Staff Devotions

 

Pastor’s Desk March 23rd

Scripture Passage: “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.”  Proverbs 13:22
 

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Pastor’s Desk March 16th

Scripture Passage:  “Heaviness in the heart of man makes it stoop: but a good word makes it glad.”  Proverbs 12:25 

     “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”  Proverbs 15:13    “A merry heart does good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries the bones.”  Proverbs 17:22    “The Lord God has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that his weary: he wakes morning by morning, he wakes mine ear to hear as the learned.”  Isaiah 50:4 
 

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Pastor’s Desk March 9th

Scripture Passage:  “The tongue of the just is as choice silver:  the heart of the wicked is little worth.  The lips of the righteous feed many:  but fools die for want of wisdom.  The blessing of the Lord, it makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.”  Proverbs 10: 20-22


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Pastor’s Desk March 2nd

Scripture Passage:  “Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.  For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.”  Proverbs 8: 10-11    “Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.”  Proverbs 8:33

Dear Friends,

     There are three things listed in these passages of Scripture that are addressed: instruction, knowledge, and wisdom.  Solomon believed them to be so valuable that silver and gold could not be compared to them.  The most valuable of all gems could not be considered equal to the worth of wisdom.  These comparisons were not just symbolic to Solomon for he possessed all of them.  He was blessed with precious metals and gems.  God also gave him unequaled wisdom.  He requested that God give him an understanding heart to judge his people, and the ability to discern between good and bad.  (I Kings 3:9) God promised to honor his request.  Because he had asked for a wise and understanding heart, God also gave him what he did not ask for: riches and honor.  According to the Word of the Lord in I Kings 3:12 there never was anyone like Solomon before and there would never be one like him again.  Let us look at Solomon’s words and glean what the Lord would have us learn today. 

     The first treasure is instruction.  To instruct someone is to impart knowledge by teaching.  With the information gained, a person can be informed and given the ability to make wise and rational decisions.  Instruction also furnishes the recipient with a clear direction.  Often times a teacher is labeled as an instructor.  From the definitions just given you can see how this is an appropriate title.  I have been working the last few weeks on a small lawn mower engine.  Years ago, I purchased a set of instruction manuals for that exact engine.  I am not by talent or giftedness a good mechanic, but with that manual, I carefully read the instructions and followed them precisely.  What I lack in talent, is made up for by the brilliance of the instructor who wrote the manual.  When I have followed the instructions everything has gone fine.  When I ignored a small detail like a snap ring, I was forced to take it all back apart again and “lick my calf over.”  We have been given a wonderful instruction book to live by.   That book is called the Bible and it contains everything needed to live a successful and godly life.  If we read it and follow its instructions, we will get it right the first time. 

     The second treasure is knowledge.  Webster says that knowledge is familiarity gained by actual experience.  It is to take what we have read and learned from the instructions and apply it in a practical way.  I have a more extensive knowledge of music than a common man or woman on the street.  This is not bragging or boasting.  I am saying that because I played the French Horn in band, and occasionally the orchestra, I have had to take musical facts and instructions and apply them.  My college degree is in music education and elementary education.  All of that means absolutely nothing if I cannot take that knowledge and apply it when playing a piece of music.  I know people who know a lot about Jesus, but they do not know Jesus.  They know a lot about the Bible, but they only know those facts for argument sake.  They have never taken that knowledge and applied it practically.  If they had, they would be saved.  Knowledge that causes action is valuable indeed. 

     The final attribute is wisdom.  Wisdom is the ability to judge soundly and deal sagaciously with facts.  (sagaciously – keen perception and discernment)  A wise person can take knowledge and use that knowledge to relate it to life and personal conduct.  It is knowledge at its highest level.  Papaw used to call it “horse sense.”  When I went away to college, he told me he wanted me to get as much education as possible, but to never get so smart that I became an educated fool.  The irony that accompanies wisdom is that it becomes most evident with age.  If I had known back then what I know now, I would have been unstoppable.  God knew it would take all the failures and dumb things I have done to teach me the lessons I needed to learn.  My definition of wisdom is: lessons learned the hard way.  If knowledge has never been tested, we are hesitant to put it into practical application.  Once it has been tested, we will use it over and over again with blessed assurance that it will work every time.  No wonder Solomon said, Hear instruction, and be wise and refuse it not.”  These three things are the keys to life. 

In Christ,

Pastor Johnny



Pastor’s Desk February 24th

Scripture Passage:  “Wisdom hath built her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars.”     Proverbs 9:1

Dear Friends,

     In the proverbs of Solomon there are many times that he reverts back to the topic of wisdom.  Each time he states there is nothing equal to, nothing as important as, and nothing responsible for success as much as wisdom.  In chapter nine, wisdom is identified in the feminine sense and compared to a woman who has prepared a great banquet and invited all to come and enjoy.  From those who live in high places to the simple who live on the streets, they are compelled to forsake their ways and come together as one in the way of understanding and wisdom.  He also compared wisdom to seven pillars that have been hewn out and put into place to support the weight of the building.  This made me curious as to what those seven pillars are what we can compare them to.  Some scholars refuse to speculate, so they do not even address them.  Others, without trying to make Scripture say something it does not, does compare it to two Scripture passages.  One is found in the Old Testament book of Isaiah.  The other is found in the New Testament book of James.  I found this interesting so I decided to share it with you. 
 

