Tag Archives: Life

Don’t Pretend You Don’t Know

Proverbs 24:11-12

If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done? – NIV

Feelings

I had to read these verses a few times before the meaning really sank in. And when it did, well…let’s just say I didn’t feel “blessed” by God’s Word. The best word to describe how I felt was “convicted.”

You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Sometimes we read the Bible and find ourselves encouraged after being down and depressed. Other times we go to Scripture to find peace in the middle of a storm. This time, however, was one of those times when the truth was painful to accept. This time I felt worse after I read the Bible than before!

Either/Or

The KJV renders this proverb in the form of a hypothetical “if,” while the NIV renders this proverb as a command. One version says, “Do this”; the other says, “If, then…” It really doesn’t matter too much, however; the idea is still the same: God knows what we know, even when we deny it.

The KJV says: “If you don’t help, then say, ‘I didn’t know,’ you will have a hard time explaining your lack of action to the One who knows and keeps your soul.” The NIV says, “Rescue the innocent, because you know as well as God does you’re aware of the need.”

The Victims

I can’t help but think of the German citizens of WWII who told the Allies they never knew Jews were being led to the slaughter. They benefited from how the Jews were being treated, went along with everything, then feigned ignorance as human ash from the ovens floated down from the sky.

Genocide is taking place in Nigeria; Christians are being killed in Egypt; innocents are being beheaded as they walk down the streets of England; yet, those who could do something say, “I don’t know why this is happening.”

Thousands of innocents are butchered every day for a fee, yet the average Christian does little.

Millions of youth are staggering toward a spiritual slaughter, while parents convince themselves it’s natural and healthy.

Families are falling apart, marriages are failing, while we look in another direction. All the while thugs roam the streets killing old veterans and joggers for fun. Why?

Rescue Them!

We must ask ourselves this question: “What does God know about my heart that I am not willing to admit?”

You see, we know why many of the evils in our world are taking place. We observe the paths many are taking, yet say nothing. We watch, seemingly helpless, as the slaughter takes place. Deep inside we know what we could do, but the doing is hard; denying is easy.

Just remember, God knows our hearts. “Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?”

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Why Worry?

Proverbs 21:21

21 He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.

Can’t Take It With You

Most of us have heard the phrase “You can’t take it with you when you die!” This is one of those euphemisms to allude to the fact that stuff does not matter, and the pursuit of things and money ultimately is pointless.

So many people struggle with getting enough or having enough, and their lives only have trouble or emptiness. Either they are always seeking more or greater, or they feel like they are failing to provide or failing at life.

This can even be true among Christians. We all only want to provide for ourselves and our families, to create a full life, so we seek out the means to do that.

Seek first …

However, God tells us the best and ultimately the only way to provide our needs.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Matthew 6:33

When we seek God’s holiness and more of Him in our lives, we will want the things God wants. In the process, God will take care of all our needs. This is not just making sure we have food to eat, water to drink, clothing, and a place to sleep.

In return for our faithfulness, God, in His faithfulness, gives us eternal life, righteousness, and a good name (honor). All of this comes through His Son, Jesus the Christ.

Heavenly Father, lead us by Your Holy Spirit to seek only You. Give us a thirst for righteousness and mercy, that we may not feel the need to worry and to bring glory to Your name!


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.