We are surrounded by it all the time. Turn on the news, it is there. Tune the radio to a random station, and it is there. It has even gotten to where we entertain ourselves by watching it on so-called reality TV. Some seem to live for it and be a magnet to attract it. Others seem to go out of their way to avoid it. Love it or hate, you will find yourself in the midst of it eventually. To what thing am I referring? Conflict!
With so much conflict in the world, what does God’s word have to say on the matter? Proverbs 17 gives a couple of pieces of advice on this subject.
“Whoever conceals an offense promotes love, but whoever gossips about it separates friends. To start a conflict is to release a flood; stop the dispute before it breaks out.” (Proverbs 17:9, 14 HCSB)
The first advice I see is to conceal offenses rather than gossip about them. It doesn’t take long to find something which could damage the reputation of others. (Hint: Try Googling yourself!) Whether the tidbits of knowledge are true or not does not even seem to matter much today. If it is scandalous, it spreads like wildfire. However, wisdom invites us to keep it to ourselves. By sharing it, we destroy friendships. Whether they are our own other others, friends are looking for people to trust. By concealing the offense, we promote love. Jesus said the 2nd most important commandment is loving our neighbor as ourselves. It starts with concealing offenses instead of airing them out for all to see.
The second tip is to stop disputes before they break out. To stir the pot, while entertaining, is to release destructive flood. Lives get swept up in the drama and whirlpools of conflict drag us down. Seek to proactively stop the disputes. We need to work harder at keeping peace and resolving conflict than we do at creating it.
Maybe Jesus had Proverbs 17 in mind when He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers…”
Let us remember to conceal offenses instead of gossiping about them and stopping disputes.
This blog has been created to record and share my reflections on godly wisdom. The key verse for this blog is Proverbs 1:20-21, “Wisdom calls out in the street; she raises her voice in the public square. She cries out above the commotion, she speaks at the entrance of the city gates:”
God isn’t silent! He gives us wisdom literature in the Scriptures to guide and direct us in life. The Creator wrote the instruction manual for life.
The invitation is clear. God desires to share His wisdom with us. It is up to us to listen and heed the call.
Hopefully this blog will assist you in understanding wisdom from above so you may better live for Him here below.
The little boy ran off the baseball field. He ignored the coach and his fellow players as he returned to the dugout. He frantically looks for someone in the stands. Then his face lights up and he yells, “Daddy, Daddy, Did I do good?” And my heart melted. I don’t recall the words I answered, but I praised his athletic prowess and display of baseball skills. Then it hit me, a Father’s praise is something all children seek. I also was struck by the question, “Do I desire God’s favor as much as my son desired mine?”
We need to put God’s opinion above all others. Really, that the only opinion which matters. Romans 8:5-9 says, “5 For those who live[e] according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live[f] according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since[g] the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” (HCSB)
We cannot be pleasing to God in the power of the flesh. Our flesh will lead us astray. We can’t do whatever we want and then come to God asking Him to bless the mess we have created. It is when we walk by the Spirit that we will please Him. The Spirit will direct our steps and guide our hearts. He will create righteousness within us.
I’m glad that I don’t have to earn God’s pleasure. When I yield to the Spirit, He does the work! The Spirit working through me enables me to live in a manner that pleases the Father!
So when we run to the final dugout looking for our heavenly Father’s praise, we can know He will be pleased already if we have been living by the Spirit!
Why is it so hard to follow directions? As a teacher I once gave my 8th grade science students a test and verbally told them to read the whole test before doing anything else. The first line on the test also said in bold font “READ THE ENTIRE TEST BEFORE DOING ANYTHING ELSE!“. I would love to tell you that all 141 students followed my directions. Knowing that the same type of test had been given to them in 6th grade surely guaranteed their success. All day, maybe 5 students followed my directions. How do I know? Because the “questions’ had them doing silly things like walking in a circle, writing their name backwards, singing Happy Birthday, etc. The next to last question instructed them to ignore all other questions, put their name on their paper and sit quietly. I was amazed that they fell for it a second time! I’m glad as adults we have grown out of that! We would never ignore instructions to restart a computer whenever programs aren’t working right. We would never fuss, complain, and get angry before we checked that all cords are connected and restarting the machine which we know is intentionally out to get us. RIGHT!
Why? Why is it we don’t want to follow directions?
