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  • Joshua Gulley 10:23 pm on 2014-03-11 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , dinner, , life, , , ,   

    there she stood in the doorway… 

    In Proverbs 9, two ladies call out from high places in the city. They invite those lacking understanding to dine with them. One of the ladies has prepared the meal she offers; the other has stolen hers. One lady does not seem to mind if people know about your visit; the other wants to keep it a secret. One offers wisdom; one offers pleasure. You must dine with one of these women. Choose wisely. They may both mean well, but one of them will kill you.

    For by me your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you. (9:11)

    ‘Stolen water is sweet; and bread eaten in secret is sweet to a man.’ But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol. (9:17-18)

    Lord, deliver us a daily dose of discernment and decision-making power: the discernment to distinguish between these two ladies; the decision-making power to accept the right invitation.

     
  • TFRStaff 8:20 am on 2014-01-12 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , life, , , , ,   

    PRACTICAL FOR LIVING! 

    One evening, as I was leaving our seasonal Winter Shelter, one of the guests asked me of my perspective on religion as compared to certain practices he had observed. Part of my response to him was that religion — as it is expressed in the Scriptures — is not merely ritual, but is practical. It relates to accepting God’s authority for life, good living and helping to meet the needs of others. The questioner then responded, “You are doing that.”

    Someone has said, “A person’s most useful asset is not a head full of knowledge, but a heart full of love, an ear ready to listen and a hand willing to help others.” [original source unknown]

    The fact that living a life pleasing to God is more than ritualistic observance is made clear through various passages of Scripture. For example, in response to a questioner seeking to justify himself (Luke 10:29), Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan. (Luke 10:30-35) The priest and the Levite appear to have been too focused on their ceremonial cleanness to help one who had A REAL NEED. To press the point we read. . .

    “(36) Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” (37) He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “YOU GO, AND DO LIKEWISE.”” (Luke 10:36-37 ESV)

    On another occasion, when Jesus’ disciples were accused of plucking heads of grain while walking through a grainfield on the Sabbath, Jesus reminded the
    faultfinders of David and his men having eaten the bread that was only lawful for the priests to eat. That bread was there was to MEET THE NEED at the time. (Mark 2:23-26) By the time of Jesus’ walk on earth, the “doctrines” of work on the Sabbath had been meticulously defined by the teachers of the law. However, in addressing the practicality, Jesus went on to state. . .

    “(27) And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”” (Mark 2:27 ESV)

    There are a number of other places Jesus addressed what was done on the Sabbath when He Himself was accused of healing on the Sabbath. In those cases Jesus drew attention to what His accusers were willing to do when it came to their own personal property (i.e. Matthew 12:11-12), exposing more interest in themselves than in being willing to reach out to meet the REAL NEEDS around them.

    Perhaps one of the most concise and clearest statements comes from James where we read. . .

    “(27) RELIGION THAT IS PURE AND UNDEFILED BEFORE GOD, THE FATHER, IS THIS: TO VISIT ORPHANS AND WIDOWS IN THEIR AFFLICTION, AND TO KEEP ONESELF UNSTAINED FROM THE WORLD.” (James 1:27 ESV)

    Living a “religious” life before God and man is both practical and holy. Purity of life is an issue to be taken very seriously. However, our interaction with others and willingness to MEET REAL NEEDS is also of extreme importance. Are we not glad we have a Heavenly Father aware of and willing to provide for both our spiritual and physical needs? May we be mindful of that with regard to others as we live through each day God provides.

    Have a great day PUTTING THE ASSETS OF HEART, EAR, AND HAND TO WORK TO THE GLORY OF GOD! – 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. http://www.porttownsendchurchofchrist.org)

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  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on 2013-12-18 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , life, , , , ,   

    (#127) The Proverbs of Solomon 17:17-How To Choose A Friend 

     

    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 17:17: “A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.”

