Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Corrected Thinking

In Proverbs 14:19-25 we note how God corrects our natural thinking concerning our present and future state.

 

DESPISED AND PERSECUTED NOW, WE WILL REIGN ONE DAY

We normally think of Christians, as being dominated, and persecuted by evil men, which is often  the case throughout most of the world.  The Bible reminds us that in this present evil world system, Christians are often reviled and persecuted by those who despise and hate God.  

But Jesus encourages us with His promise in John 16:33 “In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”

Remember the story of Joseph, one of the twelve sons of Jacob, as it is told in Genesis 37 through 50?   Joseph is a type of Christ and each of us who are Christians. Though Joseph was despised and persecuted by his brothers, in God’s sovereignty, he ended up on the throne of Egypt, ruling over his brothers, as well as all of Egypt.  Though Christians who actively live for Christ are often despised, rejected, persecuted and martyred; there is coming a day, according to II Timothy 2:12, when Christ returns to reign, that we will reign on this earth with Him.

So Proverbs 14:19, I Corinthians 6:2, II Timothy 2:12 and Revelation 20:4 all agree that one day “The evil will bow before the good: and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.”  It happened in Bible times not only to Joseph, but also to Moses to whom Pharaoh bowed. The Babylonian empire  bowed to faithful Daniel.  Persian nobles bowed to Mordecai, Esther’s uncle as recorded in the Book of Esther.

 

FICKLE FRIENDS

We learn in Proverbs 14:20  that in this world, we have fair weather, fickle friends as long as we have money and  stuff that money buys.  But when stripped of our money and possession, we soon learn that our friends forsake us.

The Prodigal Son, whose story we read in Luke 15, illustrates this truth. He rebelled against his father and demanded his inheritance even before his father had died. His father gave him his inheritance and the son traveled  as far away from his father as he could go.  There he attracted many fair-weather friends who enjoyed being with him as long as he had money to spend on them. However, when the money ran out and he was left  broke. all his friends forsook him and he ended up in a pig pen slopping hogs.

Thank God, the story does not end there.  It was in that desperate condition that the Prodigal Son came to himself and returned to his father, willing to be a hired servant, hoping just to exist.  The gracious father who is a picture of our Heavenly Father, would not hear of it.  Instead he fully welcomed back his son with all the rights and privileges of that relationship. This illustrates how God deals with us when we repent and turn to Him.

Proverbs 14:21 warns us that to have the selfish attitude of the world is unbecoming of Christians.  Rather, of all people, we should be the first to show selfless mercy, love and kindness to those in need. To such God blesses.  

Verse 22 confronts us with the choice to devise with others to take advantage of and do evil to others;  or to do good.  It should not surprise us that God blesses those who do good to those in need.

ECONOMICS  101

Verse 23 gives us a basic lesson in economics.  Many who live in perpetual  poverty and have learned to depend on government subsistence need to learn this lesson.   Work is the way out of welfare and the way to acquire wealth. Idleness leads to poverty.  

I am glad I was taught this basic lesson in a Christian elementary school taught by a Christian teacher back in the 1940’s.  As a result, I have never even considered depending on others or on government to supply my needs.  Government which gives aid to those in need should  require each one who is physically able to earn their way by doing whatever they are physically and mentally able to do, beginning with picking up trash off the streets and highways of their communities and removing graffiti,  as well as many other worthwhile public projects.  No able-bodied man or woman should be a free-loader.  

Furthermore, those caught littering by throwing cigarette butts or trash out of their car windows should join the ranks of those who help clean up roads and highways for several hours without pay.

Verse 24 concludes the thought in verse 23 of working to get ahead. One who lives and works for the glory of God, living economically without debt, saving and investing wisely; will acquire a degree of wealth. I have spent  my life preaching the Gospel and pastoring churches, never bargaining nor being dissatisfied with what I was paid. During that time we were able to send our two sons and our daughter to a Christian college.

In the sovereignty of God in 1980 I found myself without a church and without a salary in my late 40’s for a period of about eight years, sojourning in Flagstaff, Arizona, one of the most beautiful places in which we have ever lived.  During that time I worked at whatever I could find, interim preaching in churches and  selling cars and insurance. My wife and I also learned to drive school buses.  During that time we learned for the first time basic facts concerning investing money and buying our  first home.

Then at the age of 56 God opened the door for me to return to the pastorate in Albuquerque, New Mexico where I continued with my final church working to age 78.  During those final 31 years  we went from a net worth of 0  to a comfortable net worth that enabled me to retire debt free with a comfortable house and car.  Now on Social Security and with some investments, we live a comfortable debt free life.  

A TRUE OR FALSE WITNESS

I conclude this study with verse 25.  “A true witness delivers souls: but a deceitful witness speaks lies.”   This is a verse for every Christian, but especially for every preacher.  Are we preaching the Gospel and delivering souls from an eternity in Hell, or are we false teachers, denying or questioning the truth of God’s Word and allowing those to whom we minister to continue on the broad road to Hell?   

