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(#206) The Proverbs of Solomon 30:29-31-Walk the Royal Walk

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-29:27 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. Proverbs 30-31 were added and preserved by the Holy Spirit. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 30:29-31: “There are three things which are majestic in pace, Yes, four which are stately in walk: A lion, which is mighty among beasts And does not turn away from any; A greyhound, A male goat also, And a king whose troops are with him.”

Walking regally is an indication of inner confidence and fearlessness. Regality is born out of security, violence from hatred and fear. There is a reason for these four to illustrate “majestic pace” which Christians, especially, should add to their lives:

“A lion” because of strength and power. As our “adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8), so the wicked “have closed up their fat hearts; With their mouths they speak proudly. They have now surrounded us in our steps; They have set their eyes, crouching down to the earth, As a lion is eager to tear his prey, And like a young lion lurking in secret places (Psalm 17:10-12). Those who follow God should have every reason to be secure. “In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge” (Proverbs 14:26); “The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1); “But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict (1 Thessalonians 2:2). Christians must realize that we are to “abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1 John 2:28).

“A greyhound” because of speed and agility. God hates “feet that are swift in running to evil” (Proverbs 6:18), but faithful followers of God, who are “swift to hear” (James 1:19), often receive help from Him quickly. “In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, For You will answer me” (Psalm 86:7); Answer me speedily, O LORD; My spirit fails! Do not hide Your face from me, Lest I be like those who go down into the pit. Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You” (Psalm 143:7-8); “For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12).

“A male goat” because of place and leadership. A man was created first (1 Timothy 2:13), and should be the leader of righteousness in his home (Ephesians 5:22-24). Those who refuse this God-given responsibility are rejected by God. “For the perverse person is an abomination to the LORD, But His secret counsel is with the upright” (Proverbs 3:32).

“A king” because of trust and loyalty. “If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them” (Ecclesiastes 5:8). All government officials should take care to rule with righteousness, lest their enemies come from within.

These four illustrations give a “majestic” walk to the faithful. “You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield” (Psalm 115:11). “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #christian-living, #god, #majestic, #obedience, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #walk

Oil and Water – Light and Darkness

Some things just don’t mix and some things have no business mingling. Even the word of God says so (1 Corinthians 15:33, 2 Corinthians 6:17-18).

This thought came to mind last night when I saw a story on a local News station about one of the videos that has been nominated for the “Christian Music” award named after a particular bird. The video actually featured and praised a prominent homosexual for their example of overcoming a physical illness – not their sin!

That’s cheap religion. That’s a promotion void of godliness. That’s an emotional plea that casts the necessity of repentance to the side. And that’s why the majority of religious people are walking the broad way that leads to Hell (Matthew 7:13-14).

God’s grace, our faith and the salvation that’s meant to follow is not about us living the way our flesh decides and then going to Heaven when life is over. It’s about a determinate decision to respond to the grace of God which teaches us, through faith, that we should be “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,” (Titus 2:12-13).

Experience has shown me that the vast majority of what’s called “Christian Music” is a label that’s woefully deceptive. It promotes false doctrine. It appeals to the masses as cutting edge. And, as this “nominated video” has plainly revealed, it’s a tool of the Devil that’s used to bring glory to the message of entertainers and entertainment instead of glory to God and the gospel message of sin, repentance, restoration, righteousness, service and salvation.

 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.” (Ephesians 5:8-12)

#christian-living, #christian-music, #conformity, #worldliness

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(#198) The Proverbs of Solomon 29:24-Wanna Abet?

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 29:24: “Whoever is a partner with a thief hates his own life; He swears to tell the truth, but reveals nothing.”

Solomon has already judged against agreeing to uphold someone else’s debt (Proverbs 11:15; 17:18; 20:16; 22:26-27; 27:13), now he warns against sharing in someone’s sin! The gang members, driver of the get-away vehicle, owner/renter of a meth lab house, participants in the crime, are all as guilty as the one who actually commits the sin! This proverb shows that the one who shares in “thievery,” for instance, will end up losing his/her honesty and integrity by swearing “to tell the truth, but reveal[ing] nothing.”

The truth of this proverb remains unchanged in the New Testament Law of Jesus Christ: “Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure” (1 Timothy 5:22); “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds” (2 John 9-11); “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:28-32). Saul of Tarsus may not have stoned the first martyr for Jesus Christ, Stephen, but Saul protected the coats of those who did the stoning (Acts 7:54-60)! This still bothered him toward the end of his spiritually-productive life (1 Timothy 1:12-16)!

