Month: October 2019
Proverbs 20:3 (NKJV)
3 It is honorable for a man to stop striving,
Since any fool can start a quarrel.
Proverbs 20:3 (NIV)
3 It is to one’s honor to avoid strife,
but every fool is quick to quarrel.
Why is it that strife and quarrels can come up so quickly? I can be having a great day and a quarrel comes out of nowhere. I did not ask for it, I did not do anything wrong, yet BAM, here comes a quarrel. Now, I wish I could tell you that I always react honorably and avoid strife thus stopping the quarrel; unfortunately, I don’t want to be in the wrong and trying to justify myself thus prolongs the quarrel.
Can we act honorably in those moments? Can we avoid the strife and avoid the quarrel? Apparently we can because that is what Solomon is telling us is honorable. When a ship loses the wind that fills its sails it stops moving, when we act in honor and with wisdom, we can take the wind out of the sails of the quarrel and watch it come to a stop.
The next time a quarrel begins, words are said that make you want to defend yourself, look to God for wisdom, ask Him for the soft answers that turn away anger, use His words, be humble, and watch the quarrel come to a quick end. It takes two to tango, as the saying goes, and it takes two to argue. When one refuses to dance there is no dance, and when one refuses to quarrel, there is no quarrel.
In our time here we have met different store employees. Last night, two Informa employees came to dinner and brought a husband and a boyfriend. It was delightful evening as we ate, played some games, watched some of Jared’s favorite music, looked at pictures, and got to know each other. The young ladies spoke a little English and the men not any. It always makes for a fun time of trying to understand each other. Keep praying with us for open hearts and lives.
November 9th at JIBC we are hosting a night of praise and worship. We are starting at 6:00pm and will be singing, reading Scripture and singing some more. If you play an instrument and would like to join the musicians, please bring it. If you have favorite songs, we will give opportunity for the audience to chose songs to sing. This is an open service so people from other churches are invited to come and sing praise to God with us. The gospel will be given throughout the service.
Have a great day in the Lord,
1 Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler,
And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
The book of Proverbs, as you recall, is a book of wisdom sayings which bring understanding to the simple bringing them from their simplicity to wisdom. This verse of wisdom brings different responses to different people, even within the church. Some of you hold on to this proverb as a good reason not to drink anything alcoholic while others of you will use this verse to remind you never to over-do your alcohol. Whichever side you take, do not miss the point of this wisdom teaching.
A mocker is one who despises wisdom, they scorn that which is righteous. A brawler is a fighter, a person who looks for a reason to fight with another. These two words bring some very vivid pictures to our minds. Wine is given the personality of one who mocks, one who scorns truth. It looks very appealing and can bring some merriment to a difficult day. The flavor of wine comes from grapes that are carefully grown to be made into wine. The alcoholic content is low but it is there. For those who drink wine, the warning is clear, do not be deceived by it. Do not let it lie to you and take you places that you should not go.
The picture of strong drink is one of a fighter, an angry man looking for a fight. Strong drink is that which is intended to make people drunk. We are not to serve strong drink to others. In Proverbs 31:6 we are advised to give strong drink to someone who is dying; for them, it is a sedative. Isaiah 5:11,22 and Habakkuk 2:15 all make strong statements against strong drink and serving it to others.
Yes, Jesus turned water into wine. According to custom, they always mixed their wine with a minimum of seven parts water. Wine both flavored and purified the water. Paul called Timothy to “drink a little wine for your stomach’s sake and for your often sickness.” Wine had a medicinal purpose. But those who wanted to get drunk drank their wine unmixed with an intention for drunkenness which the Scriptures often teach against.
Since we all have propensities for taking things too far, Solomon warned us all about the deceptive and brawling nature of wine and strong drink.
Last night Stefani wanted to watch something with Jared that he likes, so we watched “The Tigger Movie.” Jared was all smiles and very thankful for his sister. He had pizza, French fries, and pop. Altogether, this made a good night for Jared.
Have a great day in the Lord,
25 Strike a scoffer, and the simple will become wary;
Rebuke one who has understanding, and he will discern knowledge.
26 He who mistreats his father and chases away his mother
Is a son who causes shame and brings reproach.
