Friday, August 28, 2009

Good Son, Glad Dad - Bad Son, Sad Dad.

Pro 23:24-26 The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.
Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.
My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways

My heart sank as I received the news. Off to the hospital I drove to witness what every parent dreads, a wayward child who had been breaking his parent's hearts, crashes into a pole in the middle of the night. The parents know that God is trying to get their prodigal's attention. Now he lays motionless, under anesthesia, on a ventilator, body broken, battered and bruised, not too far from death.

We raise them the way we feel is the way of the Lord. We try to give them every advantage. Alas, they feel as if they have to make their own way, find their own "truth" and sow their wild oats and hope for a crop failure.

It is an oft repeated tale of tears.

Proverbs gives us the centuries old tried and tested methods of child rearing and parent honoring. A preventative daily dose of these wise sayings is worth a ton of cure.

It looks like the young man is going to pull through. His road to recovery is going to be long and hard. Let's pray the pain is not wasted and that God gets his attention.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Ancient Landmark

Pro 22:28 Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.

I have seen this verse used and abused until the great wisdom of it has almost lost its edge.

A property owner in ancient Israel marked the corners of his land with indicators, such as sizeable stones. These became the landmarks which delineated property. Land, amongst the Jews was a sacred thing, seeing how it was given by a covenant from God. Land was to be kept within the family. There were strict laws concerning property.

A common underhanded trick was for a neighbor to move a landmark ever so slightly every once in a great while. The movements were imperceptible. With the passing of years, much land was added to the neighbor's property by these means.

So God here strictly prohibits this inching of corner stakes because of the implications over much time.

We must realize that our society has a devious way of taking our hallowed ground from us while we are looking the other way. We don't even notice the ground we have lost until much later and then we cannot reclaim our spiritual, moral and ethical property.

Some religious leaders would have us think that methods of worship, evangelization, comportment, etc., comprise our corner stakes. They fear that when something new is employed in our efforts to win the world to Christ, we have ceded ground to our neighbors. An ancient landmark to such people may include "the way we did it in 1955." I have news for them, 1955 is hardly ancient, if so, I would be knocking on the door of decrepit!

The true and ancient landmarks are those laid down in Holy Writ. That which is commanded and demanded in Scripture, by the Savior, and the Spirit are the unmoveables of the faith.

Methods may vary, in fact they must if we ever hope to engage the culture without being irrelevant. But the message must never change. The Word of God will never pass away. Every dotting of the "i" and crossing of the "t" is set forever. The Lord in heaven changes not. His Son, Jesus, is immutable. Man is inherently sinful and must come to the foot of the cross by faith to procure the grace of the Almighty.

But to insist that only one style of psalm, hymn or spiritual song is acceptable in worship is not an ancient landmark, it is only a preference. To say such silly things as God has a standard for the exact length of a dress, or the hair or whether a tie is required or not...this is legalism not landmark.

So we must guard our hallowed ground given to us by our Lord in His Word. These landmarks must never be inched away or we will lose our inheritance. But be careful to mark the difference between strewn pebbles of inconsequence and true cornerstones which protect our heritage.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Monochromatic Church

Pro 22:2 The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.

Does it bother you to step into a church and see a cookie-cutter membership? Mostly the same color, the same socio-economic status? This is not how the Lord intended His church to look. His desire is to see the rich and poor meeting together, as He is Maker of them all.

God is a "whosoever" God, saving all who call upon Him, granting each a place at the table, no matter their cash, their color or their culture.

Consider the following passages:

Rom 10:11-13 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Eph 2:12-14 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

Gal 3:26-28 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

And my favorites:

Psa 133:1-3 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

Eph 4:3-6 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Rev 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

So, if we see that our church is looking a little pasty white, or middle-class in totality, we haven't done our job of reaching out to all peoples, rich, poor, black, white, yellow and brown.

Lord, increase our number, and make of us a body of believers out of every kindred, tongue, people and nation. Amen!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Choose Wisely

Pro 22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.