Choose your associates and friends carefully; be well aware of what they’re up to; have the courage to avoid damning situations! They may actually “think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you” (1 Peter 4:4).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #christian-living, #guilt, #honesty, #integrity, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #sharing, #sins, #wisdom

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(#191) The Proverbs of Solomon 28:24-Robbing “The Greatest Generation”

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 28:24: “Whoever robs his father or his mother, And says, ‘It is no transgression,’ The same is companion to a destroyer.”

Respect for parents keeps civilization alive. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12) is repeated in the Law of Jesus Christ: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth’” (Ephesians 6:1-3). It is this endearing quality in humanity that is the backbone of an enduring society. In addition to our fathers passing along to us “life,” they should have “corrected us,” and we should have “paid them respect” (Hebrews 12:9). But the commandment honors both father “and mother!” A mother’s womb is a person’s first safe house where God develops it (Psalm 139:13-16), and while unborn, the baby has not done “any good or evil” (Romans 9:11). The “fruit of the womb” is our inheritance from God (Psalm 127:3), and only godless, vicious people would “have no pity on the fruit of the womb” (Isaiah 13:17-18).

It’s too bad in our society, often it is honoring one or the other parent, or neither at all! Whether we break into their houses and rob their possessions, or stealing our time away from them, or letting greedy government take their earnings, when      and how do we honor our parents? Because they have lived through deprivation and destruction, they have been termed “the greatest generation.” But do they deserve our dereliction of duty to “honor” them? Not just that generation, but each generation that includes our parents deserves our “honor” and “respect.”

The Israelite Nation rejected God’s Son (John 1:11-12), and their destruction also included what they had done at home: “Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death” (Mark 13:12). What have we done to either protect or rob our parents? No child should dishonor its parent(s) and pass it off by saying “it is no transgression”—because it is! No society can last that disrespects its parents!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #christian-living, #father, #honor, #mother, #parents, #proverbs, #respect, #unborn, #wisdom, #womb

Meekness understood with common words

Meekness is a word that causes many people to draw a picture in their head as soon as they hear it – and for many people the picture looks like this: ?

The “technical” definition of meekness would be something similar to, “power or strength brought under control in such a way that the result is a gentle spirit or a mild disposition in dealing with others”.

Got it? Perhaps sorta? Perhaps not?

Then let’s use a simpler way to describe it.

To put it in simple words meekness would be, “trusting the judgment of God and treating others in a way that cares more about being right with God than just setting others right even when they’re wrong in the way they treat us”.

This doesn’t mean the meek can’t get angry with a righteous anger; but it does mean that being meek keeps our anger from keeping us from being who God has called us to be.

Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger.” (Zephaniah 2:3)

#beattitudes, #bible-words, #christian-living, #meekness

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(#181) The Proverbs of Solomon 26:18-19-Impractical Jokes

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 26:18-19: “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, Is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, ‘I was only joking!’”

A “madman” is a person who is out of control because he/she isn’t bothered by moral restraint, sympathetic feeling, or consideration for others. Anyone who indiscriminately “throws” around “firebrands” (or torches, bombs), “arrows” (or bullets, missiles), “death” (or ieds, drones, or other instruments of death) leaves a path of burned, wounded, or dead people! It does not excuse such behavior by simply saying, “I was only joking!” So-called “reality” TV shows that see “what people would do” set a standard of lies, deceit, and trickery that hardens the consciences of their audience against good judgment and sympathy. When angels of God warned Lot that Sodom would be destroyed for its perversions, “Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, ‘Get up, get out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city!’ But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking” (Genesis 19:14). When something is taken as a “joke,” then the responses to it are not real, and in their case, they died because of it!

Christians are not to participate in such madness: “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:3-6). Such behavior doesn’t become a Christian. What is condemned is: “filthiness” which is behavior without morals; “foolish talking” which is empty conversation that shows contempt or ridicule; “coarse jesting” which is the double-entendre, underhanded, turned meaning of words. All of these are what worldly comedy, practical jokes, and other types of madness are made of. Christians can have “fun,” just not like “a madman.”

Do not be deceived by “empty words” that say otherwise, God will hold each individual responsible for his/her behavior on: “the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ” (Romans 2:16). No joke!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #christian-living, #good-judgment, #joking, #life, #madmen, #morals, #practical-jokes, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #wisdom

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(#180) The Proverbs of Solomon 26:6-7, 9-10-Misplaced Trust

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 26:6-7, 9-10: “He who sends a message by the hand of a fool Cuts off his own feet and drinks violence. Like the legs of the lame that hang limp Is a proverb in the mouth of fools…Like a thorn that goes into the hand of a drunkard Is a proverb in the mouth of fools. The great God who formed all things Gives the fool his hire and the transgressor his wages.

