Monday, July 31, 2017


The book of Proverbs could be subtitled, "How Not to Be Foolish" or "How to Have Common Sense".

In today's installment, we are examining the phenomenon of "overpromising".
Have you ever done that?

My family would say that I am a woman of action.  I love to "do things".  I am happiest when my calendar is full, when I'm engaged in meaningful activities.  Add to that - - - I am a "forest person", not a "tree person".  If you want to make me unhappy, force me to "count beans" or to focus on details.  I'm a visionary, not one to love "the fine points".

All of this is a prescription for "overpromising"!

If there is an exciting project with potential positive impact for Jesus Christ's kingdom, I'm ready to jump in with both feet!

Enough about me ... what about you?  Do you "overpromise"?

1My child, if you have made a pledge for your neighbor,
and have become a guarantor for a stranger,
2if you have been ensnared by the words you have uttered,
and have been caught by the words you have spoken,
3then, my child, do this in order to deliver yourself,
because you have fallen into your neighbor’s power:
go, humble yourself,
and appeal firmly to your neighbor.
4Permit no sleep to your eyes
or slumber to your eyelids.
5Deliver yourself like a gazelle from a snare,
and like a bird from the trap of the fowler.
Proverbs 6:1-5 (NET)

Specifically, this passage hones in on making inappropriate promises about financial matters - - -

  • co-signing on a loan that puts your assets at severe risk
  • getting in over your head with debt
  • etc.

But, the general principle is the same when you broaden it out to other life areas.

I'm thinking of the precious Christian lady at our church who leads our children's ministry. Yesterday, she and her team executed a marvelous end-of-summer "carnival" in our children's department.  But, notice....she does not take up the offering.  She does not greet people as they come in to church.  She does not lead in worship.  She does not work on the tech team.  What she DOES do is to narrow her focus and then to do what she does REALLY WELL!

See?  Some of us have this tendency to believe that the MORE things we do, the more valuable we are, or the more "good" we are, or the more .... whatever.  And, this is IDOLATRY!  Yes, it is idolatry that is rooted in sanctimonious pride!  As Christians, particularly Christians who actually do get out there and work for Christ's kingdom, we can be especially prone to this very idol.

Hear this:  your value to your Savior is not going to be increased by your overcommitment.  He cannot, nor will not, love you any more or any less than He does at this very moment.  His love for you is perfect, right now!  It is important that you LISTEN to His voice when contemplating a new venture to be sure that it is HIS will being implemented, not.yours.


Let's now focus on verses 2-5.  If you find that you have fallen into such a trap of overpromising, do NOT bravely "muddle through", hoping it will end well.  It probably won't, and your foolish choices will bring dishonor to the name of your Savior.  Ask for help!  Go to those who can help; admit your overestimation of your abilities or time or whatever, and ask for help.  It's not all about you, Sassafras!  Usually, "it's the teamwork that makes the dream work!"
Warning:  Don't just back-out and leave someone "in the lurch".  That is selfish and inconsiderate. Whomever you promised is depending on you.  So, don't withdraw; instead draw more help into the effort.  If you find that idea repugnant, then chances are that sneaky and pernicious religious pride has got its hooks into you pretty good!

Even wise people make mistakes.  The difference between a wise person and a fool is that a wise person recognizes them and takes the necessary (if often difficult) steps to correct them.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go look at my calendar..... ;)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


About a month ago, and again a year ago this week, the Lord asked me to do things I was hesitant to do.  The request He made was going to "cost me", big time.  So, in my flesh and carnality, I resisted at first.  He reminded me that He rewards obedience, when done in faith...that you can't "outgive" Him in any respect of the word.

Well, it hit me this morning like a ton of bricks that His response to my obedience had arrived.  And, let me tell you:  He "repaid me" at least ten-fold, probably more than I even know.
I am just ... in awe of Him.

You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.
Deuteronomy 15:10 ESV

This verse is in the context of giving of yourself to help a poor brother/sister who is struggling in some way.  Your gift can be a gift of time, of resources, of doesn't matter.  In general, God commands us to give of ourselves for others.

But, I have learned that there also times He speaks to His children and clearly says, "Do this specific thing."  His command contains an opportunity for us to exercise our faith, to deepen our relationship with Him, to grow more into His love.

I just wanted to testify to you today that He.Is.Faithful.And.True.  His greatness knows no limits. And, I praise Him before you today.

