22 Without counsel, plans go awry,
But in the multitude of counselors they are established.
23 A man has joy by the answer of his mouth,
And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!
24 The way of life winds upward for the wise,
That he may turn away from hell below.
How do we make decisions? What process do we put ideas through to determine if they are good or bad, better or best? Are we our own best counsellor? Are we the greatest source of wisdom that we know so when we make plans we only consult with ourselves? According to the teachings of wisdom, we need the counsel of others, several others even, to help us establish our plans. When we seek the advice of others, (v 23) their words may bring joy and value to our plans. Finally, (v 24) the wise around us will help our lives wind upward in a good direction opposing the descent of life away from wisdom and away from God.
Asking advice has often been hard for me because I know what I think and I don’t want to be questioned. Usually, when I ask someone else to think with me, they make me think about the potential failure of my plans, which thoughts seldom cross my mind. These negative thoughts frustrate me and make me wish I had not asked for advice; however, when I stop and consider the potential problems, my ideas are actually improved and gain greater value. It’s not that my ideas are bad but that they need the input of those who see from different viewpoint.
What we learn here is that the counsel and the words of others are good to consider and can actually make our ideas better causing them to have a greater chance to succeed. Their words have value and can help us move upward, away from death and failure, to bring greater glory to God in what we do. Let us humble ourselves, practice wisdom, and ask the advice of others as we go through this life.
Over the weekend my dad ended up back in the hospital with a urinary tract infection. He came home earlier today and is feeling better. Thank you for your prayers for him.
We were able to enjoy some of the wonders of creation this week as we took a short trip to a nearby island. Belitung island is far enough away from Jakarta to be free from the air pollution and free from the traffic. It was a nice break for us as we are ending Stefani’s stay in Indonesia. The highlight of the trip was snorkeling over coral reefs and watching the beauty of the reefs, the fish, the colors, and constant movement just a few feet away. Belitung also has some amazing granite rock formations jutting out of the ocean making small islands to stop and enjoy. We saw again that God’s creativity has no end.
Have a great day in the Lord,
21 Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment,
But a man of understanding walks uprightly.
In the days of Noah those around him mocked his work. “How crazy was this man to build a boat as big as a football field far away from water? He said he heard a voice from God, we did not hear any voices.” In modern terms, Noah would have been mocked by Saturday night live, radio talk shows, internet memes, political cartoons and more. The mockery continued until the first raindrops fell, but then it was too late.
Lot was mocked in Sodom. Peter tells us that Lot’s righteous soul was vexed. The men of Sodom mocked Lot and his righteousness. When Lot tried to warn them of impending judgment, they laughed at him and he again became the object of their folly. Until the fire fell, but then it was too late.
The rich man ignored the beggar Lazarus and though he knew that Lazarus claimed faith in Christ, the rich man mocked the beggar until he died. As the rich man opened his eyes in hell, it was too late.
For thousands of years the fools of this world have made a mockery of people of wisdom. Folly was and is their joy. They love to make fun of sin too. Elsewhere, Solomon compared the laughter of fools to the burning of small sticks in a fire. They crackle but they burn quickly and do not provide any heat. Those around us love those who make fun of sin and of righteousness. There is a certain joy in being able to do a good “roast.” Solomon did not agree, and we should stand closer to Solomon on this. There are things that should not be laughed at, should not be mocked.
The comparison in this verse is that the men and women of understanding walk uprightly, that is, they do not find mockery a joy. In the discernment of the upright there is understanding of people’s hurts and their pains when mocked. There is understanding of folly by those who walk uprightly and the upright who know the end of foolishness cannot laugh at it, they understand more.
Each Sunday God blesses us with His glorious presence. We rejoice together in song, fellowship, and the opening of God’s word. Yesterday we finished our journey through the book of 1 John. The pain of sin and the opposing thrill of being in Christ was seen over and over again. We, the people of God, enjoyed opening our minds and hearts to the messages of God through His servant John.
After church we enjoyed the baptism of three of our young adults. We gathered a an apartment pool, heard testimonies, baptized and sang together. This is a great reason to gather on a Sunday afternoon.
Last night, Bobbi and I were invited to watch a Jakarta football (soccer) team play against a team from Papua. A man who lives in our building invited us to his game. We sat with his family and enjoyed the game.
My dad is back in the hospital with a UTI. They will keep him for at least two days to see the infection down and his strength renewed. If you would like to call him, I do have a room number.
Have a great day in the Lord,
16 Better is a little with the fear of the Lord,
Than great treasure with trouble.
17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is,
Than a fatted calf with hatred.
In the NIV, it reads like this:
16 Better a little with the fear of the Lord
than great wealth with turmoil.
17 Better a small serving of vegetables with love
than a fattened calf with hatred.
When Paul wrote in Philippians 4 that he had learned to be content with much and with little, he made an important statement, a lesson that all of us need. Every day we are bombarded with wealth all around us and with the apparent benefits of that wealth. We are invited to get rich quick schemes as well as home based “businesses” that guarantee freedom from our jobs. The idea of getting rich is something most of us, if not all of us, have pondered at one time or another. Solomon, arguably the richest man who ever lived, came to realize that a simple dinner of vegetables and herbs with love was better than the best cut of beef without love.
