Monday, March 9, 2009
Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.
There have been times in my life that I have had someone inform me of something I had clearly need to be informed of, but it wasn't always easy to digest.
Some of you may know what I'm talking about. You may feel conviction over certain areas of your life, and more so when you are congregated with certain people who Christ has maybe helped conquer that struggle. What if they rebuked you for your sin? Would you be offended? Probably so, huh?
I can remember when I was single with Ethan and I was working long hours. I really wanted to have a social life, work hard, and be a good mom. But that was the order I wanted things, too. My older sister Indy was wise enough to call me on it. I can remember the conversation still to this day. I was driving home from the place I worked in Princeton, I was on the phone with her. I can remember the feeling I had in my gut hearing her describe how wrong my actions were. I was so angry. With myself. Not with her! I couldn't be angry with her! I was the one who needed to hear it.
I challenge you to be obedient to Christ in this area. Ask him to help you learn how to rebuke with grace when necessary.
I am so glad my sister said what needed to be said. I am far from wise, and believe me, there are many times I'd rather not hear hers, or any other person's take on my actions. But I pray that I will hear the Lord's voice when He needs me to return that favor.
I just wanted to post a paragraph from an article by Michael Pearl.
I found it to be so, well, just right on.
Give sinful men white robes to wear, and some will inevitably alter theirs to be more fashionable or to "stand out". Give men the law of God, and some will teach for doctrines the commandments of men. Teach men about their liberty in Christ, and some will use it to fulfill their lusts. Instruct parents to use the rod to train their children, and some will see it as an excuse to abuse their children. Tell husbands they are the head of their families, and some will feel justified in emotionally and physically abusing their wives and children.. Tell wives to submit to their husbands, and some will tolerate criminal acts against themselves and their children in hopes of being a good help meet. And, if you assure people they have eternal security in Christ, some will sin before sundown. It is the way of humankind, the lot of the fallen sons of Adam and the reason Jesus said, "the road is broad that leads to destruction" and " there will be many which go in thereat." In the day of judgment, no one will be able to point to his teachers and say, "They made me do it." Every man and woman will stand alone before God and give account of the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or bad.
I hope you find it as right on as I did.
Friday, March 6, 2009
But after reading today's Proverbs I felt pretty good about our anti-laziness mindset.
6:6-11(Ryrie notes) The wise teacher rebukes the slothful person, who characteristically does not begin things (6:9), does not complete things (12:27), and makes excuses for his laziness (22:13).
When I find a scripture that speaks of something the Lord hates, I'm thinking that is worthy of our attention, right?
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
I pray that you will find this daily Proverbs reading as insightful as I have. Ethan is reading us the story of Joseph's brothers bowing down to him now. So, this is the end of blogging for today. I am blessed.
When I was 19 years old, on St. Patrick's Day of 2000, I found out that I would be bringing my firstborn into the world that year.
I was young, unstable, rebellious, selfish, corrupt, ignorant, naive, and more importantly, still "going to church". I do not brag about my past as though the Lord came down and miraculously picked me up out of this sin pit of crazy drinking and drugs and now I am as clean as the fresh snow. I have never really been ok with people thinking that only wild and crazy girls fall into this sin trap and become young, unwed mothers. I tell the story of not a lifestyle of sin, but a lifestyle of straddling the fence.
You see, although I was the negatives I first mentioned, I wasn't the latter. I wasn't living a "lifestyle" of the partying and immaturity that one would assume breeds illegitimate children. I was living at home with mom and dad, working, and although I had been guilty of the occasional partying, at this time in my life I was honestly trying to live much better. That was the problem. I was trying. Not submitting.
I spent the rest of that spring, summer, and early fall feeling the joy of carrying a miracle, and the pain and heartache of being a disappointment, and a hypocrite, to all those I faced at church every week.
