(Pro 31:12 KJV) She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
A principle that is often forgotten is the Principle of the Two Edged Sword. Most of us will never use a sword. The closest we come is a kitchen knife. Notice that kitchen knives usually only have one cutting edge. That is to make them safe for the absent minded cook. They only cut one direction. If you are on the other side they will usually not hurt you.
A two edged sword is different. It cuts both ways. It also has a sharp point that is often overlooked. Why do I dwell on this? Because we are good at taking Biblical principles and applying them to the other guy, ignoring that they apply to us as well. Here it is the virtuous woman that is being described. That is one edge. The other is that you are also the target of this exercise.
So? When we want to say, “Aha!” because someone else experienced a gotcha it might be a good time to pause, swing the sword the other way and say, “Oh.” Be virtuous.
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
(Pro 31:12 KJV) She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
Monday, January 30, 2023
Made to Consume
(Psa 119:11 KJV) Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
(Proverbs 30 also read)
The “word” (565) is not given to us to be like an artifact in a museum. Don’t get the wrong idea about “treasured” (6845). It is costly. It is unique. It is to be used. Think of the Bible as a canteen of water as you are on a hike through the desert not like a bottle of some rare wine to be climate controlled and locked away in the basement. It’s value is in its use.
This is one of the problems with the way some people do “devotions”. They think that if they read a chapter a day then they have been into the word. If it doesn’t get into your active treasure trove then it is like a well stocked pantry that you are never allowed to eat from.
So? Today is a good day to start. If you have already read your quota for the day and it did not touch your heart, go back and take another look. God is waiting.
Sunday, January 29, 2023
Hang in There
(Pro 29:26 KJV) Many seek the ruler's favour; but every man's judgment cometh from the LORD.
I have been spending a lot of time studying Micah 6:8.
(Mic 6:8 KJV) He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?In Micah God calls on us to do “justly” (4941) which is the same word used here. This is a good balance for Micah. Although we are called to go out and act in a just manner we are reminded that the ultimate results are up to God.
People we deal with are not interested in justice. They often will not want anything to do with it. We will feel frustrated and defeated. We will wonder why we keep trying. Because He said so.
So? Hang in there. We are in this for the long haul. One of the frustrating truths we must deal with is that many questions will only be answered in eternity, but they will be answered.
Saturday, January 28, 2023
(Psa 29:6 KJV) He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.
(Proverbs 28 also read)
Different translations put this different ways but a number of them have Lebanon and Sirion jumping around like crazy animals. Lebanon is a country. Sirion is a name used for Mount Hermon. This is an interesting word picture and one that is open to speculation. Was David just waxing poetic? Did he have some massive earthquake in mind?
We need to be careful in how we think about scripture. Much of what we read hits home and speaks to us on a regular basis. The Ten Commandments or the Love Chapter come to mind. Some might be vital to what we believe. Others may just get us scratching our heads. I think this fits in the last group.
So? Read, think and apply when it is appropriate. At other times just sit back and wonder. Maybe write yourself a note to think about this some night when you can’t sleep. It could give you interesting dreams and more to think about.
Friday, January 27, 2023
Don’t Drink the Fool-Aid
The basic point is that you cannot force someone to cease being a fool. The more I watch the general population and our leaders the more I can accept that. But keep in mind the difference between the basic statement, “you can’t force a fool to learn”, and the opposite, “Fools cannot learn.” One is the truth expressed here. The opposite is expressed other places.
The basic point is that there are very real limits on what you can do for other people if they do not get on board to help themselves. Our current culture has gone the victim route. We have been convinced that people need the government or some rich person to help them out of their problem. In reality it just encourages most of them to double down and get more helpless. It is a fine line to walk and requires a bit of discernment along with a healthy dose of tough love.
So? Be willing to help but make sure that the help you are giving is the kind that helps people to stand on their own two feet rather than lean on you harder. Make discernment the goal of your prayer and charity. You goal is to help them not make yourself feel better.
Thursday, January 26, 2023
Turn up the Fear
(Pro 26:5 KJV) Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
I am going to make an assumption or stipulate of condition: I am not the fool in this verse. I am going to assume that I am the one dealing with fools. I certainly feel that way most of the time. That could be a sign of danger. Being a fool is like being old and starting to lose you mind: You are the last to know.
