April 23, 2009
America is a nation of slackers. Too many young men refuse to grow up, get jobs, marry and be responsible fathers. Instead, they spend their hours watching movies and playing video games.
Proverbs has a lot to say about the slacker. (Read these). He is lazy, sleeps too much, refuses to work, makes excuses, can’t be trusted and will ultimately come to poverty and death. Yet, he thinks he is wise! (Proverbs 26:16)
Now you may be thinking, praise God – I’m not a slacker! But, we all need to pause and think. We may not lounge the day away, but many of us make excuses and avoid our God-given responsibilities. Sometimes, we may even excuse our responsibilities by pursuing other less important priorities.
Please take a moment to consider what roles and responsibilities God has given you.
- Husbands, are you tending your family as carefully as your career – or are you slacking?
- Wives, are you busy at home or are you eating the bread of idleness?
- Young men and women, are you working hard to learn the skills and build the character that will make you a successful husband or wife?
- Christian, are you spending time with God, or are you rolling over in bed?
The fate of the slacker is not pretty (Proverbs 21:25, 24:30-34). Don’t ignore your responsibilities. Remember that God blesses those who work hard (Proverbs 10:4, 12:24). Then, get out there and do what God has called you to do!
Pastor Mike Walters
April 19, 2009
I’m back! I am planning to restart my blog. My primary goal is to equip members of my church (and anyone who cares to follow along) in their personal Bible reading and Scripture memorization. I may also resume posting occasional quotes, book reviews and reflections from my own studies.
My church is following a Bible Reading Plan developed by Tim Chester for the Edge Network. You can find it here. We are following the schedule for year three. This plan will take you through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice over three years. If you want to learn more about it you can read this article.
Our Scripture Memory program is following the Fighter Verses program developed by Bethlehem Baptist Church. I suggest following the 7 by 7 memorization and review plan. The “Fighter Verses” sight also has some excellent devotional and background material for each week’s verse.
Weekly Bible Reading: Proverbs 25-31
Weekly Memory Verse: Psalm 34:17-18
Suggestions for this week’s reading:
1. You can read a chapter of Proverbs a day. If you do this I would suggest trying to read each chapter twice. During your first reading look for the themes this chapter emphasizes. During your second reading, pick one major them and write down what the Proverbs teach about that theme.
2. You can read all of Proverbs 25-31 each day. This takes about 15-20 minutes. As you do pick a theme each day and see how it is developed. For example you might focus on what the Proverbs teach about kings, fools, slackers, or self-discipline.
3. Simply read at your own pace and write down themes and ideas that “jump out” at you. Spend some time thinking about why this proverb was important and how it applies to your life.
My goal this week will be to post some reflections on themes that span all of Proverbs 25-31.
April 30, 2007
David had a deep longing for God. In Psalm 42 he describes the longing as that of a thirsty deer. Yet,David’s longing was frustrated. He was in exile and couldn’t worship with God’s people at God’s house (42:4). He was discouraged and in despair. But, he refused to stay there.Instead of letting his circumstances rule him, David turned to God in faith. He reminded himself to “hope in God” (5,11). He reminded himself that God would deliver Him. God’s lovingkindness will not fail. He would praise Him again.
Read Psalm 42 today. Ask yourself, do I have this type of passion for God? Am I disturbed when I can’t be with God’s people in God’s house? When I am discouraged, do I turn to God, or to something else?
May give you a thirst that can only be satisfied in Him.
April 27, 2007
In Psalm 38 we find both the personal cost of sin and the solution. We don’t know the specific sin, but we know that David is suffering greatly. He feels the weight of God’s anger (38:2). His health is affected (38:3). He feels isolated even from friends and loved ones (38:11). His enemies are rising up against him (38:12). Make no mistake, there is a cost to sin. It may offer pleasure for a time, but the pain that follows far overshadows any passing pleasure.