Ethan was born in November of 2000, and shortly after he was born my rebellion and selfishness drove me again. I lived the first year of his life just trying to prove to people I could do it all on my own. I loved him, of course I loved him, but I wasn't being the mother he deserved. Man, that was one of the hardest things I've ever typed. Whoa, tears, lump in throat, ouch.....ok.....moving on.
Just after his first birthday, I began seeing Greg. Greg was wonderful to both myself, and to Ethan. I started feeling a security blanket of having a man to complete my dysfunctional family. We dated for a few months, and just as I let my guard down to think that the Lord had given me another chance at normalcy, Greg decided he couldn't handle becoming a father and a husband so soon. As painful as those few months without him were, it is funny to me that exactly a year from the day we split up, we had been married 6 weeks, and I was nursing our 2 week old Emma Rae.
Although we were attending church, even helping out with Bible School the summer Emma was conceived, we allowed ourselves to spend too much alone time together. That is why when people laugh at the thought of courtship, or at encouraging boys and girls to wait til they are 18 or older to date altogether, I want to scream, "Why wasn't I told that?"
Why is all of this relevant to Proverbs 5? When reading it to Ethan and Emma yesterday morning, stopping and paraphrasing for them after every few verses, he asked, "So, you are only supposed to have children with one person?"
"But I had Bill for a dad, before daddy, and Emma had daddy from the beginning?"
"Was I at your wedding?"
The real question my 8 yr old was probably wondering, but graceful enough to not ask, is "Well, why do you have 2 children by 2 different people if you aren't supposed to?"
My answer would be, "Because I didn't head my mother and father's instruction. I didn't hide God's word in my heart that I might not sin against Him. I read the Bible occasionally, but I didn't submit my life to Him as we are to do. And because of that, I suffered a great deal of pain from the consequences of my sin, and now you, my son, will suffer pain because of your mother's sin." No matter how great of a relationship Ethan has with Greg, and believe me, it is wonderful, Ethan will always have to deal with the fact that his biological father chose to not be a part of his life.
5:11-14 (again from Ryrie) Loose living consumes one's strength(perhaps through disease, v. 11), activates one's conscience (vv.12-13), and brings public disgrace(v.14).
Read Proverbs to your children. Pray for them. Train them. Teach them about submission to the Holy Spirit. Hold them accountable.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I once heard an example of integrity being explained as though it is a complete circle. A complete unit or entity. That means there is no room for interruption in its completeness. No room for a small break in the circle, or it is no longer whole. Just like an integer, a whole number that can only be divided by itself. So what does this whole stuff mean to me? Well, I have found that a person of integrity has to be the Real Deal...the whole package...all that and a bag of chips...how do they get that way? What keeps a person from being those things?
If there is one small thing that breaks up the circle, they are toast, huh? You know this to be true. You've been in a circle of friends where you liked someone, thought they were charming and a sincere person. Then you've seen or heard them do something that shocked you. You never viewed them in the same light. They had a crack in their circle. No longer worthy of the description, a person of integrity.
How do I believe we achieve that description? Submission.
Submission to our Sovereign God who indwells us with the Holy Spirit. Not in a way that causes us to be chaotic or to act out emotionally at every little fleshly tug in our gut, but in a stable Christ-like manner that is seen by the world as we live our faith out loud. I believe that the reason I love Proverbs so much is because it is so practical. But we mustn't allow it to be come a Self-Help Book. We must instead realize that the only way to strive for integrity is to take us out of the picture. More of Christ's attitude, more of Christ's example, more of Christ's wisdom, for this is the only way. The crack in our human circle is proof that no one human can be a person of integrity without the Holy Spirit. For I can do all things through Christ with strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Let us not do this so that we will be described as a person with integrity here on earth, but rather so that we will be able to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service. Romans 12:1
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3
I pray we do not do good to be seen as good. I pray we do not read Proverbs to be seen as wise. I pray we read and study, so that the Holy Spirit can make us what we were designed to be, a living sacrifice. Get off your high horse if you are thinking that you are a good person for studying, or for helping someone, or for praying - none of this is you doing anything! Instead, find a joy in serving Christ by submission to God through the Holy Spirit, to God be the Glory.
