Month: April 2019

A Contrast of the End of the Path

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Proverbs 10

24    The fear of the wicked will come upon him,

And the desire of the righteous will be granted.

25    When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more,

But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.

27    The fear of the Lord prolongs days,

But the years of the wicked will be shortened.

28    The hope of the righteous will be gladness,

But the expectation of the wicked will perish.

29    The way of the Lord is strength for the upright,

But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.

30    The righteous will never be removed,

But the wicked will not inhabit the earth.

31    The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,

But the perverse tongue will be cut out.

 

As we live on this earth, we are often enamored with the wild success of those who do not love the Lord and live lives that are opposed to His holiness. Yesterday, I clicked through a list of the homes of some of Hollywood’s actors and actresses; the beauty of these homes is stunning and desirous. It is not wrong to want a house, but to look at the homes of those who have rejected God and wish for their success is the wrong way to look.

In these verses from Proverbs 10 there is a recurring theme: the wicked will not persevere. How many of the wicked wealthy of this world end up in true happiness? How many remain happily married and raise children who respect them? When they die, how long are they remembered in blessedness and joy? God has made it clear that the way of the wicked will perish.

In contrast, the way of the righteous has many benefits. Re-read these verses looking for the benefits of the righteous. In the clarity of this moment, be thankful for the righteousness of Christ in you and the promised life and end of those who walk in this righteousness. OK, so you haven’t lived your life for wealth and fame and really cool stuff, in the end, it won’t matter. Meditate on these contrasts today and the next time you envy something of the wicked, remember that the fleeting pleasures of this life is all that they have. Pity them and pray that they will come to Christ to enjoy the true righteousness. Thank God that He has made you righteous both in this life and for eternity.

 

Our grand-daughter, Amira, spilled hot coffee on her foot. Her mom told her not touch it but she did and ended up with severe burns. How pitiful to see her cry when they change her bandages. Everyone else is well. We enjoyed time with Ben and Anna and Emily and Josiah. The kids are growing and developing new things all the time. Six-month-old Josiah is in nine-month-old clothes. He has fat rolls on his fat rolls. He smiles a lot and is loved by his big sister.

Pray for a young man who prayed to trust Christ last week that he will desire to be baptized and follow Christ.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Does God’s blessing remove all sorrow?

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Proverbs 10:22

The blessing of the Lord makes one rich,

And He adds no sorrow with it.

If there ever were a verse to make us question the truth of the Bible, this one could be it. I don’t know about you, but we have had our share of sorrow in this life. From miscarriages, to Alzheimer’s, to people who hurt us, to trouble with children, to insufficient money to live on, to accidents, to sicknesses, to Epilepsy, to family pain, who hasn’t had sorrow? What does this verse possibly mean for it surely cannot mean that we are to live without any sorrow? Then I read about those in my lifetime who have suffered for their faith in Christ. Their suffering includes fear, separation from family, loss of all possessions, imprisonment, torture, and even death. Does the blessing of the Lord really come without sorrow?

We must admit that the blessing of the Lord does make us rich. We enjoy the incalculable riches of God’s mercy, God’s grace and God’s love. We enjoy the true blessing of the joy of God’s presence in our lives. We enjoy the riches of God’s forgiveness as He, through the sacrifice of Christ, eternally forgives all of our sin never to bring them against us again. God has given us the wealth of His family in the local church, the community of the body of Christ. God has also given us the promise of answered prayer and the assurance of His sovereign will for our lives.

Does God add sorrow with His blessings?

Let’s think about the sorrows of life apart from the blessings of God. How long will the sorrows of this life last for God’s children? How many of the sorrows of this life does God give us to carry alone? What has God taught you or how has God shaped you through the sorrows of this life? What about those who don’t know the blessings of the Lord that make rich, when the sorrows of life come so does utter devastation and hopelessness.

We must come to understand that the Word of God is true and that the sorrows of this life, for those of us who know the blessings of God’s riches, are temporary, purposeful, and can be used to bring God greater glory. For us, the sorrows of life are not true sorrows for God has a purpose for all of them. For us, the sorrows of life are not true sorrows for God is with us in them all giving His grace, His comfort, His peace and yes, even His joy. So, yes, my friends, the blessing of the Lord does make rich and for those who know and love God’s riches they also know life without worldly, purposeless sorrow. They sorrow without hope while our sorrow has hope woven into it for God and His promises are with us in the sorrow.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

April 1st is National Atheist Day

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Psalm 14
1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good.
2 The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
3 They have all turned aside,
They have together become corrupt;
There is none who does good,
No, not one.

Pardon my attempt at satire today, but April 1st has always been April fools’ day. This is the day when we try to “fool” someone into doing something or believing something unreal. One day my young sons put pickles on my peanut butter and jelly sandwich to fool their day. When the person realizes that they have been tricked, we cry out, “April fools!” According to Psalm 14:1, April 1st is also National Atheist Day, the day when all atheists proclaim to their own foolishness that they neither want nor need God.

Only a fool proclaims that they have no need of God in their lives. Only a fool decides that he or she is greater than their Creator and determine that they can live successfully without Him. Only a fool speeds through the darkness of life without any spiritual guidance fully believing that they won’t be hurt in their spiritual darkness. Only a fool takes his or her friends and family through the trials and challenges of life believing that they can figure it all out on their own.

We have fools at all levels of society and culture today. We have talented fools, beautiful fools, powerful fools, and very rich fools all around us. We see them on television, YouTube, in theaters, in government offices, and yes, even in churches. Everyone who thinks that they can go through life without God is a fool. They might believe that God exists but if they believe they can function without God’s guidance, help, and grace, they are a functional fool.

So yes, today is April fool’s day. Let us not be fooled by Satan to join those who throughout time and culture are the greater fools.

This past week, God has provided several opportunities to talk to people about their souls. Here in JIBC we have coming those who are not followers of Jesus Christ. As the Lord begins to open conversations, He is also bringing conviction of sin and the promise of eternal life by faith in His grace. While I am thankful for these conversations, I am praying for those who still don’t see the need of this salvation. Knowing about God is just not enough for even the demons know about God and their knowledge of God makes them tremble in fear. Pray for clarity of the Word in people’s hearts and the impartation of faith to believe and surrender to Christ.
Sunday afternoon, we had twelve church people over for lunch. It was great time of fellowship and of hearing about their journeys to faith in Christ. When God wants to save, He will send those with HIs word to reach the hearts of those He is going to save. What a thrill to hear how God works.
Justin and his family left us Friday morning. They left their mark on the people here and we are so thankful that they could make the trip.
Have a great day in the Lord,
PS