Friday, July 31, 2015

Proverbs -- No Wisdom for a Fool

Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him (Proverbs 26:12). 
Look at the person of pride and learn a lesson. This person sets himself up in conceit. He thinks of himself as wise, but the Almighty says he is a fool. As followers of Christ, we are to be humble and learners. Our confidence is not to be in our ability and intellect, but in the wisdom of God which comes through clothing ourselves with humility (Colossians 3:12). Proud people are fools, the humble are wise.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Proverbs -- A Righteous Person, Sweet or Smelly?

Like a trampled spring and a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked (Proverbs 25:26).                  

The righteous man or women is to be a light in a dark world, to be salt in an evil society and to stand for truth, compassion and justice. If the righteous yields to injustice and evil, they become as a polluted, smelly pool of water which spreads disease, instead of the sweet refreshing healing of the gospel of Christ!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Proverbs -- Trust God in Difficult Times

If you are slack in the day of distress, your strength is limited (Proverbs 24:10).         
This is really a call for courage, for trust in God. In fearful, difficult and even painful situations, we do not need to faint in fear as our faith is in God not in ourselves. We are weak and limited in our own strength, but in God we are strong; “...for God is my stronghold.” (Psalm 59:17).

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Proverbs -- Open Your Heart to Hear

Apply your heart to discipline and your ears to words of knowledge (Proverbs 23:12).              

We are to apply our heart, to 'open' our heart to discipline and instruction. If we have a hard, sinful and proud heart, we will not learn, as our ears will be closed to words of knowledge. Humility leads to godly knowledge as humble people are willing to listen to instruction, especially to the Word of God!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Proverbs -- We Are Blessed as We Bless Others

He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor (Proverbs 22:9)            

As God's children care for others, God cares for them. We are blessed in many different ways as we care for others. Many verses in Proverbs encourage generosity (Proverbs 11:24; 28:27; 29:7, 14). God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7), and Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive," (Acts 20:35) for in the very "act" of giving you are blessed!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Proverbs -- Go for Two, End with Three

He who pursues righteousness and loyalty finds life, righteousness and honor (Proverbs 21:21)          

Proverbs are not guarantees or promises, but they present the best strategy for living to the glory of God. If you pursue (strive after with real determination and hard work) righteous and loyalty, the end result will not be two things but three; life, righteousness, as well as honor. God is no man's debtor, He always pays, “...far more exceedingly beyond all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Proverbs -- Talk is Cheap

Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy man? (Proverbs 20:6).

As Christians we need to be careful that our walk is a true testimony of our talk. It is easy to say we are loyal and faithful, but when “push comes to shove” are we true to our word? Nothing brings greater honor to God than the faithful Christ-like living of His people. God has been, and is always faithful to us, therefore we should be faithful in life, and even in death for Him.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Proverbs -- Banking in Heaven

One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his good deed (Proverbs 19:17).

One of the marks and a main characteristic of a follower of Christ is generosity; being generous to the poor, the needy, the widow, and the orphan. As we are gracious, helpful and giving “to a poor man”, we are actually lending to God Himself! We are, in a sense, banking in heaven with God Himself repaying us for any and every act of “graciousness” to the poor. Banks fail, but not the Bank of Glory! The Good Samaritan gave his time and money to help someone in need. After Jesus told this story, He said, “Go and do the same” (Luke 10:37)."

Monday, July 20, 2015

Proverbs -- Trust in God, Not in Riches

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe. A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his own imagination  (Proverbs 18:10-11).                                                                                                                 

The righteous person (one who is a follower of Christ) knows that his/her safety in all of life is in God who is all powerful and loving. The Lord to whom we can run to at all times for protection and care. The rich trust in their riches and their possessions, but these fail because only in God is true security.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Proverbs -- A Friend at All Times

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity (Proverbs 17:17).

True godly friends encourage us, help us, pray for us, sacrifice for us, even rebuke us, and above all else, love us through tough, difficult times! This sounds like Jesus who loves us, His friends, even though we are such sinners (Luke 7:34). As someone said, '"hat would we ever do without our friends?"

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Proverbs -- We Plan But God Controls

Commit your works to the LORD and your plans will be established…The LORD has made everything for its own purpose even the wicked for the day of evil…
The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps (Proverbs 16:3, 4 & 9).  