 

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October 28, 2012 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Corrected Thinking

Seems Right to Me

Proverbs 14:12. warns “There is a way that seems right; but it leads to death.”

Consider the way of the sinner which seems right, as we study Proverbs 14:13-18.

Verse 13 reminds us that “Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful and that mirth ends in heaviness. “ 

It seemed right to the prodigal son of Luke 15:13-24 who left home in rebellion to his father, insisting on his inheritance even before his father died. He went to a far country and  wasted it in riotous living, ending up in desperate poverty in the pig pen eating slop with the pigs. It seemed right to him to insist on having his inheritance now. It seemed right to have his freedom and live as he pleased with no one telling him what to do.

What a fool he made of himself and what a fool every rebel son or daughter makes of themselves when they leave home in rebellion to parental authority and insist on going their own way and doing their own thing.

They have been warned, but they scorn the warnings and end up in the pig pen of sin with heavy hearts and unfulfilled desires.  Things did not go the way they planned. The Christian cannot sin and enjoy it anymore than a cat or kitten enjoys rolling in the mud.

Enjoying  the cheap, mindless, off-color  humor of television comedy and mindless rock music puts a worthless, dirty infectious band aid over a guilty, aching, sinful heart.

Proverbs 14:13 warns us that the end of that mirth is heaviness.

On the other hand, II Corinthians 7:10 teaches us that deep sorrow over our sin leads to repentance and salvation.

Proverbs 14:14 teaches us that the backslider in heart, who refuses to repent, will be filled with his own ways.  Hosea 4:17 teaches that God will leave you alone until you are so sick of your sins that you are at the point of nausea.   Revelation 3:15 teaches us that sin and lukewarmness towards God nauseates God and in time it will nauseate the backslider.

In contrast, the Christian surrendered to God’s will. is satisfied from within. The Holy Spirit living within and controlling  him is like a well of fresh water springing  up and quenching his thirst.  It doesn’t take things nor events outside of us to satisfy us.  Jesus shared this truth with His disciples in John 8:36-39.

Though believing God’s Word gives wisdom, we’re warned in Proverbs 14:15 that to believe everything we hear from man is unwise.  That’s how false cults and false religion entrap people.  Acts 17:11 advises us to test everything we hear or read by the Scriptures.

What is your attitude towards God and His Word?  Do you fear and reverence Him and His Word,  or do you rage against God in stubborn  self-confidence?  Proverbs 14:16  

Consider in the light of verse 17 whether you are easily angered by supposed or real offenses against you?  If so, you are walking on thin ice and asking for trouble.  King Saul was one who was easily angered and it caused him to  fight against David, God’s man; and Saul eventually lost his kingdom.

Haman in the book of Esther, raged against the Jews and eventually was hung on the gallows he had built for his enemies.

In verse 18, as well as throughout Proverbs,  we read of the simple. Watch for three classifications of people as you read the Book of Proverbs.  .   The simple, the fools and the wise.  We are all born simple and remain that way until we are confronted by God’s Word. From that time forward, we either become Wise and prudent as we read and listen to God’s Word and surrender to God; or else we become fools as we stiffen our necks and rebel against His Word. May God help you to seek God and His wisdom as you continue to read and study His Word.

 

October 25, 2012 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Seems Right to Me

Stealing Elections

America is capable of putting men on the moon.  We are capable of technological wonders; however,  in spite of obvious fraud in election cycle after election cycle down through the years, we have not yet figured out how to conduct an honest, fraud-proof election. Such elections are simple and work like clock work for honest citizens. Thank God for every honest citizen who votes and for every honest poll worker who watches carefully to protect us from fraud.

 

But like many other elections for as long as I can remember; elections in America are still being  stolen from honest, tax paying voters through all sorts of fraud, including allowing dead people to vote, allowing people to vote more than once, buying votes, dumping ballots in a river fifty-two years ago, thereby stealing an election,  allowing felons to vote and making it difficult and even impossible  for many of our military service men and women overseas to vote or have their votes counted.

 

In Habakkuk 2:6 the prophet pronounced woe on the one who  “increases that which is not his.”  Crooked politicians may buy their way into office; but their dishonesty is not hidden to God.  He sees it all and he will pour out his woes and His wrath  on all those who are involved in stealing elections.

 

In every election I have observed through the past fifty years, elections have often been very close, as dishonest politicians “have found just the votes they needed” to put their candidate into office, even if it means counting the dead or double counting votes, or destroying the ballots of the opposition.

 

I remember reading in my history book that when out nation was founded, the concern was “no taxation without representation”.   What is so evil in turning that around? “No representation without taxation.”   I would like to see the day when only law abiding, tax paying citizens who are educated enough to read a ballot and make intelligent decisions be permitted to vote.

 

Would you pray with me for God’s will to be accomplished in this election?

