EYES OF DISCERNMENT
Beware the “buts” of life. They are dangerous.
“You know I really love Larry, but he’s too smart for his own good.” Or…
“You know Al is a great teacher, but he uses the NLT instead of the ESV in class.” Or…
“Paula does a great job keeping all of the records of the College, but she is so slow in getting out our grades and even makes mistakes on my grades.” Or…
“I love the ‘Seeds,’ but wish they used a different, larger sized print.” Or…
And the list goes on.
We use “buts” to hide our true feelings and intentions. We speak the truth and then try to cover it up so others will think we are tentative, thoughtful and want to give the other person the benefit of the doubt. In other words, we want it both ways so we won’t be convicted of our true position or feelings.
“A rich man may be wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has discernment sees through him.” In other words, the rich man is unable to see himself for all the good things he thinks he is doing. He is unaware of his inadequacies, his deceit, his taking advantage of others, even his greed. Perhaps he unable to recognize what he is doing because he has too much.
What is more important than the words we use to describe others is the fact that we are more likely to see what we want to see as the faults and failures in others rather than the flaws and foolishness in ourselves. We must look upward to Christ and see ourselves as He sees us.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to look at ourselves in light of Your Word and correct ourselves before we condemn others. May our lives be an example to others at all times. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 28:11 A rich man may be wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has discernment sees through him.
ON BEING BLAMELESS
What happens when life turns ugly and there is no reason to get out of bed and face life? Do we give up and give in? Do we surrender our principals and live a life of compromise? Do we forget where we were or what made us different from others? Do we live a life filled with anger and resentment? What do we do if we do not want to “do right?”
“Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse” provides some sound advice. This verse tells the story of a man who “had it all” and “lost it all.” He was “riding high” and then “life turned ugly.” But the events of life did not change him: he changed the events of life. He remained faithful to God, turned his back on evil, and continued to live a life controlled by God. He was a man of integrity and character!
We often confuse personality with character. It’s easy. Personality is who people think we are. Character is who God knows us to be. Personality changes over time and is temporary. Character is deep-rooted and flows from our relationship with God. Personality is on the outside. Character is from God and is deep inside our hearts. Personality often comes from a smile to hide the pain and struggle we are dealing with. Character weeps openly, honestly and freely when the going gets difficult, the nights long, and the days dark, the sun is hidden and the clouds heavy. Personality changes to meet the needs of the moment. Character meets the moment without changing – being confident that we can meet the challenge and endure the struggle with God. What matters to you? Personality or Character. The choice is yours.
Prayer: We pray, Lord, that we will submit our will and ways to Your will and Your ways. Give us a desire and Your power to be people of character who “do right!” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 28:6 Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse.
Throughout the Book of Proverbs, Solomon does not allow “wiggle” room. It is either “this is the way” or “that is the way” or “do not forget the way.” It’s like a visit to a physician: “If you want to be healthy, you must follow these directions and take this prescription.” If anyone has a desire to honor God, live a life that is pleasing to the Lord, avoid doing what is wrong, and walk in the ways of the Lord, Solomon leaves no doubt about what we are to do. He is also very clear about the dangers and consequences of following our own ways and selfish ends.
“Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully.” There is little doubt about who Solomon had in mind when he wrote these words: Evil men are those who are committed to doing evil things. When we examine the lives of “evil men,” we find evidence of evil thoughts, evil deeds, and evil friends. Their lives are so centered on acts of evil that they have lost their understanding of justice. Their lives are so corrupt, so devious, and so unjust that they cannot see or even recognize “right from wrong.”
On the other hand, those who “seek the Lord” are fully capable of making the right choice when facing a difficult decision. From his own experience as a leader and from following the advice of his father, King David, Solomon learned that if anyone has a commitment to do what God will honor, God will grant that request and give him the power to overcome evil. When our thoughts come from God’s wisdom, choices become clear, and God’s power available.
Prayer: Empower us, Father, with the strength and courage that comes from Your Word, to do what is right. We know You will give us strength to live righteous lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 28:5 Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully.
THE PEACE OF A CLEAN CONSCIENCE
“God’s gonna get you for that!”
Every time someone did something that Brenda thought was “unChristian” by her standards, she would wag her finger and repeat her warning that was known by everyone on campus. Ever since she arrived with her freshman class, and now about to graduate with honors, she served with distinction as the “campus conscience.”
Perhaps our lives would be more Christlike if we each had our own personal “conscience cop” – one who would sit on our shoulder or go before us and alert or warn us before we did something sinful. Most of us can quote Paul’s wise words about “no temptation without God’s spirit giving us a way out.” Most of us, however, think of that after we have “gone astray” or are overwhelmed by and submit to the temptation and then plead for “grace and mercy” because we are only “too human and still growing in Christ.” Unfortunately, that excuse works far to well!
Solomon knew the “peace that can come from a clean conscience.” No doubt he had a few “skeletons” in his closet, as we all do and wanted to share some of his “self-help” wisdom and insight on “worry-free” living. So he provides us with a warning that will work for all of us all of the time: “The righteous are as bold as a lion.”
The “key” is being righteous. Though easier said than done, we can free our minds from guilt and fear by living by and through the Word of God and in the power of Christ. We all have a past to remind us of Satan’s power. We also have “Christ in us” who can make us “bold as a lion.”
Prayer: Father, Your Word is available to us but will do no good until it is within us. Fill our lives with truths which enable us to be righteous and live free from sin. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 28:1b The righteous are as bold as a lion.
There is a vast difference between a legacy and an inheritance. An inheritance is a collection of “things” that are passed on from one generation to another. It is usually considered to be wealth or the things that can be bought with money or negotiated by “deals” between individuals or sometimes items that are “traded.”
A “legacy” is much different. It is composed of the opinions and observations of others who watch us as we make our way through life. It is a result of what we do, the things we say, and how well we serve or do not serve others and our attitudes about the material things and temporal things in life. Unfortunately, for most, it is more important to leave an inheritance for others than a legacy that inspires and challenges others. Most want to be remembered for the balance sheet of life rather than the good they do for God and others.
“For riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations,” wrote the wisest and one of the wealthiest men of history. His net worth, as estimated by wealth-managers today, exceeded one hundred-sixty billion dollars. Obviously, he knew how to “make a dollar” but was wise enough to know that money, in the end, was not the goal of life.
Now, as we look at his story, we see what he “left behind” that has meaning, and the enduring value was not his wealth, but his legacy. Year after year and century after century people look to his writings for God’s wisdom and guidance, God’s insights and promises, God’s values and the blessings that come from honoring Him. His wealth is gone. His legacy lives!
Prayer: Lord, grant us Your wisdom and the desire to leave a legacy that blesses others and leads them to Jesus. May our lives be a witness of how great You are. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 27:24 For riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.