Archive | July, 2014

The Ship’s Rudder

July 30, 2014

1 Comment

The tongue is as powerful as a ship's rudder

The tongue is as powerful as a ship’s rudder

The right word spoken at the right time
is as beautiful as gold apples in a silver bowl.

A wise warning to someone who will listen
is as valuable as gold earrings or fine gold jewelry. – Proverbs 25:11-12 NCV

Nothing can change a situation faster than words. Even the words I select in this post will determine your decision to finish reading it.

Like the Proverb writer, we love to be around those that always seem to know just the right words to say. Right or wrong, we choose our leaders, form opinions and make life altering decisions based on the words of others.

But we can be like that for them!

Not all of us need to be great orators, but training our tongue is a God given duty. It is how we are able to carry out the great commission. (Matthew 28:18-20) Look at what James said about the power of the tongue: James 3:2-10. When offering God to others, let’s make sure our words right ones spoken at the right time.

Continue reading...


July 29, 2014

Comments Off on Standards

A scale only compares against standard measurements

A scale only compares against standard measurements

The Lord hates dishonest scales, but he is pleased with honest weights – Proverbs 11:1 NCV

When one takes a measurement of something, she is only comparing the object against another. When we react to our environment, we mentally gauge everything we see, hear and do against some other standard in that exact same way.

Baseball sized hail is dangerous. A baseball sized scoop of ice cream is not quite enough.

When you find yourself justifying a decision you are about to make, do you measure it against the standards of men or of God?

Continue reading...

Choose Your Company Wisely

July 28, 2014

Comments Off on Choose Your Company Wisely

You are who you spend your time with

You are who you spend your time with

If you listen to correction to improve your life,
you will live among the wise.  – Proverbs 15:31 NCV

Two variations of this advice that are now a bit cliché:

We become as knowledgeable as our five closest friends


We become as rich as our five closest friends.

Choosing who we spend our time with is our most critical decision because they will become the source of our advice. Living among those wiser, richer or kinder  provides us the examples and correction we need to be like them.

Acting on that correction helps keep us among them.


Continue reading...

Don’t Shoot Him, Just Verify

July 24, 2014

Comments Off on Don’t Shoot Him, Just Verify

The Gossips - 1948 - Norman Rockwell

The Gossips – 1948 – Norman Rockwell

A wicked messenger brings nothing but trouble,
but a trustworthy one makes everything right.  – Proverbs 13:17 NCV

Trustworthy messengers are still a scarce resource in today’s world. Relaying information via word of mouth accurately is difficult – even when the messenger’s intentions are good. There is even a party game where one will whisper a message into the first person’s ear and then the group passes it around the room to see if the last person can get it right.

They usually fail.

We deal with that problem every day. Sadly, we are used to handling every bit of information through a filter:

  • What is the news source?
  • Who is giving the advice?
  • Does this report make sense?

If we have to ask these things in the day-to-day routine, what about important matters?

Who is teaching in your church?

If a false messenger can ruin a nation, what can it do to your salvation? The noble Bereans checked out Paul and Silas as they taught to find out “whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).

That’s a good example to follow when a person starts a sentence with “The Bible says …”

When you hear that, always take the time to check it out for yourself.

Continue reading...

One Nation Under God

July 23, 2014

Comments Off on One Nation Under God

Did our country's greatness come from God?

Did our country’s greatness come from God?

Doing what is right makes a nation great,
but sin will bring disgrace to any people. – Proverbs 14:34 NCV

I wrote about this verse a few years ago when some extraordinary things were happening here and around the world. The things that were happening then seem pale by comparison to some of the events today. What will another few years bring?

This country was founded as a country that recognizes the God of the Bible and her founding documents refer to Him numerous times. If we continue to allow “separation of church and state” to mean that God is not allowed in our government, I’m afraid He will go ahead and leave.

Continue reading...

No Tomorrow

July 22, 2014

1 Comment

Every sunset could be our last

Every sunset could be our last

Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring.  – Proverbs 27:1

Depending on tomorrow and not on God is unwise. Delaying spiritual things in favor of earthly things never turns out well when the Bible addresses them:

James 4:13-15 – Life is short.
Luke 12:16-21 – Do not lay up treasure for yourself.
Matthew 6:33-34 – Seek first the Kingdom of God.

If you are waiting around to take care of something, now may be a good time to rethink that.

Continue reading...

That is Not an Excuse – It is a Warning

July 16, 2014

Comments Off on That is Not an Excuse – It is a Warning

There is a verse in Romans 3 we all know:

… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… – Romans 3:23

But that is not even a complete sentence. We know it is telling us that all people have sinned, regardless of who we are. We can see that the Jews had it in their head that they were righteous enough just by being Jews. Paul shows us in Romans 3 that there is much more to it.

If we are not careful we are going to drift away from God, just like the Jews did.

It was predicted in the Psalms this would happen (as quoted by Paul in Romans 3:10-18.) In fact, they were so far gone they completely missed that the Messiah came and went.

