Tag Archives: Word

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

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. -Luke 2:19, KJV

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The song “Mary, Did You Know” asks several questions about what Mary knew about her newborn Son before He grew up.

For most of those questions, the answer is basically “yes.” She may not have understood the full depth of things nor known of the specifics of how it would happen, but she thought about it.

She and Joseph wondered at shepherds and wealthy foreigners coming to visit this baby of hers. She heard prophecies about this boy growing up to bring peace and healing to faithful people of God, taking over the government, and suffering for the sins of the world.

And what does she do hearing all of this?

. . . but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. -Luke 2:51b

May we be a people who treasure God’s Word in our hearts and minds, pondering them and sharing the good news that Jesus has come to take away our sins, as prophesied, and is prophesied to come again for the full redemption of His faithful servants.

Lord Jesus, give us a love for Your Word, teaching us to memorize Scripture and share Your love and forgiveness, as well as Your immanent return.

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Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent – Day 5

The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
According to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
-Deuteronomy 18:15-19, KJV

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As we continue through Advent season, we look back on what one of the greatest prophets (Moses) foretold of the coming Messiah.

The Hebrews were afraid of seeing God, and rightly so. They were still rebellious in heart, and they were afraid of dying at the sight of their Lord and even at hearing His voice.

Yet, God reminded them through Moses that He is their Savior, and one day One would come, a fellow Israelite, who would be their greatest Prophet who spoke directly from the Father.

The One who was in their midst as a burning pillar of fire and column of smoke would one day confront the sin of Israel and the rest of the world. If we refuse to listen to the words of this One, God will hold us accountable on the day that He returns. But instead of a column of fire, all that things will burn on His return, making all things new, except those who reject Him.

His first coming was the rebuke with forgiveness. His next coming will be in full judgment.

When we trust in the Lord, we no longer fear death. His birth led to our new life.


Counsel God?

Proverbs 21:30

“There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.”

Intelligent

I am a half-way intelligent guy. There are degrees hanging on the wall of my study, a few awards, and a lot of books on the shelves that I’ve actually read. But don’t be too impressed; I don’t have a doctorate (yet) and I still have problems with math and spelling restuarant.

What’s worse is I’m supposed to be a “spiritual leader,” a pastor, a Reverend. Along with those degrees on my wall, there is also a piece of paper that says I’ve been “Ordained to the Gospel Ministry.” According to some, that puts me on God’s speed dial. Riiiiight.

In actuality, I am only human, and a flawed one at that. This past weekend my daughter had to take the spiritual lead and call me to the carpet. She has no degree or title, but she does walk with God and loves the Word. So, when she saw me making a mess of things she exercised spiritual wisdom, understanding, and counseled against me. “Daddy,” she said through tears, “you told me to be bold, so I’m going to do that now…we haven’t even prayed!”

Infinite

Then there’s God.

No degrees. No diplomas. Only 66 books to His credit. Never been graded. The ultimate Self-Starter.

His library is limited to some scrolls, but He invented language and the light by which to read. He even provides the Light that illuminates the mind.

He is Wisdom. He is omniscient (knows all). He is the Judge of Heaven and Earth before who’s bar only one Counselor has the right to intercede.

I can be questioned. I can be challenged. I can be corrected. No matter how wise or spiritual I become, I am still just a wisp of mist in the air; human.

Our God is the LORD; His children stand in awe.


Don’t Speak Too Soon

Proverbs 14:33 

“Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.”

Keep Quiet

One thing I learned from my father was to keep my mouth shut. No, not in the way that you may think…he didn’t tell me to be quiet…he just told me to watch my number of words.

My dad used to say, “You always appear smarter when you don’t tell all you know.” In other words, as long as your mouth is shut, people will never know how much or how little you actually know. They may just assume you are the wisest in the room. The one who runs off at the mouth is the one who exposes his ignorance.

Exposing One’s Ignorance

This proverb is about being quiet and letting things settle. It’s about knowing you have an answer, but waiting for others to share their mind. It’s about patience.

The man with understanding knows that the longer he listens to an argument, the better the response he can make when the moment is right. The fool jumps into the fray before he knows all the facts, exposing his ignorance too soon.

Watching Words

Did your parents ever tell you to “watch your mouth?” Mine did. They would also tell me to “think before you speak.” I can’t tell you how many times I have stood in the middle of a group of people without saying a word. When it did come time to say something, what I said stood out as something worth hearing, as opposed to more of the same.

Lord, help us to be prudent with our words, and may they always be a reflection of godly wisdom.


Paying For It

Proverbs 13:13

Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.”

Scorn and Respect

There is a danger in avoiding responsibility and not listening to a warning.

Are you aware that we are each responsible for all of our decisions? Are you aware that every choice has a consequence?

The NIV states this verse thusly: He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects command is rewarded.

If you are told not to do something, and you do it anyway, you will pay for it. If you are told to do something and you do not do it, you will pay for it. Whether it be having an upset stomach for eating too many sweets before dinner, losing a friend for breaking trust, going to jail or prison, or losing your life, being told not to do something and doing it will cost you. It may not happen immediately (Think about heartburn! It comes hours after you ate that chili-cheese hot dog with hot sauce, not immediately!)

