Proverbs

Let’s Take the Opportunities to Choose Wisdom

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Proverbs 24

1 Be not envious of evil men,

nor desire to be with them,

    for their hearts devise violence,

and their lips talk of trouble.

    By wisdom a house is built,

and by understanding it is established;

    by knowledge the rooms are filled

with all precious and pleasant riches.

 

The word pictures described here make an obvious choice for what we really want in life. No one wants violence; no one wants trouble in their houses. On the other hand, all of us want a level of wisdom in our houses, understanding of what is important, rooms filled with precious and pleasant riches. We can envision the difference quite easily.

Once we see the difference, to what degree will we strive to attain the better side of this picture? No one is born wise, for we are born with hearts that are deceived, wills that are selfish, and goals that might take some sin to achieve. We revel in acts of the flesh and laugh at foolishness and sin. So then, how do we transition to gaining wisdom, understanding, and right knowledge?

The first step in change is recognizing that change is needed. Looking back, when you have acted in selfishness, where did it get you? When did you act in envy and trouble to get something you wanted, did you really enjoy what you gained?   Now, what do you need to think and do differently to act in the wisdom that brings security and value? The funny thing about wisdom is this, no one may support your decision to act in wisdom and understanding but everyone will envy the results of your wise choices.

I have read many stories of foolish people who got rich, really rich, but lost it all and ended in poverty and shame. (Not that being poor is shameful, but these people become poor because of their foolishness.) On the other hand, I have known hundreds of average people who sought the Lord’s wisdom and understanding and while living moderately in life had a family that was established and had the precious and pleasant riches of God’s grace to enjoy every day.

 

Two years ago I began the journey toward another degree that would provide the credentials needed to teach on the seminary level. I took a year off of that journey when we moved to Jakarta. In October, I restarted the journey. In the last two weeks of December and into the first week of January, my class assignments on top of my church speaking schedules, took over my life and I was not able to give time to prepare these devotionals. This week and next I am in Louisville, KY taking class. My plan is to get back to writing the devotionals as things get back to normal.  

We had a great Christmas together with our church family and are so happy to be in Jakarta at JIBC. Bobbi and both have completed a year now and look forward to 2020 as we continue to serve with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Have a great day in the Lord,


PS

Riches and honor from humility

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Proverbs 22

4 By humility and the fear of the Lord

Are riches and honor and life.

Philippians 2

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

With Christ as our example, we should have greater understanding of this proverb. Jesus did not come in power and authority but in humility and in the fear of the Lord. Jesus came fully submitted to the Father’s will, which He completely did fulfill. In Ephesians we read over and over about the unsearchable riches of Christ. Jesus is also known as “the Life.” For though Jesus came in poverty and He came to die, Jesus ended up highly exalted and the only true life-giver.

 

No, we will not be like Christ in His exaltation, but we will be lifted up by God when we too live in humility and in the fear of the Lord. I am very thankful for the examples of humility I have known in this life. Their human abilities, surrendered to Christ, made them humble, approachable, and even kind because they knew that everything they had came from God. As I watched these truly “great” people, their testimony gave me solid examples to follow in church and in business, and I am thankful for each of them.

 

In the end, we all want riches, and honor and life. To gain these rewards as lasting benefits, we must commit to walking in humility and in the fear of the Lord. Those of you who knew my dad, know that he always deflected praise. He thanked those who helped him, he thanked his wife, and he thanked his Lord. My dad did great things but walked humble with his God. His riches are eternal. Let us all look past the riches of this life to the riches and honor of God’s kingdom. Let us walk today in humility and in the fear of the Lord.

 

Yesterday we enjoyed having 40 children from Mamasayan orphanage in our service. These kids were happy, vibrant, and joyously lifted God’s name in praise for us. I thought that we could all learn something from these kids about being content with where we are and praising God in the middle of life’s trials.   Christmas is a difficult time for orphans and widows; pray for those around you will be alone this Christmas, ask them over during the holidays and enjoy their company for awhile.

This evening, I will be bringing a gospel message at an office party here in Jakarta. One of our men works in this office and has worked it out for me to bring a message. This is a great opportunity to introduce Christ to many people. Pray for God to do His mighty work through us for His glory, the salvation of souls.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Looking ahead, then deciding

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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

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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

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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?

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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?

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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