Sunday, August 31, 2014

Riches cannot make our sins go away.

Prov. 23:4-5 Don’t weary yourself trying to get rich. Why waste your time?  For riches can disappear as though they had the wings of a bird!

In a world that glorifies riches, we must hear this message.  The pursuit of riches for riches sake is a waste of time, a waste of one’s life.  No matter how much one may have of the world, he will never be satisfied.  It’s a vicious cycle that never ends.  The more one has, the more he wants to have because he discovers that what he has cannot satisfy the longings of the soul.

It is so easy to buy into the notion that once riches have been obtained that they will never go away.  But life proves this notion to be so wrong.  We read of stories all the time and may even know from personal experience how people of great wealth have lost it all.  Bad decision or circumstances can cause riches to disappear in a moment of time. 

Little real thought is given to just how empty the promises of riches really are.  We spin our wheels hoping to get more believing that once we get more then we will be happy and content.  The reality is that nothing we substitute for Christ in our lives will ever make us happy and content.  Only Jesus can satisfy the restlessness of the soul. 

Riches cannot make our sins go away.  No amount of money in the world accumulated or given away can get rid of one iota of our sins.  Once a sinner always a sinner unless the sinner finds grace and mercy at Calvary.  Those who are rich will meet the same fate as those who are poor.  
They will die and stand before the judgment seat of God and give an account for the sins of their lives.  They will be judged like everyone else by the merits of His Word.  The only thing that will save them from God’s wrath is the shed blood of Christ.

The redeemed may get rich, but the quest for riches do not consume them.  They have much better things to do in life.  They build their foundation on Christ and the things of the Kingdom of God.  They do not get stressed out and weary over the things of this life for they find their satisfaction in Christ’s saving grace alone.  They seek first the things of God and rest in the knowledge that He will take care of all their needs today and forever.

Riches for the redeemed becomes tools in their hands to bring honor and glory to Christ.  We use whatever we have to help others come to saving faith, whether we have much or very little.  Souls for the redeemed are far more important than whatever they may, or may not, have in this life.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Whoever pursues godliness and unfailing love wil find life, godliness, and honor.

Prov. 21:21 Whoever pursues godliness and unfailing love will find life, godliness, and honor.

To pursue is to make a commitment to it.  We must commit ourselves to obtaining godliness and unfailing love if we want to find life.  Life spoken of here is eternal life; it is life with God.  Neither godliness or unfailing love are easy to obtain.  We must constantly be striving to obtain them. 

Godliness is living life consistent with God’s life.  It is being holy in deed and conversation.  It is having pure motives in what we do.  It is not compromising the integrity of our heart for the sake of convenience, popularity, or acceptance by man.

Unfailing love is not possible unless we are firmly connected to God who is love.  It is a heart full of kindness, gentleness and compassion.  It is unconditional acceptance of others regardless of where they may be in their lives with the desire to help them become the child of God they need to be.  Unfailing love does not flucuate with circumstances.  It is something we must intentionally strive to live every day. 

The promise of God is that whoever strives to live a godly life full of unfailing love will find life.  There is no greater life than one lived connected to God.  There is no lasting peace or joy in any other way to live.  A life lived connected to God is pleasing to Him and honored by Him.  God will never abandon those who are His.  He will never listen to Satan’s accusations about them.  He will always defend them and pour out His blessings upon their souls.

If you are pursuing any other thing in life, you need to wake up your soul while you can.  There is nothing in life worth pursuing other than a heart right with God.  Chasing after anything else will pull you away from God.  If you persist in pursuing other things rather than God you may get far enough away from Him that you can’t find your way to Him.  Pursue godliness and unfailing love and you will find what you are looking for to satisfy your soul. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Lord looks on the heart before He does what the heart produces.

Prov. 21:3  The LORD is more pleased when we do what is just and right than when we give him sacrifices.

Being is better than doing.  The Lord wants us to be genuine in our souls when we act like children of God.  It’s not too hard to put on a front.  There are a lot of people who do not act like the world acts.  They don’t participate in the world’s activities; they shie away from things that are self-destructive.  A lot of people hang out with godly people who are not godly themselves.  A lot of people are faithful church-goers and are involved in a lot of church activities who are not right with God.  A lot of people consider themselves to be right with God because they play the part well. 