Set before us today is an important choice. In fact, throughout one's life, this choice confronts a soul several times. The choice? Character or cash, one who can be counted on or one who counts their money. If you can't have it both ways, which one would you choose?

The overwhelmingly popular choice is to take the money and run. If it means creature comfort, cash on hand, and not a care in the world, most are going to forget family, faith and friends in deference to the almighty dollar.

But when we take the long look... 5 years down the road, 15 years, 25 years, 150 years, choices take on an ominous fate.

Regret is a mean thing. Once the money has run out of the bag with holes in the bottom, what is a person left with? The wish that he would have went with the good name and loving favor.

It's like the prodigal son whose newfound feigned friends disappeared when his cash ran out. All he had left was a ton of terrain separating himself from the really important people he had left behind with his near-sighted choice of denari over dear ones.

Many is the saint who left church family for the gold fields of the far country. If they ever return, it is with tail tucked, shoulders hunched and head bowed, sorrow and regret nipping at their heels because they chose the temporal over the eternal.

When the choice arises, count the cost, not in dollars, but in sense. Choose a good name, choose loving favor. You will never be sorry.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

'Nuff Said II

Pro 21:19 It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.

'Nuff Said

Pro 21:9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Glory and Beauty

Pro 20:29 The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.

I have witnessed the interplay of young and old men and have some observations.

Younger men sometimes dismiss older men as being dreamers whose day has past. They think that silver-haired seniors have little to offer but outdated stories. They feel as if the older gents need to stand aside and let them take over and do it their own way.

Older gents can come across as resentful to empty-headed pipsqueaks who are clueless as to what life is all about.

Little do they realize how important it is to draw vital assets and resources from both generations. Surely, each has much to offer the other. Rather than dismiss each other, they need to embrace one another's ideas, experience, exuberance, wisdom, zeal, past, future, stories, hopes, dreams and visions.

Young men, put yourself in the shoes of the aged. Imagine how it must feel to have experienced WWII and or Korea and or Vietnam, to have fought and sacrificed to pave the way for you. Think about the vast store of knowledge, wisdom and experience housed in the people who have known deprivation that you will never have to suffer. And then to be set aside and ignored, shoved into a senior’s home like a bull out to pasture, to have your ideas quickly dismissed, because of an eccentricity. How humiliating to be denied an audience because your fashion sense is a few decades out of vogue, because you now have to dress for sensibility and utility rather than to impress the peers.

Whippersnappers, look past the delivery, the lack of vim and vigor. Cut through the mismatched clothing and inability to be compatible with simple, modern technology such as texting, tweeting and Face booking. It frustrates you that they think “My Space” is your bedroom. Look past it and learn to listen to the beauty of the gray head.

Senior, don't be a curmudgeon with the guys coming up. Remember when you were there? Remember how you thought the old man was no longer with it? How square he really seemed!

Be patient with the kids and give them the slack they need to make mistakes, learn and grow.

Thank the Lord above for the glory of their strength. They are now going to be the movers and shakers of society. Try not to let it show when you are frustrated with their foolish zealously. Avoid the temptation to use phrases like; "in my day..." because you know there is nothing that shuts off their attention like "how we used to do it." Find a way to get the much needed truth and wisdom across in a way that is palatable to their pride.

We all really need to borrow from other generations. There is nothing unmanly about getting help from someone that is happy to provide it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Puff of Light

Pro 20:27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

Light and darkness are often linked in a phrase, but are the greatest of contrasting influences. Where one dominates, the other must flee. The candle is one of man's oldest and best inventions. In the most ancient book of the Bible, we have this reference, "The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him." Job 18:6

Imagine your life without light bulbs; incandescent, fluorescent, neon, halogen, mercury vapor, etc. We mindlessly flip a switch or turn a dial and our way is illuminated. Prior to this handy invention, to dispel darkness, fire was the only way to go. Candles, lamps and fires were the extent of choices to light up the night.

