Practical Proverbial, from 2 Thessalonians, 10 August 2018

So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. 2 Thessalonians 2:15 (NIV).

Why should we hold onto teachings of a bunch of old, dead, white guys?

That’s a refrain you hear a lot in our popular culture these days.   Mostly it concerns the US Constitution, written over 200 years ago by (now) old, dead, white guys; as if being old or Caucasian alone would either qualify or disqualify someone as reputable.  It’s a stupid argument, really, that we should ignore something because the authors aren’t alive anymore or because they were of a certain race.   It’s foolish.

Yet that same argument is used to justify ignoring the teachings of the Bible.   After all, they’re much older than the Constitution.   And the men who wrote them were men (sexism!) and if not white they were at least Mediterranean and Semitic in nature (racists!).   The purveyors of foolishness would have people believe that being male, white, Semitic, or aged should disqualify things they say.   Perhaps that would qualify much of Hollywood and the leaders of popular culture as well…but I digress.

Instead, here’s a chance to ignore all of what those around us would say and stand up for Jesus.  There’s an old hymn that says just that:   stand up, stand up for Jesus.   Stand up today.  Stand up for what you believe instead of being talked down by the vapid arguments of people with other agendas.   More importantly than standing up, though, stand firm.  Be firm and resolute in saying “I believe.”  Every day is a new opportunity to be your own Martin Luther and say “here I stand” by basing your stand in your belief in Christ.

That isn’t easy, especially when the small minds of popular culture have a loud voice.   When academia, media, and even corporate culture are standing against you.   When it’s easier to give in.   When so many evangelicals make standing up for Jesus a difficult, unpopular, and corny thing.  Our world is hostile to this faith; 2 Thessalonians spends much of its verbiage talking about how faith will be challenged at the end of all things.   Of how the world will do what it’s doing to believers, many of whom overseas are being physically martyred for standing up for Jesus.

Stand anyway.

Stand firm in knowing that who you’re standing for, what you believe, and the Savior who makes it possible is standing beside you.   He is with you in Spirit and inside you.   The strength to stand is the strength of God’s Spirit coursing through your veins.  You may be basing your faith on the words of old, dead, white guys, yet those words are given from God Almighty Himself:  He who has no age, eternal life, no race, and is never foolish.

For further reading:  1 Corinthians 16:13, 2 Thessalonians 2:16.

Lord, I stand for You, for Your love, Your peace, Your strength, Your kingdom.


Daily Proverbial, from Ruth, 7 March 2014

At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar.”  When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over. As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, “Let her gather among the sheaves and don’t reprimand her. Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.”  So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah.  She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough.  Ruth 2, verses 14-18.

Love preserves dignity.   Love cherishes dignity.   Love enhances, grows, celebrates, encourages, and fosters dignity.   Do we?

I really enjoy different kinds of music.  Not so much today’s music, though some of that is good as well.   So I have a challenge for you.   After you’re done reading this, go out and listen to a few songs on popular radio.   The genre doesn’t matter:   listen for what the lyrics say.  When you’re done, ask yourself this:   were the lyrics dignified?  

Now, this isn’t the old “my music is better than your music” thing that parents argue with their kids; the parents are usually right.   Undignified music is as old as the Marriage of Figaro, maybe older.  But have we sunken even lower, even in some of the tamer music in today’s pop culture?   Miley came in like a wrecking ball; what did she wreck?  You know. 

What would Boaz think?   He was interested in Ruth, impressed with her, and favorable to her.   If he wasn’t in love, he was on his way there.   What was his reaction?   It wasn’t some hip hop mess of libidinous savagery.   It wasn’t some country bumpkin lovin down by the river.   It wasn’t rock star bad boy metal crashing.  It wasn’t even a melodious classical sonnet

Boaz treated Ruth with dignity.  Maybe he even sang to her.   Most popular lyrics are poetic in nature, or at least they try to be.   The more you read the book of Ruth, the more it sounds like a story poem to me.   It’s rhythmic in nature, almost musical in the way it romantically flows.   Woven into that rhythm is the subtle dignity with which Boaz courted Ruth.   He did nothing to shame her, or to make her feel obliged, or to make her feel uncomfortable. 

Tell me, even when God is harsh with us, doesn’t God still treat us in ways that preserve our dignity?  Seems to me that everyone on the radio could learn something from Boaz.

Lord, I praise You for the dignified way in which you treat us.


Read Ruth 2.


In your own relationship, do you treat your partner with dignity?

Do you expect dignity in return?

What have you done to merit that?