Tag Archives: relationships

Stealing Passions

Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house. -Proverbs 6:30‭-‬31, KJV

These two verses are in the midst of a chapter warning against adultery. Therefore, while we could discuss understandable thievery, let us continue only talking about sex.

Stolen fruit

Think about: when committing adultery, that love and passion is stolen from at least one other person (two of both are married). That time together is stealing from time that could be spent with family. Or even God.

The fruit of relationships is love, time, and fellowship, and all of that is taken away because something “feels right.”

We can understand when someone steals for unger, though it is still wrong. Our world tries to argue that if they love each other it is understandable, because they clearly were not having their desires fed at home. (Even though some people have perfectly satisfying relationships yet still “stumble”.)

Paying it back

But does that make it okay?

Look at the marriages that fall apart, the lengthy process of deciding who gets how much of whatever, or the lawsuits that happen.

It literally costs the substance of a household when adulterers are caught stealing these passions.

Adulterated Religion

Misrepresenting God, diluting or misapplying His Word, leading others astray, and otherwise treating others unlovingly is the same as stealing from and committing adultery against God.

We can understand not wanting to offend someone or bringing [temporary] comfort to others, but it is still “stealing from God” by not fulfilling His perfect truth.

And this can lead to Jesus dismissing us later with those feared words, “Depart from me. I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23)

Advertisements

Debts & Promises

My son, if you become surety for your friend, If you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by the words of your mouth. So do this, my son, and deliver yourself; For you have come into the hand of your friend: Go and humble yourself; Plead with your friend. Give no sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids. Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
Proverbs 6:1‭-‬5, NKJV

Co-signed

Have you ever needed to take out a loan or get a service (cable, telephone, electricity, etc.), but your credit was … lacking? You need a co-signer to get that loan or service.

Perhaps you have been on the other side and have been the co-signer. It can be scary either way. I have been on both sides.

I have had to pay debts friends and family could not pay, and sometimes it was a struggle financially.

This could be a lesson on Christ’s sacrifice posting our debt of sin. Instead, this is about seeing how our promises can catch us.

Leaving the Altar

You see, our commitments have effects on others. We promise to pay that bill. We promise to be at that event. We promise to carry our fair share.

And then we don’t.

We put up the strong front and commit to keeping other promises.

Say, tithing.

But Jesus says, “if you bring your gift to the altar, and then remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and first go be reconciled to your brother before returning to offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23‭-‬24)

In other words, humble yourself, and do what is right.

If as the one who owes, confess your wrong or inability and seek forgiveness. If as the one who is owed, forgive the debt (of the promise, of the burden) and move on (possibly through making a plan or as simply releasing all responsibility).

The big point is to hold onto the relationship above all else.

That is why Jesus sacrificed glory, comfort, and life: to forgive our debts and broken promises to restore the relationship. And He arose to guarentee it for eternity.


A Spicy Ship

Proverbs 31:10, 14

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. … She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.”

Being Careful

I must be careful, for any time a man writes about his wife he should first consider: what he is about to say…the weather…her mood…her future mood…whether or not she will ever read what he writes…what people will tell her he wrote…and most importantly, has she taken out any new life insurance policies?

King Lemuel was a very fortunate man, much like King Solomon. Both had the luxury of living in a culture that prized such things as goats, flocks of sheep, and merchant’s ships. They thought these things were beautiful and found no difficulty in comparing their wives to them. However, I must be careful when I compare my wife to a heavily-laden wooden hull that creaks, leaks, and has to be patched with tar. I’m better off comparing her hair to a flock of goats, and her teeth to a flock of sheep (Sgs. 4:1-2)!

However, in order to keep with the program, I must find a way to relate to Proverbs 31:14, to share my “thoughts,” and to make an application. Therefore, I will get to the point of what the passage is telling us before I get into trouble.

Spiced Up

The rare and virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 is like the merchant’s ships in that she is always a source of variety. Instead of being content with the same old stuff day after day, this woman is like a merchant’s ship, one that goes out far and wide to find new spices, new colors, and new fragrances to adorn not only herself but to spice up her home.

Most people know how plain and dreary a man’s home can be without a good woman. I was always one who liked white walls, plain dishes, and simple clothes. But when my wife came along, up went color on the walls, color on the table, and color on me (I would have never worn anything but a white or blue shirt under a suit).