In spite of that it might be good for us to assume that we are surrounded by fools. Keep in mind the proverbial statement that wisdom begins with a fear of the Lord and most of the people you run into during a day will not have a healthy fear of the Lord. That will be true whether you are a bar tender or the keynote speaker at a pastors’ conference.
So? Turn up your fear. Understand God’s priorities. Build your day according to that. Expect to be the odd man out.
Wednesday, January 25, 2023
You Can Trust Me
(Pro 25:15 KJV) By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.
How can “soft” (7390) “break” (7665) something? I had to put my thinking cap on again. I got to thinking about how most people break bones. I imagine it is usually some kind of accident, being at the wrong place at the wrong time. When you are the one who is going down some steps and it chooses you to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, it usually isn’t your fault. If a car jumps the curb and you are on the sidewalk something is going to break.
I think the point here might be that we sometimes get lulled into not paying attention. Or possibly when we are fooled by someone’s compliments while they set us up for a fall. If that is the case then we need to worry when we find people being too agreeable.
So? Be careful whom you trust.
Tuesday, January 24, 2023
(Pro 24:21 KJV) My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:
There are times when we stop and consider and ask ourselves if we are on track. What should be “change” (8132)? Businesses will do this before their annual meeting. Teachers might do it at the end of the school year, or the beginning. Many do it early in January. This is not a condemnation of things like that. This is a concern for people who are addicted to change.
This could be the fashion slave, one who has to buy the latest style. If I am ever in a waiting room and forgot to bring a book, I might pick up a magazine and decide to look at what the models in the advertisements are wearing or how they have their hair cut. It amazes me how I can go through entire fashion trends and never even know it. This is about the person who feels that there is something wrong with them unless they live in slavish conformity.
So? God’s standards and truth never change. That should be the foundation for our decisions for changes we need to make. If we keep in contact with who He is and His ideas of right and wrong it will guide us on when to change and when to stay the course.
Monday, January 23, 2023
Be the Leader
(Pro 23:19 KJV) Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.
This verse finally had me waking up to the importance of our will in making decisions. Notice that it is talking about our “heart” (3820). We live in an age where we have all kinds of songs and poetry that tell us to follow our heart. I am not sure that is just in modern times. I would imagine the ancient poets gave the same advice. Maybe David, being a poet, would have gone in that direction, but Solomon is known for his wisdom, not his poetry. He repeatedly says the same thing in this chapter.
So? Notice that we are to “direct” (833) our hearts not be directed by them. We are not animals that operate on instinct but humans created in the image of God. You have a choice. Make it on a regular basis.
Sunday, January 22, 2023
(Pro 22:11 KJV) He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.
We are to be “pure” (2889) of “heart” (3820). We understand that this is only possible by the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit. What is also necessary is the discipline, or natural inclination, to speak with “grace” (2580). This is the word that is used when we are told that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
We are expected to act in ways that please God. This includes things like courtesy and kindness. It is explained in I Corinthians 13 as love is defined. To be honest, this will be easier for some than others. Some people are naturally gracious. For others it is a constant battle.
So? Either way God expects us to take our clean heart and let it clean up our act. One of the big reasons is what is mentioned here, the effect on others.
Saturday, January 21, 2023
The New Is Really Old
(Psa 51:10 KJV) Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
(Proverbs 21 also read)
I feel sorry for people who are so obsessed with writing off the Old Testament as being under the law while we are under grace. I understand the difference. I am not sure they do. I know they don’t understand the consistent testimony of the Bible. Paul tells us the purpose of the law is to point out sin. That has always been true but people forget it. Verses like this need to be read and reread to remind us that even in the so-called dispensation of law, God was intimately involved with the faithful.
David is asking for a “clean” (2889) “heart” (3820) and, as the KJV says, a “right” “spirit” (7307). The two go together. If it doesn’t sound like the law then realize that God was alive then, just as He is now.
So? This is a good prayer for today.
Friday, January 20, 2023
(Psa 23:5 KJV) Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
(Proverbs 20 also read)
Somehow an overflowing cup doesn’t seem like something you want at the dinner table. It gets messy. Notice that David gives the picture of being at the dinner table but it seems to be in his enemy’s house, so it might not be that big of a problem.
Actually the picture being given here is a reflection of the blessings that God gives us. When I sit down and start counting my blessings I end up being late for my appointments. God is so good.
