Pride

Proverbs 8:13

To fear the Lord is to hate evil;
    I hate pride and arrogance,
    evil behavior and perverse speech.

A while back I started doing blog posts inspired from the book of proverbs. Verse by verse I was going. Eventually all the verses just started to become the same thing over and over again. I lost a lot of inspiration. In fact, it’s been since March 14th of last year since I last posted about Proverbs (view here). I have kept checking back on this next verse, reading it across almost every translation just to find some inspiration. I just honestly haven’t wanted to write about this verse, or any of the rest in the chapter. It’s all just become the same thing over and over again.

But alas, today I am pushing myself through it because sometimes with your relationship with God, and with others, you just have to keep pushing through despite how you feel.

To fear the Lord is to hate evil. Looks like we can categorize pride, arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech under evil. How many of you hate evil? How many of you hate talking to someone and they start to get prideful, nothing they say is wrong, they have all the best stories, their way is always right, etc? Or how about arrogant people? Like trying to talk with Tony Stark, or Steve Jobs for example? Talking to people who are full of themselves is the worst. I think it’s clear to say we all hate this kind of evil.

But what about when it is in yourself? It’s easy to recognize it is within others, but what about yourself? Are you/can you be prideful or arrogant? Do you find yourself to be more right than wrong? Looking honestly at past situations, why do you think that is? Where you truly right, or was pride getting in the way from you admitting your wrong?

Maybe pride is stopping you from opening up to others. You like to control how others see you, you show others an edited version of you, but not the raw footage.

But to fear the Lord is to hate evil and pride and arrogance and evil behavior and perverse speech.

What is it in your own life that you are failing to recognize, but you can so easily recognize in others?

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Let God Spot You

Proverbs 5:11-14 (NIV)

At the end of your life you will groan,
when your flesh and body are spent.
You will say, “How I hated discipline!
How my heart spurned correction!
I would not obey my teachers
or turn my ear to my instructors.
And I was soon in serious trouble
in the assembly of God’s people.”

Proverbs 5:11-14 (KJV)

And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,
And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;
And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me
I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.

As being a weightlifter, well ex-weightlifter and now body lifter, it is extremely important to use proper technique when lifting, technique being how you lift, and when you lift. It’s a common mistake for beginners to lift the same routines everyday because it never gives your muscles enough time to rest, and this will result in muscle exhaustion. If you continue to push yourself, doing the same thing, day after day, you wil become weak and your body will no longer be able to perform at it’s max, in fact you will become weaker than when you started. How you lift, is equally as important is when you lift. There is a lot of weight being stressed upon your body. Without proper form, you can seriously injure yourself. Sometimes weight lifters will put more weight on than they can actually handle to show off to everyone else, but when they do that they have to use improper form and it’s really obvious to everyone lifting. We often chuckle because we know the consequences of their actions of trying to show off.

How we live our life is very similar. It’s very easy of us to avoid instructions and “play” with the devil to show how “cool” we are. It’s very easy for us to live recklessly. We often think that we know better, and that others advice doesn’t apply to us. We lift life’s obstacles by ourselves, without a spotter, and with incorrect form. Our post workout meal is our sinful desires. Instead of refilling our bodies with what’s good and pure, we often look to the substance that separates us from Christ. Life becomes harder and harder. We must learn to humble ourselves before others, and most importantly before our Lord. Take the Lords instructions and use proper form by reading His Word daily, praying to Him in all circumstances, living a pure and godly live, and showing love to others. When life gets tough, ask God to be your spotter, ask Him to lift your troubles away. Like any good spotter, the Lord isn’t going to lift all the weight a way, how can you gain new muscle when all the weight is gone? Instead the Lord lifts just enough so that we will may still struggle, but enough so that we will be able to finish the rep.

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful;he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Don’t Open That Door!

Proverbs 5:7-9 (NIV)

Now then, my sons, listen to me;
do not turn aside from what I say.
Keep to a path far from her,
do not go near the door of her house,
lest you lose your honor to others
and your dignity[a] to one who is cruel,

Proverbs 5:7-9 (KJV)

Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.
Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:
Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel:

How many times have you been watching a scary movie and you have thought/shouted to the characters on the screen “Don’t open that door!”, “Turn around, and run back!”, “Go back to the car!” or any such advice that stop the character(s) from finding trouble?  However the character(s) always go through that door and finds trouble on the other end. Then we feel all proud of ourselves, and upset with the characters, because we were right and they didn’t listen.