Exodus 14:13 NET
Moses said to the people, "Do not fear! Stand firm and see the salvation of the LORD that he will provide for you today;

Sunday, July 23, 2017


Discretion is defined as "having good judgment" or "making good decisions"1.  When you left the house and mama called behind you, "Make good choices!", she was referring to discretion.

We are going to examine Proverbs 5 in today's meditation, as it is "next" in our journey through this book of the Bible.  In this proverb, the father is warning his son to keep his marriage vows by avoiding adulterous women.  In this context, an adulterous woman is one who lures a man away from his wife and family.  In a larger context, Jesus defined adultery as lusting in your heart after someone else's spouse or any person who has not been given to you in holy marriage, which God defines as between one man and one woman.  For now, though, let's stick with the more narrow definition.

Some of you will stop reading right about here because this is not a popular topic. In today's modern world, it is common to live by the mantra of: "Life is short; do what feels good."  This practice is not only common; it has been more or less "socially acceptable".  A man leaves his wife and family (or vice versa, the woman leaves) and ungodly society's attitude is more or less: "Too bad for him/her".  "That's the breaks."  We live in a day of utter selfishness and complete self-absorption.

Solomon uses the picture of a flowing fountain to represent a godly marriage, in verses 15-19.
I am absolutely captivated by flowing water.  It is beautiful to look at and lovely to hear.  Animals prefer to drink from flowing water than from still, a fact that bedevils my husband when our dog drinks from a freshly(?)-flushed toilet.  Flowing water is more oxygenated, has more life.  So, Solomon's description is apt.

Drink water from your own cistern
and running water from your own well.
16Should your springs be dispersed outside,
your streams of water in the wide plazas?
17Let them be for yourself alone,
and not for strangers with you.
18May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in your young wife –
19a loving doe, a graceful deer;
may her breasts satisfy you at all times,
may you be captivated by her love always.

According to Solomon, even when your spouse is old, he or she is still "young" to you.  Here, in verse 18, Solomon is not advocating that a man love his wife only when she is young, but that she is to be "forever young" in his eyes.  "Be captivated by her love.....always".
Don't waste your marital "water" among strangers.

He goes on to describe the adulterous woman, who seems and looks sweet, but who in the end will bring a man to ruin, a family to destruction, children to desolation.

3For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
and her seductive words are smoother than olive oil,
4but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two-edged sword.
5Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave.
6Lest she should make level the path leading to life,
her paths are unstable but she does not know it.
7So now, children, listen to me;
do not turn aside from the words I speak.
8Keep yourself far from her,
and do not go near the door of her house,

The best advice he gives here is to stay far away from her.  Don't even go near her.  Solomon knows how easily men are tempted by appearance, by pretty lips, by silky hair, by sparkling eyes.  Women can be tempted to adultery, but they are tempted differently.  They are tempted by financial security, by affection, by flattering words, by attention....not so much primarily by physical appearance. Women tend to form emotional attachments before they form physical attachments.  With men, it is just the opposite.

Some of the saddest words in the Bible lie in the middle of this chapter in Proverbs.  Here they are:

11And at the end of your life you will groan
when your flesh and your body are wasted away.
12And you will say, “How I hated discipline!
My heart spurned reproof!
13For I did not obey my teachers
and I did not heed my instructors.
14I almost came to complete ruin
in the midst of the whole congregation!”

As a parent, the most heart-breaking aspect of child-rearing is to raise a rebellious child, a child who has heard the truth and seen it lived out "in technicolor", but who has refused it, believing that "I know better than my parents!"  And, then, they go on to make horrific choices, "throwing away" their futures by hooking up with non-Christian young people, having premarital sex, marrying an unbeliever, letting career opportunities pass them by while they waste their time, spurning educational opportunities, flirting with drugs and crime ..... until one day they find themselves trapped by the cords of their own sin, enslaved by their own foolishness, nearly ruined.  And, all because they did not listen to wisdom, when it was presented to them.  If a course correction is not made, they will find themselves on their deathbeds, looking back and berating themselves for being such fools - - - for hating correction, despising discipline.

I am amazed how often this happens in godly homes, in homes where children have been given all the advantages: spiritual, physical, material, emotional.  The godly parent's prayer is embodied in verse 7:

7So now, children, listen to me;
do not turn aside from the words I speak.