    Genuine friendship doesn’t waver. “A friend” will always be there for you and will not abandon you when your money, fancy clothes, expensive gifts, or other “freebies” have run out! Anyone who leaves you when you are in hard times never was your friend to start with! Those who make a big show of being your friend are getting ready to renounce your friendship or to take unfair advantage of your friendship! “He who blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, It will be counted a curse to him” (Proverbs 27:14). A sage quote says: Too many of the footprints on the sands of time were made by heels. True, friends are made when we are friendly. “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). We must be “a friend” to expect to have friends! A true friend:

    1. “Loves at all times,” under all circumstances, regardless of our frailties;

    2. NEVER will use our friendship for his/her own selfish purposes or advantages;

    3. Always tells us what we need to know for our own good. Jesus made this clear when He described His friendship with His disciples: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:13-15);

    4. Sticks closer and is quicker to help than even blood relatives! Often “friends of the family” began with our parents, and we should respect and keep them, in addition to our own. “Ointment and perfume delight the heart, And the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel. Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend, Nor go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity; Better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away” (Proverbs 27:9-10);

    5. Will be shared with other friends, as John indicated: “Peace to you. Our friends greet you. Greet the friends by name” (3 John 14).

    Are you a “friend of God” as Abraham was by his faith and works (James 2:21-24), and by our obeying God’s works today (Mark 16:16)?

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

     
  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on 2013-12-16 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , deeds, , , , ingratitude, life, , , , , ,   

    (#125) The Proverbs of Solomon 17:13-Many Happy Returns 

    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 17:13: “Whoever rewards evil for good, Evil will not depart from his house.”

    There are only four ways to payback deeds: 1) Good for Good; 2) Evil for Evil; 3) Evil for Good; or 4) Good for Evil.

    1) While a good gratitude level, it is doing what would be expected from anyone: “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back” (Luke 6:32-34).

    2) This human response may “feel good,” but is totally contrary to God’s example in Jesus Christ, “who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23). Other proverbs repeat this principle: “Do not say, ‘I will recompense evil;’ Wait for the LORD, and He will save you” (Proverbs 20:22); “Do not say, ‘I will do to him just as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work’” (Proverbs 24:29).

    3) This is the way to curse one’s own future, household, job, friendships, or eternal destiny.

    Everything God Created “was very good” (Genesis 1:31), but Adam and Eve repaid Him by violating His rule in sin (“through one man sin entered the world,” Romans 5:12).

    The southern kingdom, Judah, gave God evil for good: “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: ‘I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me; The ox knows its owner And the donkey its master’s crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider.’ Alas, sinful nation, A people laden with iniquity, A brood of evildoers, Children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the LORD, They have provoked to anger The Holy One of Israel, They have turned away backward” (Isaiah 1:2-4).

    The history of the Jews’ dealings with God’s Prophets justified His destruction of their Nation in A.D. 70. “For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16; also Matthew 21:33-46).

    4) The superior method is: “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:18-21).

    This not humanly possible without having the inner “Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus” (1 Peter 5:14), who will “be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

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

     
  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on 2013-12-09 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , gift of God, , , life, , , , , , ,   

    (#122) The Proverbs of Solomon 17:8-Why “Santa Claus” Is Popular 

    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 17:8: “A present is a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor; Wherever he turns, he prospers.”

    “A present” is a voluntary expression of love or concern from a friend or family member. It was given in the past, but remains as a “present” reminder of those thoughts. Truly, “it is the thought that counts.” The “present” should be received with the same appreciation with which it was chosen by the giver.

    Jacob, fearful of his reunion with his brother Esau, “took what came to his hand as a present for Esau his brother” (Genesis 32:13), too much to wrap (Genesis 32:14-15)! Deep in famine and later in life, Jacob, now named Israel, thought he was dealing with a powerful man in Egypt (who was really his long-lost son!), told his other sons: “Take some of the best fruits of the land in your vessels and carry down a present for the man-a little balm and a little honey, spices and myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds” (Genesis 43:11). He believed in the proverbial truth about gifts: “A man’s gift makes room for him, And brings him before great men” (Proverbs 18:16); “Many entreat the favor of the nobility, And every man is a friend to one who gives gifts” (Proverbs 19:6). Rarely does anyone go wrong by gift-giving. The make-believe “Santa Claus” was invented because everyone likes to receive a gift. The real Jesus Christ, however, taught that “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

    The “gift of God” is for everyone who lives by God’s rule: “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread” (Genesis 3:19). “As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor-this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19). If properly considered, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). Unlike the mythical “Santa Claus,” God requires our obedience to enjoy His gifts! God blesses with “His indescribable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15), but the ultimate “gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Jesus Christ “became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:9), so Jesus requires of “every creature,” “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:15-16).