These verses remind me of this same scenario. God is telling us, listen to me and don’t go near that door! Don’t go near the door of immoral people because they will draw you in, and all the Godliness that you have worked for, will be corrupted by the immoral. The influence of others plays a strong role over our lives, and the Lord knows this. He is asking us to listen to Him, listen to His Word, so that we will have the wisdom and discernment to not even walk up to the door of the immoral house.

Ephesians 4:27

and do not give the devil a foothold.

When we bring ourselves close to immoral practices and ideas, we begin to start playing with the devil and he starts twisting us with his words. When we start to play with that imaginary line of right and wrong we give the devil a foot hold into our lives. Like a good sales person or telemarketer, he will never leave you alone and won’t take no for an answer. He will keep pushing himself in, more and more, and before you know it, you become slave to the devil in your own household.

This is why it is so important to stay close to the Lord and listen to His Word. If you think something is a sin, don’t do it! When we do, do it, we give the devil another foothold into our lives. He will use, whatever it is you are pondering, and push it to meet his agenda. He is a master manipulator and very good at what he does. However God is stronger. Let us give our lives to Christ, live for Him, and stay in His Word. The closer we become to Christ, the stronger we are over the devil.

Matthew 6:33

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Watch What Flows From You

Proverbs 4:23-25 (NIV)

Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.

Proverbs 4:23-25 (KJV)

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.
Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.

During the summer time, I have been working third shift at a candy factory. They cycle of the candies life starts in the kitchen where all the ingredients are mixed together to form the batter, then it is brought down to making where they process it into a substance, after the candy is made it is brought through an inspection line where we inspect the candy of bad pieces, then the candy is packaged into bads, where we have two people inspecting the bags to look for bad bags, it is than brought to the back of the factory where the bags go into boxes through a machine, then we packaged the boxes into shipping boxes, and finally it is sent to shipping where they send the pallets of candy out to their future destination.

At every area of the factory we always inspecting the candy, whether it is checking the candy for to much starch, defects in candy, bad bags, or bad boxes. We also have someone who checks a few boxes of candy, when it is ready to be shipped, every hour. We want to make sure everything we send out is perfect. Unfortunately, we aren’t perfect and with all the eyes we have on inspecting, defects get through. When we get a defect that goes through, and it gets caught at the very end, we have to hand check every single bag of candy. Recently, there was a defect, but it didn’t get caught until it got to our customer. Our customer shipped us the three semis filled with candy back to us to fix. If one mistake gets through, all the good goes down with the bad, and everything has to be double checked by hand. It becomes a very long process, and slows us down from making more candy.

The same is true among us Christians though. As Christians we are responsible for our brothers and sisters, when we see error in one, we must show them the Scripture that shows error to their ways, that way they can becomes realigned with Christ. One “Christian” can change some ones entire view point of all Christians. It only takes one, to make the rest of us look bad. When we claim to be Christians to the world, we are no longer representing ourselves, but rather Christ Himself. What we do as a claimed Christian, is a reflection to the world of what all Christians do. Be careful of what you produce to the world. As our proverbs verses say

Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.

Strive to be more like Christ, and watch what comes out of your mouth. It only takes one bad defect to make every Christian look bad, to be sent back to the factory without even given a chance.

When we truly keep our eyes on Jesus, He will protect us and help us guard our hearts.

Are You Sure the Grass is Greener?

Proverbs 3:31-32 (NIV)

Do not envy the violent
or choose any of their ways.
For the Lord detests the perverse
but takes the upright into his confidence.

Proverbs 3:31-32 (KJV)

Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.
For the froward is abomination to the Lord: but his secret is with the righteous.

Who is guilty of envy? I am. Aren’t we all? Sometimes it’s our neighbors money, job, house, physical appearance, and/or spouse. We have what we don’t want, and want what we don’t have. There is always something ‘better’ out there. Those guilty of envy, are found in the thought process “the grass is always greener on the other side.” In the book I am reading, Soul Detox,  Craig Groeschell mentions this topic at one point. He says

If the grass is greener in someone else’s yard, maybe it’s time you watered your own. How long has it been since you’ve taken stock of what God’s given you and said, “Father, thank”?

