Tag Archives: Sin

This Is Wisdom (Use Discretion)

My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.
Proverbs 3:21‭-‬23

Stumbling and Falling

The late second decade of this millennium has been tumultuous. Businesses are shuttering doors every week. Politicians are stepping down in disgrace. Actors are having careers crumble over night. Even pastors and ministry leaders are losing positions and status in shame.

Movements are continuously rising to combat [real or percieved] injustices. Tensions run high between governments, businesses, institutions, the press, and societies to the point that no one is safe from saying anything without trouble brewing.

Why?

As a whole, we have not kept wisdom, and discretion has long since been discarded.

Sure, some people think they are being discreet, but without sound wisdom. Now, “Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” (Luke 12:3)

And this is what we see today.

A society that lacks wisdom and discretion – that lacks common sense but says and does whatever seems right (or right to them) – is a society of increasing chaos and depravity.

What then shall we do?

Especially as Christians, we should turn to God, live wisely, and use discretion. We do not need to voice our opinion about everything. At least not right away. A friend of mine has a 72-hour rule for major events: wait 72 hours before commenting to make sure more facts are available.

We would be wise to use a similar tactic in relationships – especially on social media!

We would be wise to do this with the news – that too often is merely sensationalism gossip, anymore.

We would be wise to set parameters for ourselves and our relationships.

Perhaps we can at least try to “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5, NIV)

This is necessarily hard, because it is hard getting over ourselves. We do not like confronting our sinful nature.

But that is wisdom.

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You Don’t Want God Laughing At You

“I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh” – Proverbs 1:26

This morning I was reading through chapter one and got all the way to verse 26. I may go back and look at some other verses later, but this one really stood out to me today.

Can you imagine God laughing at somebody in trouble? Actually, I can imagine someone saying, “That’s not a very Christian thing to do!”  (FYI, that’s a typical “gotcha” zinger atheists – both real and pretend –  love to throw at believers)

But what we see in this verse is exactly that – God laughs at people in trouble.

However, it’s not just any people; it’s those who follow after other gods when He doesn’t seem to meet their needs. Consider what God told the children of Isreal in Gilead:

Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation. – Judges 10:14

While the above passage doesn’t mention God laughing, it does show Him essentially saying, “Hey, I told you so! Now, go on with your bad self and see if your little “g’s” are all you thought they were.”

But the Lord does laugh at those who want to “break the bands” of objective truth and live their own lives without Him…

He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision (mock, deride, ridicule).” – Psalm 2:4

It’s worth thinking about. God wouldn’t offer a way of deliverance if He didn’t love and care for us. But when we brush off his help like dandruff off our shoulder (I’m bald, so I don’t have that problem), don’t you think it breaks His heart?

That’s why, I believe, you see so many people crying out to God for deliverance, yet get no response. What’s it gonna take to convince us those other gods are the real failures? How many more times will I hear someone say, “I don’t believe in God anymore…I prayed to Him when I really needed Him, but nothing happened”?

I just shake my head.

That’s what God does: He shakes his head, put’s his hand on his forehead, and says, ‘Oh Myself.'”

Yeah, I know, it’s not funny. But sometimes you’ve just got to laugh at the insanity of it all.

God does.


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


Got Sin?

Proverbs 28:13

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

Hidden Sin

Hidden sin is the stuff we hide from view, maybe even from ourselves. Hidden sin is the kind of sin we don’t want others to know about for fear of being embarrassed, judged, or condemned. Hidden sin could even be what we choose to label “character flaws,” “idiosyncrasies,” or simply “bad habits.” They are buried, closeted, covered, disguised, or even renamed in order to keep from admitting what they really are.

Do you sneak away to where no one will see? Do you wait till the kids are asleep? Do you clean up the mess so no one will know? Do you hide records and notes? Do you cover your tracks? Do you say it with a fake smile? Do you daydream about what you would do if you could get away with it?

Keep on, keep covering and you will never find relief; you will never find peace; you will never lose the weight of guilt; you will never, ever prosper.

Look at It!

There were so many times when I was younger that I was injured and didn’t want to look at the wound. One time I was cleaning an automotive valve grinding machine when I briefly touched my left hand to the sharp surfacing stone that was spinning at 5,000 r.p.m. In a micro second flesh was ground away to the bone and blood began to drip forming a puddle by my feet. I grabbed my hand with my other, called for help, then said, “I don’t want to look!”

Had I kept my hand covered, I would have never seen that the injury was not as extensive as I first thought. But had I kept my wound covered, denied it ever happened, and went on about my day, I could have bled to death, or at least lost my hand to a horrible infection. My life could have been changed forever.

Thankfully, I looked at my wound, then began to feel the pain, but then began a long healing process. Quite frankly, the same thing needs to happen with hidden sin. We need to admit the problem, deal with the pain, and allow others and God to bring healing to our lives.

Need Mercy?

Hidden sin is dangerous for many reasons. Hidden sin eats away at one’s soul and callouses the conscience to the warning signs of life-threatening disease. Though hidden, it is contagious and harms others.

Like the hidden ring in J.R.R. Tolkien’s stories, the longer we keep it, the more deadly it becomes – and the more deadly we become. But to he who confesses, admits what he has, turns from it, and asks for help, there awaits mercy.

Got sin? Need mercy? You know what to do.


