Tag Archives: paths of life

It’ll be Okay, Right?

Proverbs 21:2 

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.”
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.” ESV

Sadie:  Come on, Alison! It’s nothing that will hurt you.
Alison:  Sadie, I was told not to smoke it.
Sadie:  Who told you not to smoke it?
Alison:  My parents did, and if they find out I was here I’m dead!
Sadie:  Seriously? You are going to listen to them? Alison, it’s just a plant! What harm could it really do? Besides, you can’t trust your parents all the time.
Alison: They told me that it is dangerous.
Sadie:  I have been doing it for a long time and I’m still here! Look at me! I am living proof that its okay!
Alison:  Well…
Sadie:  Just try it one time. Trust me. I promise you that it is worth it.
Alison:  …Alright… I guess it won’t hurt to do it just this once.

Your Thoughts?

What do you think about this situation? Do you think it is fairly obvious that what Sadie is trying to get Alison to do is wrong? Well, she thinks it’s okay, and as far as Alison knows, Sadie was telling the truth and there was really nothing wrong with burning and inhaling the smoke from the “plant”.

The Truth.

Truthfully, we all think our wrong actions are right from time to time. The Lord, however, knows what is good; He knows what is right. This story didn’t have to be about drugs. It could have been about drinking, lies, sex, or anything else that has consequences. Any one of those topics have heartache as one of the side-effects, but the way of the Lord leads to heart-help.

And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God. – Luke 16:15 (NASB95)


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 4

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. -Matthew 3:7-9, KJV

It is not enough to come from a Christian (or Jewish) home.

With Jesus’ first Advent, it was mostly the religious leaders who refused to change, because they “knew it all” about faith.

As we await Jesus’ second Advent, it is not enough to have grown up in church or attend church regularly. It takes repentance and a willingness to actually listen to the teachings and commands of Jesus, to show love and compassion to others and commitment to God’s truth.

Do not trust in your ancestry or upbringing. Do not rely on the faith of your parents, siblings, or friends. Turn to Jesus for yourself, and believe.

Saving God, do not let me rely on my own knowledge, skills, or history. Give me a passion for You, Your Word, and Your Church.


A True Prophetic Vision

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. -Proverbs 29:18, ESV

A prophet declares the word of the Lord. In that sense, pastors and evangelists are prophets!

But we tend to hear the word “prophetic” and think “telling the future.” There certainly is an element of this, but we must remember the the other part of prophecy: revealing what is hidden … not just the future, but in our lives.

Most importantly, prophecy reveals God’s expectations.

Therefore, a good pastor and evangelist remind people that God has set His expectation for how we are to live (summed up in the Ten Commandments, which are summed up as “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself”), and that we will one day be judged by how we have done. More specifically, we will be judged by whether or not we followed God’s Son, Jesus.

The prophetic vision we have is that God has a standard, as modeled in Jssus, and He will be coming back to the earth in judgment.

If we neglect to teach and remind this world of this, people will throw off restraint and wantonly sin, either because they see no need for a Savior (“We’re basically good!”), or because they see grace giving them license (“We can do whatever we want, because God forgives!”)

We are either going to be judged guilty by how we rejected Christ or how we defiled Christ.

Only by believing in and emulating Christ’s sacrificial work – allowing His cleansing blood to cover us with forgiveness and grace to live a life of forgiveness, grace, and love – will we be ready for His imminent return.


I’ve Become My Dad

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. –Proverbs 22:6, KJV

Too many people understand this verse to be saying, “If you raise your child a certain way, he (or she) will follow that same path forever.”

First, we must remember that proverbs typically are generalized sayings, not prescriptive rules that are always 100% true.

This leads to the second point, that the truth in this passage is more subtle but still believed by most people today.

Maybe you have heard someone (including yourself!) say “I became my mom (or dad)!” Allthis means is that we find ourselves doing what our parents did, sometimes saying when we were younger “I’m never gonna do that!”

Thankfully, though my parents were far from perfect, I can take some pride in saying “I’ve become my dad.” Sometimes it is from doing some mannerism the same way he did. Many times I have stumbled across the wisdom of why he did certain things because I have to do them more regularly.

More often than not, this is what the verse is taking about, passing life’s wisdom on to the next generation.

Are we exactly like our parents in every way?

No. But we learn from them how we might live, which affects what we believe and how we act.

Sadly, it does not mean if we raise children to be Christains they will remain so. But I do have friends who have left the church, but they believe that Christian morality is good.

In this sense, they have “not depart[ed] from it.”

Remember, we are not responsible for the salvation of others, merely for guiding them to truth and godly living.


The Message I Shall Repeat

He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour. -Proverbs 21:21, KJV

Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor. -Proverbs 21:21, ESV

Sometimes I feel like all I do is repeat myself.

