Saturday In The Proverbs—A Man Of Steeled Character (Proverbs 24)

[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.]

If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small (Proverbs 24:10).

Character is forged like steel—with fire and hammering. 

There are blessings that will come in no other way than for a man or woman to let God forge steel-like character in them. 

A man of steeled character…

…doesn’t try to go along with those who cut corners (vv. 1-2, 15), but builds his foundation on godly wisdom and righteousness (vv. 3-4). 

…seeks counsel from other wise people (vv. 5-8). 

…stands strong in times of adversity (v. 10). 

…rescues those heading toward destruction (vv. 11-12). 

…knows the boundaries and the blessings of temperance (vv. 13-14). 

…isn’t kept down when he stumbles, and never rejoices when others stumble (vv. 16-18). 

…never frets because of evil people (vv. 19-22). 

…is fair, impartial, and just (vv. 23-26). 

…has an outstanding work ethic (v. 27), unlike the one lacking in character (vv. 30-34). 

…doesn’t slander others nor try to “get even” with someone who attacked him (vv. 28-29). 

Are you willing to let God forge steel-like character in you?

Saturday In The Proverbs—Don’t Do This … But Do This (Proverbs 3)

[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.]

My son, do not … but … (Proverbs 3:1).

This chapter of Proverbs is filled with these contrasts—don’t do this, but do this instead—and then Solomon shared the blessings that follow when we do the right thing. 

Don’t forget God’s Word BUT keep it in your heart. Blessing—long life and peaceful days. 

Don’t lose sight of mercy and truth BUT find ways to remind yourself. Blessing—favor with God and man.

Don’t lean on your own understanding BUT lean on God’s wisdom. Blessing—God’s direction.

Don’t become enamored with yourself BUT fear God and avoid evil. Blessing—health and strength.

Don’t hoard God’s gifts to you BUT honor God with your possessions. Blessing—overflowing blessings.

Don’t despise God’s correction BUT learn from it. Blessing—wisdom, understanding, happiness.

Don’t forsake God’s wisdom BUT keep it squarely in front of your eyes. Blessing—grace, safety, security, sweet sleep, no fear, confidence.

Don’t withhold good from your neighbor BUT love your neighbor. Blessing—God’s blessing in your home.

Bottom line: Don’t do it your way, but do it God’s way!

9 More Quotes From “The Christian In Complete Armour”

William Gurnall penned wise words for Christian warriors nearly 400 years ago, but their timelessness is still evident today. Check out a few more quotes from The Christian In Complete Armour

“The devil cannot think of anything he had rather glory in than to wound God’s name with His own sword. He coaxes man to sin and then brags that God made him do it. … Instead of letting satan wrest Scripture from us by his wily stratagems, let us be excited to bless God for the sword He has furnished us out of His grace.”

“The Sword of the Spirit in another person’s hand will not defend you.”

“God calls all mankind—some by the voice of natural conscience and others by the loud shout of His Word—to join Him ‘against the mighty’ (Judges 5:23). He does this not because He needs our help but because He prefers to reward obedience rather than to punish rebellion.”

“‘The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good’ (Proverbs 15:3). He sees when you close your closet door to pray in secret and rewards your sincerity; but He also sees when the door is closed for you to sin in secret—and He will not fail to reward your hypocrisy.”

“When the Spirit convicts you of sin, satan will try to convince you, ‘It is such a little one—spare it.’ Or he will bribe the soul with a vow of secrecy: ‘You can keep me and your good reputation, too. I will not be seen in your company to shame you among your neighbors. You may shut me up in the attic of your heart, out of sight, if only you will let me now and then have the wild embraces of your thoughts and affections in secret.’”

“The Christian ought to rely on divine strength because this plan results in the greatest advancement of God’s own glory (Ephesians 1:4, 12). If God had given you a lifetime supply of His grace to begin with and left you to handle your own account, you would have thought Him generous indeed. But He is magnified even more by the open account He sets up in your name. Now you must acknowledge not only that your strength comes from God in the first place, but that you are continually in debt for every withdrawal of strength you make throughout your Christian course.”

“Here is a word for Christians. Knowing your strength lies wholly in God and not in yourself, remain humble—even when God is blessing and using you most. Remember, when you have your best suit on, who made it and who paid for it! God’s favor is neither the work of your hands nor the price of your own worth. How can you boast of what you did not buy? If you embezzle God’s strength and credit it to your own account, He will soon call an audit and will take back what was His all along.”

“As an earthly parent you rejoice to see your own good qualities reproduced in your children. God, the perfect Parent, longs to see His attributes reflected in His saints. It is this image of God reflected in you that so enrages hell; it is this at which the demons hurl their mightiest weapons. When God defends you, He also defends Himself. Now knowing that the quarrel is God’s, surely He will not have you go forth to war at your own expense!”

“Your Heavenly Father is so eager to care for you, that while you are timidly asking for a nibble of peace and joy, He is longing for you to open your mouth wide so He can fill it. The more often you ask, the better; and the more you ask for, the more He welcomes you.”

You can read my full review of William Gurnall’s book by clicking here. I have shared other quotes from The Christian In Complete Armour here and here.

Poetry Saturday—A Man

Edgar A. GuestA man doesn’t whine at his losses,
A man doesn’t whimper and fret,
Or rail at the weight of his crosses
And ask life to rear him a pet.
A man doesn’t grudgingly labor
Or look upon toil as a blight;
A man doesn’t sneer at his neighbor
Or sneak from a cause that is right.