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

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:44 am on 2013-12-05 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , insurance, life, , , ,   

    The Difference Between Feel Good Politics And Medicine 

    As our nation continues to abandon the spiritual roots that are too evident to ignore we will increasingly, as a whole, look to the government not only as our sole provider but even our soul provider thus ignoring the true source of a nation’s vitality (think Acts 12:20-22 for a moment).

    Many politicians love to take advantage of the dependency mindset. They present feel good politics as the answer. An answer that serves the few in hopes of the few becoming the majority that is dependent upon the answer provided. In other words, to give a real world comparison, many politicians (and I’m speaking worldwide here) actually encourage people to become a lifetime child. By that I mean they wish for some people to become completely dependent upon his or her parent whose role is played by the government for the rest of his or her life, thus resulting in a people who have secured the politician’s seat of power.

    For example, the latest government dependency program to hit every coast of America, plus some, that goes by the name of A.C.A. (also affectionately known as Obama-care). This government program is based upon feel good politics and not real solutions. It’s a government answer to a problem that has created as many problems that it solved! It took a problem, a real problem, that approximately 15% of this nation was dealing with and made it a problem that 100% of the people have to worry with whether people realize it or not.

    Don’t think that I’m just a “big government hater” who doesn’t believe in taking care of the poor. If you’re going to think something based off of these words then think of me as someone who likes to think with common sense instead of thinking with votes in mind since I’m not a politician.

    The problem with insurance was that it cost too much in many situations. I myself pay more than ten percent out of my gross yearly wages (not net wages) for my health insurance at my secular job. That’s a lot; and that’s only paying for the service to be there, not what I would have to pay if something were to happen to me or my family. The cost was and is the problem for many middle-class and poor working Americans. And the A.C.A. didn’t fix the cost!!! It took the cost and supplemented it with tax-dollars!!! That’s not a solution. That’s duct-tape on a gunshot wound. On top of that the A.C.A has already inflicted itself with a gunshot wound to the foot by allowing the very people it needs (the healthy 18 to 28 year olds who don’t use insurance very much at all) to keep its book’s balanced with the older generations who use the insurance quite often for obvious reasons. How did it do that? Because it almost allows that entire group of “young people” to stay on their parent’s insurance to begin with! A group that’s not leaving home, not getting married, not starting families and, unfortunately, not working in any meaningful job. (More …)

     
  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on 2013-12-04 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , chastening, , , dross, , , , life, , , , , refining,   

    (#120) The Proverbs of Solomon 17:3-Christians Must Do “Hard Time” 

    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 17:3: “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests the hearts.”

    “Silver” increases in value when “refined” by extreme heat, which drives off its dross (non-silver particles). “Gold,” likewise, requires a fiery “furnace” to release its impurities. The point of the proverb begins with the stated, understood fact that passing through an extreme circumstance is part of the refining process that purifies our precious metals. “Take away the dross from silver, And it will go to the silversmith for jewelry” (Proverbs 25:4). Our experience in life is our “refining pot” or “furnace,” which should be used for purifying our character. “You reject all those who stray from Your statutes, For their deceit is falsehood. You put away all the wicked of the earth like dross; Therefore I love Your testimonies” (Psalm 119:118-119). All who obey God’s “statutes” can endure the process.

    “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, And a man is valued by what others say of him” (Proverbs 27:21). We are tested by compliments, and no one should take credit for all of his accomplishments or blessings and ignore God’s part in it, as King Herod did (Acts 12:20-24). Jesus warned against letting others’ opinions direct our way: “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).

