Month: September 2019
12 Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty,
And before honor is humility.
33 The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom,
and humility comes before honor.
1 Peter 5:5 & James 4:6
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
Can we agree today that pride is our enemy? Every time it sticks up its ugly head, pride gets between us and God. Every time I absorb the praise of men or take credit alone for my work, I am in sin for not reflecting the glory to Whom it belongs. Pride, our desire to be better than someone else, to prove ourselves worthy, or to make others think better of us, is something to fight against every day.
Notice that the Proverbs verses do not tell us that we cannot have honor, they tell us not to seek honor but to seek humility. It is the humble person who quietly does their job well, who does not seek the praise of others, but knows what they need to do and without fanfare, just does it. In humility, we might never be recognized for our work, but we know it is important and that we are doing it first for the Lord.
We need to look at Joseph who did his job for Potiphar and then did his job for the prison warden. Joseph was a slave with a vision of God’s purpose for his life. Joseph could never attain that purpose as a slave, but he consistently did what was in front of him in places of great humility. There were no gifts, no ceremonies, and no apparent purpose for his work, but he worked anyway. In the end, we see that God was preparing Joseph in humility to serve Him with great honor.
Whatever we do today, let us do it as to the Lord not unto men knowing that we are serving the Lord Jesus Christ. This is not our job, our work, or our projects, they are the Lord’s and we are serving Him. In the end, the more humbly we serve the more God will raise us up to where He wants us.
10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe.
11 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
And like a high wall in his own esteem.
Where do we go for refuge in life? Do we go to places of our own making, places that have made us feel good in the past or to people that have made us feel good? In today’s Scripture we find two places to run for safety, the Lord or our own accomplishments. In verse 11 we can find all types of “high walls of our own esteem.” The NIV puts it this way, “The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it a wall too high to scale.” When we erect walls to protect ourselves, we imagine, we esteem them impenetrable and go hide behind them.
Where do we go for refuge in life? Do we go to places designed by our own imagination, places that give us a false peace? Wealth can take wings and fly away. A bad investment, a major health problem, a job loss, a day in court, a broken down car, a house repair issue, money can take wings and the protection we thought it would provide leaves us exposed. Friends can turn against us; I am reading the book of Job right now and am astounded at the brutal attacks of his “friends” who came to see him. Secret places can be found and developed, favorite songs and movies can fall short. All the places of refuge that we create are places of imagined safety.
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower.”
1 Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
2 From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
4 I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.
David knew where to run and found safety in the Lord’s strong tower. Solomon knew that the name of the Lord was the best place to find protection. When we need a place to run, let us run to the strong tower of the Lord’s Word, His peaceful presence is a place of comfort, of wisdom and understanding, a protected place where we find the Prince of peace.
Our family is thankful today for God’s care. Justin came home safely from his teaching in Kenya, Bobbi and Stefani got home safely from their Visa run to Singapore, and all of us, including Ben and Steve, found God’s strength to proclaim His word in church on Sunday. We humbly thank the Lord for His riches to do His work.
As I am preaching through the book of Colossians, I opened a New Testament hymn in Colossians 1:15-20. You would enjoy taking time to read and think through this hymn of exaltation of Christ. There are twelve statements identifying the Lord Jesus in these six verses. I wish we knew the tune they used and were able to sing it with the early church. Lift up Christ this week; He draws people to Himself when He is lifted up.
Have a great day in the Lord,
6 A fool’s lips enter into contention,
And his mouth calls for blows.
7 A fool’s mouth is his destruction,
And his lips are the snare of his soul.
8 The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles,
And they go down into the inmost body.
James 3:2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.
When the Bible talks a lot about a particular subject, it must have been a needed topic. Think about it, the first recorded human conversation was a man using his words to attack his wife and his God. Genesis 3:12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” From then on, mankind has used words to attack each other. God had to command people to be kind to each other, to treat each other right. Our sinfulness seeks ways to use words to get around our sin, to justify it, or to blame it on someone else.
Today’s verse says that a fool’s mouth is his destruction. While we think we are justifying ourselves, in actuality, we are destroying ourselves. Every time we use our mouths to blame-shift, to attack, to get our way, to cut down, and to gossip, we are hurting ourselves the most. People who always talk about others end up alone. Their mouth becomes their greatest enemy.