“Fools” are people who live worldly lives and ignore God’s Laws: “A wise man fears and departs from evil, But a fool rages and is self-confident” (Proverbs 14:16); “A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, But a fool’s wrath is heavier than both of them” (Proverbs 27:3); “A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back” (Proverbs 29:11); “A wise man’s heart is at his right hand, But a fool’s heart at his left” (Ecclesiastes 10:2). Therefore they cannot be trusted like someone who is obedient to God: “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Colossians 3:8-10).

Verse 6: After reading about “fools” in the Book of Proverbs, knowing they do not respect God, truth, responsibility, or concern about others, depending upon “a fool” to accurately pass along “a message” makes the sender seem as lame as the message! Such is the stuff of gossip, slander, and libel: “He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; Therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips” (Proverbs 20:19). People who refuse to work are usually guilty of “gossip” (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12).

Verse 7: “A proverb” is designed to parallel an earthly truth with heavenly understanding. Solomon said: “And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out and set in order many proverbs. The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright-words of truth” (Ecclesiastes 12:9-10). Jesus said: “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3:12). “Lame legs” cannot bear their user, neither can a “proverb” convey truth to “a fool.” Jesus used “parables” for that reason (Matthew 13:10-13).

Verse 9: “A drunkard” has lost sensitivity to pain (Proverbs 23:35), so would not consciously understand a parable that he/she taught!

Verse 10: ALL of this inequity, uncertainty, and lack of dependability will be paid back, for God will judge and punish “fools” by giving them their “hire” and pay them back what they have earned, for “he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality” (Colossians 3:25).

“Fools” can be saved, but only if they repent of being foolish. Christians were “once foolish,” but saved by the “kindness and love of God our Savior” when they repented and were baptized “for the remission of sins” (Titus 3:3-7; Acts 2:38, 41, 47). Don’t trust in foolishness!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #christian-living, #drunkard, #fools, #gossip, #judgment, #lame, #proverbs

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Since God Created humans only God can provide…

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 25:26: “A righteous man who falters before the wicked Is like a murky spring and a polluted well.”

No one but Jesus Christ has been perfect but the ungodly Jews hurled every accusation against Him they could concoct. “And He was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him, and were unable to do anything; for all the people were very attentive to hear Him” (Luke 19:47-48); “Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none” (Matthew 26:59-60); “And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. Then Pilate said to Him, ‘Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?’ But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly” (Matthew 27:12-14).

Sinful people cannot wait to find “a righteous man” who sins, for then they may say, “Christians are hypocrites;” “I’m as good as anyone who goes to church;” “the Gospel of Christ hasn’t helped all others be good,” ad nauseum. And it is true as Solomon later said: “Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, And cause it to give off a foul odor; So does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor” (Ecclesiastes 10:1). No one is justifying sin in a righteous man, “For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity” (Proverbs 24:16).

Sinners who point their finger at a Christian who “falters before the wicked” are: (1) hypocritical; arrogant; judgmental; unjust; and merciless, all of which are damned by the Word of God; (2) ignorant of the fact that they are “the wicked” and therefore damned by God; (3) expecting God to follow their standard of judgment (no sin can be condemned as long as a righteous person has sinned), instead of His standard of righteousness (John 12:48-50; Acts 17:30-31).

Knowing sinners seek to “justify themselves in the sight of men” (Luke 16:15), Christians must “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time” (Colossians 4:5). But know this, no sinner’s sins will be excused by any Christian’s sin(s) because “those who are outside God judges” (1 Corinthians 5:13). If you are outside of Christ, you have no excuse and only one appeal. “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Sinners, are you too “chicken” to see if you can do any better?

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #christian-living, #hypocritical, #judgmental, #proverbs, #sinners, #world

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(#174) The Proverbs of Solomon 25:17-Twitter This

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 25:17: “Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house, Lest he become weary of you and hate you.”

If there ever was a cautionary warning about “social media,” this is it! It is possible to “wear out our welcome.” Facebook fans, beware. Not everyone wants to read about what your husband will have for supper, or how many messy diapers your baby has had, or how many trips you make to the store, or where you plan to grill food for company, or everything your children accomplish. The most tiresome invitation used to include, “and we have slides of our family,” but now it seems to be “friend me on Facebook!” There are many who “unfriend” those who seem to “think” with Facebook, Twitter, or on other social media. Enough is enough.