 

 

 

October 22, 2012 Posted by | America | Comments Off on Stealing Elections

Your Options

Each of us is faced with the option of  

1. Seeking to know God’s Word and live for Him or ignore Him and go our own selfish way.

2. Experiencing  God’s wisdom and blessing on our lives or ignoring His Word and facing His curse now and throughout eternity

3. Living a blessed  life or living a life of failure and misery and ultimately  Hell.

In our last session we dealt with our parental responsibilities under God as we studied Proverbs 13:24. 

In this session we will conclude our study of Proverbs 13 as we study verse 25 and move into chapter 14.  These verses, as well as most of the Book of Proverbs deal with the option of choosing God’s wisdom with its blessings or rejecting His wisdom and facing the consequences.

There was no one better qualified to write this book of Proverbs than King Solomon. Early in his life in a moment of decision He had chosen to know and walk in God’s wisdom and became the wisest man of his day.  But in time he despised God’s wisdom and became the world’s greatest fool by choosing  to live a reckless life of licentiousness, living with 700 wives and 300 concubines 

The book of Proverbs, written by King Solomon under the inspiration of God, is filled with God’s wisdom.  The book of Ecclesiastes,  also inspired of God and written by King Solomon, as he describes first- hand the folly and futility of ignoring and rejecting God’s wisdom.

Proverbs 14:1 contrasts wise and foolish wives and mothers. Whereas wise women build their homes with their husbands;  foolish women are continually destroying their homes and families through their sinful, selfish words, attitudes and actions, evidenced by their disrespect and rebellion towards their husbands and through their selfish ambitions and pursuits to make more money at the expense of mothering their children.  My wife worked part time to help with the bills after our children were in high school. Prior to that time, we would not have considered the idea of her working away from home while the children were small and needed her. 

Verse 2  reminds  us that godliness is evidenced more by our walk than by our talk.  

Verse 3  reminds us that the tongue and mouth of a fool is a rod that harms others.  It also contrasts the speech of the wise which when touched and controlled by the grace of God, brings healing and blessing to others.

Early in my ministry I ministered to ranchers and farmers.  I spent many hours in the fields and barns with them learning spiritual truths.  Verse 4 is one of those lessons. It gives the farmer a choice.  Do you want clean barns and no cattle, or would you prefer the manure and the mess that comes with caring for cattle?  Most farmers and ranchers have no problem with answering that question.  

The same lesson applies to our churches.  Do we want clean empty churches with little or no problems, or would we prefer churches increased with lots of people who come with their problems? 

This verse does not teach us that if we have crowds of people we should plan to put up with messy and filthy buildings.  We can teach people to be clean and neat and to take care of the sanctuary and the rest rooms and the rest of the church property and grounds. 

Verse 5 confronts us with the question of whether we are faithful or whether we are liars.

Verse 6 teaches us that a scorner cannot find wisdom for the same reason that an unbeliever cannot find God nor understand the Bible.  He doesn’t want to.

Verse 7 warns us to turn from listening to fools and ungodly teachers. Jeremiah 10:2  teaches the same thing. “Learn not the way of the heathen.” They will influence you and you will become like them. This warning is to parents of young children and to young people seeking a college education.

Verse 8 deals with wisdom, the main theme of this Book of Proverbs. Wisdom is not just knowing Bible knowledge; but being able to apply it practically so we understand the way in which we should go.  

Psalm 27:11 is a prayer I prayed repeatedly as a young person seeking God’s will.  True wisdom is being filled with the Holy Spirit so we can know God’s will. Ephesians 5:15-16. The wisdom of the wicked is actually deceitful and leads to folly.

Proverbs 14:9 warns that anyone who mocks and makes fun of sin, thinking he can do wrong and get away with it  is a fool.  Galatians 6:7 warns that anyone who thinks he can sin and get away with it is deceiving himself and in for a lifetime of sorrow.

Proverbs 14:10 speaks of the anguish and bitterness that each of us experience occasionally. There are times when no one, not even our spouse, can understand the anguish of our hearts.

Read of Hannah’s bitterness in I Samuel 1& 2. Not even her husband understood;  but she poured it out to God and He understood and met her deepest need. 

Job also experienced this bitterness and misunderstanding by others. But God understood his need and wonderfully blessed him. Read his amazing story in the Book of Job.

Proverbs 14:11 warns the wicked Christ-rejecters that one day their beautiful homes and mansions may be ultimately destroyed. On the other hand, the righteous in Christ  are to understand that though they may live temporarily in tents or modest homes, we are better off than the wicked. Sometimes Christians have a problem with understanding this.  I encourage you to read Psalm 73  for the answer that brings satisfaction and joy.

I conclude this study with the warning in Proverbs 14:12.   Beware of doing something that seems right and even feel right; even though it is in direct contradiction and disobedience to God’s Word.  Sin blinds our hearts and numbs our conscience until we may think that evil is actually good.  Beware of even starting down the road of compromise with sin.

 

October 22, 2012 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Your Options