Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Discretionary Response

A man's discretion makes him slow to anger,
And it is his glory to overlook a transgression.
Proverbs 19:11

Have you ever heard someone tell you that "I have a right to be mad!"  I have to admit, as an American, I see my own rights as being very important. All to often, I think of myself first and foremost in any situation.

However, that is not the attitude of Jesus Christ. Peter tells us about His response to offenses against Him. Choosing to overlook a transgression IS a response. And based on Scripture, it is the one that honors Christ and shows His light through you.

and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, 
He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;
1 Peter 2:23

Before you think about your rights, remember the rights, position and worship that Jesus set aside to deliver you. Treat others with that love, so that you can honor His sacrifice.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Clean Your Cup!

Matthew 23:25-26

I have a coffee cup within reach most of the day when I am at work. Many times during my shift, I go tot the coffee machine and get a fresh cup of brew. And it tastes the same, time after time.

BUT, about once a week, I take my cup to the sink, and wash it out with soap and hot water. And that first cup tastes MUCH better!

Jesus tells us that our hearts are the same way. If we do not keep our sins scrubbed off, we build up layers of selfishness and pride. We become jaded to our sins, and bitter to those around us.

Keep your hands clean and your heart pure. Confess as soon as the Holy Spirit reveals sin in your life, so that you may be a source of fresh, clean Living Water to a thirsty, parched world around you.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Noble Minded Men

Listen, for I (Wisdom) will speak noble things;
And the opening of my lips will reveal right things.
Proverbs 8:6

Now these (the men of Berea) were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
Acts 17:11

We typically associate the term noble with nobility, that is, we associate it with royalty. However, it doesn't simply refer to something being elevated or above normal standards. Consider the title of a certain group of elements, specifically known as the "noble gases". These elements (Helium, Neon, Argon, Krypton, Xenon and Radon) have an extremely low rate of reactivity. This is a result of the fact that their outer electron shells are full. That is to say, they are satisfied. For another element to bond with a noble gas, one or more electrons have to first be stripped off. Some of what they are has to be relinquished before they can be changed.

Are we like the noble men of Berea or clinging to noble wisdom? Or are we discontent and seeking to be something else? Do we readily accept any new teaching, because we either don't know Scripture or because we don't bother to check what we've been told?

Paul told the Ephesians what happens when we mature in our faith and knowledge of Scripture in Ephesians 4:14. "As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming"

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fancy Comforters

"I have spread my couch with coverings,
With colored linens of Egypt."
Proverbs 7:16 (NASB)

This verse is in the middle of Chapter 7, which refers to a young, naive man being lead into temptation, sin and destruction by the adulteress woman.

The Hebrew word used for "coverings" is marbad, and is only used in one other verse. Proverbs 31:22, which says of the virtuous woman, "She makes coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple".

Consider this: Egypt is typically symbolic not only of bondage, but of false security and wealth. The adulteress has chosen the riches and pleasures of the world, along with the bondage of sin. But the vitrtuous woman has chosen contentment and is satisfied with the work of her own hands.

Don't misunderstand me, this not only applies to women, but to men. Ever known someone who traded in a good, working car just because it was getting a little old? Or bought a new driver because all of their friends had one? A clothes horse that has to be dressed to the nines?

God never condems us for having what we need. However, we must ensure that we are content with meeting our needs and not chasing after the world's security and bondage.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Run, Forrest, Run

My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor,
Have given a pledge for a stranger,

If you have been snared with the words of your mouth,
Have been caught with the words of your mouth,

Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself;
Since you have come into the hand of your neighbor,
Go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor.

Give no sleep to your eyes,
Nor slumber to your eyelids;

Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter's hand
And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
Proverbs 6:1-5

Ever reconsidered an interaction with another person and realized that you were in the wrong? Maybe even just in part, but that you have lied or misrepresented yourself? Maybe that you assumed wrongly about the actions of another or simply responded in anger, fear or jealousy?

Did you go back and seek to rectify the situation? Or did you just keep silent and hope that the other person would either not realize or confront you about what you did wrong? Solomon tells us that we should immediately seek to make amends with that person, and to free ourselves from the snare of our own actions.

