Tag Archives: Word

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 “despise 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.

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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: they want 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 here 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, however, 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 or anti-fascism? Do you see them calling for the destruction of others (including babies) in order to bring about or facilitate their desires? As they rejoice over the destruction of property and 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? Do you see those who pray for the souls of wicked who persecute and mock them? 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.


A False Witness

Proverbs 6:19a

“[These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:] … A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

Slander

“The slanderer is amongst the greatest of social curses. He robs his fellow creature of his greatest treasure – his own reputation, and the loving confidence of his friends.” – Joseph S. Exell*, 1905.

Daniel Webster (1828 dictionary) called slander “that worst of poisons.” And that is what the above verse is speaking of – poison that destroys reputations, confidence, and even lives.

No Weapons Needed

My little ninja daughter and a ninja friend.

If you were to ask me to paint a picture in my mind of the perfect assassin, all I would need is a little black paint. On my mental canvas I would paint a Ninja warrior, armed to the teeth with swords, shuriken, darts, spiked gloves, and smoke grenades. As far as I know, ninja are the elite of stealthy killers.

Then again, I wouldn’t necessarily have to paint my ninja with weapons in hand. His hands are weapons to themselves. A ninja can slay 50 people with his pinky finger – just ask Chuck Norris.

But in reality, no assassin is more evil than “a false witness that speaketh lies.” No secret killer is more deadly than one who slanders the reputation of another. The slanderer needs no weapons, not even hands, to wipe out multiple lives. All he/she has to do is speak.

Totally Opposite

In the book of Genesis we can read the story of creation. In the book of John we can read even more…

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” – John 1:1-3 KJV

The Word created everything that is. When there was absolutely nothing, not even time, Jesus, the Word of God made flesh (John 1:18), turned nothing into everything. He created. He brought life. He made life.On the other hand, the one who bears false witness does nothing but destroy with every word that comes from his/her mouth. What a contrast! Is it any wonder why God abhors this person?

“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” – James 1:26 KJV

“For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.” – 1 Peter 3:10 NLT

Granny’s Advice

I think my granny may have actually met Solomon. She always said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Maybe Granny was right.

*Exell, Joseph S. The Biblical Illustrator, (New York: F. H. Revell, 1905), 170.

Trip Planner

Proverbs 4:5-6

“Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.”

 Get a Travel Agent

Today I had conversation with a co-worker about going to Disney World. Even though she was an adult, this was going to be her first time visiting the park, and she was very excited. But once she got to hear me share my experiences, she got even more excited. She really had no idea what to expect.

One bit of advice I gave her, however, was “get a travel agent.” When I explained to her how a good travel agent could help her get better deals, make more use of her time, etc., she was so grateful. She even said, “I have got to tell my sister what you just told me . . . she needs to know this.”

I can only imagine the advice Solomon was giving his son in verse five had the same imperative. Instead of a travel agent, Solomon said, “Get wisdom, get understanding…” Of all the time savers, money savers, and life savers, wisdom and understanding can’t be beat. Like a good travel agent, Wisdom will direct your paths (Prov. 3:6).

Love Her

No, not the travel agent; I am referring to wisdom. Solomon said to first “get wisdom,” then later “love her.”

The word translated “love” is a word that could be used in describing one’s feelings for another human being (Gen. 24:67), truth and peace (Zec. 8:19), or a good steak (Gen. 27:9). But in this passage it is used of wisdom.

Interestingly, according to one Hebrew lexicon*, one meaning of the original word was “to desire, to breathe after anything.” How much better off would we be if we sought wisdom and understanding in the same way? Do we love wisdom so much that we chase after it; breathe deeply and longingly at the mention of it; desire it as much as the very air we breathe to live?

Do you know what it is like to love someone so much it takes away your breath? Get wisdom, and love her even more.

*http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=H157&t=KJV&page=1


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 3rd 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.


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

active ash cloud ashes blaze

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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.