Have you ever sat down to a nice meal when a cloud of frustration and anger was over the table? You really wanted to enjoy the meal but the bickering and the bitterness going back and forth took the joy out of the meal. It wasn’t the food that was bad, it was the attitude at the table that made the difference.
While I have known Christian businessmen and women who were very successful and honored the Lord with their wealth, I have also known successful men and women who just were not happy. They liked to have fun but they had no fear of the Lord and their lives hinged on their success or lack of it. Solomon reminds us that it is not our bank account that makes the difference but whether or not we fear the Lord that makes the difference.
Yesterday, the man we have prayed for, Pak Median, went to be with the Lord. In his life, this man was extremely successful and highly respected. Yet he died. At death, a few things matter: 1. Did the person who died fear the Lord and place his faith in Christ to bring him to God? 2. Did the person who died love his family and those around him so that in death he is remembered as a good man? I have seldom heard people at funerals talk about how much money one made. At that point, as is true in all of life, what matters is whether or not they knew the Lord and lived for Him.
If you are pursuing wealth, pursue the fear of the Lord first. If you are pursuing good meals and good things, pursue love first. Wealth can enhance love or wealth can expose the lack of it.
Please pray for Patrick and his brothers and sister and mother as they go through three very full days of people coming by. In this culture, the casket is at the home and people come by throughout the day and night. The burial will be tomorrow, Saturday.
We gather at church today at 11:45 for our Friday prayer time. Do stop by and join us.
Pray for Sunday as all of prepare our hearts to gather around the Word of the Lord. We need God’s truth opened to our hearts and lives so that our faith may increase and our knowledge of God will lead us throughout our lives.
Thank you for your prayers this week.
Have a great day in the Lord,
13 A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance,
But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
14 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge,
But the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.
15 All the days of the afflicted are evil,
But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.
We all understand the sorrow of heart that can break someone’s spirit. Either it has happened to us or we have seen it in a story. Sorrow leads to hopelessness and then someone’s spirit is broken; they become a walking shell. In Proverbs, we have often seen that the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness. This is an interesting use of eating foolishness while also proclaiming or vomiting out foolishness.
What I would like for us to look at today is the first part of verse 13 and the second part of verse 15:
“A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance,” and “he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.”
Those of you who know my father, Pastor Bill, know that he was always cheerful. He said it took less muscles to smile than to frown and he taught me that the joy of the Lord is our strength. My dad loved to tell you good news and held his tongue about gossip and people’s problems. When he came in the room, we were happy and glad he was there. According to today’s verse, my dad had a cheerful face because he had a merry heart. When our hearts are full, content, and filled with joy, our faces will be cheerful, our words will be edifying, and our overall demeanor will reflect the joy of the Lord
The second part speaks to a continual feast that is enjoyed by those who have a merry heart. When we are joyful, almost everyone else is uplifted and our joy is fed day by day. When our hearts are merry, that is, they are joy-filled and overflowing, those who come around us feed on our joy and we feed on theirs. We never go hungry in our souls for the joy of the Lord is both given out and received in return.
Is your heart merry today? Do those who know you enjoy you because you bring joy with you every time? Meditate today on the goodness of God that brought you to repentance, then meditate on the love of God that saved you knowing that you would sin again and again until you die. Rejoice in God’s mercies that are new every morning and thank God with one another, then, your heart will enjoy a continual feast.
Yesterday was a good day of opportunities to serve the Lord and His kingdom. I mentioned my lunch appointment and God gave me great freedom to talk to this young dating couple about Him, forgiveness of sin, and the fulness of Christ. Pray for their eternal salvation.
Later in the day I met a missionary here named Jonathan and we went out looking for people to talk to about the Lord. We found one man who was not interested in a conversation about sin. The next young man listened to the gospel message but could not accept the Bible as his authority. We left him with some videos on a flash drive. Pray for God to bring this young man to Himself.
Have a great day in the Lord,
10 Stern discipline awaits anyone who leaves the path;
the one who hates correction will die.
11 Death and Destruction lie open before the Lord—
how much more do human hearts!
12 Mockers resent correction,
so they avoid the wise.
The most difficult times of parenting might be when parents need to discipline their children. True discipline is both fair and painful while inflicting pain on your child is so hard to do. This section looks at those who reject instruction and find themselves under the stern discipline of God and of men. In Hebrews 12 we read that those whom the Lord loves He corrects like a father who delights in his son and corrects him for his own good. Discipline is not a hateful act but a loving act. Discipline is the desire of those inflicting it to change the heart and the path of the one who is going astray.
One of the more painful realizations of life is that there are people who hate correction. They mock the truth and seem to always run toward more and more rebellion. They avoid people of wisdom because they neither want their wisdom nor do they want their rebuke. And while I have known many mockers who resented correction, that same desire has also been in my own heart and I find the need to fight against it. You see, none of us likes correction, especially when we think we did it right. But correction is a necessary part of life.
