’t Buy Me Love. When looking back on all the pleasures that money did bring he said, “It should have been ‘Can Buy Me Love.’ ” I guess if one’s definition of love is based on the world’s wisdom, anything’s for sale.

No Comparison

In verse eleven we read, “all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to [wisdom].” No matter how shiny or fulfilling, nothing compares. No matter how expensive, rare, or desirable, nothing compares to the value of wisdom.

Money can buy a lot of things, including a Proverbs 7 kind of “love.” The finest gold can open doors. Silver can put a house over your head. Rubies can even inspire others to stand in awe as you strut by. Yet, none of these can compare to wisdom.

We need to be careful what we seek in life. The things that seem most attractive may be things that fade away with time, or even lose value.  “Wisdom and money can get you almost anything, but only wisdom can save your life.” – Ecclesiastes 7:12 NLT


God’s Words vs. Man’s Words

Proverbs 8:8-9

“All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.”
Man’s Words

All one would have to do is look at the average text message or Facebook rant to figure out the difference between the words of God and the words of man.

For one thing, every word of God is pure, as pure as silver refined seven times (Ps. 12:6). The average text message is about as pure as water in a ditch – next to a barn yard.

And what about knowledge? God’s words are plain to those who want to hear, and completely factual in all things. The average Facebook post has about as much objective truth as the National Enquirer.

So, why is it that we continually seek man’s wisdom, instead of the Lord’s? There is more than enough wisdom to be had if only we would ask (James 1:5) and do His will (Ps. 25:14). King David said, “I understand more than the ancients because I keep thy precepts” (Ps. 119:100).

God’s Words

Unlike the foolish, prideful, arrogant words of men, the Wisdom of God is trustworthy and plain. Unlike the wisdom of men which is limited to knowledge gained from a finite perspective, the Wisdom of God is unlimited, infinite, and enjoys an omniscient perspective.

You can select any number of works from off the shelf of your nearest Books-a-Billion, each one written by the wisest of worldly philosophers, but they will all sound similar. It matters not if the book was written by Plato, Socrates, Hume, Samuel Clemens, or Oprah and Dr. Phil – it’s all human opinion.

But pick of God’s Word and you will find something totally different. You will find wisdom inspired by the Holy One. You will find hope, life, and joy.

More importantly, you will find Truth.

A Prayer

OH, Lord Jesus! How much we need your wisdom to guide us in these troubling days! We need not the shifting wisdom of men. We need more than the unpredictable advice of our emotions. We need the pure words from your mouth. Give liberally and don’t hold back. Speak, Lord, for your servants are listening.


A False Witness

Proverbs 6:19a

“[These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:] … A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

Slander

“The slanderer is amongst the greatest of social curses. He robs his fellow creature of his greatest treasure – his own reputation, and the loving confidence of his friends.” – Joseph S. Exell*, 1905.

Daniel Webster (1828 dictionary) called slander “that worst of poisons.” And that is what the above verse is speaking of – poison that destroys reputations, confidence, and even lives.

No Weapons Needed

My little ninja daughter and a ninja friend.

If you were to ask me to paint a picture in my mind of the perfect assassin, all I would need is a little black paint. On my mental canvas I would paint a Ninja warrior, armed to the teeth with swords, shuriken, darts, spiked gloves, and smoke grenades. As far as I know, ninja are the elite of stealthy killers.

Then again, I wouldn’t necessarily have to paint my ninja with weapons in hand. His hands are weapons to themselves. A ninja can slay 50 people with his pinky finger – just ask Chuck Norris.

But in reality, no assassin is more evil than “a false witness that speaketh lies.” No secret killer is more deadly than one who slanders the reputation of another. The slanderer needs no weapons, not even hands, to wipe out multiple lives. All he/she has to do is speak.

Totally Opposite

In the book of Genesis we can read the story of creation. In the book of John we can read even more…

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” – John 1:1-3 KJV

The Word created everything that is. When there was absolutely nothing, not even time, Jesus, the Word of God made flesh (John 1:18), turned nothing into everything. He created. He brought life. He made life.On the other hand, the one who bears false witness does nothing but destroy with every word that comes from his/her mouth. What a contrast! Is it any wonder why God abhors this person?

