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?


What Defines Success To You?

I came across a very lovely bible verse that I am sure we have all heard before.

Psalm 46:10

Be still, and know that I am God!..

I was looking through four different translations of this verse, and throughout all four translations the verse starts exactly the same. “Be still, and know that I am God!” This verse is so simple, but powerful.

Lets go back a few verses though to the beginning of the chapter.

Psalm 46:1-3

God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come
and the mountains crumble into the sea.
Let the oceans roar and foam.
Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!

I love that, “We will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!” Why? Because “God is our refuge and strength always read to help in times of trouble.”

We so often forget God is here to help us. Our walls shake and we panic. We all do it. Sometimes it is not because we don’t trust the Lord, it is because we want to take on our tasks on our own and we realize that on our own, we can’t do it! We forget we have a God that is beyond all measurements and try to take on the world by ourselves. We see others taking on the world by their selves and think we can do the same. But as they can’t see your struggles, you can’t really see theirs.

Like you, they put up an appearance like they’ve got it all under control.

But what about those that do have it under control, if they can have all that success why can’t I? Am I a failure for falling short, for not being good enough? Well lets look at my favorite company, Apple. Everybody knows it is because of Steve Jobs that Apple achieved it’s level of success, but did you know that many years ago Apple actually fired Steve Jobs. Luckily Steve didn’t give up to his shortcomings then and many years later was brought back to Apple. Did you know Michael Jordan only played JV basketball in highschool? Good thing that didn’t stop him! Or Thomas Edison when he failed many times before being able to invent the light bulb said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

We are going to have shortcomings. Ask any famous person about what brought them success, and they will point you to their shortcomings and their weaknesses. This is where learning begins.

“Be still and know that I am God.”

Back to our original phrase. Know that God is God, know what God can know. Think deeply about this. What are His limitations. Ask yourself, what can’t God do for you? Know who He is and what His character is made up of.

Let’s learn to be still. In times of joy. In times of sorrow. In times of good. In times of bad. In times of pain. In times of stress. It doesn’t matter what time it is, be still, rejoice that you have God to go through those times with.

Steve Jobs might have gone on to lead Apple to much success. Michael Jordan may have gone on to win MVP and arguable the greatest basketball player to live. But without God, what does that success mean? At the end of the day, at the end of your life, when that last breath is taken, what does all that mean? Nothing. The point is, leaning on your own strengths will lead you to worldly success, but if you lean on God for your strength, your success will go beyond this earth and give you eternal life with Christ.

“Be Still and know that I am God.” He is where true strength is found. Give up your cross to Him daily, and know through the good and bad, He is there. Through the pain, He is still there. Give Him your cross to bear, and He will help you through anything.

One More Thing… Jesus

Today was a big day for Apple. They introduced the iphone 5, IOS6, a whole new ipod line up, and a brand new itunes. I’m a huge fan of Apple and look forward to these events. I mark them on the calendar weeks in advanced, and as the keynote is going on I drop everything I am doing to make sure I am keeping track of the best live blogs to ensure I don’t miss a detail of the keynote. I want to know everything that goes on. However, by the end of the keynote I, as well as every other apple fan, end with a little bit of disappointment. We are all hoping for, as Steve Jobs would say,  that “one last thing.” Apple keynotes are exciting, but by the end of it, we are left with nothing. Nothing to show for, nothing that rewarded us for all the hope we placed into it. When it’s done, it’s done. We move on like it never happened. Like dust in the wind.

As cliche and corny as it sounds, I have true joy and hope in something far beyond anything Apple could ever produce, it’s Jesus. Yes that may sound like your average sunday school Jesus answer, but there’s truth in it. Looking at the things of the world that we desire, relationships,  money, cars, job, family, the latest Apple product, where do they leave us? Wanting more. You may find temporarily satisfaction in our earthly desires, but before long we want more. They never truly satisfy the desires of our hearts.

What makes Jesus satisfy us greater than these earthly possessions? We search for love, comfort, acceptance, and joy. Our human love for one another is tainted with sin, money doesn’t give us the comfort we need but rather it gives us the sense of comfort that we can take larger risks with our money which puts us in more need of money, acceptance is hard to find because of the judgement we face, and joy, how can we find joy in things that only last seasons at a time? That isn’t true satisfaction, it only temporarily fills our wants.

Jesus however has no sin. Jesus gave us His love through His death on the cross, His love knows no end. Looking for comfort? Well Jesus created everything you see in seven days, and never had to release an upgrade. Who can stand against Him? Acceptance, Christ knows of our sins and chooses us anyways. He knows you aren’t good enough, He knows that we could never love Him the way He loves us, He knows that we fall short of His glory daily, but with that said, He loves you anyways.  As for joy, how can joy not fill your heart knowing that this God knows of all your faults and chooses to love you and be with you on a daily basis anyways. Never will He leave us or forsake us. His joy for us isn’t just a seasonal joy, but eternal. It’s never ending.

There’s a reason Apples logo has a bite taken out of it. Sin is only deceptive. It can never truly satisfy the desires of our hearts.

“And one more thing”

John 3:16-17

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Ephesians 2:8-9

 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

p.s. I’m hoping to start back up on Proverbs soon. I’ve just hit a mental road block, or writers block as others like to call it.