Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Today Looking at Proverbs 16

As I read chapter 16 on the 16th these verses were especially highlighted.  See if they do the same for you. 
We make our plans but the Lord gives the right answer
We may come up with a plan, but the Lord has the right one…we need to go with Him
The Lord detests the proud; they will surely be punished
Going our way and not His.  Honoring ourselves and not Him.  Listening to our wisdom and not His.  Ego.  Pride.  Arrogance.  The Lord detests it. 
Unfailing love and faithfulness make atonement for sin.  By fearing the Lord, people avoid evil. 
The Lord has better for people.  Evil is not good for anyone.  Fearing the Lord is key to avoiding evil.  Continuing in evil is an indication that a person does not fear the Lord. 
Better to have little, with godliness than to be rich and dishonest. 
This goes against the grain for many.  Having money, influence and power is the ultimate and godliness something to tag on if forced.  To lie, deceive, cover up is dishonest. 
The path of the virtuous leads away from evil; whoever follows that path is safe.

The virtuous are not flawless, but they are on a path that is opposite of evil.  
Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the LORD will be joyful.

People filled with themselves cannot hear life giving instruction.  Prosperity is the fullness of life not just an increase in profits.  Joy flows in and through those who trust the Lord in good and bad circumstances. 
Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
The way we talk matters.  If we rip and tear into people from anger or manipulation it isn’t good for them or us.  However, kind words are sweet to the soul and healthy physically. 
There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.

Human pride and self-made wisdom leads people to think they have got life by the tail on a downhill grade, but it ends in death. 
Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.

Patience and self-control are values that come from trusting God and living His way

God’s Judgment

God has announced a better way of life.  It is in Him.  Listening to Him.  Being guided His way to live by His values.  It is in this that people can enjoy the “abundant life” Jesus spoke of in John 10:10. They may not be people of great wealth or have fancy titles or receive awards in this life on earth, but they will have an abundant life.  God desires that all people be saved and get to enjoy the fullness of life now and forever.  People don’t always think God tells the truth and come up with their own plan.  Even if they have some things that appear religious.  

They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!  2 Timothy 3:5 (NLT) 

Have you noticed the folks who use things like Facebook to post verses and say religious things, but act like jerks?  Have you been around those who add a Christian verse or saying to point out how spiritual they are, but are mean to others, self-centered, anxious, angry, denying by their actions the very God they claim to be all loving, all powerful, all good?  Sometimes they put fish symbols on their cars or business cards, but they are questionable in skills and honesty.  God has a better way. 
People will stand before the Lord.  That concerns me.  For them.  I am dedicated to helping people do their best now so that their forever will be better.  This is what we all have to look forward to:

For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body. 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NLT)

To stand before the ultimate Judge ought to be a concern for everyone.  He is not going to just hand out Lollipops and trophies at the judgement.  Settling for a little cabin in the corner of Glory land is an insult to the name of Christ.  He is absolutely serious.  Here is more:

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.  Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw.  But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.  If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward.  But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 (NLT) 

This description of the Judgement lets us know that this is for those who know Jesus.  They are saved and enter heaven and that doesn’t change.  But the things done in this life can last or be burned up.  The Lord won’t be pleased by a large bonfire of wood, hay and straw.  And who would want to live in such a way that they present to the King of kings such junk?  They are saved, but walking in with smoke on their clothes.  

And God also deals with His people on the earth in this life.  This is from the book of Hebrews. 

Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us.  For we know the one who said, “I will take revenge. I will pay them back.” He also said, “The LORD will judge his own people.”  It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:29-31 (NLT) 

God judges His own people.  People who have claimed Jesus and ought to live for Him in an upright way and have pushed the power of the Holy Spirit away and do their own thing are in danger.  What God will do to them I don’t know.  It is probably unique to each situation, but nonetheless it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  And it may end in death.  Take a look at this. 

 If you see a Christian brother or sister sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it.  All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death.  1 John 5:16-17 (NLT) 

It is sad to think there is a point at which the Lord just takes someone out.  No need to pray for them anymore.  They get to go before the Judge and give an account.  Not a pleasant homecoming I expect.  I would like to point people another way.  I long for people to quit playing God and really get to know Him.  To stop protecting their kingdom and help bring God’s Kingdom alive in their world. 

Getting Back to God’s Best

God is wonderful.  He is gracious.  He is incredibly patient.  God loved us so much He sent His Son to demonstrate, instruct, and even be a sacrifice on our behalf.  It is His heart that we come to Him and experience life at its best.  But like Adam and Eve we often go another way and turn our backs on Him.  But He has provided ways back to His best.  When we or someone we know fails, sins, falls flat, rebels against God there is hope of a return to the right path.  

We can come to Him on our own and admit how we were going against Him.  We get it right in our head and our heart and turn our feet around and go His way.  Here it is in 1 John 1:9:

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:9 (NLT)

The Lord cleans us up, but then we have to stay on the path to see God’s best.  We have to pursue Him.  Let Him work in us to transform us.  

There are times when we need the assistance of another person to help us get back on the path.  This is good guidance for those times.  

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.  Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2 (NLT) 

People who are walking with God can see someone who has gone the wrong way and can help them.  They may be doing some things the way God would like but are overcome in some area.  The instruction is not to defame, throw them under a bus, beat them down, but come alongside and gently and humbly help them back onto the right path.  Great approach!  But there is more.  The law of Christ is to love on another, right?  So doing this is true love.  What is God’s view of those who say or do nothing for a fellow believer who is overcome by some sin?  Is ignoring it, accepting the person’s behavior no matter what, saying nothing true love?  No, it is a violation of the law of Christ. 

As God’s people we are to judge.  Didn’t know that?  It was a big fail on the part of the Corinthian church because they didn’t judge or judge properly.  We are to do so in order to really help others.  And sometimes that means disassociating in order to bring about a change of heart.  Getting to God’s best and reconnecting is always the goal.  Here is a bit of what Paul says about this:

I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. 1 Corinthians 5:11-12 (NLT)

We are privileged to know Christ and to walk with Him in this life.  We are also privileged to have brothers and sisters in Christ to share this life with.  As we help one another through the ups and downs of life and help keep them on the right path we are doing right by them and connecting them with God’s best. 

God’s Reception

There is for all believer’s an end to this life either by death or by meeting the Lord directly upon His return.  Following death there is judgment (Hebrews 9:27).  This judgment is complete.  Everything about you is known.  Every idle word.  Every motive.  When you spoke of the Lord.  When you kept faithful to the Lord.  When you truly honored Him.  All of it.  The angels have been watching.  And the Lord has been keeping track.  

Entering into His presence with joy is the best.  Being received into His loving arms is the best.  We have a line from a parable in Matthew 25:23 which is something to look forward to: “Well done, my good and faithful servant…let’s celebrate together.”  That celebration includes our being included at the wedding feast of the Lamb.  

Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder: “Praise the LORD! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.” For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people. Revelation 19:6-8 (NLT) 

Having as many as possible of family, friends, acquaintances, people near and far at the feast is something I look forward to.  It is the best.  God has such a mighty reception waiting for His people.  We ought to give our best to Him and to all He has for us.  

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)