A false witness will not go unpunished,
and whoever pours out lies will not go free.
There was a time when people thought very seriously and carefully before daring to tell a lie. The sense of honor and decency would trump any consideration in favor of deception. In social groups that practice the system of good faith, telling a lie, however small it may seem, has serious consequences for he who tells it for he can no longer function under that system. In social groups where there is not a presumption of good faith, typical of Latin cultures, the only way to prove something is through the presentation of documents that are registered , notarized, certified, apostilled, endorsed, validated, approved, in quadruplicate and so on and so forth. Deception attacks the foundations of good faith and when successful everyone ends up living in insecurity and suspicion. Nothing is reliable anymore and uncertainty takes hold of our lives because we do not find whom to believe.
Fortunately, God took the initiative to establish a way for us to find someone to trust. He made truth himself come to earth to occupy the place that deceit had conquered through the wiles of Satan. The apostle John puts it this way: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Every effort we make to establish or preserve the truth brings us closer to our Lord Jesus Christ, who was revealed to the world as truth himself. To the concerns Pilate expressed while questioning the Lord Jesus, before sending him to the crucifixion, the Master replied: “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” Pilate, as the good Latin man he was, answered with another question, typical of those who do not know the truth because they have never cared to make use of it: “What is truth?” Dear reader, if you want to know what truth is just direct your gaze to the face of the Lord Jesus and you will have the only answer to the eternal and universal question for he is the way, and the truth, and the life. To God alone be the glory!
A person’s wisdom yields patience;
it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
One of the consequences of maintaining an attitude of pride and arrogance is irritability. The proud always ends up being a very irascible person that is constantly annoyed by all those around him, because in his mind they can only cause problems. Any comments he hears associated with him or his conduct is considered a serious offense that must be met with retaliation with all the energy that the situation warrants. Only one thought passes through his mind: “How dare they? They’ll see!” Impatience and anger will come together in a powerful concoction that once ingested will result in an explosion of epithets and curses.
The child of God, by contrast, is already or is on track to become a considerate and humble person. The transforming power of the Holy Spirit turns pride and irascibility into humility and poise. Patience becomes part of the nature of the believer and he no longer easily falls into provocations. The new motto of the believer is now changed to: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” This new ability to avoid unnecessary conflict gives the child of God a quiet and thoughtful character. Wisdom lets him now understand that the enemy of our souls is the one behind the master plan to create conflict, and that much is gained when one avoids litigation. Let the Holy Spirit of God do his work in our lives, transforming our character to be each day more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ. To God alone be the glory!
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD,
and he will reward them for what they have done.
What a wonderful opportunity we have to serve the Lord by serving the poor! It is a shame that we often look at them with contempt and arrogance. We believe that their poverty is the result of who knows what evil deeds that were done by them in the past. And even if it is so, we act as ruthless judges condemning them with disdain, when we should be giving them a hand if possible (it always is) and giving them another opportunity. Instead of acting with compassion as our Lord Jesus would do, we refuse to lend a hand to help them out of the deep hole they have fallen into. Egocentrism silences any remorse that our consciousness may bring out of our hearts. Instead of seeing it as an excellent opportunity to serve the Lord we see it as a nuisance that gets in our way and makes our life less bearable.
Let us follow the wise guidance of the Holy Spirit so we can serve our poor neighbors the same way that Jesus would do, but taking care not to usurp the rightful place of God as provider. We are mere pawns in the hands of the Universal Grandmaster placed on a cosmic chess board, carrying out God’s strategic moves that will lead us to victory. We don’t have to go too far to find opportunities to serve the poor. We can find them everywhere and just in case we have not noticed, they happen to be a majority, so we can’t say we do not know where to find them. Make sure that our help to them is not something done as a mere formality. Our actions must spring straight from our hearts and they must be at all times carried out for the glory of God and not for our own glory. Let us find where is the need so we can help with our hands and resources (which are ultimately God’s resources) to improve the lives of the dispossessed. Thus, we will be doing what the Lord expects of us. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged Christianity, faith, God, kindness, obedience, poor, Proverbs 19, reward, righteousness, wisdom, works
Listen to advice and accept discipline,
and at the end you will be counted among the wise.
If error did not exist, correction and advice would not be required. Nobody is born learned and everybody’s lives are a constant learning process. Only a fool would say that he no longer has anything to learn. A phrase generally attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt says: “You have to learn from the mistakes of others. You won’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” The experience of others, transmitted through advice or a word of rebuke is very valuable for us to avoid repeating the same mistakes others have made. It is our pride that prevents corrections and the advice given to us from being transformed into useful lessons to increase our knowledge and wisdom. In fact, pride leads us into folly, because only a fool would think to ignore a wise teaching. The word of God tells us: “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice” and Scripture also reminds us that: “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.”
