Saturday In The Proverbs—Don’t Judge By Outward Appearances (Proverbs 23)

[Each chapter in the Book of Proverbs contains thoughts that fit into a theme; they are not just random thoughts gathered together. In this “Saturday In The Proverbs” series, I will share a theme that I see in each chapter. But the cool thing about God’s Word is that you may see an entirely different theme. That’s great! If you do, I would love for you to share it in the comments below.]

…they are deceptive food (Proverbs 23:3).

Jesus said, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly” (John 7:24). That means we have to look beyond the surface; we have to see things as they really are, not as we want them to be. 

Things like…

…the outward appearances of wealth aren’t the same thing as true riches (vv. 1-3, 6, 8)

…overwork doesn’t mean it’s good work or a noble work ethic (vv. 4-5) 

…just because someone hears you doesn’t mean they are truly listening to you (v. 9)

…just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it (vv. 10-11)

…children may grumble in the moment of correction, but they will be truly thankful in the end (vv. 12-5, 22-25)

…sinners aren’t “getting away” with their sins (vv. 17-18)

…people who “party hardy” aren’t necessarily enjoying themselves (vv. 19-21, 29-35)

…pornography and other sexual sins aren’t victimless crimes or “no one is getting hurt” activities (vv. 26-28) 

As the Holy Spirit to show you the truth. Ask Him to show you the ultimate consequences of your activities. Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly. 

6 Quotes On Meekness From “The Blessing Of Humility”

The Blessing Of HumilityAs I stated in my review of Jerry Bridges’ book The Blessing Of Humility, reading through these thoughts slowly—Beatitude by Beatitude—would bring about the most life-changing impact. In that spirit, I will be sharing some noteworthy quotes one Beatitude at a time. Here are some quotes on blessed are the meek (Matthew 5:5)…

“Meekness is not being timid, spineless, unassertive, and easily dominated. It is not a natural niceness. In fact, it has nothing to do with one’s personality or temperament.”

“There is then a twofold expression of meekness: first toward God and then toward other people. Meekness toward God involves: (1) responsiveness to His Word; (2) submission to His Providence.”

“As I reflect on our evangelical community to the extent I am aware of it, it seems we are more knowers of the Word than doers of the word. … Instead we too often use the Scriptures not as a means of judging ourselves but as a means of judging others, especially those whose sins are more flagrant than ours. The meek person, in contrast, searches the Scriptures (or listens to it taught) not to judge others but to allow the Holy Spirit to judge him or her. In fact, the meek person earnestly desires the Spirit to use His Word to effect a deep change in his or her inner being.”

“Thomas Watson wrote that meekness toward other people consists of three things: the bearing of injuries, the forgiving of injuries, and the returning of good for evil.”

“Because we have been forgiven so much, we have an obligation to forgive those who sin against us. Yet our motive for forgiving should not be our obligation but the realization of how much we have been forgiven.”

“Meekness towards man means bearing patiently with the hurtful actions of others and dealing gently with their failures, not only in the assurance that all of these are under God’s providential control, but in the knowledge that, left to ourselves, we have no claim to be any stronger than the weakest of our friends or any better than the worst of our enemies.” —John Blanchard

I have previously shared quotes on:

Quotes on the next Beatitude will be posted soon. Stay tuned…

3 Lessons From Obadiah

Obadiah

Photo (c) Laura Kranz at The Overview Bible Project (click on the photo for more info)

The prophet Obadiah wrote just 21 verses around 840 B.C. I know that the last 12 books of the Old Testament are referred to as “minor prophets” (not because of quality or validity, but because of length), but this prophet packs a major punch. Here are three lessons I learned from Obadiah―

[1] Pride is a killer.

The pride of your heart has deceived you (v. 3). Pride makes me believe the best about myself and the worst about everyone else; it’s unbalanced scales. Pride allows me to excuse my sins, even calling them “virtues,” while at the same time hypocritically judging the “sins” of others.

[2] It is God’s place to judge, not mine.

You should not look down on your brother in the day of his misfortune (v. 12). My place is to love God and love others—to help and not condemn—to extend mercy, not judgment. Even if my enemy stumbles I shouldn’t rejoice or gloat (Proverbs 24:17-18), how much less when it’s my brother who has stumbled!

