Tag Archives: Life

Just Whip It?

Proverbs 17:10

A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.” (KJV)
A rebuke impresses a discerning person, more than a hundred lashes a fool.” (NIV)

Have you ever been at work an been told you had been doing something wrong?

How did you take the news?

Did you seek advice? Did you make the necessary change? Did you examine possible ways to not let it happen again?

That would be the wise thing to do.

Or did you keep doing the same thing until you had to be reprimanded or even fired? Was the only thing that could make you listen the threat of losing pay or your job?

In Life

If you have heard a word from God (a friend telling you something is not good for you or bad, hearing a special sermon that spoke to you, reading your Bible, etcetera), how did you take the news?

Did you seek advice from others? Did you make the necessary change? Did you examine your life to find ways to not let it happen again?

That is the wise thing to do.

Or did you decide to keep doing your own thing and wait for the consequences?

Are you looking for peace in your life, or are you living within the violence of sin?

Did you whip your life into shape, or are you allowing the devil’s whip to continue weakening your soul?

Merciful God, grant us the wisdom to heed the warnings we receive in life or from You. Help us to change from a love of violence to a love of peace and understanding.


In One Ear and Out the Other

Proverbs 15:31

“The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.”

And then there’s the one about the lawyer, the physician, and the pastor who went deer hunting together.  The three outdoor enthusiasts positioned themselves around the ridge tops looking down into a valley where a large buck deer had been sighted a few times.  Around dusk, the monster buck strolled into the valley and was immediately spotted by all three hunters.  It just wasn’t the deer’s lucky day:  All three took aim and simultaneously fired upon the unfortunate fellow, who promptly fell over dead.

The three hunters ran down the slopes to inspect the kill, only to discover there was but one bullet wound.  Which marksman had bagged the deer, anyway?

The lawyer stuck his chest out and pleaded his case.  He had prosecuted criminals in numerous capital murder trials.  He had experience sifting through evidence.  He had watched coroners at their gruesome work in the morgue.  He knew the face of death.  And this deer was most certainly his kill!

Oh no, said the physician.  He had worked in the ER many shifts when terribly injured people were hauled in on the gurneys.  He had split open the human breastbone and performed heart bypass surgery.  He was an expert in life, and in death.  The deer was his.

Finally the pastor stepped up.   “Friends,” said he, “this fine buck is my kill, and I can prove it conclusively.”    He pointed to the single bullet wound and traced its path with his finger.  “See?” he asked.  “It went in one ear and out the other.  This buck is most definitely mine!”

A PROBLEM FOR MOST OF US

The truth be told, it’s a problem for most of us, and it’s not just a problem on Sunday mornings as we struggle through the pastor’s hastily thrown together message.  So many of the life-giving words we need to hear go in one ear and out the other!  As we have studied the Book of Proverbs in this blog, we have noted that “wisdom cries out in the streets.”  There’s no shortage of wisdom.  There’s a shortage of hearing and heeding the words of wisdom!

Dear reader, I must ask you, have you truly heard the gospel of Jesus Christ?  Not only with your ears, but with your heart, so that you perceive the profound, life-changing excellence of the gospel message so that all human philosophy and wisdom crumble at the foot of the cross?  Have you heard the gospel in such a way that it has broken your heart and brought life to your soul?  So that the beauty of Jesus Christ has shone in your heart, and now nothing delights or satisfies you more than Jesus?  Or are you numbered with those who hear the word, but the hearing is of no eternal value, because your hearing is not combined with faith (Hebrews 4:2)?

The gospel message is the “reproof of life.”  As a reproof, the gospel illuminates the sinfulness of our sin and the awesome holiness and justice of Almighty God.  But as our hearts are convicted of sin, the gospel points us to put our trust in the sin-bearer whom God has provided, the Lord Jesus Christ, and to receive life in his name.

The proverb promises that those who hear the reproof of life will abide among the wise.   No, not among those who claim to be wise by the standards of this bent and broken world, but among those who have embraced the wisdom of God – God’s wisdom which is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved, the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18).