A godly Christian parent's words are like a freshly-flowing fountain!  They are words of wisdom and of life.

You might say....oh, the parents of rebellious children were like Solomon....they said one thing and did another.  Solomon, after all, became utterly enslaved by his "desire to acquire".  His wealth and increasing his wealth became an obsession, until he had a harem of almost 1000 women, not to mention the precious, valuable objects he collected, the amazing buildings he built.  Even those gifted with a supernatural amount of wisdom can be derailed by various kinds of lusts.  The price Solomon's family paid was high.

But, there are truly godly parents whose children go astray, despite prayers, sacrifice, excellent spiritual training, holy example, abundant love.  Who can fathom that?  I can't explain why that happens, other than that every person is given by God the free will to follow Him or not.  You can't suck your faith out of your baby bottle.

Well, this has been a hard, grim and somewhat depressing post.  It is about a proverb that sternly warns. There's no getting around it. Solomon uses the "fountain" analogy again to describe discretion in Proverbs 16:22 - -

Discretion is a life-giving fountain to those who possess it.

May we regularly refresh ourselves with long, deep, satisfying drinks!



Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Stored-Up, Inoculated Heart

You know what an inoculation is, don't you?  It is a vaccine that either prevents you from getting an illness or, if you get it, you get a much milder case.

The book of Proverbs is one big life-letter from a father to his son.  At first glance, the book seems like a gigantic jumble, as if it was written over a period of days, weeks or years.

Today's verse is Proverbs 4:23 (NASB)

Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.

This verse jumps off the page with its significance and importance.

In other versions the phrase "the springs of life" are translated "the source of life", "the issues of life", "the course of your life".

The other day while conversing with a young person I became quite alarmed.  The things the young man was saying about himself were poisonous.  I hope he was "jackin' me up"; but, I fear that was not the case.  If he seriously believes what he was saying, he is setting himself up for a long, hard road, if not downright heartbreak and failure.

What is "the heart" in this scriptural context?  Is it a person's mouth?
Well, no, but the Bible is clear the words that come out of the mouth FLOW from the heart.
(Matthew 15:18)

Most Bible teachers believe that "the heart" represents in scripture a person's thoughts and emotions - - - those things that motivate and mold us.1  Some refer to those as one's "thought life".

There is a belief that we just schlepp out of the womb "as we are" and that there is little we can consciously and willfully do to govern who we will go on to become.  This false belief is typified in "That's just the way I am".  Nonsense!  Yes, we are all born with genetic dispositions.  You may, like me, know someone who wakes up singing or someone who has to be dragged kicking and screaming from the bed.  There are "glass half-full" people and "glass half empty" people.  These pre-dispositions are seen in very young children.  All parents know that.

However, and this is a big "however", that is not the whole story.

The word "heart" is mentioned 800 times in the Old Testament, with 200 of those mentions referring to a person's thought life.  It is a critically important theme.  Tell me what you spend your time thinking about, and I will tell you who you are.  Or, as Proverbs 23:7 says, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."

Just because a thought pops into our heads does not make it true.  The enemy, the devil, puts all kinds of evil thoughts in there.  The thing is: we must not let satan use his diabolical thoughts to shape who we become, to control us.  If we do allow that, our lives can veer off the path ... into ruin.

Here is a key:  evil thoughts are often born from what we allow into our minds in the first place - - - the things we watch, the things we read, the company we keep, the people to whom we listen.  Our thoughts form our attitudes; our attitudes shape our actions.

“Sow a thought, reap a deed. 
Sow a deed, reap a habit. 
Sow a habit, reap a character. 
Sow a character, reap a destiny.” 

There was a king of Israel named Jehu.  He became an evil king because he was not wise about this.

But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart;
2 Kings 10:31 (NIV)

Conscious decisions about what we allow to take residence in our hearts, in our thoughts, are ours. We cannot fully control what thoughts enter our minds; but, we can decide what thoughts we embrace.

What is the remedy then?  Where is the "counterpunch" to the devil's strategies to control our minds and hearts?  The secret is in "inoculation" - - deliberately filling our hearts and minds with the Word of God.  Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs, but his father, David, wrote many of the Psalms.  In 119:11, says

Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

I love how the English Standard Version translates "hid"!  "Storing up" the Word of God will inoculate the mind against pernicious thoughts sinking tent stakes and setting up camp in the Christian's mind.  "Stored up" = "Shored up".  This is not a superstition.  Rather, it is a powerful truth, a particularly potent strategy: inoculating our minds at the start of each day and then reminding ourselves of God's truths around the clock.