27 Cease listening to instruction, my son,
And you will stray from the words of knowledge.
Each of these proverbs speaks about people who do or do not receive instruction and wise correction. To “strike the scoffer” means to correct with a painful correction. The scoffer will not listen to instruction so he must receive painful correction; when the scoffer is corrected, the simple one, the one without instruction, will pay attention and might change his way. When a person with understanding is rebuked, he will see the knowledge in the rebuke and will accept it. A son who refuses the instruction of his parents brings shame and reproach to them as he chases them out of his life. When any son stops listening to instruction he will soon stray from the safety of knowledge.
When we buy something with any complexity, it comes with an owner’s manual. For the item to work at its designed capacity we need to consult and follow the owner’s manual. Since we paid for the item and it is supposed to bring us some level of satisfaction, we willingly pay attention to the manual. We can call the Bible “God’s owner’s manual.” As such, it has the instructions that we need to live our lives to their fullest capacity. As an owner’s manual, it only helps when it is picked up, read, and followed.
It has become very clear to me that people do not like instructions. Some men don’t like owner’s manuals as they want to figure it out by themselves. Others take the owner’s manuals very seriously for awhile and then file it away. Unfortunately, we treat God’s owner’s manual much the same way. As complex as life is, we desperately need instructions. Where we go for instructions matters and what we do with those instructions also matters. Let us be people in the “has understanding” category, those who truly seek the instruction of the Lord and do all that we need to do to follow those life-giving instructions.
Each Sunday has it’s own personality and yesterday was a day of focusing on people who need the word of God and who need the Lord. Thanks to Phil Fields and his ministry as they have translated the New Testament into modern Bahassa and are working on completion of the Old Testament. Our songs pointed us to Christ and those who need Him and His message of salvation, from Colossians 2:6-8 we focused on the reminder of the day when Christ called us to His salvation. After the service we enjoyed an international lunch together and the church stayed and fellowshipped for a long time. I thank the Lord for JIBC and for His people who gather weekly around the Word and around the fellowship of the body.
After the message, one young man told me that he has not yet had that “greatest day of his life,” the day of salvation. He said he was on that journey but was not there yet. Pray for this young man this week to know the call of God on His life to salvation. I have asked prayer for Johanna as she fights cancer. Today, she is going to Kuala Lampur for an evaluation and hopefully treatment. Pray for her healing. Pray also for a couple that has contacted me about their marriage. God knows their need and the answer to it. Pray for them as they seek the Lord that they might seek Him in humility together.
Have a great day in the Lord,
18 Chasten your son while there is hope,
And do not set your heart on his destruction.
19 A man of great wrath will suffer punishment;
For if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.
20 Listen to counsel and receive instruction,
That you may be wise in your latter days.
Have you ever noticed how much of life is being corrected? It begins when we are very small and continues throughout life. This section looks at correction. In verse 18 we are told that there is a time when our children will receive correction; those are the days of hope for them. When parents do not correct their children in the days of hope and then try to correct them in later years, the now grown children don’t listen.
The next verse deals with a man in his anger. When someone lives an angry life, they tend not to take correction. Their anger weaves its way into all parts of their lives. Once anger becomes the ruling characteristic of a person, they will need help, and they will need that help again and again because they won’t take correction.
The third verse reminds us of the our continual need to listen and receive correction. For when we listen to counsel and receive instruction, the latter days of our lives will be better. I have known sweet and godly adults who in their later years remained sweet and godly and humble. I have known angry adults who in their later years were bitter and hard to get along with. How we receive correction in our lives will matter as our lives continue.
Submission is a strange thing. We all know that we are better off when we submit to the Word and the Spirit. Yet all of us have struggles submitting. Notice from these verses that when we submit to correction, to counsel, and to instruction we are the ones better off for it. Correction is not about the person correcting me, no, correction is about how I receive it. May we remain humble and moldable when we need to be corrected.
Please pray for one of our church ladies, a sister in Christ who is battling cancer. Johanna has been coming for a few months along with her daughter and her adult son. We have gathered around her as a church and prayed, we have been with her at home and prayed, and her battle continues. Please join with us in prayer for this sister to be eased from her pain and even healed from her cancer to the glory of God alone.
