VIDEO Now 2018 Is Over – How Does 23 Apply To Me?

Now the Year Is Over

For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 23:18

In his song, “1999,” the late superstar Prince sang, “Life is just a party and parties weren’t meant to last.” As we know, Prince’s party didn’t last. He died of a drug overdose in 2016 at age 57. Tonight millions of people will be partying as the old year draws to a close. The beginning of a new year is certainly worth celebrating, but it’s also a time to remind ourselves that life isn’t simply a party—it’s a calling and commission from God. The brevity of life only reinforces the need for each day to be dedicated to knowing and doing the will of God.

Compare Prince’s song to this old English hymn by Emily Elliott:

 

Every day He sends us

He Himself prepares;

He Himself attends us

Through its joys and cares;

His true love beseeching,

Let us, then, draw near;

Seeking guidance, teaching,

For the opening year.

 

Now the year is over, let us braver stand, / Seeking to discover His—our Father’s–hand. Emily Elliott


Proverbs 23- How Does 23 Apply To Me? by Shane Idleman

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The Smartest Thing You’ll Ever Do

The Psalmist prayed to God, “Give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments” (Psalm 119:73).

I’ve met a lot of people in recent years that I thought were brilliantly smart. In their presence, I felt much like an intellectual pygmy. And though I wasn’t looking for fault, I couldn’t help but notice a common deficit in some of them: they had no spiritual judgment.  It wasn’t that they were ignorant. It’s just that the things they had learned and embraced were inconsistent with God’s Word. Their unbelief had dwarfed their understanding of what should have been the simplest of life’s issues.

Charles Spurgeon once said:

“A man without a mind is an idiot, the mere mockery of a man; and a mind without grace is wicked, the sad perversion of a mind…Fools can sin, but only those taught of God can be holy. We often speak of gifted men, but he has the best gifts to whom God has given a sanctified understanding wherewith to know and prize the ways of the Lord…He who made us to live must make us to learn; he who gave us power to stand must give us grace to understand.”

Many years ago, I knew a man who had lived an impoverished and rough life.  He was illiterate. By the standard of many, he was a hopeless and abject buffoon. One day he heard the Gospel of Christ and believed. He started listening to the Bible on cassette tape. Over time, he became a changed man. He was humble, gracious, sincere, and remarkably wise.

The last time I was with him, I listened to him teach a Sunday- School lesson that blew me away. He still couldn’t even read, but he understood better than most what life was about, and what our Creator-God requires of us.

One of the most judicious individuals to ever live was King Solomon, who said, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom” (Proverbs 4:7). Solomon also said, “Wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it” (Proverbs 8:11).

What is wisdom? Wisdom is different than knowledge. We’re living during a time when there is an explosion of knowledge, unlike any time in human history. Anyone can get an education today. Illiteracy has nearly been stamped out. Yet there seems to be very little wisdom. A wise person knows and comprehends what’s true, what’s good, and what’s enduring. A wise person has the proper set of values, and all knowledge is filtered through these moral standards.

Dr. George Sweeting, former president of Moody Bible Institute, has rightly concluded:

“The wise man, the man who has been given wisdom from above, is the man whose life is an open book testifying to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.”

In his epistle, the apostle James contrasted a life devoid of spiritual judgment with a life directed by God’s wisdom. In chapter 3 and verses 13-18, James said that there is wisdom from above and wisdom from below. Earthly wisdom, he said, is characterized by envying, strife, confusion, and every evil work. Wisdom from above, however, is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, and without partiality and hypocrisy.

When James talks about carnal wisdom, his description matches our nation’s current political and social climate to a tee. Why can’t we come together? Why are we seemingly driven further apart with each passing year? It’s because we have thrown out what God has said or we’ve revised or redefined it to suit our sensuous desires. We have become slaves to our passions and pleasures, and these push us to malice, jealousies, bitterness, greed, spite, and hatred.

Cicero said:

“It is insatiable desires which over-turn not only individual men, but whole families, and which even bring down the state.”

Is there any hope? Wise King Solomon also instructed:

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5, 6).

During the third century, the Bishop of Carthage, Cyprian, wrote to his friend Donatus:

“It is a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and good people who have learned the great secret of life. They have found a joy and a wisdom which is a thousand times better than any of the pleasures of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people, Donatus, are Christians…and I am one of them.”

Will you become “one of them” in 2019? Will you turn away from your sins, deny yourself, and receive Christ? Will you pray with the Psalmist, “Give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments”?

All of this may seem an overly simplistic answer to life’s many conflicts. But trust me. It’s the right start for a New Year and a new life. It’s the smartest thing you will ever do. It’s what our entire nation desperately needs.

 

By Dr. Mark Creech

https://www.facebook.com/markhcreech/

 

https://barbwire.com/the-smartest-thing-youll-ever-do/

One Body, One Lord

Ephesians 4:1-7

If you’re a Christian, you know the importance of being part of a church, because that’s where we grow and worship together as the body of Christ. However, it’s also a place where conflicts, disagreements, and annoyances occur. Although we are saved and destined for heaven, we still live in a fallen world and struggle with our own sins and weaknesses. What’s more, we come from diverse backgrounds and have different personalities and levels of spiritual maturity.

