Focusing On The Future

 “The way of the Lord” is a phrase that appears quite frequently in the Bible - most often in the Old Testament. Each time it appears, it is to be viewed as a “path” that God has laid out for His followers, or a path that winds through history as God deals with an individual, a nation or all of mankind.

Solomon wrote that “The way of the Lord is a refuge for the blameless, but is a ruin of those who do evil.” It is important for us to understand that “God is a refuge” only for those whom he holds blameless - or those who walk in His way!  With great trust, we accept Him and believe that only in Him, with Him, and through Him can we find a place of refuge, now and throughout eternity.

God deals with each of us individually and as nations united by a common government. So, those who walk in His righteousness will always find a place of refuge in His grace and mercy because of His love. Evil and evil ones may surround and govern us, but as long as we remain faithful to Him, He will remain faithful to us. We have His Word and His record of faithfulness that His peace, security, and comfort will always be our refuge.

 The key to the promise of this verse is strictly an if/then. If we walk in the way of the Lord and have as our primary goal in life to be blameless or righteous, we can then be confident that He is and will be our refuge. We can count on Him at all times, under any condition for His peace and protection. However, if our ways are evil, we are then warned well in advance that His judgment awaits us. 

 Prayer:  Father, Your Word is clear: we can only expect You to be our refuge if we are faithful. Give us strength! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  The way of the Lord is a refuge for the blameless, but is a ruin of those who do evil. Proverbs 10:29

We Have Our Limits

Solomon makes no apology when he writes: “The blessing of the Lord, it makes one rich.” That is the literal translation of the verse: “The blessing of the Lord brings wealth.”  When he wrote that powerful statement, he made it abundantly clear that our resources - no matter how abundant they may be - are “limited” by God. It is the Lord who is faithful and who has the final word on riches, who gets them and when they will get them.

No matter how hard we try, how many hours we work, what we do or the skills we possess, we - in and of ourselves - cannot produce wealth. All the wealth in the world cannot make one “rich.” If God does not add His blessing to whatever we have we are, in His sight, poor. On the other hand, one may have none of this world’s goods, yet be rich. How can this be? Rich but not rich? Poor and yet rich? It certainly seems to be contradictory.

But it isn’t.  Rich is in the eye of the beholder.

Throughout his Proverbs, Solomon warns us that if we get the “riches” of this world through methods that are dishonest or deceitful, unfair and unjust, many problems will come with them. These problems may range from psychological to physical, legal to financial, personal to interpersonal or relationship issues. Godly living, God-honoring work, and God-centered practices bring joy and satisfaction, peace and true prosperity with them to those who live for the Lord and live righteous lives.

God’s riches come with God’s blessings. And, His blessings are readily available, worry-free, come without guilt or fear of being exposed and shamed from having harmed others.

Prayer:  Father, may all that we do, bring blessings, honor, and glory to Your name. May we seek Your “riches.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, without painful toil for it. Proverbs 10:22


Heart Health

“If it works, don’t fix it!”

Most of the time our heart works well, and we rarely pause to think about it. Each day our hearts beat about 100,000 times. It sends 2,000 gallons of blood surging through the veins of our bodies, nourishing our organs and tissues. Although it is no bigger than our fist, it keeps blood flowing through 60,000 miles of vessels that wind through our muscles and flesh, and is held together by our porous skin. It is the controlling force of our lives. When it fails, life ends.

The heart, in the Bible, is recognized as the center of our emotions, rational and irrational thoughts, our wills and desires. In the Bible, the heart is the “seat” of the entire personality. 

And, the heart, as described in the Bible, can be our most fundamental problem. What we store, keep or hide in our heart, is what we become and who we really are. 

So, as long as we “keep our mouths shut” we can deceive others. But, unfortunately, that does not seem to be possible. In the blink of an eye or a moment in time, we “let our guard down” and our true “self” becomes exposed to the world. We are “found out.”

Solomon wrote that “The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.” Jesus said, “How can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

We hear amazing stories about surgeons who are skilled at “heart transplants.” But a heart transplant does not correct the problem of evil. Only Christ can correct that problem. So, He does not transplant hearts. He transforms hearts. When that happens, lives change.

Prayer:  Lord, come into and rule our hearts so others will know that Your Son, our Savior, rules our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:      The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value. Proverbs 10:20


Who Are The "Real" Heroes?

It is fascinating to walk through any community or mall - or even down a city street - and noticing the vast number of football jerseys that people of all ages and sexes wear. The names and numbers of their “heroes” vary as much as the sizes and shapes of the persons wearing the jersey.

And, the dollar amount of this way of “identifying” with an athlete is growing. In 2015, four years ago, the total amount of money spent on sports clothing was more than six billion dollars.

Sadly, many of those names and numbers represent felons, drug addicts, wife or child abusers, murderers, and violent criminals. Yet, their names and numbers are held in high esteem, even worshiped, because of their accomplishments in their area of sports. 

Walk through a mall or down any street and count the number of individuals wearing a T-shirt that has the name of Jesus or Paul or Stephen or Jeremiah written across the front or back. Only now and then will a T-shirt appear with some reference to something Christian on it. Sadly, too, its message is usually unclear or confusing to the non-believer.  

Solomon talked about “heroes” who “walked” Godly lives. “Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to a godly life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.” What a timely, challenging verse to identify the criteria for a hero. People look for, want, and even need heroes. Where can we find “heroes for Christ?”

Hopefully, in His disciples. “By their fruits you will be able to identify them.”

Prayer:  Lord, we can’t hide who we are or what we believe or our values. May our lives represent You well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to a godly life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray. Proverbs 10:17


All Seeds Are Not The Same

“What are you planting?” asked the salesman of the elderly gentleman.

“Seeds,” said the old farmer, rather nonchalantly. 

“Of course they’re seeds. I can see that. I’m not dumb or blind,” he said with a bit of sarcasm in his voice.

“Well, if you are so interested, hang around for a few months and see what comes up. You might be surprised. Might even be something you like,” came the reply.

Planting seeds and gardening is a craft. It is done with care and concern. Nothing is left to chance, and the only uncontrollable aspect of farming is the weather.

“The wages of the righteous is life,” wrote Solomon, “but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death.” The word “wages” in this verse comes from the agricultural world and describes the crop or yield that is gained at the time of harvest. Earnings are the result of work. But both have a similar meaning: Our lifestyle and way of living have implications far beyond the moment. Righteousness brings a fulfilling life now, and after this life - eternal life with God. The alternative lifestyle, unrighteousness, is one of sin and leads to death - eternal separation from God.

  Our God is a just God and will reward each of us for the “seeds” we plant. Our old farmer knew what the crop would be from the seeds he planted. He didn’t have to wait and be surprised at harvest time. Neither do we. 

God’s Word leaves no doubt about sowing seeds and the coming harvest. “Do not be deceived,” is Gods’s warning, “for whatever a man sows, that will he also reap.”

Prayer:  Father, may we examine our lives in light of your Word and plant “seeds of righteousness” each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:     The wages of the righteous is life, but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death. Proverbs 10:16