Have a great day in the Lord,
17 Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord,
and he will repay him for his deed.
How often does someone in poverty reach out a hand to us for a gift? Growing up around Chicago, I saw the poor every time I went to the city. Later in life we began to minister to drug addicts who told us how much they could make in a day by standing on a street corner with their hand out. Then I began to see every poor person as an addict who would take my hard-earned money to buy awful drugs, so I did not want to give any more. No, that was not fair either. As a pastor, people ask me for money and the church considers giving to their need.
Proverbs 19:17 is our guide for Christian giving to the poor. We learn here that when we give to the poor we are lending our money to the Lord. I once loaned money to a man to buy a car. When the oil light came on the man ignored the warning and destroyed the engine. The man decided not to pay me back for a car that he could no longer use. Yes, I was quite upset but I learned this principle that day. Now, when someone needs money, I give it to them. When they promise to pay me or the church back, I let them know that whether they pay it back or not is on them and that I will never bring it up again. In the end, the Lord takes care of our investment to the poor.
The principle is clearly stated here; when we give to the poor we are lending to the Lord and the repayment is in the Lord’s hands. When we give money away, we are to give it with no conditions and with no strings for we are lending it to the Lord. Our giving is out of love, not obligation, out of need, not because we are supposed to. When we learn to give in love to those in need, we give freely and leave them the responsibility of how they spend it. To some people, I might pay their rent or pay their electric bill without giving them cash, if led to do so, but the repayment is up to the Lord.
You see, my friends, Jesus was a friend to me when I was just a sinner with no love for Him. He gave me His life so that I could live. When I give, I am displaying the love of Christ which at one time I needed to see. Give to the poor, lend to the Lord, and leave it all in His hands. Perhaps we will be able to point those we help to the Giver of all life.
As we are in our mission’s emphasis month we are getting to know some of our missionaries. Rene and Juliette are missionaries in Indonesia with Word of Life. Their goal is to reach young people for Christ by getting into schools with the gospel of Christ. Pray for Rene and Juliette to know the open doors of the Lord, to see God’s provision for their Visa and financial needs, so that they can minister Christ here for years to come.
On Sunday, we learned about unity in love and in knowledge. Why is this so hard for the church of Christ? We want to be unified, but we are not always loving with our knowledge. The flip side is that we love careless of knowledge. Pray together church that we may be as united as the cells in our human bodies. We also enjoyed looking at the riches of God in Christ and learned that when we go to our Lord for help that His supply far exceeds our need and that we can expect Him to meet our needs. What a great comfort we have in the riches of God in Christ.
Have a great day in the Lord,
16 He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul,
But he who is careless of his ways will die.
When we were younger, America was considered a “Judeo-Christian” nation. The Ten Commandments were on the walls of courtrooms and in town squares. The rule of law was based on absolutes of right and wrong as defined in the Bible. Keeping the commandment of God was thought to be good for families, good for churches, and even good for society.
But then a shift began where prayer was banned from the public schools, the Bible was not to be taught in the public schools, and all public displays of the Ten Commandments were removed. Before long, the rule of law was based on public opinion instead of the objective Word of God. Situation ethics was taught as God’s absolutes were put aside. Right and wrong became fuzzy and was subjected to the upbringing, emotions, and feelings of the people in the culture.
We have watched a shift from those who keep the commandments, to the keeping of their souls, to a world that is careless of the ways of their lives. Ironically, divorce rates, depression, and suicides have dramatically increased. While the world has turned away from God’s commandments, they have come much closer to death and to all of the pain that separation from God brings.
As a pastor, I strive to bring people back to the absolutes of God’s word. The result of this shift back to God’s commandments is people who have peace in their souls. Carelessness with life, from Adam and Eve to today, always brings death of some sort. Only when we follow our Lord Jesus, the living Word, will we know His grace and peace as He keeps our souls both in this life and forevermore.
As we get close to Sunday the church has much to do. There are lessons to prepare, music to rehearse, media to upload, audio to tweak, and our own hearts to get tuned to listen. For all that happens to get Sunday ready for church, the people who come should leave as spiritually filled as they are physically filled after a great meal. Spend time in prayer for your church service on Sunday. Ask God to tune your heart to receive all that is there. After church, take time talking about what you have learned and how you have worshipped. Enjoy everything about Sunday as you would a concert or a sporting event. For the believer, the gathering of the church is the highpoint of the week.
