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Posted By Nan

21:1-16
We start today with the good leader. The one who follows God and listens to His direction and is guided by Him. But power can be a trap for an unwise leader. And it is easy to slip into the practice of the unwise. It is also a trap for us. The trap is to judge our behaviour by the way it appears to others. But that is not what God wants. We forget that God judges the motives of the heart. Our behaviour may be done with wrong motives and look correct to others. But God knows it is not right behaviour. Our behaviour may look wrong to others but our motives are right and God judges our behaviour as correct. The trap of public opinion is a hard one to ignore. But the old ‘let go and let God’ is the best option in these situations.
What about all the hard work you do for God? All the service? All the ‘sacrifices’ you make for God? If that work is not done with a view to serve God. If that work is not done in accordance with God’s instructions. If that work is not done with a determination to ensure justice. Then forget it. That work is not an acceptable sacrifice to God. God prefers righteousness and justice, not sacrifice. Constant right behaviour is more valuable than the occasional sacrifice. God’s focus is the attitude of your heart.
And when you do your ‘sacrificing’ and feel proud about it. And when you puff your chest out and consider yourself more righteous than others. And when you make sure others know how hard you have worked (so much harder than them!). Then know that God does not value that. To Him that is sin.
It is one thing to acknowledge the things you are good at. It is one thing to feel satisfied at the result of your hard work. It is one thing to correct another person who claims your hard work was theirs. It is another to boast about your hard work. To seek praise for it. Don’t confuse the two.
Remember to be patient and seek God before making decisions. A decision made hastily is often a bad decision. The bad decision is rarely in accordance with God’s wishes and does not ensure justice for others or yourself.
Beware also of lying to get what you want. Trust God. If He wants you to have something, you will have it. If He doesn’t want you to have something then you will not have it. Accept His decision and let go of what you desire. Remember justice is important to God. Lying to get what you want is injustice.
As you journey through life, remember that God does not expect you to hang around those who find fault with others. With those who are unpleasant and critical. With those who put you down and demean you. Only stay if He directs you to. Others may pressure you to stay, but if God does not tell you to then you must leave. And remember those caught up in unrighteousness. They do not care about others and they will not care about you. Do not assume that someone who is a member of a church group is automatically righteous. The unrighteous are everywhere.
Be willing to learn. Learn when God instructs you and you have been wise. Learn when you are unwise and God has had to stop you. God is willing to teach you. He wants you to learn.
Do not forget that justice is important to God. He expects you to care for the poor. Justifying paying people less than a living wage is not caring. It is sin and God will punish you for that. Remember that justice is something righteous people delight in. But it is something that the unrighteous find frightening and will challenge.
Give quietly to others to correct injustice and soothe anger. You may even give it anonymously. Make that giving about justice and restoration. To give publicly or with ‘strings attached’ to another person is a bribe.
Finally, stay on the path. The path, that is, that follows Jesus. That path gives understanding. Leave the path and you will leave Jesus. That route leads to death.
 

 
Posted By Nan

20:20-30
When there are times in my life when I feel misunderstood, I am reminded of David’s words in Psalm 139 that God searches us and knows our inmost thoughts. There is nothing about us He does not know. In these verses of proverbs we are reminded of God’s great knowledge and understanding of us. God knows us so well, yet He still loves us. He knows how sinful we are. Yet we are still worthy of His attention and love. Jesus did the work of paying for our sins. God requires us to love Him and be faithful. In our walk following Jesus, we are asked to behave in certain ways.
God wants us to remember those who have loved and cared for us and to never curse them. He asks us to be wise in our use of money. To not be greedy. To not be impatient in waiting for money. He expects us to be careful when asked to lend money to another. He knows the risks we face and He wants us to seek Him first. Living obediently is sometimes about not falling into evil ways and sometimes about protecting us from harm.
God also asks us to not be dishonest in our dealings with other people.
When others wrong us, God expects us to wait for His deliverance. Sometimes that may come in the form of an instruction to act. Sometimes it may mean we wait, potentially a long time, for deliverance.
Finally God wants us to live our life to its fullest. No matter our age, He has a purpose for us and blessings for us. When we don’t allow God to order our lives. To give us blessings. We reject Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
 

 
Posted By Nan

20:24
On this day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday it is good to pause and think about the experience of the early believers. Hiding in darkness. Terrified. Puzzled. What just happened? How could this man we believed to be the Messiah just be killed. Just like that. All over. All our hopes and dreams gone. We were so sure.
What were they thinking as they cowered in the darkness? Did the ask God why? Did they tell Him they were so sure this was the one? Did they puzzle over this, convinced he was the Messiah but not able to reconcile that belief with the events of the previous day? Did one of the more learned among them quote this passage from Proverbs?
A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?” NIV
How indeed.
Did anyone back then have the faith to cling to the evidence of Jesus’ divinity? Did anyone think of this verse and take hope from it?
Sometimes we sit in that spot of confusion and hopelessness and call out to God for answers.
Will we have the faith to wait patiently in the darkness for that hope to arise? The believers had no idea Easter Sunday would happen. In our lives there will never be another miracle of Jesus rising from the dead, but we will have those quiet dawns brimming with hope and salvation at some stage after the darkness and confusion. We just have to hang on to the promise. God directs our steps and we cannot understand His way. All we can do is wait in faith for the darkness to end.
 

 
Posted By Nan

20:16-19
These verses are a warning about our behaviour. One is a warning to not lend money or give surety for someone you do not know or someone you know will not be reliable in paying the money back. To do that is just foolishness. The next warning is that what you gain fraudulently may be desirable and seem sweet but the long term consequence is a mouthful of gravel. There is always a payment for our bad behaviour. The next warning is to seek advice before acting, especially when it is something that involves conflict. Beware however the false advice of the person who wants to avoid taking responsibility for his actions.
Finally, there is another warning to beware the gossip because she will betray your confidence. Talking to her is like getting a megaphone and announcing it to everyone. That sort of person is best avoided. The flip side of that is do not be that person yourself. There is no need to know everything that is going on. Accept what you know and don’t seek to know everything about other people. That knowledge is frequently demeaning for the other person and unhelpful for you to be part of.
God wants us to seek the good of others. To love as He loves. But not to be fools who are easily taken advantage of. Wisdom involves both love and sense.
 

 
Posted By Nan

20:2-15
There are many lessons contained in these verses.
In this world the wise know to work diligently because they know you have to sow in order to reap. Diligence in righteousness allows them to live a blameless life and such a life brings blessing on them and their children.
The wise know that God expects them to honestly resolve differences. They are not to pretend conflict is not there or seek to manipulate others to push it away. They obediently acknowledge the differences and seek to resolve them. They search themselves to understand the motivation behind their behaviour. They know motives can be hidden deep and be hard to find. In finding their motives they seek to bring them into obedience with God.
The wise know it is much easier to profess Godly attitudes than to live them. And they earnestly seek to live them. They understand no person is sinless, that we all need Jesus’ blood to give us life. When they negotiate with others they are honest and don’t resort to putting the other person down to get an unfair advantage. They know that this behaviour angers God. In the same way the wise know not to set double standards on people’s behaviour, judging some more harshly than others. They know God detests such discrimination.
The wise rejoice in the knowledge that God gives us ears to hear and eyes to see. They resolve to see as God sees and hear as He hears.
The wise know the true value of wisdom. That it is not measured by the standards of the world where material things are given greater honour than service to God. They know we are measured by God and He values wisdom more than material possessions.
The wise heed the lessons and seek to live their lives according to these principles. This is the walk of the wise.
 

 

 

 
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Nan
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Australia

 
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