The warning is obvious, as children of God, blood-bought joint-heirs with Christ, we are not to be like the fools of this world. Our words are to be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving, and edifying. Our words are to be prayerful and filled with comfort. At times our words need to be corrective but never in anger or in bitterness. When correcting our words should be filled with love and compassion for the one we are correcting (and we correct others only after we have removed the beam from our own eye).
The greatest way to use our words is to use them to exalt the Savior, to lift Him up in this world. When we use our words for Christ, we will find great fulfillment as givers of life instead of takers of life. We can be faithful to our new Father when we use our words to show Him to those who hear us.
It is hard to believe that it is Friday already. Where do the weeks go? I am preparing a message from Colossians 1:15-20 and have been amazed to see twelve different descriptions of Christ in these six verses. In Colossians, Christ is exalted over and over. This section was probably a hymn of praise to Christ that was sung in the first century. When we sing praise to our Savior, we are joining the saints of the past two thousand years. Yes, Christ is worthy.
Our little nephew seems to be healing a bit ahead of schedule. We are thankful. He is still wired up and has IV’s in him. He looks quite pitiful. Keep his parents, Shawn and Suzanna, in your prayers too.
Pray for Sunday, for all who will be serving the Lord and His kingdom. Pray for those coming that Satan will be defeated and that God’s power will be made known.
Have a great day in the Lord,
4 The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters;
The wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook.
In Proverbs the type of person is often defined by an adjective such as, the wise man or the foolish man. However, in this proverb the man is “a man.” When I was growing up, a manly man was good man. A manly man stood up for his family and for his country. A manly man was not ashamed of his faith and served God boldly in his church. When a manly man spoke, he was speaking from a place of wisdom and of strength. This is the type of man that Solomon is speaking of here.
When a man of wisdom and strength speaks he should be listened to and his words should be considered. He is speaking from experience and from study and from the fear of the Lord. I have heard words of great wisdom from men who were not elders nor deacons but had value in their words. While the writers of today’s comedy and cartoons want to degrade men, the words of Solomon still ring true. Men without character who are filled with selfishness are not men of wisdom. Foolish men are not filled with wisdom. These are not the men this proverb is referring to.
When someone speaks words of wisdom, they are speaking from a continual source. A person of wisdom is not like a fortune teller who might get it right once in a while; no, a person of wisdom is like a flowing brook of fresh water, their wisdom continues. In a day when true godly wisdom seems to be a rare commodity, let us both seek people of wisdom and let us become people of godly wisdom, people whom, when we speak, wisdom flows from like deep waters out of our mouths.
Bobbi’s nephew’s son came through his heart surgery well. They are in a waiting period now to see how well his little body responds to this surgery. Keep praying for Shawn and his wife and their little son to know the closeness of the hand of God upon them.
The world is in an uproar. From Great Britain to Jakarta to Hong Kong, to the United States, to Venezuela, to north African countries, to Iran and to Saudi Arabia, and more, the world is in an uproar. As we watch and read the news, we must cry out more to the Prince of Peace to work His work in the hearts of men and women everywhere. God always has been and always will be in control shaping human events to accomplish His eternal plan. Pray now for the safety of God’s people and for the furtherance of the gospel amidst all the turmoil.
Have a great day in the Lord
1 A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire;
He rages against all wise judgment.
2 A fool has no delight in understanding,
But in expressing his own heart.
3 When the wicked comes, contempt comes also;
And with dishonor comes reproach.
Today we learn an important lesson about those around us. When a man or a woman seek their own desires, they rage against wisdom, they have no delight in understanding, and they feel the constant need to express their own heart’s desires (remember that the heart of man is evil). When evil men and women come, contempt comes with them as they dishonor all righteousness, especially those who love righteousness.
Before coming to Indonesia, I subscribed to the Chicago Tribune online. Most days I will review the paper to get Chicago and US news. The writers for this newspaper hate righteous people, despise anyone who stands for godliness, and mock all who uphold the Bible as a rule for life. It is frustrating to read all articles with a leaning toward those who seek their own desire as they rage against wise judgment. As these writers express their own hearts, their determination against godly wisdom show in their contemptuous words and accusations. They are so frustrating to read that I seldom complete a whole article.
We too must be careful not isolate ourselves to our own ideas. We should follow the example of the wisdom seekers in Proverbs 2 who seek for wisdom as for hidden treasure and seek understanding as one might seek silver and gold. We can have good ideas but remember this, good ideas are made better when refined. We must not rage against wise judgment as we seek to float our own ideas. Instead, we are better off seeking godly wisdom from others and allowing our ideas to percolate with theirs thus improving ours.