Social media seems to have cultivated a climate that was condemned by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul: “And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some have already turned aside after Satan” (1 Timothy 5:13-15). The responsibilities of home and family should be enough to keep one busy, and avoid being “gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.” With our constant, instant communication devices, people have forgotten the self-limiting barriers that should protect our privacy. It seems that “Generation N” (Narcissists) thinks everyone should be interested in everything going on in their lives without ever asking for that information!

The communication today is wonderful when used properly, but remember “too much familiarity breeds contempt.” Try talking to God, He does not get tired: “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #christian-living, #facebook, #family, #instagram, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #social-media, #twitter, #wisdom

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#172 The Proverbs of Solomon What To Do…

(#172) The Proverbs of Solomon What To Do When It’s “Reigning”
Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

This group of proverbs are good for understanding more about God-ordained government (Romans 13:1-7). The timelessness of these rules is seen in Christians who: “having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men– as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God” (1 Peter 2:12-16).

Proverbs 25:3: “As the heavens for height and the earth for depth, So the heart of kings is unsearchable.” Citizens outside of government circles may never fully comprehend its decisions, as “the heavens” and “the earth” may not completely be understood.

Proverbs 25:6-7: “Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of the great; 7 For it is better that he say to you, ‘Come up here,’ Than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince, Whom your eyes have seen.” This is a good social rule to apply to almost any situation, as Jesus applied it spiritually in Luke 14:7-11.

Proverbs 25:15: “By long forbearance a ruler is persuaded, And a gentle tongue breaks a bone.” It may take many appeals to be heard, but a ruler’s quick response may come from irritation and anger. Patience is a virtue (2 Peter 1:5-8).

Proverbs 29:26: “Many seek the ruler’s favor, But justice for man comes from the LORD.” Whatever government may decide, whether Supreme Court decision, Presidential Executive Order, or Congressional Legislation, the ultimate judgment of human behavior is in the hand of God only: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).  

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #christian-living, #government, #king, #proverbs, #ruler

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(#171) The Proverbs of Solomon 24:27-Comfort Is Not Job One!

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ. Proverbs 24:27: “Prepare your outside work, Make it fit for yourself in the field; And afterward build your house.” Work must come before convenience and comfort. The Garden of Eden came with a job (Genesis 2:15), having food requires work (2 Thessalonians 3:10), and this proverb emphasizes the comforts of a house depends upon how good of a job one does “outside” to earn that house! Many people have turned this completely around, for they are getting bigger and bolder houses, beyond what their parents have achieved, before establishing themselves in a career-type work. The order here taught by Wisdom should be to learn to work and earn while living with their parents so they are ready to embark upon working experiences that will help them toward their goal(s). All Old Testament prophecies of the Israelites returning to their Promised Land were fulfilled in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, however not without urging. In Ezra chapter 4, the re-building of the temple in Jerusalem stalled out, but God sent the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to preach plainly (Ezra 5:1). The people should not have been building their own houses and neglecting God’s House: “Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built.’ Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, ‘Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins? Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways!”’” (Haggai 1:2-5) Jesus applied this very truth to spiritual matters when: “great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it — lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.” Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple’” (Luke 14:25-33). Jesus also said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Obey the Lord first (Acts 2:38), get a job second (Ephesians 4:28), then plan some comforts (Proverbs 24:27). All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #christian-living, #comfort, #family, #house, #obedience, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #work

Loving our Neighbor is no Joke!

So a priest, a Levite and a Samaritan are walking down the Jericho road…but there’s no rim-shot that follows this line up. In a lesson about eternal life, loving God and loving one’s neighbor, Jesus tells a story that is still reverberating up to this day, and Jesus’ main point is that loving our neighbor is no joke!

Loving our neighbor forces us to cross ethnic and racial lines. Loving our neighbor forces us to cross economic and social status lines. Loving our neighbor forces us to cross unconventional and personally uncomfortable lines.

Hands get dirty when love enters the picture. Resources get used when love enters the picture.  Lives change when love enters the picture. And this is only for those who are willing to show it. Even the self-justification seeking, or maybe we could say excuse giving, lawyer of Moses’ Law had to admit this!

So the next time we have the opportunity to laugh at the misfortune of those with whom we don’t “gee and haw” we may need to stop and reconsider who the joke may end up being on if we fail to have a heart that sees the seriousness of loving our neighbor.

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20)

#christ-like, #christian-living, #christianity, #eternal-life, #great-commandment, #love, #neighbor

SIGNIFICANCE OF A FEW!