I like that quote a lot. Instead of sitting around and envying what everyone else has, work for it and be thankful to work for it! The reason your neighbor appears to have such a green yard is because he worked for it. When we look at the history of those who have won the lottery, what usually happens? They receive a large sum of money that they didn’t work for, they have good intentions with it, but usually end up worse off than before they had it. What they have isn’t good enough for them, so they turn to the money to keep purchasing material things and up in debt than they can imagine, and loss of relationships over greed. They simple don’t know how to handle that much money because they didn’t go through the experience of working for it. Than we  look at guys like Donald Trump who own millions of dollars, but not because it was handed to him. Mr. Trump has had to build his empire over again few times.  His grass appears to be green not because it was handed to him, but because he worked hard for it!

Envy goes further beyond working for what we don’t have, instead of wishing for it, because there is always more we could work for. To successfully battle envy we must learn to be satisfied with what we have. We must learn to be thankful for what the Lord has given us. Right now we might not have the job, money, house, car, and relationship we want, but have we come to think that maybe we aren’t ready for it yet? Maybe God with His infinite wisdom has decided to withhold, what ever it is you want, because we aren’t ready for it. Maybe whatever it is we envy, will withhold us from serving God best, maybe what ever it is will corrupt us. We don’t know, only God does. Let’s learn to be thankful for not only what we have, but for also what we don’t have!

(Within the next few weeks I will be writing about Envy again. I’ve withheld a few things I was going to write here, so I can save it for latter)

Trust in the Creator

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

Proverbs 3:19 – 20 (NIV)

By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations,
by understanding he set the heavens in place;
by his knowledge the watery depths were divided,
and the clouds let drop the dew.

Proverbs 3:19-20 (KJV)

The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.
By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.

I am amazed by how great the Lord is! I have a hard time doing simple things right. How many of you have done a do it yourself project? Maybe you built a dresser, a chair, a bookshelf, or anything that came with the supplies and instructions? How did that go? When I attempt any of these things, I always do something wrong, break a part, or use the wrong screws. How many have tried a new recipe? Did it turn out well? The point is, even with full instructions and supplies we aren’t always the best at creating things.

The Lord on the other hand, in His infinite wisdom, can do it perfectly. From scratch, from literally nothing He made everything in the universe, everything on earth. How magnificent does one have to be create the earth, weather, our bodies, plants, animals, oxygen, and make them interact with each other like they do? It’s amazing how everything created on earth works to support life in it’s own unique way, from the smallest of things (germs, bacteria, cells, ants) all the way to the biggest of things. It absolutely amazes me! There is still so much to learn about our ecosystem, so much that we haven’t even discovered.  Our Lord is amazing, His wisdom, understanding, and knowledge knows no end! It makes me wonder how we can ever question Him?

Back to Proverbs 3:5-6,

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Our God knows exactly what He is doing, and everything He does, He does because He loves us (John 3:16). How can we ever question Him? Lets put our trust in Him, and work hard at what we do and leave your doubts aside. With God on our side, what do we have to fear?

Romans 8:28-31

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

As we hold onto the tree of wisdom, we must also keep our trust in God. In dong so the God of the universe, the Creator of all will be on our wide. What than do we have to fear, what can’t we do?

Philippians 4:13

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Wisdom Fulfills Our Desires!

Proverbs 3:13-15 (NIV)

Blessed are those who find wisdom,
those who gain understanding,
for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.

Proverbs 3:12-15 (KJV)

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.

I can’t help but think of the old saying “If you can give a man a fish, you will feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, you will feed him for a lifetime.” Gold, silver, and rubies are nice, but they are meaningless without any wisdom. Look at all the winners of the lottery (or anyone else that won a large sum of a money), what usually happens? They don’t know how to control themselves and put themselves in more debt than money they won. It destroys them. Anything we desire on earth, comes to an end. As Solomon says over and over again in Ecclesiastics “meaningless, everything is meaningless, like chasing after the wind.”

Wisdom and understanding is far better than anything we desire.  Wisdom and understanding lasts throughout your life time, it doesn’t come and go as money does, as friendships do, as jobs do, technology, and etc. Wisdom and understandings continues to grow when you seek it. When you find wisdom, it’s more than just winning the powerball, finding wisdom is like learning to fish, like securing yourself in a high paying job for the rest of your lifetime.  Wisdom gives us security, knowledge, she teaches us right from wrong, she shows us how to live our life according to Christ. Seek wisdom and understanding, and all your other desires will be filled!