In the multitude of counsellors there is safety. A fool rejects anyone else’s ideas for the fulfillment of his or her own. Show wisdom and let others help with the good thoughts of your head and of your heart.
We are all thankful for the working of the Lord on our behalf. Yesterday was another great day in the house of the Lord, and I am thankful for everyone who worked so hard to bring us together with order and peace. From the nursery to the sound board all who worked did so to the glory of God and for the flow of the service. We rejoice with Purity and with Zachary and Lia as we dedicated with them their child to the Lord. Remember church, we are a part of these children’s lives also. Let us commit to showing them love and godly wisdom.
Please pray for our nephew Shawn’s baby today. Sometime around 9:00 EST, this little one is going in for heart surgery. He is just a few days old and was born with a heart defect. Pray with the family for wisdom for the surgeon as well as quick healing for this little boy.
Have a great day in the Lord
27 He who has knowledge spares his words,
And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.
28 Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace;
When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.
The more we know the less we need to say and the more we understand the less we come to anger. Keeping our mouth shut can sometimes make others think we have wisdom and perception.
We talk too much. We don’t hold our peace and shut our lips enough. No wonder we are not considered people of great wisdom. The more I talk the more I need to justify what I have said. The less I talk the more I give others the opportunity to be understood. The more I understand the calmer I remain while the less I understand the quicker I am to be angry. A respectable person is respected because they remain calm in the face of trouble, they shut their lips instead of adding to the trouble with their words.
Maybe you have been on the other side of this, perhaps you are the one who can’t ever get a word in. I had a deacon one time who spoke so seldom that when he did speak every one else stopped to hear what he had to say. It was as if we respected him for his silence and his few words were heavily weighted.
“Lord, may we grow into people of greater knowledge and of greater understanding so we can be people of fewer words and of a calm spirit in every situation. May we be under the Holy Spirit’s control so that we can hold our peace in every situation so that the foolishness of our souls will be hidden in your controlling quietness.”
As we prepare for Sunday, let us pray one for another and for those who will be serving us in the house of the Lord, His church. Pray for them to see personal spiritual victories and for them to be growing in grace and knowledge so that when they stand in front we will see more of Christ and less of them. Pray for their study time to be profitable and their rehearsals to be worshipful. Pray that God will bring those He wants to be in His house. On my way in this morning, a man in the street stopped me by name and told me he would be in church on Sunday. His name is Yonnie. Pray for Yonnie and others like him whose hearts God is stirring to come to church and to Himself.
Have a great day in the Lord,
25 A foolish son is a grief to his father,
And bitterness to her who bore him.
During our years at Victory Homes, we saw many grieving and bitter parents. The rebellion of their own sons brought them great and continual pain. The word ‘grief’ in this proverb is the same grief that one has when a loved one dies. The difference is that the grief of death gets weaker over time while the grief of a rebellious son or daughter is a grief that does not go away. A mother suffers with bitterness of soul wondering why God let her give birth to a child who would despise her instruction. I have come to understand that a rebellious child is one of life’s greatest pains.
As we think about this today, I would like to draw us to greater prayer for all of our children. The enemies of this life, the world, the flesh, and all of the powers of darkness, want our children. The world calls out to their flesh nearly every waking hour. They are being called to accept all types of evil as normal, they are being called to fleshly experiments that can make the flesh feel good for a while, and they are being called to do all of this to the rejection of the truth that they have learned and seen in church and at home. Yes, our children need our parenting and yes, they really need our prayers as they are in a daily spiritual battle for their very souls.
All to often we try to logically talk to our children in hopes that we can convince them to do the right things with the right friends. May I suggest that we talk less and that we pray more. I learned early on that parental control is an illusion. My children had wills and plans of their own as they grew up. While I could be an influence, I was not in control of them. In prayer, we ask God to be in control of our children praying that they will listen to Him. We pray that the Word of God that they know will be a lamp to their feet and a light to their path. We pray that the temptations they give in to will not satisfy and will not lead them astray. We pray that the sins they give in to will not leave life-long scars. We pray that the truth of God will be the truth that they seek and the voice that they listen to.
