Sunday, January 25, 2009


Money Envy and Gambling


Proverbs 18 Money Envy and Gambling

Proverbs 18: 9 Whoever the is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys. 10 The name of LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. 11A rich man's wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his imagination.

1Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is a great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9 But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

Proverbs 10: 15 A rich man’s wealth is his fortified city; the poverty of the poor is their destruction. 16 The labor of the righteous leads to life; the activity of the wicked leads to sin. 22-25“The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow with it. To do evil is like sport to a fool, But a man of understanding has wisdom. The fear of the wicked will come upon him, And the desire of the righteous will be granted. When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more, But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.”

The Problem of Covetousness

The Provision Of A Castle

The Priorities that Count for The Person With Problems

Proverbs 6:1 My son, if you have put up security for your neighbour or entered into an agreement with a stranger,  2 you have been trapped by the words of your lips— ensnared by the words of your mouth. 3 Do this, then, my son, and free yourself, for you have put yourself in your neighbor’s power: Go, humble yourself, and plead with your neighbor. 4 Don’t give sleep to your eyes or slumber to your eyelids. 5 Escape like a gazelle from a hunter, like a bird from a fowler’s trap. 

6 Go to the ant, you slacker! Observe its ways and become wise. 7 Without leader, administrator, or ruler, 8 it prepares its provisions in summer; it gathers its food during harvest. 9 How long will you stay in bed, you slacker? When will you get up from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest, 11 and your poverty will come like a robber, your need, like a bandit.

Proverbs 24: 30 I went by the field of a slacker and by the vineyard of a man lacking sense. 31 Thistles had come up everywhere, weeds covered the ground, and the stone wall was ruined. 32 I saw, and took it to heart; I looked, and received instruction: 33 a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest, 34 and your poverty will come like a robber, your need, like a bandit

Today we face a crisis in the economy. Last week Prime Minister Rudd told us that Australia cannot avoid a recession due to the economic slowdown in China. The USA anb great Britain are now talking about a Depression to rival the Great Depression. And its Australia Day. Our great grand parents lived through times of great Poverty. In fact their very determination in such times was instrumental in producing our nation. The 1792 famine in Sydney left most Australians in starvation.

Australian Gambling Statistics 2006 prepared by the Queensland Treasury. This data is not available on any website (why?) and costs $175 for the CD rom. It is the most comprehensive aggregate picture of gambling in Australia, providing consistent time series reporting since 1979-80. Gambling expenditure measures total losses while gambling turnover measures the total amount wagered. The figures for 2004-05 are surprising,
1, Australians overall gambled $142 billion in turnover of which 72% was on gambling machines (pokies). In NSW, Victoria and Queensland gambling on pokies is about 90% of total wagering.
2. The biggest gamblers on average in terms of turnover are in NSW ($11,880 per head),

3. Total gambling expenditure in Australia is about $16 billion with the average NSW citizen losing about $1336 annually to the pubs clubs etc, and not including the amount paid to the government in taxes which would about treble that amount.) .The majority of losses are on pokies - in NSW these comprise 71% of all losses,
4. Racing, Lotto and Casinos are fairly static or declining markets. They are small fry. The big growth area is pokies.

1. The Problem With Covetousness.

"A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions"—that's the point of Jesus' story. Why must he make it? Why must he remind us that possessions are temporal while life is eternal, that we must use the visible for the invisible, the material for the eternal?

The point would seem obvious. Despite all our medical advances, the mortality rate is still 100 percent. "Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment" (Hebrews 9:27), the Bible bluntly reminds us. We know that "the world in its present form is passing away" (1 Corinthians 7:31). You've heard the saying: there are no U-Hauls attached to hearses or pockets in burial shrouds.

Yet we live as though it were not so. Western culture measures success by possessions and prosperity, and always has. The golden rule is simple: the one with the gold makes the rule. "The one who dies with the most toys wins," the t-shirt proclaims. Our culture has made prosperity the end and the means. But what we can see and own and spend is not enough for our souls. It never is.

Consider Ruth, a single mother in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, who began buying $5 worth of Illinois lottery tickets every week. She said that she needed these periodic "doses of hope" to counter her occasional feelings of depression. Then the miracle happened: Ruth won $22 million.

She was beside herself with joy. She quit her job wrapping gifts at Neiman-Marcus and bought an 18-room house, a Versace wardrobe, and a robin's-egg-blue Jaguar. She sent her twin sons to private school. Strangely, however, as the next year went by, her mood became more and more depressed. By the end of that year, her expensive new therapist diagnosed her as having a case of dysthymic disorder, or chronic depression (Authentic Happiness).

Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, who wrote about Ruth, is the former president of the American Psychological Association and the author of twenty books in his field. His research indicates that once a person has the basic necessities of life, added money adds little or no happiness. He concludes: "Materialism seems to be counterproductive: at all levels of real income, people who value money more than other goals are less satisfied with their income and with their lives as a whole…." He finishes his sentence, "although precisely why is a mystery."

There was no mystery to Jesus. He warned us: Life does not consist in the abundance of our possessions.

The problem with gambling is the same problem with covetousness. It’s the desire to have more than we have through any means we can to achieve it.

The tenth commandment still reads “thou shalt not covet” And it I the same issue of covetousness that affects us all.

The root of this is a discontentment. 1Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is a great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9 But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

The root of this discontentment is :

The false belief that more money = more happy.

Ecclesiastes 5:10 The one who loves money is never satisfied with money, and whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with income. This too is futile. 11 When good things increase, the ones who consume them multiply; what, then, is the profit to the owner, except to gaze at them with his eyes?

The secret millionaire programme. Money isn’t everything. The poverty stricken elderly ladies saying how much better off they were than their parents.

The false belief that more money = more important.

Luke 12:15  He then told them, “Watch out and be on guard against all greed because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.”

The false belief that more money = more secure.

Prov 11:28 Anyone trusting in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage.

What is contentment? The Greek word means "self-sufficiency." For those of you who have studied some economics, it is the word we get "autarky" from. It was a word the Stoic philosophers used. Socrates -- who wasn't a Stoic, he predated them -- Socrates said this in response to a question about who was the wealthiest: "He who is content with the least -- for self-sufficiency is nature's wealth." Now, the Stoic philosophers had this idea that everything was determined outside of you, and the only thing you had control of was what was inside of you, your attitudes. And so you need to get your attitudes in line with this deterministic universe around you, and then you would be content despite what happens around you. Well, like in so many other ways, Paul takes this idea from secular philosophy, and then infuses it with God's wisdom. Paul is not saying here that we should be content because there is this deterministic universe out there -- bad things are going to happen to everyone, so we just need to get our will in line with the deterministic universe. No. Paul's idea is that God is in control of our lives. And whatever he wants us to do, he will provide us with the necessary resources to accomplish. Furthermore, true happiness comes not from building up resources, but true happiness comes from doing the will of God. So that is why Paul and Silas in chains in a Philippian jail were able to sing praises to God, and be content, self-sufficient, or -- perhaps better -- God-sufficient in that situation.

