Tag Archives: Reward

The True Hope for the Future

For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.
Proverbs 23:18, KJV

Surely there is a future [and a reward], And your hope and expectation will not be cut off.
Proverbs 23:18 AMP

One of the most misappropriated verses in the Bible is Jeremiah 29:11,

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

The reason thos verse is so misapplied to lives is that many people tend to think God will never let them suffer but only prosper.

The full context of this verse is that God is sending Israel into exile as punishment for breaking His covenant! He orchestrated suffering!

But it was for a future glory!

Using the two different translations today was for showing how rich today’s verse is.

We need the reminder that there is a tomorrow. Today’s struggles are temporary, because the future is coming.

That future may have problems. In fact, God also told us that a great time of suffering will happen before the Lord’s return.

But the temporal future has an end, when Jesus returns!

Just as Jeremiah reminded us, there will be suffering, but God has a plan! Yes, things will get bad, but remember that He holds the future. This gives us hope!

Trust in Jesus, and the future holds our reward of eternal friendship and peace.


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.


Doing Our Duty

Proverbs 27:18

18 Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured.

Lazy or Hardworking?

Perhaps you have heard the fable of “The Grasshopper and the Ant”.

The ant works hard all summer getting food ready for the winter. The grasshopper merely enjoys his lazy summer days lying around making fun of the ant for working so hard. When winter comes, the grasshopper has no food, so he goes to the ant. Depending the version of the story you find, the ant tells the grasshopper “If I give you food to eat that you did not earn, I will not have enough to get through the winter. You cannot have any of my food.”

If we have a garden and do not tend it, there will be very little food to eat at harvest. If we tend our garden and work hard at protecting and nurturing it, we will have an abundance of food at harvest.

Serving our Master

Likewise, if we work hard at what we are tasked to do (at work, at play, in anything that requires doing something that may be hard), we will be honored – respected, and rewarded.

This can be seen through promotions or bonuses at work, new friendships, getting awards, or another other number of good things.

Also, if we serve our Lord and Savior faithfully by sharing the gospel and helping those in need, we will one day get to hear Jesus say to us in persons “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23-34, NIV

Dear Lord, give us the strength and integrity to do what we must and to do it well. Empower us to share Your love and healing with our world that we may One Day hear You say “Well done!”


Human Resources

Proverbs 20:26

26 A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them.
26 A wise king winnows out the wicked; he drives the threshing wheel over them. (NIV)

I have worked for many companies over the years. One of the great differences between some of them were how employees were handled.

A good human resources (HR) department handles issues with employees really well.

At one of those companies, the HR Manager volunteered to take all of the difficult situations no one else wanted (hence her being the manager!) Whenever there was an employee who caused more problems than good work, she would convince them that they wanted to work in a different area.

If they still did not improve, she would remove them from employment (fire them, lay them off, however you wish to say it).

Separated

God is our wise King and the greatest at handling human resources.

Jesus told us that at the end of the Age all of humanity would be separated out.

In Matthew 13, He tells the parable of the wheat and weeds. The wheat and weeds grow together, and then after the harvest they are separated with the weeds sent to the fire.

Likewise, when Christ returns, the righteous will be separated to go with Him, but the wicked will be sent to the Lake of Fire.

To be saved, we must seek God’s Kingdom and His righteousness, believe in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our forgiveness, and believe in His resurrection. His Holy Spirit takes care of all of the hard work of preparing us for the final harvest.

Trust in God, and follow Him.

Wise God, thank You for saving us and in Your judgment preparing places for all of us. Help us to find and root out the evil in our lives wherever we encounter it.


Inherited Blessings

Proverbs 20:7

The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him. (KJV)
The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them. (NIV)

Walking in Integrity?

You may have noticed that there are not many people who walk with integrity in our world.

Many people find an error on their receipt and keep the excess change (although recently a relief pitcher for the baseball team the San Francisco Giants, Jeremy Affelft, discovered a half million dollar mistake in his paycheck, and returned it!), though it could cost someone their job.

Many people cut off others in traffic to save themselves time or drive slower to “keep themselves safer,” when in truth they may be causing accidents and delays.