We love our children differently than anyone else does for we birthed them, cared for them, fed them, educated them, took them on vacations, invested in their skills, and have prayed for them since birth. We are more invested in them than anyone else can be. We must continue protecting them in prayer for them. We pray because God calls us to. We pray because God loves them more than we do. We pray because we love them and want God’s best, not our best, for them. We pray for their eternal salvation which we know is God’s desire for them. 2 Peter 3:9 God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. You may be a grieving or bitter parent today; never stop praying for your child(ren) to hear and to surrender to the voice of God Almighty, their eternal Father who is mighty to save.
Shawn Alexander Jr and his wife gave birth to Stratford Emmanual Alexander. Little “Strad” will have surgery this week to repair his aortic valve and to seek to bring his heart to normal. Strad is healthy in all other areas. We continue to pray for God to bring His healing hand to Strad’s little body.
Have a great day in the Lord,
24 Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding,
But the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.
8 So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.
From the beginning of time we have wanted to understand things better. As Adam looked out over the animal kingdom, he did not understand why there wasn’t one like him. When Satan tempted Eve, he tempted her understanding of God’s word. The people of Noah’s day did not understand why he would build an ark so far from water. God created us with a desire to understand. With that in mind, we see Solomon putting wisdom and understanding in the same sentence. We can deduce that wisdom comes from the right understanding.
In the days of Nehemiah, the people who had grown up as slaves in Babylon had come back to the broken down Jerusalem of their father’s fathers. After rebuilding the temple and the walls, they gathered as Ezra read from the Law that God had given Moses. Since this was the first reading for these people, Ezra put men throughout the crowd who could hear the Scriptures and teach the people the correct understanding of what they were hearing.
God has given us His word, we call it the Holy Bible. In its pages is all different kinds of instruction. The more we understand the Word of God the more life-wisdom we will have. Since instructions for life come from many different sources, we need to make our understanding of the Word of God our priority. The life-wisdom we need comes from this understanding.
My friends, there are many voices giving us guidance, it is easy to listen to the loudest, the most logical, and the most desirable, commit yourself to bringing all human understanding under the understanding of God’s word. You will find a treasury of wisdom for every one of life’s situations and will never look back with great regrets. The joy of the Lord will be your strength, and the people of God your close family.
Have a great day in the Lord,
22 A merry heart does good, like medicine,
But a broken spirit dries the bones.
Here is a fun proverb to consider. Everyone enjoys a truly happy person. This is the person who walks into a room and everyone feels better. Their presence brings the anticipation of good news, edification, laughter, and pleasantness. A person with a merry heart can be like a good medicine that lifts away sorrow and depression and makes life warm and sunny again. We all enjoy a truly happy person for we benefit so much when they come around.
The opposite of a person with a merry heart is a person whose spirit is broken. This person is more like Eeyore who sees a cloud behind every silver lining, sees every glass half-empty, and could not come up with a positive thought in a room filled with good news. The person with a broken spirit has been hurt by life and does not think that they can ever be truly healed. Everybody is out to bring them more hurt, so they live in their cocoon, under their own rock, in their own cave, miserable in their own darkness.
The truth is that at different times in life we find ourselves in both categories but we should more often be of a merry heart. While bad things happen, the child of God has been given the greatest eternal gift possible. The work of Christ on our behalf removes our sin and its stain from the presence of God the Father; the Holy Spirit takes up residence within us to confirm the word of God and to constantly remind us of our eternal security. Whatever happens beyond this should be placed under the blood of Christ enabling us to rejoice in the Lord always.
Our world needs the medicine that we, whose hearts are filled with the joy of the Lord, can bring them. When we who follow Christ walk into a room the people in that room should be glad to see us knowing that we bring love, peace, joy and acceptance with us. The joy of the Lord makes our hearts merry which then makes us good, like medicine, to those we meet.
The goodness and the kindness of God are His continual gifts to us. When we, the church of God, gather as the family of God in church, we again and again enjoy the goodness and the kindness of God. I so rejoice in the gathering of God’s family at JIBC. We are blessed by singing praises, by fellowshipping and by gathering around God’s word. My heart is overwhelmed week after week. “Thank you, Lord, for bringing Your people together to enjoy Your presence in this life.”
My son, Justin, is travelling to Kenya to teach for ten days in a seminary there. Pray for safety in travel, for health in a different environment, for strength in weakness, and for the pastors who come to gain a better understanding of the Word of God. These pastors make great sacrifices to come to training. They could never afford to leave their country but they do want to understand the Word of God better.