When I am being thankful I make it a point to thank Jesus for making the transition to being the perfect lamb of God. He came knowing that the cross was the plan. It wasn’t just part of the plan, it was the plan. When you add on all the things like every day comforts the image of an overflowing cup seems to fit.
So? Rejoice and be glad for one more day.
Thursday, January 19, 2023
(Isa 32:2 NAS77) And each will be like a refuge from the wind, And a shelter from the storm, Like streams of water in a dry country, Like the shade of a huge rock in a parched land.
(Proverbs 19 also read)
I was forced to use the NASB today because it used the vocabulary that matched my thought. I was enjoying an early morning storm, complete with lightening and thunder, and as I was reviewing my blessings I was thankful for having a secure shelter in the storm. That brought to mind the hymn with the words, “A shelter in the time of storm.”
The first blessing is a roof over my head and central heat. I have had to sleep in a tent during a storm. I remember the concern about touching the fabric and causing a leak. Would the water get high enough to come over the flooring? Would the wind wiggle out a stake? An adventure for a young, frisky fool is a disaster for an old man in a Lazyboy.
The greater blessing is living with a knowledge of the physical process of lightening and the God who set it in motion. Generally I don’t need to worry about Thor throwing around lightening bolts or a local mountains expressing its wrath.
So? We live in blessed times. Not only do we have the lessons of modern science but we know the One who put the laws of nature in place.
Wednesday, January 18, 2023
(Psa 18:20 KJV) The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.
(Proverbs 18 also read)
Again we see that it is possible to live in “righteousness” (6664). It always makes me wonder if people are reading the same Bible when they claim that we must sin every day in word, thought and deed. I guess if you were a cynic you could read this and say to yourself that you would never be “rewarded” (1580) because you could not be righteous but I don’t think that is the point David is making.
We may not be able to pick our reward. It may be something we are not aware of or would not consider a reward. For instance our reward might be to survive a car crash when what we would want would be to avoid it all together. God chooses the reward and the timing.
So? The promise is there. Part is involved in eternity. Part is now. Spend more time being thankful and you will probably be surprised how blessed you are.
Tuesday, January 17, 2023
A Difference that Should Be Visible
(Pro 17:15 KJV) He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.
I have been around people who are preoccupied with the statements about the lack of righteousness and the verse that says we are all sinners. Granted. We are sinners. Without the grace of God that offers the gift of salvation, we are eternally lost. Having said that there are many references in the Bible to the “righteous” (6662). We need to take that into consideration because the Bible is a whole. You can’t reject parts just because it fits in with your theological system.
The point of this verse is that some people are “righteous” and some are “wicked” (7563) and the difference is so clear that even we can see it. There are cases of grey and large areas of the unknown, but that is not the point. There are many cases which we can know.
So? I guess the big question is, “Which are you?” Actually the question that makes my day is “Which one am I?” Based on the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and my faith in Him, I am assuming I can know the answer. Now I want to live in such a way that it is clear to others.
Monday, January 16, 2023
(Pro 16:12 KJV) It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.
On Sunday the pastor got a bit off track and went down the trail of sexual sin. Part of what he said dealt with homosexuality being an “abomination” (8441). He was right but he was also a bit focused on one area of sin. In Proverbs it also says that having dishonest scales is an abomination. Here it talks about leaders who are following evil.
This morning as I was thinking about the attributes of God, I was thinking about how different theological camps would pick different attributes as the most important. Calvinists would pick sovereignty. Wesleyans would pick holiness. God, in the famous I AM passage, seemed to think that fact that He existed was important.
So? This verse is a reminder of the holiness of God. His expectation of high moral standards applies to everything we do and it applies to everyone. That includes kings and presidents. We need to expect it and demand it. We certainly should try to vote it.
Sunday, January 15, 2023
Look at the Elephant
(Pro 15:12 KJV) A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.
The elephant in the room is often free will. People make choices. They have choices even when they don’t want to make them. Often the choices don’t include anything they want and by not making a choice they are still making a choice. What did I just say?
We are surrounded by victims. Recently I was reading and the basic choices for a productive life were shared. You have heard them in different formats. This one said there were three things that were necessary to have a good life: Graduate from high school, get a job, don’t have children before you are married. The author acted like these were beyond the reach of many in the United States. I would accept that there are a few who are so beaten down that they can’t make those decisions but usually it is because there is something else they want more.
