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Archive for March, 2010

verses 30-31: “Do not contend with a man without cause, If he has done you no harm. Do not envy a man of violence, And do not choose any of his ways.”

During one of those rare moments that my wife and I can have an adult conversation (yes, the kids were elsewhere in the house!), we were watching the evening news, observing the behavior of our Congressional representatives during the last days leading up to the vote on the healthcare bill. We saw representatives holding up signs on the Capitol balconies outside to crowds of people voicing their opinions. We saw gathered crowds of representatives in the main House chamber chanting “Yes we can” during the tallying of votes. We heard emotional statements from both sides, sometimes pointed in their criticism of each other and those others’ parties. We heard and saw angry, passionate speeches. Finally, I said, “Are we watching Congress….or a hotly-contested college football game?” We lamented the passing of political civility in our supposedly professional legislative leaders.

You know, there are people in this old world who aren’t happy unless they are unhappy about something. (sort of reminds me of Disney’s Grumpy Dwarf!) There are those who just love to debate…who spoil for a good fight. Now, it is not wrong to fight for a just cause. I’m talking about those who like to spend all their time and energy just…arguing! What does it accomplish? I do know that such arguing can sometimes divert your time and energy from the main purpose you set out to accomplish. I have even known people, who say they are Christians, engage in this behavior. That’s another weapon in Satan’s arsenal…diverting us down a rabbit trail to keep us from reaching a lost world. Keep your eye on Jesus today, and your mind on His work!

Something to think about!

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verses 23-26: “Then you will walk in your way securely, And your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden fear, Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; For the LORD will be your confidence, And will keep your foot from being caught.”

I must confess to you that I suffer a sin that is probably pretty common…I worry. 🙂 What I hate most is when I wake up in the middle of the night, and I am wide awake, because I’ve let worry drift from my waking hours to my sleeping hours. I tend to “bottle things up”…it’s usually not one thing that will get me down, but several things on my mind converging at the same time.

The wee hours of this morning were an example. I woke up for a physical reason, but then couldn’t get back to bed. I’ve been concerned for my wife, whose sleep is being interrupted by a ruptured disc (she corrected me that it’s worse than herniated now). It’s one of those frustrating things, that you want to take away a loved one’s pain, and you can’t do anything. Unable to fall asleep and not wanting to disrupt my wife’s fitful slumber, I got up to read. I felt the need to read my Bible, and God blessed me with the passage above.

The surefire cure for worry is trusting in God…for ALL things. It’s a lesson I have to relearn from time to time (may God forgive me, sometimes I am a slow learner!). Turn your concerns, all of them, over to the Lord….and get some sleep. 🙂

Something to remember.

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Proverbs 3:16-20

verses 19-20: “The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; By understanding He established the heavens. By His knowledge the deeps were broken up, And the skies drip with dew.”

The big bang theory…I roll my eyes whenever I hear that phrase and recall its origins. I think one of my favorite Christian bumper stickers states: “The big bang theory….God said it, and BANG, it happened!” A footnote in my Bible on this verse states “…God changed chaos to order.”

I remember my high school science courses on chemistry and biology and how complex living matter is. I marveled at how all matter is made up of molecules, and those molecules are made of atoms. I remember seeing the complex models of how certain elements combine to make up compounds and alloys. H20 is probably the easiest formula that I remember, the combination of 2 hydrogen atoms to 1 oxygen atom, making water. Yet, there are people who believe this happened by accident?

Yes, there is a Creator behind this creation. His name is God, and it is by His wisdom that we all exist today. Take a moment today and thank God for making you.

Have a blessed day!

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Proverbs 3:14-15

verses 14-15: “For its profit is better than the profit of silver, And its gain than fine gold.”

Verses 13-20 concern the value of wisdom (I’m using the Ryrie NAS Study Bible here). I think I’ll start with what I read in the Holman concordance on this passage on p.29:

“Like a merchant, the writer evaluates the treasures available to him. What acquisition will produce the greatest gain or profit? Though gold and silver are undeniable measures of wealth, they can provide only the things that money can buy, and wisdom provides what money cannot buy.”

I recall a conversation I had with a peer about jobs and careers. Although monetary pay factored very heavily in the decision of whether to take a certain job with a certain company and location, money was not the sole factor in the decision (this will probably come as a shock to some in our society today!) There are things more valuable than money. Wisdom is surely one. A person’s soul is another.

One’s soul is precious, and I’m glad I’ve trusted mine to Jesus. Have you?

Have a blessed day!

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Proverbs 3:12-13

verse 12: “For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father, the son in whom he delights.”

Nobody likes to be told they are wrong. Nobody likes to be corrected. Nobody likes to be punished. Yet there are many times that proper reproof and correction are what we need to keep us from going down the wrong path. Normally, those administrators of those types of correction are loving authority figures, like parents. Now, I am speaking here of loving correction, not abusive violence.