Pray for one another. The enemy of our souls wants us defeated, discouraged, and he wants us to believe his lies. Pray that each of us will recognize who our true enemy is and that we will stand against his schemes as we live and fight the battle of the Lord.
Have a great day in the Lord,
15 He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just,
Both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.
16 Why is there in the hand of a fool the purchase price of wisdom,
Since he has no heart for it?
Listening to the news has become a frustrating exercise. One politician says the other politician is bad and the other politician says the first one is bad. Both have reasons to prove their points against the other. One side is against abortion while the other side is for abortion; one side is for climate change and the other is against it, and so on. One side is for the current leadership and the other side is against the current leadership and the media picks their side to justify and to condemn. Today we see that God calls those who justify the wicked and those who condemn the just an abomination to Himself. The word ‘abomination’ indicates something that is especially vile, even to God. With this in mind, we must be careful whom we justify and whom we condemn.
Do you remember the old song, “Who is on the Lord’s side?” This song came from Joshua’s last message to Israel asking them if they would serve the Lord or the Baals. Joshua stated that if God be God, follow Him. The same call comes to us today but seems to be a little more difficult to discern. For while we clearly want to follow the Lord, the voices around us are unclear, to say the least. Even churches and “Christian” leaders are clouding the clarity of God’s Scriptures. In this day, we are called to search the Scriptures daily to determine who is wicked and who is just so we can know whom to stand with and whom to condemn.
In our journey, we often try to give instruction to those who seem to have lost their way only to find out that they “know what they are doing” and have no interest in God’s wisdom. Verse 16 addresses those who are fools telling us that we cannot put wisdom into their hand for they have no interest in trading money, or anything else, to get it. My father used to say that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. A biblical fool has no interest in the water of life nor in the wisdom of God. They have no heart for it.
It has always been important for God’s people to know God’s word. Take time in it every day. Meditate on those who succeeded and on those who failed and determine how to live for God in our lifetime. Avoid the error of the fool and let the Word of God be your wisdom source throughout your life.
Welcome to Friday. It is a beautiful day in Jakarta. As we approach Sunday, be sure to spent time in prayer for your pastor, your church, and those who will be attending on Sunday. Find ways to serve the Lord through your church; at least ask God to lead you across the path of one who needs to be loved and edified. God will give you that unique opportunity and you will go home rejoicing that the God of heaven used your mouth and your body to show His love and care.
This Sunday I will begin a series on the book of Colossians. The exaltation of Christ is the them of the book and so every message will have something to do with the lifting-up of Christ. Colossians is a beautiful letter encouraging the people of Colosse to look in a greater way to Christ as their all in all.
Please remember Bobbi’s nephew Shawn and his wife in your prayers. They will be delivering a baby this weekend and they already know that this little guy has heart issues. Pray for healing and for wisdom and for comfort during this trial of life and faith.
Have a great day in the Lord,
14 The beginning of strife is like releasing water;
Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.
When is it easier to clean the floor, before or after the water has stopped coming from the broken pipe? When is the better time to fix a leak, when it is just dripping or when the pipe has burst? Since we know the obvious answer to these questions, we should also understand this proverb.
We all know when contentious words are said, they are usually followed by, “Why would you say that?” or “Do you really mean that?” These reactions are the moment to remember this proverb. Before another contentious word is said and a quarrel begins, stop the hurtful words; yes, just stop them. Just like repairing a leaky pipe before it breaks, stop the contentious words before they turn into a quarrel.
Proverbs 15:1 says that a soft answer turns away anger. Whenever we respond to contention with soft words of kindness and humility the angry moment blows away. While the other person is getting ready for a full-fledged fight, gentle and humble words take the wind out of their quarrelsome sails and they have no where to go. Since we are to keep all corrupting words from coming out of our mouths and we are to use our mouths for edification to the glory of God, stopping a contention before it gets into a quarrel is what our Father God would want us to do.
So, the next time we are drawn into a quarrel, let’s see if we can pause, look to heaven for the right words, and bring a stop to the contention of the moment to the glory of God.
We all got to talk to my parents last night, they are doing quite well at this time and we are thankful. There is one area that they need prayers for, and that is their ability to sleep through the night. Since they are staying with my sister, she hears them every time they get up and she is not sleeping well either. Ask the Lord to remedy this situation for my parents and for my sister, Dawn.