In life, instead of just looking foolish, it leads to suffering. Look around at the broken lives, homes, and relationships. Notice the pain and suffering which surround us daily. It all comes from our choices to ignore the directions. Our creator gave us a set of directions for life in His word. When we choose to ignore it and live the way we think is best, we will end up like those students by wasting time and accomplishing little of significance. Living by the Word, brings life in the fullest. Yet we continue to fall for the tricks of the enemy and ignore the directions.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” We have probably read those words many times, yet we keep ignoring it. Maybe we think it is too comp,I ate, or maybe it is to simple to us. We are born with a desire to do things our way. We inherited this tenacity for rebellion from Adam and Eve. They had a perfect home and only one rule. Yet they ignored God’s rule and ate the forbidden fruit. We must break the cycle and get back to living by the directions. Quit second guessing and trying to outsmart the instructor. Follow the instructions set forth in the word of life.
Let’s start following the directions given to us by our loving Father.
You prep for months. Special furniture gets purchased and assembled. A room gets painted, redesigned, and prepared. Finally the big day arrives and it happens. A new member of the family makes their debut. Then it hits you that you have just witnessed a miracle! A church is born!
This weekend I get to witness that miracle. The Purpose launches in Baton Rouge, La on Sunday. My brother, Joel is the founding pastor. It has been great to follow his journey from California to Baton Rouge. God stirred his heart for the unchurched in that city. This is pure pioneer work. When they hit the ground it was just his family of 4. They have connected with people, assembled a launch team, and rented a movie theater. This weekend it all comes to fruition.
Join with me in praying for The Purpose. Pray that they reach unchurched people and help them discover their reason to live. Pray that God opens a door for the gospel into the homes of the many unchurched families. Praise God for another Bible believing church joining the family.
I’ve noticed something. It is dark when I head to work every morning, it was dark when we finished up Nib,e study Wednesday night. Football season with is crazy themes a ad pep rallies have invaded the schools. Now they are discussing a cold front on the way. I believe a change is in the air. Fall must be drawing near!
It is refreshing to see changes happening. A new season comes in and brings different activities. With Autumn, comes the start of holiday season. (Was that a Christmas tee I just saw at Wal-Mart?)
Change can be good for us as well if it is a change for the right reasons and to get us headed in the right direction. There are times in our lives when we can feel burned out. We can feel dry and used up like the land at the end of a Texas summer. When we get to that place we need the refreshing and renewing that can come from God. When we have been living in the flesh, we exhaust our spirits and starve them. When we repent, He is faithful to forgive us and heal us.
Unfortunately, God knew that Israel’s sin nature would win at times and Israel would forsake Him. He had warned them if judgment when that happened, however, God also instructed them in what to do to turn back to Him and experience revival. He said in 2 Chronicles 7:14 “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”NKJV.
Just like Israel, when we need revival, we can follow this pattern,
• Humble ourselves- Submit to our sovereign God. Acknowledge His lordship cover you.
• Pray- take the issue to God. Ask His forgiveness and for Him to heal our land.
• Seek God’s face- earnestly seek Him. Long for His touch and fellowship.
• Turn from our wicked ways- repent! Turn away from our sinful lusts and begin to follow Him anew.
That is what our church needs. That is what our community, state, and nation need as well. Sin is the disease which is strangling us and Jesus, the Great Physician, is the only one who can heal us.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I had been a bivocational pastor for just a couple of weeks and was new to being a classroom teacher. The rumor came that a plane had hit the world trade center. How tragic I thought. We turned on the news in our classroom and like most of America were stunned to see a second plane hit the other tower. I knew we were at war. Many thoughts ran through my mind. Which country was to blame? Why commercial airlines and not their own planes. As more details came out pictures of the pentagon and news of a 4th missing plane surfaced. Terrorists was the word we started getting. I recall kids asking, “Why?”. Why would anyone hijack a plane and kill themselves and innocent civilians by intentionally crashing it into a building. I was more pastor than teacher that day. It is difficult for us to understand a culture so devoted to hate that they would attack others due to disagreeing with our freedoms. That it was done to make us feel less secure and force us to convert to their murderous brand of religion or die. Now word has come of 11 airplanes “missing” in Lybia. The news and social media are filled with the atrocities being done by followers of radical Islam. They have an army that is sweeping Iraq and Syria. They are persecuting Christians and anyone else who dares to refuse to follow their murderous and hateful teachings. They have publically stated, like most nations in the Middle East, that they want to destroy Israel and drive them into the ocean. Their friends in Hamas rain down rockets upon Israel and the world has the audacity to criticize Israel for defending themselves by destroying the sites from which the attacks were launched.
What is happening in the world? Why does life seem to mean so little to so many today? I personally feel we are seeing the prophesy of Paul play out before our eyes. He said in 2 Timothy 3:1-7 NKJV “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
We need to pray like never before. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray for God to preserve us. Pray that His love will overcome their hatred and they will give up their brutality and know the peace of God.