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Repugnant Scorn

In my few, short years of life :) , one thing I have noticed is that a quiet, humble faith usually infuriates the ungodly.

Who are "the ungodly"?  We tend to think of those who do overt evil.  But, the phrase has an even broader definition.  They are those who choose a way that is opposed to God and His one way to eternal life.  In other words, "the ungodly" are people who may live good, upstanding, moral lives, but who are putting their trust for eternal salvation in their own goodness, or in some other false god. Other times, yes, the ungodly are those who practice horrendous evil as well.

Regardless of the degree, all who do not trust Jesus as Savior and demonstrate a living faith, a godly life, are lost in their sins....the ungodly.

Now, back to my original point.  For those who belong to Jesus Christ, their humble yet confident faith is frequently maddening to those who are lost.  Proverbs 4:18-19 (NIV) contrasts these two walks of life quite well.

18The path of the righteous is like the morning sun,
shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
19But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know what makes them stumble.

The one who puts his faith in Jesus begins a life walk down a path which grows ever brighter.   There will be stumbles....unseen roots of sin that spring up along the path.  Though the Christian may even sprawl flat on his face in the dirt occasionally, he never walks alone.  The Savior is always there to pick him up, patch up wounds, dust him off, and set him once again walking down the path of faith. That path grows ever brighter as the relationship with Jesus deepens, as submission to the Savior's will grows.  Eventually, that redeemed one walks in "the full light of day" when he meets his Savior face-to-face and full glory is revealed.

The beautiful walk, the resplendent walk of righteousness produces one of two reactions in the heart of the wicked.  Sometimes, they are so convicted in their deep sin that they are drawn to salvation in Jesus like a moth to a flame.  The Holy Spirit frequently uses the testimony of the true believer to convict and to lead the sinner to repentance and to salvation.

But, even more often, the wicked hate this process.  Seeing it in action is so repugnant to the lost person that he responds in violent anger, determined to destroy the child of God.  This is because the lost dwell in "deep darkness".

And, this is a sad dimension....they don't even recognize their extreme situation.  "They do not know what makes them stumble"!  They are like those characters in the movie "Blair Witch Project", who ran through dark woods, having no idea how to find safety or to escape the hound of Hell who chased them.  And, the wicked have no clue they are in such dire straits!

Blinded by the lies of Satan and the philosophies of the world, they eagerly embrace a rebellious stance toward God and His ways, believing that they have "the right" to do so.  Often, because they serve the god of this world, they experience worldly success, which more firmly entrenches their false beliefs and folly.  It, then, is a grace of God when their little empires come crashing down around their ears, because it can be during those times of trouble that their eyes become opened and they truly see the Savior.  It is a hallelujah when, out of their pit of despair, they finally turn to Him for salvation.

Do you know and love those who have embraced such wickedness as their god?  Christian, pray for your loved ones in this perilous situation.  God states through the apostle Peter, who knew the Savior so well, that God is supernaturally patient with the wicked.  It is not God's will that any of them should perish in Hell.  (I thank Him that He is similarly patient with me, in my many stumbles!)

 9The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,a not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
2 Peter 3:9 (ESV)

Prayer, and living that quiet life of humble, living faith are your two most potent weapons to win them.  Don't neglect prayer; and, don't be slow to apologize to them for those times when your faith doesn't line up with your actions as you walk the resplendent path to Heaven.

Are you an ungodly person?  Have you chosen the path of wickedness for your life?  If you have not chosen Jesus as your Savior and begun to walk in His way, or if your reaction in reading the words of this blog today has been laughing, scoffing, repugnance or scorn, then I fear you have pitched your tent in the camp of the wicked.  Come of from among them today, before it is too late. Although God's perfect will is that none should go to Hell, He will not violate His character to overrule your free will to choose Hell as your final destination.

I pray you will make the only wise choice, which is to choose Jesus today.

Monday, July 10, 2017

"Not Today"

Probably, like me, you have gone through the grocery store line and, as the checker is ringing up your week's (exorbitant!) grocery tab, he or she asks you, "Would you like to donate a dollar to....?"  What is your customary response?