So? Answers are all around us. We ask questions but often tend to ask them where noone wants to answer. The reason is we know the answer and don’t want to have it reinforced. Be honest with yourself. Understand that God knows your heart and mind.
Saturday, January 14, 2023
The Sad Joke of Much Scholarship
(Pro 14:6 KJV) A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth.
I came preloaded today. I have been reading a book looking at the problems in evolution that Darwin himself admitted and seems to have been open to refuting his theory. In the course of explaining the issues it became necessary to explain not only the science that works against Darwin but to examine the theories of those trying to keep the modern versions alive.
What struck me in relation to this verse is how often these scientists who were in theory committed to the search for truth could put out such nonsense. They had to see the problems with what they were saying. It becomes a real issue of “don’t confuse me with the facts.” The rush was to twist minor details in such a way to come up with your desired results.
I see this in so many areas today. Science is obvious but the technique extends into almost every field. What disappoints me is when it comes into our discussions of the Bible. I really am not surprised when scholars who deny absolute truth and know where their next check is coming from lie to me. I am cast adrift by believers who quote a verse to prove a point and totally ignore the next verse that makes their point foolish.
So? Ultimately we are responsible for our own decisions and not those of others. My prayer for me and for you is that we will have the commitment to a holy God which keeps us on track.
Friday, January 13, 2023
Law Can Be Good
(Pro 13:13 KJV) Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.
Everywhere I go I hear Christians talking about how we are saved by grace. That is a good starting point but then they dive into the deep end without checking to see if there is any water. Often they like to act like grace is floating around in the cosmos with nothing else ever mentioned by the Bible. We need to keep reading and expanding our understanding without doing away with the basic concept that our salvation is a gift of God and cannot be earned.
One of the Biblical realities we need to grasp has to do with “commandments” (4687). Note that it is actually singular not plural. A synonym would be the Law. Paul is always making comments about the danger of trying to keep the law. His real thrust is not that the law is bad but that our arrogance makes us think we can earn our way into heaven, or, just as bad, that we must earn our way into heaven.
Put that aside. We can’t do it. At the same time the commandments of God are there for our benefit. They are to help us understand what is right and what is wrong. It is good to know those things so that we can live lives that glorify God.
So? In an ideal setting we will always be joyfully obedient, not because we feel it depends on our performance but because we want to show our love for the holy nature of God.
Thursday, January 12, 2023
(Psa 14:3 KJV) They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
(Proverbs 12 also read)
This verse and others like it are often quoted by people who want to explain why it is not a big problem for them to live in sin. They like to quote references to grace and then point out that the Bible says we cannot be righteous, thus they cannot be expected to go without sinning. When you read this verse and the ones like it your argument seems to make sense.
Like many theological and “Biblical” positions it is hard to scoop water with a sieve. It is not hard to see a conflict in this thinking. In this case all you need to do is read two more verses.
(Psa 14:5 KJV) There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous.
If there is no one who does good then how can God be in a righteous generation?
So? The real question in issues like this is the desire of your heart. If you are looking for excuses to live with sin, you will find them. At some stages of your spiritual walk it can be because of listening to the wrong people and not having enough Bible under your belt to know better. If you are further down the road expect God to cock an eyebrow and look at you askance. God is holy and does not play games.
Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Games Not to Play
(Rom 1:22 KJV) Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
(Proverbs 11 also read)
Sunday I finished reading Acts and Monday I began Romans. I noticed that I needed to slow down and smell the roses a little more. Today when I came to this passage I noticed that a section that is often linked to the sin of homosexuality was at first much more open to the general population. I picked this verse as a focus but in reality this is just a summary.
The point Paul is making is that even the general population has an awareness of God and what He expects. They reject Him and make up their own idols to worship. Okay. Shame on them. What hit me was that the arrogance and pride involved is also to be found in what some people consider the church. We have large numbers of people who are going through the motions in carefully isolated compartments of their lives but on the whole they are still insisting on being in charge.
God is not fooled. He is not mocked. He does not play games.
So? The Bible means what it says. We need to be wary of people who claim to have insight, revelation or knowledge that warps the message. Paul says people know better. That means that God knows we know better.
Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Another First and Last
(Psa 13:1 KJV) To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
(Psa 13:6 KJV) I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.