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Pastor’s Desk February 17th

Scripture Passage:  “Come let us take our fill of love until morning: let us solace (delight) ourselves with love.”   Proverbs 7:18

Dear Friends,

     Solomon’s proverb in chapter 7 is the story of a married woman who seduces a naïve young man to commit adultery with her while her husband is away.  I tried to find something else to write about besides sexual immorality, but the entire chapter is dedicated to the advice to flee such abominations against God.  The scene opens with the witness standing at his window watching the story unfold.  The witness could see more clearly what was taking place than the young man could.  The young man was willingly being led astray like an ox going to slaughter and a fool to the stocks.  By the time he figured out what was happening, the deed was done and his life was ruined.
 

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Pastor’s Desk February 10th

“My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou has stricken thy hand with a stranger, Thou are snared with the words of thy mouth, thou are taken with the words of thy mouth.  Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou are come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.  Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.  Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.”  Proverbs 6: 1-5

Dear Friends,

     “The borrower is servant to the lender.”  “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”  These are two adages that had to come from someone with prior experience.  The world is full of the “haves” and the “have nots.”  The “haves” are always asked to contribute, invest, or lend to charitable causes, worthy endevors, and people in need.  The “have nots” are normally jealous of the “haves” and see them as a source of financial relief and available cash during times of adversity.  Before the days of banks and credit card companies’, a personal loan from a friend or family member was the only money available.  The other possibility was for a friend to co-sign a promissory note with you guaranteeing the lender that if you did not pay the money back your co-signer would be responsible to pay.  I am sure there are times when this works well, but as a general rule of thumb, it is foolish to enter into such an agreement.  As a friend or family member it is better to give the money with no thought of repayment, than to co-sign for a loan and then be disappointed or responsible for the mismanagement of funds.  This is what Solomon was talking about in this passage of Scripture. 
 

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Pastor’s Desk February 3rd

Scripture Passage:  “Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.”  “Let thine fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.  Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breast satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.”  Proverbs 5: 15, 18-19

Dear Friends,

     Are you kidding me?!!!!  Talk about juicy stuff.  This is the stuff romance novels are made of and this came directly from the Bible. In this age of promiscuity and sexual freedom, many opponents of Christianity believe you cannot follow Christ and still have any sexual pleasure.  They believe marriage limits their opportunities and hinders their experience.  They believe any limit or moral boundary suppresses their sexuality and stymies their enjoyment.  The exact opposite is true.  God gave us guidelines and rules to focus our desires in a way that produces passionate energy and unmatched satisfaction.   God wants to give us the best, while Satan wants to slip us a disappointing counterfeit. 

 


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Pastor’s Desk January 27th

Scripture Passage:  “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.  For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.”   Proverbs 4: 14-16

Dear Friends,

     I am not addicted to television, but when I do watch it, I like shows related to law enforcement or forensic evidence.  In almost every scenario presented, a person who is murdered was at a club, bar, party, or frat house and alcohol, drugs and sexual activity were readily available.  They imbibed without any restraint or concern for morality. The ability to make clear headed decisions was sacrificed to the gods of pleasure.  If the victim was not in one of these places, at least the perpetrator had been there or was under the influence at the time.  It is rare that a case is presented where an innocent person was at the wrong place at the wrong time.  It is even rarer when a victim’s life was lived within the triangle of work, home, and church.  A person who lives their life with diligence and focus on these points, has very little time to be engaged in foolishness.  A person who lives to party will eventually fall into a trap that will shorten their life.  Solomon knew this and gave godly advice to his son to stay away from these places and refrain from these addictive substances over three thousand years ago.  The difference between being wise and foolish is often defined by a fine line of where we go and who we associate with. 
 

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Pastor’s Desk January 20th

Scripture Passage:  “Strive not with a man without cause, if he has done you no harm.”  Proverbs 3:30   “Her ways (Wisdom) are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.”  Proverbs 3:17     “When you lie down, you shall not be afraid: yea, you shall lie down, and your sleep shall be sweet.”   Proverbs 3:24

Dear Friends,

      I love when you read a passage of Scripture and it speaks directly to your heart.  It is like the Lord is saying, “This is for you.” “Sit up and take notice.”  “Listen!”  In preparing for this article, I had to read all of Proverbs Chapter 3.  The most quoted of all this chapter is verses 5-6.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.”  This is a promise of God and filled with mountains of encouragement.  But that was not what the Lord focused on.  I have written about verse 27 before.  “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.”  But that was not the focus either.  He zeroed in on the verses I listed in the Scripture passage.  Why?  Because he knew it struck home to events occurring in my life.  This may have been only for me.  (But I doubt it.)  Life is full of problems and the way we react and handle them says a lot about us. 
 

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