Let us not act with pride when we are corrected or receive advice, thinking that we know everything and that there is nothing else we need to know. Let us listen carefully to what we are being told and let us analyze where we were wrong and how we can use correction to improve our behavior and performance. To do otherwise will only sink us further into our own mistakes and will prevent us from progressing towards spiritual maturity; we will certainly be trapped into our own folly. Augustine said: “To err is human; to persevere in error is diabolical.” Let us seize correction and advice so that instead of doing what pleases our enemy, we can truly do what pleases God. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged accept, advice, Christianity, correction, discipline, faith, God, hope, Jesus, justice, life, listen, love, peace, Proverbs 19, righteousness, spirituality, wisdom
Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.
Most people think that artists are the only people who have creativity. In fact, come to think of it, we are all creative even if we are not all artists. Creativity is an aspect of human nature that we all carry in our genetic map for man was made in the image of God and God is the creator par excellence. Everything that exists, visible or invisible, was created by him. Human beings are creative in many ways and not necessarily artistic ways. An example of this is the creativity shown by some people when looking for excuses to justify their misdeeds or errors. I’ve always been impressed by the response Adam gave God when asked whether he had eaten from the tree that stood in the middle of the garden of Eden, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Adam was very quick to pass on the blame to Eve. But he adds something very interesting, he refers to Eve as “the woman you put here with me.” In other words, the fault now is not only Eve’s but also God’s for giving Adam a sinful woman and an instigator of sin as a partner. How amazing was Adam’s creativity!
We are constantly living in the midst of a creative process and that there is nothing wrong with this unless you’re using your creativity to find new ways of doing things that are pleasing to God, which is the most likely case. You can make all the plans you want but if they are not aligned in the same direction and follow the same path of God’s plan, your plans, no matter how creative they are, will not succeed or bring you profit. Until the Lord returns, which will not be this May 21 as some reckless so-called Christian leaders are announcing, we will see many things happen in the world that were never seen before as a result of unbridled and misaligned creativity. Let us use this creativity that we all have to find ways and means of serving our Lord Jesus Christ and how to fulfill the Great Commission that we all have been given. Seek the direction of the Holy Spirit to make sure that our activities have the approval of our heavenly Father, that we can fulfill our purpose and that our plans will succeed. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged Christianity, heart, Jesus, life, LORD, love, plans, prevail, Proverbs 19, purpose, spirituality, wisdom
Whoever keeps commandments keeps their life,
but whoever shows contempt for their ways will die.
God’s law given to Moses had and still has, for those who want to adhere to it, the purpose of guiding us to Christ. However, many have sought justification through the law without realizing the impossibility of meeting all its requirements. Those who did so realized they were enslaved by it but could not find another way to achieve justification. Even then, they remained clinging to it trying to achieve the impossible. Many still do not know that there is a better way, indeed the only possible way, which is by faith in the redemptive work of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. We note that the law itself is not bad. What we are saying is that the law does not justify or save us. Its validity still remains and we must adjust to it in spirit given that our sinful nature will not do it. The apostle Paul said to the Roman believers: “For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Abiding the law keeps his life and, more importantly, pleases God. Whoever ignores its precepts is defeated by sin and we know that “the wages of sin is death” so he or she “falls short of the glory of God.” Let us walk, then, according to God’s Spirit and not according to the sinful nature that dominates our body. Only a mind controlled by the Holy Spirit of God can resist and overcome the evil influences of the flesh. To God alone be the glory!
The fear of the LORD leads to life;
then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
When someone has no fear of authority, he is capable of committing any kind of mischief. While the word fear is intimately associated with the idea of being afraid, it is also associated with feeling respect and reverence towards a person, a situation, an animal or an object. You may have heard the expression “I do not fear the sea, but I respect it.” Well, this is more or less the sense of the word fear as used in today’s passage. The Merriam-Webster Online dictionary defines fear as “profound reverence and awe especially toward God”. Another meaning for the word fear is “un unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger”, the latter being the most common use for this word. The fear of the Lord consists of reverence, respect and the obedience that necessarily arises from the first two. Returning to today’s passage, we see that the result or outcome of showing fear ─reverence, awe─ toward what God represents ─justice, discipline, correction, etc.─ is a quiet life that is free of problems.
Is this not the life we all seek? Why, then, so few can achieve the goal of a peaceful and contented life? The answer is that very few people are moving down the path of the fear of God and even when directed to do so, they assume that fear involves apprehension or terror. In consequence, they end up in a state of anguish worse than what they were experiencing before. Let us draw near to God with fear ─respect, reverence, obedience─ and we will be following the path of life. Only Jesus Christ, who defeated death, can give you life and life in abundance. To God alone be the glory!