Learning from ants?

Proverbs 6:6 ¶ Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, 7 Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, 8 Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest.

Verse six reminded me this morning that one of the common characteristics of successful people is that they are self-motivated—they don’t wait for “it” to happen, they work hard to make “it” happen.

Like the ant, successful people do not need someone to standing over them to make sure that they work; successful people take pride in their work, they know what they need to do, and they work hard to reach their goals. The Apostle Paul was a very successful missionary. Take a look at his testimony below:

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

Successful people see roadblocks as challenges to overcome, and setbacks are not failures; they are opportunities to learn and grow from. For successful people the word “excuse” is not a part of their vocabulary.

On the other hand, the sluggard(unsuccessful people) is not self-motivated, if they work at all it is only for a pay check and not for the pride of accomplishment, they always have an excuse for why they cannot move forward, and they are parked in their failures. To the sluggard, the word of God says, “Go to the ant, … Consider her ways …  and be wise.”leafcutter ants

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Are We Servants or Slaves?

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Galatians 5:13 ¶ For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Amazingly, one of the most controversial sermons that I ever preached was based on this verse; particularly the phrase that says, “through love serve one another.”  What made this message so controversial (to some) was when I asked my Christian brothers and sisters this question: “Would you rather be a servant or a slave?”  To which, virtually everyone in the audience answered that they would rather be a servant.  No one wanted to be a slave.  Therefore, when I suggested to by fellow Christian “servants” that the word “serve” in the original language of the N.T. conveys not the image of a servant but the image of a slave, many in the audience got uncomfortable; some even got a little mad.

Let me suggest that the reason being slaves to one another make us feel uncomfortable is because of the different way in which we view the status of a servants and slaves.

  • Servants work for wages.  …………….  Slaves work for free
  • Servants can chose where and for whom they work ,,,,,,,,, Slave have no freedom and are bound to their master’s service
  • Servants retain a sense of personal pride or dignity ………  slavery is considered undignified and beneath us

No one wants to be a slave; even the founders of the United States-a slave owning country at the time-recognized:

We hold these truths to be self-evident,

that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator

with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

The idea of becoming a slave is abhorrent to us.  However, becoming a slave was not abhorrent to Jesus, “who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave.” (see Philippians 2:6,7 in the Holman Christian Standard Bible)  Therefore, if being a Christian is to be a follower of Jesus Christ, and if growing in our Christian faith means being transformed in to the image of Jesus Christ, than as Christians the image that we must bear is not the image of the self seeking, self promoting, self absorbed, and the selfish; all of which are characteristics of the old man, but not the new man that God has created in us (Ephesians 4:17-24; Colossians 3:8-9).

The image of Christ is a selfless image that loves with no strings attached, that serves without seeking the reward and the applause and the thank-yous of others (our reward is awaiting us in Heaven, and our applause will come from God when He says, “well done, you good and faithful slave”).  The image of Jesus is the image of a slave, as it is written:

Philippians 2:1-8 ¶If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death– even to death on a cross.

Get Wisdom!

wisdom seeker

Yes, “Wisdom is the principal thing”, and true wisdom is not found in books, discussion and focus groups, gossip columns, Google searches, or Wikipedia. Furthermore, wisdom cannot be found in religion.

True wisdom can be found in the person of Jesus Christ; as it is written:

1 Corinthians 1:30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God–and righteousness and sanctification and redemption– 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”

With this said, read the biography of Dr. Robert Dick Wilson below. Dr. Wilson was a brilliant man, who found true wisdom, not in academics, but in Christ. Enjoy.

Robert Dick Wilson (1856-1930) was fluent in 45 languages and dialects, including all of the Biblical and cognate languages, such as Hebrew, Greek, Babylonian, Phoenician, Coptic, various Aramaic dialects, French, German, and so forth. 45 languages and dialects in all.