The Lord looks on the heart before He does what the heart produces.  What pleases the Lord is our relationship with Him and the fruit it naturally produces.  The Lord wants us to be real.  He wants us to know Him as Savior and Lord before we do what we do.  He is pleased when our motives are right, when we do what is just and right because it is the desire of our hearts. 

We must be careful about our souls.  We can easily deceive ourselves about our standing before God.  We can convince ourselves that because we live like children of God we are children of God.  We can grow up in the church, hang out with Christians, believe what Christians believe, and still be lost.  Our only assurance of our salvation is our being washed clean by the shed blood of Jesus at Calvary.  We must know that we are sinners, confess our sins, ask the Lord to forgive us, and then claim His forgiveness.  We must understand that there is no other way for us to be found acceptable and pleasing to God. 

Do you know for a fact that God is pleased with you because of your relationship with Christ?  Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior?  Have you accepted Him as your Lord?  Only a heart rooted in Christ’s righteousness pleases God.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

We can easily fool ourselves.

Prov. 21:2  People may think they are doing what is right, but the LORD examines the heart.

We can easily fool ourselves.  We develop certain perceptions of right and wrong and evaluate ourselves in light of our perceptions.  But, unless our understanding is rooted in God’s Word, what we think may be right may very well be totally wrong.  What is right and wrong is perceived differently by people depending on their upbringing and culture.  What is right in one person’s eyes may be totally wrong in another’s. 

God has clearly set the standard for our understanding.  He leaves no doubt or confusion on how we should live.  He spells out exactly how godly people should act and think.  He makes it clear what happens when we don’t listen to Him.  No matter what we may think, God’s Word is the standard we must live by.  We don’t get to choose what is right and wrong.  God is holy and and He alone determines who is able to be in His presence. 

The wisdom and insight of man is skewed.  We are influenced by our sinful nature.  We fall short of what is right in God’s eyes.  We tend to evaluate rightness in such a way that it is convenient for us.  We tend to not go beyond our comfort zone.  We set standards that we can live with and make us feel good about ourselves.

But, the Lord examines the heart.  He is not influenced by what we think.  He knows whether or not we are living by His standards.  He sees beyond what others see; He sees more than what we see of ourselves.  The Lord is not fooled by the right things we do and say.  He examines the heart and knows the motives that drive us.  He knows whether or not we are sincerely trying to please Him.  He knows whether or not we are striving to live life His way.

Are you comfortable with what God knows about you?  He sees what is in your heart.  He is holding you up to the standards of His Word.  He will hold you accountable for how well you live by His standards.  Can you honestly say that you are living life God’s way today? 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

There is nothing that the Lord doesn't see and know about me.

Prov. 20:27 The LORD’s searchlight penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.

Here is a truth we must get. There is nothing in the soul of man that is not seen and known by the Lord. Nothing. He knows all the sin that gets in and stays. He knows how bright or dark the soul may be. He knows everything there is to know about what makes me say and do what I do. He knows the worthiness of my soul and whether or not I am fit for heaven. He knows what drives me. He knows not only what I do and say, but what I plan on doing. There is nothing that the Lord does not see and know about me.

How does this make you feel? Are you okay with what the Lord knows about you? Are you at peace knowing that He isn’t finding anything there that is not okay with him?

If you are uncomfortable with the thought that God knows your every little hidden secret, you need to have a little talk with Jesus. Tell Him what he already knows. Tell Him the sin you have tried to hide or ignore. Tell Him the sinful thoughts you may have. Tell Him everything you can think of that may not please Him. Then, ask the Lord to forgive you for harboring sin in your soul. His promise is that when you do that, He will forgive you and cleanse your soul from all unrighteousness. He will do it, but not without your co-operation and permission.

Don’t let another moment slip by without getting rid of all the baggage of sin that holds you down. Let the Lord purify your soul and give you a renewed since of his peace, joy, and love. The Lord is waiting for you.  Is there anything more important for you to do right now than to let the Lord take away your sin?  He is faithful and just and will forgive you for whatever sin He finds in your heart if you will confess it and ask Him to forgive you.  Do it now while He is speaking to you. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Have you made promises to the Lord that you have not kept?

Prov. 20:25  It is dangerous to make a rash promise to God before counting the cost.

I don’t think most of us get this truth too well. We say things to God without giving much thought to whom we are talking to. We make promises that don’t come from deep within the heart. We often speak off the top of our heads without giving much thought to the implications our promises may have on our lives. We need to carefully think about this. God does not take what we say lightly. He fully expects us to keep our word to Him. It is easy to say we will submit and obey the Lord, but it’s another thing to actually do it.

