Month: April 2019
28 Whoever trusts in his riches will fall,
but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.
29 Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind,
and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.
When we trust in our money at one level or another, we will probably, at the same time, trouble our own household. For while we need enough money to live, we should never put money above our family. It seems that when a dad or a mom puts the accumulation of money above the nurture of their family they bring trouble to their family. This is a narrow path to walk, isn’t it. We need money to live; we need to nurture our families. We want to be good parents and provide for our children so they can have good opportunities so we need more money.
What happens when we trouble our own houses? The proverb says that we inherit the wind. In other words, we inherit nothing. My parents did not focus on money and retired with nothing, but each of their children were intact. We all deeply love our parents and are greatly appreciative that they made Christ and His kingdom the focus of their lives. We have committed to the care of our parents. We think they made a better investment leaving us with faith, hope and love than if they had left us a great financial inheritance.
The next promotion may be good for your career, but is it good for your family? If you earn great wealth but trouble your own household, you have not gained much. Let us walk the path of seeking God’s kingdom as our priority without straying to the right or the left while we spend time providing for our family’s needs.
My dad is in a rehab facility in Arlington Heights. After his last bought with pneumonia they have him drinking thick liquids to keep the liquids out of his lungs. He is doing well there; mom goes over nearly every day. We are not sure what is next for him. Pray with us for wisdom and guidance for dad’s care.
As Stefani wraps up her freshman year, she is having back pains from sitting in rehearsals as long as she does. Pray with her for healing and strength each day.
We are looking forward to special time on Good Friday. There will be a service at 6:00pm with different men reading the seven last words of Christ. Then Sunday morning will be another special time of focusing on the resurrection of Christ in music and in message.
Tomorrow Wednesday) is Indonesia’s presidential elections. Pray for God’s will to be made clear for this great country.
Have a great day in the Lord,
23 The desire of the righteous ends only in good,
the expectation of the wicked in wrath.
24 One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;
another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
25 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered.
The desire of the righteous includes care for others while the expectation of the wicked is only for himself. God is interested in the desires of those who labor for the care of others. I have known many wonderful people who have invested in care for others. Don Miller was a farmer who could not work well with people, he was gruff and could be hard to get along with. But Don loved our work with troubled boys and he would give us corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes and more. Don’s desire was to care for others with the labor of his farm. Don then gave testimony that God met his needs.
Verse 24 goes against human logic for we would say that you don’t give and gain at the same time. Yet how often have we seen the blessing of God on those who give! We do not give to get rich but when we give, we are enriched by our giving. When we give, we gain the love of those we give to; we gain the respect of others when we care for them. God, who knows our hearts and actions, makes sure that those who give to others for His sake are taken care of. The contrast here is that those who withhold what they have and refuse to help others suffer greater wants themselves. Money and things never satisfy but those who give find great satisfaction as they watch their gift gain eternal rewards.
When we give, according to verse 25, we bring blessings to others. As a pastor, I often have the joy of taking the gift from the church to the brother or sister in need. When the church shows care we, the church, are enriched. It does not take a great deal of money or care to be enriched by giving. What a joy it is when we are enriched with love by those who we help. We also see here the illustration of watering; when we water others with our water God waters us. Bobbi has always had plants that needed watering. When watered they would flourish but if we forgot to water them, they looked sickly and close to death. When we share the water of life with others, we ourselves also benefit with the water of God Almighty.
Who are you desiring to care for today? To whom are you giving and growing richer through your gift? Are you enjoying the water of God while you are giving water to someone in need?
Palm Sunday was truly a blessed Sunday at JIBC. God met with us and gave us joy and fellowship as we gathered around Him. Thanks to all who labored together to serve the Lord here Sunday morning. As a body, we work well together to move as one to the glory and praise of God. The message, What is the significance of Palm Sunday, Jesus died 4-5 days later? Is on the church website. This message will draw people to the desire of Christ to ride as King into their hearts both for now and for eternity. Follow this link for the message: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1n9GPbCvILtd5084CS5MAw779-APOxVnS/view
Continuing our Sunday lunch for church people, we had 25 people over yesterday. It was a great time of food and fellowship. We got to know each other by hearing how the Lord brought us to himself for salvation. What an amazing time as we heard about God’s grace in each life. I wish all of you could hear the stories of God’s leading from people of all nationalities, all religions and all family backgrounds. God is still in the business of saving whom He will save.