Or, what about those incessant envelopes that arrive in your mailbox every, single day?  Do you simply toss them?  Do you open them to take out the "free stamp" or the "free nickel" or the "free address labels" and pitch the rest into "the circular file"?

These repeated scenarios came to my mind this morning as I contemplated today's verses:

Do not withhold good from those who need it, when you have the ability to help.  Do not say to your neighbor, "Go! Return tomorrow and I will give it," when you have it with you at the time. 
Proverbs 3:27-28 (NET)

There is certainly no shortage of "worthy causes" available to us as charitable people.  Honestly, I wish I could donate to more of them than I actually do.  It is tricky, deciding to whom we should give and much?

Just how generous does the Lord expect us to be?
I really wrestle with this.

Without doubt, we are the "richest country in the world".  A person who is sustained in America by the government, in the form of monthly subsistence check, is many times more "wealthy" than the vast majority of the rest of the world.

In light of this, what is God's will for us toward our fellow man? How do we choose, as individuals, to apply this proverb to our lives?

The fleshly, carnal "old-man" response is this:
"I worked hard for what I've got.  I earned it.  Therefore, I can spend it however I want."
And, then, most go on to lavish it on themselves with abandon, with no thought for the things of God, the spread of the gospel.

Never a regular tithe.  Rarely investing in God's kingdom.

Surely, having money can be a curse.

Of course, today's verses are not talking only about money.  They could also be applied to helping someone with your labor, your talents, your time ... any of your resources.

We have a lovely basement apartment in our home.  I am blogging from it right now.  Many times, we have made it available for ministry - - - visiting missionaries, visitors relocating to serve in a ministry here, church discipleship weekends, etc.  And, we have received some criticism:
"You would allow those perfect strangers into your home??!!"

I don't have all the answers on this topic.  As said earlier, I wrestle with it.  For sure, I'll be asked to give my Savior an account of how I spent the resources He provided me in this life.  There's no doubt in my mind about that.

But, here's how I have some modicum of peace on this subject:

1.  I try to be wise and prudent about how I allocate my time, talents and more tangible assets.
a.  There are times we are asked to give when it would be unsafe or unhealthy for us to do so.  An addict, for example, will come back to you again and again and again.  But, to use this verse to give to him or her would only be deepening the addiction.
b.  How you give will guarantee further solicitation via that same method.  For example, I never, ever give money to those folks who stand at 4-way stops to solicit.  The reason?  I think it is dangerous and annoying to snarl traffic in such a manner.  And ... I know that when folks DO give via that method, it merely makes those soliciting inclined to use that method more and more.
c.  Charities that spread the gospel take the pre-imminence.  Here's an example:  There are charities which feed the hungry.  Then, there are those which feed the hungry and also tell them the good news of Jesus Christ, feeding spiritual food as well!  Those are the ones I choose to support.

2.  When I feel God speaking to me about giving, I don't ignore His voice.
There are times when God speaks to His children directly about something He wants them to give. When getting those "PM"s from Him, I take them seriously.

3.   Realize that He owns it all anyway.
You have what you have because He has let you have it.  
I think here of the story of Job, who was a very wealthy man of his day, wealthy in terms of goods and in terms of blessings (10 beautiful children!) . For His own glory, God stripped Job down to the studs, taking away everything he had except for the breath that sustained him and a handful of questionable advisors (including a harpy of a wife!)
So...."the Lord gives, and He takes away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord!"  (Job 1:21)
Since He owns all our "possessions" anyway, it would behoove us all to strive to honor Him with them.

It's ok to say "Not today!" when asked for something.
But, we had better be darned sure we have God's ok on keeping our fist closed.

Friday, July 7, 2017

It's a Bear!!

Remember, old-timers, when we used to say "That's a bear!"  The expression meant a really tough situation.

Over the recent weekend preceding July 4th I was in the mountains.  Driving down a curvy road I glanced over to see ... a bear cub.  Yep, he/she was standing right at the side of the road, looking at us. My mind at first registered a statue, because the real-live-deal was inconceivable.  Yet, reality shifted when the cub began to waddle off into the woods.

A discussion ensued in the car as to what to do when encountering a bear.  Someone mentioned the saying, "Brown, fall down; black fight back."  Catchy saying, but who, really, is going to "fight" a black bear, right?  Not me!  Hopefully, the adage will help us to remember that black bears are generally skittish and that a lot of noise will usually cause their hasty (for a bear) retreat.  My plan is to just start singing opera.  ("O Sole Mio"1, perhaps?) With the brown grizzlies, however, the best strategy is to lie down on the ground, curl up in a ball, and play dead.  Generally, the bear will sniff you and leave for more entertaining pursuits.