However, if you show respect and heed what you have been told, you will be paid back for that trust. Whether that comes through enjoying a great meal, growing closer to a friend, staying out of trouble, or having great health and/or wealth, it will go well with you in life.

Sometimes the consequences come later … much later.

I like the King James Version for the implication that comes through.

God has sent us commands by which to live. We all failed at keeping them perfectly.

God sent His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, the Jewish Messiah and the Word of God, to keep those commands perfectly and then suffer the ultimate price for our failure. In doing so, the commands are summed up in two simple commands:

  1. Love others!
  2. Love God … by loving others and believing that Jesus died that you may live.

If we “scorn instruction” and “despiseth the word” of God, we have the promise that we will be destroyed. While there is debate on what this means, there is a guarantee that it is not pleasant nor desirable (Revelation 20:14-15).

However, if we respect and fear God’s commands, we will be rewarded with eternal life and peace with God (Galatians 6:8).

Gracious God, forgive us for despising Your word and commands. Give us the grace and power to overcome our sinful desires and follow You. Help us to love others for Your glory.


What Are Your Expectations?

Proverbs 11:23

“The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.”

Righteous People

When we think of the term “righteous,” think of someone who is fair and just, for that is what the word entails. We’re not necessarily talking about a pious saint, or something, but a decent, God-fearing man or woman.

What are the characteristics of this type of person? The proverb says they “desire…only good.”

Now, some interpret this verse in such a way as to say, “The godly can look forward to a reward,” as in the New Living Translation. The ESV says that the desire of the righteous “ends only in good.” But I think it is better to interpret this verse as saying, “The object of the desire of the righteous is good.”

Righteous people are good people; they want good things to happen. And usually, because of their desires, good is the result.

Wicked People

Wicked people, on the other hand, want no such thing; all they want is trouble. What is good for the wicked is bad for everyone else. Wrath is what they hope for.

Again, some interpreters want to convey the idea that what the wicked will receive in the end is wrath. In other words, wrath is what they should expect in the end. That may be so, but there is something here in this verse worth noting.

Hope and Desire

The word translated “expectation” is also the Hebrew word for “cord,” as in a “line” of scarlet thread. Yes, it can mean “hope,” but interestingly it was the same word used in Joshua 2:18 that is translated “line,” as in the scarlet thread that Rehab hung from her window.

The word translated “desire” has more to do with a strong passion for something. Literally, it is the good version of lust. Lust is the wanting of something bad. In this case, desire is the longing of one’s heart for good.

It may not be a huge difference, but this is what I see; these are my “thoughts.” The only hope that a wicked, sinful heart has is the hope of selfish gain, even at the expense of every one else.

The desire of the righteous is for good, and that selfless desire is a result of the Hope they have within.

Practically Speaking

Do you see all those people burning cars and beating people in the name of religion? Do you see them calling for the destruction of others in order to bring about their desires? As they rejoice over the death of innocents, they prove they are wicked.

Do you see those who walk into the fire to rescue the perishing? Do you see those who pray for peace? As others seek their destruction, they pray for the salvation of their souls. They are the righteous.

So the question is: what are your expectations?


Balanced Diet Needed

Proverbs 10:21

“The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.”

Food for Thought

Think back 300 years. (I know, we all remember that time so well having all been there, but humor me.)

How many times did you hear about church scandals: pastors sexually abusing children; pastors sexually abusing men; pastors sexually abusing women; pastors squandering money on houses, cars, glass buildings, prostitutes, or televisions?

Sure, there was the occasional story of abuse, over-indulgence, and prostitution, but was it as rampant as today? If it was, it was never reported. For the most part, the clergy were serious, pious, devout men, many of whom preached more about hell than having one’s “best life now.”

Today, we can barely go a full week without hearing about some pastor or Christian leader caught in some scandal.

Why?

It would seem our world is going down in morals, over all, not just within the Church. What has happened?

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” – 2 Timothy 4:3-4

Does this passage describe us?

Many church leaders preach a message people want to hear, not necessarily what they need to hear. But what has happened to those leaders? More and more often they are still trapped within or fall into sin, sometimes worse than many in the world.

Perhaps you have seen the rise in people leaving churches, moving between churches, or simply leaving Christianity altogether?

Why?

Like a hungry person wants some warm solid food, the spirit longs for words of truth and wisdom.

A good preacher teaches the truth of the Bible: that humans are sinful and in need of a Savior, that we need to live for God to have any real and good life (though we may receive pain and suffering for our faith).

Many teachers today preach: happiness, financial prosperity, “all people are basically good,” you can have it all, and/or all things are permissible.

A diet of only cookies will kill you before too long. A balanced diet will give you long life.

Messages preaching only goodness and cheer will lead you to destruction. Reproof and grace will lead you to everlasting life.

Father, give us ears to hear and hearts that yearn for truth. Strengthen our spirits with Your Word. Nourish us with Your guidance. Help us to endure the trials You send to strengthen, and help us hear when You correct us.