There are a myriad of ways people do not walk in integrity, from relationships to finances to business even to church.

However, those who walk in integrity are held blameless by their families, friends, and communities. Whether it is financial, moral, or relational, those who walk in integrity leave many blessings for their children.

A Blessing with a Warning

The children of a person of integrity find that they are blessed with some influence.

People are willing to trust them because of who their parents were. Some people find they have enough money to influence others’ responses.

The wise will use this influence to make their world better. The godly will use this influence to make an impact for Christ.

However, as David and Solomon’s children demonstrated, that influence can also be used to burden and curse others.

The choice is ours how we use what our parents have left for us.

If they left us an example of integrity, may we follow that example.

If they left us an example of selfishness, pride, and violence, may we choose to follow the example of Christ and set a new example of integrity for our children.

Wise Lord, help us break the cycle of our families to walk in the integrity of Christ. Help us to live lives that are pleasing to You and blameless in the sight of our eyes, for Your glory.


Good Gifts

Proverbs 19:14

“House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord.”

Gifts from our fathers

Everyone either looks forward to or dreams of suddenly finding out they are part of some inheritance.

It usually requires someone dying (though, the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) shows it is not always necessary), but an inheritance usually comes in the form of a house or money.

There are other forms of inheritance.

The downside is that we can inherit genetic and behavioral qualities, but we may also inherit good qualities.

My parents instilled in me a strong work ethic and commitment to loved ones, and that passed over into my Christian walk, as well. They were only strengthened by the working of the Holy Spirit.

Love and dedication are a great gift to receive from your father (and mother!)

A gift from our Father

No matter what our parents teach us, there is only one way to get a greater gift.

God has blessed me with the most perfect wife, beyond even what I ever dreamed.

This is amazing, because, while we have great families, we come from histories of alcohol abuse and emotional issues. Both of us could have easily followed in so many footsteps of our genetic predecessors for generations back: eating disorders, substance abuse, emotional issues, unwise financial/life decisions, and so one.

Instead, God has helped us both overcome in so many ways (and still helps us to this day), and we are only able to have the strong marriage we have because of His help.

That is the real gift of God: a prudent spouse is one who knows the need for Christ and submits to His leadership. A prudent spouse helps the other out of love for each other and Christ.

Gracious God, thank You for helping us overcome this world. Help us to be good stewards of what You have given us and help us to understand they are gifts from You. For those of us gifted with wise and prudent spouses, give us the wisdom and passion to appreciate and be a helper to our spouses to the glory of Your name!


Haughty or Humble?

Proverbs  18:12

12 Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.

Haughty and in Hot Water

In the last several years there have been many high-profile stories out of politics. Granted, that sentence could have been written at any time in modern history.

What I am speaking of, specifically, are politicians who thought they were above reproach. Most called themselves committed Christians. Many of these were caught with prostitutes, girlfriends (other than their wives, of course), or sharing pictures (of their own body parts or other women/men).

They were caught for the very reason they thought they could get away with it: they thought too highly of themselves. Most these men lost their positions and even careers over these scandals. Most people could care less about these men today.

Humble and Honored

Now look at the other side.

Mother Teresa never held a public office. In fact, she spent the majority of her time with sick, injured, and societal rejects. She never considered anyone beneath her or less important. She put most people ahead of herself.

When she died in 1997, many millions of people mourned and remembered her. Many people called for her immediate beatification by the Catholic Church. She is still remembered well by over a billion people.

You and Me

Our pride can only lead to problems in our life. If left to continue unabated, our pride will lead to our separation from God after this life.

If we humble ourselves, confess our sinfulness and need for Jesus Christ, God is the One who will honor us.

every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)

Faithful Father, teach us true humility. Help us to seek You above ourselves.


Raising Them Right

Proverbs 17:6
Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.”

Being a Parent

One of the things that is discussed regularly in the men’s group attend is how fathers and sons do not talk to each other.

There are some men with sons have stopped talking to them. There are some men whose father’s barely acknowledge them.

The biggest issue is communication, obviously, though the reasons in each individual circumstance is different. The biggest issue always seemed to stem from how good of a parenting job was done.

