Retirement and your Inheritance

Retirement:

Many people will live their entire lives planning for retirement. Ensuring that all of their bills are paid, their 401K has enough money in it, planning a world cruise, or a camping trip across America. Day by day, week by week, they toil in this life waiting for the opportunity to enjoy the inheritance they created for themselves.

Here is a thought. What happens if you die the day before you retire?

The answer is in the story of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-3):

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.”

What is the difference between a sheep and a goat? Let’s see

Matthew 25:34
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world”

Matthew 25:41
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

So what defines the difference between a sheep and a goat? Remember, Jesus is the Lamb of God. Those who are willing to accept Him by Faith, and confess of their sins, repent, and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior have the True Inheritance: Life in His Eternal Kingdom.

It’s amazing how our world has devolved so far to not only accept sin as acceptable behavior, but sanction that very sin. Is there an entity, an individual, capable of driving an entire nation, nay, an entire world into believing that sin is an acceptable behavior?

I’ve been befuddled how everyone that sanctions sin thinks that it is “cool” and “new” and “fresh” to sanction such behavior. There is nothing new in sin, it has existed since time itself. The bible records in multiple places that the pleasures of sin are temporary, and only for a season. That is because those sins can only be enjoyed in the flesh, because the flesh is the source of that temptation. Our flesh is the conduit through which Satan can tempt us, in his unending quest to pull us away from God. We are all tempted, and many unfortunately consciously choose to fall to that temptation in the belief that the temporary pleasure it brings is worth the price of their eternal life.

If you wish to strive for life eternal and receive your true inheritance, you must repent of your sins.

Open your heart to Jesus and pray the following:
Lord Jesus, I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and ask you to come into my heart. Wash my soul clean. I accept you as my Lord and Savior.

Remember what Jesus said about the sheep and the goats:

Matthew 25:40
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Many people will share memes of various things, but not posts such as these. Please remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.” 

Who Can Save the United States of America?

As I continue to age and mature physically, emotionally, and most importantly spiritually, I find that the depth and breadth of the Word continues to emote awe.  The book of Ezekiel, by the prophet Ezekiel who was exiled in Babylon around 600B.C. or so, centers upon the themes of Judgement and blessings for Israel. His words are quite relevant today:

Ezekiel 14:12-14 NIV
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, if a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it to cut off its food supply and send famine upon it and kill its people and their animals, even if these three men—Noah, Daniel and Job —were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign Lord.”

The meaning might not be obvious at first, so let’s look a little deeper. The elders of Babylon had approached the prophet Ezekiel asking for his guidance, as they had fallen away from God. This is a central theme throughout human history as nations grow and fall, with a strong moral decline always preceding their eventual destruction.

Above Ezekiel is saying (as received by God) that even three of His most righteous men Noah, Daniel, and Job together, could not save the fallen nation. That is a massive statement. God chose Noah of all men to save before the flood. God saved Daniel from the mouths of lions and made him prime minister of six nations. God loved and trusted Job so much that he allowed him to be tested by satan, and paid him double for his suffering.

If those three men could not save Babylon in the eyes of God, what can save our country from it s dive into moral oblivion? The answer of course is Christ, as he already paid for our sins, but are you taking the steps necessary? Is your church not only saving you, but teaching you how to live a life for Christ? Your soul is you, and is beyond priceless. Please do not pay lip-service to God as he knows your hearts. Much of our generation are “practical atheists.” What does that mean?

It means that while they might say out loud that they are Christians, they do not live their lives for Christ, but instead themselves, or this world. Be sure that your pastors, your shepherds, are guiding you on the true path to salvation. It does not do well to dwell in mediocrity when you are preparing to defend your right to eternity. Christ is the answer to your salvation, please be sure that you taking all of the steps necessary for you and your loved ones to enter His kingdom!

If you want to be saved, open your heart to Jesus and pray the following:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I now invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Many people will share memes of various things, but not posts such as these. Please remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.” 