(Proverbs 10 also read)
Notice the contrast that David is expressing. If you only read verse 1 you would start your day with a sense of desperation. David started off as if he felt God had abandoned him. Have you ever been there? You are in good company. This honesty is one of the strong points of reading the Bible and getting in touch with the God is reveals to us.
David’s day finishes on a different note than it begins. Part of that is rooted in his honesty with God. The other part is the result of the faithfulness of God.
So? God can speak to us best when we are open with, and to, Him. Let it all out. If you need to really cry out it might be best to be alone. Others may not understand your pain as much as God does. May your day always finish on verse 6.
Monday, January 9, 2023
Simply on Purpose
(Pro 9:16 KJV) Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,
Have you ever made excuses for someone who seems to naive that they don’t know which way the wind is blowing? It is natural. I wonder how people can be so out of touch some times. This verse tells me that being simple can be a choice. If you have your Bible look back at verse 4. If you don’t, trust me. Verse 4 is the same as this verse. The difference is that one voice goes on to give advice leading to life and this one to death.
So? God is able to speak truth to people at any level. Actually I think He has more trouble with those who think they are smart than He does with the humble, but that is just my opinion.
Sunday, January 8, 2023
No, Before That
(Pro 8:22 KJV) The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
We see here something of the eternal nature of God. This “beginning” (7225) is the same Hebrew used in Genesis 1:1. It does not refer to the beginning of God but to the universe that we belong to. You might say it marks the beginning of time and matter. In our terms nothing existed before this. That is why we believe the God created ex nihilo, out of nothing. When you read Christian scientists they try to get across to you that this “nothing” does not mean the emptiness of space but the non-existence of space.
At that point wisdom as we know it must have come into existence as we think of it. It is a case of the character and attributes of God impressing themselves on our natural world and into what would become right behavior.
So? God is not just making things up as He goes along. We can trust that He knows what He is doing, even if we don’t.
Saturday, January 7, 2023
(1Pe 2:9 KJV) But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
(Proverbs 7 also read)
The news is not good. The patient is dying. Or should I say the patients? I refer to our country and the church. I am blessed to live in an area where we are still relatively free and I have found a church that still believes the Bible is the word of God and music old enough to be bound in a book is worth singing. I am not sure that most people can say the same.
So maybe we need a reminder. We have been called to be salt and light. We are to be witnesses. We are to share the hope that is in us. Or as it says here we are a royal priesthood.
So? Without getting too syrupy I want to remind you that you are special. God has touched your life and given you news that can change someone life. You may not be called to share it in the next ten minutes. You may not even realize that you have passed hope on. Accept that you are to share the light.
Friday, January 6, 2023
(Act 27:37 KJV) And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls.
(Proverbs 6 also read)
I know I have read this before but it stood out to me today. Maybe it is because I recently ventured back on an airplane and remember the crowds waiting to board. I am not sure how many but I think it was significantly short of 276. We tend to forget that people in history were not as stupid or helpless as we might think. This ship had no real navigation and no power but the wind and maybe a few oars. They had not refrigeration or air conditioning. In spite of all that they crowded hundreds of people on these ships and sailed across the known world.
They had much to learn but they knew the basics. Think about that the next time someone tries to tell you that they were all superstitious fools because they believed the things God was telling them.
So? They knew the earth was round. They had calculated its circumference. They also had a fear of God which gave them access to wisdom. That is something that is missing today.
Thursday, January 5, 2023
Let’s Hear It for the Kidneys
(Psa 7:9 KJV) Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.
(Proverbs 5 also read)
The NASB has an ending that is different.
(Psa 7:9 NAS77) O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; For the righteous God tries the hearts and minds.“Reins” (3629)? “Hearts” (3629)? What? A little bit of enlightenment is thrown in by the NASB marginal reading that says, “Literally kidneys”. If the Hebrew is “kidneys” why not translate it kidneys? I imagine the answer would be that they did not want children and teenagers giggling at the reading of Psalms. I understand their motive but I resent their condescending attitude.
The NASB is probably more modern in its understanding which actually gives the KJV a great advantage. When you read “reins” you start scratching your head and wondering what they are talking about. If your vocabulary is broad enough you recognize that reins are what you control horses with if you are driving a stage coach. That should startle you enough that you start to think about what God is trying to say.