But, David also gives a wonderful example of how to hope in God after we have sinned. First, he appeals to God’s mercy. He asks God not to rebuke and chasten Him in anger (38:1). Next, he remembers that his hope is completely in God (38:15). He doesn’t need to fight his opponents, listen to their attacks or defend himself. Instead, he does what all of us must do. He confesses his iniquity (38:18). He doesn’t try to hide it. He takes it to God and asks God to help him and save him (38:22).
How do you handle your sin? Do you simply try to hide it and go on with life? Or, do you follow the example of David and seek God’s mercy and salvation through humble, trusting confession?
Bible Reading: Numbers 3, Psalm 38, Song of Solomon 2, Hebrews 2
April 20, 2007
In 2 Timothy 3 Paul reminds Timothy that the last days will not be pleasant. The last days is a broad term that can (and in this context does) encompass the entire period from Jesus’ first coming to His second coming. Paul makes it clear that things are not going to get better before the return of Jesus. In fact, they will probably get worse. Men will be marked by selfishness, rebellion, hate and treachery. Interestingly, they will make claims to godliness (2 Tim 3:5), but really be lovers of pleasure (3:4). Paul’s description certainly matches life in America today. We should not be surprised by what we see in our culture and unfortunately even in the church, the Bible predicts it.
How it Timothy to respond to this? How are we to respond? First, we are to avoid these men. When men profess to know God, but deny Him by their deeds, we are to avoid them. They are like an infectious disease. Paul is confident that these men will be exposed in time. Second, we are to continue in godliness and the Scripture. It is the Scripture that will bring wisdom, salvation and equip us for every good work. We may suffer and be persecuted, but we will be found faithful if we remain rooted in the Scripture in the midst of a decaying culture and church.
Bible Reading: Leviticus 24, Psalm 31, Ecclesiastes 7, 2 Timothy 3
April 19, 2007
In 2 Timothy 2, Paul continues his instruction to Timothy. One of Timothy’s tasks is to make sure he remembers Jesus Christ, risen from the dead. He is to remind those he preaches and teaches of the resurrection. This is important because some are already spreading lies about it and these lies are upsetting the faith of some. Timothy is to gently but firmly oppose the error that our resurrection has already come. It hasn’t. We will rise when Jesus comes again (1 Corinthians 15:23). The danger of denying or misrepresenting the resurrection is clearly laid out in 1 Corinthians 15.
How he opposes this error is critical. He must handle the Bible accurately (2 Timothy 2:15). He must avoid irreverent, foolish talk and quarrels. And he must pursue holiness, gently, faithfully teaching the truth, praying that God will grant people repentance.
There is an important and delicate balance here. We are to oppose error and lies. But, we are not to do it by entering every argument and discussion. Timothy is told to “have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.” (2 Timothy 2:23). Instead, Timothy, and we, should focus on accurate consistent teaching of God’s Word. We are to focus on patiently teaching God’s word, gently correcting error, and waiting on God to turn peoples’ hearts to the truth.
Bible Reading Plan: Leviticus 23, Psalm 30, Ecclesiastes 6, 2 Timothy 2
April 18, 2007
One of Paul’s encouragements to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1 is not to be ashamed of either God’s Word or of Paul. There would be many reasons to be ashamed humanly speaking. The message of the gospel was an offense to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks (1 Corinthians 1:23). Preaching about Jesus frequently led to beatings and imprisonment. As Paul wrote, he sat in prison awaiting death. Yet, he encouraged Timothy not to be ashamed.
The reason Timothy was not to be ashamed is clear. The same reason applies to us. God has acted in our lives. God has acted in grace to save us for His purposes. We are not to be ashamed because the gospel is the message of life. We are not to be ashamed because we know Jesus and we know that He is able to keep our lives until the day of resurrection, when death will be completely abolished. We are not to be ashamed because we know the power, grace and faithfulness of God.
Bible Reading Plan: Leviticus 22, Psalm 28-29, Ecclesiastes 5, 2 Timothy 1