Insights from Proverbs 13

hard work

Insights from Proverbs 13 for the 13th:

Throughout Proverbs 13 Solomon weaves a thread of working hard. A good man works hard. Not only is labor a good way to make an honest living, but it also shows the next generation that – hey, sweat’s not the enemy. Are we showing our sons good work ethic?

Many in this country (and my beloved WV in particular) live in a vicious cycle of generational poverty. They were born into it and will subsequently pass it on. This way of life is all they’ve ever known. But its not the only way. For your homework, read/watch The Glass Castle (written by Welch, WV-native Jeanette Walls). You can get it from RedBox or Netflix. A tragic, but true tale that is all-too familiar.

I’m not making the connection that with poverty comes laziness. Some of the hardest working folks I’ve ever known barely had two pennies to rub together. (Not sure why that’s a saying, but it is.) However, I am making the connection that with poverty comes despair and hopelessness.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life (v. 12).

This is so simple that many skip right over it and science is just now catching up to it. If what you are hoping in never delivers, it will make you sick. And I mean that literally; It can manifest itself physically (cardiac disease, ulcers, & insomnia) emotionally (depression, anxiety, & stress), and spiritually (guilt, shame, & regret). But when what we hope in is fulfilled, it will bring life (manifesting likewise; physically, emotionally, and spiritually). You will get the same assessment from any modern psychologist or reputable medical journal.

Here’s the only true antidote: Our hope is in Jesus.

“We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone.” – Psa. 33:20-22 (NLT)

Our hope comes from God. May He fill you with joy and peace because of your trust in Him. May your hope grow stronger by the power of the Holy Spirit. I am sure you are wise in all things and full of much good. You are able to help and teach each other. I have written to you with strong words about some things. I have written so you would remember. God helped me write like this.” – Rom. 15:13-15 (NLT)

The same God that helped Paul write like this, helps you.

This hope is never deferred. It is constantly fulfilled. Jesus is our tree of life. He is the Vine and we are the branches. He always delivers. He never comes up short. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.

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Do We Even Need a Code of Ethics?

code of ethics banner  - word abstract in letterpress wood typeThere is a recent (and warranted) outcry over moral failure. Every day someone new is ousted. Sometimes it is shocking (Matt Lauer). Sometimes it is not so shocking (Harvey Weinstein). In either case, this is nothing new. When mankind refuses to heed commonsense ethics, shrugs their shoulders at solid Biblical teaching, and stops their ears so they cannot hear the words of Jesus, then disaster inevitably and forcibly follows… and great is the fall of it (Matt. 7:24).

Imagine this (if you can!), Mr. Lauer or Mr. Weinstein there wakes up one morning and immediately opens God’s word. He comes across one of the many codes of ethics therein. For example:

Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Execute true justice, Show mercy and compassion everyone to his brother. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart against his brother.’ – Zech. 7:9-10

Makes sense, right? Pretty simple, I think:

1. Be fair. 2. Play nice. 3. Hug, don’t hit. 4. Help, don’t hurt.

(Funny, we say the same thing to our girls… who are only 4 and 2 by the way).

Then he starts his day. Do you think his day will be different? Do you think his life will be changed? Do you think his decisions would be more enlightened? Oh, I know that they would. Because you cannot encounter the Living God and walk away the same. You cannot meet with Yahweh every morning and then go out and sin (1 John 3:6). It just doesn’t work that way.

Instead, we get more and more people acting the way Zechariah’s audience acted:

11 But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear. (7:11)

If we do like they did, “make our hearts like flint” and don’t heed God’s word, then we will face exactly what they faced: great wrath (7:12).

If you are reading this, there is still hope. Every second is an opportunity that God is freely giving to you so you can turn to Him. Isn’t that awesome? Don’t waste it.