Friday, April 24, 2009

Courage and Fear

Courage - Facing death and choosing to do what is right anyway. 

We, in America, have a very "light" view of what courage is. For many American Christians, the most courageous thing we have done is confessing our sin to another person. Here, we don't have to face threats of imprisonment or death for sharing the Gospel. 

Courage is not the absence of fear, but it is dealing properly with our fear. 

Joshua 1:6 is the first time that God told Joshua to "be strong and courageous." How could Joshua do this? In Joshua 1:5, we find the key. "Joshua, you can be strong and courageous because I will never leave you or forsake you." Knowing (and fearing) God is the key to courage. 

"Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway." - John Wayne

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Love

This month is dedicated to studying the principle of "Love" and the character quality of "Courage."

What are some definitions of love?
What are some definitions of courage?
What do love and courage have to do with each other? 

Love – Does the love that God has for me and I for Him motivate me to action? Am I so concerned about Christ’s reputation that I don’t care about my own? Though God does not need to have His reputation defended, we are called in Scripture to “walk worthy of the name by which we are called." God is the incarnation of perfect love, as seen in the Scripture passage which reads "God is love." 

Proverbs 23:13-14 - It requires courage to act on love by disciplining a child or confronting/correcting a peer. The chastening of the Lord proves His love for us. It is not easy to confront a person, but if we love them, we will be willing to step out and share the truth and challenge them.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Brotherly Kindness - Proverbs 18

Welcome back from Spring Break, apprentices!

Proverbs 18
Vs. 9 - "He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster."

Do we unknowingly contribute to the destruction of others by wasting opportunities to love others?

Vs. 21 - "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof."

We have the power to encourage and to tear down. There are life-giving reproofs. We can give death to our neighbor by not saying anything at all (Ezekiel – the watchman). 


"Wisdom is the application of knowledge gained from studying both God’s written Word and His revealed truth in Creation." - J.P. Moreland, Love Your God With All Your Mind

According to the Bible, developing a Christian mind is part of the very essence of discipleship unto the Lord Jesus. (1 Peter 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:15; 1 Timothy 4:15-16)


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Proverbs 1: Wisdom

Proverbs 1

Following God's wisdom will give you boundaries. There must be a distinction, however, between boundaries and bondage. In truth, boundaries give us freedom instead of taking it away.

vs. 10 - There is wisdom in preparation for what will come our way. We will be tempted - are you ready to deal with it? Wisdom determines in advance that it will have nothing to do with evil.

Brotherly kindness, in practical application, can not be based upon a foundation of mocking, sarcasm and deceitful words. The man who is laying a trap for another man, to see him fall - whether for malicious purposes or for "entertainment" is not exercising brotherly kindness (Proverbs 1:11-14). We are called to lift our brothers up when they fall and to steady them when they are weak. 

Men choose daily to ignore wisdom. As Augustine said, "Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering." We look upon the wonder of the creation around us, and yet say that "there can be no God." We look upon our circumstances and say "God cannot be good." How does this relate to Romans 1 where it speaks of "the minds of them that believe not have been blinded?" Proverbs depicts wisdom as a character of God. Are unbelievers blinded to the wisdom of God? It would seem so, in considering James 3:15-17, which tells of the differentiation of the wisdom of this world and the wisdom from above. True wisdom, then, acccording to James 1:5, comes only from God. As sinners, yet at enmity with God and unredeemed by His grace, we are unable to call upon the wealth of the resources of the wisdom of God. But saved by the grace of God, we have been given boldness and access with confidence (Ephesians 3:12) to the overwhelming riches of the wisdom of God. It would then be only foolishness to not heed the cry of wisdom, choose the fear of the Lord, and walk in the riches given to us.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Brotherly Kindness

What is the difference between brotherly kindness and love? Brotherly kindness is love based upon a relationship that gives a different perspective than does love that is expressed unconditionally to everyone regardless of relationship. 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wisdom

Wisdom is the inclusion of knowledge and understanding learned by experience (applying the knowledge to get understanding to have the experience). Wisdom is not just acquired knowledge. Our "heart-knowledge," or wisdom, is based upon the head-knowledge. We must take every thought captive because that is what our heart knowledge is based upon. So we must acquire knowledge, and then by temperance and perseverance through the trials, we then develop wisdom. From that wisdom we have an empathy and compassion which we call brotherly kindness because we now have a relational understanding. 

Proverbs 19:8 - "He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good."

Wisdom - H3820 - A form of H3824 (heart; tender-hearted); the heart; also used (figuratively) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect; likewise for the centre of anything: -  + care for, comfortably, consent, X considered, courag [-eous], friend [-ly], ([broken-], [hard-], [merry-], [stiff-], [stout-], double) heart ([-ed]), X heed, X I, kindly, midst, mind (-ed), X regard ([-ed)], X themselves, X unawares, understanding, X well, willingly, wisdom.

Thus, God is the only one that can give wisdom - Ezekiel 11:19 - "And I will give them a new heart, a heart of flesh and not of stone." He must be the one who gives us a heart of flesh to replace our natural heart of stone. (James 3:17 - "But the wisdom that is from above is frist pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, without hypocrisy.")

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Brotherly Kindness

There is a knee-jerk response if someone is picking on your sibling - you beat up the guy who's beating up your brother. Why? Because he's your brother. Our kindness in this response is connected with a relational issue. 

If I'm not relationally connected, how kind would we be to another person? If it was just "kindness," we would be dealing with an entirely different avenue - but this is "brotherly kindness."

If you see a dog attacking another human, there is a comradrie there as well - "I'm a human, that's a human, it might attack me too. We better do something about this."

Who is your brother? Who is your neighbor? 


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Praise & Obedience

Proverbs 14:2 - "He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the Lord: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth Him." Our obedience is a measure of our godliness. If we are living before the face of God, we will be obedient to Him.

Psalm 104:1 - “O Lord my God, thou art very great.” This ascription has in it a remarkable blending of the boldness of faith, and the awe of holy fear: for the Psalmist calls the infinite Jehovah “my God,” and at the same time, prostrate in amazement at the divine greatness, he cries out in utter astonishment, “Thou art very great.”

Friday, March 13, 2009

Godliness

Godliness is all I am choosing to love and glorify the Lord.

Praise is the natural expression of godliness. A man whose life is consumed with God cannot help but to praise Him.

Psalm 103:4 - "Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;"
Lovingkindness: Strong's H2617 - kindness towards God, piety
Piety is also one of the words in the Strong's definition of godliness, thus, by implication, we cannot hope to be godly except by the gift of the grace of God.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Psalm 40

Who God is in Psalm 40:
- Hears
- Rescues
- Establishes
- Gives us a song of praise to sing to Him
- Does wonderful works
- Knows all
- Faithful
- Author of salvation
- Love
- Merciful
- Righteous
- Kindness
- Source of truth; is truth
- Deliverer
- Thinks upon us (more than can be numbered!)

The godly man is not exempt from trials and temptation, rather he sees God in the trials and praises Him through even the darkest night because his thoughts are fixed on God.