Wilson could already read at the early age of four, and by the age of five he had read, among other books, Rawlinson’s Ancient Monarchies. Wilson graduated from Princeton University at the age of 20, and he read the New Testament fluently in nine languages by the time he got to seminary. He had memorized the entire New Testament in Hebrew, along with portions of the Old Testament, and it is said the he could recite the New Testament in Hebrew without missing so much as a syllable.

Dick Wilson demolished the critics of his day, especially the likes of the heretic S. R. Driver and the Graf-Wellhausen School. Wilson’s major publications, in which he not only annihilated the liberal critics, but also fortified the foundations of the study of the Old Testament with brilliant elucidations and conclusions, like nobody before or since, were, The Scientific Investigation Of The Old Testament, Is Higher Criticism Scholarly, Studies In the Book Of Daniel (a two-volume masterpiece, and THE classic defense of the book of Daniel), and a host of papers and treatises in various publications. An example of Wilson’s genius and scholarship can be seen in this short paper — The Veracity Of The Old Testament — which delivers conclusive evidence for the accuracy of the foundation and transmission of the Hebrew Text.

Wilson became the leading professor at Princeton Theological Seminary where he spent many years defending the Bible against all comers, as well as turning out students with a sound foundation of rare learning. Nearing the age of seventy, Wilson nevertheless produced a stirring moment for his students when, after a dissertation on the complete trustworthiness of Scripture, the renowned scholar said with tears streaming down his face —

“Young men, there are many mysteries in this life I do not pretend to understand,many things hard to explain. But I can tell you this morning with the fullest assurance that:

Jesus loves me, this I know

For the Bible tells me so!”

Three Crosses and Silhoutted Person in Prayer at Sunrise

A Priceless IPO That You Can Buy Without Money or Price

Psalms 19:7 ¶ The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.10 More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.

Last Thursday Alibaba was introduced to world of finance with much fanfare, as Panos Mourdoukoutas notes, “Anyone following Alibaba’s (NYSE:BABA) debut on Wall Street this week cannot help but be impressed by the buzz it generated among institutional and individual investors, as the stock rocketed higher in the first day of trade.” (Forbes Online, 09/20/2014)  What is so good about Alibaba?  Well, to many investors Alibaba is the next best thing to offer investors an avenue to enormous profits and earthly riches.  However, as good of an investment Alibaba may be, if you are one of the fortunate investors to strike it rich through this investment, when you die, how much of your earthly wealth will you leave behind? And more importantly, “when you pass from earth into eternity, how much of your treasure will you take with you?”  The answer to the first question is, “all of it.”  And the answer to the second question is this; if your treasure was only material, then you will take nothing with you.  (supposedly these were questions being asked after the death of J. D. Rockefeller)

Now if you will, imagine what would be the price of an IPO that promised to give “new life to the soul”, to give wisdom to the foolish”, to make “glad the heart”, to give “light to the eyes”, and it was always “clean”, “true”,  and “full of righteousness”  (quotes are excerpts of Psalm 19 from the Bible in Basic English)?  Wouldn’t this product be priceless?  Yet this is exactly what the Law of the Lord is guaranteed to do.   Nevertheless, the LORD beckons us to come and buy it without money and without price. (Isaiah 55)

What grace the Lord has bestowed upon us in giving us the Bible; it is the only infallible source of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding on earth.  Read it!  Feast on it!  And if you make it your aim in life to both know and to do it, God’s word will positively change your life forever.

Proverbs 2:6 For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; 7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; 8 He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints.

Read Me Bible

A New Reality is Coming ….. hopefully very soon.