Bargains

The woman of this verse is also a bargain shopper. Like the merchant’s ship, she travels far and wide to find the best deals, the ones most advantageous to her family, and always comes back with something to show for her efforts.

Anyone who really knows me could tell you that I hate – I HATE – to negotiate on prices. On the other hand, my wife almost never pays full price for anything. I have literally witnessed her negotiate on an object at a rummage sale when the asking price was only 25 cents! My response was, “Valerie! Pay the man a quarter and let’s go!”

Variety is the spice of life, so they say. If that is true, a good woman brings plenty of flavor to the table.


… Happy Life

Proverbs 31:11

11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. (KJV)
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. (ESV)

Happy Wife …

Perhaps you have heard that saying “Happy wife, happy life.”

Personally, I disagree slightly, and, you can ask my wife, I rewrote it: “Better a holy wife than a happy wife.”

Temporary displeasure for the sake of holiness is better than happiness that is based on lies or misunderstandings which lead to mistrust.

Neither of us lets the other get away with simple platitudes or quick answers (though the occasional playful joke does happen!) We help each other to grow more Christ-like. We are not perfect, but the focus is on Christ.

The wonderful thing about this is that we have complete trust in each other.

I know that I can trust my wife in anything. Even if we were to “lose everything” and become homeless, as long as I have her my life is complete.

Holy Bride

Our Lord never promised this life would be easy. In fact, He warned us in John 16:33 that we “will have trouble” if we follow Him.

He has been preparing His Bride, the Church, for His return. Sometimes He rebukes, and often times He encourages (look at Revelation 2-3). He does not necessarily want a Bride that is happy if that happiness gets in the way of the relationship.

He seeks perfection, which can only be found in Him, and He has confidence that His Bride will achieve the mission He has given (Matthew 28:18-20) because He is always there to help us. Our life is complete with Him, and He wants to have us with Him forever. That is what is truly of value.

Loving Savior and Bridegroom, thank You for Your love. Fill us with a desire for You, for Your Bride the Church, and for each other. Strengthen our marriages and our other relationships with a love that refuses to compromise or settle.


Misplaced and Unsuited

Proverbs 30:21-23

21 For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear:
22 For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat;
23 For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress. (KJV)

21 Under three things the earth trembles; under four it cannot bear up:
22 a slave when he becomes king, and a fool when he is filled with food;
23 an unloved woman when she gets a husband, and a maidservant when she displaces her mistress. (ESV)

Out of Place

There are some things that simply should not be.

A liberal should not lead a conservative gathering. A coffee shop should not try to serve gourmet three-course meals. An atheist should not lead a religious meeting.

These would be out of place, and it would lead to problems.

The Bible tells us some things out of place are:

  1. A servant or slave who becomes a king. He may wish to exact revenge on those who were wealthy, and he may become a tyrant.
  2. A fool who is full. This is the person who is easily addicted to things. When combined with power, this is a truly dangerous person.
  3. An unloved woman who gets married. This is a woman who does not know how to love or be loved. She is controlling (through emotions, physical actions, and/or psychological manipulation), contentious, and/or quarrelsome (such as Proverbs 19:13 , 21:9, 25:24, and 27:15).
  4. A servant who replaces her master. This is the person who gains undeserved influence over others, and can easily lead others down wrong paths.

Some simple truths

The point of all of this is that it is not good for something or someone to be out of place.

A person who cannot handle confrontation or difficult decisions should not be in leadership.

A person with unresolved emotional issues should not offer counsel to others.

A person who does not understand matters of faith should not lead ministries.

A person who is prideful, arrogant, and selfish is unsuited to lead others in charity.

The good news is that our loving Lord can redeem all of us who struggle in any of these areas! May we turn to Him to change our minds, hearts, and lives to do mighty things for His glory!

Great Lord, grant us Your wisdom and understanding. Help us to overcome our selfish and arrogant ways, and change our hearts and minds. Redeem our lives to Your glory!


Beware the Angry Man

Proverbs 29:22.
“An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.” (KJV). 