Proverbs 10:15  A rich man’s wealth is his fortified city; the poverty of the poor is their destruction.)
16 The labor of the righteous leads to life; the activity of the wicked leads to sin.
17 The one who follows instruction is on the path to life, but the one who rejects correction goes astray.

F. B. Meyer once told the story of two men who wanted to climb the Matterhorn. They hired three guides and began the steep, treacherous climb. They were roped together: guide to traveler to guide to traveler to guide. They had gone only a little way when the last man lost his footing. He was held up by the other four, because each had a toehold in the niches they had cut in the ice. But then the next man slipped and pulled down the two above him. The only one to hold on was the first guide, who had driven a spike deep into the ice. Because he held on, all the men beneath him regained their footing.

The Provision Of A Castle

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are protected. 11 A rich man’s wealth is his fortified city; in his imagination it is like a high wall.

We need to know where real security and strength are found. 

In a funny, yet sobering cartoon, a pastor stands before the congregation and says: “Before our morning offering, we’ll take a few quiet moments for you to use the ATM we recently installed in the back of the church.” 
Although money is important for the church, it is not the key resource that we need for life. Sometimes we thank that if we have enough money, our happiness will be impregnable.  If we have enough money, the walls of our life will be fortified and our joy will be protected. But Solomon starts teaching us about God’s best for our lives (Prov 10:16-17).  Simply put, money isn’t enough to have a life that stands in the storms. The “strong city” which stands “no matter what” is the name of the Lord.  Jesus has to be the theme of our life.  If the rich trust in their wealth, then circumstances that swirl on the stock market can quickly remove their strength. If wealth is the place of our trust, then we can quickly be defeated.  If, however, my strength and trust for defense and safety is Jesus Christ, my “high tower,” then no circumstance can defeat me.  Money’s power is fleeting.  Christ’s power is eternal and unconquerable.

Real Security and Strength come from Christ

As we traverse the precipice of life, we find ourselves dangling high above the jagged rocks of ruin, hoping to grip tightly to a security that will hold us.  For some, wealth and riches promises that strength.  But such a rope is no real hope.  Grasping prosperity, position, or personal pleasures is a certain slip to ruin.
But Solomon teaches us that real security and strength come from the blessing of the Lord. “The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow with it. To do evil is like sport to a fool, But a man of understanding has wisdom. The fear of the wicked will come upon him, And the desire of the righteous will be granted. When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more, But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.” (Proverbs 10:22-25, NKJV)  The greatest blessing from the hand of God is Christ Jesus.  He alone makes us rich.  The way of wisdom is the way of security.  The way of wisdom means that we depend upon Christ to take care of our life – all of it!  All the money in the world can’t help us find the best in life.  It is only through the blessings of the Lord that we find the resources needed to make our life complete.  Through Him, we find security and strength.

Real Security in Christ leads to fulfillment, not fear I can remember when my parents would leave my older brother and I home alone.  As two young boys, mischief would find its way into our thoughts and we would endeavor to pursue some path that Mum and Dad forbade.  We would busy ourselves with our forbidden fruit, but after a while we would be caught with fear of being caught.  Rather than having fun with the freedom Mum and Dad offered, we would be captured by fear.  No fun.  Just fear.
Solomon tells us that the sport of sin can capture us, but the fear that our sin brings overwhelms our heart. On the other hand, the way of wisdom is the way of security.  Our fears will be realized when we are living apart from God’s expressed will.  That which we fear as we sneak in sin will be realized in our life.  But when we walk in the center of God’s will, then He will satisfy our desires completely.  When we walk in wisdom, we can feel safe because Jesus personally meets our needs.

Real Security in Christ makes me strong in tough times

In the final analysis today, real security and strength come from Christ.  He makes us strong in the toughest times.  When the whirlwind comes ripping through our world, we find security—a strong and eternal foundation for life—as we live in the plans that God has for us.  If we live outside of God’s purpose, following the path un-connected from Christ, the Trailblazer of our faith, then we will certainly be swept away by the wild torment of the raging torrents.[

3. The Priorities that Count for The Person With Problems

Invest in the Right Things

Our passionate pursuit, therefore, must be to give ourselves to what God wants.  That’s what Solomon means when he writes: “the labor of the righteous leads to life” (10:16).  We must invest resources of time, energy, talent, and money in the pursuit of the right things – God’s purpose.  This is the way of wisdom toward life.  Invest in God’s purpose for life and find true wealth.  Invest in the way of wickedness and find only loss and emptiness.
It makes sense, then, to invest our life in righteousness.  To invest in righteousness, we must hear and do what God says (10:17).  As we follow God’s direction given through the presence of the Son through the fellowship of the Holy Spirit in His Word, we take one more step toward life that is fulfilling, safe, and hopeful.  The instruction of the Lord comes today to lead us to the very best life in the presence of Christ.  I must receive it and obey it. If we reject the correction of the Lord, we will fall over the edge toward personal devastation.  When we move away from righteousness, the Lord God lovingly corrects us.  With each correction, we face the crossroads of decision once again.  Will we follow the path that leads to folly, devastation, destruction, and death?  Will we embrace the Lord of Love’s correction and walk once again toward life?
Ann Landers once wrote: “Most of us would be willing to pay as we go if we could just finish paying for where we’ve been.”  I know that if your household is like mine, finances are a primary concern.  It’s a concern to God, too.  He wants us to experience the very best in life as we climb to the Summit, but many times our money matters weigh us down and keep us from soaring.  God gives us timeless counsel through the lips of the Sage to lead us out of financial woes into financial victory!
1.      Evaluate your finances. (Prov 6:1-2)
1 My son, if you have put up security for your neighboror entered into an agreement with a stranger,
2 you have been trapped by the words of your lips— ensnared by the words of your mouth.
3 Do this, then, my son, and free yourself, for you have put yourself in your neighbor’s power: Go, humble yourself, and plead with your neighbor.
This proverb begins with a series of conditional phrases in which God asks us to evaluate our finances. The first phrase deals with my agreement to be responsible for indebtedness that is out of my control.[3]  The second phrase points to the shaking of hands in pledge to a stranger.[4]  The picture of the text is this: We pledge our resources to match our (or someone else’s) debts.[5]  That’s not so bad, except when our debt is bigger than our resources.  That’s not so bad, except when our debt robs us of money for the future and for the work of the kingdom of God.  When we examine our finances, we need to evaluate if our words have placed our lives and our future in a snare.
If that is your situation, pray this prayer to the Lord who wants to help you: “I know that I have arrived at my station because of the decisions I have made, but I pray right now that today might be a new beginning of integrity and righteousness and wisdom in my money.”
The Lord gives us the approach to take. He says, “Do this!” 
2.      Ask for help. (Prov 6:3)
First, we must humble ourselves!  We need to throw ourselves at the feet of the one who holds our debt and ask for help.  If we are to find our way out of the net, we must humble ourselves.  If I am to find my way out of the net, I must humble myself.  The Hebrew speaks of “rushing boisterously” into the room and begging my cause to my neighbor.   In the context of the passage, I am to run to the person holding my debt and ask fervently for help. 
We don’t know if we can trust the stranger to help us -- that’s why it’s important to do business with believers! -- but we can trust the Lord!  So, in humbling ourselves, we pray that Christ might be the Friend to whom we can turn right now to extricate us from our financial turmoil.  We run to Him and trample ourselves in humility.  We run to Him and boisterously plead our cause.  If God tells us to do the same with the stranger, then do it!
3.      Work until you’re free. (6:4-5)
Don’t sleep until you’re free!  Give every ounce of energy and every part of pride to the future of your family.  Ask the Lord to demonstrate His power and exalt His glory through the mess we’re in.  Pray for Christ’s honor to be preserved and for Him to find pleasure in your finances once again.
4. Give to God the First-Fruits.
Only when we get our thinking right about our possessions and profit will we experience the best in life.[1]  When the Sage declared, “Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the firstfruits of all your increase” (Prov 3:9), he was teaching us about sacrifice on the summit.  God wants to bless us so that “your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine” (3:10).  When we let go of our stuff, realizing that it comes from the Father anyway, then we will experience the best of life on the Summit of His abiding presence.
2. My Money and Stuff can bring Honor to God
Oswald Chambers helps us understand how God works when he magnificently defines sacrifice:
Sacrifice in its essence is the exuberant passionate love-gift of the best I have to the One I love best.
When I give myself and my money and my time and my resources to the Lord, He takes the sacrifice and makes it His and mine forever.  He uses the sacrifice to bless my life and to increase His glory.  When we think of God’s love for us through Christ, we want to honor Him with all our possessions and with the “firstfruits” of our profit. 
Gustave Dore, a celebrated illustrator and painter, was handed a painting of Jesus just finished by one of his students.  Dore meticulously studied the painting and at last handed it back to the student, saying, “If you loved him more, you would have painted him better.”
We must give all of ourselves to do all that we can to honor Christ with the best of ourselves each day that we live.
Where does God fit in your financial portfolio? 