I think of our friends that are fully without eyesight, their total existence enveloped by darkness. Recently, our family made its way into the bowels of Marvel Cave in the Ozarks. At one point, the lights were turned off so we could experience total darkness, something modern man rarely experiences. How helpless the feeling, when you are that far below ground, with not even the faintest sliver of light. Thank the Lord, someone knew where the light switch was!

When that bulb was switched on, the room was awash with awareness, confidence, life and normalcy.

Our word for spirit is "neshamah" meaning a puff, wind or vital breath. That is the essence of our person. It is what God breathed into our grandfather, Adam to bring the clay to life. It is what makes us living souls.

When we are born again, the Lord touches His candle to that life and the spirit of a man no longer resides in darkness. The Lord's candle of illumination brings about an awareness of God and spiritual things. Our lives are wakened to confidence, life and normalcy. Paul said, "and you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sin." That is, we were spiritually dormant until God's candle illumined our spirits.

Our puff of life becomes enlightened by the Spirit of the Almighty. There's no more living in darkness, no more groping in hopelessness.

Thank you Lord, that the scales of blindness have fallen from our eyes because the light of the glorious gospel of Christ has been shed abroad in us. May we, in turn reflect your powerful light to every corner of our darkened world that souls might have their puffs touched by your candle.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Down Goes Frazier!

Pro 20:3 It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.

Such was the call of Howard Cosell when Ali put Joe Frazier on the mat decades ago. That call rings across the sporting ages.

The end of a fight brings immense exuberation. The hype that preceded the fight was tremendous. Ali was known as the Louisville Lip, man could he talk and talk and talk...

The weigh-ins were a circus, the interviews, hilarious. The fight itself was classic. Actually, there were three, each one bigger and better than the previous.

But when the fight is over, the pugilists hug, a victor is crowned, peace reigns and life goes on.

When the fight is over, when the strife ceases, it is an honor for the participants. They come home to cheers, they are able to relax for a while, to convalesce, to enjoy a season of peace.

Life is a series of battles in a great war. We know who wins, we've read the back of the Book. We certainly don't look for fights, well, fools do, they will always be meddling. But when we do battle, we fight in the strength of the Lord. Sometimes we falter, sometimes we triumph. But when the battle's over, it is an honor to have it all said and done.

Are you in a battle today? Read the Word for your ammo, get filled with the Spirit for your strength and don't quit! Don't get discouraged, stay in the fight until it is over and the honor comes. Oh, and don't be foolish, meddling in affairs that don't concern you. When the fight comes, battle courageously. But don't go looking for a fight.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Love God, Live Longer...and Better!

Pro 19:23 The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.

The benefits of living for the Lord are numerous. Not only are they "out of this world" but even if we didn't have the promise of heaven, our standard of living is greatly increased by godly living.

Make no mistake, Christians have fun too. It is a misnomer that once you get saved, all the fun goes out the window. O contraire! The fun believers can have causes no regrets. No headaches in the morning following a night of debauchery, no worries about STD's following loose living. In fact, I really didn't know what enjoyment of life really is until I met the Saviour.

I can remember, before salvation, puking my guts out from consumption of alcohol, destroying my lungs from inhaling tar and nicotine, hiding out in fields behind rocks for fear of the authorities when they broke up the pot parties and looking over my shoulder lest my indiscretions catch up with me.

But, oh glory! To know that I have pleased God and that He has freely given me all things (within His will) to enjoy. I have a much greater quality of life, will get to enjoy a longer, healthier life and have a greater capacity for joy and fulfillment.

Fear the Lord, it tends to life and satisfaction.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Pro 19:21 There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

An old song says, "if my heart had windows, I leave them open for the world to see..."

These are the words of a Christian who wants everyone he or she knows to observe Christ in them, the hope of glory and the extreme love they have for Him.

Our verse tells us that the heart is full of devices. By definition, that can mean, contrivances, textures, mechanisms, intentions, plans, cunning, curious works and thoughts. I see the Hebrew word 'machashabah' and "hash" pops out at me. Ironic!

Our hearts can be extremely conflicted by the various and changing mechanisms that are contained therein.

Of course, the heart is used in the sense of the seat of our human emotions, not the muscle pumping blood throughout the circulatory system.