Victory Academy, the boys home and school that we started and worked with, is in need of a single man to work with them for this school year. The RA position is vital to the work with the boys. Since no one has agreed to this position, the school has had to postpone their opening. There were seven parents ready to send their sons to the program and now are having to seek other options or wait. Pastor Mark and Lynne and the staff are praying and seeking God’s provision. We all know that this is in God’s hands and are trusting Him for the right person. If you know any young men who could take a year to work at Victory Academy, please let me know or contact Pastor Mark directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 715-759-5976.
Have a great day in the Lord,
10 Rebuke is more effective for a wise man
Than a hundred blows on a fool.
11 An evil man seeks only rebellion;
Therefore a cruel messenger will be sent against him.
12 Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs,
Rather than a fool in his folly.
In the book of Proverbs, the fool is the one who cannot be reasoned with, will not be corrected, and has the least hope of changing for the better. While there have been times that I have made foolish decisions, I hope that I never end up living the life of the fool. In this section we see that a fool will not receive correction, seeks only rebellion, and is not to be messed with in the height of his folly.
In my time at the boys home and in my years at rescue missions, I have met those who have been corrected over and over, in a sense they had received hundreds of corrective “blows” on their foolish backs yet in the end went back to their sinful foolishness. You recognize a fool when you meet someone who has had much correction and then blames everyone else for their problems. They have been repeatedly corrected but never leave their foolish thoughts and actions. We have helped those who went back to their foolishness the moment the help ended.
At the same time, I am thankful for those who when they received a rebuke for their foolishness turned completely from it. These are the men and women who see the end of folly and with a little correction will turn from it. Their conscience is sensitive and they do not want to end up in destruction.
My take away from this verse has been that I want to be a person to whom a word of correction is sufficient to get my attention. I wish I could tell you that this were always true of me, but God and I know my stubbornness and know the times God has worked me over with a hundred blows only to see me return to my foolishness. Look at your life today and ask God to give you a sensitivity to correction.
A young man came by last night burdened for his country. In watching the news and seeing people doing horrible things to one another, his heart broke. As we talked together we considered these people’s needs of the Savior who alone can give them hope. Then we talked about those around us whose trouble we cannot know but we know that they need the Lord. Pray with us for unique opportunities to talk to those around us about the Savior, the Lord Jesus. When people come to Christ, then and only then will they find the answers that they so desperately need.
Have a great day in the Lord,
9 He who covers a transgression seeks love,
But he who repeats a matter separates friends.
Someone you love has just hurt you. You do not know why they hurt you, but they did. The more you think about it the more it bothers you. You are coming up to an intersection of actions; either you will forgive the person out of love for them, or you will talk about what they did with someone else.
The second path, talking about the hurt with someone else, has the ability to get back to the one who hurt you, but not from you. The person you tell might tell someone else who tells someone else and by the time it gets back to the one who hurt you, your relationship is far more damaged than it should have been. The one who hurt you now wonders why you did not come to them and now has hurts because of your action of repeating the matter.
The first path, in love covering up the hurt and seeking the right time to go back to the loved on who hurt you, is more difficult, for it causes you to have to face a conflict. But the result is the restoration of you and the one you love. In loving relationships, things are said and done that cause hurts. I have come to realize that when I am hurt, the one who hurts me often has no idea that I have been hurt. What they said or what they did wasn’t intentional, it just happened that way. To go back in love and to explain that you have been hurt can make the relationship stronger for now you both know the hurt and will try to avoid it in the future.
To love others more than self will drive us to the right reactions when we are hurt. In love, turn back to the one you love before you go and tell the story to someone else.
Yesterday at JIBC was such a wonderful day of God’s presence. The young people from Elsafon school for the blind were amazing testimonies of God’s grace and power. They played piano, saxophone, and sang with such love and power that we were blessed far beyond our expectations. They stayed and had lunch with us at the church and we were able to visit with them a bit more. We all realized that if they, though blind, can serve the Lord with such joy and power, then we have little, to no excuse. Thank you Elsafon youth for showing us Christ. You can find them on Facebook at yayasanelsafan.
We are serving the Lord this week with His promised presence in all that we do. Today, one of our church ladies is ministering to a young woman who is pregnant while in college. She goes with the presence of Christ enabling her. Pray for this young woman who needs Jesus and wisdom in caring for the child in her womb.
Have a great day in the Lord,
3 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
But the Lord tests the hearts.
