Blameshifting … believing we are merely the victim of chance, circumstances, biology, or the actions of others can lead to hopelessness and despair. How can we help others and ourselves respond in ways that are pleasing to God and lead to peace, joy, blessings, and genuine life change?
Also read about Daniel’s incredible prophecies, the challenges of praising God in the midst of life in a fallen world, and see another example of how the Old Testament and the New fit together in one story … God’s story. Continue reading →
Verse 21, “For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.”
Proverbs warns us about many lifestyle habits that can ruin our lives and keep us from enjoying the blessings of God. In this verse Solomon addresses drunkenness, gluttony and drowsiness.
The drunkard is looking for relief from her troubles, distraction from what she considers a life of boredom, or the fun and excitement she craves.
The glutton over-indulges on God’s blessings, whether food or something else.
The lazy person wants ease and relaxation to the point of neglecting his responsibilities.
These three character issues show up in different ways. The most obvious is the man or woman who gets drunk on alcohol or becomes addicted to drugs. Or the person who gorges on sweets or snack food, sometimes purging later. Or the person who refuses to work consistently, preferring to live in mom and dad’s basement or spare room.
But it’s also the mom who over-indulges in romance novels. She may take care of the physical needs of her children, but lives for nap time when she can escape into some exciting, romantic (sometimes steamy) adventure.
She’s missing out on the blessings of truly enjoying her children at each stage of life. And she often becomes discontented with the husband and life God has given her. Preferring to escape into her fantasy.
A dad who’s obsessed with video games or sports. He’s living for the week-end when he can don his team’s jersey or play his game for hours. His children and wife take second place to his escape and he loses out of the joy of family.
The parent or spouse who escapes into his or her smart phone or computer, sometimes hour after hour when everyone else has gone to bed. Sometimes while family members sit right beside them. They miss the opportunity to build genuine, healthy relationships.
The employee who lives for the week-end or the next vacation. They deprive themselves of the satisfaction of a job well done.
The child or adult who expects everyone else to wait on them hand and foot or to meet their every need. They miss the blessings that come with service and loving others.
Proverbs 27.20 says, “… the eyes of man are never satisfied.” We can never get enough of the things the flesh craves including leisure time, new and exciting kinds of entertainment, food and fun. Escape is only temporary. When we sober up, the problems are still there, often worse because of our neglect. We end up being left empty and devoid of any peace, joy or satisfaction.
The desire for these things leads to poverty, not just physical poverty, but poverty in their relationships and, often, poverty of the soul.
Instead, if we will allow God to fill us spirit, soul and body, we will find that the things of this world pale in comparison. And we are free to enjoy God’s blessings in their proper place and amount.
Psalm 90.14 is a great prayer. It says:
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days (ESV).
And in the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon says:
There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God (Eccl. 2.24).
Elihu, the fifth person in this scene, continues with his observations. He has patiently waited while Job and his other three friends have debated the issue of Job’s sufferings and his integrity or lack of it and now he wades in.
While Elihu makes some good observations (we will see in a few chapters that even God did not rebuke him as He did the others), his understanding was still limited. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13.12:
“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”
There will always be things which we don’t fully understand. We see only a small portion of the tapestry of our lives, our families’ lives, and the events playing out around us. And even what we do see, we don’t see clearly. So when we go through a test or a trial or we read about some tragedy, we must filter it all through the goodness of God, the sovereignty of God, and the absolute holiness of God.
When we hear of a child being molested, for instance, we think “Why would God allow such a horrible thing?” But what if, as a result, that child got saved, and then she married a Christian man, and his life was impacted by her testimony, causing him to draw closer to God. Then when they had children, they raised them in a godly home and, as a result, their children were saved and many of the next generation and the next. Maybe a whole line of people was ultimately impacted by that horrible act, changing the eternal destiny of many. From an eternal perspective, would it be worth it? Continue reading →
How well do you handle “waiting on the Lord”? Do you have an “I’m waiting … I’m waiting …” while you drum your fingers on the table attitude? Do you ever find yourself thinking, “I’ve prayed, but nothing seems to be happening!”
Why does God allow us to wait, anyway? Can “waiting on the Lord” be a good thing? Can we learn to trust Him … really trust Him as a result? And if so, how? See today’s reading from Psalm 27.
“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (v. 13).
When are we most tempted to lose heart? It’s often when we’re faced with difficult circumstances or life isn’t going the way we thought it should. Maybe we’re being attacked in some way and God doesn’t seem to be answering our prayers.
David said he would have lost heart if he didn’t believe in the goodness of the Lord, not just in the promise of heaven, but here and now … in the land of the living.
Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean that we don’t encounter problems or have struggles. Jesus said it this way:
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
But we’re sometimes tempted to lose heart, become impatient, or take matters into our own hands, because we have failed to believe in His goodness toward us. We fail to trust that He knows what’s best and will bring it to pass in His perfect timing.
David had problems. He had enemies. But he believed that God’s faithfulness and goodness would prevail.
We, too, can go through troubles knowing that God will never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13.5), that he will not give us more than we can handle without sinning (1Cor. 10.13), that He is using them for good (Rom. 8.28), that we are not alone, that others have gone through and are going through similar trials (1 Cor. 10.13), that we can count it all joy knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance, patience and maturity (Jas. 1.2-4) and as Jesus said, we can be of good cheer knowing that He has overcome them all!
Verse 14 tells us twice to “wait on the Lord.” This is not to be an “I’m waiting … I’m waiting … I’m waiting for You to do something, Lord!” while we drum our fingers on the table! This is a patient waiting and trusting in the Lord and His timing.
But how do we get there? How do we go from knowing these truths to KNOWING these truths? Here are 4 keys to growing in the waiting: Continue reading →