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Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

Stick with me on this.

I read a verse this morning from Proverbs that sounds discouraging, yet it actually — indirectly — affirms the importance of investing time and effort and perhaps money into learning efforts.

If you find a person who really wants to learn at the job or in college or, better yet, at church, then you’ve found a good thing.

You’ve found a good investment.

People who want to learn are our greatest resource for our families, for our congregations, for our workplaces, for our communities.

People who don’t want to learn are foolish and are choosing to remain as such.

I want to be the person who is always learning, even though it takes commitment to vigilantly gain new knowledge and wisdom.

I never want to become the type of person mentioned in Proverbs 17:16 —

“It is senseless to pay to educate a fool, since he has no heart for learning.”

When my daughters were in private school and later in private colleges, a lot of money flowed from my bank account into the schools’ bank accounts.

I was glad, however, for being able to invest in the girls’ education since they both had hearts for learning.

Both have become very successful in their careers and I give all the glory to God for providing the resources needed for providing the education they needed.

If the girls had been slothful in their studies and disinterested in learning, though, I would have been a poor steward to keep spending fistfuls of money on their college bills.

Listen, if we display a heart for learning regarding the scriptures and the work of the Church and the ways of humbly encouraging/equipping others, God will continue investing heavily in blessing us.

Let’s be very careful to avoid becoming fools in God’s sight who aren’t striving to learn more about serving Him.

Please make it a habit to learn DAILY something significant about the Bible or about helping a church member. God always blesses those who invest in knowing Him — and serving Him — in a better way.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Guard rails are not fences.

They’re not there to keep cars off the road but instead to keep cars on it.

Fences are to keep people out.

Guard rails are to keep people in.

Sometimes, we Christians lose sight of this when it comes to our faith.

The Bible and the beliefs it calls us to embrace are for the purpose of keeping us in His family, not for trying to keep people out.

Scripture really is, in effect, a God rail.

Here’s why I say this:

“Godliness guards the path of the blameless” Proverbs 13:6

Godliness is a guard rail.

It keeps us on the narrow path that leads to eternal life.

When we reject godliness — and we’ve all had moments or seasons of doing so — the guard rails disappear and we inevitably end up in a ditch — or worse.

Nobody likes running into a guard rail… or a God rail.

We get banged up and we have consequences to sort through, not the least of which is a bruised, convicted conscience.

I’m thankful for the God rails in my life that the Holy Spirit has used to get me back between the lines of godly living.

I pray that you’ll feel the same as you travel the narrow road.

As always, I love you
Martin

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The path to success is narrow.

The Bible says so.

Here’s what God told Joshua about how to be successful.

“Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” (Joshua 1:7-8)

Want more success — real success — out of your life’s relationships, career, health, finances?

Get more of God’s Word into your life.

Does it help us or harm us at home or work or wherever when we become more like Jesus?

You know the answer.

Studying the Bible and meditating on it is how we become more like God and His Son and it’s how we find more success in life.

Let’s walk the narrow path with God’s map in our hands, in our heads and in our hearts.

There’s a clear payoff for doing so.

As always, I love you
Martin

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I was very much encouraged this morning by Proverbs 9:6.

“Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live; learn to use good judgment.”

What this verse tells me is that I can always improve my decision-making ability.

Like you, I make a lot of decisions each day and I want to become the best decision-maker possible.

What Solomon tells me in the verse is that I can learn to make better decisions.

Many of us suffer in some ways because we sometimes don’t make the best decisions when at the intersections of life choices.

We look in the rear view mirror and realize that we should have taken another path.

We can’t escape the regret but we can learn to be wiser when we approach the next intersection.

And that’s why reading the Bible daily is such a good idea. It is a book of decisions.

Many recorded there were good. Some were not.

We can learn from all of them.

Particularly those made by Jesus Christ.

He never made a bad decision.

That should prompt us to examine closely His decisions and learn from them.

We’ll be known for our good judgment as we do so.

While we’re in this season of learning called life, let’s also learn from mature believers who are known for making good decisions.

Let’s begin to live the life God intends for us.

As always, I love you

Martin

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Before any effort I undertake today, I need to seek wisdom for how to proceed.

Wisdom does not come naturally to us or we wouldn’t have to seek it.

It’s more than common sense.

Some choices are obvious in life such as making sure your car has enough gas or enough air in the tires before heading out of town.

But some choices are not so obvious. Do I stop to visit a shopping mall on the way to Grandma’s house for the night or do I stop on the way back?

Common sense might say it doesn’t matter since you’re going to stop at one time or another.

But wisdom says to stop on the way back so that precious time with feeble Grandma isn’t sacrificed due to spending several unplanned, extra hours sifting through all the sale racks at an unadvertised, 40% off sale in the mall’s stores.

Wisdom says we’ll always find deals in the future but we won’t always have time with Grandma.

