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A Word for the Wise

10-1-2020 – A Word for the Wise – The Jesus Encounter

When a person meets Jesus he is changed forever. There is no way a person can walk away from the Lord without feeling different. He may not accept the Master for a variety of reasons but that encounter will never leave him. No one ever had a higher view of man. The manner in which he flings commands, launches challenges, or invitations.

Notice how much of Jesus’s teaching consisted of imperatives and finally the great imperative “You must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

However, what purpose is there to issues commands, challenges, or invitations if there is no response? Jesus demanded a response.

In fact Jesus assumes that every person, no matter how high or low, is able to respond in some manner and he set out to get it even if he had to die .

Jesus could see in us tremendous potential, so much so that he told us that we would do even more than he. Really? What impossible thing have you missed or accomplished today?

A Word to the Wise

9-28-2020 – A Word to the Wise – Recently I have been listening to the ESV Bible on Audible. The book of Psalms, more lately, and discovered that hearing the Psalms particularly the passages from the lips of King David, about the utter despair he felt about the criticism from his enemies. How it parallels how President Trump must feel. For no matter where he turns he hears the most vile accusations.

It makes no difference which person you will vote for, do not assail the opponent. The most important thing is the commands of the Bible and not to speak evil of authorities. Somehow that lesson is ignored but the consequences will be the same. If one cannot honor a God given position then I assure you that anytime you are in a position of authority the Lord will see what you experience is the very same abuse you give out. The book of James makes it clear the tongue is an organ set on fire by hell. James goes on to say do not speak evil against one another he that speaks evil or judges speaks evil against the law.

A Word to the Wise

9-23-2020 – A Word to the Wise – Somethings are worth repeating. This is one of those things. I think our relationship with the Lord is important. How he thinks of us is important at least to me. So who

Who Did Jesus not Like

Most of us feel loved by the Lord. We have been taught all of our lives “For God so loved the world…. Yet I firmly believe there is a difference in being loved by the Lord and being liked by the Lord.

Even among the apostles there were those singled out for a special relationship. This is seen in the events surrounding the Transfiguration and then again in the Garden before His death. There are some in scripture who befriend Jesus. John at Jesus death the women who provided for His ministry are but a few.

It is obvious that there are those who Jesus forms bonds with, those He is fond of. His family members were not a part of this group. In fact they are often at odds with Jesus and His ministry. There are others as well.

In John 5 we meet a man who Jesus heals then singles out for a later admonition. In verse 14 Jesus warns the man not to return to his sinful behavior or he will be worse off. The man then turns and betrays Jesus to His enemies. I doubt Jesus liked the man…He loved him, used His power to heal him, yet Jesus is not fond of the man.

In contrast John 9 gives us another personal encounter. Jesus heals the man and goes on His way. Subsequently the man is challenged and ridiculed by the Pharisees. Jesus makes a special effort to find the man and talk to him. There is a bond between the two.

The healing of the demoniac reveals this same type of encounter between Jesus and another person.

These few form quick and long lasting bonds with the Lord.

The enemies of Jesus, though He died for them, it is evident that He did not like them. I suspect in our time the same may be true. Those the Lord loves are many those He likes are few. Which are you?

A Word to the Wise

9-17-2020 A Word to the Wise – In every major engagement in the battles of the Bible God expects His army to chase the enemy from the battlefield and to keep on until they quit. The enemy is to be destroyed. Not bargained with. Not preserved. Not the subject of treaties. The battles of Joshua and Judges emphatically teach these principle. Pursue the enemy until you physically drop until you can no longer lift your weapon. Give no refuge to the enemy. Chase him until he has nowhere to go then destroy him.

We are entered into an important engagement. Set before us are moral choices that will determine the future for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. We cannot depend on others to teach our children morals, ethics, or respect for our government, teachers, elders, spouses and those in authority. Those responsibilities fall on our shoulders

Moses makes a couple of statements in Deuteronomy which are just as important for us today as it was for God’s people 3500 years ago listen to them:

See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ 7 For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? 8 And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?

Then Moses speaking for the Lord tells us how this is to be accomplished:

The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[b] 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

It is our failure today to follow this in our daily lives, and those of our children that result in the predicaments of the day.

It is time to return to the old paths.

A Word to the Wise

9-10-2020 – A Word to the Wise – Have you noticed that there are some sins we do not talk about? Now which ones do you suspect we never mention? Sex? That one is worked to death. Anger? No I think that one comes up on occasion.

