Proverbs

Satan's Meeting.

WalkWIsely.jpg

This was passed on to me from a friend. Good food for thought as we are focused on “Walking Wisely” at HBCPN! You are loved!

Satan called a worldwide convention of demons. In his opening address he said, "We can't keep Christians from going to church." "We can't keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth." "We can't even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with their savior." "Once they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken." "So let them go to their churches; let them have their covered dish dinners, but steal their time, so they don't have time to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ." "This is what I want you to do", said the devil:

Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!" "How shall we do this?" his demons shouted. "Keep them busy in the essentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds," he answered. "Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow." "Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their pretty lifestyles."

"Keep them from spending time with their children." "As their families fragment, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work!" "Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice." "Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive." "To keep the TV, VCR, CDs and their PCs going constantly in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly."

"This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ." "Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers." "Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day." "Invade their driving moments with billboards." "Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogs, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes."


"Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines and TV so their husbands will believe that outward beauty is what's important, and they'll become dissatisfied with their wives." "Keep the wives too tired to love their husbands at night." "Give them headaches too!"

"If they don't give their husbands the love they need, they will begin to look elsewhere." "That will fragment their families quickly!" "Give them Santa Claus to distract them from teaching their children the real meaning of Christmas." "Give them an Easter bunny so they won't talk about his resurrection and power over sin and death." "Even in their recreation, let them be excessive." "Have them return from their recreation exhausted." "Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect on God's creation."

"Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, plays, concerts, and movies instead." "Keep them busy, busy, busy!" "And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences." "Crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Jesus." "Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause."

"It will work!" "It will work!" It was quite a plan! The demons went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get more busy and more rushed, going here and there. Having little time for their God or their families. Having no time to tell others about the power of Jesus to change lives. I guess the question is, has the devil been successful at his scheme?

You be the judge! Does "busy" mean: B-eing U-nder S-atan's Y-olk?

If You Have Ever Met at Least One Other Person, Read This...

Starting April 21, we will be going through a sermon series from the book of Proverbs: The Joy of Committed Relationships!

Let’s be honest: relationships can be a headache. I mean, who among us hasn’t considered becoming a monk or retreating to the woods to live off the land like a modern day Pioneer? But God has given us all relationships to glorify Him… and to give us joy! How about a word from Him on how that happens? On what that looks like? On how I can not just tolerate, but JOYFULLY LOVE the most important people He has put into my life? Sign me up. We all need it.

Joy is our theme this year, but we are not going after joy; we are going after Jesus, and He gives us HIS joy (John 15:11)!

What does Proverbs and that books teachings on relationships have to do with Jesus? And how does the wisdom Proverbs calls us to in our relationships tie in to Jesus?

The goal of Proverbs isn’t to give cookie-cutter nuggets of good thinking to help us along - it is to help us draw closer to the God who is wisdom! And just as our joy is tied up in Jesus, so is our wisdom.

How so?

Jesus lived wisdom.

During His time on earth, Jesus lived perfect wisdom (Luke 2:40 and Luke 2:52). He grew in it, He lived it, He taught with it. Jesus applied perfect wisdom every moment of every day He walked on earth. Wow.

Jesus is wisdom.

Colossians 2:3 says in Jesus is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He didn’t just live it… He IS it!

Jesus is the way of wisdom.

Proverbs constantly contrasts foolishness and wisdom, calling us to choose wisdom. Jesus taught the same, but emphasized that He isn’t just telling us the way - He IS the way! (Matthew 7:24-27, John 14:6)

Jesus supplies wisdom.

It would be easy to go through Proverbs and just say, “OK, got it. I’ll just be wise.” No can do. Wisdom doesn’t come from us. Jesus has to give it to us. (Luke 21:15, James 1:5).

What’s my point? We just finished a series about Jesus called: I AM - The Incomparable Claims of Jesus Christ. And this series on Proverbs and relationships and joy is NOT “OK, let’s talk about something else for a while.” It’s still all about the Person and Work of Jesus, trusting Him for the grace and faith to apply His Word.

