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‘Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me; Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or lest I be poor and steal,
And profane the name of my God’ (Proverbs 30:8-9 NKJV)

December 17, 2015

A proverb and a prayer asking God to supply just the right “allotment” of wealth to avoid the extremes of both “poverty and riches.” Each condition presents its own spiritual and moral problems. The rich are tempted to be “full and deny” the God who blessed them. They forget that the Lord is both Creator and Owner of all. They become self-satisfied and smug. The poor are tempted to “steal” and to blame God for their plight, “profaning” His great Name. They forget to trust God and blame Him and others for their plight. Both poverty and riches bring their own trouble. Better to focus on the Lord who blesses, than on the blessings themselves. Trusting in the Lord to meet our needs, we are able to say along with the apostle Paul, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil.4:12-13).

“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17 NKJV)

November 14, 2015

This is one of the purposes of fellowship: mutual “sharpening.” The life of faith is to be lived out in community. First, to be in communion with God and then, with other believers. The life lived in a community of faith offers accountability, so that spiritual growth is encouraged. Sure, when iron strikes iron the sparks may fly, but those committed to the family of God do not pull away, rather they cling to one another, knowing that this is the will of God. This verse is the motto for our church’s men’s ministry, which we call the “Ironmen Ministry.” But the verse is appropriate for all that would desire to live out their faith in community as God commands.

“He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own Is like one who takes a dog by the ears” (Proverbs 26:17 NKJV)

October 27, 2015

Have you ever tried separating fighting dogs? Chances are even your own dog will accidentally bite you. You may have meant to be the peacemaker, but now you’re part of the dog fight. Similarly, be careful about “meddling” in someone else’s quarrel. Unsolicited advice is rarely welcome. Of course, there are times when intervention is required, as when a weaker party is being bullied or at risk of being harmed. Even in this, the parable provides a wise caution. Entering the fray may mean that both combatants turn on you. Do so with your eyes wide open. The Bible does teach “blessed are the peacemakers” (Matt.5:9). But be aware that peacemakers are often bitten by the ones they sought to help.

“The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both” (Proverbs 20:12 NKJV)

July 31, 2015

One can have ears and eyes, yet still be deaf and blind. The Lord has made both the physical and the spiritual ability to hear. Both are grace. The physical all understand, but few recognize the spiritual. The first offers wisdom of the physical world, the second makes one receptive to the gospel and believing. One is not the other. Only God makes the “hearing ear” and the “seeing eye.” This was God’s calling to Paul and to us: “I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18-19).

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord (Proverbs 18:22 NKJV)

July 9, 2015

Marriage was God’s idea. It is not a mere social construct, but a Divine creation. It is God’s provision for man’s need for companionship and oneness. This oneness is three-dimensional, involving the physical, the soul and the spirit. It is also God’s plan for having children and parenting. The Bible opens and closes with a wedding and God is intimately involved in both. This proverb describes God’s favor in the finding of a good wife. She is to be treasured and received as a gift from God. When a husband and wife view one another as a gift from God to be received and cherished, they begin to experience the oneness that He intended.
I am a man who has obtained God’s favor. Her name is Robin. And she is the greatest gift other than Jesus that God has given me.

“The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the hearts” (Proverbs 17:3 NKJV)

June 12, 2015

Faith must be tested. It must pass through life’s furnace, so that impurities may rise to the top and be removed. As Peter wrote, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7). May your faith be found authentic and pure to the praise of Jesus our Lord!