Have a great day in the Lord,
16 A gracious woman gets honor,
and violent men get riches.
17 A man who is kind benefits himself,
but a cruel man hurts himself.
18 The wicked earns deceptive wages,
but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.
19 Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live,
but he who pursues evil will die.
20 Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the Lord,
but those of blameless ways are his delight.
21 Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished,
but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered.
As we read the Proverbs, they often appear to be random wisdom sayings but at closer examination they are often set in themes. These six proverbs are all about the contrast between good women, bad men, the end of their evil choices and the future of their righteous choices. Re-read these verses thinking about this theme.
We see here a gracious woman, a kind man, a sower of righteousness, one who is steadfast in righteousness, one who is blameless, and one who is righteous whose children will be delivered. We then see a violent man, a cruel man, the wicked, those who pursue evil, the crooked in heart and an evil person who will not go unpunished.
As we consider the purpose of wisdom, which is to help us see the end of our decisions before we make them, these contrasts are very helpful. When we are clearly thinking, the consequences of the evil people are nothing that we would want. Furthermore, when we are clearly thinking, the results of righteousness are positive consequences that we would live to receive.
I tend to think of people I know or know about who fit in these negative categories, but what I need to do is to put my name in each of these contrasts. When I insert my name I am able to think clearly about my own decisions and actions. Whenever we can thus personalize the Scriptures teaching on wisdom, we will find ourselves acting in wisdom and avoiding the consequences of foolishness and of unrighteousness.
It is Friday, let us take time to pray for Sunday. Pray for the preparations of music, lessons, and sermons. Pray for those who attend that they can put aside their frustrations of the week and enjoy the house of the Lord. Pray that the enemy’s efforts to keep people away will be defeated. Pray for the souls of men and women and young people and children to be brought closer to the Savior.
We will have our second Friday prayer time today at 11:45. Pray for Christians in the Kemang community to come and to join us for Christian prayer.
Jared and I met a man in the workout room. We are meeting tomorrow for coffee (tea). Pray for a time to be open about the things of the Lord.
Have a great day in the Lord,
10 When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices;
And when the wicked perish, there is jubilation.
11 By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted,
But it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.
12 He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor,
But a man of understanding holds his peace.
13 A talebearer reveals secrets,
But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.
14 Where there is no counsel, the people fall;
But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.
The Bible has much to say about human government. This section speaks to the wisdom and foolishness of those in public offices. The consistent parallels with righteousness and joy, blessing and exaltation, understanding and holding one’s peace, good counsel and safety, are all qualities we long for in our human governments. Unfortunately, we seem to be living in the negative side of these proverbs: we are overthrown by those with wicked mouths, those devoid of wisdom despise their neighbors, they reveal secrets, and they do not act with good counsel.
Having lived in the US and in the Chicago area for a lot of years, and then moving to Indonesia in an election cycle, and watching Great Britain dealing with Brexit while other countries of the world also seem too be imploding, you would think that there would be a movement back to real wisdom. The foolishness of those who have rejected God in their knowledge is stunning. They have rejected the first great commandment, to love God with all of their hearts, and they have forsaken the second great commandment, to love their neighbor as themselves. Everyone is out for their own agenda and their own good, with little real regard for others of differing thoughts and opinions.
As we pray for our governments, which we are called to do, let us pray that they will have Nebuchadnezzar moments where they realize that there is a God on earth who is sovereign over the affairs of men. At that moment then they would seek the wisdom of the God of Creation, the God of the ages who best knows what mankind needs. For then, and only then, will we gain righteous people in authority who will bring us peace and rejoicing.