How to recognize a Sluggard.

Proverbs 24: 30 I went by the field of a slacker and by the vineyard of a man lacking sense.
31 Thistles had come up everywhere, weeds covered the ground, and the stone wall was ruined.
32 I saw, and took it to heart; I looked, and received instruction:
33 a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest,
34 and your poverty will come like a robber, your need, like a bandit

1. He refuses to begin a job.


Some try to excuse this by saying that they work better under pressure.

Procrastination presumes upon God that we will have a tomorrow.



2. The sluggard doesn't complete the work that he starts.



Here we see that the sluggard, even if he begins a task, falls short of completion.

3. The sluggard ignores opportunities.

4. The sluggard craves riches.

He will play the powerball or lottery before he will pay his bills.

He wants the blessings of prosperity without putting forth the effort to be productive.



Australia Day Drinking Day?

Proverbs 23

One of our great Australian icons was Steve Irwin. He made his fame world wide by tracking through dense jungles, murky swamps, or rugged mountains in search of snakes. Performing wild contortions while holding the tail of a cobra, timber rattler, or some other viper. The whole time, we sit glued to our televisions to see him tangle with some of God’s most dangerous creatures. Most of us wouldn’t want that kind of wild life. It seems too risky. Dangerous to the extreme and life-threatening.  What Solomon shares with us is something just as risky and dangerous. It is certainly life-threatening. But there are countless wild-life novices who have taken the tail of a viper without understanding the danger.

The Viper’s Den

It’s interesting that Solomon would talk about the dangers of alcohol centuries before the temperance movement of the early 20th century. I mean, could it be that drinking is dangerous? So many have lingered over a drink after work or at a party. Even pastor and Christian author, Max Lucado, has confessed his love for a cold beer on a hot Summer’s day. Lucado confessed, “There’s something about sitting down and holding a beer that is an escape. It’s putting the rest of the world on hold for just a minute. There’s security in that beer.”

But lingering over a drink or a cold beer is dangerous. Solomon tells us that it causes woe, sorrow, arguments, complaints, wounds, and even red eyes. He wasn’t talking about a hang-over. He was talking about the danger of drinking. The danger of lingering over a snake’s pit and peering deep into the dark hole only to be mesmerized by the allure of an escape that leads to our misery.

Sadly one of those terrible quirks of history involves my family name.

The New South Wales Corps (aka The Rum Corps) was formed in England in 1789 as permanent regiment to relieve the marines who had accompanied the First Fleet. The regiment, led by Major Francis Grose, consisted of three companies. The first detachment, 100 strong and under the command of Captain Nicholas Nepean, was dispatched in the Second Fleet on January 1790, and arrived in Sydney in June 1790. The other officers to come in the 2nd Fleet were Captain Hill, Lieutenant Edward Abbott, and Lieutenant John Macarthur. Due to the remoteness and unpopularity of the posting they were composed of officers on half pay, troublemakers, soldiers paroled from military prisons and those with few prospects gambling to make a life for themselves in the new colony. The regiment began arriving as guards on the Second Fleet in 1790. Major Grose arrived in Sydney in 1792 to take command and assume role of Lieutenant-Governor of the colony. The European population of New South Wales when Grose took over was 4,221, of whom 3,099 were convicts. Grose immediately abandoned Phillip’s plans for governing the colony. A staunch military man, he established military rule and set out to secure the authority of the Corps. He abolished the civilian courts and transferred the magistrates to the authority of Captain Foveaux. After the poor crops of 1793 he cut the rations of the convicts but not those of the Corps overturning Phillip’s policy of equal rations for all.

To improve agricultural production, and make the colony more self-sufficient, Grose turned away from collective farming and made generous land grants to officers of the Corps. They were also provided with government fed and clothed convicts as labour to farm produce, which they would sell to the government store.

Grose had also relaxed Phillip's prohibition on trading of rum, usually from Bengal (sometimes a generic term for any form of spirit, usually made from wheat). The colony, like many British Territories at the time, was short of coin and rum soon became the medium of trade. The officers of the Corps were able to use their position and wealth to buy up all the imported rum and then exchange it for goods and labour at very favourable rates, thus earning the nickname The Rum Corps. By 1793 stills were being imported and distillation of rum was exacerbating the shortage of grain.