[3] Live as if Judgment Day were tomorrow.

The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head (v. 15). Boom! The measure I use will be the measure I receive. The One Who neither sleeps nor slumbers sees all I do, and He will judge perfectly.

Don’t miss the major messages in the “minor” prophets!

Koinonia

All inIn 2007, Dave Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons published a book called unChristian. In it they reported the cultural view of Christians: haters, judgmental, hypocritical, too involved in politics, out of touch, insensitive, boring.

Do any of these words fit Jesus? No, I’ve never heard anyone—whether in the Bible or in the history of that day—call Jesus a hypocrite, or boring, or a hater. Do any of these words fit the apostles who began to spread the message of Jesus Christ after His ascension? No! Again, I’ve never read anywhere where the early Christians were called judgmental, or too political, or out of touch.

But if these labels are thrown at Christians today—Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you (1 John 3:13)—the Bible tells us how to reverse them: By living counter culture, by living according to God’s Word. In a word, by living in koinonia.

This is a Greek word that isn’t used in the Gospels, but shows up just after the first Church is born on the day of Pentecost. It’s a word and a concept that simply won’t work in a pragmatic culture, but works powerfully in a biblical counter culture. The word is usually translated fellowship in English.

Koinonia is how the Trinity operates (see 2 Corinthians 13:14). All three Persons of the Godhead are mentioned in fellowship with each other. There is no rivalry in the Trinity, but if any part of it is diminished, so is its total effectiveness and glory.

trinity of koinoniaChristians are called to be part of a trinity of koinonia as well.

  • When I worship God, I am energized to be in fellowship with others.
  • My fellowship with others that flows from my love for God empowers them to worship God for themselves.
  • The overflow of that relationship with God encourages others to be in fellowship with me.
  • And that fellowship energizes me to worship God even more deeply, which encourages my fellowship with others, which empowers them for deeper worship… and on and on and on it goes!

Koinonia is an ALL IN relationship. It’s not something I can dabble in, or be involved with occasionally. I’m either in koinonia, or I’m not.

To see a great example, look at the Christians the very first time the word koinonia is used in Scripture. Acts 2:42-47 shows us how the Christians were not only all in (the Bible uses the word devoted), but how others in the community responded: they were in awe and viewed the Christians with favor. And as a result, lives were being changed every single day.

Yes! That’s what I want to be a part of! How about you?

Judge Or Father?

I’m still thinking about the powerful worship time we had in our Impact youth service on Wednesday night. I can’t think of another way to describe it, except to say that it was intimate.

We sang a song written by Michael Gungor called Wrap Me In Your Arms. The lyrics are simple —

There is a God who loves me
Who wraps me in His arms
And that is the place where I’m changed
And that’s where I belong

Take me to that place, Lord
To that secret place where
I can be with You
You can make me like You
Wrap me in Your arms
Wrap me in Your arms
Wrap me in Your arms

Far too many people view God as a Judge. Make no mistake, God will judge all of humanity at the end of the age, but in the meantime Scripture portrays God as a loving Father who wants to wrap us in His arms.

I love the picture in the story Jesus tells of the prodigal son: The young man who ran away from his father and squandered all of the wealth he had taken with him. When he reached the end of his rope, the wayward son turned toward home. If you were thinking of returning home after embarrassing your father and throwing away his money, would you want to return to a judge or a father?

The young man did turn toward home, and his father ran to him and wrapped him in his arms! How amazing!

On Wednesday night I encouraged our youth group to simply stretch their arms out toward their Heavenly Father and feel Him wrap them in His arms. It was so special to see tear-streaked cheeks and outstretched arms in the loving embrace of a God who loves anyone who turns to Him. Awesome!

I encourage you to do the same.

If you’ve blown it … if you feel distant from God … if you feel like you’ve let Him down … if you feel like you’ve embarrassed Him … see Him as a Father who is longing for you to return to Him. He will not judge you, but He will wrap you in His arms and make everything new.

If you wait until your life here is over without ever turning to God, then you will have to face God the Judge. Don’t wait! Embrace God your Father today.

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