Since we are all the same in God’s eyes, we all share the same potential to drift away if we do not practice the righteousness of God. The danger is thinking we are okay, when in fact we have drifted away because our faith is not the obedient kind like Paul describes in Romans 1:5 and Romans 16:26.

When Paul said we are all sinners, he was not giving us an excuse – he was giving us a warning. This was not permission to shrug and and say, “Oh well.”  Many are calling themselves Christians because they completed some steps, but they continued on in their worldly ways.

It is time to stop making excuses.

Continue reading...

10 Expectations of the Judgment

July 15, 2014

Comments Off on 10 Expectations of the Judgment

We don’t have to go far or ask very many people to find plenty of assorted ideas about how God’s judgment will work. So many who think they are in the right will find that they have fallen short of what God requires of us.

Even worse, the vast number of people misuse Matthew 7:1 to stop others from pointing out their sins, yet they do not check into exactly how they will be judged in the end. Paul helps us with this by first listing off a number of sins (Romans 1:28-32) and then giving us a list of ten points about God’s judgment. (Romans 2:1-16) If we believe that our God is a righteous God, then there are a number of expectations we need to live by. In order of how Paul listed them:

The Apostle Paul  - Bartolomeo Montagna (1450–1523)

The Apostle Paul – Bartolomeo Montagna (1450–1523)

  • We should practice what we preach or we condemn ourselves (Romans 2:1)
  • We should expect to be judged by God’s word (Romans 2:2)
  • We should not view God’s goodness to sinners to mean He isn’t going to punish their sins (Romans 2:4)
  • We should expect to be judged for our works (Romans 2:6)
  • We should expect to be punished for disobedience (Romans 2:8)
  • We should expect to be held to a higher standard as we gain higher position and responsibility (Romans 2:9-10)
  • We should not expect God to judge based on partiality (Romans 2:11)
  • We should expect judgment based on the commandments God gave us (Romans 2:14-15)
  • We should expect to be judged by New Testament standards (Romans 2:16)
  • We should expect to be judged by Christ (Romans 2:16)

The only assumptions about how we face the judgment that can be made, are the ones listed in the God’s standard. The danger many face is applying another standard invented by men and expecting God to abide by that. We cannot set the standards for God!

Continue reading...

This is why Atheists are Dishonest

July 14, 2014

Comments Off on This is why Atheists are Dishonest

The Creator left his signature on everything - even us!

The Creator left his signature on everything – even us!

Why are those that claim to be atheist so vocal about it?

They form societies.

They enter debates.

They even work overtime to prove it through their so-called “science.” (Which they have never been able to do, by the way.)

If they do not believe in God, why do they care about those of us that do?

Because they know the truth!

It is dishonest to believe this world exists only because of some cosmic accident.

Those that desire to prove God doesn’t exist are looking for anything at all to make it happen. They will never do it, though – all creation serves as the signature of the Creator!

Look at what Paul wrote:

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. – Romans 1:19-20

Paul shows us that ignoring the evidence of God’s existence is neither new or innovative.

The writings of Plato, Xenophon, Cicero and others prove [1] that there is and always have been enough evidence and logic to conclude that we have a Creator. They might not have known the Gospel, but men have always had enough evidence to believe when it was brought to them.

So like Paul said, the world has no excuse.

Get on the defense

The danger in all of this for us is that we might unwittingly choose to fall into the trap of doubt. Through repetition, arrogance and peer pressure, the actively atheist community will continue to chip away at the general belief in God. We unwittingly contribute to their effort when we are slow to defend Him.

I recently saw a clip of Bono, the lead singer of U2, answer an interviewer’s questions about his belief in God and Jesus as our risen savior. While he is wrong on some doctrinal matters in that interview, I was thoroughly impressed with his boldness. He just came right out and looked into the man’s eyes and said “yes I believe Jesus rose from the dead. I believe in his miracles.”

We need to be bold like that.

We might not ever be as influential as Bono, but I’m sure we all have a few people we can influence through that same kind of boldness.

1. James Macknight, Apostolical Epistles (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1960), p. 56.
Continue reading...

Smelted Hearts

July 10, 2014

Comments Off on Smelted Hearts

Pure gold is not destroyed by the hottest fire

Pure gold is not destroyed by the hottest fire

A hot furnace tests silver and gold,
but the Lord tests hearts. – Proverbs 17:3 NCV

Gold has been a precious metal through time because its intrinsic value comes from its utility. When subjected to extreme heat, it does not discolor or lose weight, and it remains a near perfect conductor of heat and electricity.

The fake stuff only looks nice – avoid testing it as gold because it will just burn away.

Job understood this as his heart was tested (Job 23:10). He made up his mind to survive his trials with a pure heart and chose to “come out as gold”.

Paul gave Timothy the formula for purifying our hearts (2 Tim 2:21-22). Jesus revealed the reward for the pure in heart (Matt 5:8).

Will you survive God’s test?

Continue reading...