Governor Hunter attempted to use troops to guard imported rum and stop the officers from buying it up but this failed for the obvious reason. Attempts to stop the importation were also thwarted by the failure of other governments to co-operate and by the Corps's officers chartering of a Danish ship to bring in a large shipment of rum from India. Hunter also tried to start up a public store with goods from England to provide competition and stabilise the price of goods, but Hunter was not a good businessman and supplies were too erratic. Hunter requested greater control by authorities in England and an excise on rum. Hunter also issued an order restricting the amount of convict labour that officers could use, but again he had no means to enforce it. Hunter was opposed strongly by officers of Corps and pamphlets and letters against him were circulated. John Macarthur wrote a letter accusing Hunter of ineffectiveness and trading in rum. Hunter was forced to answer the charges by the Colonial Office, and soon after recalled for being ineffective. Back in England Hunter lobbied unsuccessfully for reform and the recall of the NSW Corps. Governor Bligh arrived determined to bring the Corps and especially John Macarthur, to heel and stamp their trading in rum. This led to the Rum Rebellion Bligh thought the Corps was so much "ingrafted" with former convicts, and that the improper association with convict women was so extensive that the only remedy was to effect a transfer of the entire NSW Corps.   This would have separated the senior officers from their land and pastoral holdings.  Crisis point was reached when Bligh's intention to have the Corps transferred to another country became known. The mutiny that followed in January 1808 is known as the Rum Rebellion.  It saw Bligh's removal from office as Governor and the eventual recall of the NSW Corps. Governor Lachlan Macquarie was able to better control the trade rum introducing and enforcing a licensing system. However, he was still forced to pay for public works projects in rum due to the lack of currency. The construction of Sydney Hospital was entirely funded by granting a monopoly on the import of rum to the contractors, and using troops to prohibit the landing of rum anywhere other that at the hospital dock. This was a Public-Private Partnership that increased the price of rum and was highly unpopular putting an end to such deals for some time.

Alcohol continues to be a problem in New South Wales, with 1 in 3 adults drinking to a dangerous level each week.

About half the alcohol related morbidity and mortality in Australia results from acute intoxication, and includes injury, road trauma and suicide. The remaining half results from chronic excessive consumption, and includes cirrhosis, stroke and other medical complications. A large proportion (39%) of the alcohol consumed in Australia is drunk at levels that confer moderate- to-high risk of chronic harm, while 51% of the alcohol

consumed poses short-term risks to the drinker. Mr Ken Moroney, NSW Commissioner of Police, stated that people intoxicated with alcohol and perpetrating domestic and other violence account for up to 75% of the workload of the NSW police. Furthermore, alcohol-related problems are very unevenly distributed. For example, the NSW town of Walgett, with a total population of 2000, has 10 liquor licences and one in three of the adult male population has had at least one conviction for alcohol-related violence.

Total federal, state and territory government revenue from alcohol exceeds $5 billion annually, not including income from the goods and services tax. Most of this revenue is generated by the federal government, and very little is directed towards preventing or alleviating the adverse effects of alcohol.

The most senior policeman in New South Wales wants pubs and clubs to close early, claiming Sydney's soaring rate of alcohol-fuelled violence is worse than Los Angeles. Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said he was fed up with seeing officers assaulted, and backed any cutback in licensing hours. There are more than 600 24-hour licensed premises in Australia and more than 400 of those are in NSW.

"Anything that makes our community safer, I'm for it," Mr Scipione said. "We've got to seriously look at that.

"This drink to get drunk culture must stop. LA doesn't have the problems we do. They close the doors at 2am. It's time to give the neighbourhood back and take the hoods out." Mr Scipione said there was a growing body of research linking extended trading hours with violence and that he, along with the Department of Premier and Cabinet, had commissioned a study from a leading researcher into alcohol-related crime.

"The link between crime and alcohol is as clear in my mind as the link between smoking and lung cancer," he said. "I'd be spinning you a yarn if I said we can arrest our way out of this problem. This issue is costing us millions in dollars as well as unspeakable damage on communities. "The growth in liquor stores, the impact of domestic violence we need a concentrated approach across all strands of government."

In May, The Mean Fiddler Hotel at Rouse Hill was identified as the most violent pub in the state.

Fifty-one assaults were recorded at the premises between January and September last year, according to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research. The Coogee Bay Hotel, The Commercial Hotel at Dubbo, The Steyne Hotel at Manly and the Campbelltown Catholic Club all recorded 28 or more assaults. Dr Chikritzhs said a study by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research found three out of four premises where 10 or more assaults were committed over a two-year period involved pubs or clubs holding 24-hour trading licenses.

The Viper’s Bite

The longer we linger over the pit, the more danger we invite into our lives. Solomon tells us that living the wild-life is like being bit by a poisonous snake. We begin to see things that aren’t there. We become paranoid and defensive with the people we love. Our heart becomes crooked and out of whack. We turn and twirl like a victim alone in the stormy sea. Our moral compass is broken. Our relationships suffer. And our lives become ship-wrecked. In the midst of the storm, the viper’s bite calls out to us for another drink. And as crazy as it sounds, we stagger toward its tail once again for another dance.

To drink is to dance with danger hoping that our lives will survive the thrill of an escape into misery. Eventually, Max Lucado recognized the danger of the viper’s bite. 

He said, “I come from a family of alcoholism. If there’s anything about this DNA stuff, I’ve got it.” He drank for more than 20 years of his life until one afternoon, while driving to speak at a men’s retreat, he began to plot how he could buy a beer and not be seen by anyone. He drove up to a convenience store, waited for everyone to leave, and then bought the beer. A grown man acting like a teenager on a Friday night. As he held the brew close to his side and hurried to his car, he was immediately overwhelmed with conviction. He threw the venom into the trash and asked God to forgive him. Listen to the rest of the story: “When I shared it with the elders, they just looked at me across the table and said, ‘Satan is determined to get you for this right now. We’re going to cover this with prayer, but you’ve got to get the alcohol out of your life.’ And I really took that as from God.”

Years ago, the famous evangelist Billy Sunday described the destructive nature of alcoholic beverages when he said: "If all the combined forces of hell should assemble in conclave and with them all the men on earth who hate and despise God, purity and virtue — if all the scum of the earth could mingle with the denizens of hell to try to think of the deadliest institution to home, church, and state, I tell you, the combined forces of hell could not conceive of or bring into being an institution that could touch the hem of the garment of the tavern to damn the home, mankind, womanhood, business, and everything good on earth."

Although Sunday's words would likely be dismissed by most today as the misguided remarks of a prohibitionist, they still prove true time and again.

Proverbs23: 29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?

30 Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine.

31 Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly.

32 In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder.

33 Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things.

34 You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast.

35 "They struck me," you will say, "but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must have another drink."

The Sorrow Factor Prov 23:29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow?

The contention factor Who has strife? Who has complaining?

The Foolishness factor

The Mutilation Factor Who has wounds without cause?

The Mental Anguish factor Who has redness of eyes?

The Health Factor 32 In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder.

The Immorality factor 33 Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things.

The Insensibility factor34 You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast.

The Insensitivity factor35 "They struck me," you will say, "but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it.

The Addiction factor When shall I awake? I must have another drink."

John Freeman in his book Shadow Over America notes the influence of alcohol on history:

"Who can know how far alcoholic beverages have gone in undermining government and in changing the balance of power among the nations of the world? Every nation since earliest historical records has grown great while its population was primarily rural, hence had neither time nor money with which to pay the costs involved in drinking alcoholic beverages. As Greece decayed and finally collapsed because an urbanized population who had been demoralized by venial priests who exalted wine above all else in their worship and feasting, even so did Rome slowly degenerate. The glories of the Republic, the Conquests by Caesar, the far-spread empire with its vast system of roads, the great schools, libraries, theatres and colossal athletic events — these were gradually caught in the mesh of wine. Instead of statesman, puppets of a wicked king like Nero arose, and finally the invaders from the North caught them with no suitable defense or defenders. Out of the scattered wreckage of the Holy Roman Empire arose the feudal states of the medieval ages which now constitute the pawns in the modern military and economic games of the great, and whose citizens continue to enslave themselves by strong drink."