The last words of David speak to this great need of the rulers in government.
2 Samuel 23:3–4
3 The God of Israel said,
The Rock of Israel spoke to me:
‘He who rules over men must be just,
Ruling in the fear of God.
4 And he shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises,
A morning without clouds,
Like the tender grass springing out of the earth,
By clear shining after rain.’
For those of you who enjoy Scripture set to music, these words were put to music. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Van7VC01p0
Have a great day in the Lord,
2 When pride comes, then comes shame;
But with the humble is wisdom.
3 The integrity of the upright will guide them,
But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.
Satan’s besetting sin was pride. He said in his heart that he deserved to be with God, equal with God. At that point, Satan lost fellowship with God and was kicked out of heaven. As we read through the history of the Scriptures, we will see many who were brought down by pride in their hearts. From king Nebuchadnezzar to king Saul to Ananias and Saphira, pride was and is a destructive sin. In fact, twice the Scriptures said, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” In Proverbs we read that of the six things the Lord hates, “a proud look” is at the top of the list.
In today’s verses it is stated that pride and shame go together. We have all both experienced this and have seen this in those around us. The shame that follows pride puts us back in the correct perspective, the place we are supposed to live. Back in the place of humility we find the wisdom we need. Verse 3 tells us that in humble integrity we will find the guidance that we need. Where we should go for guidance? We tend to look to the great people for guidance instead of seeking the counsel of those who have integrity.
What we have here is a warning against pride and an instruction of who to go to for counsel. Perhaps we should strive to be people of integrity first and foremost. At that point we will become guides of our own lives and then be prepared to give wise guidance to others.
Yesterday was a great day of ministry in the body of Christ. K, P, and S submitted to God in believer’s baptism. We went to the condominium of a church member and used a beautiful pool for the baptistery. We rejoiced with them late into yesterday and are still thanking God today.
There is an election here next week. Pray for God to leave the door open for all religions to be free to worship. This is a major election and the results are statistically very close.
Have a great day in the Lord,
1 John 3
10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, 12 not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.
13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
As I prepare to bring this passage to the church so much has come to light. The life of Christ was a life of compassion. Whenever Jesus had compassion on someone or on a group of people, He did something about it. Even though Jesus never handed out money and never built anyone a house, He reached into His very spirit, the core of who He was, and cared for people at the level of their need. When Jesus would act on His compassion, people would marvel.
John takes time to let us know that when we open our hearts of compassion we are acting like children of God. His sons and daughters, in caring for people, act like their Father.
So much of compassion today is defined by caring for the poor of this world. Yet compassion is needed at every level of society. Jesus cared for rich and poor alike. So much of compassion today is demonstrated by improving someone’s temporary life. The compassion of Christ culminated at the Cross where He gave His life so that we through His act of compassion could live forever. We won’t know until eternity, but how many people in the early church in Jerusalem were people whom Jesus healed, fed, or cast a demon out of? After the resurrection when the Gospel of Christ was preached, those who had met Christ in this life got to know Christ in His eternal life.
We today, when compassion grows within us, should care for both the eternal and the temporal needs. Acts of compassion are not solicited nor can they be repaid yet neither can they be withheld. For when the Spirit of God moves within us to care for one of His sheep, His people, we have no other work to do but to act on that compassion. Consider today, how many compassion stories have you been a part of? What person or situation might God be leading you to that needs your compassion and action? We, who are children of God, cannot withhold our lives from caring for others. We are His children.
This morning at 11:45 JIBC will be opening the church up for Friday Christian prayer. We have invited the Christian community to participate at this time. Every Friday, the businesses in Indonesia close for an hour and a half so their workers can go to prayer. It was brought to our attention that the Christians should have a place to go for their prayer also. Today is the beginning of our Friday Christian prayers. May God be honored as His people gather to pray to Him.
We are praying for Sunday that God will use His word to change hearts. We are baptizing three this Sunday, including the young man I asked you to pray for. Praise God for these dedicated to following Christ with us.
Have a great day in the Lord,