There are times I am not sure if I would want anyone to see the myriad of textures in my heart. At any given time, they might see resentment, anger, self-pity, doubt, lack of confidence, disappointment and worse. At other times, they could observe my heart bursting with love, gratitude, pity, mercy, faith and worship.

What makes the difference in the mechanisms for me is whether I am considering "the counsel of the Lord."

Like Peter on the raging sea, when I look at the circumstances, I begin to sink into the baser devices of the heart. But when I grasp the Lord's hand, I am lifted above the circumstances to unbelievable heights of glory.

Folks, when we look into the counsel of the Lord, the wonderful Word of Truth, the hash of our hearts always takes on all the positive Christian virtues. The beggarly elements, the mechanisms of sin and disobedience are defeated.

Let us look into the glorious counsel of the Lord early and often to assure that the devices of our hearts are the kind we wouldn't mind those in our world to witness.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hey Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?

Pro 19:17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

Alright, I'm a softie! People in need grab the yellow pages and go down through the churches looking for a handout.

Of course, Baptists are toward the top of the list, after the Assemblies of God. I am thinking of listing us under "Zoroastrian-Baptist", that way we can get the calls only after all else have been exhausted.

Here's how it works; the larger churches have secretaries who have no problem saying “no!” The smaller churches have pastors who seldom answer their phones. Then there are the technological OCD pastors who refuse to not answer their phones which have been surgically attached to their hips (or ears). I suppose they are waiting for a call from the pulpit committee of a larger church who has a secretary who can say “no!”

So, inevitably, I take the calls of the needy, patiently listen to their plight, (I tell you, some of them can really concoct a story) all the while trying to figure out how I am going to say "Yeah, right, in your dreams could we help you!"

But there are those times when the needs of a family grip my heart and there's no way I can say no.

Enter in the "He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD" clause. God in heaven knows when we give out of pure hearts to help the needy and, without fail, He blesses that pity we show. As has been said so many times, you cannot out give God. God will be a debtor to no man. He always keeps His accounts short.

Apostle James said that we don't show a whole lot of Christ's love when we merely tell the needy "God bless you, be ye warmed and filled." He says that we are saved by faith, but he said there should be some accompanying works to prove it.

When we have the opportunity and the wherewithal to be a blessing to those who are in need of one, let's not shut up our hearts of compassion, but go ahead and be a blessing, considering it a loan to the Lord. And God's promise is that He will return it to us, pressed down, shaken together and running over.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Don’t Intend to Offend

Pro 18:19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.

To develop a spirituality where being offended is not an option is to reach a plateau where there is little company. The Word states, "blessed are they that love thy law and nothing shall offend them."

But few have climbed to this place of rarified air. Jesus says that it is necessary that offenses come into the world, but woe to that person by whom the offense cometh.

To offend means to trip up, to cause to fall, to scandalize. We may do this inadvertently, with a pure motive, or we may intend to offend.

One thing is certain, once we have offended our brother, it is going to take a ton of work to win them back. He is harder to be won than a strong walled city.

Take care, first of all, not to be offensive. And then, get close enough to the Lord so that your sensibilities are not easily assaulted. Develop a thick spiritual skin. Understand that people say and do stupid things because they have a problem. Though they may have lashed out at you, they may really be screaming for your help.

If you are offended, don't be stubborn, the Bible says that stubbornness is as the sin of witchcraft. Rather, have forgiveness in store. Be quick to let things go and get on with life and ministry. We don't have the luxury of being hobbled by our hurt feelings.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ouch, that hurt!

Pro 18:8 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

Certainly, you have felt the deep injury of a gossiper's careless words. You have confided in one who has passed on your secret and feel isolated out on a limb while their words cut at the base of the branch.

Why do people we consider as friends, family or Christian brothers bear tales about others? It all comes back to one thing, the pride of life. When we talk about someone in a bad light, we are trying to express our superiority to that person. The implication is, "I wouldn't do that," "I am better than that," etc.