Maybe “the reins of the heart” would be even better. The word is referring to the innermost part of your personhood, that which guides you priorities and decisions. Since moderns tend to think of the heart in terms of emotion the old English gets us deeper.
So? One reason I don’t worry about the perseverance of the saints for my life is that I know God looks deep down in my heart and sees what reins me in. He does not look at my long record of failure as much as my constant desire to do His will. I can live with that.
Wednesday, January 4, 2023
Automatic Transmission Not Automatic Steering
(Pro 4:12 KJV) When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.
As I continue to cycle through Proverbs I do things to try to get a different perspective. One is to begin reading in different verses. Today I began in this verse and circled around. It was a good trip. My first reading had the encouraging news that I would not be tripped up in life. On the way through the chapter I was informed that it was not an automatic trip.
Before and after there are expectations for the life of holiness. They involve all the aspects of growing in grace. We are to listen and pay attention to what we are taught. We are to be careful where we step. We are to be involved in this trip. This is not the glorious ride promised by the prophets of self-driving cars but the assurance of engineers who know they have built well and provided all the controls we need for a safe trip.
So? We trust and have confidence. The foundation of that is in God but God never tells us to turn off our brains or abandon our morals. Both matter. January is a good time to start applying that.
Tuesday, January 3, 2023
The Premise of Blessings
(Pro 3:16 KJV) Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.
I struggle with the basic premise of this verse: God rewards those who listen and respond. One wing of this struggle is my repeated question of “Why Me?” As I have shared before, I am not wondering why I suffer and struggle. Just the opposite. I marvel at how blessed my life is. I then look at how much others are dealing with and how unworthy I am and wonder if I deserve the blessings in some form.
We can never be worthy. We cannot earn the blessings of God. Those are mantras we hear all the time but as I read Proverbs and Psalms I keep seeing a different assumption and that is the principle that God rewards the righteous.
So? Humility is called for. At the same time we are to be grateful for the blessings of God and continue to seek upright lives. Does God reward faithfulness? I would say yes. I would also say I have not been righteous enough to deserve the blessings I receive. In either case, thank you, Lord.
Monday, January 2, 2023
(Act 9:17 KJV) And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
(Proverbs 2 also read)
At what point did Saul the persecutor of the church become Paul the Apostle? Was it when he was struck down? Was it when Jesus first spoke to him? Was it sometime as he lay without sight and not eating? I am not sure we will really know. Keep in mind that even after he had a change of heart and began preaching Jesus he still had years of instruction before him. He had to learn the basics. He had to go back and reevaluate all of the theology he thought he knew and restudy the scriptures. He had to learn the obedience of listening.
He had a long road before him but he had to take it a day at a time.
Like us. I don’t know where you are in your walk with the Lord. I am sometimes not sure where I am. It is so easy to get concerned about what the future holds. Sometimes that future is a life time. At the other extreme it might involve what the pastor has to say this morning. We need to thrive where we are. Remember one of the names given to Jesus, first by Isaiah and later by Gabriel, Emmanuel. God is with us.
So? Rejoice. It is early in the year. It is early in the rest of your life. God is with us, even after Christmas.
Sunday, January 1, 2023
On to Jerusalem
(Act 21:4 KJV) And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.
(Proverbs 1 also read)
This brings up an interesting and important point in our spiritual walks. In this verse it seems that someone was speaking through the Holy Spirit and has a message for Paul. Normally that would have some legs on it but Paul ignored it. A few verses later we have a similar situation. Paul keeps heading for Jerusalem. He had a previous word from the Lord.
(Act 19:21 KJV) After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.The question we need to face in our lives is when to listen to others claiming a message from God and when to listen to our own hearts and minds.
Sometimes the choice is clear. If someone tells me that God told them I was supposed to leave my wife and run off with the head of Women’s Ministries, I would not need to do much besides laugh. That is a direct disagreement with scripture and God would never tell them something like that.
It is not always easy. In Paul’s case there was no scripture to give direction. He had to decide.
So? I would suggest that we work on recognizing the voice the the Holy Spirit in our own hearts and minds. While advice and counsel is important we ultimately are responsible for our own spiritual lives. God may want us to go to Jerusalem, to take the path of suffering and persecution. No one else can make that decision for us. That might be a good place to start the new year.