“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” – James 1:26 KJV

“For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.” – 1 Peter 3:10 NLT

Granny’s Advice

I think my granny may have actually met Solomon. She always said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Maybe Granny was right.

*Exell, Joseph S. The Biblical Illustrator, (New York: F. H. Revell, 1905), 170.

A Lying Tongue

Proverbs 6:16-17b

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue…”

The Culture

Stop for a moment and think of all the lies we hear everyday. Will that pill really make you thinner? Is that automobile really the best buy? Will that sugary, sodium-filled soft drink really quench your thirst? Will that politician really do anything he promises?

We live in a culture of lies, and we mirror it more than we would like to admit. Lying is deemed acceptable in the right context and when the results are worth it. We tell ourselves, “a little white lie never hurt anybody.” We pad resumés. We tell our wives the dress looks fine. We tell our husbands we’re proud of them. Christians even say, “I’ll pray about it.”

The Truth

The truth is that we hold on to lying as a tool, or a weapon. It’s there when we need it, even if we don’t use it very often. We hold on to it in case of an emergency, like when our pride is at risk, or when our needs are not met. Our flesh is utterly selfish and will do anything to survive.

The truth is that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). Lying was literally part of his nature, and there was “no truth in him.” So, when we lie, we not only mirror the culture, but the “prince” of the culture…

“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” – Ephesians 2:2

Three Good Reasons

Why does God abhor a lying tongue? Well, I can think of three good reasons. For starters, it is the opposite of His nature. Lying has nothing in common with God, but everything in common with His enemies. It was Jesus who said, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Secondly, the Father loves his Son. Jesus gave his life as a ransom for us (Matt. 20:28), bearing our sin on the cross (Isa. 53:5; 2 Cor. 5:21). The “wounds” He suffered were due in part to our lies. Wouldn’t you be disgusted by the thing that brought your son pain?

Then too, God loves us! It must break His heart to see the consequences we bring upon ourselves, the tangled webs we weave, when we lie. And the more we lie, the less like Christ we are.

A Prayer

Dear God, forgive me for my selfishness. Forgive me for my lack of faith. Forgive me for the times I have not trusted you, but lied to make things go my way. Forgive me, reign in my tongue, and cleanse me, “because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (Isa. 6:5).


God’s Not Safe

Proverbs 6:16

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:”

He’s Not Safe

So many people have the impression that God is nothing but love, love, love. Thinking all He cares about is their happiness and well-being, they forget that angels surround His throne crying “holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty” (Rev. 4:9).

In the “seeker-friendly” community of churches, many focus on a God who is “for us,” while avoiding any mention of a God who hates sin. They treat Him like a rich grandfather who winks at their indiscretions. They treat Him like a tame pet. But He’s not tame. And He’s not safe.

When I read the above verse I was reminded of a conversation in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. Susan, Lucy, and Peter were talking to Mr. and Mrs. Beaver about Aslan:

“Is he – quite safe? I shall be nervous about meeting a lion [said Susan]”

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

A “safe” God is one who doesn’t care what you do, as long as you love Him and worship Him, but a Holy God hates sin. And He is nothing to trifle with.

Abominations

In the next few “thoughts” we will be looking at verses 17 through 19 and the seven things God hates – yes, hates. It might be hard for some to contemplate, but even though God is love (1 Jn. 4:8), He is righteous, and He tests the hearts of men (Ps. 7:9).

As we look at these things, remember that we are all guilty of them. If you don’t think so, then you’re deceiving yourself (1 Jn. 1:8). All of us have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and fallen short of God’s righteous standards. He hates our sins, and that will never change (Mal. 3:6).

Salvation Not a License

It might be tempting to leap right to the good part – the Gospel. John 3:16 says that Jesus came to die for our sins and make things right between God and us (Col. 1:20). But hold on! That doesn’t change God’s view of sin. He still hates it.

God is love, but the Bible also says that a man who loves God will keep His commandments (Jn. 14:15; 15:10). Christ paid our sin debt on a cruel cross, and those who are truly His will avoid sin. What God hates, the Christian should hate.

“Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” – Hosea 14:9 NIV

A Prayer

Lord God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for the gift of forgiveness. But help me to remember Who you are – King. Help me to hate the things you hate, and love the things you love.