Monday, March 20, 2017

Finding Happiness

He who heeds the word wisely will find good,
And whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he.
Proverbs 16:20

Legos have change quite a bit from the toy of my youth.  When I was a child Legos came in a bucket and were used to build whatever you may want to build with them. Now Legos come primarily in specific sets used to build models of various types – like a Star Wars space ship.  One of the best things about this style of Lego set is that it forces children to learn to follow directions.  If a person should submit to the directions and follow them carefully the model is impressive and fun – and you get an X-wing!  If the directions are not followed, then you only get a mess of oddly shaped grey bricks.  There are moments in most Lego constructions where the builder must ask themselves if the directions are REALLY correct.  A reasonable amount of faith in the manufacturers of Legos will usually yield success in the project.  It is no less so with the Bible.  We will come to situations in life when we wonder if what God’s word has revealed is correct.  Faith in the LORD, however, will always bring about the correct result: a life grown closer to Christ.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Planning and Stepping

A man’s heart plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

The issue of Divine Sovereignty has caused some difficulty to believers in Christ.  Not that the Biblical teaching is unclear, but because of our unwillingness to observe it for various reasons.  Sovereignty is not a picture of God controlling every decision of every person throughout all human history.  Sovereignty is, rather, the reality that God is in final control of everything and nothing is out of His jurisdiction.  This verse is a beautiful picture of the balance between God’s sovereignty and man’s free will.  Think of the care that is put forth in this wonderful verse.  God designed man to plan his way.  God designed man to make choices by godly wisdom and go the right way.  Yet God is so personal and caring that He also is involved with the direction of each step.  We can praise the God who designed us to learn and grow and plan our way, and walk with the confidence that knows that our very steps are directed by the all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful God of the universe.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Knowing Widsom

The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom,
And before honor is humility.
Proverbs 15:33

Understanding who the Lord is who we are in relationship to Him is the ground and basis for all true wisdom.  It is when we understand Who He is and what He has done for us in Christ that we can respond properly to His provision.  If we mistakenly think that we come to the spiritual table with some great service, wealth, or power to offer then we will not know our true humble position before Him.  If we attempt to pull His perfect righteousness down to the level that we can achieve we will live in the filthy rags of human “righteousness”.  Should we try to elevate our strength, righteousness, and ability before Him we are left in the place of self-righteous self-delusion.  No wisdom is available to the man who does not realize his absolutely bankruptcy before God.  It is at this point when His grace is made clear and we receive His loving provision for us in Christ.  

Monday, February 27, 2017

Better is a little...

Better is a little with the fear of the Lord,
Than great treasure with trouble.
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is,
Than a fatted calf with hatred.
Proverbs 15:16-17

One of the most horrible things that can happen to a person, from the world’s viewpoint, is that that person might not have stuff.  A person who is missing the right material possessions (or the right amount of material possessions) is called “poor”, and is pitied by the world system.  The other side of this sad coin is that each person is also trained to tell themselves that they would be much happier if they only had more money, better things, or more “spare time”.   This becomes the lash and spur for each person to live a life of unconditional avarice for the next big house, nice car, or new gadget.  The Bible offers another viewpoint:  We would be better off by far with the fear of the Lord in a loving home than we would with every treasure and gadget, luxury and pleasure apart from Him. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Finding the Best Way

There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.
Proverbs 14:12

Most biblical proverbs are met with a calm nod.  “Yes, that is true,” we say to ourselves.  Some, like this one, are met with a calm nod and then a horrifying shudder.  We nod when we think of how this applies to others, and shudder when we realize it also applies to us.  This “way” could be the manner in which we do business.  This “way” could be the choices we make in our families.  This “way” could be choosing to try to earn our salvation through our own good works, rather than resting upon Christ’s completed work.  They appear right, but they end in death.  This is the way that our sin nature gains control over us, by offering “better” alternatives to problems than what is given by God in His word.  They may seem right from our perverse and biased little perspective, but when viewed from the standpoint of the Truth of God’s word the end is clear.  

Monday, February 13, 2017

Bad Smells, Great Results!

Where no oxen are, the trough is clean;
But much increase comes by the strength of an ox.
Proverbs 14:4

My wife would laugh if she ever read this sentence from me: I like things neat and tidy.  It is probably better put: I like things simple and as conflict-free as possible.  I find in ministry, in business and in family the reality is the same: The more people you bring in, the more mess you are going to have.  There are temptations to be found on both sides.  One side would seek to get rid of the ox so there was nothing to clean up.  The other would get as many oxen as they can and choose not to clean up after them.  Either extreme will result in failure, but if we are willing to accept that expanding our lives to include new relationships WILL bring more work we will find ourselves in the best relational situation possible.  

Discipline and Good Times

He who spares the rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
Proverbs 13:24

Discipline is a concept regularly misunderstood in the human context.  The worst of this confusion is that which exists between discipline and punishment.  Punishment involves righteousness, justice and fairness.  A person is punished to in some way make things right after an offense or wrong action.  Discipline, however, is corrective in nature.  When parents observe their children behaving in ways that are selfish, dishonest, hurtful, or disrespectful and they take no corrective action they are not preparing their child to live in the world which they will one day face.  The reason?  They hate their children.  That sounds extreme, but it is the reality.  The parent who loves their momentary comfort more than the difficulty of training their child to live a godly life simply loves themselves than their child.