Know that when you have been wounded by a gossiper, they are the one with the problem, not you. The cream always rises to the top. God always vindicates His own. And remember that the things which are said about you put you in some good company. Jesus was falsely accused, lied about, betrayed and hung on a cross. Yet history vindicates the Savior and vilifies those who did Him wrong.

The thing is that the Lord knows the truth about you. Admittedly, that truth may not always be pretty, but He knows all about us, and loves us anyway.

To be on the short end of the gossip is hurtful, but to be the talebearer is to be the one who needs pity.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Clam Up!

Pro 17:28 Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

It is better to keep your tongue and not be thought of as a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

There was an old movie in which a corporate CEO went missing and another man, who was his double, was asked to attend a meeting for him to negotiate a deal. He was instructed to say as little as possible.

He followed those instructions and more. The buyers offered a million bucks for a division of the company and he just sat there with his hands fashioned into a tent under his chin, offering a simple, “Hmm.” So the buyers put their heads together and came back with an offer of $1.3 million. Again, they met with a stolid response of a concerned "hmm."

Again, they consorted among themselves and threw an offer of a million and a half at the faux CEO. Again, he responded with his usual, "hmm." Finally, after a private meeting, they made their ultimate offer of $1.8 million. "You are a very astute and shrewd business man" they observed.

Little did they know, he had no business acumen whatsoever. His silence caused the associates to think of him as a very wise man.

I think of all the times I could have said a lot less and accomplished so much more.

Well, I'll stop now before I write something foolish. :<)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Loving Discretion

Pro 17:9 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

I have met many, especially preachers, who feel it is their "ministry" to expose the sins of others. Of course, their own, they would rather sweep under a rug. After all, they are in the ministry and what good would it do if people knew that a preacher was human???

The golden rule applies here also. If a person sins and someone else finds out about it, they need to go to the guilty party and get it taken care of one on one. This is what Jesus says in Mt 18, "Between thee and him alone."

Keeping sins covered up, as long as the guilty party is repentant, shows love. An individual who loves God, yet falls to the wiles of the Devil gains nothing by exposure, but by restoration. I have found true what the Word of God says, "the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance."

So, learn to deal with a matter then forgive and forget. Put the past in the past and move on.

What does happen when a blabber mouth spreads the news around? Best friends are lost. This is a tragedy. So, if you are privy to some dirt on a brother, talk to them in love, give them space to get the matter right with God and any offended parties, keep the matter under wraps and thank God for forgiveness...theirs and yours!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Investigation of the Heart

Pro 17:3 The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.

Silver and gold are generally polluted with dross, i.e. impurities in the ore. Fire is the agent used to separate the precious from the porous.

God intends our hearts to be hearts of gold and silver, refined to be pure for His service and for the relationship He desires to have with us, and especially to make us more like Jesus.

So He allows the fire in our lives for the purification of our hearts. The word used, "trieth", in the Hebrew, means to test or to investigate. The idea is that each time the fire is employed, that is, trials, problems, suffering, etc., He is able to determine how far we have come in our purification process.

So, the things that occur today in your life, setbacks, difficulties and the like are simply an investigation into your life. It is a process to make us more like Christ. In entering into the fellowship of His sufferings, we more and more reflect the heart of purest gold that our Savior has.

Lord, give me grace today as I endure your investigation of my heart. Purify me and make me into the image of your dear Son. When you look at my life and into my heart, may you see Jesus in me. Amen!

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Spirit of Fear

2Ti 1:6-7 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Have you ever pulled the covers over your head early in the morning afraid to face the day? Perhaps the crippling fear you have of the day has a name; maybe a tough situation you face at work, a tough decision you have to make, a difficult test, or a confrontation you must endure. And it could be that your fear is without a name, you simply dread the day, loathing an unidentified possibility.

Often, we are fearful of our future, long or short term.

Know that our God is not the author of that dread. He has not produced in us that spirit of fear. His plan for us is to face our circumstances with power, love and a sound mind. Moreover, He has gifted us and is prepared to stir up that gift that is within us to minister for Him.