Have you made promises to the Lord that you have not kept? If so, what happened that you failed to keep your word? Did you forget? Or, perhaps your understanding changed and you came to realize that what you promised was not reasonable or even right before God.

We all are guilty of saying things that we think we mean, but don’t really mean them. We say things without counting the cost and discover later that the cost is far more than what we realized. It is easy to speak from our emotions without first thinking through what we are saying.

Let us be careful about what we say to the Lord. He takes very seriously our words to Him. He judges us by what we say for our words are rooted in the integrity of our hearts. It is dangerous to make promises to God that we don’t, or can’t keep.

If you have made promises that you have not kept to God, admit it and ask for His forgiveness. And, ask Him to keep you from rash promises. Ask Him to help you count the cost before you speak. Ask Him for greater control over your words. Ask Him to keep your heart pure so that what does come out of your mouth will be words you mean and can back up with your living.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Lord despises double standards.

Prov. 20:23  The Lord dispises double standards; he is not pleased by dishonest scales.

Let us think about this for a moment.  What are double standards?  They are the things we say but don’t do.  They are the things we tell others to do that we don’t do.  They are things we expect out of others but we don’t expect for ourselves.  They are self-serving and God hates these things.

Double standards come from impure hearts.  They come from those who are living under the control of Satan and not God.  They are unstable souls who have no firm foundation in life.  They do not live by absolute truths.  They fit their standards to fit the moment they are in.  They have no qualms about taking advantage of others when it serves their purposes.  They are not honest with others, themselves or God.

The godly are not like that.  Godly people live by God’s absolute standards.  They do not devitate from what they know God would have them do.  They are unshakable when it comes to doing what is right before God, no matter how it may affect their lives.  Godly people are concerned about pleasing God and not man.  They deal honestly with others and treat them with kindness and respect.  They practice what they preach to others.  They are not self-serving and do not take advantage of others for personal gain or comfort.

The Lord knows the standards that govern your life.  He knows what you are doing and why you do them.  Nothing escapes His notice.  Does the Lord hate what you are doing, or is He well-pleased?  He holds you accountable and responsible for the standards you live by.  Do not do things the world’s ways; live by God’s standards.  Only the righteous in heart will see God.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The godly walk with integrity.

Prov. 20:7  The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children after them.

The goldy walk with integrity.  In the godly there is steadfast honesty.  There is a commitment to truthfulness.  A personwith integrity seeks to always do what is right and good.  He is transparent and will not compromise what he knows to be true.  The goldy wear proudly the badge of integrity.

Blessed are the choldren of those who live in integrity because they have an example worthy to follow.  Children imitate their parents.  They learn from their parents how to behave in life.  What they see is deemed to be normal and acceptable behavior.  When children have godly parents they are truly blessed.  They learn how to live life on a godly plain.  They are taught the pathway to God where true happiness and contentment is found  They learn that life is more than the shallowness found in the world.

Walking with integrity is no guarantee that one’s children will walk in their footsteps.  Everyone must choose for themselves whom they will serve.  When parents walk with integrity they give their children the opportunity to make choices that will lead them into godliness.  It makes a child’s choices so much more difficult if he doesn’t have a godly example to observe and follow.  The greatest act of love that a parent can give to his child is to love the Lord with all of his heart, mind and soul.  No one has to be held a prisoner to his upbringing.  Jesus is always amongst men to show us that He is the way, truth and life.  To God be the glory! 

Praise the Lord for His amazing grace that draws people to Him in spite of the example set before them.  Praise Him for those parents who set a godly example for their children to follow.

There is no greater gift that you can leave your children or grandchildren than the gift of a life lived with godly integrity.  Their lives are truly blessed for they get to see first hand faith that works.  Are you walking with godly integrity before your children?  Are your children blessed because of the life you live before them?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Loyalty makes a person attractive. And it is better to be poor than dishonest.


Prov. 19:22  Loyalty makes a person attractive.  And it is better to be poor than dishonest.

Loyalty is that character trait that causes us to stay true to another regardless of the circumstances.  It flows from a sense of trust and familiarity.  You discover that another is dependable and will not seek to harm you in any way, therefore you embrace and stick by him.