But with the words of Life, it is good and proper to have things repeated.

Case in point, there is only one way to find righteousness, and it is summed up in the [two] Greatest Commandment[s]:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”
Luke 10:27

Jesus also tells us,

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness
Matthew 6:33a

“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
John 14:6

If you truly desire life, righteousness, and honor, seek God through Christ. It is His righteousness gifted to us through His sacrifice on the cross and imputed by the Holy Spirit that brings these rewards.

And I will repeat it all my days.


In the Pit of Your Stomach

The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord , searching all the inward parts of the belly. -Proverbs 20:27, KJV

In Matthew 5, Jesus said we Christians are the light of the world who should let that light shine by doing good works that bring others to the Lord.

Now, many people attempt to do good works without bothering to include God, both Christians and non-Christians.

Isaiah was the one who reminded us that our works done apart from God are … *ahem* … dirty rags. (64:6. Ask your pastor if you do not know the full meaning of “dirty rags”.)

What does all of this have to do with Proverbs 20:27?

The light within us is God, the one who sustains our lives, even when we are living apart from His ways. In both Jeremiah (31:33) and Hebrews we are told that in these last days God has written His Law on our minds and hearts.

One way of looking at this is that He has seared our conscience with what is right. We “instinctively know” what is right and wrong.

Yet, when we do not live in accordance with His Spirit, even our best intentions are tainted by our selfish, sinful desires and actions.

It is when you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach that something is not right. So, when God searches our “inward parts of the belly” (i.e. our hearts), He can see our selfish, sinful leanings.

But He also regenerates our hearts and minds by His Spirit to do truly good, God-honoring and glorifying works.


A Beauty of Gray

The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head. -Proverbs 20:29, KJV

I have always wanted gray (or even white) hair.

I know. I am fairly odd.

I have three friends who all went white-haired in their twenties. A few others were noticeably gray by 25.

As for yours truly, I have earned a few gray hairs over my few short years.

At least I am tall and lanky so that I have some semblance of strength. I am a bit of a gentle giant, and that garners some respect (mostly from my wife who can’t reach top shelves or move heavy boxes or bags easily.)

But why do I want gray hair?

I instinctively understood it as a child, but grew to understand it better as I grew.

It is not just that it can look dignified. Gray hairs tell others we have been through life. They tell others we have struggled through some of life’s problems and come out wiser.

Gray hairs are earned by learning life lessons the hard way.

I have been through my share of struggles and have earned some grays, but the Lord blessed me with thick, persistently dark hair.

It almost scares me to consider how much wisdom He yet wants me to learn (“fear the Lord”), but the few grays I do own have taught me to trust His lessons and timing.

And that is beautiful.


How to Keep Your Soul

He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his ways shall die. –Proverbs 19:16 KJV

The are two ways to take this verse. Both are simple.

Don’t break the law.

Obey laws, and things should go well in your life. Break the law, and you will suffer the consequences.

Obey God’s Law.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Matthew 22:37‭-‬40, KJV

If you truly want to keep your soul, love God and love others.

The Bible explains how. Read it.


Take Me To Church!

Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom. -Proverbs 18:1 KJV

Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. -Proverbs 18:1, ESV

This entry is on Sunday, the day most churches meet.

If you are not attending, why?

Do not forsake the meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing. -Hebrews 10:25

We have the biblical command to meet with other Christians regularly.

This does a few things:

  • Gives us opportunities to encourage each other (the rest of Hebrews 10:25)
  • Gives us opportunities to spur each other on to loving others and doing good works (Hebrews 10:24) It can be easy to only “seek his own desire” or be lazy apart from the Church.
  • Keeps us on the straight and narrow path (Hebrews 10:23). It can be easy to stray from sound doctrine and teachings. Why do you think there are so many cults and people who believe crazy things? (How many raptures have we survived in the last decade alone?)

It is important to meet with others, if for no other reason than to keep us from getting weird ideas.

Most importantly, being together helps us grow more Christ-like.

Therefore, take me to church!

Then I know you came to!


You can make plans …

Keeping it short and sweet today, the sixteenth chapter of Proverbs basically says the same thing throughout:

You can make plans.

Sometimes you get in the way of your plans.

Sometimes others, such as those in authority over you, get in the way of your plans.

Sometimes everything flows perfectly.

In every case, the Lord is in control.

It may be that He allows your mistakes and missteps to detail your plans, or He sends someone to block your path, or He keeps all of that from happening to let your plans succeed.

No matter how much you scheme, wink at the right people at the right time, or surround yourself with faithful helpers, if you are not relying on God, your plans may very well be worthless.

Trust God to guide you, and your plans will become His plans. Or at the very least, you can more easily handle when plans seem to change suddenly.

Take a few minutes to read chapter 16. You will see how much Good has told us.