We host our small group tonight at 7:00. As we study the book of James we enjoy the life experiences of one another that help explain the text. See you tonight.
Have a great day in the Lord,
13 A foolish son is the ruin of his father,
And the contentions of a wife are a continual dripping.
14 Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers,
But a prudent wife is from the Lord.
Where does a “good” family come from? How can we have a “good” family? There are many opinions about the answer to these questions. First, we would need to define the word ‘good’ so we can agree on the goal. In this passage, a foolish son (child) can be the ruin of his father and a contentious, arguing wife is continual pain to the whole family. So, a “good” family would not have foolish children causing shame nor an arguing wife who brings continual misery.
As a parent of many years, I can attest to the pain of a foolish child. When children act in foolishness the parents grieve. As parents, we learned quickly that control was an illusion. Our kids were going to do as they wanted and we were there to guide them, pray for them, and to try to keep them from failure. When they resisted our wisdom, we felt like we were the failures.
In verse 14 it is established that one’s father can give them a house and an inheritance of riches, but if a man ends up with a prudent wife, one who walks in love and wisdom, she is a gift from the Lord. No, I did not choose my wife, God gave her to me. Honestly men, do you really think that you wooed her to want you? If you have a good wife, she was God’s gift to you.
In pulling these two Proverbs together, we can synthesize that a “good” family begins with a husband and wife that the Lord brings together. Our families are not the result of our upbringing but are God’s gift to us. Psalm 127:3 tells us that our children are God’s heritage to us; the fruit of the womb is his reward. So, a “good” family is the result of God’s kindness shown to us. When we understand this, we will rely upon Him for every aspect of marriage and family. We will go to Him with our family problems and our struggles. We will seek God’s wisdom in our marriage and in our parenting. A “good” family begins and continues both thanking God and trusting God knowing that apart from Him we are lost and doomed to suffer the pains of selfishness and rebellion.
Please pray for a 17-year-old boy who is facing the consequences of his foolishness. He has a short time to turn his life around before many things collapse around him. His parents know the Lord and we are all banded in prayer this week.
Have a great day in the Lord,
11 The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger,
And his glory is to overlook a transgression.
In studying Proverbs 2, we learn that discretion is the ability to look past the current decision to see the consequences that will result. The opposite of discretion is carelessness, foolishness, and immaturity. Whenever anger is the first emotion and angry words are the first reaction, big problems follow. Words are used that cause pain and rejecting actions are shown that are not easily forgotten. None of us want to be characterized by anger but all of us have either responded in anger or been the recipients of someone else’s anger. Knowing the painful end of anger should cause us to have enough discretion to be slow to anger.
A slow boil is one that takes time to get hot. It cooks the food slowly and effectively. Being slow to anger can be compared to a slow boil. Yes, there is good reason to be upset, yes, something sinful is being exposed, but showing composure while slowly rising in emotional temperature, will enable the mind to think more clearly and will make sure that the words used are constructive not destructive. Yes, there is a place for anger, but explosive anger never accomplishes anything righteous. “The wrath of man does not work out the righteousness of God.”
With discretion, the understanding of the consequences of our actions, there will be times when we will consider just letting something go. There are some offences that are better off let go. When we are sinned against, we need to seek resolve before the sun sets, before the day ends, but there are times when I perceive someone offended me, but it is only my perception. At those times I am much better off letting it go than making a point. In the end, I am thankful that God has forgiven me and that I can overlook an offence to the glory of God. Loving one another is the key. God has shown forth His love by loving us in all our sin (Romans 5:8); we are called to love one another with this same love. Overlook an offence to the glory of God and rejoice as His love flows through you.
