Where to Lean

Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children. – Luke 7:35

“The proof is in the pudding,” is an old quip that means, “Once the results are in, what we say is true will be proven through our actions.” In the Old Testament, “wisdom” is often personified and given a female designation. Jesus picked up that theme and, in the context of the rejection of both His and John the Baptist’s ministries, stated that God’s wisdom would be proven “right” by all “her” offspring. In other words, God’s truth will ultimately prove itself.

John was rejected for being an ascetic hermit. Jesus was rejected for His association with sinners. Ultimately, if you decide to be a truth-teller for God’s kingdom in this world, you will most likely face some sort of rejection. In fact, we now live in a world where it seems God’s truth is passé, out-of-date, and no longer deemed relevant by the “enlightened.”

Just remember, God’s wisdom will always prevail. Lean on His, not your own.

Now all the knowledge and wisdom that is in creatures, whether angels or men, is nothing else but a participation of that one eternal, immutable and increased wisdom of God. – Unknown

Go Together

Jonathan said to David, “Go in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord will be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever.’ ” Then he rose and departed, while Jonathan went into the city. – 1 Samuel 20:42

David and Jonathan were the best of friends. More than that, they shared a bond that led them to make a pledge that would last beyond both of their lifetimes. In today’s cultural revisionism, such relationships between two men (or women) are appropriated to promote an agenda or sexual ideology. Some have even tried to wrongly reframe David’s and Jonathan’s friendship in this 21st century context.

It is a blessing from God when two men or two women find a common purpose in the Almighty. This kind of friendship is bound together by trust and covenant and blood, Christ’s blood. Many who have served our country in time of conflict have known such relationships and others who have served our Lord in ministry have known it as well.

If you have such a friend, colleague, or co-laborer, give thanks to God. We need each other now more than ever.

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. – Helen Keller

Kingdom First

And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. – Luke 12:29-31

In the course of our lives and ministry, my wife and I have had to make many transitional moves (MS to TX, TX to GA, GA to MS, MS to NY, NY to IN, IN to PA, PA to Africa, Africa to PA, PA to GA, GA to CA, and finally CA to PA). Cindy loves to say that we have one move left and that one is UP!

While one might think that with each move, things got easier, they just never seemed to do so (at least from our perspective). These departures were usually accompanied by a feeling of incompletion and loss, leaving friends and ministry investments behind. At the same time, our thoughts (in many instances) were comingled with anticipation and excitement over the possibility of new friendships and opportunities to serve.

One thing is certain. Serving God will teach you to trust His provision. Friends, food, finances, and any possibility of future “success” must all be entrusted to an Almighty God and soon you learn that He always provides for every need.

The only caveat is this: Always be sure to seek His Kingdom first.

God’s commands are designed to guide you to life’s very best. You will not obey Him, if you do not believe Him and trust Him. You cannot believe Him if you do not love Him. You cannot love Him unless you know Him. – Henry Blackaby

What’s Your Name?

Please do not let my lord pay attention to this worthless man, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name and folly is with him; but I your maidservant did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent. – 1 Samuel 25:25

Many of us grew up with a nickname, but how would you like it if your “given” name was, “Fool?”

“Pain” would be bad enough (remember Jabez?), but Fool seems worse. Especially when you consider that the words above were spoken by the man’s wife! A greedy, arrogant, and foolish man, Nabal certainly lived up to his moniker and the result of his stupidity was God’s removal of his life, influence, and awful legacy from this earth.

When the history of your life is recorded, what will your name be? Have you ever stopped to consider such a prospect? “Mean,” “Prideful,” and “Jerk” may be available, but don’t “Christian,” “Servant,” or “Encourager” sound much better?

Each of us, every day, adds another line to our life’s resumé. How will yours read?

It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it. – Benjamin Franklin

Balance

Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” – Luke 13:1-5

John Burke is the pastor of Gateway Church in Austin, Texas and a few years ago he wrote a book entitled, No Perfect People Allowed. Gateway, under Burke’s leadership, seems to have grasped how to embrace those mired in the lost soup of today’s Western culture (at least in Austin) and for God’s people who are seeking an effective biblical approach, his book is a challenging read.

How does the 21st century church marry ministry and theology in order to communicate both the love and justice of God to a culture that has completely abandoned truth? What must our message be? How do we, as believers, properly balance grace and truth?

As simple as it may seem, the answer is in Christ Himself, not our comfort. Jesus did what had to be done in order for mankind to know His grace. He was the perfect balance. His churches must be the same.

What our world needs more than anything else is grace. Not more talk about grace, but grace that seeks out the lost people like Jesus does. Grace with skin on it because people are born to run from God without it. – John Burke