This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. - Jos 1:8 ESV
The way to prosperity and success is through the word of God, meditating on it and keeping it in your heart. As a co-pastor of a small church, I must tell you that I want nothing more than for the people my husband and I oversee to read their Bibles. So many people are looking for direction and instruction in many areas of their lives, yet they are often unwilling to search out the Scriptures for the answers. Because this is true for most churches, Pastors try to accommodate their “non-reading” congregations by outlining a few verses from the Bible and make it fit the lives of their listeners. I’m not saying this is entirely wrong, but I am saying it is not as productive or life-giving as a person reading the word of God for themselves can be. As a teacher of the word, I understand how important it is to make the Bible relevant for today but not so that the Bible or my church gathering can be considered “relevant” in today’s world. The word of God is, was, and always will be relevant!
The Bible is the word of God, 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. (Heb 4:12 NIV) And All Scriptures is God-breathed [inspired] and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16-17)
There is nothing in the Bible that cannot be found useful to all of our lives and the situations that surround them; but if we don’t read it and believe it, the usefulness is of no use. The only way anything in our lives can become effective is through belief. One of the reasons the fall of man came about was due to unbelief, among other issues. When the serpent creature approached the first woman Eve, his basic accusation was to get her to question what God really commanded and why He did so. Replacing her belief that God loved her enough to protect her she believed God was holding out on her by not allowing her to take from something that would eventually lead to death. This is not so far from the truth for many of us today when we don’t want to believe what the Bible says about something because we truly don’t want to give it up.
Let me travel a side road really quick before I go on to write about what God says about everyday life. This month on the Hebrew or Jewish calendar is the month of Tishri and it is a time when the Jewish people enter into what is called the 10 Days of Awe; a time of repentance for the past year with the hope that their names will be written in the Book of Life in the coming new year. This is a great time for all the people of God to join in prayer for repentance, but not because we need to determine our fate and right our own wrongs, as the Jews believe. We as Christians have a Savior that through His blood has determined our fate, if we believe. However, we should be in repentance because we still sin and it is a necessary act to repent (apologize, ask forgiveness, and turn away from sin) even if we believe we are saved. We are called to be holy because God is holy and He has determined that we are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a special people for His purposes and glory but when we willfully sin and refuse to turn from it then we are not living as His fully converted children. Another reason we should fast and pray during this time is to pray for those who are lost both Jew and Gentile. The Lord God is listening and longing for a people to cry out for those who don’t know Him and through those cries, He can move on the hearts of mankind. If we don’t believe our prayers matter or that we should pray for the lost then we are not concerned about the things of God, and our hearts are not fully turned towards Him.
Everyday Life in the Eyes of God
This morning I had a few questions and answers run through my mind in a moments time, and I understood this to be the Holy Spirit prompting me to instruct, those who would hear, on God’s word for life. The following are a few issues of life that are important to every person along with what God says about those things, this is far from an exhaustive list so be sure to look into the scriptures for any specific need, and you will find an answer.
Pride vs. Humility
There is a pride that is hated by God and should be avoided at all cost as it will eventually lead to our demise. In the book of Proverbs God warns us that Pride [goes] before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. And Everyone proud in heart [is] an abomination to the LORD; [Though they join] forces, none will go unpunished. But it is Better [to be] of a humble spirit with the lowly, Than to divide the spoil with the proud. Proverbs 16:18,5, 19. We can see from these two verses that God resists those who are proud and those who are independent of Him having no need for instruction. James tells us that "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." - Jas 4:6
All the ways of a man [are] pure in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the spirits. - Pro 16:2 In other words, people think they are right and good by their own standards, but the truth is that our hearts are often evil and it is what motivates us to do and say the things we do. God knows of what spirit we are operating from and He determines what is right and good. Everyone struggles with pride at some point in their lives, but we don’t have to live according to the dictates of it.
Work and Idleness For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” 2 Thess 3:10 This verse is written in the context of idleness and laziness, it doesn’t speak to those who are unable to work but rather those who can work shall work to provide for himself and his/her family. In speaking about providing for the household of the family, the Apostle Paul wrote to young Timothy telling him that if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. - 1Ti 5:8 That’s a pretty serious comparison!
