Monday, June 10, 2019

Life Is About More Than Turning A Profit

PROVERBS 10:2
Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit,
but righteousness delivers from death.

I don't watch it much anymore because I don't seem to have time, but when "The Profit" (a tv show about entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis) was first released, I watched almost every episode for a couple of seasons. I was intrigued by Lemonis' approach to business, particularly the firm but compassionate manner in which he dealt with people.

He was also a very good businessman, and he was very successful in turning around family businesses that were failing.

In business, success and failure are measured by a simple standard... PROFIT. If your money is increasing, you are winning. If your money is decreasing, you are losing.


Proverbs 10:2 challenges our understanding of profit. Not all financial (or material) gain is good. Not all who appear successful are righteous. Temporary gain is not the same as an eternal reward.

Jesus had something to say about this in Mark 8. He said, "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?"

My goal today is to pay more attention to people than to profit. I'm going to think more about righteousness than reward. I will try to give more than I get.

Will you join me?

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Try this one simple trick to become a wise person!

PROVERBS 4:7
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
and whatever you get, get insight
.

Becoming a wise person is surprisingly simple. Pursue wisdom.

Wisdom can come from other people such as parents, teachers, friends, and even pastors. More importantly, wisdom comes from God's Word (particularly Proverbs).

I have this picture in my mind of a person who never pursues wisdom and then wonders why life is not going well for them.

Wisdom is not found on the couch in a bag of potato chips. It is not found in a secret level of Fortnite (does Fortnite have levels?). It is not found in the fifteenth episode of whatever Netflix show is being binged.

Solomon began chapter 4 by telling his son to "be attentive." If you don't pay attention, you won't get wise. So pay attention!

I just heard Andy Stanley say, "We get in trouble, not because we don't take advice. We get in trouble because we take OUR OWN advice." Those who don't pay attention, don't gain wisdom. Those who don't gain wisdom, get into trouble.

This is precisely why I read Proverbs every day. I want to get wisdom. I want to get insight. The journey begins by paying attention to what someone else (namely God) has said.

So try reading all of Proverbs 4 today.
Choose one verse as your "wisdom nugget" of the day.
Look for an opportunity to live out the wisdom you've gained.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Don't Cling... Go!

JOHN 20:17 - go find my brothers and tell them.

When you have good news, you love to tell people. Couples go to incredible ends to create elaborate pregnancy/gender reveal parties. Parents love to brag on their children. Major accomplishments are nearly as much fun if they are kept secret.

Jesus' resurrection was the best news ever. He didn't want anyone to keep it a secret.

When Mary saw Jesus, her first inclination was to embrace Him. That is good. Closeness with Jesus is important. But Jesus had a more important task for her. He said, "Don't cling... GO!"

We ought to embrace Jesus and seek closeness with Jesus. We do this through personal study, prayer, meditation. We get closer to Him by attending church services and small group meetings.

But Jesus has a more important task for us. He doesn't want us to cling, He wants us to GO!

Who will you tell about Jesus' resurrection today?

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Take Heart!

John 16:33: "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

When I read these words this morning, I immediately thought of Joshua 1. God came to the new leader of Israel and in spite of the daunting task being faced by Joshua, God said, "Be strong and courageous." Joshua "took heart", brought down the walls of Jericho and conquered the promised land.

Then I started thinking about other examples of courage in the Bible. I remembered Gideon, who was hiding in a cave when God found him. With the power of God behind him, Gideon "took heart", tore down the idols and defeated the enemies of God with a greatly inferior army.

I remembered David, who "took heart" and took down the giant.

I thought about Daniel, who "took heart", continued to pray and became the world's greatest lion tamer.

I looked at the list of people in Hebrews 11 who all "took heart" and lived by faith.

Then I said a short prayer of thanksgiving that God has already won the victory. Now, I'm going to "take heart" and go out and live for Him in spite of this world's trouble.

Join me?

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

JOHN 14:1 - Let not your hearts be troubled.

