Tag Archives: Value

Don’t Be a Scrooge

Anthony, Grady, and Daniel

Anthony, Grady, and Daniel

(A Note from the desk of the Editor: It was truly a privilege to host Daniel Klem and his wife, Caitlin, when they visited Chattanooga a few years ago. It was the first time we ever had the chance to meet in person. We thank the Lord for brothers and sisters in Christ! Also in the picture is Grady Davidson, who also just met Daniel – Grady and I already knew each other.)

Proverbs 11:24-26

“There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.”

First let me clear up the potentially confusing part:

This is not political!

Now let me explain this a bit:

This particular passage basically says “Some people give all they have, yet they always have what they need or more. Others hold onto everything they think they have, but they really have nothing. The former are loved and lavished upon. The latter are hated.”

Misers versus Givers

Do you know the story by Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol? I am specifically talking about Ebenezer Scrooge.

He is known as the stingiest man in town. He counts every cent, never spends more than he absolutely has to, and is not very kind to others.

Nobody likes him.

And the Ghost of Christmas-Yet-to-Come shows him dying alone and his stuff stolen by nere-do-wells who complain about and ridicule him.

Conversely, I know a family who is always struggling to make ends meet. Yet they always have enough food to eat. In fact, they have dozens of people visit on an average of at least once a week. They have been literal and figurative foster parents to many children, teens, and young adults, and their biological children always know they are loved and accepted. They have traveled all over and impacted so many …

… because they give their all, their everything, for all people.

Physical and Spiritual

To be truly blessed in this life, we need to be willing to give up everything. This means money, things, cars, homes, stuff, and even people.

To be truly blessed, we need to be willing to give up literally everything. We need to be willing to die. Die physically and figuratively to our own selves, our wants and desires, our plans and hopes.

In their place, we must put the Love of God. God is our greatest hope, should be our greatest desire, and be the foundation of all our plans and our lives.

Then we will not be able to help loving others and giving of ourselves.

Ask that family.

Gracious and loving Father, instill in us a desire to love. Fill us with a passion for others. Give us more of You than we can handle that we may see You overflow into others. Do not let us get stuck on things and silly desires. Free us to free others.


A Proud Look

Proverbs 6:16-17a

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look...”

The Overlord

Most other translations translate this verse as “haughty eyes”.

People with this look are often considered arrogant and rude. A proud look, haughty eyes, comes when you look at another person convinced you are better.

Evidence of this is found in Jesus’ parable in Luke 18 with this prayer:

‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
NIV

These tend to be the people who refuse to associate with certain people and treat others as beneath them. They lord their righteousness over others, whether or not they really are more righteous.

The Needy Servant

A proud look can also come from someone in a more lowly position.

These are the people who have to help others and make sure everyone knows about. If you do not help out, you are not worth their time. Yet, if you need help, they will be the first to help, because all they really seek is the attention as being so good or to know they are better than someone else.

There are many ways in which this can be expressed, but these two examples are definitely prevalent.

Are you one lord’s your righteousness over others? Are you one who seeks the glory by debasing yourself to look “good”?

Lord, give us humble hearts, discerning minds, and a willingness to serve out of love. Remove our prideful passions and replace them with a passion for You!


The Preciousness of Wisdom

Hello, Dear Reader. I am a rarity to this blog, but I have come to share with you some truths of Wisdom which I have gleaned.

Last Summer, I found myself in a particularly tough place in regards to dating relationships. The person I was with for a period of three months was someone of immoral character and rebellion. He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, so to speak, and I, being the naïve woman looking for a nice and caring fellow, fell into the trap of enticement.

During the last couple of weeks of my relationship, I was interested in reading Scripture, but it was rooted in how I wanted to prove to my parents that this person I spent time with was worth the time I had invested. I began to read through Proverbs for a short time, but once my relationship ended I began to have a bitterness fester within my heart due to some underlying problems with self-image and self-value.

I have always hated the possibility that one day I would live up to my middle name which means “bitterness,” yet that is exactly what I had become: a bitter young woman, full of rebellion against my upbringing. I spent a majority of my time during the last half of last year and the first part of this year in hate and corruption of the mind and heart, and the worst part was that I knew exactly how to remedy that pain I put myself through.

In a paper I wrote at the beginning of this semester, I stated:

“I know that God is real and loving and forgiving; I know with all certainty that He wants me to come to Him. Even so, I do not want the help that He has to offer my wounded and rotting spirit. I do not want to muster up the courage it takes to allow Him to scrape the putrid rot from my soul, just as a doctor must scrape and clean a burn victim. I do not want the comfort that He sends me through the gracious acts of others as they hold me and speak life into my heart. I do not want what I need. I want my own efforts to win over. Never have I understood so clearly how a dying man fights for his last breath – until now. I know that God is real, but I would rather trust my fingernails for security.” – The Strength of My Own Fingernails

Now, as I am recovering from this season of life, I can look at Scripture again with a refreshed mind and soul. Here is what I have learned from Proverbs 2:

Wisdom is:

  • A protector via discernment (v. 3)
  • A saving grace from wicked people (v. 12-19)
  • Something which only comes from the Lord (v. 6)
  • Something which must be sought out (v. 1-5)
  • Something which has value (v. 4)

Sterling Silver

In verse 4, Solomon refers to the value of Wisdom as being like that of the value of silver. This precious metal has been used in jewelry for thousands of years, including a piece which is now on my left ring finger. I wear a sterling silver band for several reasons, one of which to serve as a reminder that God’s Wisdom is something to be cherished. If only I had listened to the teachings of this Word and my parent’s concerns before taking my course of actions last year! I would have saved myself so much heartache and regret!

Wisdom is worth seeking out; it is a treasure to obtain. The catch is this: you must be willing to sacrifice your personal agenda in order to journey to find this treasure. It was only after I sacrificed my lifestyle and my hurt to Christ that I was able to access the Lord’s Wisdom again. If you want this treasure, it must be the only thing you seek.


… 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.


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.


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!