Monthly Archives: April 2016

Owning Your Own strife

Proverbs is such a great book! It contains so many nuggets of practical and applicable wisdom for almost anything that comes up! Recently I was overly bugged about a problem someone I knew was having. I really wanted to help, but it is so complicated. Then I started thinking about a verse in proverbs, and I knew it applied. The more I turned the verse over in my mind, the more interesting it became. On the surface it seemed to be saying: “Mind your own business or you’ll be asking for trouble.”

17 He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears. Proverbs 26:17

I think there is more to this verse than ‘mind your own business’.  When a person has a problem with another person, God is pretty clear that they should straighten it out among themselves. Every person can opt for the joy of resolving difficulties with others with His help. Why should we deprive people of that joy? Yes, I meant joy! Anytime we get to see God walk into a situation and pull off the most amazing resolutions, it is so encouraging!

If two people are too stubborn to resolve their differences, how can anyone else help? That is where the grabbing the dog’s ears comes in. Somebody might get bitten.

The key to this proverb is the phrase ‘meddling with strife not belonging to him’. We all own our own strife and we have the responsibility of taking care of it. How we take care of things can involve looking at the Word, talking to God about it (prayer) or even inviting someone in to help out especially if one of the quarrelers doesn’t care what God thinks. The point is to get to a peaceful solution. For this there needs to be a desire to get it resolved, not to enjoy the fight.


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Righteousness of Faith

Abraham lived by simply trusting God.  He wasn’t perfect and he made mistakes but God blessed him  and it carried through to his son Isaac. God said to Isaac in Genesis 25:

3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; 4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; 5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice (Romans 10:17), and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. Genesis 25:3-5

13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Romans 4:13-15

At first glance, comparing these two records, it appears that they contradict each other. The ‘righteousness of faith’ supercedes anything done ‘through the law’.

3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Romans 4:3 

It’s nice to have a friend that you don’t have to worry about offending every time you get together. This usually happens when there is respect, trust and love involved. If you had to worry about rules of engagement all the time it just would not be a vibrant relationship. The trust and love for each other would be empty, hollow or even false. The benefits from such a relationship would be nullified or just ‘of none effect’.

Where ever people get rule-orientated, guilt, anger and frustration play a big role.  The law alone perpetuates acknowledgement of sin.

 In the first part of the book of Joshua, Joshua, Caleb and Rahab are great examples of how God related to people trusting him. God was relational to them. They trusted and believed Him.  God was able to do a lot for and through them. They obeyed, kept God’s charge out of faith and love.
Righteousness comes from the heart (Romans 10:9-10), not self-discipline. Righteousness does not come from patting ourselves on the back and looking in the mirror and saying “ya done good”. A truly righteous heart usually says  “that’s amazing!” to God. When we become intimately tied to the actions of God through a relationship with Him and recognizing His son Jesus Christ as the head of the church we are blessed.

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The word ‘worldview’ has been on my mind lately. When I watch the crazy political cycle going on  all around, I cannot help but wonder why there are so many different perceptions that exist seemingly everywhere. Why can’t anyone seem to agree on solutions to ever-growing problems? There just don’t seem to be any answers that everybody can agree on. Part of it is due to the self-ideation of leadership and that a good percentage of the the rest of the people passively accept everything that sounds good that comes down the tube (or rather cyber wires) these days.

One day this winter I was walking by a small lake in our neighborhood.  The ice on the lake had not frozen all the way to cover the lake and the birds were sitting around on the ice. There must have been over 200 geese. There is a sign by the lake that says “Do Not Feed the Ducks”.  If people start feeding the birds, they never migrate; they just hang around. They quickly become dependent on handouts. In some minds it may seem kind to feed animals, but it is not.  Birds get a far more nutritious diet in their flyways, moving around going abut their business. The same principle applies to humans. Our culture, however, disagrees on what is good and what is not good for people.

God created the universe, He will provide. Our country is not a theocracy, but our founders were aware of how God had provided for them and set up our government to empower people in the pursuit of happiness and that He gave them certain inalienable rights. Powerlessness doesn’t come from God. The stuff that is going on now is ridiculous!

There are basically two ways to look at the world, either vertically or horizontally. Vertical worldview involves looking up and a horizontal worldview involves ground level. Colossians 3:1-9 reflect both world views.

3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (Colossians 3:1-2)

Obviously, these verses represent a vertical viewpoint. The great thing about looking up is what it does to ones mind and the reflective power from on high that energizes back to the heart. It is amazing how it transforms a person.

On the other hand, verses 5-9 represent the engulfing quicksand of living at the surface.

5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; (Colossians 3:5-9)

These attributes do nothing but drag us through the mud. When the pundits talk about the electorate being angry, it explains the crazy behavior we see all around us. Just because chaos exists doesn’t mean there is nothing we can do. There’s a lot that can be done, but the first direction our thoughts should go are up. God created the universe. He is going to have the right answers. It is going to take men and women who know God to set things in order. There are discrepancies in worldview so that is not going to be easy. We should not be fooled by political sermons and rhetoric even when God is mentioned. Corruptness abounds at ground level.

People who love God and abide in Christ are the elect of God. (Colossians 3:12) That election has been won forever. That gives us peace and cause for thankfulness (Colossians 3:15).

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Drawn To God

How is it that we are drawn to God?  God draws us to Him as it says in John 6:44:

44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:44

God doesn’t take over control of us, so what does the word “draw’ mean?

A look at the Greek refers metaphorically to being pulled by some inward attraction. Jesus Christ is the attraction that people saw and can still see. He declared the Father to the human race. There is only one man who is mediator between God and men, and that one is Jesus Christ.

 The next verse goes on to say:

45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. John 6:45

All will be taught. Then, every man that hath heard and learned of God will come to know Jesus Christ. Not everyone taught will hear and learn, but those who do, will recognize the role of Jesus as the messiah and the key to our relationship with God.

As the verses continue, there is a comparison drawn between the manna of the exodus which was provided daily and the bread of life (verse 48) that came by way of Jesus Christ. The reoccurring blood atonement of Leviticus and the blood of Jesus Christ in a once and for all sacrifice are connected in verses 54-58:

54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth*(abides) in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

This is what it means to walk on resurrection ground! As Jesus Christ so aptly put it on the cross. It is finished!

* This word ‘dwelleth ‘ is a different one than what is used in John 1:14. Here the Greek word  ‘mene’ means to abide,wait, remain. In John 1:14 ‘dwelleth’ is ‘skene’ which means tabernacled or tented among us:

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt (tented) among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14

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