    When Jerusalem “became a harlot,” it was like their silver became dross, so God promised to turn His hand against them “And thoroughly purge away your dross, And take away all your alloy” (Isaiah 1:21-25). The process was detailed in Ezekiel 22:17-22: “The word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to Me; they are all bronze, tin, iron, and lead, in the midst of a furnace; they have become dross from silver. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Because you have all become dross, therefore behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. As men gather silver, bronze, iron, lead, and tin into the midst of a furnace, to blow fire on it, to melt it; so I will gather you in My anger and in My fury, and I will leave you there and melt you. Yes, I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of My wrath, and you shall be melted in its midst. As silver is melted in the midst of a furnace, so shall you be melted in its midst; then you shall know that I, the LORD, have poured out My fury on you.'”

    Evidence that God lives, cares, and interacts to help Christians’ faith is that we are tested: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor detest His correction; For whom the LORD loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:11-12, quoted and applied to Christians in Hebrews 12:3-11). When things seem to go wrong for us, maybe we should examine ourselves to see if our faith needs refining. “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? –unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

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

     
  • John T. Polk II 1:39 pm on 2013-12-03 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , life, , , , ,   

    “What About Abortion?” 

    “What About Abortion” is my article in the August, 2013 issue of Gospel Gleaner: http://gospelgleaner.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/August-2013.pdf. Nominal subscription is required for monthly hard copy.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:00 am on 2013-10-29 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , life, , , , , unprofitable, , , ,   

    (#96) The Proverbs of Solomon 15:19-A Thorny Issue 

    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 15:19: “The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, But the way of the upright is a highway.”

    If this refers to real thorns, “the lazy” will refuse to struggle through difficulties and work. If this refers to imaginary thorns, “the lazy” will imagine too much difficulty to overcome and refuse to work. Either way, “the lazy” is an expression denoting those who are wasting their lives. Jesus Christ described a man giving three servants “talents” “each according to his own ability,” five, two and one. After the others produced profit equal to their talents, the one-talent man returned his one with the sorry excuse: “Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours” (Matthew 25:24-25). Jesus was hard on such a lazy person when he was condemned as a “wicked and lazy servant” (Matthew 25:26). “Wicked” for blaming someone else for expecting him to produce, “lazy” for producing nothing with what he had! God will save no lazy person from himself/herself, or from eternal punishment for such laziness! Jesus’ invitation is for “all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). After Jesus miraculously fed 5000 men not counting the women and children with 5 loaves of bread and 2 small fish (John 6:1-14), they followed Him for another “free meal” the next day. Jesus told them: “’Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.’ Then they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent’ (John 6:26-29). Those who call the church only when their laziness has dug them a hole, need repentance, not repeated assistance! Helping those who are searching for the Truth of God’s Word is benevolence, helping those who don’t care about Truth but only “freebies” is malevolence. Gospel Truth includes the Holy Spirit-inspired rule: “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). The “lazy” have not “will” to work, and therefore crowd government lines for: commodities, food stamps, reduced-price school lunches and Internet, free cell phones, health insurance, and whatever else the government is willing to re-distribute among them. They are stealing from any who have a deserving need for such temporary aid; are empowering laziness in government who no longer has to work at meeting their constitutional obligations because of built-in votes; and are clogging up the “highway” of “the upright” by forcing them to support wastrels whom not even God will have without changing! Another proverb God has given says: “Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty; Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with bread” (Proverbs 20:13).

    Becoming a Christian requires willful obedience (Acts 2:38, 40-41), and the souls of new Christians were to be strengthened when exhorted “to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God’” (Acts 14:22). Those who are sleeping through their lives, expecting to return to God their one-talent lives, will hear their Judgment: “Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:28-30).

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

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:00 am on 2013-07-24 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , deceptive business, , , , , life, manufacturer, minimum wage, , , shortchanging, wealthy,   

    (#33) The Proverbs of Solomon 11:1-Cheaters, Beware! 

    Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Judgments Solomon made about individual cases brought to him for Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10), or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 11:1: Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, But a just weight is His delight.

