Is Your Worship Like Gold or Bronze? (weekend repost)

The demise of Israel came quickly after the reign of Solomon. Although one could argue that Solomon’s kingdom was the pinnacle of Israel’s fame, wealth, and honor, there can be no doubt that spiritually the kingdom was a shadow of what it was under David. Solomon may have had great wealth, and there is no doubt that he beautified the kingdom and made a glorious temple, but internally there was a rot that would eventually lead the divided nation into apostasy and exile.

Read the full post here: Is Your Worship Like Gold or Bronze?

How Do You See Yourself?

As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples.When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?”But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desirecompassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

(Matthew 9:9–13, NASB95)

How do you view yourself? Pop culture feeds us many answers that you might find coming out of your mouth. But, for those who call themselves children of the living God, how do you see yourself?

Listen to great and godly people describe themselves, and you compare your answer with theirs:

  • The Great Augustine, bishop of Hippo wrote, “Lord, save me from that wicked man, myself.”
  • John Knox, the greatest preacher of the Scottish reformation, “In youth, in middle age, and now after many battles, I find nothing in me but corruption.”
  • John Wesley, the great Methodist preacher wrote, “I am fallen short of the glory of God, my whole heart is altogether corrupt and abominable, and consequently my whole life being an evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit.”
  • Augustus Toplady, the writer of the hymn “Rock of Ages” wrote, “Oh, that such a wretch as I should ever be tempted to think highly of himself. I am myself nothing but sin and weakness, in whose flesh naturally dwells no good thing.”
  • And finally, the Apostle Paul wrote of himself in 1 Timothy 1:15, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

Now, I know that Dr. Phil and Oprah, and our schools, and psychologists and lots of preachers even, tell us that we need to have a high self-esteem about our worth. We need to think positively and love ourselves before we can love anything or anyone else….How’s that working for us? We have more crime and more selfishness and more laziness and self-indulgence than ever before, and people are not more happy with more stuff, but less so.

No, we need to turn to the Bible for a correct view of ourselves. Romans 3:10-12 says, “as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.

You see, the truth is, that people will not seek healing if they don’t know that they are sick. So, the first step in preaching the gospel to others and even ourselves is to declare this truth–Man is sinful and desperately wicked and spiritually dead. If we can grasp this and confess it before God, we can move on to respond to the good news of the gospel.

The Bible acts like a mirror revealing what our soul looks like to God. The world acts like a mirror too, but more like a fun-house mirror that distorts the truth and gives us a wrong impression about what we really look like. Don’t settle for the phony idea of who you are by looking to this world for answers. Instead open up the Bible and read about who God says you really are–both as a person who has rebelled against Him, and after being saved by Jesus Christ, as a person who has been forgiven and adopted by Him and is now His child forever. The truth matters and for the one who is willing to face the truth, heaven awaits.

The Disaster of Failing to Be Trustworthy (weekend repost)

“Trusting in a treacherous man in time of trouble
is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips.”—Proverbs 25:19 (ESV)

I love how picturesque the proverbs are in describing truth in simple terms. The above proverb became very real to me recently when my wife twisted her knee when she slipped. As we walked back to the car from a trip to the hospital, her knee buckled and she was in great pain. For several weeks after that accident, she had to wear a brace to prevent her knee from giving out.

Read the rest of the post here: The Disaster of Failing to Be Trustworthy

The Disaster of Failing to Be Trustworthy

“Trusting in a treacherous man in time of trouble
is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips.”—Proverbs 25:19 (ESV)

I love how picturesque the proverbs are in describing truth in simple terms. The above proverb became very real to me recently when my wife twisted her knee when she slipped. As we walked back to the car from a trip to the hospital, her knee buckled and she was in great pain. For several weeks after that accident, she had to wear a brace to prevent her knee from giving out.

And I had the experience recently of an old filling falling out of a tooth leaving an pending in my tooth that caused a crack in my tooth while I was eating leading to a piece of tooth breaking off. Until my dentist appointment I have been eating on the other side of my mouth to avoid more damage and pain.

Buckling knees and cracked teeth are sudden, painful, and unexpected. But once the weakness is revealed it is hard to place trust in those areas again until after they are proven strong again and able to do the job they were meant to do. Even then, we sometimes are reluctant to place too much on them for fear that the pain they caused might return.

When we fail in our responsibilities at the moment when we were most depended upon, the damage can be great. The proverbs says this is “treacherous” failure. The Hebrew word betrays a break in trust, where dependability, even vows of loyalty were broken to the destruction of the one who placed trust in another. The failure is pictured as a massive breach of trust.

And just like a buckled knee can send a person to the ground and a broken tooth can cause excruciating pain, so too the failures of a trusted person bring great harm to the one who was depending upon the faithfulness of another.

What do you do when you are the one who is failed and have lost trust in another? Wisdom says we should move slowly in placing trust back in the failed one. We must make sure they are trustworthy before placing the responsibility back into their hands lest we be betrayed again. This will take confrontation, confession, conversations, and re-commitment on both parties. Over time, if there is a willingness, humility, forgiveness, and love, restoration can be achieved.

How about if you are the one who was treacherous and cast aside trust? Go to those you have failed without excusing yourself and your actions. Ask for forgiveness and offer to make right what you messed up. Humbly recognize that this will take time—maybe a long time—to reestablish trust. Be open to further questions, further need to confess your failings when they are uncovered in the process, and continuing discussions about where things started to go wrong. Be aware of any self-justification on your part. Listen.

Like a faulty knee and a broken tooth, the Master Physician can bring healing to even the worst and most painful failures. But we must allow him to work in us and through us so that we can be sure that the catastrophe is not repeated, bringing greater damage and more pain next time.

Seeking the Wandering (weekend repost)

Considering the very real fact that we are all prone to wander, I thought that it would be helpful to consider the four ways in which we need to show loving concern for a brother or sister who has gone astray from Matthew 18:10-14. Read the post here: Seeking the Wandering