How long has it been since you heard a sermon on gossip? Slander? Proverbs 26:20-22.

For lack of wood the fire goes out,

and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.

21 As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire,

so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.

22 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;

they go down into the inner parts of the body. (ESV)

Years ago, perhaps 50, I heard a sermon on gossip that burnt a hole in my heart. In fact the only lesson I have ever heard on the subject.

You see Solomon makes it clear gossip is a burning fire that creates quarreling. It is sweet to the taste, and in the end makes one sick, nauseated. Gossip destroys friendships, and all manner of relationships. The core motivation is hatred.

Most of us deny two attributes; we insist we have no enemies and hate no one. Yet we pass gossip around like it is a favorite food wipe our mouths and say we have done nothing wrong.

Listen to the words of the brother of Jesus, James 3:

5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life,[a] and set on fire by hell.[b] 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers,[c] these things ought not to be so.

James is talking about gossip and its destructive nature. The problem with gossip is there is no way that it can be taken back. Once spoken it is far too late.

Let me give an example. Consider all of the gossip that is put forth about President Trump. Regardless of your position about him you must admit there is no lack of evil spoken about the president. This violates two major scriptural teaching: One you do not gossip, and two you never speak evil about a leader that the Lord has placed in authority. It makes no difference if the person is good or bad. One just does not do it. Need a example?

Take for instance King Cyrus. Isaiah 44 -45 says of him

“who says of Cyrus He is my shepherd,” or again “Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus whose right hand I have grasp”.

Lofty words right? Well go look him up in a ancient history book, look this King up. You will find he is anything but godly.

You do not speak evil of those in authority; whether they are police officers, governors, or presidents. Neither do you speak evil of friends, enemies, or acquaintances. There are something a Christian must not do. It will get you the hot place for a final resting place.

A Word to the Wise

9-1-2020 – A Word to the Wise – For some of us, those who have experienced sin, who are sickened by the past and the weakness, and failures of the past find there are certain words, perhaps phrases that resonate.

There is a long forgotten hymn that speaks to my soul when I need to be reminded not to return to the old ways. The song was written by William Kirkpatrick in 1892. I would encourage you to look it up in your hymnal.

The opening phase goes something like this; “I have wandered far away from God, the paths of sin too long I’ve trod.”

I think for some of us, those who hate sin in self, often remind self of the old days, the old ways and never wish to return to the old paths.

We need those reminders, but more than that we wish to reach out to others and warn them not to go there. Some listen, others do not.

The purpose of my words are not to judge or condemn, no far from it, rather just to encourage and remind when weak or sorrowful that Jesus brought you out of the old life, purchased and then made a new person out of you and it is that person who knows they will no longer stray.

Have a good day.

A Word to the Wise

8-29-2020 – A Word to the Wise – Frequently, I give my clients an analogy to help understand the difference between forgiveness and the price one pays. Let’s say a person gets into an argument with their spouse, gets very angry, leaves the house and drives reckless hitting a bridge abutment. In the accident they lose their arm and spleen. They are remorseful, asking forgiveness of their spouse, themselves and others. The forgiveness is granted. Does the arm then grow back? Does the spleen regenerate itself? No, they will live with those losses until death.

So it is with immorality. Once convicted by the Lord one may never repeat the sin but the consequences remain. The consequences are often so great ones says never again—that sin.

Furthermore, of all the sins we may commit it seems to me, that immorality once forgiven is least likely to be repeated. Let me explain. With immorality a person knows they have sinned. It is black or white. One is either moral or immoral. In contrast with other sins the dividing line might not be so clear and frequently repentance is either seen as unnecessary or rejected all together. Take bitterness, as an example. Most would deny being bitter. Even once convicted of it a person quickly justifies it or excuses it. Jesus spends nearly the whole chapter of Matthew 18 dealing with the subject. Finally, the closes the subject by warning of the torment (anxiety, depression, and financial loss) one will suffer by holding onto bitterness.

Or consider greed. Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to make it through the eye of a sewing needle than for the wealth person to seek forgiveness.

Thus in many ways immorality is easier to deal with and set aside. For of the woman taken in adultery in John 8, Jesus simply says; “Go thee way and sin no more.” Contrast that with the paralyzed man of John 5 who was anger, bitter, friendless, and disloyal. Jesus warns him to stop it or even something worse than a physical handicap, and total helpless will befall him. The man did not heed the warning rather that very day betrayed Jesus to His enemies.