    Whatever is “an abomination to the LORD” is as despicable as anything can be, for that places it along with: dabblers in the supernatural, Deuteronomy 18:9-12; prostitution, Deuteronomy 23:18; perverse heart, Proverbs 11:20; lying lips, Proverbs 12:22; everyone proud in heart, Proverbs 16:5. “Dishonest scales” certainly fit in that list. God’s Law through Moses was very explicit about this matter: “You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a heavy and a light. You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small. You shall have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure, that your days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD your God is giving you. For all who do such things, all who behave unrighteously, are an abomination to the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 25:13-16). Anyone who carries “differing measures,” or different weights, is planning to deal unfairly with someone, somewhere, sometime. The “all who do such things” means the practice is wrong, no matter if someone is poor, disadvantaged, under a “glass ceiling,” prosperous, an official of a government, tax assessor, tax collector, manufacturer, or all such “excuses.” When people plan to “buy and sell and make a profit” (James 4:13), it should never be as God condemned in Amos 8:5: “Making the ephah small and the shekel large, Falsifying the scales by deceit.” The “ephah” would have measured the produce and the “shekel” the money to purchase it. Shortening the measurement and acting as if the money amount was larger within a transaction is abominable to God! That describes today’s making the container look the same size but putting less inside; artificially inflating costs by printing more money without value; raising “minimum wage” for the same or less work; shortchanging customers; raising prices while lowering benefits in contracts; or any of the myriad of ways the wicked will invent to “profit.” God’s “fair labor law” was that the “poor and needy” laborer should be paid when the work was done (Deuteronomy 24:14-15), not at the convenience of the employer, regardless of ethnicity! Other proverbs uphold this: Proverbs 20:10: “Diverse weights and diverse measures, They are both alike, an abomination to the LORD;” Proverbs 20:23: “Diverse weights are an abomination to the LORD, And dishonest scales are not good;” probably best summarized in Proverbs 20:14: “‘It is good for nothing,’ cries the buyer; But when he has gone his way, then he boasts.” Minimizing the product’s worth to get a good buy shows intent to deceive. Honest discounts, coupons, merchant sales, or actually factory defective products offered at low prices are not included in this proverb, however. Honest truly applies to economics as well as to words, deeds, relationships!

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

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:00 am on 2013-06-20 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , false knowledge, , , life, , , , , ,   

    Studies in the Book of Proverbs #9 

    (#9) God’s Wisdom is Beneficial, Universal, Calming 3:13-26

    Verses 13-18: Wisdom is described as a woman with benefits, who appears to have only good things to bring to a person’s life. The contrast with the “immoral woman” (Proverbs 2:16-22) could not be greater, and should correct those who might think Solomon was against all women! An immoral woman can destroy a man, but Wisdom appearing as a woman can preserve a man. Wisdom makes a man “happy” (verse 13) because she is:

    Profitable (verse 14) beyond possessing silver and gold. A wise life will make money to enjoy (Ecclesiastes 5:19), but a foolish one doesn’t know how to enjoy wealth (Ecclesiastes 6:2).

    Precious (verse 15) beyond rubies, and nothing else is as desirable.

    Prolongs life (verse 16) with her “right hand,” and the main rewards in life (“riches and honor”) in her “left hand.” This shows Wisdom has nothing in her hands but good.

    Pleasant (verse 17) ways and paths of peace, instead of crooked ways and devious paths of the immoral woman. Could Wisdom be more appealing? Who does not look forward to a pleasant life, lived in peace?

    Paradise (verse 18) is where the “tree of life” was when access was lost for all of us by Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:9; 3:22-24; Revelation 2:7). Wisdom will help us find the way back to that tree to live with God.

    Verses 19-20: God’s Creation was designed with such wisdom, that all scientific discoveries are simply the uncovering of the Wisdom of God! The expression, “scientific discoveries” does not include “what is falsely called knowledge” (1 Timothy 6:20), such as Evolution, Global Warming, Global Cooling, ad nauseum. God imbedded “Wisdom” in Creating the earth, itself; God showed “understanding” in making “the heavens” so precisely; God used “knowledge” in Noah’s day when “all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened” (Genesis 7:11). The terms, “wisdom,” “understanding,” “knowledge,”  are not mutually exclusive, but complement each other.

