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Friday, March 29, 2013

Proverbs 8:1-3

"Does not wisdom call, And understanding lift up her voice? On top of the heights beside the way, Where the paths meet, she takes her stand; Beside the gates, at the opening to the city, at the entrance of the doors, she cries out" (Proverbs 8:1-3 NASB). Wisdom is readily available if we will pay attention. In Proverbs 8, wisdom is personified as a woman calling out for people to listen to her. She wants people to come to her for their good. She goes where people are—where they are conducting business, where they are going about their day to lives. She is open and forthright. Her motives are not hidden. All who are willing can hear her. The sad thing is, most ignore her pleadings and teachings. We need to pay attention to wisdom.

Jeremy Sprouse

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Proverbs 20:28

"Loyalty and truth preserve the king, and he upholds his throne by
righteousness" (Proverbs 20:28 NASB). Loyalty, truth, and righteousness
should be the foundation of any government. A king needs loyal and truthful
people for his kingdom to exist successfully. If a king wants such people,
he needs to be a person of righteousness himself. If a king is wicked,
however, the people who serve him will be as well (cf. Proverbs 29:12). As
the government become more corrupt, the people are more and more unhappy
(cf. Proverbs 28:12, 15, 28; 29:2). Obviously, there are loads of ways we
can apply this to our government, but lets consider this principle on what
is a more personal level for most of us. Every household is a kingdom of
sorts with the parents forming the government and the children the subjects.
If we want happy, loyal, and truthful children, we need to live righteously
ourselves. Above all, the father as the head of the household must set this
example. Without loyalty, truth, and righteousness a family will fall apart.

Jeremy Sprouse

Monday, March 25, 2013

Proverbs 20:27

"The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, Searching all the innermost
parts of his being" (Proverbs 20:27 NASB). God knows what is in the darkest
corners of your conscience. This proverb is difficult to understand and
interpret. Literally, the first line is "lamp of the Lord spirit of man"
with no verb at all. Most translations supply the verb "is" but it is also
likely the verb "searching" in the second line applies to the whole making
it say something like: "The lamp of the Lord searches the spirit of man,
searches all the innermost parts of his being." There is no where we can go
and no way to hide anything from divine scrutiny (cf. Ecclesiastes 12:14).
It could also be the proverb is referring to being created in the image of
God. God created us in His image and gave us breath. We have corrupted that
image, but He has provided the tool to retrain our consciences and live
pleasing in His sight--The Word of God. Whichever meaning the proverb has,
we have to recognize there is a God in this world and live accordingly.

Jeremy Sprouse

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them

We have had a problem at our church building for the past few years, which
seems to be getting worse instead of better. Folks are leaving doors to
different parts of the facility unlocked. It varies by days of the week and
times of the day. We speculate that folks just don't remember to lock up
after themselves when they leave, but it makes you wonder if there is
something more sinister going on. Could someone outside of our members have
gotten a key?


There is no denying that security has become a major concern in our world
today. Each of us tends to be a little more cautious with our personal
security. We make sure we lock our cars and our homes; we install alarms
(and try to remember to set them). We are told that in our community, crime
has risen by 14% in the past few months, (mainly breaking into homes).


I understand, from those who are suppose to know, that no matter how hard
you try and secure your stuff, there are always weaknesses in your
preparations. Someone who is an experienced thief will find those weaknesses
and exploit them to get you stuff if they really want it.


What are we to do? What can you do, when you've done everything you can to
secure your stuff or even your own safety and it's not enough? Who do you
trust in then?


As a Christian you know the answer already, you trust in God.


I love the story about Thomas Edison when a fire completely destroyed his
research facility. His son found him watching the blaze destroy everything
he had created. Rather than dwelling upon the destruction he told his son,
"Go and get your mother, she'll never see another fire like this as long as
she lives."


He of course picked up the pieces of his life and laboratories and went on
to invent even more wonderful things.


In Matthew 6:19-21we read: "Don't store up treasures here on earth, where
moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.
Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and
thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the
desires of your heart will also be." (NLT)


Maybe we need to stop and ask ourselves, "Just what is it in this world in
which I really trust?" In Matthew 28:20, after giving directions as to what
he expects his followers to do, he makes this promise: "And be sure of this:
I am with you always". (NLT) I will continue to trust in the Lord, the maker
of heaven and earth (Ephesians 3:15).