Okay - so that was just the first verses of Proverbs and a variety of other stuff, but like I advised earlier, let the Lord lead your devotions, you will be blessed for it. I know I was during this short study.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 7-8
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. 9-10
Do not say to your neighbor, "Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow" when you now have it with you. 28
The way I see it, the citizens of the United States of America are exactly where we have chosen to be. Those who have forgotten the commands and teachings of their elders are living lives shortened by stress caused by lack of prosperity.
Everyone seems to think they are extremely smart and I haven't seen much shunning of evil, more like embracing it! America is the only country where the poverty level citizens are far from showing their ribs from starvation. Not so healthy, eh?
Is God getting what is left out of our paychecks these days? Then don't be surprised when you aren't getting the raise you have been praying for.
Are you "sharing your wealth" with someone who doesn't have what you have, and is in need? As I'm typing this, my husband just went in and got his friend Cliff some of the cake I just made for him to take it home. My first "made from scratch" chocolate cake and icing was pretty tasty this evening after our cheeseburger and fried tater dinner. His friend Cliff struggles with depression and is often found stopping by our home to see what was for dinner. He lives alone and we are the closest thing the man has to a family. As they were wrapping up conversation, Greg wanted to make sure he sent him home with some of that rich chocolate we got to enjoy. My husband makes me smile when he imitates Christ in such a giving way.
I am loving this time the Lord is blessing us with as a family.
Monday, March 2, 2009
The one that we have applied the last 8 days, and I have grown extremely excited about, is reading a chapter from Proverbs that corresponds with the day of the month. We started last Monday with Proverbs 23 and since we only had 28 days this month, we read 29, 30, 31, and 1 last night.
I have found that Proverbs is addictive. I studied it some last fall, and honestly, I got out of my routine when I hurt my knee and hadn't got back in it!
However, the children and I read it in the morning with our breakfast. Then before bedtime, Greg reads it to us again. We pull out verses we liked, or verses we didn't understand, and then we talk about areas in our lives where we should have practiced more self-control or more wisdom.
However, the biggest thing for me is the the practical application there is in that book. It is not as easy to give into a temptation when you have this fresh scripture in your head that is saying, "If you do this - you are lazy and lacking in self-control, you are better to put a knife to your throat!!!"
I challenge you to try this. I know we all have our own devotions that we like to do. Hopefully you rely more on God to point you in the right direction as far as what scriptures you should dive into for the day instead of just The Daily Bread booklets or a devotional that someone else thinks was good for March 3rd. Or just reading 1 chapter from Proverbs because it is the same # as the day of the month, for that matter!
Now I also want to mention that I'm still really stuck on these thoughts I've had for the past year since Christy Mlekodaj (a missionary friend the Lord blessed me with) shared with me a study they were doing at church about relying more on being lead by the Spirit than trying to personally change your ways to do this or do that. The Word should be our main line of communication that the Spirit can use, it isn't like you're gonna get a neon sign saying, "Stop being lazy. Please turn TV off, computer off, and even the phone off and spend some time with me this evening."!!!
Read Proverbs 3 on March 3rd, and if you have a scripture that jumps out at you, share it with us!
Again - don't just read that and pat yourself on the back like you've just done a good deed for the day! Pray about areas where the Lord needs to strengthen your spiritual artillery, and then get to studying!
What am I studying along with Proverbs??? Submission. All the way around. Submission to Christ, submission to Greg, and even submission to authority that I have a tendency to rebel against.
Ignorance is bliss. This is kinda true, ya know it? There are some things that I may not feel as convicted about, simply because I haven't studied it as I should. But after reading something in the morning, hearing it at night, and then praying that God uses it to help me keep from conforming to the world, man, I'm tellin' ya, a Proverbs a day keeps the excuses away!!!