It’s a principle of life that seeking wisdom before making choices is the best path.

For haven’t we all made choices that turned out to be the unwise ones because we didn’t seek the wisest course of action before we made our choice?

For the believer, there is the powerful, concise multi-tool for wise living that is found in Matthew 6:33 —

“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things (necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, income) will be given unto you.”

Even God established the place of wisdom before He did anything else in Creation.

For through His wisdom, Creation was formed.

“The Lord formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else.” (Proverbs 8:22)

If God thought that wisdom needed to be in place before the crafting of Creation, shouldn’t we make every effort to have God’s wisdom via scripture and prayer-seeking guidance of the Holy Spirit before we make important decisions regarding family life, church life or work life?

I think so.

Whatever important decision you’re facing now at home or church or work, please take the time to seek God’s wisdom before making your choice.

Seek biblical principles and examples relating to your choice.

Seek advice from trusted, spiritually mature believers.

Pray.

Make no decision without the guidance of godly wisdom.

The regrets of not doing so are just too painful.

As always, I love you
Martin

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It’s such a brief line but it is incredibly potent in meaning.

For anyone who has just been restored to an important relationship because of another’s forgiveness, this verse fragment will hold special meaning.

“…what a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God!” (Genesis 33:10)

The context was Jacob’s return to his homeland after 20 years in what is now Iraq. He had fled there earlier out of fear that his brother Esau would kill him because of various deceptive and cheating behaviors.

Returning as an older and somewhat wiser man, Jacob still had fear that Esau might take revenge for the dirty deeds done to him a generation earlier.

You’ll want to read of this account by clicking here.

Despite the fear, Jacob headed home anyway. Previous chapters in Genesis recorded why Jacob believed he couldn’t stay in the land of his wives’ family.

Jacob knew when he fled his homeland two decades earlier that he had done wrong.

And now as he awaited the inevitable meeting with Esau, he was hoping that retribution and carnage would not be the outcome.

As you read the passage in the link above, you’ll see just how deep-rooted Jacob’s fears were.

But when the meeting actually occurred, there was no hatred, no shaking fists, no waving swords.

Instead, there was unmistakable forgiveness.

Jacob sensed that what he had received was not the fruit of human nature but instead the fruit of God’s Spirit overflowing through Esau’s face.

When Jacob saw a forgiving face with a friendly smile, he perceived it as the work of God in his brother’s heart.

Wow.

Perhaps you have a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate the work of God in your heart as you choose to genuinely forgive someone who has done harm to you.

If you’ll offer a smiling face to him or her as you seek to restore a relationship, embracing rather than attacking, you’ll bring relief to that person’s soul.

And they’ll know that what you’ve done is a reflection of God’s influence, not human nature.

Here’s the conclusion of the matter — there is perhaps no better way to portray faith than to forgive those who have harmed you.

Please, let people see the face of God in your life.

Forgive.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Here’s what was included in my daily Bible reading:

Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33)

Is the first sentence above evident in your life?

Yes, I know what it’s like to be in a secular workplace and feel the peer pressure to hide my faith.

I also know, however, what it’s like to sanctify that peer pressure by using that “push point” as an occassion to affirm what’s important for my walk of faith.

Imagine that several co-workers are standing near your desk and exchanging dirty jokes.

Perhaps they’re standing near you by intent… or perhaps not.

The fact remains that their words are offensive to your faith.

How you respond at that moment can show if you acknowledge Christ as Lord in a public manner.

Yelling at the group to shut up and take their gutter talk elsewhere is not a matter of faith but of retributive rudeness.

Ignoring the gutter talk for fear of social backlash is also not a matter of faith but of condoning condemnation-worthy behavior.

So what are the options for being faithful?

There are several, but here’s one.

Perhaps you could calmy tell the group that you’re trying to get your work finished but you need them to take their conversation elsewhere because the language is distracting since it is offensive to your Christian faith.

You’re not telling them they’re going to hell.

You’re not even telling them that they have no right to exchange dirty jokes.

You’re simply asking them to move because their behavior next to your desk is disrupting your work and offending your faith.

They might not like what you’ve said but they will know that your faith is very important to you.

And if you start catching grief in the future from them because you spoke up, then that is grief that God will see as strengthening testimony of your faith.

Of course, there are countless other ways to convey to others that we are Christians. Some use jewelry. Some use desk art. Some use a Bible placed on his or her work desk. All should use language that speaks of blessings and forgiveness and mercy and generosity and prayer and — as appropriate — our church activities.

Do all of your co-workers and nearby neighbors know you’re a Christian?

I pray that they will soon and that you’ll ask God for wisdom with how best to communicate that message.

One of those co-workers or neighbors just might start wanting to know more about a faith that compels people to stand up for what they believe.

As always, I love you
Martin

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