Loyalty is an essential part of any lasting relationship.  Marriages will not last without it.  Friendships come and go depending on how loyal people are to each other.  When trust is broken, it is very hard to reclaim.  No one wants to be around people they cannot trust.  Loyalty flows from the heart.  The closer one lives to Christ, the more dependable he is.

It is a thing of beauty to observe true loyalty, whether it’s on the human or spiritual plane.  It’s the glue that holds together any lasting friendship.  God reveals himself as one who is loyal to us.  He never leaves us alone and will never go away.  He seeks always our good and will always be our strongest supporter.  The Lord will never let us down, drag us down, or hold us down.  He always wants to help us reach our potential in Him.  Our Lord’s loyalty is one of those qualities that make Him so attractive to us.  He is the only one whom we can absolutely depend on in life to be on our side because there is no sin in Him.  He cannot fail to be our loyal friend.

There is probably no greater disappointment than to have someone whom you thought you knew well enough to count them as a loyal friend betray your trust.  There are those who will pretend to be your friend but when the chips are down, they go away.  It is far better to be poor and have no friends than to have friends like that.  Be discerning in whom you place your trust.  And, seek always to be one whom others can trust.  Examine your heart.  Do you have what it takes to be a true-blue friend?  Do you possess enough God-like character to not betray another’s trust?  The closer you live to the Lord, the better friend you will be. 

Someone you know needs you to be a loyal friend. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

You can make plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail.

Prov. 19:21 You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.

We must understand and accept this wonderful truth. The Lord is on the throne of heaven and His purpose will prevail. We like to be in control of our own destiny. We like to have a say in how things are going to work out for us in life. We like to determine our own paths. We work hard to make our lives become what we want them to be.

However, our plans may not be in line with God’s purposes.  In fact, His purpose for life may be drastically different than our plans. We can prevent His purpose from becoming a reality in us by our stubborn refusal to let Him have His way with us. But when that happens, His greater plan of judgment will prevail. We can either live the life He plans for us or we can become victims of our plans. It’s a choice we all make in life.

The Lord’s purpose for life is redemption. It is why we exist and why He came. He will save all those who come to Him. He will redeem and purify His people and make them fit for His eternal kingdom.  He will give them hope, peace, joy and a reason to live.  He will forgive all those who come to Him.  He will instill in the heart a desire for Him and a willingness to live for Him.

Let this marvelous truth encourage you today. The Lord’s purpose for your life will prevail if you walk humbly before Him. He will make you into the person He created you to be. He will use you in ways you can’t even begin to imagine now. All the forces of hell can’t thwart the plans God has for you.

Go ahead and make as many plans for your future as you want, but always remember this wonderful truth, “The Lord’s purpose will prevail.”  Man cannot prevent the Lord from accomplishing His will to redeem as many as will let Him and usher them home to heaven.  Righteousness will prevail; all sin will be judged and cast into the lake of fire reserved for those who reject the Lord. 

Align yourself up with God’s purposes and all will be well with your soul, both today and throughout all of eternity.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

There is nothing wrong with admitting you don't know it all.

Prov. 19: 20 Get all the advice and instruction you can, and be wise the rest of your life.

There is nothing wrong with admitting you don’t know it all. There is always more to learn and understand about life and ourselves. Get all the advice and instruction you can. Seek out sources that can help you. The beginning point is on your knees before God. The Word tells us that it is the Holy Spirit who instructs us in the things of God and gives us understanding. We must ask Him to open up our minds and hearts so that we can learn more about Him and his ways.

Listen to others who have walked the path upon which you are walking. We are surrounded by a great crowd of witnesses who can offer sound advice because they have already experienced what you are experiencing. They can forewarn you of the dangers that lie ahead so you can be prepared for them and avoid them. They can encourage you by giving you hope and confidence that it can be done.

Learn from your life experiences.  Some lessons are best learned by our failures.  We learn what not to do and more importantly, why not to do them.  We learn that when we stumble and fall we didn’t know what we thought we knew.  We learn that our strength to do what is right does not come from us, but it comes from Christ.  We learn that there is so much more for us to learn as we endeavor to live lives that are pleasing to God.

Listen to God’s Word proclaimed. God gives his messengers insight into his Word and the authority to proclaim it. Tune in to the advice and instruction that God gives through them.  Evaluate carefully what you hear in light of what the Spirit shows you in the Word of God.  Then, when you hear what God is saying, seek to put it into practice in your life.

