Monthly Archives: November 2016

Pride vs humility

Proverbs 29:23  A man’s pride will bring him low,  But a humble spirit will obtain honor.

one of my goals in life is to grow in the character trait of humility so that I can say to myself, “You are walking humbly with your God”, and know it is true. Humility as far as the 26 different character traits that I have targeted, is the most difficult one for me to grow in. As the various character traits grow in me  the quality of my ministry will grow as well, and the number of people I touch and that are impacted by my life will grow. These people who are blessed and who come to Christ and overcome sin in their life because of the ministry I do will naturally be appreciative, and verbalize appreciation towards me. That praise has great power to destroy my ministry and remove God’s blessing from my life if I don’t manage it well. One of the main things I do is see every person who praises me as a glove with God’s hand inside the glove. We all tend to work hard to please the one who praises us most, so instead of seeing and hearing people, I transfer in my mind that praise as coming from God so I will work hard to please Him. It is easy to write about , but very difficult to do consistently. E,very day I pray asking forgiveness  for my pride that popped up in a conversation with another person, and I plead with God for the strength to conquer this ugliness in me. It is very slow going, but  I do think there is progress happening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

to destroy my ministry because God gives grace to the humble but fun ghost s with the proud.

Prayer Horespower

Proverbs 28:9  He who turns away his ear from listening to God’s Word,  Even his prayer is an abomination.

Everybody prays some time, when the crisis gets bad enough. Many think that God is obligated to answer if they do pray, after all He is God and that is what He is supposed to do. The fact is many  people do not get their prayers answered, many, God doesn’t even listen to, and there are those whose prayer is an abomination to God.  There are some people who have great power in their praying, I call it horsepower, because God listens intently to their voice, their thoughts, and He responds to them in power. To increase our horsepower in our praying does not require perfection, but it does require devotion to following the Lord, and to His Word, the Bible.

John 15:7, “If you abide in Me  and My Words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for

It takes much self -discipline and self-control to  faithfully read the Bible everyday and to spend time with God in prayer everyday as an act of devotion and love for him, but the resulting authority and power we have makes the effort and time seem so insigniicant

What are friends for?

John 15:13  Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.   Proverbs 27:17  Iron sharpens iron,  So one man sharpens another.                                      Proverbs 17:17  A friend loves at all times,                                                                                    Proverbs 27:9  So a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend.

As I think about my life and all the blessings that I have to be thankful for, one of them is that I have some very good friends. What is a friend? What difference does a friend make anyway?  Why would I say that good friends are a blessing? I know a lot of guys who don’t have any close, good friends. Let me suggest 4 levels of friendship.

(1) We enjoy spending time with our friends doing things that we both enjoy. This level of friendship we could call fellowship. It might be fishing, building, cars, cards, whatever it is, we enjoy it more with our friends.

(2) Good friends know when we are down, discouraged, feeling like a loser, and they work at encouraging us. Because they are friends we don’t hesitate to share with them our struggles and trials. They also keep confidences, and they  don’t gossip about us.

(3) Good friends are those we can ask for counsel on decisions that we need to make, and problems we need to solve.  They know us well enough and care enough to give good, well thought out advice.

(4) Really good friends will tell us when we are messing up, and if they are a good friend we will listen without taking offense.

one of the requirements to have friends is to be one. Life is so much more enjoyable with good friends.

Contentious Man

Proverbs 26:21  Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire,  So is a contentious man to kindle strife.

There are a number of different kinds of people talked about in the book of Proverbs in the Bible. It is a great study to take each kind of person, and cross reference them, look up all the verses written about this particular kind of person and write a summation of them. One of the types of people referred to often is called a “Contentious Man”.  Today we would probably use the descriptor “trouble maker”.

A contentious person starts conflict between himself and others, but the worst thing about a contentious person is that they are an artist at starting conflicts between others,  in families, in churches, in neighborhoods, in work places, and amongst friends.,  A number of years ago while I was still farming a dairy farmer bought 10 tons of hay for his cows. He was driving the truck back to his dairy when the hay caught on fire. Nobody knows how the fire started on the truck, but he was unaware of the fire and of the hunks of burning hay blowing off of the truck into the grass and brush next to the road as he drove along. Someone finally got his attention and got him stopped but not before he started dozens of fires.  A contentious person is like that, they start fires every where they go , but they seem to be oblivious to the smoke.

The person with this title in the book of Proverbs has some tools that he uses to create his havoc. The main one is gossip and slander. Proverbs says a contentious person is a wisperer, they share bits,of information with people about others that causes conflict and disunity. God loves unity, oneness, love, and fellowship, and the Bible says He loves a peacemaker and rewards them greatly. I wonder what God feels about a contentious man.

Search Intensly

Proverbs 25:2  It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,  But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.