Agape Love – Tests of your Faith

Tests of Your Faith 

One of the great things about God is that you can’t hide anything from him. In our modern world of technology, everyone fears that “someone” is watching. The funny thing is, not only are “they” watching, but God watches, and he doesn’t miss anything. 

People have a tendency, especially on social media, to only show the “good” things about themselves, or perhaps, elaborate a tad more than is realistic to give the appearance of being better than they actually are. You can’t hide anything from God, and he knows that. He knows that we will all fail miserably in living up to his expectations, and what is so great about him, is that he not only gave us a way out (or into his eternal kingdom) through the sacrifice of His Son, he allowed us to retain free will, and choose how we will spend eternity.

Throughout our lives we are tested in ways that we can see and acknowledge as being tests, and in other ways, when we are not aware that we are being tested. One great way for you to acknowledge if you are fervently trying to walk the path of righteousness, is how you respond to certain conditions that you will face in life.

As an example, Luke 6:27-36 addresses the concept of loving your enemies. First the definition of “enemy” in this context can take many forms (i.e. those who are generally not for you, compared to those who intentionally intend to, or have, committed you harm etc.), but the really important thing in these verses is the concept of love. Love is a central theme in the Word, and there are many forms of love, some described quite succinctly by not only Jesus, but Paul. Here however in Luke (some believe that Luke here is the physician, and companion of Paul), the author is using a most precious form of love, and that is called “agape” love.

Agape love is the purest form of love, or how God loves his children. Another way to look at it might be, with agape love you do not care what someone looks like, who their friends are, what they have done, how they have treated you, how they have belittled or stolen from you, or lied about you, or if they have hurt you or your friends or anything like that. Essentially agape love is pure love and concern for the well-being of someone, regardless of their appearance, and whether or not that love is reciprocated.

Can we love like that? Sure, many of us can say that we do, or have, but can we follow through with that love? A good test is brought out by Luke, let’s examine a few different translations:

Luke 6:28-30 NIV
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.

This translation does not bring out the full context behind the thought. Bless those (pray for and assist) those that have intentionally committed you harm. If someone takes [something] from you, let them have it, don’t demand that they return it, and give them more than they take… To help a bit more let’s examine another translation.

Luke 6:28-30 MSG
When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff.

I’m not a huge fan of the Message translation, normally I will read the NIV for general reading, and the NRSV for study, however sometimes the slang of the MSG can help highlight a few concepts. This translation says if someone is or has done you harm, pray for them (respond with the energies of, implies an intensity or fervent nature of the prayer) basically while they are doing you harm. Let them slap you, let them steal, let them gossip, in other words, while they sin not just against God, but against you, pray for their soul while they are doing it.

Think of that type of love. Let’s say someone takes someone, or something from you that causes you enormous pain and suffering. Here Luke is saying “No tit-for-tat,” or perhaps more clearly, do not demand, seek, or even think about retribution in any shape or form. Simply love them and know that the act they are committing against you, will be paid for by God, in a way that he deems appropriate. Pray for them because our God is a vengeful God, against those that have harmed his children. You know their actions will result in their suffering, so instead of taking action yourself, pray that God will open their hardened hearts and heal their souls, so that they too, can become children of His Kingdom.

That is a very difficult thing to do. Imagine someone taking your child, and then sometime later, you have the very person who committed the crime in the cross-hairs of your rifle a few hundred meters away, and no one knows you are there, do you pull the trigger? Of course not! Why? God knows you are there, and more importantly, so do you. Our purpose should not be just to strive to be better people because we believe in Christ. We should want, we should desire, we should strive to be better, because we are children of the most High God!

Agape love. The purest, truest, most beautiful form of love. Loving someone no matter what they have done, are doing, or will do to you. Loving someone purely, without jealousy or even a whisper of avarice. Loving someone because you know that no matter who they are, what they look like, or what they have done, at their center, their very core is their soul. The breath of God. Nothing is more beautiful.