Now, I'm not a bear expert (surprise!), but I am certain of this one thing.  EITHER of these two bear-ish situations would produce in most rational humans an extreme sense of fear!  I thought about all this when reading a couple of verses from Proverbs this morning.

21My child, do not let them escape from your sight;
safeguard sound wisdom and discretion.
22So they will give life to you,
and grace to adorn your neck.
23Then you will walk on your way with security,
and you will not stumble.
24When you lie down you will not be filled with fear;
when you lie down your sleep will be pleasant.
25You will not be afraid of sudden disaster,
or when destruction overtakes the wicked;
26for the Lord will be the source of your confidence,
and he will guard your foot from being caught in a trap.

Proverbs 3:21-26 (NET)

Yes, honing in on verses 25 and 26, most of us are afraid when "sudden disaster" comes.  The bear incident recalled above was not of that category, because we were in a CAR, right?  But, my days of walking for exercise along the mountain road by my mother's little cabin are OVER!  I need to exercise (if you'll pardon the pun) discretion in that regard.

Notice that the proverb does not say "if" disaster comes to the child of God, but "when".  I know of no person (with some age on him or her) who has not experienced at least one "sudden disaster".
Even when the person is operating in "sound wisdom and discretion" (verse 21), this WILL at times occur.

Why does God allow this to happen to His children?  The answer is in verse 26 - - so that we will affirm our confidence, our trust, in Him.

Do you know people who cannot sleep, because they are filled with fear and anxiety?  We are told that, as children of King Jesus, we are not to be paralyzed by fear.  In fact, there are 365 verses about fear in the Bible, the Old and New Testaments.  I imagine the reason is that some of us need an "anti-fear verse-a-day" to keep us moving forward in our resplendent walks.

Sudden disaster rarely comes to us as we lie in our beds; that's just where many of us worry about it. Disaster usually comes to us as we "walk on our way" (verse 23).  Again, God does not want us to be mincing about like Tiny Tim, tiptoeing through the tulips!2  (1970's cult music hit)  He wants us to walk confidently, keeping our eyes on Him.

Remember, fellow believer, nothing can touch you without His express permission.  There are times He allows trouble and, yes, even "disaster", to draw us closer to Him and to show His glory through us and our circumstances.

It is hard to praise Him during those times of disaster, when we don't understand what He is doing. Still, He calls us to be confident in His almighty power and to rest in Him, depending on Him to see us through.

I know I quote this hymn's lyrics often, but forgive me, because I just love them so!

"When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,

My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flames shall not harm thee, 
I only design thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine."
                    How Firm a Foundation, Text: Isaiah 43:1-7, Author: "Keen",1787, alt
                   Composer: Bernhard Schumacher, 1931
                   Tune: "Firm Foundation"


     Actually, because no one reads the sources....a lovely gospel song was created, stealing this        famous Italian melody.  The title is "Down From His Glory".  :)


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

How 2B Happy - - A Father's Benediction

The daddy, knowing that his cancer was far advanced, gathered his children around him for a brief, but important, conversation.  There were many tears in the eyes of his loved ones, as they knew his time on this earth was steadily fleeing away.

This is what he said.

"My beloved children, in my time with you, I have tried to model the life of an upright man, a man of integrity.  I have adhered strictly to a code of conduct, ingrained in me through my relationships with those who possessed great wisdom themselves.  If my personal example has not been enough, let me be very direct with you, so that you will know assuredly how to find happiness."

"Happiness flows from living a life guided by wisdom.  Now, in this earthly life, there are many who claim to know the path to wisdom, which is the same as the path to some "god" because - - make no mistake - - every human being worships someone or some thing.
The lover of money and wealth makes those his god, believing that achieving great wealth will bring happiness.  It does not.
The lover of good health makes that his god, believing that preservation of the body and length of life will bring happiness.  While this is a good practice, it does not guarantee happiness.
The lover of worldly philosophy makes zeal for that belief system his god.  But, no worldly system will ever bring lasting happiness.
The lover of ... his lover ... is the person who believes another person (or persons) will bring the happiness so desperately sought.  But, all of us are grossly imperfect.  Upon the realization of that the lover feels the weight of crushing disappointment.
These are but three examples of wrong-headed pursuits of happiness."

