Tag Archives: love

Is Shallow and Stagnant THAT Attractive?

Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. – Proverbs 5:15

It never fails to amaze me how many men and women leave their spouses after years of being married. Yet, that is exactly what happens when husbands and wives are more attracted to the shallow wells of new relationships and the stagnant streams of painted beauty.

I can attest that after nearly 25 years of marriage, I would not trade the depth of my relationship with my wife for a puddle, one that is likely to dry up in the heat of the next drought.

The refreshing and renewing qualities of our relationship could never be replaced by the single-issue sameness of surface-beauty expectations.

The natural appeal of illicit relationships is just that – natural. Fortunately for my wife and me, our relationship is based on more than natural affections; it is strengthened by spiritual connections that only years of life together can forge.

Yes, there are temptations which we all must deal with, but how much easier it is to rebuff them when you realize what you’ve really got.

Are shallow wells and stagnant water that attractive to you? Why not take the time to lower your bucket a little deeper? The water’s much better there.

My wife and I while visiting our daughter and son-in-law in Charleston, S.C.

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All You Preach About Is Sex

The Complaint

Preach long enough – like one time – and somebody will probably complain. Preach multiple sermons week after week, year after year, and you’ll become used to complaints…because you can’t please all the people all the time…but it ain’t about pleasing people, anyway.

However, several years ago a deacon came up to me with a complaint from a visitor/former member… Wait, may I digress for a moment?

I absolutely hate it when people are sent to tell me what someone else was too afraid to tell me to my face. Do you remember writing those “Do you like me” notes in elementary school? Well, a lot of adults do the same thing when they send a complaint to the pastor via a deacon or elder. Grow up, people!

Anyway, several years ago a former member who was visiting a church where I was pastor got upset and said he was not bringing his family back. Why (and I know this because the deacon told me so)? He said all I ever preached about was SEX!

He said if that was all I was going to preach about, then he could just take his family to a movie or stay at home and watch TV.

But if the truth be known (clearing my throat), this man and his family only visited the church twice in one year, and it just so happened that the sermons they heard were the only two I preached that year which specifically addressed sexual sin. One sermon, I believe, dealt with faithfulness in marriage, and the other was from a passage like Proverbs 5, one which sounded the alarm about pornography addiction in the church.

Honestly, I can’t help but wonder if “just so happened” was the correct way to put it. God gave me those sermons for a reason.

The Catastrophe

The fact of the matter is that sex sells, pure and simple. Everything from burger joints to auto manufacturers bait their products with the allure of sexual gratification. Heck, every time I drive down the main road through my town I see a regularly-updated billboard featuring nothing more than a girl’s legs in short khaki shorts – all to sell shoes.

But sex does more than sell products. When used the wrong way, it can be a nearly-irresistible tool of mass destruction. It can be used to lead men, both young and old, into a life of misery, self-destruction, and total enslavement to addiction.

Even more tragic is what the sellers of sex do with those they use to tempt their prey. Think of all the horror and abuse that permeates the sex slave industry. Is this what God designed?

Proverbs 5 is just as relevant today as it was 3,000 years ago…no matter how many times you preach it – and it’s not preached enough!

 


I would encourage you to read this week’s posts, but also take a look at the previous posts from our first trip through Proverbs 5:1-23 on Proverbial Thought.

You can find links to them listed in the tabs at the top of the page, but I will copy the links below for your convenience.

5:1-2 “Pay Attention” – Daniel Klem

5:3-5 “Deadly Lips” – Anthony Baker

5:6 “Unpredictable Women” – Anthony Baker

5:7-9 “Run Away! Run Away!” – Anthony Baker

5:10-14 “Reason for the Warning” – Daniel Klem

5:15-17 “Drink Your Own Water” – David Welford

5:18-20 “Get Drunk On Love!” – Grady Davidson

5:21-23 “Stay On the Path” – Jason Sneed


Holy Whippings, Batman!

I know the following verses are not popular with the modern mind, but they are what they are…

My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. – Proverbs 3:11-12

My friends, I know that parenting can be difficult, and not all children respond the same way to discipline. However, I do believe that a lack of discipline – specifically of the corporal punishment type – is to blame for a great many ills in our society.

But even if the above verses don’t expressly describe “spankings,” discipline of any kind is hard for many to endure. So often, when God does anything to try to correct us, we cry out like a toddler who’s getting a whack on the rear end, “Your killing me!”

Now that I’m thinking about it, have you ever heard a TV evangelist explain that sometimes what we are going through just might be God giving us a spiritual spanking, a heavenly whipping? I’ve never heard it. As a matter of fact, I’ve never even heard Joel Osteen talk about divinely-appointed timeouts!

But if God is our Father, and if loves us like He says He does, then we need to expect a Father’s discipline every once in a while.

Credit: Wikipedia

Several years ago we were watching reruns of the old show Family Affair. In it, the little boy, Jody (his sister was Buffy), started acting out, but nobody could understand why. He was always very respectful and never did anything wrong, but now he was acting horribly for seemingly no reason.

Come to find out, Jody had heard about a boy at school who’s dad had spanked him. When he asked about it, the boy told Jody that it wasn’t that bad, because at least it showed his dad loved him.