Interestingly, the first mention of alcohol in the Bible was a negative incident that affected events on the world stage. Noah became drunk, which resulted in an occasion for his son Ham's sin (Gen. 9:20-25). No doubt Ham committed a much worse crime than simply looking on his father's nakedness, but whatever happened set in motion events leading to the curse of Canaan, Ham's descendants. One also shivers at the thought of what Mel Gibson's drunken tirade of anti-Semitic remarks could have resulted in at a time when matters are so precarious for the Middle East.
A fallacy often leveled at any effort to control the sale of alcohol is that prohibition was a total failure. Yet the best of research reveals just the opposite. In fact, William J. Bennett, former director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under former President George H.W. Bush, has written:

"One of the clear lessons of prohibition is that when we had laws against alcohol there was less consumption, less alcohol-related disease, fewer drunken brawls, and a lot less drunkenness. Contrary to myth, there is no evidence that prohibition caused any big increases in crime .... The real facts are these: As a result of prohibition, 180,000 saloons were shut down, and 1,800 breweries went out of business. In ten years of prohibition, the death rate due to alcohol decreased 42%, the death rate due to cirrhosis of the liver decreased by 70%, crime decreased by 54%, and insanity decreased by 66%."

There's a story of a woman who stood near the magistrate who was hearing a case against her husband. Somehow her sad look and disposition touched the heart of the judge, and he said to her, "Ma'am, I'm so very sorry, but I have no choice except to lock up your husband." Replied the woman: "Your honor, wouldn't it be better for me and the children if you locked up the local bars and let my husband go to work?"

The Viper’s Poison

So What’s Your Poison? There are particularly three types of wine mentioned in the bible. Basically fermented wine, heavily fermented wine and unfermented wine.

Alcoholic beverages are DEVELOPED to a stage of fermentation that is not recommended in the Bible!

They are NOT the wine that reminds us of the blessing of the Lord! Psalm 104:14-15 14 He causes grass to grow for the livestock and [provides]crops for man to cultivate, producing food from the earth,
15 wine that makes man’s heart glad— making his face shine with oil— and bread that sustains man’s heart.

; Ecclesiastes 9:7-8 Go, eat your bread with pleasure, and drink your wine with a cheerful heart, for God has already accepted your works.

They are NOT the wine created by Jesus at the wedding in Cana of Galilee! John 2;9-10  Now six stone water jars had been set there for Jewish purification. Each contained 20 or 30 gallons.7 “Fill the jars with water,” Jesus told them. So they filled them to the brim. 8 Then He said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the chief servant.” And they did. 9 When the chief servant tasted the water (after it had become wine), he did not know where it came from—though the servants who had drawn the water knew. He called the groom 10 and told him, “Everybody sets out the fine wine first, then, after people have drunk freely, the inferior. But you have kept the fine wine until now.”

They are NOT the wine that relieves stomach problems! I Timothy 5:23 Don’t continue drinking only water, but use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.

They are NOT the wine used in the worship of the Lord! Deuteronomy 14:23 You are to eat a tenth of your grain, new wine, and oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, in the presence of the Lord your God at the place where He chooses to have His name dwell, so that you will always learn to fear the Lord your God.

(Hebrew word used is referring to wine less than 40 days old)

Alcoholic beverages are DESCRIBED as drinks that cause emotional, physical, and spiritual
problems! I Peter 4:1-5 Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same resolve—because the One who suffered in the flesh has finished with sin — 2 in order to live the remaining time in the flesh, no longer for human desires, but for God’s will. 3 For there has already been enough time spent in doing the will of the pagans: carrying on in unrestrained behavior, evil desires, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and lawless idolatry. 4 In regard to this, they are surprised that you don’t plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation—and they slander you. 5 They will give an account to the One who stands ready to judge the living and the dead.

The Viper’s Victims

When I was 16, a 16 year old friend drowned because he had been drinking. His rescuer a closer friend of mine, got drunk and drove into a tree at Cessnock and killed himself. When I was 18 years old and a 17 year old friend died in a car accident because he had been drinking, the lesson was reinforced. But Lemuel’s mother took another path to teach Lemuel the lesson about booze.  As king, he possessed great power, but his mother told him to keep his mind unclouded. To dive into booze to escape the weight of his responsibility to judge rightly was not fit for a leader. It was his responsibility to take care of the needy, and he couldn’t fulfill his calling as leader if his mind was clouded by booze. Today, God gives us the ultimate calling to represent Him in our world. To share His grace, goodness, and love with a world consumed in hateful darkness. How can we show or speak God’s character to others when our minds are clouded by the elixir of intoxication? What kind of witness for Christ are you or I when our mind is mixed with booze.

The Viper’s destruction

Proverbs23: 20 Don’t associate with those who drink too much wine, or with those who gorge themselves on meat.

30 Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine.

31 Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly.

Come to know Christ.

Prov 30:5  Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
6 Don’t add to His words,or He will rebuke you, and you will be proved a liar.

Proverbs 23 Australia Day Drinking Day?

Proverbs23: 20Don’t associate with those who drink too much wine, or with those who gorge themselves on meat.

29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?

30 Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine.

31 Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup

and goes down smoothly.

32 In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder.

33 Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things.

34 You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast.

35 "They struck me," you will say, "but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must have another drink."

Proverbs 31: 1 The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him: 2 What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb?

What are you doing, son of my vows? 3 Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings. 4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink, 5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted. 6 Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; 7 let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.

Alcoholic beverages are denied to certain people!

Priest – Leviticus 10:9 Nazarites – Numbers 6:3

Prophets – Isaiah 28:1, 7 Kings and princes – Prov 31:4-5

Elders/Overseers – I Timothy 3:2-3 2 An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, 3 not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy—

Titus 1:7For an overseer, as God’s manager, must be blameless, not arrogant, not quick tempered, not addicted to wine, not a bully, not greedy for money

Deacons – I Timothy 3:8  Deacons, likewise, should be worthy of respect, not hypocritical, not drinking a lot of wine, not greedy for money,

Causing a person to stumble – Romans 14:21 It is a noble thing not to eat meat, or drink wine, or do anything that makes your brother stumble.

The Viper’s Den

The Viper’s Bite

The Viper’s Poison

The Viper’s Destruction

Monday, January 19, 2009


Proverbs 16 Setting Your Sails To Discover The Will Of God

Proverbs 16 Steps To Tuning Your heart to The Will Of God.