"My children, do not forget what I am about to tell you.  Let your hearts hold tightly to these words.  They will not only make your life long; they will bring you peace and happiness."

"Kindness and truth must guide your life.  Truth is essential, and is only found in the Word of God, namely, in the person of Jesus Christ.  But, kindness is also essential.  Neither can overrule the other.  Do not be truthful in an unkind manner.  Do not be kind in an untruthful manner.  The Savior gave a beautiful example of this in His dealings with the Samaritan woman He met at the well.  The story is in John 4.  Then again, He interacted similarly with the woman caught in the act of adultery.  That story is in John 8.
Become deeply familiar with the truth revealed in the Holy Bible.  Then, write it with kindness on the tablets of your heart."

"There will be times when you will not understand what is happening to you.  Things will often not "go according to plan" - - your plan, that is.  You will be treated unfairly by others.  You may be slandered or irreparably damaged or even killed.  The one who has wisdom, however, trusts God in the middle of any mess that comes along.  Even when you are so confused and so totally do not understand, trust God.  Trust His plan.  Trust His mighty hand.  His plan and ways are always completely perfect.  He completely directs the paths of those who acknowledge His sovereignty and who trust Him implicitly.  Hold on to Him.  You may never in this life gain perfect understanding of your circumstances, but you can rest in His perfect love for you, His child."

"There will be times when the wisdom of this world lures you.  Turn away from it.  The paths it will lead you down will be destructive.  Any 'wisdom' that runs contrary to the ways and word of God is false wisdom.  Pay no attention to how it may "feel right".  Feelings can be deceptive and ultimately destructive.  Right feelings follow right actions; and right actions are born out of right beliefs."

"The way you were raised reflects God's wisdom.  You have been taught what is right.  If you live this way, you will be successful.  It is on these godly principles this country in which you live was founded. This body of biblical wisdom has made the USA a world power.  Over our 241-year history worldly philosophy has warred against God's body of truth, revealed to God's people.  Now, in the waning days of my own life, I think it is an honest assessment to say that in America today God's truth is the minority opinion."

"As God prospers you and your growing families, honor Him with your wealth, including the small measure of mine you will inherit after I'm gone.  I'm not talking only about tithing, although that is a principle I have practiced since my youth.  I'm advising you to spend your money on things that will honor God who gave His very most precious wealth, His Son, to purchase you, to redeem you, to buy you back from the certainty of spiritual death and Hell.  He owns all the financial wealth in this world - - not the Guggenheims, not the Rockefellers, not the Rothschilds.  It is all His.  Make certain you honor Him in every financial decision, over and above your tithe."

"Over the years I have had to discipline you - - some of you many times!  I have done this because I love you and did not want to see your lives shipwrecked.  I hope you are appropriately grateful for my 'tough love'.  It brings me great happiness to see each of you living productively.  As you have no doubt found and will continue to find, God Himself will at times discipline you.  You will continue to make misjudgments and mistakes.  He will often allow you to experience the consequences of those choices.  But, remember, as I did in my role as your earthly father - - - your heavenly Father does this because He loves you.  He wants to purify and refine you, to have you grow deeper into His love for you.  He delights in you!  So, don't despise or reject His correction. He seeks to steer you back onto the path of wisdom, the path that leads to peace, contentment and prosperity in this life and that ends in an eternity with Him."

"My children, the words I have spoken to you today were paraphrased from Proverbs 3:1-18.  God's way of wisdom was revealed ultimately in His Son, my Savior and I pray yours as well.  In Jesus and in Him alone is the fullest joy available to us as we walk this Earth.  Seek Him daily.  Spend time with Him.  Worship Him in all you do.  If you do, your soul will be at rest, both now and forever."

"I believe that each of you has made the decision to follow Jesus Christ as your only way to escape God's judgment.  But, I can't know that for sure.  Only you know whether you have or not.  The surest thing I know from this life of mine is the certainty that He.Is.All.  I pray you know that in your heart as well, a knowledge that can only come from surrendering to Him as the Lord of your life.  
I deeply love each one of you, and I pray that I will see each of you in Heaven, where we will enjoy our Savior and each other day after day, in never-ending happiness. "