Father God, forgive us for our stubborn refusal to listen to You.  Soften our hearts.  Grant us teachable spirits.  We want to know Jesus, and Him only.  As you have promised, grant us life in Jesus’ name.  Through Christ our Lord we pray:  Amen. 


Peaceful, Easy Feeling or Runaway Emotions

Proverbs 14:30

A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.”

“A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones.”  (NIV)

“A sound mind makes for a robust body,
but runaway emotions corrode the bones.”  (The Message)

The Eagles Had Almost No Idea

If you have listened to music by The Eagles, you have probably heard the song Peaceful Easy Feeling, which is actually a song about giving in to the wiles of a woman. The smart side is that they admit “She can’t take you any way you don’t already know how to go.” They understood our sinful nature!

The chorus is spot on, though: “‘Cause I got a peaceful easy feeling,
And I know you won’t let me down
’cause I’m already standing on the ground.”

Grounded in Christ, the One who will never let us down (though we may feel like He has at times), is the only true way to find peace.

We can see from the three different wordings above that a person at peace means more than just one part of our body. It means we are not worried. We know we are not worried when something does not trouble the mind or there are no bad dreams about life. This means on both the conscious and unconscious levels nothing “gets to us” or makes us feel guilty.

(If you listen to their song Take It Easy, you can see The Eagles still dealt with guilt and worry.)

Vitamin D Deficiency

However, when we live in sin, when we refuse to acknowledge our wrongs and continue to go on as though our sinfulness is “not really all that bad,” we will suffer.

First, we suffer, because guilt can wear us out. I remember when I was in a relationship with a young woman (you may remember my previous comments). She was nice and all, but I had known for a while that it was not a relationship that honored God. My response to God: propose marriage to her!

Over the course of the next year, I began to sleep less, get more involved with things I should not have, and saw other relationships deteriorate.

In other words, I had let my emotions get the better of me.

I wanted the sensual side of a relationship. I wanted to have a life others had. I wanted many things that in and of themselves are not bad, but they were at the wrong time with the wrong person.

It wore me out.

Is there anything in your life that you know you should not be doing? Are there people in your life you should not be spending so much time around?

Get God. Get peace. Get a handle on your emotions. Get better! Only with God!

Awesome God, thank You for offering us peace. Help us to choose You. Help us control our emotions. Heal us and give us rest, that we may spread Your healing and peace to our hurt and weary world.


Life from Death

Proverbs 14:27

“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.”

Have you been made aware of the fact that you were born dead?

Allow me to show you some evidence:

1And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Ephesians 2:1-3, ESV

You see, our sin drags us down toward death (see James 1). In effect, we live in death. Death ensnares us and tries to keep us there.

And while 1 John tells us there is no fear in love (chapter 4, verse 19), if we are under the wrath of God, we have reason to fear. We are still under judgment.

Good Fear

The plus side to this fear is that it can push us toward God. When we look to God, something truly amazing happens:

13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins …
Colossians 2:13, NIV

Following God is the only thing that can free us from death, and only by the blood of Christ shed on the Cross. Only God can give life to our dead souls.

Turn away from your sin. Turn to God. It is all that can save us.

Gracious God, thank You for making a way for us to live. Thank You for rescuing us from death, and especially for giving us You. We believe Jesus died to save us, that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We believe Jesus is the only Way.


Enjoying Sin

Proverbs 14:9

“Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.”

Television

Watch almost any program on television today, and it is easy to see a stark difference from the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Programs from the ’50’s and ’60’s promoted good morals, honesty, and integrity. There was rarely a dirty word uttered, married couples had separate beds (let alone hearing about people who were not married having sex), bad guys usually had some sense of decency, and a “wild-child” was considered a black sheep. Liars were corrected. Selfish people were left to their own devices. Yet, forgiveness was promoted and self-control taught.

Look at today:

  • It is getting increasingly harder to find shows without foul language, and that language is getting worse and more prevalent all the time.
  • Marriage is often portrayed as old-fashioned or as more of a chore than a blessing. Divorce is celebrated. Sleeping around is celebrated. Independence is often valued more highly than cooperation and commitment to a significant other.
  • Bad guys are not only more ruthless and vile, but many times they are also celebrated as an anti-hero.
  • Partying, promiscuity, binge-drinking, drug use, immaturity, rudeness, and all manner of nastiness to ourselves and others is promoted as a fun and viable alternative to boredom and the status quo.
  • Holding grudges and doing what you want is taught as healthy, with just a pinch of forgiveness when it suits us.