I awoke one morning recently with that crippling fear that kept my morning from progressing well. There was really no cause for my trepidation, other than the enemy whispering in my ear that it's going to be a bad day.

It wasn't until I spent time in the Word and then some serious prayer time in which I asked God to fill me with His Holy Spirit that He gave me a holy boldness to face the day with power, love and sensibility.

Now, I will be completely honest... that recent morning was just 3 hours ago. I am thanking God for the tremendous confidence He has granted me from our verses for today. I am ready to charge the day in the power of His Spirit, oh, and a few ibuprophen!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Diagnosis: Rottenness of the Bones

Pro 14:30 A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.

How would you like to come away from the doctor’s office with a diagnosis like this; "Ma'am, I am sorry to inform you that you have rottenness of the bones."?

So, here is what followed...

"Oh my! What caused this horrible malady, Doc?"

"Well, it seems as if you haven't been satisfied with what the Lord has done for you, the gangrene of envy has seeped into your bones causing this acute rottenness."

"So Doc, is it fatal?"

"In most cases, yes. But it doesn't have to be."

"What can I do?"

"It is going to take some intensive gratitude therapy. You are going to have to quit looking on the things of others; their possessions and their positions, and instead learn to be content with all the wonderful things God has done for you."

"But Doc, I have been so wronged, I have so little, it all seems so unfair. I want what my neighbor has, then I would be so much happier."

"Perhaps you haven't heard that your neighbor has been in here recently and also has this dread disease. You see, she is green with envy about your good husband and children, her bones are rotten to the core."

"Oh, me and my family make her envious? But her house is so nice, she has much more square footage. They have a dog with a prized pedigree, their lawn is so green, not a dandelion to be found. Her hair and nails are always so perfect, but....her bones are rotten?"

"Yes, I believe she is doomed to misery the rest of her days because of her envy. But it's not too late, I suggest you begin your therapy right away. Read the Bible each day for perspective. Learn to pray and thank God constantly. Realize that others are really no better or better off than you. Get involved in helping others who aren't as blessed as you are. Instead of looking at all you don't have, concentrate on the huge amount of what you do have. I guarantee that bone rottenness will soon be gone for good. Start this therapy on your way home as you breath fresh air, driving your dependable car, toward home where your loving husband and precious children await you."

“Oh Doctor, thank you. What school or what medical journal taught you about all of this?”

“I found out about this one morning while I was drinking a $5 cup of Starbucks double espresso, half-caf latte caramel mocha in my BMW here in the parking lot. I was parked next to Dr. Punjab’s Massarati and feeling a little rottenness in my own bones. Our pastor left us all with a challenge to read one of the Proverbs each day and that particular day, I ran across this verse, ‘A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.’ Pro 14:30. And that is where I learned what I have shared with you today.”

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Frustrated Agenda or A Pile of ….Increase

Pro 14:4 Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.

Have you ever thought about how agendas overlap? Just concerning your life, God has an agenda, the devil has one, your spouse, your kids, your pastor, they all have an agenda. Oh, and you may just have one of your own!!!

Those who are happiest in life are people whose agendas are flexible. Picture a stubborn, strong-willed child who has to have things their way, or, ain't no one going to be happy. I even know a few pastors like that. :<)

The fact is that, if there were no opposition to our will, no challenges to our agenda, not a whole lot of worthwhile productivity would ever be accomplished.

How can I put this delicately? If you have cows, you are going to have to put up with some cow dung (increase). Cows make messes, but they also make cheese. They leave stuff that you might step in, but they also provide steaks. You may have to clean out the stall, but a glass of cold chocolate milk makes it worthwhile.

And so it is with our bosses who frustrate us so, but, "thank you for the paycheck!" Our kids can sure cause some chaos, but the love they give is worth it all. Teachers hand out assignments which cramp our style, but the diploma sure helps when we are job hunting.

Learn to let your agenda bent a bit today, that stuff you step in may just mean something very productive on the horizon.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Homebuilders

Pro 14:1 Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

God is all about the home. It is the institution He first established with our great-grandparents, Adam and Eve. He intends for the home to be a picture of the relationship we, His children, have with Him.