Now, you see, Jody and Buffy were orphans living with their uncle; he never spanked them. Sadly, Jody put two and two together and assumed, because he never got spanked, he wasn’t loved. He was trying to get in trouble in order to feel loved.

So, be thankful for the times when God says “No.” Be thankful for the times He takes us behind the woodshed.

“For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth…”


Beyond Me

Proverbs 30:18-19

“There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.”

Too Wonderful?

In this modern age, there are a lot of wonders to behold. The majority of those wonders consist of man-made technologies that capture and hold our attention only as long as they are new. Once the newness is gone and another gadget or upgrade hit the market (which is about every thirty seconds), the “wonderful” suddenly becomes boring and old.

Is there anything in this world that is made by man that is “too wonderful” to understand? For some people, the answer would be “yes.” For example, I will probably never understand how a person can manage to play a whole symphony on a horn with just three valves, much less how a rocket gets to the moon and back. But anything that is made by man can be understood by man, duplicated, and marketed. And once something is fully understood, the awe is gone.

Yes, Too Wonderful!

However, there are some things, no matter how much we learn, that will still be “too wonderful,” so much so that it will elude the wisest men alive (or ever lived). Not even the writer of this proverb could figure these things out.

Some things seem simple on the surface, but wind up far more complicated and intricate once we begin to examine them more closely. But even when we figure out the mechanics of some things, we later realize that there is a “way” about them that defies explanation: the way of a soaring eagle; the grace of a serpent moving across a rock; how a little boat survives in the midst of the sea; how ugly men attract beautiful women (Seriously!).

There are some things that are just beyond me, and I’m glad.


Fiery Strife

Proverbs 26:20-21.

 “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.”(KJV).

The Most Important Things: Love and Unity

In John 13:35, Jesus made it abundantly clear what one of the most important aspects of discipleship is love: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” In other words, walking in love is one of the surest signs that we are true Christians. A few chapters later in this same book of the Bible, John records for us the high priestly prayer of Jesus that He prayed right before going to the Cross:

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21). Wow! That’s one of the most sobering thoughts in the entire Bible. Here Jesus essentially says, “If Christians could become one in love and unity towards one another, the whole world would be saved.” That tells me that love and unity are the most important things we can learn as believers!

The Most Dangerous Things: Strife and Gossip

If the two most important things for us to learn to do as followers of Jesus is to walk in love and unity, then guess what the enemy is going to try to get us to do? To keep us from walking in love and unity! We shouldn’t be surprised then when we find the enemy coming and sowing seeds of strife and gossip… even (nay, especially) in the church.

In today’s Proverb, Solomon says, “Fire goes out for lack of fuel, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops. A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood.” (NLT). In other words, people who gossip and stir up strife are firestarters. In the same way that a fire can destroy anything from a house to an entire forest, so too a little gossip and strife can destroy relationships and unity.

So how do we guard against stripe and gossip? Fire needs fuel to burn, and so too strife needs the fuel of gossip to keep raging. Therefore, if we want to stop strife, we need to stop gossip. If we want to see the church of Jesus Christ prevail in the world, then we must contend for love and unity. We must refuse to gossip or talk negatively about another believer, and we must also refuse to listen to gossip about another Christian. And remember this truth: If someone will gossip to you, then they will likely gossip about you as well.

T.H.I.N.K.

T.H.I.N.K. before you speak: Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind? If not, then remember the wisdom from Thumper’s mother from the Bambi movie: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Church – let’s let love, acceptance and forgiveness become our banner! As we do this, we will show the world that we are true disciples of Jesus Christ. Amen…

think


Friend of the King

Proverbs 22:11

11 He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.
11 One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend. (NIV)

God does not change

People say the Old Testament is no longer necessary, because we have the New Testament with the Gospels and the Apostolic letters.

However, passages like this merely demonstrate that God has not changed over the millennia or between the Testaments. In fact, it was Jesus who said this during His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Essentially, if we love the goodness found in people and seek it within ourselves, and if we show grace and mercy to others, we will see God face to face one day.

We just need to remember where this purity and grace comes from:

14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
John 15:14-17, NIV

Loving Lord, create in us a pure heart and fill us with Your grace, that we may love purity in and show grace to all others.


People Preferences

Proverbs 22:2

The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of them all.
Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all.

Personal Preferences

We all have people we like more than others. This is why we have friends and families. There are just some people we like having around more than other people.

There is nothing wrong with liking some people more than others. Even Jesus had close friends (see His Twelve Disciples, and of those Peter, James, and John who were His closest friends).

The real danger comes when we show preferences for others for selfish reasons, when love for others is not the primary cause.

Favoritism

We must remember that God sees all people equally: as His loved children.

He does not love one more for having money and possessions or for not having money nor possessions.

God cares most for those who express their love and devotion for Him, yet He still shows love and grace to all people in some fashion.

We should do likewise, and, in fact, we are commanded to.

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
James 2:1-4, ESV

Our Great God, thank You for Your love and grace. Help us to live out that love and grace with all people, regardless of wealth or social standing. Help us to love everyone as You have loved us through the cross.