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I remember years ago listening to the Temptations sing, Ball of Confusion. If the world was a ball of confusion in 1971, just think of what it is today.  Look at the headlines below:

  • UK HIGH DRAMA!
    Global Crisis of Elites…
    Europe Gripped By Secession Panic…
    Eight separatist movements that could be next…
    British Pound at 2 Year High; Currency Traders Bet ‘No’…
    Murdoch: ‘Anti-establishment Groundswell’…
    Drunken Anger On Streets…
    BBC 5 LIVE… SKY NEWS LIVE…
    TURNOUT NEARS 90% IN SOME LOCATIONS; HIGHEST LEVELS SINCE WW2…
    AWAITING RESULTS…
  • MYSTERY VIRUS COAST TO COAST…Cases confirmed in CA…Hospital tells children to stay away…

    SIERRA LEONE TO SHUT DOWN FOR 3 DAYS TO SLOW EBOLA OUTBREAK…6 million people confined to homes while volunteers hand out soap…

    UN: Ebola threatens global peace, security…Eight dead in attack on virus education team in Guinea…

  • WASH POST LEAD THURSDAY: Disagreements how to fight ISIS mount between Obama and military leaders…

    Congress votes to arm Syrian ‘rebels’…FLASHBACK: Syrian rebels pledge loyalty to al-Qaeda…

In the new heaven and earth, won’t it be great to cuddle up with a lion. Wow! Can’t wait! “Even so, come Lord Jesus.”

Isaiah 11:6 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them.

Isaiah 65:25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, The lion shall eat straw like the ox, And dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,” Says the LORD.

The Battle is the Lord

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When the king Sennacherib of Assyria led his army against Judah he brought with him an impressive resume of destruction:

2 Chronicles 32:13 ‘Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of other lands? Were the gods of the nations of those lands in any way able to deliver their lands out of my hand? 4 ‘Who was there among all the gods of those nations that my fathers utterly destroyed that could deliver his people from my hand, that your God should be able to deliver you from my hand?”

Humanly speaking, Hezekiah and his people were trapped in a hopeless situation. Nevertheless, I thank God that Hezekiah knew that his help came from the Lord, and by faith he encouraged his people to listen to God and not to men.

2 Chronicles 32:7 “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. 8 “With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

If you read this amazing chapter of the Bible you will discover that there were some keys to Hezekiah’s overcoming faith; 1) he sought the Lord with his whole heart, 2) he trusted in God’s word, and 3) he knew that there was power in prayer. At the end of the day, God honored Hezekiah’s faith and He sent His angel to destroy the Assyrian army; God sent this evil king home in disgrace where his own family turned against him.

2 Chronicles 32:21 Then the LORD sent an angel who cut down every mighty man of valor, leader, and captain in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned shamefaced to his own land. And when he had gone into the temple of his god, some of his own offspring struck him down with the sword there.  

Beloved, whatever you are facing today (or every day), “Be strong and courageous”, knowing that God is in control. Trust Him completely, and allow Him to fight your battles, “for the battle is the Lord’s.”

You are all one in Christ

Galatians 3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Whereas the flesh tells me that life is all about me, the Holy Spirit teaches me that life is all about God.  Through faith in Jesus Christ we not only receive from the Spirit the ability to worship God in truth, but we receive the capacity to love and serve like Jesus did.  Nowhere on earth is the love of Jesus more beautifully portrayed than when the church reaches outward and across sectarian lines to embrace and fellowship with one another in a genuine display of Christianity (Acts 11:19-26).  Only when our lives are God centered will the phrase “you are all one in Christ Jesus” truly have meaning.

I like Timothy George and John Woodbridge’s thoughts on Galatians 3:26-28, below.  They write:

The three pairs of opposites Paul listed in this verse stand for the fundamental cleavages of human existence: ethnicity, economic capacity, and sexuality. Race, money, and sex are primal powers in human life. No one of them is inherently evil, yet each of these spheres of human creativity has become degraded and soiled through the perversity of sin. Nationality and ethnicity have been corrupted by pride, material blessings by greed, and sexuality by lust. This has led to the chaotic pattern of exploitation and self-destruction that marks the human story from the Tower of Babel to the streets of Baghdad and Beirut. But the good news of the Gospel is that those who have become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ have broken free from enslavement to these controlling forces. A new standard and pattern of life now distinguishes the baptized community from the environing society all around it. Here, as nowhere else, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 ESV). (Taken from George and Woodbridge: The Mark of Jesus)prayer in unity