Thoughts on life and Scripture...

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Doctors or Warriors?

"There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healings."
Proverbs 12:18
     The book of Proverbs contrasts wisdom and folly and the wise and the foolish. Proverbs  has much to say about the words we use. Words are very powerful. We can use them for good or for evil. The proverb we are looking at today, contrasts the way the wise will use words and the way that the foolish will use words.
Words like Swords
 Sword thrusts are a common picture in the Bible for hateful words. Psalm 55:21 "His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords." See also Psalm 57:4, Psalm 59:7 and Psalm 64:3. David's enemies used gossip and slander to attack David. We can use words like swords too. Our words can cut and wound like swords. Our words can even kill. They can destroy a person's reputation. These words leave wounds that stay with people all their lives. One ugly thrust of a hateful word can cripple a person for as long as they live. In fact, churches are ruined by a few "word" warriors. The people who praise God in the worship service, afterwards, go about hacking down fellow church members. See James 3: 9-10. This is foolishness. This is how the foolish people of the world act. Words that are motivated by hate and bitterness are what characterize the unregenerate heart. Christians are called to something greater.
Words like Medicine
The wise will use their words to heal and do good. These words will flow from a new heart that wants to love others. The love of God has been poured out into their hearts, and that leads to a desire to love with words. Words can do so much good. They can heal deep wounds caused by someone's words. Wise words will encourage, comfort, and bless others. The wise will correct and rebuke. When they do this, they will do it with such love that the other will have no doubt that their motivation is love. The wise will use correcting words like a doctor uses a scalpel to cut only so that he can heal. Consider Ephesians 4: 29, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion that it may give grace to those who hear."  The wise will use words to build up the body of Christ. They will speak words that will bring holiness to God's people. They will use words to bring salvation to unredeemed sinners. Wise words can heal great wounds and have a great God-glorifying impact.
The truth is we all have used our words like swords. We have been foolish with our words. This should again remind us that we need the forgiveness and grace of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. We should again be thankful for the love of God towards unworthy sinners like ourselves. This fresh appreciation of the love of the Lord should motivate us to use our words in love to heal others. By the Holy Spirit within us, we will be able to do so. So when you go to church tomorrow, resolve to use words to bring healing.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Lessons from a Jewelry-Wearing Pig About the Beautiful People.

Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful women without discretion.
-Proverbs 11:22
   This proverb gives a few lessons about true beauty. A beautiful woman that lacks wisdom is compared to a pig wearing a gold ring in the nose. A gold ring is out of place in the nose of a pig. The gold ring doesn't make the pig look any better. In fact the pig looks silly and the gold ring's beauty is lost. The beauty of a lady is ruined by her lack of wisdom. The outward beauty needs to be complimented by inward beauty. Often a man is drawn to the beauty of a woman and begins to date her. That beauty keeps him with the woman for a time. Later her sinful character comes out little by little. This immoral character begins to repel him. In the end her unattractive inner character overpowers her outward beauty. Thus the man may leave her for someone else because she is as attractive as a jewelry wearing pig. It is indeed sad that beauty is ruined by ugly morals. This doesn't just apply to women, but also to men.
   So the lesson is to give more attention to adorning our character with wisdom and godliness then to adorning the outer features. This is what it says in 1 Peter 3:3-4, "Do not let your adorning be external- the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry; or the clothes you wear- but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." We ought to strive to be heart beautiful to God first of all. God delights in holiness. He delights to see His holiness in our hearts. He delights in the holy conduct of his people. We should want to please our Savior with a life of true beauty, the beauty of holiness.
   If you are looking for a spouse, it is fine and right to be attracted to someone 's outward beauty. But remember that won't last and won't keep you attracted to her. Proverbs 31:30 says "Charm is deceitful, and beauty vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." So place a higher priority on inner beauty than on outward appearances. Then as you grow old together you will still find her beautiful and a pleasure to live with. For we will all wear out and grow old. We will lose our good looks, if we had any to begin with in the first place. But inner beauty lasts forever. It will make us attractive for as long as we live. 
The real beautiful people are not found in Hollywood and on the covers of magazines. The real beautiful people are those who have been born again unto righteousness. In God's eyes these are truly beautiful, and really, only what He thinks matters.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Christian Education is a Gift

Yesterday we went to a homeschool conference which reminded me that schooling our children as we wish is a great blessing from God. Whether we send our kids to a Christian school or homeschool, we should be thankful to the Lord for this freedom. The freedom to choose how we educate our children is not a given. In many countries everyone must send their children to the public school. The schools are thoroughly atheistic and worldly. There are no other options. In some places, the children of Christians are not even allowed to go to the public school. In some countries, the schools are only Muslim schools. Even when there is the freedom to choose, people may be too poor to afford Christian schooling or unable to access materials for schooling. This is the reality for many Christians. Yet even in such circumstances, God continues to build His church. Christian schooling is not something God needs to accomplish His plans for the church. God never promises that we will have that freedom. But when God gives us the blessing to be able to choose and afford Christian schooling for our children, we should be ever so thankful for that gift.
  In Canada our freedom to choose Christian education will disappear. It is only a matter of time. There is only one thing that can reverse the trend we see in our culture. That one thing is a reformation of the churches in Canada and a revival through-out our country. But unless that happens, the government will take away more and more of our freedoms. And one of the first to go will be the freedom to give a Christian education to our children. A darkness grows and thickens over our country. Men go from bad to worse. We see Romans 1:18-32 being played out before our very eyes. Who knows how long it will take before we are forced to send our children to  public schools? Who knows how long before persecution will become common place and government sanctioned? Even though by law we have the freedom to Christian education, bad men can change good laws. How should we respond to this?
   Let us use our freedom to educate our children now. We must use the time we have to educate them wisely. We must not be lazy or half-hearted. God has given us this freedom; with the gift comes the responsibility to use it faithfully. Let us prepare our children well so that they will have the tools to be able to stand in difficult times. We need to do what we can to train our children to be great Christian warriors. We can't give them salvation, but we can and must teach them diligently from the scriptures. Our time of freedom is short; let us work hard while we can. Lastly, let us be thankful. Let us praise God for the gift to educate our children. Every day we can send our children to a Christian school or homeschool, is a day to praise and thank the Lord.


Saturday, April 4, 2015

To Marvel at Life

March 2, 2013 and April 28, 2013.
Both are days that are forever etched in my memory.
They are days when I began to realize just how precious each child is.
They are days when I finally understood the pain of an empty-armed mother.
They are the days I found out I had lost a child.
No, they had not been born yet.
I never saw their little toes, their tiny hands, their sweet mouth and nose.
I never smelled that newborn smell.
I never held them in my arms.
They died hidden from my eyes.
They died while still in the womb.
Some months later, I was pregnant again.
Very cautious.
But hopeful.
At 11 weeks the bleeding started.
I curled up on the couch and cried.
Emailed a friend to ask for prayers.
I was certain I had lost a third.
That evening, I headed to the ER.
'Just to know for sure,' I told my husband.
They got me in pretty quick.
And, the doctor started asking questions, then checked for a heartbeat.
I had a hard time believing it but there it was.
Weeping, I thanked the Lord that this baby was still alive.
About 30 weeks later, I'm holding my newborn daughter.
My 7th child.
My 5th child that I am privileged to hold, to smell, to gaze on.
And all I could do and can do is marvel.
Marvel at the beautiful gift of life that God has given us.
Marvel at how any child is born alive.
Marvel at the beauty that is my daughter.
Marvel at the precious gift that each of our children is.
Marvel at the graciousness of God to let us hold and love and care for these children.

'For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your books were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.'
Psalm 139:13-16