Diligence, effort, passion, desire I think are some of God’s favorite character traits  in us His children.  “The glory of God is to conceal, hide some things from us”, so that we have to work to find it. The effort, the thinking, the planning that we do to discover these hidden things makes us grow to be like God in character, and that is what He is all about in our lives.

There are at least 3 things that God hides that we need. (1) God hides the meaning of His Word, and reveals it to those who read faithfully, study dililigentlyl , pray with devotion, and get counsel from wise people who have spent a lifetime reading, praying, and studying the Bible. There are many different views and interpretations of many passages in the Bible. They can’t all be right.  I want to know what is the truth, not simply to be right, but to know how to live God’s will and be able to teach others the same. Where I differ from others who have studied and are wise I will consider the differences humbly.

(2) Speaking of wisdom, there isn’t much success in life in any area without wisdom. In our marriages, raising our kids, managing our money, at work, in our ministries wisdom is an essential. Knowing how to think clearly, solve problems, knowing what to say and what to do in any situation God would soverighly put us in is the result of wisdom. God gives His wisdom to those who seek it like gold, silver, precious treasure, and if a person ever thinks he has it he is toast, Proverbs uses the word fool.

(3) I struggled much of my younger years trying to figure out what God’s will was for my life. I remember the frustration of trying to decide if God wanted me to be a dairy farmer or a pastor, and wishing it was as easy for me as some said it was for them. I got some counsel from a missionary in the midst of my struggle to know God’s will. He gave me some advice that seemed strange but has been a key “saying” in my life ever since. He said, “pay the price”. God reveals His will to those who want it enough to pay the price. I asked him how I would know when I had payed the price, and he said, “when you know what His will is”.

 

Wisdom

Proverbs 24:3-4 By wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; And by knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches.

Relationships are not easy to maintain, and then when you talk about the cords of love growing stronger always, and strength of the commitment to each other becomeing always stronger you are talking about very, very hard and quite rare to see. Relationships in families are the most important, but surprisingly few are healthy and growing stronger all of the time. When extended families get together for Thanksgiving it seems that most have some history and baggage that creates a tension and a fear that if someone says the wrong thing an explosion could result.

the key ingredient for strong relationships is wisdom. The person who is wise has good, strong, and growing relationships and the strength of his wisdom extends out to the extended parts of families so that the explosions  never happen. The wise person always says the right words and is a supreme peacemaker.

There are truly very few really wise people in the world today. God loves to give wisdom , but He only gives it to rhose who seek it diligently like gold and valuable treasure. Those who seek wisdom must be humble enough and teachable enough to get it from other people whom they have asked for counsel and advice.

Proverbs 24:6-7 in abundance of counselors there is victory.  Wisdom is too exalted for a fool,

Think Right

Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks, so he is”. Our character, habits, and behavior starts in our heart, in that conversation that is constantly going on with ourselves within ourselves about everything. If we are going to grow in character, and change ourselves we must learn how to control our thinking. There is basically 7 areas of thinking that  are  bad for us, and results in negative behavior.

(1) Immoral thinking. Jesus said that anyone who committed adultry in his mind was as guilty as the person who actually did it. Because nobody knows what we are thinking we let our thoughts go wild, and we fantasize all kinds of sexual sin. We know that this isn’t healthy, but we often indulge anyway.

(2) Bitter thinking. People are constantly doing and saying things that offend us, hurt us, and violate our personal rights. We will feel anger, or hurt about what they did or said, and if we let that initial feeling stay and we begin to focus on it and replay it in our mind over and over we will embed that bitterness in us and it will poison our soul and our relationships.

(3) prideful thinking. As we go through the day we see people constantly. As we see a person we immediately begin to size them up and compare ourselves to them in a variety of ways and areas. There is a level of this kind of thinking that is normal and part of relating to others, but it is easy to start elevating our appraisal of ourselves and reducing that of others until we are better than everyone and we find great enjoyment in dwelling on it.

(4) Critical and judgmental thinking. As we go through the day seeing people and assessing them we begin to focus more and more on the flaws and weaknesses in their life until that is pretty much all we see.

(5)Covetous  thinking. Allowing ourselves to focus on the stuff and situations that we would like to have to the point that we become very discontent with what we do have and we become greedy and ungrateful.

(6) Angry thinking. Very much like bitter thinking except that we begin to think about what we are going to do or say to the person who hurt us to pay them back and teach them a lesson.

(7) Foolish thinking. Because of the previous 6 kinds of thinking being unchecked in our mind we become incapapable at arriving at accurate and true conclusions on why things happen to us and how we should respond to them.

If we think right we will act right and talk right. We need to listen to the conversations we have with ourselves and work at controlling and improving them. The best way to do this is to memorize scripture and choose to meditate on it whenever we hear our thoughts going in a wrong direction.