In reading through the book of Genesis again, I was struck by the contrast between Noah and Lot. Both were warned by God of impending judgment and both lived in societies completely given over to sin. In Noah’s day we read that violence covered the land and that every thought of mankind was only evil continually. In Lot’s city of Sodom, all the men of the city wanted to sexually assault the two male visitors in Lot’s home. When the angels of God struck these men with blindness, they continued their perverse rage by blindly seeking Lot’s door. The major and painful difference is this: Noah’s sons and daughters-in-law got into the ark with him, Lot’s children and wife were so caught up in the identify and world-view of Sodom that some did not go with him, his wife looked longingly back, and his daughters committed incest to bear children. I was reminded of the importance of raising our children to know the Lord, to see the failure of sin, and ever keep before them the truth of God and His wonderful salvation. We cannot change the world, but we can raise our children with the knowledge of God and trust Him for their salvation.
Have a great day in the Lord,
5 A false witness will not go unpunished,
And he who speaks lies will not escape.
8 He who gets wisdom loves his own soul;
He who keeps understanding will find good.
9 A false witness will not go unpunished,
And he who speaks lies shall perish.
As we have seen, the book of Proverbs is a book of contrasts. Here in chapter 19 we find the same statement in verse 5 and in verse 9 with a statement about loving wisdom and keeping understanding between them. Do you read or watch the news and wonder who is telling the truth? It bugs me so much to hear two sides of the same story, both spoken with the conviction of truth, but both of them on complete opposite ends of the spectrum. Is one lying, are both lying, who is telling the truth? Does truth begin with one’s political position or does truth stand all by itself?
Twice we find stated that a false witness, one who speaks lies, will not go unpunished. In other words, at some point, the truth will be known, and the liar will face the consequences of their lies. Furthermore, those who speak lies will perish, that is, they will die and will come to nothing; their reputation as a liar will cause them to be forgotten, they will perish.
At times, we just need to sit back and let the Lord reveal the truth. We tend to jump on to the bandwagon that we think is the truth, but we need to wait to see where the truth is. In the getting of wisdom, we love our own soul; in keeping understanding we will find good. Instead of following the loudest voice or the most convincing argument, let’s seek God’s wisdom and God’s understanding. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. God is truth. Since He knows the truth from the lie, we can find the truth when we seek God’s wisdom and His perfect understanding.
We began a mission’s emphasis month on Sunday. Our church supports seven missionaries/mission agencies in Indonesia. We heard from a woman on Sunday who has served in Indonesia for 50 years. May all of us be so faithful. We are praying that the people of JIBC will gain a greater understanding and burden to both give and go.
This morning, Stefani and Zani and I went early to a traditional market. It was a lot of fun to buy vegetables and fruits, some of them I had not seen before and bought them just to try them.
Have a great day in the Lord,
1 Better is the poor who walks in his integrity
Than one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.
2 Also it is not good for a soul to be without knowledge,
And he sins who hastens with his feet.
3 The foolishness of a man twists his way,
And his heart frets against the Lord.
It would be a breath of fresh air to have men and women serving our countries who walked in integrity, were not striving to be rich, lived with the knowledge of God in their souls, did not hurry to sin and did not twist situations to their advantage fretting against the Lord. As sad as it is, this does not describe very many people, especially those in government leadership. It is no wonder that the countries of the world are in trouble.
Well, if we cannot look around and see very many people that these verses describe in the positive sense, then we can at least look into the mirror and ask if we live this way. Do we walk in our integrity? God is truth. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Integrity, for the Christian, should be a life characterized by truth, by integrity of character in all matters. When things go wrong, our reputation of integrity should protect us.
There is so much emphasis on success and wealth. Everywhere we look we see something better than we have and more expensive than we can afford. Paul said that he had to learn to be content, so do we. Godliness with contentment is great gain regardless of how much money we make. We know what it is to be poor; being poor is not shameful. Honor follows those who walk in their integrity. As we strive for things in this life, may we strive the most to be people of truth and honesty, respect and kindness, people of integrity.
As we prepare for Sunday, remember to pray for your church. God has brought His church together for His glory for the furthering of His gospel. Pray that your church will gather around the Word of God, maturing in faith and knowledge, making the gospel known.
Two men in our church request prayer for medical situations; remember Rikardo and Tymoti in your prayers and they have medical procedures today. Remember the family of Mr. Wiranto in prayer. Mr. Wiranto is a government official here in Indonesia who was stabbed yesterday by a radical Islamic man. Pray for this government as they seek to bring greater peace to Indonesia.
