Devotionals

Looking ahead, then deciding

Posted on

Proverbs 22

3 A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself,

But the simple pass on and are punished.

4 By humility and the fear of the Lord

Are riches and honor and life.

A prudent man or a prudent woman is one who looks ahead to consider the future effect on what they do today. Living within your income is a prudent action. Eating responsibly is a prudent action. Living a forgiving life is prudent living. It is much easier to repair something today than to let it remain broken until it costs you more than you have to replace it later.

Jesus taught of both heaven and of hell. He said very clearly that some would go to heaven and that some would go to hell. A prudent person says, “I don’t want to go to the hell Jesus spoke of so what did Jesus say about going to heaven?” Jesus called people to Himself saying, “Come unto me all who are burdened and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father except through me.” As we enjoy Christmas, we are enjoying God’s gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Jesus called the sinners to repentance from their sin and to believe in Him. John said, “He who has the Son has life.” Those who have Christ also have eternal life.

But “the simple pass on and are punished,” that is, they have no concern for the future as they live today. The simple people might know the truth but do not pay any attention to it. They may know that there is a future but they chose to live for today and for today alone. Solomon says that the simple, those who do not pay attention to the future actions of their lives today, will be punished, that is, they will be held accountable for their foolishness, for their sin. It happens, people rush into sin knowing that there is a payday someday but think it won’t happen to them. How sad.

Let us chose today to be among the prudent, those who seeking the Lord, know the end of our actions, and make the righteous changes that are necessary today. For “by humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.

Our niece, Lexie, is 27 weeks pregnant and went into labor last night. Pray with us that she will carry the baby longer. The longer in the womb, the more time the baby has to fully develop. Please pray for Lexie and for her baby.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

The Value of A Good Name

Posted on

Proverbs 22

1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,

Loving favor rather than silver and gold.

2 The rich and the poor have this in common,

The Lord is the maker of them all.

When people hear your name, what do they think first? What actions or attitudes are associated with your name? We all have a reputation that we have developed over time. In today’s proverb we learn that having a good reputation, a good name, is of greater value than great financial riches. When I look back over my life, there are a few people whose names are associated with favor and love, all of whom were great influences on my life. I have known several really rich people who were quite selfish and could have been a great blessing but were not.

To be a person who shows loving favor to other is better than having silver and gold. It seems that we spend a great deal more time on the silver and gold of this world than on being a person of loving favor. Before we attack ourselves, it takes money to live, so it is not that we should not seek money to live but our emphasis even at work is showing loving favor while we work.

A friend who is homosexual once told me that he had met two types of Christians, those who love and those who hate. What a shame that people who bear the name of Christ are known for hatred. We who bear the name of our Lord must be faithful to His name as we live, as we work, and as we go through life. A good name is rather to be chosen than anything else we might work for in this life.

 

On Sunday, we announced the need of a family in Indonesia who lost everything they own in a landslide. This family both knows the Lord and have committed their lives to serving Him. While we announced their needs we also give the information to make money transfers to them through their mission agency. If you need that information, here it is. Dedicate the gift to Melky.

BCA No. Rek 738 004 8536 or

CIMB No. Rek 054.011.215.3008

Acct Name: Yayasan Parahyangan Indah

 Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Putting more and more faith in God

Posted on

Proverbs 21

30           There is no wisdom or understanding

Or counsel against the Lord.

31           The horse is prepared for the day of battle,

But deliverance is of the Lord.

From the beginning of time people have expressed their independence from God. In our independence we think that we can tell God what we think and that He should listen to our advice. When life doesn’t go the way we think it should, we are quick to tell God our counsel with full expectation that God should and will listen to us.

In Hebrews 11 we are taught that God is pleased when we live by faith in Him. Living by faith really means that we accept Gods’ wisdom, God’s understanding and God’s counsel against our own. Proverbs 3:5-6 gives us similar instruction. “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” But these are all acts of faith which will go against our human logic, emotions, and will.

Verse 31 follows letting us know that regardless of how good we prepare; deliverance and safety is of the Lord. We plan, we prepare, God takes care of us. Since God is able to deliver us, He is completely trustworthy. Both verses point to the reality of placing our faith in God. From the first day of our salvation, we become people of faith. God calls us to trust Him more and more living in greater submission to His wisdom and counsel. As people of faith, this makes sense to us and we live trusting our wise and understanding Lord.

 

We were with Caleb and Lindsey last week and the internet there was not consistent so I was not able to publish any devotionals. Caleb and Lindsey are doing great and loving their teaching especially as they have become friends with their students. Three young men from Sri Lanka made lunch for us one day and it was a joy to get to know them. We also went out (at different times) with six of their friends enjoying hot pot one night and barbecue another. Bobbi was able to go to classes with them and really enjoyed participating with the individual instruction. We shared Christmas together and Christmas presents while Caleb made us his own special pizza. The university they teach at has a beautiful campus and they are quite secure there. We left very thankful for our time together.