    Verses 21-26: The Wisdom of God inside a heart means there is NO FEAR in life! If we keep focused on sound Wisdom and discretion (good judgment), our life will be with grace (verses 21-22). Instead of blindly falling into sin(s), we can be more sure footed in our way (verse 23). Knowing that God’s Wisdom brings order to Creation, so His Wisdom brings order to our life (verses 24-26). Following God’s Wisdom is better than Benedryl, Lunesta or Ambien! Since the most-prescribed class of drugs in the United States is anti-depressants, God’s Wisdom is sorely needed! Jesus echoed this wise teaching about high anxiety in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:19-34).

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

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:01 am on 2013-06-19 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , life, , , , , , , , , ,   

    Studies in the Book of Proverbs #8 

    (#8) The Wise Trust God And Improve Their Lives 3:1-12

    Following God’s Wisdom brings out the best qualities in us, as we learn to have total confidence in God’s guidance. Heeding Wisdom will give one:

    Verses 1-2: Longer Life. “My son” is an expression used some 15 times in the first 7 chapters of Proverbs, for it is written as if Solomon is instructing his son. The way to “not forget” law is to “let your heart keep” the commands. This is explained in James 1:21-25 and applied to Christian obedience. Obedience comes from the “heart,” as do all our words (Matthew 12:35-37), sins (Mark 7:21-23), jobs (Ephesians 6:5-8). Blessings promised include “length of days” as in good health, “long life” as in living to old age, and “peace” as assistance to abundance or prosperity. Statistics show that those who regularly go to church live longer.

    Verses 3-4: Better Relations. If “mercy” (feelings for the plight of our fellowmen) and “truth” (factual and accurate knowledge of our, and others’, actions) are written on our heart, we will wear them like jewelry. These two qualities of character are appreciated (“favor and high esteem”) among men and by God. All deep friendships are based upon understanding the friend, and honesty.

    Verses 5-6: Higher Direction. Total trust in God in all our ways is possible because He made us (Genesis 1:26-27), greatly loved us (Ephesians 2:4-7), gave His Son for us (Ephesians 5:1-2). Why should we not believe He wants to help us make the best decisions in our lives? Trust “with all our heart” means we give up our “own understanding” and defer to His direction. It reduces tension to know what to do.

    Verses 7-8: Better Health. To be “wise in your own eyes” is another way of describing “loftiness and arrogance and pride” (Jeremiah 48:29-31), but it takes “fear” (respect, awe) of the LORD, and the desire to “depart from evil” (or leave sinful practices, also known as repentance). By listening to God, we may keep our physical bodies from the dissipation and disease of sins, and live healthier and stronger lives, just as God promised His Israelites (Deuteronomy 15:26). Humility is the way of recognizing realistically our place in this vast world, without hypocrisy.

    Verses 9-10: Better Prosperity.  Thank God first with whatever we prosper, and He will think of us when we prosper. “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). God always has required that giving to Him come before any other consideration, and be freewill (Leviticus 23:37-38).

    Verses 11-12: Better Attitude. A person who wants to be a spiritual “child of God” will accept some things that happen in life as God’s “chastening” (teaching) or “correction” (sometimes hurtful reminders not to stray from the path of good). No parent loves his/her child who will not “correct” (discipline) the child, when needed. These two verses are used to show Christians not to become discouraged at God’s correction, for it proves that God is dealing with them as a child whom He loves (Hebrews 12:3-11).

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

     
  • TFRStaff 5:52 am on 2013-05-24 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: life, someday   

    A story to live by 

    A Story to Live By

    By Ann Wells (Los Angeles Times)

    My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister’s bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package.”This,” he said, “is not a slip. This is lingerie.”He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached.”Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion.”He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, and then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me. “Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you’re alive is a special occasion.”

    I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister’s family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn’t seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special.

    I’m still thinking about his words, and they’ve changed my life. I’m reading more and dusting less. I’m sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I’m spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not endure. I’m trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.

    I’m not “saving” anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event-such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, and the first camellia blossom.I wear my good blazer to the market if I feel like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing. I’m not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends’.