Pass the tests that come your way in life. Strive to do so, because you are beautiful, you are loved, and you were created out of that love by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The God who spoke worlds into existence, flung stars into space at a whim, and loves us enough to look past our faults, and see that within our core is the ability to love Him, as he loves us. 

If you want to be saved, open your heart to Jesus and pray the following:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I now invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Many people will share memes of various things, but not posts such as these. Please remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.” 

Christian Living

Christian Living ✝️🤠
 
In order to live a life for Christ, you must break with the past. Paul gave an excellent description of Christian living, in his Epistle to the Ephesians.
 
Ephesians 4:17-19
“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.”
 
In his letter, Paul began by reminding Hebrew Christians not to cling to Jewish legal practices (as they were given the law by God through Moses). Here, Paul is showing that Gentiles (non-Jewish persons) that in order to live in Christ, they must also give up their ways.
 
Quite simply, if you are truly reborn in Christ and receive His Spirit, your heart becomes opened to the Spirit of God. If your heart is hardened through years of rejection, it is very difficult to receive his touch, and thus have the truth revealed to you. Notice above Paul says “Having lost all sensitivity,” what he is saying there is that hardened hearts cannot hear or see the truth. Thus, the Word to them is simply a jumble of random words that they cannot comprehend.
 
This hardening of the hearts is quite easy to see in today’s world, where all forms of media are full of deceit, vulgarity, lust of the flesh, and mocking of His word. As Paul stated in verse 19 “they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.”
 
Isn’t it fascinating that words written nearly two thousand years ago, so succinctly describe our culture today? Humanity has evolved through cycles of sin that forever repeat themselves. Babylon, the fall of the Roman Empire, the Persians all endured cycles of depravity that lead to their downfall. What Paul is describing above, is the never-ending cycle of man fighting the will of his flesh, and our flesh is not of God. Vanity, ego, greed, sinful lusts are all temptations brought forth by Satan, in order to lure us away from God. If you lose the battle of the flesh, you will lose your right to eternity.
 
This life we have all been granted is a gift, a gift for us to choose. We will all eventually die and defend our actions in this life to the Father. The only arbiter that guarantees our victory, is our Savior, Christ Jesus.
 
Hopefully you attend a local church, and that church has accepted the responsibility to guide your soul to Salvation. Your place in Heaven will be determined by much more than simply being “sought” and “saved.” The walk you choose in this life should pave the way to your front door in heaven, because if there is one thing a person that has not been saved cannot see, is the futility of this life. If you live for this life, your prize will be nothing, as the rewards in this life die in your grave.
 
One of my favorite Bible verses is James 4:14 “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” So many people lie, cheat, steal, deceive, and succumb to depraved sins of the flesh in this life in search of validation. They believe that validation is achieved through people accepting them, even if the “they” they present is false. All people strive to be accepted in life, but they key is the only true acceptance that can bring you peace is through repentance of your sins and laying your soul at the feet of Christ so he can introduce us to our Father.
 
Jesus himself said (John 15:13): “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” That is exactly what Jesus did for us. Through his blood at Calvary, if you repent and accept Him as your savior, all of your sins will be washed away, and God will not even remember them.
 
Please do not live your life for this life. 🙏 Understand that at some point this life will end and a recompense must be made. Only Christ can pay that bill. Do you attend a church? Is your church meeting your needs? Do you feel confident that you are saved, and that if your heart should stop beating today you will wake up in heaven? Don’t depend upon your pastors to guarantee your salvation, that is something that you alone are responsible for.
 
If you want to be saved, open your heart to Jesus and pray the following:
 
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I now invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 
😎✝️🤠🙏
 
Many people will share memes of various things, but not posts such as these. Please remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.” ✝️🤠
 
🕊

Discernment – A Gift From His Spirit

Discernment

Discernment is a gift from God, delivered through his Spirit. Discernment is simply the ability to know what is right, or wrong, and that knowledge is delivered through His Spirit to His children, so that we may choose our own path through his gift of free will.