Two Paths

The Bible warned us two thousand years ago in 2 Timothy 3 that this is exactly what would happen. Society on the global scale would by and large leave God behind, all of His precepts and promises, and do and promote everything they wanted.

You must ask yourself which path you will follow: The path the world is taking that walks away from God and promotes the self, or the path few choose which is walking with God? (See Matthew 7:13-23)

The path the world takes leads straight to destruction (v. 13), and it is led by many who profess to be Christian or simply “good people” but will also be destroyed (vv. 15-23).

Only those who follow Truth, who choose the narrow path, enter eternal life (v. 14). Only those will find favor with God.

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Gracious God, thank You for loving us so much that You came to die on the cross to forgive us of our love of sin over You. Help us to choose You over our sinful selfishness. Help us enjoy You, and to love those who choose sin.


Who’s Your Daddy?

Proverbs 14:5

“A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.”

I remember as a child being told not to lie. There were two reasons:

  1. “It hurts my feelings,” my mom or dad might say.
  2. “You will be in a lot of trouble!” was the usual reply.

This verse does not need much explanation in terms of what it means: Honest people tell the truth, liars lie.

Most people can tell you that in most instances a truth keeps you out of trouble, but a lie only digs you ever deeper into trouble.

It is also interesting that what story we tell becomes a habit, and it is learned from our father.

Father of Lies

Here is something many churches in the early Twenty-first Century have largely stopped telling those who enter their doors: as a sinner, you are a child of the Devil. It is understandable that lies would become a habit in your life if you take after your father.

You say that you can not believe this?

In John 8:44 (NIV), Jesus said “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

If you find you are prone to lie about anything and everything, I will give you three guesses as to who your spiritual father is. That equates to much trouble.

Father of Truth

Here is something that most churches in the early Twenty-first Century tell people: good people are from God. There is generally truth in this statement.

Some people tell the truth for the simple reasons that it is safer and could very well have health benefits. But being honest is no guarantee of peace.

Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32, NIV).

Jesus knew we would be weak and tempted to lie, so He promised His followers, “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me” (John 15:26, NIV).

This tells us that the Trinitarian God (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) are truth, and God helps us to live in truth, to live in Him.

Through Jesus Christ, we are adopted by God. He becomes our Father and teaches us the habits of truth.

Seek out the Lord Jesus Christ to be a child of light and truth.

Dear Lord, help us to live in Your truth. Help us to turn from our lies. Help us believe in the sacrifice on the cross that welcomes us into Your family.


Good Heathen?

Proverbs 12:17

“[He that] speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit.”

Pretty Clear

This is one of those passages that does not need much explanation. Yet, to sum it up even more: Truth is good; lies are bad.

I think there is definitely more to this, however.

Bad Christian!

First is the negative message: Good people occasionally lie.

I will now rewrite the second half of the verse: “a false witness shows deceit.”

This is why even “little, white lies” fall under “not good” or even “bad” with some people. It is still bearing false witness. It is still deceitful.

It does not necessarily mean a person is full of deceit. In fact, “little, white lies” are often told to spare someone pain, to not hurt the feelings of someone else. Sadly, something is still covered up, hidden, which should be made known.

Good heathen!

As much as some Christians can not or struggle to admit, there is some good in all people. I am fairly certain that carries over from Creation, seeing as “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:27). All of humanity carries at least a little bit of God in them.

Therefore, it is possible for non-God-fearers to show forth righteousness. They may not be righteous, but they can still tell the truth (and do other good deeds).

Go and do likewise

Since we now know that speaking truth is showing righteousness, let us get out and spread some righteousness!

People are only made righteous through the work of God, and He desires for all people to cry out to Him.

But like it says in Matthew 5:

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

And as Romans 10 says:

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Father God, rid us of deceit and lies. Let us only speak what is true. May You embolden us ever more to speak the truth of Your Son, Jesus Christ, that others may hear and glorify Your Name!