The cost of doing right: Doing right may mean risking a friendship or popularity. It could mean the loss of a job or finances. It sometimes costs something very precious to us, even our lives, to stand up for righteousness.
We, also, need friends who will speak the truth to us, but, many times we choose those who will tell us what we want to hear, not what we need to hear. Others actually hate the truth because it interferes with their lifestyles.
1 Kings 21 & 22
The cost of doing right
What a great reminder in chapter 21, the story of Naboth, that sometimes when we do what’s right there is a cost. There are times, as in Naboth’s case, when it costs something very precious to us, possibly even our lives. but we have to leave it in the hands of a sovereign God and trust that He knows just what He’s doing!
A while back I read Eric Metaxas’ book Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. (If you enjoy biographies or history or you just want a deeper understanding of what it means to be a believer in difficult times, I highly recommend the book.)
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German theologian and pastor. He was one of the few men who stood up to Hitler and it cost him his life. He was hanged (in an act of sheer revenge on Hitler’s part) just 3 weeks before the war ended. He was only 39 years old when he died, but his life, his writings, and his story have impacted generations.
Hating the truth
“And Jehoshaphat said, ‘Is there not still a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of Him?’ So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD; but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.'”
“I hate him” because he doesn’t tell me what I want to hear! Maybe you have had that response from someone to whom you spoke truth.
Verse 13, “Then the messenger who had gone to call Micaiah spoke to him, saying, ‘Now listen, the words of the prophets with one accord encourage the king. Please, let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak encouragement.'”
In our lives, too, there will be those who say, “Do you have to be so ‘radical,’ so ‘over the top,’ so ‘judgmental,’ so ‘self-righteous’? Certainly we should avoid having a critical, “self-righteous” attitude, but often those statements are nothing but false accusations and temptations to compromise or water-down the truth.
Loving enough to speak the truth
Some years ago my husband and I counseled a man who was involved in a very ungodly business. He came for another issue, but when we lovingly confronted him, he refused to believe where he worked mattered. As it put it, “It’s just a job!”
Over a period of time, we confronted him numerous times, carefully taking him through Scriptures and talking to him, seeking to help him see how God viewed his behavior and how it was connected to his other issues.
He eventually repented, quit his job, and began to work on his relationship with God. But the question he asked us afterwards stuck with me. He told us that he had been attending the same church for ten plus years and many godly men at that church knew what kind of business he was in. He asked us, “Why didn’t any of those men love me enough to confront me?”
Even if you have been wounded in the past, could God be calling you to be a godly friend by speaking the truth in love to someone you know?
Matthew 5.16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Proverbs 27. 6, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”
Today’s Other Readings:
It’s all about Him!
The psalmist was neither looking to man to deliver him (You are my rock and my fortress), nor was he expecting to get his praise from man (I have become a wonder to many), Look at some of the phrases directed to God, “In You, O Lord, … For You … By You” … and “But You …” It’s all about Him!
Clear, clean, & refreshing words
Verse 4, “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook.”
As with many of the Proverbs, these two statements parallel each other. The man in part “a” is a wise man. So we might say the wise man’s words are like deep water—clear, clean and refreshing. They are like a flowing brook; they flow out easily and naturally, because they are that which fills his heart.
The produce of the Vine
This passage is about two kinds of branches: those that bear fruit and those that do not. As we look at our lives we must constantly evaluate which one we are, but as my friend Nancy Jones said once, we’re not responsible for the production of the fruit. That’s His job. We just have to faithfully abide in the vine. The fruit is the by-product of our relationship with Him!
About good books
I frequently mention good books because reading them can have a profound impact on your life (I’ve add a few links at the bottom of this post). We may not be able to spend time with many great men and women of God, but we can read their writings, learn how they lived, and be inspired by their stories.
You may feel that you just don’t have time to read or maybe you’ve never been a reader. Maybe you read slowly or feel inadequate when you think about tackling some tome. But, honestly, that’s foolishness. It doesn’t matter how slowly or how well you read, just start. Even a few pages a day will get you though several books a year. And chances are, once you get started, you’ll become a better reader and gain an appetite for reading more. And there are always audio books, many are even available for electronic devices.