“Since 1955 knowledge has doubled every 5 years. Libraries groan with the weight of new books. In fact, our generation possesses more data about the universe and human personality than all previous generations put together. High school graduates today have been exposed to more information about the world than Plato, Aristotle, or Benjamin Franklin. In terms of facts alone, neither Moses, Paul, or Solomon could pass a college entrance exam today. Yet, by everyone’s standards, even with all our knowledge, society today is filled with a bumper crop of brilliant failures. Men and women, educated to earn a living, often don’t know anything about handling life itself. Alumni from noted universities have mastered information about a narrow slice of life but couldn’t make it out of the first grade when it comes to living successfully with family and kids and friends. Let’s face it, knowledge is not enough to meet life’s problems. We need wisdom, the ability to handle life with skill! - HADDON ROBINSON

In answer to the question, "Where is happiness?" Clarence Macartney said, "It's not found in pleasure--Lord Byron lived such a life if anyone did. He wrote, "The worm, the canker, and the grief are mine alone." Happiness is not found in money--Jay Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of that. When dying, he said, "I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth." It's not found in position and fame--Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both. He wrote, "Youth is a mistake, manhood a struggle, and old age a regret." It's not found in military glory--Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. Having done so, he wept in his tent because, he said, "There are no more worlds to conquer.""

The truth is you can never be happy unless you are doing God’s will.

You were designed to do God’s will.

Just as a train cannot run but on its own tracks, so you cannot have fulfilment and joy in life unless you run on the tracks God has designed for your life.

Ephesians 2:10 states For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

But how do you and I discover God’s will for our lives? Is it some mysterious map that God has to lower down to us from heaven? Will I find it by googling my name on google maps?

Many years ago a friend told me that you could liken discovering God’s will to one of those very old sailing boats that brought the convicts to Australia. Those heavy old ships were all powered by sail. If the ship wasn’t moving it didn’t matter how much the helmsman turned the rudder or what direction he turned it, the ship wasn’t going anywhere fast anyway. He could turn it as much as he wanted, but the ship wasn’t going to move.

If the sails were all furled, then the ship couldn’t catch the wind, and if the ship couldn’t catch the wind, they weren’t going anywhere fast.

God can guide a moving ship from the helm.

But how can we get moving? What steps are there to take to unfurl the sails so we can catch the wind of God’s Spirit as He guides us through life?

Solomon gives us the directions to unfurl each sail so you and I can catch the wind and God can direct our lives.

Sail 1. Unfurl the sail and Evaluate the Choices. Prov 16:1  The reflections of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.

For all of our choices in life, we must evaluate the options before us.  We should put our heart and head into equation to discover God’s will. 

Do you like “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” the host asks the question: “What is your final answer?” The final answer in the matter of the will of God belongs to the Lord. He Is Sovereign over all. There is a sense in which in His omnipotence nothing happens in life that does not fulfil His will.

Ephesians 1:11 says In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Which one of those all things is outside His will? None! Nothing catches God by surprise. In the final outworking of all things in human history, He remains the Sovereign Lord over history. He is in control and He has the final answer! In the end we must realise that there is a final decision, and the final decision is with the Lord.

(Prov 16:1) To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the reply of the tongue.

(Prov 16:9) In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

(Prov 19:21) Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.

(Prov 20:24) A man's steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?

(Prov 21:30) There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.

(Prov 21:31) The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD.

The message of Solomon's Spirit-inspired wisdom is clear: our God is sovereign, He is in control, it is His purposes and His plans that come to fruition.

James is well acquainted with the wisdom of Solomon. He too reminds us that we are not in charge, that we are not in control. James 4:13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.”
14 You don’t even know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are a bit of smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes.
15 Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

(James 4:14 You don’t even know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are a bit of smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes.) Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

We don't hold tomorrow. For that matter, we don't hold today either. They are in the hands of God. Even our life is not our own, but belongs to the God Who has numbered the days of each of us. We don't know – anyone of us – if today is our last day, or tomorrow, or next week, or next month, or next year, or next decade, or even half a century from now. We just don't know because our life, its days, its years, is not in our hands. It is, rather, in the hands of God. It is God Who is in control.

Yet while the Lord is sovereign, he calls on us to reflect. We need to reflect to figure out the Lord’s will for us. He expects our engagement in the process. And tonight we are examining the steps we need to make to arrive at god’s perfect will for our lives.
James 4:15 Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

What we are to do, dear people, is to recognize God's control. We are to follow the Lord's leading. James says,

(James 4:15) ... you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."

Our plans, our hopes, our dreams, are to be made with God – His will, His leading – in mind. Our lives are to be lived in the awareness of God's presence and control.

"If the Lord wills." The Apostle Paul was a man who knew we cannot neglect or defeat the sovereignty of God. He sought the Lord's will in any and every situation. It was his desire to always follow the Lord's leading. He made no hopes, plans, or goals without also immediately adding a statement about God's will. For instance, when Paul said good-bye to the church at Ephesus, he said, "I will come back if it is God's will" (Acts 18:21). And, when Paul's friends and companions could not dissuade him from going to the city of Jerusalem, they said, "The Lord's will be done" (Acts 21:14). To the Christians at Corinth, Paul states that he would visit them in the near future "if the Lord is willing" (1 Cor 4:19) and "if the Lord permits" (1 Cor 16:7). To the church at Rome, Paul says, "I pray that now at last by God's will the way may be opened for me to come to you" (Rom 1:10) and, "Pray ... that by God's will I may come to you ..." (Rom 15:31-32). Finally, to the church at Philippi, Paul says, "I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon" (Phil 2:19) and, "I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon" (Phil 2:24)."

Take responsibility. Reflect on God’s Sovereignty, and take responsibility for your part in discovering and doing God’s will.

Unfurl the sail named reflection!

Sail 2: Unfurl the sail and Allow God To Weigh Our Motives Proverbs 16:2 “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the spirits.” (Proverbs 16:2, NKJV)

Sheldon Vanauken, in an essay entitled, “The Loves,” describes how a husband left his wife for another woman.  The man said, “It seemed so good, so right.  That’s when we knew we had to get the divorce.  We belonged together.”  Vanauken then relates the words of a wife who was leaving her husband for another man.  She said, “It was just so good and right with Roger that I knew it would be wrong to be with Paul.”  Vanauken summarizes the decisions that this man and woman made when he writes that the two were “invoking a higher law: the feeling of goodness and rightness. …A feeling so powerful … that it swept away whatever guilt they otherwise would have felt.”
The rationale behind our decisions reveals whether we have made good decisions or poor ones.  It’s important that the followers of Jesus Christ follow the process that God puts in place when we have choices to make

We decide to do something because it appeals to our senses, and then we look for reasons why it’s a good thing to do.  That’s self-justification  But we need must remind ourselves that our judgment is fallible.  Making good decisions involves more than merely justifying what we’re already doing.  It involves more than merely rationalizing the course of action we’ve already taken. 
Sometimes we try to justify our decisions with how we feel.  If our heart is hot toward something, we conclude that it must be good.  But the Scripture says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.  Who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). Sometimes we try to justify our decisions with what we know.  If our mind intellectually determines the logical course of action, then it must be good.  But the Scripture tells us: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My (God) ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa 55:9).  Our mind can only conceive a particle of what God sees and knows.  So what we determine through our thought process isn’t sufficient evidence for a good decision.
God evaluates the Motives.In order to make good decisions, we need to know that God is watching and weighing our motives.  We make good decisions when God’s standard of right and wrong is the model we follow.  Our motivations for following a course of action are clear to Him.  The writer of Hebrews says it this way: “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Heb 4:13).

