Monday, September 11, 2017

God's Best Creation

Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
Proverbs 31:28-29

Oh, the blessed wife.  It is no mystery that the Proverbs so regularly defend marital fidelity and highlight the endless importance of the wife and the mother.  These are two of the most important and central offices in all of God’s created order.  While many in the modern culture will downplay the importance of the natural offices of a woman by suggesting that the only way a woman can be valuable is if she is fulfilling the natural offices given to men, the Bible will have none of that non-sense.  No person has more power to change the world than the woman who loves her husband and children with the Lord’s amazing love.  No accomplishment can be said to be greater and more important than to have raised up children who know the Lord.  No greater compliment can be given than that a person accurately lived out the love that is found between Jesus Christ and His church within their very marriage.  The sweetest praise of anyone will not be the praises of the masses, but of the very family which she loved taught and nurtured by God’s amazing and gracious provision.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Tried, Tested, and Trustworthy

Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
Do not add to His words
Or he will reprove you,
And you will be proved a liar.
Proverbs 30:5-6

My heart was beating so hard it was almost shaking my limbs.  It may have…had they not already been shaking from the fear.  Looking down from the makeshift rope bridge to the rocky canyon below was enough to drive every other thought out of my mind.  The only real comfort to be found was that there were many others who had crossed this shaky bridge before me.  It is easy to forget how many saints have gone before us.  How many people have lived full and amazing lives of submission to the Lord hand His word.  This is not some untested, new path on a road to nowhere.  Living in accordance with God’s word is walking a time-tested path.  Submitting our thoughts to God’s thoughts and our ways to His ways is not a 50-50 split.  It is a sure thing – and that fact is born witness by generations of well-known and unknown faithful men and women who placed their trust in the Lord’s ways and wisdom and walked that faith out day by day.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Hasty Mistakes

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Proverbs 29:20

One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given came from a lovely lady named Gail Grimstone through my father.  “Never make a decision until you have to.”  While there may be some truth to the general idea that “He who hesitates has lost” my problem is more frequently the latter.  The snap judgment is the enemy of wisdom.  It is interesting that we often portray our “wise men” culturally as listening, taking long pauses, and responding thoughtfully and intentionally.  Our desire to get our opinion out there is rarely a wise.  

Monday, August 21, 2017

Temper, Temper

A fool always loses his temper,
But a wise man holds it back.
Proverbs 29:11

There is an important biblical distinction between anger and “losing one’s temper.”  Just as there is a distinction between desire and lust.  In both cases the transition comes when the feeling moves from being present to one that controls our behavior.  Jesus himself grew angry at multiple points in his ministry, but that anger never cause Him to sin.  Things like anger and extreme desire are natural acceptable feelings for humanity.  When those become the driving influences on our thoughts, words and behaviors then we have a large problem.  It is at this point that we begin to act as the fool – the practical atheist – the one who seeks to be God of our own lives.  Wisdom, on the other hand, can consider the reality that our feelings are only a part of the equation of how we ought to behave.  A wise person is not lead by those strong emotions but by the Spirit of God within him – and thus has that much less to apologize for later.

Monday, August 14, 2017

How's your Heart?

He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
But he who walks wisely will be delivered.
Proverbs 28:26

This is an uncomfortable message. The world system is constantly at odds with the truth of the word of God, and this is an example.  The world puts forth hundreds of books, plays, essays, and movies about the person who “follows their heart.”  Heart, in this context, is a word that encompasses a person’s thoughts, will and emotions.  While the heart may be the best guide for the unbeliever, those who know the Lord have a far greater standard by which to walk.  We know that, as Jeremiah wrote: "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) Far better than our own perception and intuition the believer has the privilege of walking by the Word of God, which is a lamp to our feet (Psalm 119:105) as illumined by the forever indwelling Holy Spirit of God.  We can heartily praise the Lord that we have so much more wisdom by which to walk than just our own thoughts, emotions and perceptions – we have His Light by which we may walk.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Pleasures of Staying Sharp

As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
Proverbs 27:17

Hearing the clang and zing of two iron implements being rubbed together is a sort of conflict.  If the there was no friction between the two, the process would be doing very little for the sharpening of the blade.  This proverb is more than just a warning to have friends about – it is an injunction upon every believer to have people around who lovingly and faithfully challenge you.  There are ways that we can safeguard ourselves from all but the slightest levels of conflict and opposition to out viewpoints.  Even if our viewpoints and attitudes are totally correct (an incredible unlikelihood) surrounding ourselves with no one to challenge us to think critically and question makes us as useless as a dull blade in battle.   

Monday, July 31, 2017

Loving Wounds, Kisses that Kill

Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Proverbs 27:6

Who could forget the kiss with which Judas betrayed the Lord?  It was the final act in a long relationship of an unfaithful heart.  There are many questions that we have about the life of Judas, but there is no question that there was definite cruelty in the kiss with which the disciple betrayed the Master.  In contrast to this we could think of the wounding of Peter’s betrayal in the temple courtyard – where he denied even knowing Jesus (John 18:15-18).  While that failure was dealt with when Peter saw Jesus on the beach the faithful wounding of a friend was given by Jesus.  As Jesus repeatedly asks Peter if he loves Jesus more than these three times Peter is grieved.  At that moment Peter was restored, having faced his own shortcoming as a blustery big talker this faithful wound was critical in transforming Peter from a big talker into a pillar of the early church.