Thursday, January 31, 2013

Proverbs -- Six Sins, No Seven

There are six things which the LORD hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19).

It is easy to agree on the first six sins God hates: 1) The sin of haughty eyes (pride); 2) lying; 3) murder; 4) deception; 5) wickedness; 6)falsehood, but we may overlook the seventh which is an abomination to Him; 7) One who spreads strife (sows discord) among God’s people. These sins have to do with the character of a worthless person whose eyes, tongue, hands, feet and mouth are used for evil. Our prayer will be, “Oh Lord, please deliver us from these sins.”

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Proverbs -- God Watches Us, His Children

For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He watches all his paths (Proverbs 5:21).

It is encouraging to know that our Heavenly Father watches all our ways and all our actions. He loves us, cares for us and guides us for our good and His glory.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Does God Use Cowards?

by Doug Nichols
Facing the future

The term ‘fear not’ is found many times in the Bible. There are almost as many ‘fear not’ statements as there are days in the year. I feel that each of these statements is there for me, because I am not a brave person. I am intimidated by others, terrified to speak in public and afraid in dangerous situations.

In 1994 I was working in Zaire among Rwandan refugees. People were being slaughtered nightly; each morning we walked among the bodies on the ground. In three terrifying days, 50,000 people died. I was afraid.

Recently I awoke in the middle of the night worried for my country’s future with its abortions, debt, hopeless millions without employment, bad economy and declining morality. How will we continue to support mission work around the world?
My wife, Margaret, often challenges my fears with a passage from I Peter: ‘Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you’ (I Peter 5:6-7, ESV).
Fear and worry are sources of pride. We often think that by worrying we are somehow in charge, when, in fact, only God can handle the terrible situations we face. Even in a dangerous, difficult and sinful world, God will take care of his children.
Cast it all on God

So let’s do that today. Let’s cast all our fears, anxieties, and worries on God because he cares for us.

One thing that causes fear is the thought that God could never use you. But when you feel God cannot use you, it is helpful to remember that Noah was a drunk, Abraham was too old, Isaac was a day-dreamer, Jacob was a liar, Leah was ugly, Joseph was spoiled, Moses had a stuttering problem, Gideon was afraid, Sampson was a womaniser, Rahab was a prostitute, Jeremiah and Timothy were too young, David had an affair and was a murderer, Elijah was suicidal, Jonah ran from God, Naomi was a widow, Job went bankrupt,
Peter denied Christ, the disciples slept through prayer, Martha worried over everything, the Samaritan woman was divorced more than once, Zacchaeus was too small, Timothy had a stomach problem, and Lazarus was dead.

‘But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that he may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God’ (1 Corinthians 1:27-29, NASB).

Friday, January 25, 2013

Proverbs -- How is Your Speech?

Put away from you a deceitful mouth and put devious speech far from you (Proverbs 4:24).

Godly character is evidenced by your speech. In Colossians chapter three, we are instructed to put off all bad speech and put on kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. These are evidenced in godly speech. Let us repent of our bad talk and trust God to use our speech to bless and encourage others to the praise of God.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Proverbs -- Trust God in Our Ways

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).

God is our Father. We can trust Him in all things. We either trust Him or ourselves. If we trust Him, He will lead and care for us in all our ways.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Proverbs -- Wisdom and Safety: Gifts from God

For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice, and He preserves the way of His godly ones (Proverbs 2:6-8).

The Lord, our God, gives wisdom, knowledge and understanding to His people who are upright (righteous) and who are people of integrity. God promises safety (His presence) to those who are of right behavior and godly character.

To Bend Down and Help Others

Recently my bad knee went out and I fell at the airport.  

A pastor friend of ours later heard of this and wrote the following: “I was sorry to hear of the damage to your knee.  I want you to know that when you travel next time, if you let me know we’ll drop you off at the airport and pick you up.  We’ll handle the heavy lifting.  I wish I would have known sooner so that we might have saved you from your accident and potential surgery!”

This is quite a testimony from one who is a very busy pastor in ministry, shepherding a church, and yet willing to add to his responsibilities to go out of his way to help in a mundane task as a servant!
Whether you are a big shot or not, this quite an example!

1 Peter 3:8, “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit,” (nasb).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Don't Follow the "Some"

Recently one morning while I was shaving and listening to Alistair Begg on Christian radio, I was shocked when the main announcer said he had not been to church these last two Sundays because of the National Football League playoffs.  He then said that it was okay because he was able to listen to his pastor on the radio.  I wonder how much damage this did to the many who heard this.

To go to your church at a different time is one thing, but completely miss is another.

Here is a man who is basically a leader in Christian circles saying that he had not fellowshipped with his church over the last two Sundays because of football.  I wonder if his pastor and the elders of his church will speak to him about this.

Do you attend a church where your pastors and/or elders would speak to you if you did this?  I know my pastor would. 

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:23-25 nasb).

Proverbs: Always Learning

A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel...The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:5 & 7).

We need to continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18) by spending time reading and studying His Word. Godly men and women are readers of the Word of God and good books; books which help us in life and ministry for Christ and to others, for “…only fools despise...instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Introduction to Proverbs

Introduction to Proverbs
Proverbs states its theme right at the book’s beginning (1:1-7): it’s goal is to describe and instill “wisdom” in God’s people, a wisdom that is founded in the “fear of the Lord” and that works out in the life of the believer in the practical details of everyday situations and relationships.

Key Themes:
Proverbs covers a wide array of topics from daily life: diligence and laziness (6:6-11); friendships (3:27-28; 18:24); speech (10:19-21); marriage (18:22; 19:14); child rearing (22:6); domestic peace (15:17; 17-1); work (11:1); getting along with others and good manners (23:1-2; 25:16-17; 26:17-19; 27:14; eternity (14:32; 23:17-18); and much more. In each of these areas it offers wisdom for realizing the life of the godly; it shows that godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). It demonstrates clearly that:

1. God’s will is intensely practical, applying to every aspect of His people’s lives. A proper relation to God involves, first, trying hard to understand His truth and then embracing and obeying what one understands.
2. A life lived by God’s will is a happy life (3:21-26).
3. A life lived by God’s will is a useful life (3:27-28; 12:18, 25).
4. A life lived by God’s will does not just happen; one must seek after it, study, pursue it, and discipline oneself.
5. Wisdom invites the naïve to forsake folly and accept
wisdom (9:1-6).