Preparation and Progress

July 9, 2014

Comments Off on Preparation and Progress

Even simple tasks like removing these retaining rings need thought and preparation

Even simple tasks like removing these retaining rings need thought and preparation

First, finish your outside work
and prepare your fields.
After that, you can build your house. – Proverbs 24:27

If you have ever tried to remove a retaining ring from some machine without an extractor, you already have the sense of what is being taught here.

Removing this looks easy.
A pair of pliers should work.

At some point, you might give up even though the correct tool costs $5 at Walmart. Having the correct tools and proper preparation makes the task at hand manageable.

In the same way, staying faithful to the Lord’s work requires daily preparation.





These are the things that help us meet the challenges that we will face.
They prepare us for the work.

Continue reading...

You Have It Too

July 8, 2014

1 Comment

Ants are small, but get their work done.

Ants are small, but get their work done.

 There are four things on earth that are small,
but they are very wise:

Ants are not very strong,
but they store up food in the summer.

Rock badgers are not very powerful,
but they can live among the rocks.

Locusts have no king,
but they all go forward in formation.

Lizards can be caught in the hand,
but they are found even in kings’ palaces. – Proverbs 30:24-28 NCV

You Have It – The Ability to do Great Things

The Proverb writer listed some very small creatures endowed by their creator with great strength and  instinctive wisdom.

These creatures are not pretty. They are not specimens of strength, but look at what they do have:

  • Wisdom of planning and follow through
  • Proper conduct and discipline
  • Industry and stamina to get the work done
  • Application of their resources to survival.

If God gave all of these creatures the building blocks to do great things, why wouldn’t he have done it for us?

Further, he gave mankind something he did not give the creatures:

His Word!

Think about what mankind could accomplish by using what God reveals to us about life and success and survival.

Think about the power of hope he has given us.

We often trust too much in ourselves rather than investigate the plan and design that God has laid out. Many of us even choose not to act on God’s plan when we know about it! Sadly, many even choose to work against the plans God gave us.

Success can be defined in many ways, but in the end, it will not be defined without God’s involvement.

What are you doing to insure you’re in sync with God’s plan? ( 2 Timothy 2:15)

Continue reading...

What is Right?

July 3, 2014

Comments Off on What is Right?

Some people think they are doing right,
but in the end it leads to death. – Proverbs 16:25 NCV

When Tinkerbell tells Pinocchio to “let your conscience be your guide”, the world thought they had the answer to life. While the conscience is a pretty good tool for staying out of trouble, we must train it to do so. An untrained conscience is pretty useless to a Christian.

Here is some food for thought on the subject of what I call the “Jiminy Cricket” philosophy:

  • The majority of people living in sin are not acting against their conscience – A lot don’t know right from wrong. Many don’t care. Either way, they are sinning under a good conscience!
  • Incorrect worship is sinful yet it makes people feel good – God authorized certain acts in worship. There are plenty of new additions that “feel spiritual” but have no place in proper worship.
  • A philanthropist that never obeys the gospel will be passed over at the judgment – There are some very kind and generous people that will die with a clear conscience. They are still subject to God’s word.

Are you making sure you know what is “right”?

Continue reading...

Who to Trust?

July 2, 2014

1 Comment

It is painful when trust fails

It is painful when trust fails

Trusting unfaithful people when you are in trouble
is like eating with a broken tooth or walking with a crippled foot. – Proverbs 25:19 NCV

This is a two way street. We can give as good as we get on this one.

  • There are those who make a habit of backing out of commitments
  • There are “friends” that disappear at the first sign of trouble
  • There are those that let anger end relationships

We often leave ourselves open to the kind of pain the Proverbs writer describes when we are dependent on others. We have to be very careful of who we trust.

There isn’t much we can do about how others act though.

What we can do, is see this as a good place to apply the golden rule. (Matthew 7:12) When we demonstrate the proper way to be a friend we compel other to be the same way. Never backing out of a commitment demonstrates its importance. Anger should never drive any decision.

Be faithful. Trustworthy. Dependable. This gives you all the power you need to influence others in life, but more importantly toward God.

Continue reading...

Cover Ups

July 1, 2014

Comments Off on Cover Ups


Hiding from God didn't work for Adam and it doesn't work for us.

Hiding from God didn’t work for Adam and it doesn’t work for us.

How much time needs to pass before an unforgiven sin no longer counts against us? Is that even possible? The Proverbs writer answers for us:

If you hide your sins, you will not succeed.
If you confess and reject them, you will receive mercy – Proverbs 28:13 NCV

Sins can’t be hidden and they don’t expire when we just ignore them. What are the ways we hide and “forget” our sins?

  • We deny them
  • We extenuate them
  • We diminish them
  • We dissemble them
  • We blame others for them

Sometimes we get good enough to quit thinking about them at all. Look at what David wrote when he was hiding from a sin:

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah. – Psalms 32:3-4

People by nature “groan” when they are in the wrong – when they need to be forgiven. This is for our own good!

because …

people are by nature sinful.

God hears the repentant Christian’s call for forgiveness. (1 John 1:9) He wants us to lean on him, not hide from him. However, hiding our sin leaves us in a dangerous state (1 John 1:10)

Continue reading...