Listen and let the Lord instruct you on how to grow in your faith and knowledge of Him. If you do these things, you will be wise the rest of your life. And, in your wisdom, you will in turn be able to help those who follow in your footsteps.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Discipline is good for the soul.

Prov. 19:18 Discipline your children while there is hope. If you don’t you will ruin their lives.

Discipline is good for the soul. We have a natural tendency to do what is wrong. We are not able to identify wrong behavior without help. We need a guiding and firm hand to show us what is right and hold us accountable for it. We naturally do what is sin and need to be taught that sinful behavior has consequences and is not acceptable or good for our well-being. Sin left unchecked ruins the soul. Its end is an eternity in hell.

Understanding right from wrong is essential for discipline to work.  There can be no gray area on behavioral issues.  Clear guidelines must be communicated so that one’s children will not be confused when discipline is meted out.  Understanding the importance of guiding children on what is right and wrong is essential for the well-being of our children.  Anyone without moral guidance will end up a real mess and burden to society unless the Lord miraculously intervenes. 

In order for discipline to be effective, children must see consistency in the lives of their parents.  They must see their parents practicing what they preach.  Children tend to imitate their parents and if they see their parents living a different life than they are expecting their children to live, there will be very little co-operation and conflict will be the norm.

Discipline flows from a loving heart. It shows that someone loves us enough to help us do what is right. It is essential to healthy and happy living. It is true on a human level and it is true in our relationship with God.

“Thank you, Lord, that you love us so much that you won’t spoil us and let us get away with sin. Thank You that you will do whatever you can to keep us from self-destruction. Thank You for keeping us on track. Lord, don’t let up. We need Your corrective hand. We need You to hold us accountable for our sin. We need Your loving discipline.  We need to know that You indeed  love us and that you take an active interest in our lives.  Lord, forgive us when we resist you; we are prone  to wander from you and we must have your help to keep us on track. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Zeal without knowledge is not good.......

Prov. 19:2 Zeal without knowledge is not good; a person who moves too quickly may go the wrong way.

There are many people who are easily excitable and motivated. They are quick to jump on board and quick to fall off. They jump in with great gusto and are driven along by their emotions. Zeal is a good and needed thing in the cause of Christ, but zeal without knowledge is a bad thing.

We need to know with our heads and hearts what we are standing for and promoting. We need to be grounded deeply in Truth before we promote it. Knowledge helps us to keep from error. There are many things that have been said and are being said in the name of the Lord that simply are not backed up by Scripture. Many people have been led astray by false teachings and are leading others away simply because they have not taken the time to get grounded in the Word.

We must be students of God’s Word before we become proclaimers of it. We must not let our emotions drive us, but instead let the Spirit drive us through the Word. It is easy to get off track. We must strive to be certain that when we profess to be speaking for the Lord that we really are. More harm than good has been done by wrongly motivated zeal than about anything else in the church.

I am not saying we shouldn’t be zealous about Christ and his Word. We absolutely should be. But, we must be sure that we know what we are talking about when we speak. False teaching causes many people to never know Christ as Savior and Lord. It easily causes people to put their trust and hope for salvation elsewhere.

Study the Word, pray that the Spirit gives you proper understanding of it, and then get all excited and go and tell everybody that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Monday, August 18, 2014

We need to be wise in whom we befriend.

Prov. 18:24 There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

Everybody has “friends”, people who they have fellowship with to some degree. Some friends are better than others. Some so-called friends are self-serving. They are friendly and kind as long as it benefits them in some way or another. When it ceases to be good for them, they are gone. Some “friends” will turn on you when they feel they have been wronged in some way. Some get downright mean.  Some are there for you as long as it benefits them in some way.

We need to be wise in whom we befriend. The better we get to know those whom we allow to get close to us, the more we can count on them to be with us as we travel through the rough times of life. A real friend knows us well enough to believe in us and trust us when others forsake us. A real friend cares about what we are facing and comes alongside of us to support and help us. A real friend stands strong on our behalf. A real friend doesn’t go away, even when we may deserve it. A real friend is one who will lovingly help us when we need correction and discipline. A real friend cares about us and will not let us self-destruct without guidance and warning.  A real friend can be trusted when the heart is opened up and confidences are shared to not blab them to others. 

I have known “friends” and I have real friends. Think about those whom you call friends. Thank the Lord today for those who are real friends. Cherish dearly and nurture those friendships, for they will keep you steady in the storms of life.

