Like clouds and wind without rain
is one who boasts of gifts never given.
This year has been marked by unusual weather. While in some places they have seen the worst floods they can remember elsewhere there has been a drought without precedent in the history of weather data collection. Most affected are those who make a livelihood by farming. They would immediately understand today’s verse in light of their painful experiences with the weather. When the sky fills with clouds and the hopes for rain grow in the hearts of those who eagerly await there is nothing that causes more disappointment than to see how the wind carries the clouds to another location before they are relieved of their precious cargo . Likewise, these clouds full of false promises resemble those that boast of how generous and detached they are, although they never give anything to anyone because of their selfishness and stinginess.
Sometimes the failure to keep promises is due to the strong but short enthusiasm with which some of us face the challenges and tasks at hand. If our temperament is like the apostle Peter’s, sanguine, it is very likely that we are always impulsive and restless with everything we have to do to a short time to later fail in the fulfillment of what we intended to accomplish. This would not bring serious consequences if we were the only ones affected by the breach. When our informality affects others, they and our testimony are impacted negatively, something that probably we are not wanting to happen. If we know what are the trends of our dominant temperament let us pause and consider before promising anything. Be that our weakness is manifested by arrogance or personal style, we must be careful to always present a good testimony before others. Let us be transformed by the power of God working in our lives. To God alone be the glory!
Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time
is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him;
he refreshes the spirit of his master.
For those of us who are “enjoying” a very hot summer, the image of snow certainly gives us a nice sense of freshness. In a year when the drought has ravaged crops and decimated the water resources that are within our reach, we cannot wait for autumn and its inseparable successor, winter, to come with their cold and refreshing breaths. Enter a room with air conditioning after exposure even for a short time to the relentless and oppressive heat of the street and you will feel a pleasant sense of relief and tranquility. Likewise we can feel that we renew our spirit and relief takes the place of concern when we have someone responsible in charge of performing the tasks that have been assigned to him and he engages them with great commitment. As we apply the golden rule that Jesus taught us, when we happen to be the executors of the plan we must be very accountable and effective in performing the tasks under our responsibility in the same way we would like that others would carry out the activities we entrust them with.
Many times we do things just for the sake of seeing them fulfilled and to get rid of the concern that bothers us when the tasks have not been fully carried out. There is nothing wrong with that but it is better when the same activities are executed considering the welfare and peace of mind of those who ordered them. Let us be responsible with everything, small or large, that we have been given for our action. The joy of accomplishment and the satisfaction of he who has given us the responsibility of completing the task are the best awards that we can receive. To God alone be the glory!
What you have seen with your eyes
do not bring hastily to court,
for what will you do in the end
if your neighbor puts you to shame?
Proverbs 25:7 b-8
One of the things that makes us very human and not necessarily in the best sense of the word is our speed to make judgments. Very often when facing a situation or when we observe the behavior of our neighbors, we analyze the data available and with blazing speed we reach a conclusion, usually a damning and wrong conclusion. From the point of view of probabilities is very possible that we’re right for sin is the norm rather than the exception, but a judgment can not rely on probabilities but on facts and solid evidence. Usually we do not know all the details of an issue, unfortunately that does not prevent us from reaching a conclusion as if we knew all about it. That desire to issue a judgment, despite not having all the details is what gets us in trouble many times. Firstly because we are arriving at erroneous conclusions because we do not have all the necessary information and secondly because it is likely that we share our opinion with others therefore becoming bearers of gossip and intrigue.
The Lord Jesus was very clear about those who fall in this error and calls them hypocrites: «Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.» In any case, we must help to carry each other loads and do not complain about each other that we be not judged. The only judge is the Lord Jesus and we will all be held accountable for our actions or omissions. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged Christianity, court, God, Jesus, judgement, love, neighbor, Proverbs 25, righteousness, shame, wisdom
If you find honey, eat just enough—
too much of it, and you will vomit.
It is not good to eat too much honey,
nor is it honorable to search out matters that are too deep.
One of the biggest weaknesses of humans is their inability to manage and control their emotions. Not that we should become unshakable icebergs that only convey coldness and hardness but we should not give vent to what our body and sinful nature demand of us. Emotions are not bad in themselves. They are part of our basic nature, but when they are left free to do as they please they become a heavy burden and a stumbling block to those who recklessly forsake their control. Self-control is necessary because our being may feel good and bad emotions. Both types of emotions must be controlled by our will or else we become beasts without reason. If any kind of emotions is not controlled, we would not be able control ourselves when we are dragged away by our own evil desire and enticed. When this control fails sin is begotten and we all know the consequences.
The apostle Peter told us that the self-control is a quality that if it abounds in us, along with other qualities such as faith, perseverance, virtue and love, we will grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and we will avoid becoming worthless and unproductive people. Self-control is part of the cluster of fruit of the Spirit and it can only be obtained when we are guided by him. Remember that, no matter how good something may look, everything done in excess is bad and that our purpose in life is to serve our Lord Jesus and not to serve ourselves. Let us look for the direction of the Holy Spirit of God that will enable us, strengthen us and allow us to place our emotions under control. To God alone be the glory!
Like apples of gold in settings of silver
is a ruling rightly given.
Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold
is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear.
Conflict typically is the product of misunderstandings. Misunderstandings in turn, stem from lack of communication. Lack of communication may be caused by fear of hurting someone’s feelings. Fear of hurting susceptibilities often comes from bad experiences in which we have hurt others when our words were said with neglect. What we need to consider is whether those words that have hurt others were intentional. If the original intention was based on a genuine love, we should not worry about the situation they could have had caused. If the intention was to hurt, then we have an issue of sin that we must acknowledge and bring to our Heavenly Father in prayer so that we are forgiven. If speaking out is necessary, love can not remain silent. Our words of encouragement should always be pronounced with the purpose of building up and not destroying. Even if our intentionally kind words cause harm, we must pronounce them as long as we are sure that they come from a true heart and sincere love.
Now let’s get on the side of the recipient. How have we taken the things someone else has said? Have we received them with humility, knowing that they will help us grow or, on the contrary, have we taken them as an aggression which deserves a forceful response from our side? If our attitude as recipients of the message is not a conflictive, we may greatly benefit from the advice. If instead, we are always on the defensive, whatever we hear will be understood as an attack and the fire of conflict will be kindled. Remember that love “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Let us, therefore, stay alert so we do not get caught in the traps of the enemy. To God alone be the glory!
If you take your neighbor to court,
do not betray another’s confidence,
or the one who hears it may shame you
and the charge against you will stand.
When people go to court seeking justice, they ─and this applies for both parties ─ typically lie in order to strengthen their case. Soon, the truth of the matter is obscured by the number of inaccuracies that are put forward by both sides. Worse still, some folks are capable of breaking confidentiality agreements to increase their chances of success at the expense of the confidant. Nothing good can come out of saving one’s reputation at the expense of somebody else’s shoes specially at the expense of someone who has put his/her trust in you. Now, the selfish and sinful nature everybody has may prove to be more powerful than good intentions and will usually end up leading us to do what we should not do; unless, of course, a power stronger than sin stands in its way and prevents the wrong action from taking place.
As children of God all we have to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Violating this principle will only destroy our witness. Let us always stay close to the truth and we will remain focused on the path that God has set for each one of us. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the truth and acting in a honest manner at all times is an indication ─even to ourselves─ that we are following in his footsteps. . To do otherwise will only damage our witness. ¡To God alone be the glory!