The Ways of Man

Proverbs chapter 16 contains many phrases pertaining to the “way,” or path, that a man might take. In fact, it seems to be a theme of the chapter.

Verse 2 states: “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.” This speaks to the heart of man being “deceitful…and desperately wicked, who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Our own ways seem “clean” to us, they seem all right, but the verse ends by saying, “the Lord weigheth the spirits.” This is an interesting statement. The word “weigheth” there means “balances, equalizes, adjusts to the standard.” The word “spirits” means “disposition (of various kinds), unaccountable or uncontrollable impulse.” God takes our unaccountable disposition, our uncontrollable impulses, and brings us balance, and adjusts us to the standard (His Word!).

Verse 3 admonishes us to “Commit (our) works unto the Lord, and (our) thoughts shall be established.” Now, we know that ways (works) and thoughts are connected…His ways are above our ways, and His thoughts above our thoughts, and as a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Through this idea, we can conclude that if you think it, you’ll do it. Your inward thoughts direct your outward actions. But this verse in Proverbs seems to suggest the opposite: if we commit our works unto the Lord, then our thoughts will be established. In other words, if you DO RIGHT THINGS, eventually you will THINK RIGHT THOUGHTS. What an amazing revelation. We can actually “train our brain” by doing what we know to be right, even though our carnal nature, our “flesh,” is against it. He that “knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). We do good, it trains our brain to think right, which results in more “doing” right, etc. It’s not a “vicious” circle, it’s a VICTOR’S circle!

Then we come to verse 9: “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” We must live our lives in such a way, we must BE where we are supposed to BE, that when our heart (deceitful and wicked) tells us to do something, the Lord directs our steps. His Word is a LAMP unto our FEET (revealing where we are) and a LIGHT unto our PATH (revealing where we should go). When we let the Lord direct our steps, we are overriding what our heart is telling us to do. And the more we do this, the closer we can walk with our Lord! In fact, verse 17 says, “…he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.” And verse 32 tells us that “…he that ruleth his spirit (is better) than he that taketh a city”!

And don’t forget the best advice concerning the ways of man. Verse 25 says: “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Your way can’t SEEM right, it must BE right. Allow the Lord to adjust your ways to the standard of His Word. Walk with God. Be pleasing in His sight. Rule your spirit well. And as Proverbs 3:6 says: “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Posted in Christianity, Hope, Old Testament, Preaching, Religion, Salvation

It Is Finished

Over the last several Wednesday nights, we have taught a new series entitiled “Cross Ways: Life Lessons from the Cross.” The principles we have discussed are very foundational to our Faith, and are things that a) we put into practice daily, and b) we should make an integral part of our lifestyle. Daily things like prayer/access to the throne of grace (“The Veil Was Rent”), Forgiveness (“Father, Forgive Them…”) and the understanding of Who He is (“Surely This Was the Son of God”). Other things that we come to realize as we walk with Him daily: you are NOT forsaken, embrace afflictions, and don’t live your Christian life as a “secret!” The final lesson was taught last Wednesday and gives us the assurance that this journey is not in vain (though it seems so at times), and it will come to completion. There IS a finish line. John 19:28-30: After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. Perhaps the most POWERFUL and SIGNIFICANT statement that Jesus made on the cross, and His final words before “giving up the ghost.” More so than “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” More so than “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” More so, even, than “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Found only in the Gospel of John, the Greek word translated “it is finished” is tetelestai, an accounting term that means “paid in full.” When Jesus uttered those words, He was declaring the debt owed to God by mankind was ELIMINATED – the debt of sin. Just prior to His arrest by the Romans, Jesus prayed His last public prayer, in which He said: “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4). Chaussures adidas running The work Jesus was sent to do was threefold: 1. To “seek and save that which is lost” (Luke 19:10), 2. To provide atonement for the sins of mankind: Romans 3:23-24: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:, and 3. Ugg 2017 To reconcile sinful men to a holy God: 2 Corinthians 5:18-19: And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Here is the point: when He said “It is finished,” it was only the BEGINNING of new life for us! All who were once “dead in trespasses and sins” but who are now made “alive with Christ” (Ephesians 2:1,5). The application of this “finished” principle is found in Hebrews 12:2-3: Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Because HE finished, you have the power to finish! Galatians 6:9: And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Adidas Soldes He is the Author of ETERNAL SALVATION: Hebrews 5:9: And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. Kånken Rucksack He is the Author of PEACE: 1 Corinthians 14:33: For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. And He is the author AND the FINISHER of our faith! AUTHOR: Jeremiah 1:5: Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. FINISHER: Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the thoughts (plan or purpose) that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Philippians 1:6: Being confident (be persuaded, believe, trust) of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: “perform” (epitele?): fulfill completely, execute, finish. chaussure asics Do not be discouraged! Jesus will finish the work He started! The 1992 Summer Olympics featured two tremendously poignant moments. American sprinter Gail Devers, the clear leader in the 100 meter hurdles, tripped over the last barrier. She agonizingly pulled herself to her knees and crawled the last five meters, finishing fifth–but finishing. Even more heart-rending was the 400 meter semifinal in which British runner Derek Redmond, a favorite to win a medal, tore a hamstring and fell to the track. He struggled to his feet and began to hobble, determined to complete the race. As he struggled, His father ran from the stands to help him off the track, but the athlete refused to quit. His father said, “You don’t have to do this.” Derek said, “Yes I do. I have to finish.” His father replied, “Then we’re going to finish together.” He leaned on his father, and the two limped to the finish line together, to deafening applause. Another great “finishing” story is taken from an earlier Olympics, the story of John Akwhari. He understood why he was in the Olympics like no one else. He represented Tanzania in the Marathon in the 1968 Olympic Games. Early on in the journey, John stumbled, fell and injured his knee and ankle. He was immediately out of medal contention. By 7 p.m. new balance baskets an Ethiopian runner won the race. new balance soldes John stumbled into the stadium with a bloody leg and injured ankle over an hour later, which is a lifetime in an Olympic competition. Yet, thousands of fans remained in the stadium awaiting his arrival. And as he limped and hobbled, the people stood and cheered him on. Even though he was not a medal contender, he was a true competitor. Reporters could not understand why he continued to run despite his injuries and the plain and simple fact that the he was out of the race early on. adidas tubular shadow He somberly explained to reporters what they had missed about the Olympics. It was not simply about him and his achievement or failure. nike air max 90 femme He represented something bigger than himself. He said, now this is translated but you get the jist: “My country did not send me 7,000 miles to begin a race; they sent me to finish the race.” God has called you, equipped you and empowered you to not only stand, walk, and run…but to FINISH.