Are you a “friend” or a real friend? Can you be trusted to be loyal and supportive of others? Do you embrace or judge others? Do you have compassion for others who are hurting and can you hold in confidence what they may share with you?  I challenge you today to let the Lord make you into a real friend. Let Him change whatever needs to be changed in you so that it can be said of you that you are a true-blue friend.  There are people you know who need to know that you can be counted on to be a dependable friend. 

God expects nothing less out of you than that you be a person of integrity who is a real friend.  He has placed you in the lives of others to be His voice to their hearts.  Don’t let the Lord or your friend down.  Be the kind of a person that others will be proud to call you a friend.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Life is too short to let sin ruin a good friendship.

Prov. 18:19  It is harder to make amends with an offended friend than to capture a fortified city.

Maybe you can identify with this truth.  I know I can.  It’s hard to get over the hurdle of hurt feelings.  It’s hard to restore a friendship when you feel a trust has been broken or your integrity has been questioned.  It is hard to move forward in a relationship that has been harmed by a divisive spirit.

It is important that we do all that we can do to avoid those things that would divide us.  It is imperative that we seek to find a peaceful and acceptable resolution for our differences.  We can’t let nature take its course and hope for the best.  We must first pray and ask the Lord for His help.

We need to search out our own hearts and ask the Lord to help us understand and accept our role in the disagreement.  We need to ask the Lord to mellow our hearts and look upon others throught the lens of Christ’s love.  We need to seek reconcilation to the best of our ability.  And then if reconciliation doesn’t happen, we need to ask the Lord to help us move forward with grace and love.  We need the Lord’s help to guard our tongue so we don’t speak in a degrading way about another.  We need to ask the Lord to help us to not let emotional poison creep into our hearts.  And, we need to ask the Lord to hold us accountable for our role in that which has created a rift between us.  Where we have sinned we must humble ourselves and ask the Lord to forgive us and then seek forgiveness from our friend whom we have offended.

Life is too short to let sin ruin a good friendship.  Is there a friendship that needs restored in your life?  Do you need to talk to the Lord about it?  Is there anything you have to ask Him for forgiveness for?  Is there anything you need to reach out to your lost friend and apologize for?  You may not be able to restore the friendship, but as far as it is possible for you to do, you must do your part and try if you want to live in peace with God and yourself.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

What a shame, what folly, to give advice before listening to the facts!

Prov. 18:13  What a shame, what folly, to give advice before listening to the facts!

It happens all the time.  People are quick to give advice before they know the facts.  It takes time to discern truth from fiction.  One must listen carefully and give careful thought to what he hears.  One must be sure that what he hears is actually what the truth is.  We are not God and mistakes are made, but we can avoid a lot of mistakes in the advice we give by doing our homework first.  There are several reasons why we are not very good listeners.

We tend to think more highly of ourselves than we ought.  We think of ourselves as being wise and able to readily share our wisdom with others.  We often consider ourselves able to discern truth from error without much investigation.  We often are very poor listeners, wanting to talk more than listen.  We often are not really knowledge about the subject at hand and do not want to admit it.  We sometimes consider ourselves too busy to take the time to listen to the facts.

Whatever the reason, poor listeners give more often than not poor advice.  We lead others astray and create problems for them and ultimately ourselves.  It is foolish to give advice without knowing what we are talking about.  We lose our respectability and the trust of others.  We become the problem instead of the problem solver.

Wise is he who is grounded in the Word of God so that when advice is sought for he can speak from the context of the Scriptures.  Wise is he who is so in touch with the Lord that he knows when to keep silent about things he is not able to adequately give advice on.  Wise is he who understands that he does not know all things and is not too proud to admit it.  Wise is he who loves others enough to not lead them astray with bad advice.

God gives us minds to use properly, to help one another think and act Biblically about things.  Let us be careful when we give advice.  Let us be sure that we are grounded in the Word and know the facts before we speak. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Humilty is fertile soil for a healthy soul.

Prov. 18:12  Haughtiness goes before destruction; humility before honor.

Haughtiness is pride.  It is patting one’s self on the back when something noteworthy is accomplished.  It is the sense that I did it, that I am of greater worth because of what I was able to do.  Pride elevates our self-worth in our own eyes, if even for just a moment.  Pride can very easily become self-destructive.  It can cause us to think better of ourselves than we should.  It can cause us to exclude God from the mix.  Pride is more about me than it is about God or others.  It is very hard to keep pride in check and that is why a humble spirit is a much better way to go.