We should make plans wisely; always realizing that God is in control and will bring results for His glory and our good. Our Heavenly Father is even in control of the wicked acts of people and uses their evil for good (Christ's death, Acts 2:22-24). We can trust God to lead and guide in all things. He is sovereign. Praise His Name!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Proverbs -- Accepting Reproof

He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. He who neglects discipline despises himself, but he who listens to reproof acquires understanding. The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility (Proverbs 15: 31-33).

To accept reproof for our actions or attitude helps us become all we should be or could be in Christ. Reproof in these verses is called "life-giving." In accepting reproof we also acquire understanding and wisdom. "Before honor comes humility," which is the result of the reproof allowed by God for our good and His glory!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Proverbs -- Insulting or Honoring God?

He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, but he who is gracious to the needy honors Him (Proverbs 14:31).

Poverty is not always from foolishness, or indulgence, or laziness, but because of the oppression of others (12:23). To oppress the poor is also an attack on God who made them. To be gracious to the poor is to honor God Himself. In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus teaches that to visit, feed and clothe the needy is an effort to do so for God Himself.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Proverbs -- Diligent and Fat

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made fat (Proverbs 13:4).

This verse shows one of the clearest contrasts in the Bible between a person who is lazy (a sluggard) and one who is industrious (diligent). The lazy groan and complain (from their bed of sleep) but do nothing. The diligent (determined) are rewarded with the fruit (results) of their planning and hard work in every area of life for the sake of Christ. Whatever you do… do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ…. (Colossians 3:17).

Friday, July 10, 2015

William Carey's 11 Commandments of Missions

Here are excerpts from the “Form of Agreement” drafted by Carey and his colleagues in October 1805.

The Redeemer, in planting us in this heathen nation, rather than in any other, has imposed upon us the cultivation of peculiar qualifications. Upon these points we think it right to fix our serious and abiding attention.

First. In order to be prepared for our great and solemn work, it is absolutely necessary that we set an infinite value upon immortal souls; that we often endeavour to affect our minds with the dreadful loss sustained by an unconverted soul launched into eternity.

Secondly. It is very important that we should gain all the information we can of the snares and delusions in which these heathens are held. By this means we shall be able to converse with them in an intelligible manner.

Thirdly. It is necessary, in our intercourse with the Hindoos, that, as far as we are able, we abstain from those things which would increase their prejudices against the Gospel. Those parts of English manners which are most offensive to them should be kept out of sight as much as possible. [For example,] we should avoid every degree of cruelty to animals.

Fourthly. It becomes us to watch all opportunities of doing good. We are apt to relax in these active exertions, especially in a warm climate; but we shall do well always to fix it in our minds, that life is short, that all around us are perishing, and that we incur a dreadful woe if we proclaim not the glad tidings of salvation.

Fifthly. In preaching to the heathen, we must keep to the example of Paul, and make the great subject of our preaching, Christ the Crucified. It is a well-know fact that the most successful missionaries in the world at the present day make the atonement of Christ their theme.

Sixthly. It is absolutely necessary that the natives should have an entire confidence in us, and feel quite at home in our company. To gain this confidence we must on all occasions be willing to hear their complaints; we must give them kindest advice.

Seventhly. Another important part of our work is to build up, and watch over, the souls that may be gathered. A real missionary becomes in a sense a father to his people.

Eighthly. It is only by means of native preachers that we can hope for the universal spread of the Gospel throughout this immense continent. We think it our duty, as soon as possible, to advise the native brethren who may be formed into separate churches, to choose their pastors and deacons from their own countrymen.

Ninthly. It becomes us also to labor with all our might in forwarding translations of the sacred Scriptures in the languages of Hindoostan. The establishment of native free schools is also an object highly important to the future conquests of the Gospel.

Tenthly. That which, as a means is to fit us for the discharge of these laborious and unutterably important labours, is the being instant in prayer, and the cultivation of personal religion. Let each one of us lay it upon his heart that we will seek to be fervent in spirit, wrestling with God, till He famish these idols and cause the heathen to experience the blessedness that is in Christ.

