Monday, April 11, 2011

Stingy Generosity

Proverbs 11:15, 25
    15He who is (A)guarantor for a stranger will surely suffer for it,
         But he who hates being a guarantor is secure.

    25The (A)generous man will be prosperous,
         And he who (B)waters will himself be watered.

The Bible

I love the way scripture puts two diabolically opposed statements into the same passage. We are told not to be a guarantor, but it's good to be generous. We are made aware of a curse for giving, and a blessing at the same time.

I normally side with verse 25. I remember one summer at camp, there was a young man who was "trying" to get on the right track. He was apologetic for his past. He studied and spoke of the scriptures constantly. He prayed beautifully. I personally decided to invest in him and help him become a productive staff member at camp. I spoke with him, counseled, and encouraged him all I could. I even yelled at some of the people in charge because of their public distrust.

In the end, the administration was right. He got caught in sin and sent home promptly. My heart shattered. I truly believed that God would bless my investment in him. But my investment was lost.

We are constantly told to measure our investment and ensure that we are good stewards of what God has given us. We are told not to cast our pearls before swine.

While generosity is a positive thing, we must be careful who we are generous with, and to what extent we expose ourselves. If not, we can do more harm than good.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Free Referral

Proverbs 8:36 NLT
But those who miss me injure themselves.
  All who hate me love death."

Watch out for the obvious things, they will get you every time.

I had stomach pains beginning Sunday. I was out sick on Monday. Didn't feel much better on Tuesday, but went ro work anyway. Stress ang misery continued to build through Wednesday. And I left work early on Thursday.

My wife talked me into seeking medical attention that afternoon. I was planning to go to a minute clinic, she talked me into an urgent care facility.

2 hours and 1 CT Scan later, I was loaded into an ambulance and placed in urgent care. Appendicitis was the diagnosis, and it was 5 days old.

How did I miss the signs? I was too hard headed. I convinced myself that I only had a tummy ache.

How do people miss that true wisdom which is of God? People are too hard headed. They injure themselves.

If I waited any longer, my appendix would have exploded. If sinners wait too long before they see the Great Physician, they may be injured beyond repair.

Christians should have the greatest, free referral service known to man.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Altar Wars

Joshua 22: 12-13
12 So the whole community of Israel gathered at Shiloh and prepared to go to war against them. 13 First, however, they sent a delegation led by Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, to talk with the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

This passage is proof-text no.1 that Israel sometimes had a true  zeal for the Lord. Their brothers has built an altar, and they were ready to make war with them. This event is a microcosm of what happens with us in the Church.

Sometimes we see a brother do something and it rubs us the wrong way. We explode and gather our war machine together for an epic battle. We make alliances. We build up steam. We practice our accusations and write manifestos. If cooler heads do not prevail, we will wipe out our brothers.

The tragedy is, Israel was ready to wipe out their brethren before driving out the Canaanites. They would rather fight against flesh and blood than unite against the enemy. That is a sad state of affairs. It happens way more often than it should.

But the problem is two sided. Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh were not innocent. True, the altar they built was not intended as an offense to the Lord. True, they declared their faithfulness to the one true God. True, they asked to be annihilated if they ever forsook the Lord. But what they did amounts to passive-aggression, and says this, "I don't trust my brother's integrity."

How often does that happen in the assembly? How often do we erect "memorials" because we do not trust one another? Unfortunately, I have found that this also happens way more often than it should.

Jesus prayed for a unity that transcends humanity, a unity that requires divinity. The reason the Holy Spirit was given to us was because without Him, we could never achieve this unification. Let's let Him rule in our hearts and put away our human tendencies.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

For your sake

Ephesians 6:1
Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.

I just read this passage on this translation and was taken aback at the terminology used. I have always read "in the Lord," but never came to this conclusion.

I assumed that in the Lord meant something like: treat your parents like the Lord. God placed your folks on the earth to tell you what to do, so you have to do what they say.

But that's not what this verse says. It says that since you are God's, you will honor your parents. I am obligated to honor my parents for my Lord's sake and not necessarily for them.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Don't get robbed of life

Proverbs 1:2-4, 19
2 Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
      to help them understand the insights of the wise.
 3 Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
      to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
 4 These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
      knowledge and discernment to the young.
 19 Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money;
      it robs them of life.

The purpose of the book of Proverbs is to help you find success. You can be the most successful you if you follow Proverbs. But first, we have to define success.

Success is not wealth or power or influence, those things (as we see in verse 19) rob people of life. To live a robbed life is to miss out on a successful one.

Instead, to make right, just, and fair choices is to live a successful life. To be disciplined in these areas grant great success. Maybe you'll be poor, meek and pretty much ignored by others, but you will be successful. It's counter-intuitive alright, but that's exactly what God does.

When the first is last and last is first, then we will know who was truly successful and who was robbed of life.
Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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