He wants to see homes happy and harmonious, a far cry from the norm. It is possible, practical and providential to experience a little bit of heaven on earth in the sanctity and security of our homes.

The wife and mother is key to this heaven on earth. Upon her hinges swing the doors of success or failure for the household. She is the glue for all the relationships as she sets the tone for the atmosphere. Dad may lead and kids may need, but she sows the seed.

A wise woman seeks how she may build her household, complete with a solid foundation, quality materials and beautiful finish work. These are typified by Jesus, character and beauty.

But the foolish woman, and there are plenty of them, tears down what the Lord would want to be built.

How can the wise woman operate in the context of the home? 1) She must have a vibrant relationship with her supreme head, the Lord Jesus Christ. 2) She must diligently build and maintain a vital relationship with her husband, the head of her home. 3) She must diligently seek to nurture her children in the Lord's way, instilling into them godly character, responsibility, respect, morality and duty to God and society.

These are difficult to accomplish when steeped in consumerism, worldly appetites and self absorption. These are the tendencies of the foolish woman who plucks down the household with her own hands.

God, bless our precious wives, that they may have the strength, wisdom and courage to build our homes. You have instructed them to be keepers of the home. Help them to resist the temptation to pursue anything and everything but their Lord, their husband and their children. May we as husbands love them and you loved your church and gave yourself for it. Amen!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hope Deferred

Pro 13:12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

When expectations are put on hold, we are hurt at our very core.

Here is a scene I have watched unfold a few times. A believer stands at the door of the church, impatiently waiting for their visitor to show up, alas, as the service begins, their countenance drops as they take their place in the pew. Worship for them is disturbed, their heart is broken. They had hoped in vain.

A little boy hopes for a toy, a worker expects a raise, a sickly woman desires good news from the doctor, a wife plans a romantic evening with her husband, an expecting couple long for a healthy baby. Sometimes we get all we hope for and more. Sometimes, the rug is pulled out from under us.

When our desire is met, it is a tree of life. When it doesn't materialize, our hearts ache.

But we have a wonderful heart-mender in our precious Lord. He knows what it is to be heart sick. So He assures us that we will never have to go it alone, no matter how heart broken we are. He is there to comfort, assure, encourage and guide us to victory.

The One Whose hopes for each of us are dashed a dozen times a day knows how to soothe, how to mend, how to make all things work together for good to those that love Him and are called according to His purpose and plan.

Is your heart sick today over quashed hopes and dreams? Turn to the One Who doeth all things well and let Him heal your broken heart.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Foolish Pride

Pro 13:10 Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

Dionne Warwick sang it decades ago. "Foolish pride that's all that I have left." What a legacy, huh? "They may not have anything else, but they've got their pride." Nice way to live!

Think about the last time you had a fight with someone. Perhaps unkind words were exchanged, voices were raised, or even worse, items were flung, doors were slammed. Well, let's hope it wasn't worse than that.

Now, what was the source of that contention? The Bible nails it right here. The root problem was pride. Someone was slighted, they didn't get their way, their agenda was thwarted, they were punched right where it hurt most, their ego.

Face it, whether the conflict is among nations, between opposing teams, among neighbors, in a church or in the home, it all comes down to pride.

The Bible has not one good thing to say about pride. We've been taught to have pride but the Bible says God hates it. We hang on to it until it is all we have left, but God resists the person who clings on to it. Pride is never good, because the only thing that results from pride is contention, and contention only and always results from pride.

So, swallow your pride. God shows His grace to those who do so.

Father, your dear Son, Jesus, was our great example. He humbled Himself to become obedient to you, not His own agenda, but yours. He became obedient even unto death, so that we might have life. Had He, who deserved to be prideful if any ever have, had He maintained His right to pride, we would still be have our fightings within and without. but because He said, "not my will but thine be done" we have peace with you, peace within and peace that passes all understanding. Let us be more like your humble Son in our dealings today. Amen!