Yesterday’s message was taken from the genealogy of Christ in Matthew 1. We saw how God, in His perfect plan, put some very imperfect and messed up people in the line of His Son. You might want to take some time to listen to this one. Check out the link below.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

Does working hard make us good people?

Posted on

Proverbs 21:4 (NKJV)

4 A haughty look, a proud heart,

And the plowing of the wicked are sin.

Proverbs 21:4 (ESV)

4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart,

the lamp of the wicked, are sin.

Luke 11:34 (NKJV)

34 The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness.

 

When Samuel the prophet went to anoint one of Jessies’ sons to be the next king of Israel, the oldest and the strongest sons seemed to be the ones to anoint. But God stopped Samuel and told him that these men appeared good on the outside, but God was looking at their hearts. In today’s proverb we find men that look good on the outside, but their insides are filled with sin.

 

When we lived in Wisconsin, I had the privilege of getting to know some farmers. These men, and their wives, worked more hours, worked year-round, and made huge investments of time and money awaiting their harvest. One man, in his 70’s at the time, had more work energy in him than I ever did. I once worked loading ice once next to a farmer’s wife and I could not keep up with her. Farmers work hard. So, when we read Proverbs 21:4 and are told that either the plowing of the farmer or the light of the farmer is sin, we seem to be missing something.

 

As we look at people and look at their lives, we will find one common thread amongst them all. Everything that everyone does is ultimately for their own benefit or for the benefit of their family, so for their well-being. For a hard-working farmer, the basis of his or her work is for their own benefit. At that point, they are working with a selfish, self-serving motive. The light that is in them, as Jesus said, is bad making them full of darkness. (I have known some hard-working farmers who were not good dad’s nor good husbands, so their hard work did not make them good people.)

 

Here is the challenge to us: if the hardest working people on the planet are not made good by their hard work, neither are we. We are all prone to pride, which the Lord hates and which is called sin. Our hard work is often something we take credit for instead of giving God the glory for. When we take the credit for our hard work our pride makes the light in us become darkness. Friends, let us give glory to God for every gift that He gives to us thus fighting against our human pride and it’s corresponding darkness.

 

We are thanking God today for healing little Ezra’s body enough so that he could go home. Look at the joy in the faces of the family as they receive him from the hospital. It has been a difficult week for them, but God has been gracious and kind and they are now together. This Thanksgiving Day, for the Schroder’s is special, indeed.

 

As it is Friday in Jakarta, we are praying for God to prepare all of us for church on Sunday. As you pray for teachers and musicians and pastors and other workers, remember to prepare your own heart and body to be in church, ready and on time to rejoice with God’s people and to hear God’s word.

 

We ask prayer for our first ladies conference here at JIBC. Tomorrow 40-50 ladies will be gathering from 9-5 to hear God’s word and to discuss the messages amongst themselves. May God use this time to strengthen the bond of friendships and to draw hearts to Himself.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

Sacrifice or righteousness?

Posted on

Proverbs 21

3            To do righteousness and justice

Is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

The truth of this proverb goes against most religions of the world. When worshippers go to their shrine or to their temple they are expected to make some type of sacrificial gift to the church, the god, or to the religious leader. Yes, they are expected to and sometimes demanded to give. Through their sacrificial giving the weight of their sin is lessened through the promise of the religion, its writings or its leaders.

Remember when king Saul came back from their attack on the Amalekites? God had commanded complete annihilation due to the extreme wickedness of this people. Saul killed all the people, except the king, a trophy of his conquest, and the people brought back livestock telling Samuel the prophet that they were going to use some of the animals for sacrifice to God. God’s answer was timeless. 1 Samuel 15 records that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is like idolatry, instead, God wants obedience above sacrifice. In Micah 6:6-8 the prophet asks how many sacrifices he would need to come before God and God’s answer is that He requires that the prophet do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

It seems to me that a sacrificial gift is easier than changing the way we life. Living righteously in an unrighteous world and showing justice and mercy is difficult, to say the least. In fact, apart from the indwelling Christ with His righteousness and His mercy, changing our lives is impossible. We see here that God instructs us how to live in Him and how to let His life shine through ours. For it is not how much we give that shows others God’s glory but how we live. Sacrifices? We make them every day as we love others above ourselves thus showing them righteousness and mercy; in these sacrifices God is well pleased.