Posted in Christianity, Hope, New Testament, Old Testament, Preaching, Religion, Salvation

The Action of Love

1 John 3:18: My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. I shared this Scripture with you last week as we talked about the fact that everything we do is tied to truth: we worship God in spirit and in truth, we serve God in sincerity and in truth, and we love in deed and in truth. I want to expound on the idea that LOVE is an action word, that it is all about behavior…indeed, we show love by what we do. Jesus taught in John 13:35: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” All men will know that we are disciples of the Lord if we have love one TO another (as opposed to having love one FOR another). Having love one TO another really shows us the true nature of love – it is something that must be shown. Jesus gives us more insight into this in two portions of scripture found in the gospel of Luke. One is in chapter 18, and it is the familiar story of who we call the “rich young ruler”: Luke 18:18-23: “And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. bottes ugg Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. adidas ace And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.” With this young man, Jesus emphasizes the commandments that have to do with behavior: adultery, murder, thievery, lying, etc. nike free trainer However, in a very similar scenario, Jesus seems to give a different answer. Take a look at Luke 10:25-28: “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. air jordan 31 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” Same question…different answers. Seems to be a contradiction, right? But take a closer look: In Luke 10, it’s all about the love. In Luke 18, it’s all about works. But since we know that LOVE is ACTION (you show love by what you do), Luke 18 must be speaking to MOTIVE and FOUNDATION. The “certain lawyer” answered correctly, that the greatest commandments were to love God and love our neighbor. chaussure timberland homme The “certain ruler” had it all wrong: he was not motivated by love, but simply by works. ugg chaussons louboutin soldes Jesus is not contradicting Himself in teaching the young ruler that it’s not about what you do…but your motive behind why you do it. Mochilas Kanken Classic If you love God and love your neighbor, you will, by default, obey all the other commandments that have to do with behavior, because you are motivated by the right thing…love. timberland homme And if your motive is right, you will have no problem giving it all up, selling what you have, giving it to the poor, and simply following Jesus. But the young man couldn’t do it. A sad story. God will reveal your motives, the “intent of the heart,” to discover if you are truly pure on the inside. And if you are, that is when you will see God (Matthew 5:Smilie: 8). One of the most popular Bible verses of all time is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Notice the very first words: “For God so LOVED the world, that he GAVE…”. Love motivates you to give…to act…to do. timberland earthkeepers bottes Let us always love in deed and in truth.

Posted in Christianity, Demonstration, Hope, New Testament, Old Testament, Preaching, Religion, Salvation