Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Go with your heart?

He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered. - Proverbs 28:26

‘Follow your heart’ is common piece of advice that sounds pretty good. It has a romantic appeal to it. It makes sense in a way because we think that we are surely capable of knowing what is best for us.

The problem is that our hearts are a problem. They need kept ‘with all keeping.’ Out of the heart flow everything else that we do, and our natural heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. Our heart needs the Holy Spirit’s control and we need to yield to His control and get out of the way. When we act on emotions most of the time we are going to get it terribly wrong.

We must guard our hearts because what is in our hearts will eventually be reflected in our words and actions. He who trusts his heart is just plain foolish and will suffer the consequences of his foolishness. He who walks in wisdom will be delivered. 

Monday, 22 May 2017

Don't count on tomorrow

Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth. - Proverbs 27:1

Don’t boast about tomorrow for you never know what a day might bring.
Take no thought of tomorrow, today has enough issues of its own.

There are plenty of warnings about being too focused on tomorrow. Those of us who have lived any time at all know the perils of pinning to many hopes or casting too many fears about tomorrow. Most have had too many days come along that shake everything up and sometimes change our lives forever. We get a phone call or a text or an email or a letter in the post and the day becomes nothing like the one we woke up to.

We can’t count on tomorrow – we can’t despair of it either. We don’t know what it will present to us. Who knows where will be when the sun sets tomorrow? We ought to pray and plan and prepare – but don’t count on the day going on you want it to go. The Lord may have other plans for you. 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

A dog and his vomit

As a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly.  - Proverbs 26:11

This is kind of gross – but it sure gets the point across.

Most of my life I was NOT a dog person and this is one of the reasons why. Dogs are, as much as I love Jasper, pretty gross. The stuff he stops to eat on his walk are appalling.

One of the things dogs eat is vomit. They eat human vomit, dog vomit, and even their own vomit.

That’s pretty gross.

But what an apt picture of what it is like for a fool to go back to his folly. How bad must it be when you or I keep returning to our same sin?

It is just crazy. It’s gross, if this picture is true indication of how serious it is. God loves us, but He wants us to learn our lesson and move on from our sin. He doesn’t want us trapped by the same old sick sin cycle.

Surely, this image is so clear any of us can get. Lay that besetting sin aside. Depart from evil.

Leave the vomit alone. 

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Feed your enemy

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, And the LORD will reward you  - Pro 25:21

This must sound like the craziest thing in the world. Feed you enemy? That’s mad – who would feed the people trying to hurt them?


Nope, sorry – that’s not how it is for God’s people. God tells us ‘love your enemies’ and here He makes it even clearer with ‘feed your enemies.’

While this may run totally contrary to our way of thinking, feeding our enemy is the best way to beat them, because in doing so we put them to shame because they cannot answer love and one of the best ways to show love is by practically meeting their needs.

And not only that, but God will reward you.

The early Christians in Rome played this our just right. One of the chief complaints on one of the Roman emperors, Justinian I think it was, was that ‘these Galileans have the audacity to feed, not just their own, but our people.’

There is no answer for love in action. Love in action is the best way to defeat our enemy in the long run.

Don’t hate your enemy. Don’t gloat over your enemies losses. Don’t mock your enemy. Don’t fear your enemy. Love him and feed him and trust in the Lord’s reward.

Friday, 19 May 2017

And rise again

For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity. Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, And He turn away His wrath from him. - Proverbs 24:16-18

There is a constant theme of scripture about the importance of persistence and stick-to-it-iveness and dedication and keeping on. That theme is there because we all do falter and stumble and fall.

But the righteous man keeps getting up, time after time after time after time after time. He is not going to be knocked down for good. Micah talks about that when he said that even if he falls seven times he will arise, pray, wait on the Lord, and God would hear him.

We read in the Bible about not being weary in doing well. We read about being steadfast and unmovable and always abounding in the work of the Lord. We read about not losing heart.

This happens all this time, but this week I saw a story about how one of the triathlete in a major race crashed his bike during the cycling segment. It was obvious he could not win, but instead of giving up he picked himself up and carried his bike to the changeover point and then finished the run segment.

That’s the kind of spirit we are talking about here. It’s the kind of spirit Paul writes about when he wrote ‘we are knocked down, but we are not knocked out.' 

So when the next blow comes, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep on moving. We will get there some day and ‘what a day that will be.’ 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Who has woe?

Who has woe?
Who has sorrow?
Who has contentions?
Who has complaints?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
Those who linger long at the wine,
Those who go in search of mixed wine.
Do not look on the wine when it is red,
When it sparkles in the cup,
When it swirls around smoothly;
At the last it bites like a serpent,
And stings like a viper.
Your eyes will see strange things,
And your heart will utter perverse things.
Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
Or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying:
“They have struck me, but I was not hurt;
They have beaten me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?” – Proverbs 23.29-35

Before I start I want to put in a bit of a disclaimer. The thoughts that follow are not aimed at my brothers who take an occasional glass of wine. Most people know that I am teetotaller, but my purpose here is not to persuade anyone to my point of view because it is my point of view.

But I do think we need to be aware of the danger of drink. This section of Proverbs 23 warns of the practical dangers of too much drink. Drunkenness is fraught with dangers. If we are going to choose to use alcohol we need to be careful that we don’t abuse it.

I don’t need to retype all of those warnings and admonitions and dangers. Drunkenness causes woes and sorrows and fights and complaints and physical injuries. It causes hallucinations and saying things you would never say. It cause things to happen that you can’t understand – and it makes one live for drink.

I understand this passage when I read it. When I was young I was misusing alcohol to the point where much of what I read about here was going on with me. I saw all these things and I had to make a choice.

I’ll leave the arguments for or against an occasional social drink to someone else – but we need to be aware of the many dangers of abusing it. Of that there can be no doubt.

As a believer I need to be more careful of my behaviour than usual.

So I choose not to drink – at all. I can be pretty sure that way that I am not going to get drunk and suffer the ravages talked about here.

Others may choose their own options – and I can choose mine. 

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The Lord God made them all

The rich and the poor have this in common, The LORD is the maker of them all. - Proverbs 22:2

Man seems to be always able to find a way to divide from other men. We divide over race and nationality and creed and religion and economic status and politics and opinions.

I hate to say it but divisions are the norm. It all started with Cain and Abel and it just got worse from there.

But that is all because we are broken by sin. God made us all – rich and poor and black and white and Irish and English and Republican and Democrat and big and small and male and female and any other this and that you can come up with.

That being true, how can we look down on others. We are you we are because we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully’ made. Sure, some have more and others have less and some are different abilities than others and some are honoured by man and others are not.

But we are all facing the grave one day. We are all going to end up the same. 

And we are all precious in His sight.

Therefore God’s salvation is open to all and God wants all men to be saved.