Regardless of how well parents parented, sometimes it is the events later in life that lead to closeness or division.

Becoming “Grandpa” (or “Grandma”!)

A surefire way to tell if you have made it as a parent – whether as raising your children or after they have grown; whether you were a rambunctious child or a sweet and innocent child who now has children of your own – is the Grandparent Test.

One of the men in my group longs to meet his grandchildren from his estranged son. This is a godly man, so no one can understand why his son will not allow him to meet his grandchildren.

Yet, here is a family who shows the parents are loved by their children, even if only a little bit: the proud children spend much time taking their children to grandma and grandpa’s home (or “Nana and Papa” or “Nani and Papi” or whatever!).

The grandparents want to show off their grandchildren to anyone who will listen. The parents of those children eagerly want them to!

The Christian

How do you live your life in Christ?

Do you help win others to the Lord, or do you do your own thing?

If you only do your own thing, you are like the parent who avoids their children and the child who avoids their Father.

If you help win others to the Lord and train them in the ways of godly living, you are like the parents who are invested in their children’s lives and can not wait to show them to your Father in Heaven!

Heavenly Father, help us to love our families with Your love. Help us to realize that the Church is our family, and You are our Father. Help us to love all people in a way that Our love is overflowing. Please, bless our families.


True Treasure

Proverbs 15:6

In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.”

Where is my money?

I can hear many people asking after reading this verse, “If the house of the righteous is full of treasure, and I am a devout Christian, where is all of my money? It sure seems wicked people have all the money!”

If this is you, you are not the first to complain about evil people seeming so well-off. We read in Psalm 73:3, “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” Many godly people have wondered at this.

Claim It in Faith

There is another s0-called gospel message out there, often called the “prosperity gospel” or “Name-It-and-Claim-It,” teaches just that: if you name your desire in faith that God will deliver, you will receive that very thing.

Under this message, with enough faith you can be happy, healthy, and wealthy. Proponents of this message firmly believe in the combined promise of Proverbs 13:22b, “the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just“, and John 16:23, “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

Trust me that these verses are taken entirely out of context.

True Treasure

Here is the real context: while some righteous people will be wealthy and/or healthy, most will only earn their treasure as good standing with God in Heaven by obeying His commands and living in His love.

Read Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:19-24:

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

The wicked lose out on the favor of God. Our true treasure is Jesus Christ.

Lord, grow Your love in our hearts that we may serve You and love You. Grant us Your grace and patience, that instead of pursuing money and things we would seek Your favor. You are the true treasure.


Two Pursuers

Proverbs 13:21

21 Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed.

Yesterday, Jason discussed how bad company will make us bad ourselves.

To go a step further, when we live a life of sin, whatever that may look like, we tend to gather like-minded people around us, reinforcing our sinful behaviors. Eventually, we have to deal with our sin.

If all we have around us is our sin and those who promote it, what should we expect? That everything will be alright? That we will never have problems?

This verse tells us that, in fact, the consequences of our sin track us down. The Apostle Peter told us in 1 Peter 5:8 that the Devil is actually seeking us out to destroy us!

Whatever vice or sin we have in our life is a beacon for Satan, calling him after us to pursue us and drag us deeper to our death. Things will only get worse the longer we live in our sin. Eventually, it leads to not only a literal death but eternal destruction.

The Other Pursuer

Those who live a life of righteousness, a life given to God, can expect a different outcome.

While a righteous person may interact with the more sinful, they are not tainted by that sin. Instead, they more closely associate with those who promote righteousness, or at the very least keep God central in their lives.

An interesting thing happens when we pursue God:

7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
James 4:7-8

Do you see it?

Not only does God actively pursue those who pursue Him, but the Devil will actually run away!

We must remember, however, that he only runs away because he has been close. The more we walk with God, the more the Devil will want to break us apart.

The great news is that as we pursue God, we have God defending us.

Ultimately, we are repaid with eternal life.

Precious Savior, thank You for rescuing us from our sin and the grip of the Devil. Help us see You pursuing us. Give us the faith to pursue You. Give us the strength to resist the Devil when he comes after us, for by Your power he will flee!