A man doesn’t sulk when another
Succeeds where his efforts have failed;
Doesn’t keep all his praise for the brother
Whose glory is publicly hailed;
And pass by the weak and the humble
As though they were not of his clay;
A man doesn’t ceaselessly grumble
When things are not going his way.

A man looks on woman as tender
And gentle, and stands at her side
At all times to guard and defend her,
And never to scorn or deride.
A man looks on life as a mission.
To serve, just so far as he can;
A man holds his noblest ambition
On earth is to live as a man. —Edgar A. Guest

Thursdays With Oswald—The Value Of Temptation

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

The Value Of Temptation

     Temptation is not sin…. Temptation is something that exactly fits the nature of the one tempted, and is therefore a great revealer of the possibilities of the nature. … A good illustration of temptation is the way steel is tested. Steel can be “tired” in the process of testing, and in this way its strength is measured. … Temptation trains innocence into character or else into corruption. … 

     If the power to disobey were removed, our obedience would be of no value, for we should cease to be morally responsible. It is gloriously possible not to sin, but never impossible to sin, because we are moral agents. Morality must be militant in this order of things, but we can be “more than conquerors” every time. …

     Spiritual life is attained…by moral choices, whereby we test the thing that presents itself to us as being good. … Health is the balance between my physical life and external nature. If the fighting force on the inside begins to dwindle or is impaired, I get diseased, things outside begin to disintegrate my vital force. … The same is true spiritually; if I have enough spiritual fighting capacity, I will produce a character like Jesus Christ’s. Character must be attained, it is never given to us.

From The Philosophy Of Sin

It is interesting to think that what tempts us is a revealer of what’s really inside of us. We need to watch carefully what is enticing us toward sin, because that will help us see the areas of weakness in our lives.

God allows temptation to occur as a means of helping us submit that area of revealed weakness to His control. Lust is wanting something my way, and sin is when I give in to that lust. What I should do instead of giving in is submit that area of weakness to Christ’s Lordship.

I can develop the same character that Jesus Christ exhibited on earth, IF I will allow the Holy Spirit to develop that “vital force” in me. The Holy Spirit doesn’t give me character, but He gives me strength to overcome temptation and thus develop that Christ-like character.

Don’t confuse temptation with sin. But don’t treat temptation lightly either. See temptation for what it really is: (1) a revealer of an area of weakness in your heart, and (2) an opportunity for you to develop Christ-like character.

Thursdays With Oswald—God’s Plan For Building Spiritual Muscles

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

God’s Plan For Building Spiritual Muscles

     If a man has used his arm only for writing, and then becomes a blacksmith, he will groan for days with the tremendous pain in the deltoid muscle until by practice the time comes when there is no more pain because the muscle has become rightly adjusted to its new work. 

     The same thing happens spiritually, God begins to teach us how to walk and over and over again we begin to howl and complain. May God save us from the continual whine of spiritual babes—“Teach us the same things over and over again, don’t give us the revelations of God which are painful, give us the ‘simple gospel,’ what we have always believed, don’t tell us of things we have never thought about before, because that causes pain” (Hebrews 5:12). Of course it does. 

     Thank God there is a pain attached to being saved, the pain of growing until we come to maturity where we can do the work of a son or daughter of God. … 

     Look back over your life in grace, whether long or short, and ask yourself which are the days that have furthered you most in the knowledge of God—the days of sunshine and peace and prosperity? Never! The days of adversity, the days of strain, the days of sudden surprises, the days when the earthly house of this tabernacle was strained to its last limit, those are the days when you learned the meaning of this passion of “Go.” 

From The Philosophy Of Sin

The only way to build physical muscles is to push them beyond their comfort level.

The only way to build physical stamina is to run farther than you have run before.

The only way God can build our spiritual muscles—and our spiritual stamina—is to push us beyond our comfort zone, to challenge us to go deeper and farther than we’ve gone before. Don’t push Him away. God loves you too much to leave you where you are!

20 More Useful Maxims

Useful MaximsFor anyone who would like to get your message to “stick” with others—like parents, pastors, teachers, coaches, mentors—I highly recommend Useful Maxims by Brian Ridolfi. You can read my book review to get more background info on this innovative book.

I previously shared 20 useful maxims from Brian’s book, and now here is my next set of 20…

  1. Strong men do not always lift weak men, but weak men always bring down strong men. The lowest common denominator dominates.
  2. You cannot force someone to be tolerant without being intolerant toward their intolerance.
  3. Offending the truth for the sake of the offended is most offensive.
  4. Just fitting in fits in with just giving in.
  5. Prayer is a slayer. To not pray is to become prey.
  6. People aligned with good are maligned by evil.
  7. There is little success when little is involved.
  8. Better to make the last move than to make the first one.
  9. Smart men run from danger; wise men avoid it altogether. Better to prevent than to lament.
  10. Your life becomes a job whenever a job becomes your life.
  11. Those with no time to spare have no time to care.
  12. Wisdom becomes foolishness when foolishness becomes wisdom.
  13. A Christian without a Bible is like a knight without a sword.
  14. Relativists believe in relativism until they or their loved ones are victims.
  15. Vinegar is not bitter to those who have not tasted honey.
  16. Questions cannot be answered if answers cannot be questioned.
  17. Sound wisdom sounds odd in a world deaf to God.
  18. Bad entertainment entertains bad behavior.
  19. Good guys look bad when bad guys look good.
  20. To help the helpers is to help the helpless.

To read some of the other quotes from Useful Maxims that I am sharing, be sure to follow me on Twitter and on Tumblr.

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