As we come to the end of 2013, am celebrating 21 years that I have been in full-time ministry. The first 14 years were spent as a youth pastor in Surrey, BC (on the west coast of Canada), and for the past 7 years as a lead pastor in Beausejour, MB (in the middle of Canada). This past year has been the hardest one that I ever went through, and found myself getting so discouraged that I actually entertained the idea of leaving the ministry. Why? It all started with an angry man.

About a year and a half ago, a couple in our church in leadership got hurt, angry and offended. But instead of dealing with the offense with the person that had offended them (as Jesus instructed us to do in Matthew 18:15), they chose instead to begin to lie, slander and gossip about that person – and that person was me. It was today’s Proverb in action: “An angry man stirs up strife.” And stir up strife he did! The result of the lies he told about me was that many families in our church left – about 25 of the 150 people we had in our church.

I was hurt, confused and disillusioned. Here was someone that I had brought on my leadership team and poured my heart and life into mentoring for years, and in a moment of time – in one angry e-mail – he severed the relationship with no real explanation for what he had done. When I asked him what I had done wrong, he simply said, “I don’t want to talk about it, God will reveal it to you.” To this day, I don’t know what I did that got him so angry that he set a chain of events in motion that tried to destroy our church.

But I thank God for the awesome promise that Jesus gave me during the beginning of this ordeal: “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18). I thank God for His grace that carried me through this challenging trial. If it wasn’t for His loving, providential care for me and my family, I am sure we would have walked away from the church and the ministry this past year. But God is faithful, and I thank God for many of our good friends in our church family who rallied around us, supported us, and stuck with us through the firestorm of lies and hate.

The second half of today’s verse says, “A furious man abounds in transgression.” Not only was the result of this angry man’s stirring up strife hurtful to the church as a whole, it also wounded the hearts of many people in our church – including families and even young youth and children. When anger is left unchecked, it becomes a destroying wind that wounds all of those in its path. It is a sin that leads to many other destructive and hurtful sins.

I thank God for Pastor Anthony Baker and the other contributors at Proverbial Thought who invited me to blog through Proverbs together with them a little over a year ago. As I have written devotional reflections in the Book of Proverbs over the past year, it has been very therapeutic for me personally as I have walked through this challenging time of ministry. Many times I have reflected upon a Scripture that has given me comfort or challenge when and where I have needed it. I pray that God would use His Word to encourage and inspire you in your life as well. As we head into 2014, I pray that you would make a commitment to get into God’s Word every day!

p.s. can I encourage you to pray for your pastors and Bible teachers? We are all in a battle, and we need God’s protection from the attacks of the enemy! Thank you… blessings to all of you today.

RELATED POSTS:

The 5 Minute Challenge – Bible Reading Schedule (At The Beausejour Pulpit Blog).

BOOKLET - Bible Reading Schedule


Misjudged

Proverbs 28:21
To have respect of persons is not good: for a piece of bread that man will transgress.”
To show partiality is not good, Because for a piece of bread a man will transgress.” (NASB)

Being Wary

Sadly, we live in a world dominated by people who like to take advantage of others.

This is important to remember.

There are so many friendly faces and wealthy people to whom people turn in trust for the simple reason that they appear trustworthy or might be able pull some strings.

Another example that comes to mind is of all of those people out there who add to their resumes to get jobs. Through their resumes, they pretend to have received certain degrees, awards, and accolades, or they insert false positions at companies to make it appear they have more experience.

There are also stories of people who are passed over for promotions, and they end up stealing from the company.

It can be easy to misjudge people if we only look at face value and never dig beneath the surface.

Ultimately, only God knows the heart of people.

The Disciples’ Misunderstanding

I could not help but think of one famous biblical story as I read this proverb.

Jesus sat down for His last meal with His disciples before His arrest and crucifixion. Toward the end of the meal, Jesus is breaking bread with them, and then He sends Judas Iscariot to do what he would do.

The other Eleven disciples thought perhaps “that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor.” (John 13:29, NASB)

Instead, Judas went to the Jewish leaders to help them arrest and kill Jesus.

The other disciples misjudged their friend, and Judas sinned against the Bread of Life.

God, help us to not show partiality or favoritism but to treat others with justice. Give us the strength to do what is right even when we disagree or are wronged. Help us to show Your love and grace in all circumstances.