Unfurl the sail named reflection! Reflect upon your own motives. Read God’s Word and let His word retrain and restrain your personal motives.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart.

Reflect on the Word of God. Let God’s Word retrain your motives. Let God’s Word cut deep into your motives and expose them for what they are.

You must unfurl the sail of reflection by reading God’s Word each day. Read 5 chapters of His Word each morning before you go to school or work. Let it touch your heart. Let it examine your motives. Let it retrain your affections.

Psalm 139 says 23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.

Sail 3: Unfurl the sail called refocus and do All For God's Glory

Proverbs 16:3-4Commit your activities to the Lord and your plans will be achieved.4 The Lord has prepared everything for His purpose— even the wicked for the day of disaster.

God’s Glory is the Goal of what we do.
We make good decisions when we commit ourselves to bring God glory.  The Sage uses a verb which means to roll or cast toward something. In order to make good decisions today, we must roll our works toward God.  He is the goal of what we do.  When He is the goal of our actions, then our decisions will reflect that commitment.  The apostle Paul said, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31).
I can remember when I was a student; how desperately I wanted to fit in with others at school.  I was new to the city, and I found out quickly that I had to do certain things in order to fit in.  Some of the things that would lead ultimately to their acceptance, however, weren’t part of God’s plan for my life.  In fact, I knew that I would have to abandon what God wanted to be accepted.
The decisions I made as a student reflected the goal of my heart.  If being accepted was the goal, then my decisions would breed deeds that pleased others and disappointed God.  If, on the other hand, God’s glory was the goal, then my decisions would breed deeds that pleased God and distanced me from others.
Today, we have the same choice to make.  What is your goal?  As a person who has been touched and transformed by God’s love and grace through Jesus, we have a “built in” goal of bringing God Glory.  The question we have to answer is whether we believe God’s glory will lead us to the best in life.  If what the Bible says is true (and I believe it is), then we can’t reach the best in life if we don’t live to honour Him.
God promises to “establish our thoughts” when we commit our works to Him.  Literally, God will make our future plans firm and strong because our present commitment is properly focused.  He will add His richest blessing to our future plans when we trust Him with our decisions and deeds.  We won’t need to fret about the way things will work out tomorrow when we live to honour Him today. Derek Kidner, Proverbs, TOTC (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1964), 118.  He writes that “our activities and plans . . . will be no less our own for being His: only less burdensome . . . and better made.”  Furthermore, “there are no loose ends in God’s world: everything will be put to some use and matched with its proper fate.” 

We exist to honour God. The reason the goal of our work and our decisions we make is God’s glory is that we were made to honour God.  He created us to bring pleasure to His heart.  After all, He is God.  He is the One who made us.  He created in our hearts the passions that we have, and when those passions are surrendered to Christ, they lead to decisions that honour God.  He created in our lives the talents that we have, and when those talents are surrendered to Christ, they lead to decisions that honour God.
Just before His crucifixion, Jesus spoke to the Father and said, “I have glorified You on the earth.  I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:4).  That was Christ’s reason for leaving heaven and walking the earth as a Man.  To bring glory to God.  To finish the work that God had given Him to do.
The same is true for us.  We exist to bring glory to the Lord God who created us and saved us.  We were not created merely to make money, to have fun, or to pursue the dreams that swirl around in our soul.  We were created to honour the One who made us.  To bring Him pleasure with our decisions and our deeds.

Unfurl the sail called refocussing our intentions. Refocus on the glory of God. Get God’s glory as your final deciding factor in your life. It will keep you from the shoals of self-centred living.

Sail 4: Unfurl the sail called Redemption and Run To The Cross

Proverbs 16:5-6 Everyone with a proud heart is detestable to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.6 Wickedness is atoned for by loyalty and faithfulness, and one turns from evil by the fear of the Lord.

Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, proclaimed his self-reliance in the face of the eternity he will meet.  The poem, Invictus, which means “invincible” in Latin, provides the theme of his prideful look in the face of his decisions in the past and his destiny tomorrow.  The last phrase of the poem declares: “It matters not how straight the gate / How charged with punishments the scroll / I am the master of my fate / I am the captain of my soul.”  That type of attitude is a guarantee for making poor decisions that will devastate our lives. 
Decisions that Lead to Disaster. Solomon shares with us the debilitating and disastrous result of pride, especially when it comes to making good decisions.  The “proud in heart” are those who think too highly of themselves.  They are the “captains of their own soul.”  We are proud in heart when we think too often of ourselves and too little of God.   We think that we have all the answers we need in order to get the best in life, and we don’t need God or His help. Derek Kidner, Proverbs, TOTC (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1964), 118.  He writes: “The proud man is placed in the very worst company in Proverbs, heading the ‘seven abominations’ in 6:17, and assured of judgment, in company with the adulterer (6:29), the perjuror [sic] (19:5), and similar scarlet sinners whom he doubtless thanks God he does not resemble.”
Pride is an attitude of the heart that will lead to disastrous decisions. 

As “masters of our own fate,” we take control of our lives with painful consequences.  An attitude of absolute dependence upon our friends or our own faculties rather than upon Jesus Christ is an “abomination” to God.  An abomination is something that is abhorrent to the nature, character, and senses. 

The most devastating consequence of pride, however, is found in our relationship with God.  God resists the proud (James 4:5-6).  He is disgusted by pride.  He will punish pride.
Run to the Cross. The way to overcome the disastrous decisions of pride is to run toward the mercy, truth, and forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ.  We run to the foot of the cross and turn away from self-dependence to surrender.  We humble ourselves before Holy God and beg for His help.  We submit ourselves to Him with a commitment to obey Him in every way.  We give our lives to the “fear of the Lord.”  In the fear of the Lord, we declare that we don’t have all the answers.  In the fear of the Lord, we confess that our pride is an abomination to Him.  In the fear of the Lord, we submit our present path to Him and our distant destiny into His capable, compassionate, and caring heart.  We fear Him and believe that He will direct us to the very best in life.  When we fear Him, we live in the absolute terror that we will do anything without His hand of love, blessing, and passion upon our lives. Today, we need to run to the Cross! 