In this letter, Paul addresses women, widows, husbands, and children. He covers all the roles of people and states that if the widow has children, they should take care of the widow and repay their parents and that this is good and acceptable to God (vs. 4). The Bible tells us that we are not to allow our family members to be a burden on society or the church where there are others who can take care of them. But nowhere in the word of God will we find Him tell us to enable our loved ones to stay disabled. Welfare and hand-ups should be used for those who have no other way to go, those who cannot work due to age or disability; not for anyone simply because they feel they are entitled to a handout. The mindset of entitlement only serves to keep people down because they will never prosper according to their God-given ability when they keep themselves from work.
We know that poverty will be here until the return of Jesus Christ because He said, “the poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.” Mk 14:7 NIV So poverty will continue, and needy people will continue to be in need but where and how those needs are met should be determined by a person’s family first and then the Church. There is a saying that many of us have heard and maybe even considered it to be Scripture, “idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” However, it is not a Scripture, but it is biblical.
Several times in the Bible we see the word idle associated with vain or empty words and gossip. The word idle means not working, unemployed, or doing nothing. When people do nothing, they often speak, and when they speak while doing nothing, they often gossip. Jesus said that we would have to give an account for every idle word spoken (Mat 12:36). Idleness is a great way to allow the enemy into our lives; bored people will find something to occupy their time, and it is rarely prayer and Bible reading. For example, one might find themselves surfing the internet one day, land on a porn site or in a chat room and eventually l fall into immorality.
It is important to know that In all labor there is profit, But idle chatter leads only to poverty. Pro 14:23
Gossip – Slander - Talebearer
16 These six [things] the LORD hates, Yes, seven [are] an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness [who] speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren. - Pro 6:16-19
Gossip is one way a person can sow discord, be in pride, and lie as well. The word gossip is not used in the King James version instead you will find the words slander or talebearer. These are harsher than the word gossip, and they mean to carry tales or scandal-monger such as traveling about. Dictionary.com defines gossip as idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others. Today we have gossip magazines and TV shows such as TMZ that is outwardly dedicated to the gossip of celebrities.
The Bible says You shall not go about [as] a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I [am] the LORD. Lev 19:16 Slanderers are associated with stubborn rebels by the Prophet Jeremiah, and we are told not to associate with them in Proverbs. He who goes about [as] a talebearer reveals secrets; Therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips. - Pro 20:19
Gossip only has to have a hint of truth for the hearer to eat it up and spit it back out. 20Where [there is] no wood, the fire goes out; And where [there is] no talebearer, strife ceases. But The words of a talebearer [are] like tasty trifles, And they go down into the inmost body. Pro 26:22 People receiving gossip are just as bad as the one releasing it because they are stoking the fire instead of putting the fire out.
We have all been guilty of this sin, but as we mature in Christ, we learn of the debilitating and dangerous effects of slander and do our best to avoid it. I have noticed that gossip has revealed more about the person releasing it than it did of the one being spoken of. So, the next time you are anxious to share a story of another person’s life or want to slander their character, please consider what the Book of Wisdom (Proverbs) in the Bible has to say; Whoever hides hatred [has] lying lips, And whoever spreads slander [is] a fool. - Pro 10:18
A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity. - Pro 17:17. And A man [who has] friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend [who] sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
Friends are far, and few between but life without them is very difficult. There are friends that become closer to you than a sibling, and that closeness is usually formed out of much adversity. When a friend is true, they will stick with you like family, and in some instances closer. A genuine friend can handle the truth and can give it as well. A true friend will have your back when your right and help you repent and humble yourself when you are wrong. This kind of friend is hard to find, and even when you think you have found it, they can still betray you.
David and Jonathon were friends so close that their souls were knitted together in covenant friendship. Nowadays this seems almost perverse because people are not educated in covenant relationships, but this friendship was strengthened by war, trials, and tribulations. Jonathon stuck it out with David even when his father, King Saul, was trying to kill him. Jonathon believed that David would be king because God said he would, and he wanted God’s will. When we want to fulfill a purpose in the Lord that requires certain friendships we will push through adversity to keep those relationships guarded and secure.
Heavenly Father, thank you for Your written word of instruction for my life. I admit that I have often sought the wisdom of people rather than Your word for the concerns of my life, but today I repent for this behavior; I change my mind about seeking man’s wisdom before Yours. Help me seek Your will above all others including my own so that I may be well equipped to help others in time of need as well as live my life wisely and successfully. Thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to guide me in all truth, and today I ask that Your Spirit will be the first voice I hear in times of need and challenge. In Jesus name, Amen