That’s why it’s essential that we learn to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling” of Christ (Eph. 4:1). How would a physical body function if the various parts ignored the brain’s direction and did their own thing? That’s what happens when a church won’t listen to its head, Jesus Christ. The inevitable result is conflict as individual members push their own agendas.

The only way we can walk worthy of our calling in a local church is to have the qualities mentioned in verse 2: humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance, and love. When these Christlike attributes characterize a group of believers, being together will be like a small taste of heaven on earth. Although there may still be disagreements, the manner in which they’re handled will change. Instead of angry outbursts, silent resentment, and bitterness, there will be greater concern for the other person than for oneself.

Our involvement in a local church is one of the ways God works to conform us to His Son’s image. The close connections developed within the community of faith will both encourage us and sand off the rough areas in our life. In that way, we end up looking more like Christ.

The Beginning of the Year

“A land which the Lord thy God careth for: the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.” (Deuteronomy 11:12) 

This phrase, “the beginning of the year,” occurs only twice in the Bible, here in Deuteronomy 11:12 and in Ezekiel 40:1. In this passage, the Lord, through Moses, is speaking of the promised land which He had prepared for the children of Israel, “a land of hills and valleys, [that] drinketh water of the rain of heaven” (Deuteronomy 11:11), promising great blessing on the land and its people if they obeyed God, but judgment if they disobeyed.

Although these promises were made specifically with reference to Israel, the principle surely would apply worldwide, for God “hath made of one blood all nations of men . . . and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord” (Acts 17:26-27). It certainly has applied to America, for God has certainly blessed our nation most abundantly, founded as it was in its beginnings on the principles of God’s words. Sadly, however, there are now many signs that His blessings are being withdrawn, with judgment imminent, because of the widespread apostasy and moral decay that have overtaken us.

Here, at “the beginning of the year,” we can pray that America will return to the God of our fathers before it is too late and final judgment falls on our once-blessed nation. In the words of our text, “the eyes of the LORD” are on us, “from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.”

In addition to prayer, we personally can work and give and vote and live in ways that demonstrate our own personal trust in God and His Word, as well as our deep concern for our families, our churches, our nation, and God’s eternal plan for His great creation. HMM

Thus Saith the Lord, Listening?

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

—Psalm 119:105

Every new year is an uncharted and unknown sea. No ship has ever sailed this way before. The wisest of earth’s sons and daughters cannot tell us what we may encounter on this journey. Familiarity with the past may afford us a general idea of what we may expect, but just where the rocks lie hidden beneath the surface or when that “tempestuous wind called Euroclydon” may sweep down upon us suddenly, no one can say with certainty….

Now more than at any other time in generations, the believer is in a position to go on the offensive. The world is lost on a wide sea, and Christians alone know the way to the desired haven. While things were going well, the world scorned them with their Bible and hymns, but now the world needs them desperately, and it needs that despised Bible, too. For in the Bible, and there only, is found the chart to tell us where we are going on this rough and unknown ocean. The day when Christians should meekly apologize is over—they can get the world’s attention not by trying to please, but by boldly declaring the truth of divine revelation. They can make themselves heard not by compromise, but by taking the affirmative and sturdily declaring, “Thus saith the Lord.”   TWP009-010

Lord, guide me carefully as I seek You in Your Word. Then use me mightily as Your servant as I boldly proclaim Your word in leading others. Amen.

 

Be strong and of good courage… fear not

Be strong and of good courage… fear not, nor be dismayed; for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.—1 Chronicles 28:20.

That we should serve in newness of spirit.—Romans 7:6.

 

Help us, O Lord! Behold we enter

Upon another year today;

In Thee our hopes and thoughts now centre,

Renew our courage for the way,

New life, new strength, new happiness,

We ask of Thee; oh, hear, and bless!

Johann Rist.

 

The year begins; and all its pages are as blank as the silent years of the life of Jesus Christ. Let us begin it with high resolution; then let us take all its limitations, all its hindrances, its disappointments, its narrow and common-place conditions, and meet them as the Master did in Nazareth, with patience, with obedience, putting ourselves in cheerful subjection, serving our apprenticeship. Who knows what opportunity may come to us this year? Let us live in a great spirit, then we shall be ready for a great occasion.

George Hodges.

 

Walk cheerfully and freely in God’s service.

St. Teresa.

 

The Bible’s First Promise

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Gen. 3:15

This is the first promise to fallen man. It contains the whole gospel, and the essence of the covenant of grace. It has been in great measure fulfilled. The seed of the woman, even our Lord Jesus, was bruised in His heel, and a terrible bruising it was. How terrible will be the final bruising of the serpent’s head! This was virtually done when Jesus took away sin, vanquished death, and broke the power of Satan; but it awaits a still fuller accomplishment at our Lord’s Second Advent, and in the day of Judgment. To us the promise stands as a prophecy that we shall be afflicted by the powers of evil in our lower nature, and thus bruised in our heel: but we shall triumph in Christ, who sets His foot on the old serpent’s head. Throughout this year we may have to learn the first part of this promise by experience, through the temptations of the devil, and the unkindness of the ungodly who are his seed. They may so bruise us that we may limp with our sore heel; but let us grasp the second part of the text, and we shall not be dismayed. By faith let us rejoice that we shall still reign in Christ Jesus, the woman’s seed.