Some of the illustrations used in ancient literature are not as familiar today as they were then. Personally, I have never watched gold nor silver purified over a fire. The process in Solomon’s time, as I understand, was quite lengthy and required the metals to be heated until the impurities floated on the surface. The impurities would be taken out and the process repeated until there were no impurities left and gold or the silver was then considered pure.
Using this illustration of heating and scraping and reheating, Solomon states that in the same way, God purifies our hearts. I remember hearing once about a rough diamond being taken to a diamond cutter who works that rock cutting it until it perfectly reflects the light and it becomes a beautiful and valuable stone. The speaker stated that if the diamond could talk, it would say, “Ouch!” When God tests our hearts, it is painful. He heats and scrapes and heats and scrapes until we come into His image, His desire for us in this life.
By nature, we do not like this purifying process, but no one who goes through it looks back and wishes they were the person they were before. We are always thankful for the product, we just do not like the process. Let us submit to the processes God brings into our lives as He works on us to bring us to a place of greater value and greater glory for Him.
My dad is home now and feeling well. My mom and sister are at greater peace now. All of us are thankful to God who gifted those who worked so skillfully on dad. It is a joy to see the Lord still directing my parent’s path of life. Thanks for all your prayers and love.
Sunday I will be bringing the last message on the Church series. This one is about the Church – a birthing center. We will be looking carefully at the Great Commission and at God as the only giver of life. Every church should be having new Christians born into God’s kingdom. Just as we cannot produce children at will, neither can we convert someone at will. Just as God partners with parents to implant a soul into the womb so God partners with His people when they give out His word to place faith and new life in the one born again. Pray for Sunday that God will use His word to bring us closer to His image.
Have a great day in the Lord,
1 Better is a dry morsel with quietness,
Than a house full of feasting with strife.
Which would you rather have every day for the rest of your life, lots of money and lots of food of all types, or peace and quiet in your house? I have been in the homes of unhappy rich people. They had the house, the nice cars, the boats, the horses, the cruises, all the stuff that poor people want, but they were unhappy with each other. Every meal had a cloud over it; every trip had a cloud over it, every fun thing they did was to try to get rid of the cloud for a moment. I remember leaving one such home and thanking God for His peace in my home. When we delivered furniture, we often found ourselves in downtown Chicago high rise apartments. We would leave and on our way home sing these words, “I am richer than a king, wealthier than a star, happier than a millionaire driving a fancy car. Jesus lives within and my riches are in Him, I’m richer, richer than a king.”
When Christ lives in us and our homes are places of God’s dwelling, peace and quietness of soul bring great satisfaction with contentedness. One of the happiest homes I was ever in was a man’s home with old carpet, old furniture, crowded living (they had seven children in a small house), a great dinner, singing during dishes, and the peace of God throughout. I remember thinking that if I ever had a home that was the kind of home I wanted.
What do you want? Some people can handle both wealth and contentedness, they have a gift from God to use for His glory. Some of us just need to be content with what we have and thankful that with our meager meal we have the joy of the Lord, the quietness of soul, and the peace of God at our table. Do you grieve when you hear about well known people divorcing or losing their kids to addictions? They may have it all but in reality they have nothing and have now lost what was most important.
Look at our verse again: “Better is a dry morsel with quietness, Than a house full of feasting with strife.” Pray with me to be content with God’s peace and that we may stop hoping for greater feasting. God promises to meet our needs and then calls us to be content with whatever He gives us. That is quietness of soul.
My dad’s aortic valve replacement was a success. Yesterday they showed him the new valve working on a sonogram. I did not know how beautiful a working heart valve can look. He is feeling well and hopes to go home soon. Thank you for your prayers for him.
On Sunday I brought a message about the church being a spiritual army. This week has been a time of great spiritual battles for many of us. Pray with us today for those among us who are in the front lines of the battle. The enemy is strong and deceptive, but our Captain is mighty in the truth. Pray that we all will follow our Lord Jesus and rely on His strength to face these fierce battles. One brother in Christ was served divorce papers, another loses his house in less than two weeks (he has three children), another is struggling for peace in God’s will, another is facing disappointment, a sister is seeking reconciliation with her parents while another sister is battling against gossip and a family has issues that don’t seem to go away. You could add to this list. As an army under the same Captain, we must fight in prayer for one another. We need each other in the battle. Band with me in labored prayer for one another.
Tomorrow we will gather for prayer at the church at 11:45. Sunday we have children from Elsafon school for the blind coming to worship with us.
Have a great day in the Lord,