Somebody’s Watching

The following post was first published in the current order after being missed during the original posts on the fifth chapter. I believe God knew someone needed it at the time it was published, and I believe He will use it to speak to someone today. 

Proverbs 5:21-33

“For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings. His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins. He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.” 

Reality TV

Reality television has taken over the airwaves. Nearly every one of the fourteen billion channels have at least one reality show, and there are even whole networks devoted to them. As I read the proverb for today, I couldn’t help thinking of a particular one involving security cameras.

It seems that criminals never learn. Either that, or they never watch reality TV. Do they not know that when they steal gasoline, rob a bank, or mug a toddler at the candy store, someone is watching? Have they never looked up? Have they never noticed that electronic eye mounted in a corner above them?

Never Looking Up

The same question might be asked of us with regards to sin. When will we ever learn that Someone is watching us? When will we look up? When will we notice the “eyes of the Lord?”

Addressing the issue of adultery, Solomon warns his sons that sin is not done in secret. No matter how dark the room, or secluded the hotel, “the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth” (2 Chronicles 16:9a). Even though one’s husband or wife may not know, God does.

Why doesn’t the sinner look up? Too often he suffers from a form of tunnel vision. He is so focused on the temptation that he becomes blind to everything else, including that heavenly security camera above.

Bound by Sin. 

It may seem crazy that a criminal would forget cameras are watching his every move; but some the excuses they give, once caught, are equally insane. Some will literally watch video of themselves committing a crime, then deny it. They say, “That wasn’t me!”

In one program called “Bait Car,” police rig an automobile with hidden cameras. They also wire the care so that it can be remotely shut down and locked. When criminals steal the car, not only do they get filmed, but they get trapped.

Sin has a nasty habit of not letting go. The one who says “Just this once” usually gets bound by his actions. Once the fun is over, there is always a price to pay. Unfortunately for the wicked, most “die without instruction.”

Don’t Get Trapped

The Apostle Paul could have been speaking of the car thief or the adulterer in 1 Corinthians 3:19. The wisdom of the world leads the wicked to think he can get away with sin, but God “traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness” (NLT).

Yet, for those who have sinned – for those who have forgotten to “look up” – Jesus offers you freedom from the chains of sin. When one “sees Jesus” (John 12:21), he will not only “turn from his wicked ways,” but he will find One who can break the “cords of sin.”

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” –  Luke 4:18 KJV


The Two Adams

Proverbs 28:7

Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.
A discerning son heeds instruction, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father. (NIV)

The First Adam

A long time ago, God created everything. At the end of that creation process, he made humans, specifically Adam and Eve.

These people were created perfect, and the walked with God.

Then they messed it all up. They sinned. They did what God said not to do, and this rebellion led to generations of death, suffering, rebellion, and selfishness that continues to this day.

Because of Adam and his wife Eve, we all choose to rebel against God … at least in some way, and always in our own way, but always away from God. Too much blood has been spilled and suffering caused because of our sin.

We all shame, disgrace, our Father, God.

The Second Adam

Fortunately, God could not leave us alone. He started with a rebellious people, the nation of Israel. He showed grace and favor they did not deserve, and He showed them the way to live. They still failed, but the story does not end there.

Out of this people, God stepped into flesh: Jesus of Nazareth was born, the Son of God, God incarnate.

Jesus was the only One to ever live a sinless life, and He was killed on a cross so that as we spilled His blood it would cleanse away our sin. Three days later, He came back to life!

If we trust in His death for our forgiveness and believe that He now lives, we no longer identify with the First Adam but with Jesus, the Second Adam. If we heed His instructions to love God, love others, and love each other through the help of the Holy Spirit, we become heirs with Christ as wise sons (and daughters)!

45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.
1 Corinthians 15:45-49, NIV

Gracious Lord, thank You for Your grace and forgiveness delivered through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Help us to live in that truth daily and share it with the world!


Protecting Assets

Proverbs 27:13

“Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.”
“Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger’s debt. Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners.” (NLT)
Taking a Garment

The verse today relates to the previous.

There are many dangers which we must be constantly watching out for.

Whether in business (such as banks) or personal life, we have to make sure we are not being taken advantage of in some of our dealings.

For example, suppose you have a friend who is always helping others financially, and he always asks you for help with a promise to repay. Over time you learn that he never makes good on that promise.

To help in such matters, you can ask him for something valuable as a way of urging him to repay.

This item serves as a reminder of a debt that is owed.

Reminder of the Debt

This passage has little to do with spiritual matters, but there is another debt in our lives that a constant reminder.

In Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 we find a list of things called the 10 Commandments. In Romans (specifically chapter 5), Paul tells us that the Law, the 10 Commandments, was given as a reminder of our sin. It shows us how we fail to live up to loving God.

The Law shows us our debt.

Fortunately, our God has shown us grace and forgiveness. He paid our debt by sending His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, to live a perfect, sinless life and die on a cross to pay the debt we could not pay.

To receive the full grace and forgiveness He has offered us, we need only believe that Jesus is God made flesh, paid for our sins on the cross, and rose again to life and now lives with the Father awaiting the time to return and redeem His faithful.

Heavenly Father, help us to be good stewards of what You have given us. We admit we are sinners in need of grace and forgiveness. Thank You for offering that grace and forgiveness through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Give us the faith we need to live in the light of that truth every day!