Maybe you are an avid reader, but you prefer reading the latest popular novel or trendy book. I hope you will ask yourself 2 questions: “Will what you’re reading make you more like Christ?” and ” What impact will what you are reading have for eternity?”
WHO BETTER TO FACE THE GREATEST EVIL OF THE 20TH CENTURY THAN A HUMBLE MAN OF FAITH?
As Adolf Hitler and the Nazis seduced a nation, bullied a continent, and attempted to exterminate the Jews of Europe, a small number of dissidents and saboteurs worked to dismantle the Third Reich from the inside. One of these was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, pastor and author. In this New York Times best-selling biography, Eric Metaxas takes both strands of Bonhoeffer’s life, the theologian and the spy, and draws them together to tell a searing story of incredible moral courage in the face of monstrous evil. Metaxas presents the fullest accounting of Bonhoeffer’s heart-wrenching decision to leave the safe haven of America to return to Hitler’s Germany, and sheds new light on Bonhoeffer’s involvement in the famous Valkyrie plot and in “Operation 7,” the effort to smuggle Jews into neutral Switzerland.
In Seven Men, New York Times best-selling author Eric Metaxas presents seven exquisitely crafted short portraits of widely known, but not well understood, Christian men, each of whom uniquely showcases a commitment to live by certain virtues in the truth of the gospel.
Written in a beautiful and engaging style, Seven Men addresses what it means (or should mean) to be a man today, at a time when media and popular culture present images of masculinity that are not the picture presented in Scripture and historic civil life. What does it take to be a true exemplar as a father, brother, husband, leader, coach, counselor, change agent, and wise man? What does it mean to stand for honesty, courage, and charity, especially at times when the culture and the world run counter to those values?
Each of the seven biographies represents the life of a man who experienced the struggles and challenges to be strong in the face of forces and circumstances that would have destroyed the resolve of lesser men. Each of the seven men profiled, George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, John Paul II, and Charles Colson, call the reader to a more elevated walk and lifestyle, one that embodies the gospel in the world around us.
Amazing Grace tells the story of the remarkable life of the British abolitionist William Wilberforce (1759-1833). This accessible biography chronicles Wilberforce’s extraordinary role as a human rights activist, cultural reformer, and member of Parliament.
At the center of this heroic life was a passionate twenty-year fight to abolish the British slave trade, a battle Wilberforce won in 1807, as well as efforts to abolish slavery itself in the British colonies, a victory achieved just three days before his death in 1833.
Metaxas discovers in this unsung hero a man of whom it can truly be said: he changed the world. Before Wilberforce, few thought slavery was wrong. After Wilberforce, most societies in the world came to see it as a great moral wrong.
This account of Wilberforce’s life will help many become acquainted with an exceptional man who was a hero to Abraham Lincoln and an inspiration to the anti-slavery movement in America.
Before his arrest by the Nazis in 1943, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was head of a seminary of the German Confessing Church. In The Cost of Discipleship, he focuses on the most treasured part of Christ’s teaching, the Sermon on the Mount.
Pastor Kyle Idleman doesn’t just want to be a fan of Jesus, he wants to full-heartedly commit to him and be a follower of Jesus. But how can you make the leap from fan to follower? In Not a Fan, Idleman uses biblical examples to show how the people who met Jesus also had to decide if they were fans or followers, and what it meant for them to then become followers.
Being a follower doesn’t mean that you go to church every week, that you slap a Jesus fish on the back of your car, and that you give to charity. That’s what a fan does. What a follower of Jesus does, Idleman observes, is die to themselves each and every moment of the day because “you can’t say yes to following Jesus unless you say no to living for yourself.”
In this three part book Idleman helps you to discover whether you are a fan or a follower, how to recognize the invitation Jesus has given, and what following Jesus looks like in your daily life. With humor and real life examples to draw you closer to Jesus, Kyle Idleman compels each and every one of us to Not Be A Fan.
Amy does a masterful job of incorporating scripture, and hilarious, real life stories, to zero in on areas in every woman’s heart that that needs attention!
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