However, that can be problematic can it not? If one has not accepted Christ as their Savior, so that their sins can be forgiven, and receive the Gift of the Spirit, will they have the true power of discernment? If people do not receive the Spirit can they truly discern? Paul had something to say about that very subject:

1 Corinthians 14 (emphasis added)

“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”

I am often mocked and ridiculed, because I allow people to take advantage of me, or mock me, or steal from me, and in return I try to be kind to them. Many will ask why? Quite simply, can a person who commits sin, even a sin of conscious forethought truly know the repercussions of their actions?

Think about it a little more deeply. Here Paul is saying that if they do not have the Spirit within them they simply do not have the true power discernment that is within the Spirit, which is a gift from God! A child one time was playing with a glass on the kitchen table, knocked it off, and it broke. I said “Don’t worry about it” but the mother was frantic because her child broke my glass. In that situation, the child did not with consciousness of forethought make and execute a plan to break my property, she was simply playing with it on the table. This story shows the difference between an accident, intent (conscious forethought), and a lack of discernment if that person was an adult.

The key with discernment is you must feed your gift of the Spirit for it to grow. Many churches today preach the gospel of Salvation and nothing more. In order to grow in Christ, build your faith, and your Spirit, you must feed your spirit daily, even more than you feed your physical body. Or perhaps, you might consider asking yourself: “Which body do I care about more. The physical vessel that my spirit is currently living in, in this world, or my spiritual self that will live in Eternity with the father?”

It is so difficult for people to move beyond the physical trappings of this world; the sins of the flesh, the lust, the greed, envy, and spite. I wish I could communicate to them that this life was intentionally designed with a shelf-life. How long that will be is not up to us, but to God. You who are reading this, on your phone, tablet, or computer screen… can you feel your heart beating? If you place your hand over your sternum, can you feel the blood pumping in your body? What if it stopped… right now!

Are you ready? Are you ready for what comes next? Will God allow every single human being alive now to move on to the next life, or might there be a process to “ween the herd” so that only those that are willing to follow his desires may pass through into the next world.

Hebrews 4:12-13

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

Hey… if you read this far you might consider clicking “share” and “like” if you found the words useful… Would a “click” on Facebook be written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life?

Great Song: “Let Go” by Dewayne Woods :)

I heard a great song this evening while watching a sermon by John Gray. DeWayne Woods, an award winning singer came on stage and played “Let Go.” The lyrics say a great deal, in how we all cling to “things” in this life. We must have the newest gadget, toy, car, or clothes… we are literally tempted and seduced by commercials that we must have “that thing” and rush to amazon or a store to buy it. We spend a great deal of time “sprucing up” the vessel that is our physical bodies, yet spend little, if any time on that which is most important: our souls. As some of you know I faced death once, and it scared the living heck out of me. A friend said “If you know you are saved, why worry about death?” Quite simply, just because I am saved does not mean I am immune to fear, the unknown, or human failings.
 
Romans 6:26 tells us “…the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” With that knowledge I should be confident and comfortable with what comes next. After all death is the natural cycle of this life, in which “… the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7)
 
A few friends said why do you post things about Jesus on Facebook, aren’t you ashamed? Before I felt His spirit, I might have been a little bit because we all suffer from vanity of some form, a desire for approval from others. However, here is the thing. That moment when we all face judgement, God will not care what others think about our actions. He will know our hearts and why we chose to do what we did. If you know that God is real, and that actions you choose to take in your life are against his will (sin), and you consciously choose to take those actions you will have to face the consequences. Forgiveness is available for all who seek it, you simply must humble yourselves, and realize that if you want to live in peace beyond this life you need help to do it. That’s why I liked the song tonight. Here is the chorus:
 
As soon as I stop worrying,
Worrying how the story ends
I let go and I let God
Let God have His way
 
Have you ever thought about why Satan is so mad.. and evil? Pastor John Gray said something funny tonight. In context he said maybe Satan is mad because he made one mistake and got kicked out of heaven. Yet here we are, making mistakes each and every day of our lives, yet He sends His Son down to us, as a sacrifice for our sins, so that we may be forgiven and return home to him. We really are awfully lucky, aren’t we? Could any of us make it without forgiveness? ✝️🤠
 
I couldn’t find an actual music video of the song, but here is a version on youtube. If your heart has not yet hardened (hardening of the heart is when people can not open their hearts to the Truth about Jesus), this song may bring a tear or two to your eyes ❤️
 

Don’t Be Troubled….

