Monday, January 10, 2022

A Good Name

 


The pursuit of riches and power is a story as old as time itself. We all know the sordid tales of men like Bernie Madoff, Jeffrey Epstein, and Ken Lay (of Enron fame).  At one time, each of them had fabulous wealth, graced the covers of magazines, and were the envy of many.  But now that the truth is out, their legacy is one of scandals, lies, and worse.   

 

Proverbs 22:1

A good name is more desirable than great riches;
    to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

Things to think about:

·       Who else comes to mind as someone who for a time had the world by the tail only to be outed as a fraud?

·       Money and power are strong magnets for our time and attention.  

o   At their core, they give the illusion of control.  The more control we feel we have, the more we can feel like we oversee people, circumstances, even the future.

o   Doesn't this sound a little bit like having godlike qualities?

·       1 Timothy 6:9-10

o   Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

o   Proverbs 10:7 - Good people will be remembered as a blessing,but evil people will soon be forgotten.

·       Our text says there is something far greater to be aspired to, and that is a good name and the esteem of others.

o   The shininess of gold and silver reflects back on us

o   The reflection of a good name goes to our Father who has given us His wisdom and Spirit to live godly lives

o   1 Cor. 15:10 – “But by the grace of God I am what I am…”

·       What steps can we take to get this good name?

o   Proverbs 3:3-4 - Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.

o   Love and faithfulness, these are the keys

§  It says we should never let them leave us and to bind them around our neck and write them on the tablets of our hearts

§  It seems that these are things that must become a permanent part of who we are and that if not handled with diligent, daily care can be lost

o   How do we make love and faithfulness indelibly etched into our lives?

§  Avoidance of sin

§  Devotion to the Word

§  Prayer

§  Praise

§  Loving others as we love ourselves

·       Naked we came into this world and naked we shall depart it.  Our good name is our lasting legacy. 

Monday, January 3, 2022

When it Rains it...

 


As we head into the teeth of winter, rain and snow are regular features of the forecast.  I don’t know about you, but that usually doesn’t bring a smile to my face!  But, as I was reading in the Book of Isaiah, it has given me a new perspective on how God thinks about water falling from the sky.

 

Isaiah 55:10-11

As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

 

Things to think about:

·       Whenever I think about elements of nature that don’t suit my fancy, I’m always convicted by the realization that God, in His infinite wisdom, deemed it useful for His purposes.

o   It’s hot, it’s cold, it’s wet, it’s dry. It’s His creation, my oh my!

o   OK, that was really lame but seriously, who am I to criticize the Creator???

·       Clearly, the rain and snow have a crucial role in irrigating the Earth.  

o   In our verse, it says they do not return to Heaven without first accomplishing their purpose to “water the earth and make it bud and flourish so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater.”

·       There is a cyclical process He architected.  That is incredible to think about by itself:  Vital to His grand design was the process of precipitation, irrigation, and evaporation that all work in harmony

o   Without this process, there would be no food!

·       There are two primary beneficiaries – the sower and the eater

o   Sometimes we are the ones who sow the seed of His Word

o   At other times, we are the ones who get nourished by the hands of those who sowed beforehand

o   Can you think of a time when either God gave you the right words to say or perhaps when you heard just what you needed at that moment?

·       We are told that God’s Word does not return empty

o   That is amazingly comforting to know.  It’s not the quality of the sower but of the seed itself

o   Even when it feels like the world has closed its ears

·       Like the rain and snow, we are here for a season and then will go to our home in Heaven

o   May it be said of each of us that we achieved the purpose for which God sent us!

The next time you see the rain or snow, just think about our passage today.  It is a powerful visual reminder God has given us of the nourishing power of His Word.