Humility is fertile soil for a healthy soul.  It is an awareness that we owe to the Lord all of our talents and giftedness, and without Him, we can do nothing.  Humility is more about seeking to honor the Lord than self.  It is keeping one’s self in check and letting the Lord worry about the honoring.   Humility is a badge of honor from the Lord that we ought to wear always.  If you please the whole world and do not please God, what have you gained?

How does one go about being humble?  Humility is gained by keeping your relationship with the Lord what it should be.  It is depending on the Lord for all things and recognizing that all things that you are and are able to do is from the Lord.  It is knowing that you are created by God to fill a specific role in life and your ability to do it is because of God’s gifts to you.  Humility is understanding that God owes you nothing and you owe Him everything.  It is understanding that you are chosen by God, redeemed by God, and kept by God alone.  Humble are those who seek God’s honor and glory and not their own.

Watch over your soul carefully.  Be honest about yourself.  When you see pride creeping in, confess it to the Lord.  Do not let it get a foothold in your heart because it can destroy your soul.  In all things seek to honor Christ and resist the temptation to feed off the honor others may bestow on you.  Be gracious when others praise you and redirect their praises to God who alone is worthy to be praised.   

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A wise person doesn't have to talk all the time.

Prov. 17:27  A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered.

It’s hard to be wise isn’t it?  We like to express our opinions.  In a time in which self is promoted so heavily by the world, everyone wants to be heard.  We want to know that what we know matters.  We believe we have THE answer to whatever is the hot topic of a conversation.  We are quick to speak and slow to think about what we say before we say it.

The problem is, we are often proven to be wrong in what we say.  Without careful thought we often speak without being properly informed.  We are not as smart as we think we are and often put ourselves in awkward situations.  When we talk too much we become exposed.  Our lack of knowledge and understanding becomes evident and others soon tune us out.  Very few people like to be around people who think they know it all.

A wise person doesn’t have to talk all the time.  He is patient and speaks what is truth rather than what he thinks.  He knows the value of keeping quiet on topics he is not knowledgeable enough to speak on.  A wise person listens to what others say so he can learn from them. 

A wise person is even-tempered because he doesn’t need to always prove himself to others.  He understands what he knows.  He understands his limitations and is comfortable with them.  He understands that he doesn’t have to be heard all the time.  He is not hung up on himself and does not have to be in control. 

If you find yourself needing to dominate, take it to the Lord.  You need understanding on why it is important to control your tongue and keep your opinions to yourself.  You need to learn the value of self-control.  Wise are those who don’t open their mouths and make fools of themselves.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Disregarding another person's faults preserves love; telling about the seperates close friends.

Prov. 17:9 Disregarding another person’s faults preserves love; telling about them separates close friends.

We have a problem that doesn’t go away. We are prone to see the faults in people more than we do their good qualities. We magnify flaws more than we should. It is easy to see what’s wrong with others and overlook what is right with them. We do it for a variety of reasons. Probably the greatest reason is that when we do it, we forget about ourselves and our flaws. As long as we can point fingers at others, we can forget how needy we are to change. We live in denial. We think we are better off than we really are. We think we are justified in comparing others to ourselves and calling them up short.

First of all, we need to see ourselves for who we really are before God and not man. How we stack up to others is not even in the formula. All that matters is how God sees us. He sees our heart and knows our thoughts. He is never fooled by the way we portray ourselves. The sooner we accept this truth, the better we are.

We must then confess to the Lord what he reveals to us. We must not excuse ourselves or let it slide. We have need of confession for our sins. We have no business looking down on others because they are sinners when we ourselves are guilty of sin. We must take the log out of our own eyes before we take upon ourselves the duty of trying to take the splinter out of someone else’s eyes.

Love dictates that we mind our own business when it comes to the faults of others. We need to embrace others in love. We need to focus on the good in them and let the Lord take care of the rest. If there is something that should be pointed out for someone’s good because it is the loving thing to do, we should do it prayerfully and carefully. We should always do it out of love and never with a condescending or judgmental spirit.

Criticizing others drives them away from us. No one wants to be around someone who is always finding fault. The best way to be friendless is to have a critical and judgmental spirit. If you find yourself with very few friends, perhaps you need to look in the mirror and take an honest look at yourself as you stand before God.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the Lord tests the heart.

Prov. 17:3  Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the LORD tests the heart.