Power and significance in outcomes is not always associated with large numbers. God brought some great victories for Israel with just a few. Remember the victory He brought through Gideon with only 300 men. (Judges 7:7-8) Also, prior to entering the promised land, Israel was reminded of what had been done because God had been with them, in that one had been able to chase a thousand and two to have put ten thousand to flight. (Deuteronomy 32:30) This was to be a reminder that with God it mattered not what the count looked like; whether it be few or many.

Let us also remember all it would have taken was the presence of ten righteous souls to have spared the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding cities. (Genesis 18:32) What if Abraham had asked if God would have spared for the sake of four: Lot, his wife, and their two daughters?

Now, consider a focus during the days of the prophet Jeremiah where we read. . .

“(1) Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look and take note! Search her squares to SEE IF YOU CAN FIND A MAN, ONE WHO DOES JUSTICE AND SEEKS TRUTH, THAT I MAY PARDON HER.” (Jeremiah 5:1 ESV)

The New Living Translation reads, “”Run up and down every street in Jerusalem,” says the LORD. “Look high and low; search throughout the city! IF YOU CAN FIND EVEN ONE JUST AND HONEST PERSON, I WILL NOT DESTROY THE CITY.”” (NLT) Find JUST ONE? Only ONE would have made the difference? How sad that at this time Jerusalem refused to repent and a period of captivity followed.

Consider the significance of OUR OWN LIFE in connection with our trust in God. Regardless of what the world around us might be doing, let us never underestimate the significance of our continued living by God’s standard. Though God has made clear there is a day coming for His judgment (1 Peter 3:10), perhaps — in His patience (2 Peter 3:9) — He is presently sparing the world because He wants our godliness to have more OPPORTUNITY TO INFLUENCE a few more souls around us.

Let us not give up living according to what God has revealed to be right. Those around us need to come to grips with that! With our life lived for Him, His work of sparing souls can still take place. To Him be the glory!

Have a great day BEING ONE FOUND TO BE HONEST AND JUST! – Carl Hanson

“teEn-MAIL” is sent out daily by Carl Hanson, preacher for the Church of Christ in Port Townsend, Washington, USA, located at 230 A Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Come visit us if in the area. www.porttownsendchurchofchrist.org

#christian-living, #christianity, #holy-living, #judgment-of-god, #making-a-difference, #righteousness, #spiritual-influence, #the-power-of-influence

For a minute I saw a child

We were seated in a booth at a favorite fish restaurant eating our food when I spotted him. He was sitting at a table slightly behind and to the side of my husband. A big, football type man, he was seated with two women. Their food came, and I didn’t mean to be looking at him, but I’m glad I glanced his way. He took his hands and put them together in a prayerful position. He held them up to his face and bowed his head to give thanks for his food.

Somewhere there is a mother that years ago taught a little boy to give thanks for his food and how to fold in his hands in prayer. For a minute I saw her child, and I salute her. She would be proud.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

#christian-living, #example, #prayer, #thanks

“I want to go as long as I can.”

Lou Davis Higgins, 94 years old, lives in the Woodbury, TN area, and is my husband’s aunt. Aunt Lou Davis, as we call her, became a Christian at the age of 13 years. She was baptized by brother Lidge Martin in Lucky, TN. She said, “I remember how wonderful I felt when I came up out of the water, and I feel more wonderful now.”

Lou Davis Warren married Brady Higgins, September 9, 1939, and to this union came four boys: Jimmy, Glenn, David and Steve. They were married almost 56 years when Uncle Brady died.

When visiting in Tennessee recently, we were blessed to visit and talk with Aunt Lou Davis. It was on a piercing cold, Wednesday afternoon. Aunt Lou Davis was making plans to go to Bible study at the Woodbury Church of Christ that night. She said, “I want to go as long as I can.” One might ask, “Well, why shouldn’t she?” Aunt Lou Davis is blind. She could easily have made any number of excuses for not going on that bitter cold night. She could have said:

1. “It’s Wednesday night. It is not absolutely necessary that we attend Bible study on Wednesday night.”
2. “It’s freezing weather outside. It’s just too cold to go. I might get sick, and it would be the death of me.”
3. “I’m 94 years old. The Lord doesn’t expect people my age to attend every service. He understands.”
4. “I’m blind.”
5. “I can’t drive anymore, and I don’t want to put people out to come help me back and forth to church.”

She could easily have offered these excuses. When I shared my thoughts with her about this article, she said, “That’s what they would be…excuses, not reasons.”

Thank God for those devoted saints who trudge on toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus, setting a perfect example for us to follow.

#christian-living, #example, #faithfulness, #family, #love, #obedience