Russ Lawson

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Proverbs 20:13

A Proverb for the Day (20:13)
by Jeremy Sprouse
"Do not love sleep, or you will become poor; Open your eyes, and you will be
satisfied with food" (Proverbs 20:13 NASB). We need to be careful of resting
and relaxing too much. Engaging in too much of these activities steals the
time we could be productive and taking care of our families. We need to wake
up and work.

Jeremy Sprouse

Monday, March 4, 2013

Proverbs 20:12

"The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The Lord has made both of them"
(Proverbs 20:12 NASB). God is the creator of our senses. Acknowledging this
should lead us to two inevitable conclusions:
First, God knows what is best for our eyes to see and our ears to hear. We
are warned against hearing and spreading gossip and lies (cf. Proverbs 17:7,
18:8, 26:28). There are deeds are darkness that are disgraceful to even
speak about (Ephesians 5:8-12). We should not listen to those who encourage
us to sin (cf. Proverbs 1:10-19). God warns us the eye is the lamp of the
body and it will either fill us with darkness or light depending on what we
focus on. If our eyes are greedy or lustful our bodies will be filled with
darkness. Instead, like Job and David, we need to make covenants with our
eyes that we will not look at any vile thing (cf. Job 31:1, Psalm 101:3).
What we pay attention to through any of our senses will affect the way we
think and act. Philippians 4:8-9 tells us we should think pure, good, and
honorable; things which are defined as what they learned from the Apostles
and saw in their example. We need to fill our eyes and ears with the Word of
God.

Second, God knows what we can and cannot do. When Moses was making excuses
not to accept God's mission for him, he claimed an inability to speak and do
what the Lord required. God responded: "Who has made man's mouth? Or who
makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? "Now then
go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to
say" (Exodus 4:10-12). We must realize that God as our creator knows our
capabilities better than we do and has not given us anything we cannot do
(cf. 1 Corinthians 10:13). We can be what God has asked us to be and do what
God has asked us to do. Especially, since He strengthens and helps us on our
journey (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:5, Philippians 4:13).

We need to turn our bodies over to God even to the extent that our eyes and
ears are His. He created our eyes and ears for a purpose and wants us to use
them as He intended. We need to trust our Creator knows whats best for us
and serve Him as He has asked.

Jeremy Sprouse

My Lord has garments so wondrous fine, and myrrh their texture fills; Its fragrance reached to this heart of mine, with joy my being thrills

A little less than a century ago, Henry Barraclough wrote one of the most
unique, lyrically-rich songs in our songbook. The musical arrangement is
soothing in a way that matches the meaning of the words. However, its
poetry has caused some problems.

The first verse begins, "My Lord has garments so wondrous fine, and myrrh
their texture fills; Its fragrance reached to this heart of mine, with joy
my being thrills." This and the following verses must be understood in
light of the chorus, which essentially tells us that Jesus left the perfect
splendor of heaven to come to this sinful earth because of His unmatched
love. With that background, we understand Barraclough's meaning to be
figurative. Jesus did not wear the clothes of a king while on earth. Thus,
the writer seems to speak of the qualities of Jesus' character, the power
and influence of it. Myrrh is a perfume, a theme the writer uses through
the various stanzas of the song. So, this first verse speaks of the
attractiveness of Jesus' character.

The second verse talks about the sorrow and pain He allowed Himself to
endure. While we think of aloe as a healing plant, the writer speaks of it
in the sense of its bitter root (see the footnote at the bottom of the song
in Praise For The Lord). While Jesus was a king, He was also the man of
sorrows, acquainted with grief (cf. Isa. 53:3).
The third verse shifts the focus to Jesus as the Great Physician. He's an
attractive king, He's a suffering Savior, but He's also the able healer.
The word "cassia," as once again a footnote supplies, is a "medicinal herb."
The idea is that He rescues us from our sin problem.

The final verse refers to Jesus' second coming. He will bring the faithful
Christian to heaven. Taken together, we see Jesus in the "garb" (clothes)
of King, Savior, Physician, and Judge. Driving it all is "only His great
eternal love." Understanding the underlying theme of the songwriter helps
us to better worship and better appreciate the perfect Son of God.

Neal Pollard

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