Jesus tells us exactly the same thing in Matthew 5:21-26. In verses 23 & 24, He tells us Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

Let us keep our hands clean and our feet clear of snares. Let us live in a way that honors Christ. Realizing that we will sin, but refusing to ignore or sweep our sins under the rug.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What Are You Drinking?

Drink water from your own cistern,
And fresh water from your own well.
Proverbs 5:15 (NASB)

Proverbs chapter 5 continues Solomon's entreaty to value wisdom. However, he focuses exclusively on the wisdom of avoiding adultery and the adulteress woman. 

As an American, we are blessed beyond measure that we have almost universal access to clean, safe water. Most stores have a water fountain. Most businesses have a water fountain. I can turn on a faucet in my house and get all the clean water I need to bathe, wash or drink.

However, we've gotten so spoiled lately, that just plain tap water isn't good enough. We've gotten bored with the good, clean water and we've convinced ourselves that we need fancy bottled water. 

Marriages can be the same. We see images of beautiful, sexy women on TV, movies and print. Air-brushed and edited to perfection, the idea is constantly displayed that "there's something BETTER out there for you". And we've convinced ourselves that "it's okay to look at the menu, just as long as you don't order".

Jesus, however, tells us that this is NOT true. "but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matthew 5:28  Just to look at a woman and desire her means that you are dissatisfied with the bride that you have already. It means that you are telling God "I know that you made this woman just for me, and that I've vowed to You to keep myself only to her, but she's not good enough anymore". 

Monday, March 4, 2013

What Would YOUR Child Request?

When I was a son to my father,
Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother,

Then he taught me and said to me,
"Let your heart hold fast my words;
Keep my commandments and live;

Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding!
Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
Proverbs 4:3-5 (NASB)

This is a great entreaty from anyone on the importance of wisdom, and how we are to seek it and understanding.

However, these verses should never be read without remembering the author. These verses were penned by Solomon, son of Bathsheba and King David. David had many sons, but he apparently spent time teaching Solomon the importance of wisdom.

Fast forward a bit: David has died, and now Solomon is king over Israel. God speaks to him in a dream and offers to grant any request to him as king. And as we know, Solomon asked for WISDOM. Because he thought it was a good idea at the moment? Or because his own father had repeatedly shown him how great a treasure wisdom is to have and posses?

But what if God asked MY child the same question? Would he, by my teaching, ask to be a successful businessman? Or to be rich? Or to be able to beat a video game? Or to have a college degree? What am I teaching my children day after day that is important and valuable and to be sought? And what are you teaching your children? Your co-workers? Your neighbors?

Point to wisdom thru Jesus today!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Personal Treasure

If you seek her (wisdom) as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Proverbs 2:4

I'm a fan of the National Treasure movies. I enjoy the way that they intertwine true historical facts with their embellishments to create a story. But the real driving force behind the movies is the search for TREASURE! How many of us have toyed with purchasing a metal detector, or seen someone wandering the beach early in the morning just swinging his back and forth over the sand? As a child, how many of us dug holes in the back yard or fields because we hoped to find gold?

There is a natural drive in the human soul to seek and gather valuable things. To a scholar, this could be information. To a prospector, this could be gold or silver. To a politician, this could be power or influence.

However, God offers His wisdom equally to everyone. Regardless of position, financial status or profession, His wisdom is available for discovery. BUT, discovery requires searching and seeking. Are you seeking to gain His wisdom and grow in knowledge about Him?

First and foremost, have you discovered the most valuable thing in all the world? A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is worth more than all the knowledge, power and riches of the world. Jesus Himself said in Mark 8:36 "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?

Seek Him. Seek His wisdom. Gather that which cannot be lost, rusted or decayed.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Are You A Fool?

A wise man will hear and increase in learning,
And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel
Proverbs 1:5

A fool never learns from his mistake, he continues to do it over and over. A popular definition of insanity is repeating the same action and expecting different results.
A foolish man makes the same mistake many, many times before he learns from it and changes his behavior.
A smart man makes a mistake, immediately realizes that it WAS a mistake, changes his behavior and never repeats it.
BUT, a wise man sees the fool, the foolish man and even the smart man make their mistakes and he learns from them without ever making the mistake and suffering the consequences himself.

God has given us the Book of Proverbs so that we might listen and become wise! What about you? Are you listening? Are you seeking wisdom, or just enjoying life in the asylum?