Have a great day in the Lord,
24 A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
4 Wealth makes many friends,
But the poor is separated from his friend.
In a day when “friends” are counted in a Facebook column or an Instagram account, we may have “many friends” whom Solomon might have called “many companions.” There is a concern today that this generation is not going to know the meaning of real friendship. The expression, “I’ve got your back” is not an expression of real friendship but one of defending someone. Michelle Obama “had the back” of a profession football player who came out as homosexual; she was not his friend. In today’s way of thinking, one’s list of “friends,” those who follow a social media feed, provide the security of acceptance. Solomon’s words need repeating: “A man of many companions may come to ruin.”
How many friends stick in times of wealth and in times of poverty? How many friends stick when everything is going well and when everything is going bad? Felicity Huffman had many “friends” until she was exposed for bribing her daughter’s way into college. Her “friend list” got really short, really fast. The question today is not how many “friends” we have on social media, but how many friends do we have that we can count on when our money and our health run out?
I mentioned yesterday that Jesus Christ is the friend that sticks closer than a brother, and for His friendship we are eternally grateful. Yet, when we need the hand of a friend, the voice of a friend, and the care of a friend, how many can we call? May I suggest that you break out of your routine to be a friend to a friend in their time of trouble? Last Sunday, when Rikardo ended up in the hospital, a woman and her daughter from church came and spent six hours caring for him. The next day a couple from the church came and stayed with him for several hours while the hospital was struggling with Rikardo’s insurance. When either of these families have a need in the future, Rikardo will be there as they were there in his hour of need. A real “friend” is not on a social media list, no, a real friend is there when your brother or sister cannot be there. A real friend sticks closer than a brother and is your friend regardless of what they might “get” from the friendship.
Yesterday, two of our deacons and I went to visit some Iranian refugee men who are also our brothers in Christ. It was a joy to hear of their journeys to faith in Christ. These men also told us about the atrocities of Sharia Law in Iran. Whenever one leaves Islam for any other religion, they become a target for anyone faithful to Islam to kill. These brothers, most of them, left Iran because they were targeted for leaving Islam. As refugees, it takes 3-7 years for the UN to finish their case and move them to an approved country. In the meantime, they cannot work as they would be “taking jobs away from Indonesians.” As we talked, these men told us how much they like Donald Trump because he is the only one with courage enough to stand up to Iran and tell them that they are treating their people wrong. They said that Barak Hussein Obama (their emphasis on “Hussein”) did not help the Christians in Iran at all as he supported the regime with their Sharia Law. Pray with us as our church seeks to help these refugees who fled their country because of their faith in Christ.
Have a great day in the Lord,
24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 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.
The human element of this passage is that friendship is the result of friendliness. Those who are not friendly do not have many friends. The opposite is the point of the verse; those who treat others with friendliness will have friends. One of the byproducts of being depressed is to lose friends; this loss is because the one depressed will stop being friendly. What does it take to make a call, send a text, or meet someone for lunch? When we act in friendliness toward others, we will make friends and we will help ourselves out of our own loneliness.
The spiritual element of this passage is that Jesus Christ calls us His friends. He laid down His life showing us His love and He now wants us to be His eternal friends. Jesus is the friend who sticks closer than a brother for He is ever with us. We can make human friends who are closer than our natural brothers and sisters. Jesus in us and our lives in Him are possible because He has acted in friendliness toward us. The greatest act of friendship is to lay down your life for your friend. While we might be willing to do this for someone very close to us, Jesus laid down His life for us when we were very far from Him.
Rest assured in the friendship of the Lord Jesus. Not only did He call His disciples friends, He also proved His claim to friendship by giving up His life for His friends. When we feel alone, we are not. When we feel forsaken by our earthly friends, Jesus has not forsaken us. It is the friendship of Christ that carries us throughout this life and on into eternity. This idea of a friend with God is unique to Christianity. He loved us first and love Him in return. We do not live in fear of angering our God for He has confirmed His loving friendship to Him. Let us live in the security of knowing our Savior as our eternal friend.
Have a great day in the Lord,
22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord.