Don’t be troubled….

The God who upholds the stars loves and supports his people. We all grow weary, tired, confused and even sometimes bereft of hope. It is important to remember that hope is never lost, because God knows those who are against you, and those who are for you. He flings stars into space, and walks through time as if it were a revolving door of convenience, because time can not constrain God, nor can gravity, evil, childish affectations, or Satan. The key to troubled times is to understand that all of our trials and tribulations serve a purpose, and we must accept His purpose as our purpose to be part of the plan. Never lose hope and faith, but build your faith and Trust in God, because once you are safely and firmly within His grasp, you will know that nothing on this earth could ever truly bring you harm, because His love is Hope Everlasting. Even Jacob became troubled, and remember Our God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

Isaiah 40:28-31

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Don’t let the troubles of this life bring you down, they are minuscule in the breadth of eternity. Pass the tests placed in your path, shrug off enemies as a minor inconvenience, because next to the power and love of our God, nothing can stand in your way. He is your rod, your staff, and your shield 

I Worry

I worry. Have you ever been in a crowded place like a movie theater, or stadium; and taken a moment to look around to realize that every single person you see is an individual human life? Each with their own thoughts, dreams, fears, joys, hopes, and more importantly, their own view on life. At the same time, each of those people will at some point face the end of their life. Then…. What will happen?

We all have our personal view of the purpose of this life. Why are we here? Are we here to trudge through each day going through the motions of living, or perhaps is there a chance that something else is involved?

The truth is that God is real. I was literally healed on the altar, and felt the touch of the Holy Spirit. I’ve always believed in God, but only once in my life felt the truly awesome, powerful, and wonderful touch of his presence. So why do I worry?

Our souls, our spirits are trapped within our physical bodies. We are influenced and tempted by the flesh. Most people will casually disregard these temptations as nothing more than folly, or joy in living. The reason they do this, is they have not felt the touch of the spirit, taken the time and effort to learn the truth, or accepted Christ as their savior. Sadly, even those that have accepted Christ and attend church regularly will often times yield to temptation, usually through self-validation, and consciously commit sins even when they know better. The good thing is Jesus knows our failings, and forgave us through his Blood at Calvary.  So why do I care?

Every life is an absolutely precious gift. Try not to disregard a stranger that crosses your path, as they could be an angel on earth, or a person in need. Have you ever been in need, alone, or suffering, and been walking around somewhere that people simply passed you by, and wished someone would say “are you O.K.”? How nice would it be if you took a moment to do that for someone else?

Take a moment each day of course to praise God, and not just tell him your problems, because he already knows what they are. Then, more importantly, take a part of your day to help a fellow human being. In this day of modern technologies, how many people wake up alone, live alone, and go to sleep alone each and every day? That is a horrible way to live, and no one deserves to spend a life like that.

Many people will have stopped reading by now, but if you have not, here is something to help you out. In this life that you and I are living, we are literally in bondage. Our souls are chained to our physical bodies because of the original sin, and these physical bodies are a constant source of temptation. If you glance at someone that you find physically attractive, are you tempted? Is that temptation pure? How about lying to make yourself look good? Or lying about something you did wrong, so other people will not look down about you. How about stealing because you could get away with it, or hurting someone’s feelings to make you feel good for a moment.