I hope you kept the receipt for that tent you bought. We are not retreating from people. We are going to love people. Whether you are married or someday hope to be married, or a parent or someday hope to be a parent, or a friend or someday hope to have friends… God is going to work in you through this series.

Do not miss it. 

p.s. - is not a monk, but has been told by others he should take a vow of silence

Chocolate Bunnies (Too early?)

Proverbs 4:23 - Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. 

Did you ever get one of those Chocolate Easter Bunnies? You know the one I am talking about.It's about 18 inches tall, but it was bought at the dollar store. (Big red flag!) It looks so good, but you take that first bite (on the ear, of course) to discover it is hollow! 

Sadly, this is the case for many people. Looking good on the outside, no sign of a problem, almost, dare I say, normal. But on the inside: hollow and empty.

Following Christ is a matter of being strong from the inside out - a matter of the condition of the heart. And once we forget that, we are vulnerable to a list of spiritual dangers. For example: 

  • Why do students fall spiritually and morally their first year away from home?
     
  • Why would a church deacon entertain himself with immoral television or internet material?
     
  • Why would a pastor have an affair with a woman he is counseling?
     
  • Why would someone seemingly get tired of following Christ? Why would righteousness become boring?

This all happens when either a Christian completely loses heart, or a non-believer comes to realization that maybe like that bunny, they have looked good on the outside, but have been hollow on the inside. Instead of growing deeper and richer at the center, we grow more shallow and hollow. 

We must not be content to evaluate our walk on externals. God Himself does not do that. He is after the relationship, growing us and changing us from the inside out. 

Can we each pause today and ask ourselves where our heart is with God right this moment? If we are finding ourselves empty, why would we delay in running to the source of filling, to the very One who wants to fill us? 

p.s. - hates those bunnies, but even more, hates being like one

Gotta Haveta Want It!

My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. 
Proverbs 2:1-5

One of the most common things I hear from people when I share the Gospel with them is this: “I tried to read the Bible, but I don’t understand it.”

There are a lot of reasons for this:

I am not sure where to start, so I start anywhere.

If you pick up the Bible for the first time and just pick a random starting place (ie jump right into the middle of Leviticus), I can see why you are having problems. (Why do people do this with the Bible? They wouldn‘t with any other book!)

A difficult Bible translation.

I have no problem with the KJV, but it is a very difficult translation to read for “first timers”. And because KJV is the most widely distributed translation, this is the one people use to start reading (sometimes by jumping in the middle of Leviticus).

These things must be spiritually discerned.

We can’t accept these things naturally. (1 Corinthians 2:14) Spiritual truths are spiritually discerned.

But here is another thing: You gotta haveta want it.

When it comes to pursuing the wisdom of the Lord, this can be no half-hearted interest.

Look at the way the Proverbs writer describes going after it: receive, treasure up, ear attentive, heart inclined, calling out, raising voice. Not a casual approach to God’s Word! Going after it like my son goes after Starburst candy! (Editor‘s note: Jeff‘s son likes Starburst candy.)

You gotta haveta want it. Want. It. Like how? Like, to what extent? Notice he says to go after God’s Word as you would go after hidden treasure.

If I gave you a treasure map that leads to 5 billion dollars in hidden treasure, would you simply fold it up, stick the map in a drawer, and say, “Maybe someday…” NO! You would drop everything and go after it!

What if this map were written in Spanish? Would you just discard it. “Bummer. I don’t speak Spanish. Oh, well.” NO! How quickly would you learn Spanish? For 5 billion? You would do whatever it took to learn the language to use the map to get the treasure.

Go after God’s infinite, eternal wisdom with the same gusto

… then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God (v5).

Would you go after the wisdom of the Almighty with the energy and effort you would use to go after money?

p.s. - would totally become a spokesman for Rosetta Stone.