Finally. Let us give ourselves up unreservedly to this glorious cause. Let us never think that our time, our gifts, our strength, our families, or even the clothes we wear, are our own. To keep these ideas alive in our minds, we resolve that this Agreement shall be read publicly, at every station, at our three annual meetings, viz., on the first Lord’s day in January, in May, and October.

Listed in Christian History, Issue 36, page 34.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Why Do So Many "Bully" Others?

Have you seen the ad, "Friends don't let friends bully!" Yet even with the ads and emphasis against bullying, many still bully and get away with it. For example, if you show scientific proof that does not agree with the whole global warming emphasis, you are bullied. If you speak out to protect the unborn, you are shouted down and bullied. Even if you speak softly and say that as a Christian you do not support homosexuality and gay marriage because you seek to follow the Bible's teaching, you are not only bullied but despised with an emphasis to destroy. People say they are tolerant of other views, but they are not and they, the news and entertainment media and political ruling classes, will seek to not only marginalize but even destroy you!

So what do we as Christians do? Keep shining as lights for Christ and the gospel in a dark world.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Proverbs -- Kindness of God’s People

A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, but even the compassion of the wicked is cruel (Proverbs 12:10).

A truly righteous person is one who is kind, even to animals. Someone asked, “Do dogs and children feel comfortable with you?” The very vivid description in this verse shows that even the actions of a wicked person in his attempt at compassion is cruel. Even his best efforts are dangerous to animals, as well as people.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Do Christian "Big Shots" Take Suggestions? Some Do, But Many Do Not.

Recently I received a letter, not an email, but a letter which filled the page. It was not a form letter, but personally written by the Chief MD and Executive Officer of a major hospital.

He wrote in response to a simple suggestion I made regarding caring for older and needy patients who arrive at the hospital outside.

The Chief Doctor explained the six new steps the hospital leaders and staff were now taking to improve their services.

Needless to say, I was shocked at the gracious response and quick action taken for improvements in the hospital’s already excellent service.

Do we respond that way in our churches, ministries, missions and leadership? So often leaders and church leaders react negatively instead of graciously and humbly, especially to improvements that need to be made in ministry and church outreach and the care of people!

The Bible says we are not to follow people who are, "...given to change," but be Christ’s followers who have a desire to excel in all things and improve in our leadership and ministry to the glory of God.

It may be, however, that many of us do not want to improve as that takes work. We are content to remain the same, and, therefore, the ministry crumbles slowly but surely. Why? Because we are not humble enough to receive suggestions for improvement and advancement for the sake of the Gospel and Christ.

Proverbs -- Pride and Humility

When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom (Proverbs 11:2).

Prideful people do not take advice and do not listen to counsel; therefore they continue to repeat their foolish behavior and this brings shame on them. The humble listen to rebuke and counsel which leads to a change in behavior resulting in wisdom and right living to God’s glory.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Proverbs -- Industrious or Lazy

Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully (Proverbs 10:4-5).

God gives wisdom and ambition to succeed in life for His glory. In our walk with God there is no place for laziness in godliness and growth in Christ. Someone said, “Our idle days are Satan’s busy days!” One who is lazy in the great harvest of life is one who acts shamefully. Let us trust God for strength in life to accomplish all He has given us to do for His glory.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I Dare You

by Dave Egner

There is a story about a small church that was having a reunion. A former member who attended the celebration had become a millionaire. When he testified about how God had blessed him over the years, he related an incident from his childhood.

He said that when he earned his first dollar as a boy, he decided to keep it for the rest of his life. But then a guest missionary preached about the urgent need on the mission field. He struggled about giving his dollar. “The Lord won, however,” the man said. Then, with a sense of pride he added, “I put my treasured dollar in the offering basket. And I am convinced that the reason God has blessed me so much is that when I was a little boy I gave Him everything I possessed.” The congregation was awestruck by the testimony – until a little old lady in front piped up, “I dare you to do it again!”

There’s a vital truth behind that story: Past attainments are not a measure of present spiritual maturity. Psalm 119:44 says, “So shall I keep Your law continually.” The psalmist knew he needed to keep his commitment fresh every day.

As Christians, we cannot rest on past victories. We must give the Lord our full devotion now. Then no one will need to challenge us, “I dare you to do it again!”