    “Someday” and “one of these days” are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now. I’m not sure what my sister would have done had she known that she wouldn’t be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called family members and a few close friends. She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I’m guessing – I’ll never know.

    It’s those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good Friends whom I was going to get in touch with-someday. Angry because I hadn’t written certain letters that I intended to write-one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn’t tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them. I’m trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives.

    And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is…a gift from God. “You’ve got to dance like nobody’s watching, and love like it’s never going to hurt.”

    “Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn, Mercedes and Lauren Hitchcock

     
  • Eugene Adkins 11:36 am on 2013-05-18 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , high school students, life, , Students,   

    4 Pointers for Graduates to Head in the Right Direction 

    An blue icon with a graduation cap and tassel.

    Here’s the basic points with a scripture that I’m using for tomorrow’s “graduation night” at Keltonburg for our High School students. This’ll work whether they’re heading to college or the job market:

    • It’s time to grow up (1 Corinthians 13:11)
    • Prepare for hard times (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
    • When you think you have the world conquered its conquered you (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
    • Don’t compromise your faith for a “good grade” or a “good job” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

    Whatever comes to your hand to do with all your power, do it because there is no work, or thought, or knowledge, or wisdom in the place of the dead to which you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10 – BBE)

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:00 am on 2013-04-26 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , hates, , life, pantheism, , ,   

    Psalm 139 Father Knows Us Best 

    This Psalm of David gives a picture of how thoroughly God knows us. We should seek to know Him as completely as we can, for “when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods” (Galatians 4:8); “the world through wisdom did not know God” (1 Corinthians 1:21); “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8); Jesus Christ will be “taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

    Verses 1-6 show how completely God knows about our individual lives;

    Verses 7-12 show how useless it is for anyone to try to flee from God;

    Verses 13-16 show when God begins to know us;

    Verses 17-18 show how completely we should know God;

    Verses 19-22 show how completely we should side with God;

    Verses 23-24 show how completely open we should be with ourselves and God.

    Verses 1-6: There is no one who knows and understands us like God does: not Mother, Father, Children, Husband or Wife, close friend. God interacts with individual lives by examination, constant monitoring, complete understanding of our thinking, hearing all our words, protecting and guiding at times, all exceeding our own understanding of ourselves!

    Verses 7-12: As Adam and Eve discovered in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:6-8), there is nowhere God cannot find us: Heaven (as if we could!)? He is there; “Hell” (Sheol, the place beyond the body’s grave, where departed spirits dwell)? He is there; fly as fast as the light of a new day (as if we could!)? dive as deep as the sea goes? He still could guide and hold us; be surrounded by total darkness? God sees as if it was still light. God is everywhere, but He is NOT everything! God is Creator NOT the Creation! Pantheism is totally wrong in this concept.

    Verses 13-16: God designs, develops, and delivers each and every human baby ever born! For each and every human baby, while in the womb, God “covered” (intricately weaves together) our organs; “fearfully and wonderfully” develops the baby; makes the skeleton support structure; begins His work on “unformed” “substance” (Hebrew term for embryo), prepared the baby to live “the days fashioned for me” (plans for the baby to live its life on earth). Abortion is the destroying of the work of God, and wise Solomon said: “I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, And nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him” (Ecclesiastes 3:14). Abortion is taking from the work of God!

    Verses 17-18: There is much more about God than we can grasp, but we should learn all we can while we can. The Word of God is the gradual unfolding of the revelation of God.

    Verses 19-22: Instead of demanding God to “side” with us, we should get on God’s “side.” There should be no evil work a Christian would practice, plan, or proceed to do: terrorism, abortion, self-centeredness, drunkenness/drug abuse, divisiveness, fornication/adultery, lust, or anything else contrary to “sound doctrine.” Whatever God condemns, Christians should condemn. Whatever God hates, Christians should hate. Whoever is an enemy of God, should be an enemy to a Christian. No Christian should compromise this commitment to God for any  political platform, union slogan, or gang fidelity!

    Verses 23-24: An open heart asks for God to check it out, and is willing for Him to “lead me in the way everlasting.” Why wait? God provides for Christians to “examine themselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5). “For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:31-32).

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

     
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