Some may wonder about grace. Grace does not remove the consequences, nor does it make the wrong right. Grace provides the strength to forsake the sin, and to acquire purity again before the Father.

It does not justify us before men for grace is a God thing not a man thing. Salvation is a spiritual experience rarely a physical one. Lets face it, ultimately it is what

God thinks of us that is important. With the Lord a new birth and a transformed life is possible.

A Word to the Wise

8-14-2020 – A Word to the Wise – ON HUMILITY

The highest kind of love has its root in humility. It is not difficult to learn the first part of mature love. That love which is able to deny self and care for the welfare of others, especially those whom it comes natural for us to be concerned about, and the caring for humanity in general.

But when we get to the kind of love that is able also to love our enemies, here we find it necessary to have a deeper, stronger, character: and that strength is gained through humility.

Humility can only be established by our personal relationship with God. When I behold God as my creator; and really feel the significance of being the created, the honor of God becomes real the acceptance of self-inevitable: Out of all of this comes the humility that enables me to love my enemy.

Humility gives me a sense of worth, because it has its roots in our relationship with God.

There is no spiritual relationship between worthlessness and humility. Every person has specific gifts of God. To deny the gifts to call them worthless, or worse to ignore them would be to defame God.

Humility is knowing whom and what you are before God. Test what I say. Love your neighbor as yourself-now if you are worthless you will see him also as worthless, but if you see your worth then you must also acknowledge his.

Many people have such a case of inferiority that they are afraid to approach humility or make the mistake of assuming feeling inferior is humility. We should never allow ourselves to call self worthless. God never said man was worthless—he said he was helpless.

A Word to the Wise

8-13-2020 – A Word to the Wise – I Corinthians 13:11

“When I was a child , I SPOKE LIKE A CHILD, I THOUGHT LIKE A CHILD, I REASONED LIKE A CHILD, WHEN I BECAME A MAN I GAVE UP CHILDISH WAYS.”

As children we see the world about us in a childlike manner. We see things we do not know or understand and so we attach meaning to them. Emotions are either intensified or devalued.

Often a child experiences at the hands of an adult emotional outrage, anger and or frustration. The child may find this unbearable and withdraws or over reacts. The child does not understand nor comprehend the pressure of the adult. How can they? They are children. The child does not have to be concerned with where the next meal comes from, how one is to get to work, and how to solve a problem. Illness and fear are new to the child. abandonment, disloyal behavior between spouse does not have the meaning or intensity for the child until it is directed at them.

When the child becomes an adult then part of adulthood is interpreting ones childhood in the context of themselves being an adult and knowing what it is like to have these stresses and demands and navigating the failures of life. The adult is expected to reassess childhood from the stand point of maturity which then alters or explains the behavior of the parent. This may result in a far clearer assessment of the parent either good, or bad.

As a child experiencing the alcoholic parent is different than as an adult reassessing the behavior of the parent. Excusing the behavior of the parent as a child, is seen differently in the light of the adult who can clearly see the pain and harm brought to a family from the addictive parent.

Once these things are taken into consideration the result is a more mature consideration of the growing up years.

An example from my own childhood coming from a single parent home. As a child it seemed there was never enough to eat, there were things I could not do. Example I wanted to learn to fly. The high school where I attended had special classes for this the cost of which were $100. My mother could not afford it. I resented it. It seemed unfair.

Years later after my mother’ death I came across a letter she had written to her sister. It was the second day of the month. During this period she was paid once a month. She had finished paying the bills incurred from the previous month and she tells her sister she has $2.56 for the whole next month!

The unbelievable strain this must have been for a woman with four children, and no child support.

I now as an adult see the whole situation of me wanting the extra classes from a far different perspective. I see the situation as an adult. The childish expectations take on a whole new meaning.

Part of maturity is understanding childhood from an adult perspective .

It also means the adult should now more clearly see the importance of discipline, and the consequences of misbehavior, both as a child and as an adult.

A Word to the Wise – 7-31-2020 – ON SELF-ESTEEM

Our society is consumed with the idea of self-esteem. It is promoted in every aspect of our society. However as much we like the idea of improving self-esteem that concept is not to be found in scripture. The idea of self-esteem is a humanistic concept. Humanism focus ones attention on humans.

What then are we supposed to be focused on if not self ? Very good question. We find the answer on every page of scripture. The question is not what we think of ourselves rather what does the Lord thinks of me.