Practical Proverbial, from 1 Timothy, 13 February 2019

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  1 Timothy 6:9 (NIV).

I prefer to stay on the positive side of this verse.   Those who know me well will find this surprising.   In fact, my wife calls me “Eeyore” because I usually look on the downside of things.   For Everyday Dave, this verse would be a great place to stop.  It’s a lighthouse, warning of rocks just up ahead near the shore.  We’ll probably mess it up anyway.

But that’s an outlook I want to change.  The verse IS a lighthouse, and it’s one that calls us safely home.   Lately, I’ve been daily contemplating Galatians 5, specifically the verses about the fruits of the Spirit.  I read the verses and then look for ways to put them into practice each day, one per month while compounding them.   January was love month; February is love and joy; March will be love, joy, and peace.   You get the idea.  If you haven’t ever really contemplated them, check out Galatians 5:22-23.

Then put them into action because they are the opposite of what Paul describes in verse 9.   And if you think about it, they are the things Paul could say ARE worthy of our attention instead of desire for money, or running into the traps and temptations that lead to ruin and destruction.   How many of us could avoid pitfalls of sin if we would simply find better things on which to focus?   Let’s keep our eyes on the ways Jesus acts, then watch how things begin to improve.

If we are always looking for ways to get ahead, we probably will miss some of the signs around us that point us to ways we can get involved in what Jesus is doing.   Just prior to this verse, Paul had reminded Timothy to be content with only what God provides for our most basic needs.   Anything more than contentment can run the risk of walking the proud walk down the yellow brick road of temptation.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”  Man, those are things worth showing off to the world.   They’re the antidote to swallowing too much desire to get rich.   When we talk about focusing on Jesus, a great way to start doing that is by focusing on ways we can let His Spirit remake us around these behaviors He exhibits.  If we do that, when temptations come, it becomes easier to turn from them.   That’s a wealth worth having.

Eeyore might just agree.

For further reading:   Galatians 5:22-23, Proverbs 15:27, Proverbs 28:20, 1 Timothy 6:10.

Magnificent Lord, I’m not always a good follower.   I’ve turned my attention away from You.   Thank You for not turning away from Me, and I ask You to remake me in the ways of Your Spirit today. 

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Practical Proverbial, from 2 Thessalonians, 31 July 2018

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 (NIV).

Are you easily deceived?

Cards on the table time:   I’m easily duped.  I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to discerning peoples’ intentions.  I’m quick to trust and sometimes quick to put my trust in people and things that I shouldn’t.   I’m also somewhat co-dependent, and that can make for a poisonous mixture if we aren’t careful.  Yet I believe in God without question and believe that, if the lawless one arrives during my life, I’d be able to summon the neurons to perceive and reject him.   Yet would that be the case?

So many people today are tempted to cry out “God, why do you let this happen to me” when things go wrong for them.  Cancer, financial struggles, joblessness, divorce, temptations, loneliness, mental struggles:   every time something plagues us it’s so easy to blame God first before getting down to the nub of what’s actually happening.   I wonder how many who are quick to blame God would be easily deceived by the evil one when the man of lawlessness begins to reveal himself.

If the ‘man of lawlessness’ doesn’t appear in the exact way Jesus said He Himself would, then the man of lawlessness will have revealed himself to be the fraud he really is.  It won’t be hard to tell.  False Christ?   Man of lawlessness.   Unexplainable miracles that don’t attribute to God?   Man of lawlessness.   Takes credit for things seemingly miraculous things he didn’t do?   Man of lawlessness (or candidate for Congress).  Flowery words without substance, leading people down primrose paths, the left hand not matching what the right one does:   man of lawlessness (or another politician).

And many will believe him.  Willingly.  Enthusiastically.

People are so hungry for meaning that they will jump at the first chance they see, thinking they are placing their faith wisely when, in fact, they’re laying it at the feet of a devil.  Billions of people alive in that day will believe in that person and think he is Christ incarnate when, in fact, he won’t be.   Will you be one of them?   Are you easily deceived?

The way to know is to follow the word of God.   Get to know Christ one on one.   Converse with Him.   Read about Him.   Make Him a priority.   Follow Him.   Trust.  When you do those things, it’ll be easy to tell the difference between the real thing and a phony imitation.

For further reading:  Matthew 4:10, Matthew 24:24, Revelation 13:13, John 4:48, 1 Corinthians 1:18, Proverbs 4:6, John 3:17-19, 2 Thessalonians 2:11.

Lord, help me always to cleave close to You and to examine all things through Your words.