If you want pure gold and silver they must survive the test of fire.  Fire gets rid of all the impurities that may be found there.  The end result of going through the fire is a product that is beautiful, pure and of great worth.

It is the same with the soul.  In order for the soul to be something of beauty and useful to God, it must first be tested and refined by God.  The goal of God as He works in us is to make us pure.  He never stops working on us because He knows that we will never be 100% pure this side of heaven.  He created us with a will and He knows that we don’t always choose to cooperate with Him.  We stuggle and sometimes fight the process.  We don’t like the process of going through the fire; it makes us uncomfortable and sometimes hurts a lot.  We try to avoid the heat as much as possible.  And the more we struggle against God, the more we find ourselves in need of God’s testing and refining.

Left alone we will never become pure in heart; we will avoid the refining fire.  We will never be found to be pleasing and acceptable to God.  We must let the Lord work in us.  Knowing that He loves us and sees the beautiful person we can become, it is in our best interest to submit to Him and let Him have His way with us. 

“Thank you, O Lord, for not giving up on us.  We thank You for seeing in us something beautiful to reclaim.  We thank You for your refining fire.  We thank You that we are becoming pure in heart.  Lord, we confess those times in which we struggle against you.  We know we don’t always let You have your way with us and thus delay the process of our becoming pure.  We ask You to forgive us.  Lord, we must have your help in this.  We ask You to strengthen our resolve to not sin against you.  We ask that You do whatever you need to do in us to make us pure and keep us that way.  Lord, test our hearts today.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

Monday, August 11, 2014

When you speak truth because you live it, you gain respect and are trusted.

Prov. 16:21 The wise are known for their understanding, and instruction is appreciated if it's well presented.

There are good teachers and bad teachers. There are those who teach from what they know and those who teach what they don't know. A good teacher believes from the heart what he has learned and knows to be true. The best teachers have lived and experienced the truthfulness of what they teach. Understanding comes from living, not books. Speaking from experience validates one's teachings.

When you speak truth because you live it, you gain respect and are trusted. It is important to know what gives a teacher credibility. The better you know your teacher, the more you can trust the worth of what is being said. Wisdom dictates that we be careful whom we allow to teach us.

It is good to sit at the feet of a good teacher who knows well how to teach. We learn best from those who teach well. For me, one of the things that I respond well to is one who teaches from the heart and not just a book. I trust more what is lived than I do what is taught. I want to know how truth works in life.

If you are a teacher of the Word, take your role as a teacher seriously. Those you teach are depending on you to help them learn how to apply Truth to their living. They need to know from your living and learning how to better walk in faith. Don't waste the opportunity God gives you to help others. Do your best to present Truth well. Don't be afraid to be transparent. Share how you have learned the lessons of faith you teach. Share your struggles, failures and victories. In other words, be real. It's okay to be vulnerable, because everyone is in real life.

If you are not a teacher, thank the Lord for your teachers, pray for them, and let them know that you appreciate them.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The path you are on is leading you to either heaven or hell.

Prov. 16:17  The path of the upright leads away from evil; whoever follows that path is safe.

Where is the path you are on leading you?  Are you moving closer to God or Satan?  The path of the upright is different than the path the world travels on.  The upright are those who live by God’s standards; they are striving to be holy before both God and man.  They are known by their kindness and goodness.  They exemplify the character of Christ and are not caught up in the ways of the world.

The upright are constantly moving away from evil.  They grow more and more like Christ the closer they get to Him.  They are focused on what is before them and do not look back on the evil they are leaving behind them.  They become more interested in godly things than they do earthly things.  They grow more and more of a distaste for evil.  They understand the affect evil has on them and strive to stay away from it.  They know that the path they are on is a lonely and misunderstood path, but it does not bother them.  They choose to do what is right, even if they are the only ones doing it.

Whoever is on the path of the upright is kept safe from harm.  There are many potential harmful potholes along the way because Satan is always around dogging our steps.  He wants to pull us off the path of righteousness or into the potholes and will do everything possible to make it happen.  But, the Lord walks with the upright.  There is nothing Satan can do to harm us with Jesus as our protector and traveling companion.  Things may get rough, but the Lord is always there to hold us steady and if we do fall, to pick us up and help us get on our way again.  No matter how hard he tries, Satan cannot keep the upright from getting home to glory.  We can expect to get some bumps and bruises along the way and to get dirty, but the Lord will see us home.

The path of life you are on is leading you to either heaven or hell.  Where is your path leading you?