We live in a cohabitation, a living together, a try-before-you-buy, world. In the past 50 years, people who live together has increased by over 900%. This is astounding. One of the primary reasons that people are against living together is because of religious beliefs against fornication, sex outside of marriage. However, over 80% of people who live together before marriage will divorce. So even though the current logic is that living together helps you determine compatibility, it does not develop greater life-time commitments.
Today’s verse tells us that God gives His favor to marriage. The first human relationship that God himself established, was marriage. Adam, awaking from the first surgery, saw the woman God had created from his rib, and said, “For one of these, men will gladly leave their fathers and their mothers to be united with a wife.” God married them and blessed their marriage with a command to have children. Adam and Eve remained married until they died some 900 years later. It would appear that God designed commitment.
In a world that plays down the importance of marriage as the right way to start a life together, we who love the Lord need to know that we are going to practice life differently. We need to understand that God has a plan for couples to commit themselves to each other with a legal document and a wedding ring. Living together is to begin after the couple has made public vows to stay together as long as they both shall live. God places His favor on marriage.
Welcome to Tuesday. Yesterday was a busy day as one of our church members had kidney stone attack in our home in Sunday. I went with Rikardo to the hospital on Sunday then went back to see him on Monday. Pray for him as he is seeing a doctor today about getting rid of the kidney stones.
A few weeks ago I asked prayer for Jared. His blood work showed that he needed to increase one of his medications. Since we increased that med his seizures and twitches have decreased dramatically. Thanks for your prayers. He walks a thin line between seizures and too much medication. We do enjoy him and he brings joy to many people.
Have a great day in the Lord,
20 A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth;
From the produce of his lips he shall be filled.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.
In these two verses we find one theme, the good fruit of the good words that we speak. For lunch yesterday we went to a Japanese restaurant with Stephen and Suprapti. Stephen ordered many different dishes of meats, shrimp, rice, and vegetables for us all to share. When we were nearly full, the waitress came in with two more plates of beef. It was tender and filled with flavor so I had to have some of that too. By the time we left lunch, we were so full that we did not eat any supper. It was wonderful food. Is that the same satisfaction that we enjoy when we speak good words to others? When we produce words of kindness and blessing from our lips are we so filled?
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue;” Solomon focuses here on words of life. Yes, our tongue can slice and dice and tear down but the emphasis here is on words that are fruitful and fulfilling. In my life, I have had those whom I just enjoyed being around. Their life was filled with good things, with learning, with doing kind deeds, and when we were together all of this goodness came out of their mouths. Because they loved the Lord and His word, they overflowed with His love and were just a joy to be with. What is it about people like that makes them enjoyable? They use their tongue to produce words that are fruitful and fulfilling.
How about you, how about me, are our words bringing fulfillment and satisfaction to those around us? As we go about today, let us determine to speak good words, words of fulfillment, to those we talk to. If this proverb is true, we all will end the day as satisfied as Bobbi and I were after lunch yesterday.
As we prepare for Sunday, we are praying for pastors and teachers who are studying, for musicians who are rehearsing, and for those who will come that their ears and hearts will be opened to the Word of God. We are praying for the unity of the church, the salvation of the lost, and for the growth of the believers.
Have a great day in the Lord,
19 A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle.
7 Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!
26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil.
When we offend someone by word or by action, steps must be taken to resolve the offense and to restore the relationship. Whenever an offence is not dealt with quickly, the enemy of our souls will use that offence against us. The offended heart often travels to bitterness of soul toward the one who offended. By the time the offence goes to bitterness, the offended brother is harder to win than a strong city and the bars of that offence are like the bars of a castle designed to keep those inside from getting hurt again.
Jesus said that offences would come, that is, they are a part of life. But Jesus continued his lesson on offences and pronounced a woe on the one by whom the offence comes. Paul then, in Ephesians 4, teaches us to not allow the sun to set on an offence. In other words, offences are going to happen; offences can separate close friends and families; Satan can use offences to get to our hearts. But, when we seek to reconcile an offence in a timely manner, it can be righteously resolved.
Do you have offended people in your life? Are there people who have offended you and caused you to separate from them? Take time today to pray for those people, and then ask God for His strength to enable you to seek to reconcile with them. God is honored when sinners get along; honor our Lord today and by faith make the call toward reconciliation. When we, by faith, do what God tells us to do, the results are in His hands. Go and be reconciled.