My father is fond of reminding me of something when several of us are in a conversation about punishment (and my siblings and I mention the “switchings” we got!); he would say, “but you didn’t wind up having too many switchings!” Yes, we learned our lesson the hard way…but we did learn it! We know it was necessary, because God charges the parents with the responsibility of raising children the right way. That way sometimes includes correction from doing wrong. For one day, those children grow up to be adults…and the correction mechanism is more societal (laws, prison, fines) than familial. We, as parents, love our children; to raise them up without them learning that with wrong behavior comes negative consequences…would not be loving them completely.

Something to think about.

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verses 9-10: “Honor the LORD from your wealth, And from the first of all your produce; So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.”

My wife and I normally sit down and do the “budget talks” after every payday. Among those bills and expenses is also included the tithe we give to our local church. I’d like to say that I always, without fail, give that tithe; and I do almost all of the time. There was an occasion a few months ago, through a combination of some emergencies and forgetting to make out the check at church, that we wound up not giving the tithe from that paycheck. In our minds, that tithe is still owed and we plan to pay it up.

The tithe is not a bill or an expense. It’s God’s command that we give back to Him. A tithe is only 10%; there are a lot of cities, states, and the federal government who demand much more. The tithe does not need to be an afterthought, though. It needs to be given as soon as the money comes in….from the “first of all your produce”. We also have discovered that when we are faithful to give that tithe…God is faithful to bless so that our barns are “filled with plenty”.

Something to think about.

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Proverbs 3:7-8

verse 7: “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.”

Some of you may remember a cartoon called “The Smurfs” (okay, sorry for the groans I’ve heard from some of you just now!) If you remember this cartoon, you’ll recall the know-it-all character of Brainy Smurf. He was the one who supposedly was as wise as Papa Smurf, and didn’t mind showing off his smarts. Most of the time he wound up being tossed out of the village on his head by the other Smurfs!

We’ve all known people like Brainy; some of us may have even been like Brainy. These people think they know it all. It’s not until they are proven wrong (and had their ego balloons deflated!) that they hopefully learn their lesson…that they are not wise in their own eyes. But there is One who is.

God is not just all-powerful, He is all-knowing as well. He is just a prayer away, when it comes to asking for His wisdom. Remember, as it says in James 1:5 “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

Have a blessed day!

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Proverbs 3:5-6

verses 5-6: “Trust in the LORD will all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”

Two things come to mind this morning when I read these familiar verses. I think of King Saul in the Bible. Saul was successful for a time, for He followed the Lord through the instructions of His prophet Samuel. But Saul didn’t acknowledge God’s commandments, was impatient, and did things he wasn’t supposed to do. And God withdrew His favor from Saul; Samuel himself delivered that message to Saul.

Sometimes we lean on our own understanding, when we should lean on God’s. We may not understand God’s plans at the time, but we should trust in His omniscience.

Years ago, I was scheduled to take the postal carrier’s exam. The only way to get hired by the Post Office was to pass this exam. In order to enter the room where the test was administered, you had to have the yellow copy of the application you filled out. On the day of the exam, that yellow copy that I had guarded in my backpack disappeared. They would not let me in the room without it. I went home and tore my bedroom apart trying to find it. I know I had not opened my backpack after I left the house that day, but the paper wasn’t there (the last time I saw it was before I left, and it was there). The only thing I could conclude ultimately was that God didn’t want me to take that exam that day; to this day I don’t know why. Maybe I’ll get to ask the Lord that question when I get to glory. 🙂 But for then and even now, I trust God’s will when I don’t understand.

Do you need to “lean on the everlasting arms” of Jesus today?

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Proverbs 3:3-4

verses 3-4: “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Think about this for a minute….what is the part of you that can tell truth or lies….kindness and meanness…sometimes, in the same breath?

The mouth.

Where does the air flow through and the voice reside that allows you to speak?

The throat (generally speaking).

What part of the body contains the throat?

The neck.

Bind kindness and truth around your neck….keep them close…for what is in us will come out of us. For you will speak what’s on your heart…so what’s written on the tablet of your heart?

Have a blessed day!

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verses 1-2: “My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments; For length of days and years of life, And peace they will add to you.”

Remember the cartoon The Road Runner? This old Looney Tunes series from Warner Bros. featured the super-fast Road Runner bird, always being chased by the hungry Wile E. Coyote. To make up for his lack of Road Runner speed, Wile E. often used his “super-genius” to create Road Runner traps to try and catch or slow down the Road Runner, all of which always seem to backfire on him.

Now, the only reason Wile E. survived all these abortive attempts (and countless plummets off cliffs!) was that he was a cartoon character. Unfortunately, in real life, many folks don’t live to see longer days or more years to life due to poor decisions they make. Now, yes, God knows the day, hour, and minute that we will leave this earthly plane…but He would like for us Christians to live out each day in service to Him while we are here. We need to think wisely, and live wisely, so that “length of days and years of life, and peace they will add to you.”

Have a blessed day!

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