 

This Saturday our ladies at JIBC are having a True Woman Conference watching videos from last year’s conference in Indianapolis. Over forty women have signed up for this all day event. Pray with us that God will encourage our ladies in their walk with Him and that their fellowship will build the unity of the church. I am thankful for all of the ladies who have worked to put this together and am looking forward to what the Lord is going to do here.

Little Ezra Wayne had is off the oxygen now and might go home tomorrow. We are thankful for his little life.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Put off that old greasy and tattered shirt of the flesh and put on the shirt of Christ’s beautiful righteousness

Posted on

Colossians 3

5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.

8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

This was the passage for yesterday’s sermon here at JIBC. Any passage that begins with the word “therefore” is referring to those teachings that came before it. In this case, we have just been told that since we have been risen with Christ, we are to seek those things that are above and to focus our attention and affections on these heavenly sights. Because of all that we learned of our salvation through Christ, whose fullness we have within us, we are to put to death, literally to make corpses of our earthly members, our fleshly desires.

Please understand, our human desires for life are from God. We are not to set aside our desires for love, companionship and intimacy for these are from God; we are called to put down, like a filthy, greasy, smelly shirt, the things of this world that lead us to perverted fulfillment of these God-given desires. The Bible, God’s holy word to us, is not unclear about this. No, God’s mind is very clear. (Spend some time in Leviticus 20 to see the mind of God regarding human sexuality.)

As God calls us to put off this filthy ruined shirt of our flesh, He also calls us to put on the righteousness of Christ. When we put on Christ and gather in Him, we are one. All people from all nations and classes are made one in Christ so that we all know that Christ is all in all. (You can listen to the sermon by following the links if you are interested in hearing more about this passage.) I do trust that your church is a beautiful tapestry of the cross sections of your community where all gather as one in the fullness of the Lord Jesus.

 

Our first son, Steven, and his wife, Rachel, has their sixth child early Sunday morning. Ezra Wayne Schroeder came into this world and his little lungs were struggling. Apparently his lungs are not fully developed but this is not unusual. (Our first grandson had the same issues.) We are thankful for little Ezra Wayne as we pray for God to bring his lungs to full development. We thank God for the gift of life that He pours out upon us through His kindness to us.

 I am again thankful for our church here in Jakarta. God has brought so many people from so many backgrounds to join together for His glory. Pray that those who come empty will leave full and that all of us would take God’s word home with us. Last night, as I prayed with Jared, he thanked God for shaking hands at church. Yes, when we are friendly even Jared notices.

 Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Ultimately, God is over all

Posted on

Proverbs 21

1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord,

Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.

2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,

But the Lord weighs the hearts.

When decisions are made by others for us, God wants us to know that their hearts are in His capable hands. Every day governments make decisions for their people. Some of those decisions are for the good of the government and some are for the good of the people. Every day judges around the world give their judgment regarding cases set before them, while they promise to judge fairly, they do not always do so. We learn today that when kings and rulers and judges of people make decisions that affect their people, the One in charge is God.

On one hand this is very comforting but on the other hand this is very confusing. For if God directs the hearts of those over us like a river that turns, then why are bad laws made and why are bad judgments passed out? We rejoice over God’s guidance of good laws and we scratch our heads over God’s guidance of bad laws.

In Isaiah 40 the prophet asks us this question:

13 Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord,

Or as His counselor has taught Him?

14 With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him,

And taught Him in the path of justice?

Who taught Him knowledge,

And showed Him the way of understanding?

As the heavens are far above the earth, so great is God’s wisdom above ours. Therefore, when God directs the authorities of this world and they make apparently bad decisions, God is working His eternal will. The powers of darkness and of evil rejoiced in the world-wide approval of abortion while we grieved at the continual loss of human life in the womb. We can guess at God’s purpose here and we do fight against abortion, but God was not asleep when these laws were made. What is God’s purpose for bad laws? Someday we can ask Him and He may explain His eternal purposes to us. But until then we pray for those in authority to lead us in God’s righteousness and peace believing that God is at work in their hearts to accomplish His eternal purposes for us.

 

It is Friday, today we take time to seek the Lord regarding our church and its preparations for Sunday. We pray for family members and missionary friends around the world who are preparing for their Sunday service. We pray for churches in our cities and towns that will open God’s word on Sunday that they will open it faithful to God and with His authority. Do stop today and seek the Lord’s guidance for your church and for other churches that you can pray for.

 Please pray for a family friend who has had to leave her husband with her children due to his abuse. There is much unknown in the days ahead brining all kinds of emotions up to them. Pray for this family’s protection and for the husband to submit to his church as they seek to correct his sinful ways toward his family and toward his God.

 Have a great day in the Lord,
PS