Research confirms that anxiety, stress and depression are at an all time high. People (maybe you) find themselves at the point of despair far too often. Fear, worry, concern, uneasiness, tension and nervousness have become defining words. On any given day, as many as half of the people you encounter have troubled hearts.

Perhaps you have a troubled heart?

Our hearts are troubled because we want everyone around us to think well of us. Our hearts are troubled because we want everyone around us to agree with us. Our hearts are troubled because there is not enough to get by. Our hearts are troubled because we have too much to handle. Our hearts are troubled by the decisions of others. Our hearts are troubled by the consequences of our own decisions. Our hearts are troubled because we don't measure up.

Do I need to go on?



It's not just a political thing, but politics contribute to our troubled hearts. It's not just a "fake news" thing, but the constantly negative news cycle contributes to our troubled hearts. It's not just a social media thing, but never-ending quest for other's approval (likes, shares, follows) contributes to our troubled hearts.

I think the number one reason our hearts are troubled is that we estimate the moment we are in is far more meaningful than it actually is.

When you hear the name "Job", you think of suffering don't you? He was a guy whose heart was certainly troubled, right? Scholars estimate that the suffering of Job, as described in the Bible, lasted between 9 months and a year. I can imagine that in the middle of that moment, Job's heart was heavy.

But do you know what the last two verses of Job say?

And after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, four generations. And Job died, an old man, and full of days. (Job 42:16-17)

That expression "full of days" is similar to what we mean after Thanksgiving dinner when we say, "I'm full." It hints at satisfaction, pleasantness or contentment. Imagine that. Once Job made it through the moment of suffering, he experienced a full and content life. The moment wasn't nearly as meaningful as it felt.

Whatever is going on around you today, let not your heart be troubled. This too will pass.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

What you are going to do, do quickly...

JOHN 13:27 - “What you are going to do, do quickly.”

Jesus told us we would remain in His love if we obey His commands. For that reason, I have spent the past few months working through every command of Jesus in the book of John.

Today's command might be the one command we are NOT to obey!

These were Jesus' words to Judas in the upper room. Having revealed to the disciples that He was about to be betrayed, Jesus sent Judas out to do the dirty deed.

Perhaps this is a morning to reflect on betrayal. Specifically, how we (like Judas) betray Christ. One definition of "betrayal" is to "be disloyal to".
  • How often are we disloyal to Jesus?
  • How often are we more loyal to something/someone other than Jesus?
My thesaurus app lists "wander" as a synonym of betray. This one really hits home for me. I know how easy it is for me to wander away from my loyalty to Christ.

This morning, read these words from the old hymn "Come Thou Fount" and make them your prayer for the day:

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be
Let that goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart, oh, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Leave Her Alone.

JOHN 12:7 - "Leave her alone"

Anyone who has ever parented two siblings has, at some time, said something like "leave her alone." Little brothers know how to get under the skin of their sister. Little sisters know how to egg on their brothers. Siblings rarely know when to stop needling one another so parents often have to step in.

Sometimes, adults have to step in when children are bullying other children. If you are a teacher or a coach or work with kids in another capacity, you have at some point said, "leave her alone."

Even grown ups can take a joke to far or miss the social cues warning them to ease up. Every so often our teasing might go a little too far and we need someone to say to us, "leave her alone."

John 12 tells the story of Mary anointing Jesus with her perfume. Her act of worship was not appreciated by some who were there. They considered it too extravagant and too showy. Their criticism of her worship style was cut short when Jesus said, "leave her alone."

These are good words for us to remember. One of my personal rules for church life is that "what works for me might not work for everyone else." I might not choose to pour perfume on Jesus feet, but someone else might. I might prefer a different style of music than someone else. I might wish the preacher used different illustrations. I might choose a different color carpet in the church.

Having different opinions is great. Diversity makes us better. But the moment I start criticizing others because their preferences are different than mine, I become like the Pharisees and disciples who criticized Mary. When I sit in judgment of others because they have a different perspective than I do, I need to hear the command of Jesus, "leave them alone."