By accepting Christ as your savior, you can break the chains of bondage, but that is only the beginning. You must fill your soul with His Spirit by reading his word, learning his word, and living your life for Him. If you have attended a church and left because you did not feel welcome, that is O.K., find another. I’ve been to churches all across the country, and witnessed people that have attended for years pretending to live for Christ, while falling to unimaginable temptations. None of us are perfect, nor can we achieve perfection in this life, but we can try. Finding a good church that serves His needs, and Your needs is difficult. Don’t give up. Has your Pastor walked up to you and said: “How is your soul?” This is important in many ways. If your Pastor doesn’t ask, ask yourself, and just as important, ask a friend.

No human knows the absolute truth about this life, but it is quite possible that this is a one-shot deal. If it is, are you sure that you are ready for what comes next? I worry about myself, but I also worry about anyone that might be reading this.

Please don’t make the mistake of not seeking the truth; of striving for eternal salvation. Your chains CAN be broken. Accept Christ, learn his word, but more importantly live for Christ every single day. You will love yourself more if you do.

 

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Billy Graham would often quote this saying of Jim Elliot, to emphasize that people who live this life for this life, will risk losing eternity… One of the greatest stumbling blocks for men of this generation is the sin of pride. Believing that they know better than God, or that God is an a la carte amalgam of morals and values that they choose, instead of what God has decreed. I pray that everyone studies the Word for themselves, instead of relying upon teachers that may not have the leading of Christ, or desire to serve that they should, to elevate themselves to the position they hold.

James 4:14 states well and true: “…What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

Do not depend upon others to do what God has enabled you to do for yourselves. Admit your sins, accept Christ as the one true path to eternal salvation… then learn, live and breathe His Word. The more you read the Word the more your hearts will be opened, the greater the strength and influence His Spirit can have in your life.

Don’t let pride be a barrier to you and your salvation. Humble yourself before God, because you can not fool him, nor pay lip service when you are falling into the crevasse and expect salvation to be granted.  

–Patrick L. Francis

To Rebuke is to Love – Proverbs 27:5-6

Proverbs 27:5-6 spoke to me:

Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.

Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
but an enemy multiplies kisses.

In our politically correct society, people often say to only speak kind words to one another, and to never criticize each other. However here in Proverbs, Solomon, who was granted wisdom by God, says something entirely different. Those of us who were reared during the times of “tough love,” or when punishment was given for wrongdoings, can better understand Solomon’s intent with these passages than those who have been raised in different times.

“Open rebuke” in verse 5 is best defined as when someone provides honest criticism, or disapproval of the action of another. For example, historically one of my failings was the common use of vulgarity, because I spent a great deal of my life in a culture where that behavior was considered normal and accepted. While I have always believed in God, I never considered the use of “colorful metaphors” to be against God, until someone recommended that I research our Bible more deeply to see if perhaps there might be something contrary to my belief. So several years ago I did just that, and found that in the Book of Proverbs, our current reading assignment, there are 25 verse referencing our “mouth” in one form or another. Indeed Jesus himself said: “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” Therefore the person who loved me enough to rebuke me, helped guide me closer to the path of righteousness!

This brings us to verse 6, which may not be as direct, or clearly understood as verse 5. Essentially what Solomon is saying here is that there is value in reproof. Let’s re-examine the verse again:

Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
but an enemy multiplies kisses.

Here “wounds from a friend” is referencing where someone loves you enough to correct you when you perform an action that is against the intent of God. Perhaps he could have stated it better something like this “A friend who corrects you out of love can be trusted.” If someone truly loved you, would they ignore your sins, or would they try to guide you back to the path of righteousness?

An “enemy multiplies kisses” is more obvious. This is something I have found over the years to be common among churches around the country. People will freely gossip behind your back, yet speak praise in front of you. This was one of Jesus’ pet peeves as is demonstrated throughout scripture.

One might round up the thoughts of Solomon in this manner: True friends understand that all are sinners, and attempt to keep one another on the path of righteousness, so that we all may celebrate His Glory together in the Eternal Kingdom!