The 11th verse provides a very interesting point in the middle of two verses about correction. Everything is before, or in front of, the eyes of the Lord. When we do well, God sees it. When we don’t do well, God sees it. In fact, God sees us from the cradle to the grave and everywhere in-between. So when we deserve correction God knows that we need it and God knows how we receive it. Let’s work at being people who receive the correction that we need and even thank those who correct us for caring enough to give us instruction on the way of life.
Yesterday, I invited you to view the sermon on 1 John 5:21 by clicking the link below. The link wasn’t working and the sermon was not posted yet. I think we have fixed all of that now so you should be able to click the link and go to the church website’s sermon page. This sermon was on idolatry itself while next Sunday’s message will be on how to overcome idols of the heart.
Whom are you praying to come to Christ? I am meeting a man today whose faith I am not sure of. Look for people to care about for Jesus’ sake. Love them and point them to the Savior.
Have a great day in the Lord,
5 A fool despises his father’s instruction,
But he who receives correction is prudent.
In trying to understand what it meant to be “prudent,” I went to a lexicon and to a dictionary. The dictionary says that one who is prudent is one who is “marked by wisdom, shrewd in the management of practical affairs, and marked by circumspection.” The lexicon said that prudent actions were “to be subtle, be shrewd, be crafty, beware.” From this, a prudent person is one who gives thought to what they do before they act and then acts in such a way that their actions are for their own good.
When Bobbi was in junior high, her father said that she could not do something that she wanted to do. When Bobbi responded to her dad that everyone was doing it, he asked her if everyone was jumping off a bridge, would she? The pressure of the crowd around us is very powerful so there are times when we need to receive the correction that we have been taught and to act in a prudent manner for our own good.
Going back to the first part of the Proverb, we all have two fathers. We have an earthly father and we have a heavenly Father. As a human son, I don’t want to disappoint my earthly father. As a spiritual son, I don’t want to disappoint my heavenly Father. Yet, whenever I reject one of their instruction, I am acting foolishly. Do you realize how easy it is to act against instructions that we know? Without planning it, we can respond to a momentary situation in a way that we later regret. It might be words, it might be plans, it might be activities, and in the moment we need to remember our Father’s instruction and act prudently not despising the instruction that we have been taught.
Father’s are given for their children’s protection. If you were raised without one, God has good instructions for your life. If you father was not good to you, your eternal Father is good to you and has good instructions for your life. Regardless of our human parentage, we have a heavenly Father who does not want us to despise His instruction. He then also calls us to obey and to honor our human fathers.
Let us consider what it means today to act in a prudent manner when faced with decisions of words, plans, or actions. Let us receive the correction and the instruction that we need and go forward with a better view of what we should do.
As we look forward to Sunday, we are called to pray for God to do His work amongst us, His people, gathered in His house. Let us pray that distractions will be removed, that sickness will be healed, and that the enemy will not keep us and others from not attending the Lord’s church this Sunday. We will pray for all of those involved in the services to be prepared to seek the Lord. We will pray for the preaching of the Word to sink deep into the hearts and lives of all who hear that God will turn on lights to penetrate our darkness.
Here at JIBC we will return to our Sunday school schedule meeting at 9:30. Ladies are still in the book of Job, the men are beginning a new series teaching them how to prepare a lesson from God’s word. The class for those searching for understanding of the faith will be Foundations of Faith, taught by Rene Salvatierra.
Have a great day in the Lord,
1 A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
2 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
keeping watch on the evil and the good.
4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
Harsh words, foolish words, and a perverse tongue bring wrath and folly, and will break the spirit of the one thus spoken to. Oh, how important it is to chose our words wisely. To stop and to think before we speak or to stop and wait before we press “send” are actions of wisdom to keep us from breaking the spirit of the ones we are speaking to. The pain of harsh words poured out in foolishness is long lasting and nothing to brag about.
The flip side of this is a soft answer, commending knowledge, and giving out life as in the tree of life. Our words have both temporary and eternal benefits when used wisely. Just as we are so thankful when treated with wise words so should we be people of wise words. Anyone can stir up anger, it takes a person of wisdom to respond to anger with a calm and soft answer. I am thankful for people who have modeled this to me. Some of you know Tom Hymers, Tom has been a man who has modeled a soft answer in the face of anger. As a fellow elder, Tom’s words were led by the Holy Spirit and always came out with gentleness and with strength. May each of allow the Holy Spirit to so guide our words to give life to those who hear us.
In verse 3 we see a very good reason for being careful with our words, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” Yes, we have the Holy Spirit and we also are under the watchful eye of God. What we say matters for the Lord is keeping watch. May the Lord be pleased with our words today as our words are words that give life to those who hear us.
Tomorrow at 11:45 is our Friday prayer time. We would love to have you join us in prayer. Tomorrow at 7:00 is our small group meeting at our apartment here in Kemang. If you would like to attend just let us know and we can get you the address.
On July 29th my dad is going in for a test to see if his Aortic valve can be replaced. In 2016 a test revealed that there was calcification in the valve. A recent test has shown that it is now critical and needs to be replaced. Pray with us for dad’s protection during this time.
Have a great day in the Lord,