Sail 5: Unfurl the sail and Keep Our Priorities Straight

Proverbs 16: 7-8 When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Better is a little with righteousness, Than vast revenues without justice.” (Proverbs 16:7-8, NKJV) 

Sign on the road in England which read: “Changed Priorities Ahead.”  “It has to do with how you give way to the traffic in the roundabout just ahead. You yield to a different driver than usual.”  To negotiate the difficult decisions in our lives, we need to listen to the counsel of that sign.  We need to live by changed priorities so that we yield our lives every day to the Lord Jesus.
We must keep our priorities in order to make good decisions.  The Sage teaches us that we will be faced with many different “drivers” to whom we can yield; namely, friends or finances.  In order to make the best decisions, we must blanket our choices in life with the supreme priority: Please God first!
Choose to Please God more than Gain Friends. The pleasure of God takes priority over making friends or appeasing enemies.  Relationships can be a strong distraction in making good decisions.  We can make poor decisions (those that break God’s heart) because we want to gain friends and influence our enemies.  We make poor decisions because we believe that our relationships can lead to a better life for us than can God.  But He is the “sovereign Lord directing history.”If He is sovereign, then He is able to lead us to the best situations in every relationship. We must choose to please Him first because He has the power and the passion to satisfy our soul with the relationships which bless our lives the best. In order to make the best decisions our focus must be pleasing God first.  No matter how that decision might influence our friends to be dismayed or our enemies to attack.  When we live to please God, we can trust Him to help us with our relationships.
Choose to Please God more than Gain Finances. The second distraction to the proper priorities in making decisions is money.  We must choose every day to please God more than gain money.  So often we choose to benefit our bank account rather than to bring pleasure to the heart of the Father.  It’s a tough temptation, because it is so prevalent in our mind.  Money is such a part of our daily lives.  We spend it every, single day.  We make it every, single day.  It can consume our passion and confuse our priorities.
money is fleeting and temporary.  Pleasing God is an eternal investment (Matt 6:20-21) Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:20-21, NKJV

Sail 6: Unfurl the sail and Trust God With Our Future

Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.

We are Free to Choose.
We have the freedom to plan the course of our lives. It’s a freedom that God has given each of us.  In the book of Proverbs, however, we have learned that life comes down to two options.  We can choose to go the way of the wicked and the fool, or we can choose to go the way of the righteous and the wise.  We make choices that follow the path of the wicked when we tell God that we are the masters of our own fate. This saying distinguishes between the human plan and the divine direction; it has a whole process in mind: the way through life.  The journey involves many decisions, but there is consolation in the belief that the Lord’s direction will bring success along the way.”
When we follow God’s steps rather than the way that we think is best, we will experience the blessings of Christ.  When we follow the path of our own making, ignoring the steps directed by God through His Word and Spirit, we will be clothed with the pain of personal pride.
Our hope in the future is defined by the presence, power, and purpose of God to bring about the best in life for us.  We no longer interpret our need according to our abilities.  We no longer define our destiny according to our performance.  We have the presence of God through the Holy Spirit at work in our hearts to unveil a vision of what God is doing in our world and through our lives.  Through pride we reject God’s plan for our future and opt for a future of our own making (pain).  Through humility we place our future in the hands of the One who loved us.

Every Christian, if he or she is wise, will seek the Lord's leading. Every Christian, if he or she is wise, will not ignore the Lord and His will when making decisions and setting forth plans.

• Are you thinking of marriage? What is God's will for your life? Does He want you to get married and to whom?

• Are you thinking of college? What is God's will for your life? What college does He want you to go to? What major does He want you to study? What career does He want you to prepare for?

• Are you thinking of a move, a career change? What is God's will for your life? Where does He want you to move? What does He want you to do?

• Are you thinking of expansion? What is God's will for your life? Does He want you to become bigger or does He want you to be smaller?

• Are you thinking of retirement? What is God's will for your life? Where does He want you to retire and what does He want you to do with your retirement?

Do you follow God's leading? Do you even think about God's leading when it comes to matters like this?

Are you trusting in the Lord for your future?

Ps 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

Jer 17:7 "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD.

Ps 146:5 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God,

Prov 3:5  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; 6 think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.

"Trusting in the Lord with all our heart is the opposite of doubting God and His word. Such trust is fundamental to our relationship with God and is based on the premise that He is trustworthy."

“Putting confidence in an unreliable man is like chewing with a sore tooth, or trying to run on a broken foot” (Prov. 25:19, TLB). Henry Plantagenet, King of England, lay mortally wounded of foreign soil. He called for his faithful retainer Roger Malchael to read a list of the followers who had deserted to the enemy.

Roger unrolled the parchment but found it difficult to speak. At last the word came, “The first name that is written here is the name of Count John, your son.”

The king groaned, “Is it true that John, whom I loved beyond all my sons, and for whose gain I have suffered this misery, has forsaken me?”

The dying monarch turned his face to the wall, “It is enough. No need to read the others. Let the rest go as it will. I care no more for myself nor for aught in this world.”

But his oldest son Geoffrey upon whom he had not bestowed any particular affection stood by his father supporting his head and fanning away the July heat. “Dearest son,” whispered Henry, “Whatever a son could show of filial faith you have shown.”

Putting his trust in the notorious John Lackland had meant the king had faith in the wrong man. Where is your trust today? Are you trusting in the Lord, or are you trusting I other prospects that will fail because of their nature to fail.

Have you set the sails? Are you catching the wind of God’s Spirit for your daily guidance through life?

After preaching this message my church secretary aged 70 something stood and prayed “Lord help us to know your daily guidance for our lives so that we may do your will.” When older folk feel they need to know God’s will, as a daily experience, how much more should younger folk seek to know his will too. Are you discerning God’s will for your life? Take responsibility and seek to know His will. Set your sails. Trust the unfailing Lord to guide you.

And your life will become a fulfilling adventure with God.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Proverbs 14 and 29 Restraining And Retraining Wrath


PSYCHOLOGY TODAY has called our generation “The Age of Rage.” It seems that everywhere we turn, we see an increase in anger. It’s unusual to read the newspaper without reading of hostage takings, road rage, air rage, and not just high school but public school shootings. New web sites are appearing to rage against ex-husbands and ex-wives.

What is alarming is that many of these acts of violence occur not with strangers, but with people they know. It appears that they just weren’t able to control their anger in their personal relationships.

The statistics are mind-boggling. Most murders are between people who know each other and don’t know how to manage their anger. Closer to home is the damage that we see in our own relationships caused by anger. . Somebody has to teach us how to handle our anger before we destroy our relationships and ourselves.

1. Resolve to wrestle with your wrath.

Many people just excuse themselves for it. “it’s the way I am!” Well it may be, but it doesn’t have to remain that way.

Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

Job 18:4 You who tear yourself in anger— should the earth be abandoned on your account, or a rock be removed from its place?

Proverbs 14:29 says, “Those who control their anger have great understanding.”

In their book "When Anger Hits Home," Gary Jackson Oliver and H. Norman Wright make this statement: "Anger motivates a person to hate, wound, damage, annihilate, despise, scorn, loathe, vilify, curse, ruin, and demolish. Under anger's curse a person will ridicule, get even with, laugh at, humiliate, shame, criticize, bawl out, fight, crush, offend, or bully another person." In the same book, these two authors address the matter of "unresolved" anger: "Ignoring anger is an unhealthy choice. In the short-term it hinders us from dealing with the real issues, and in the long term it significantly increases the probability of physical problems." They concluded, "Ignoring your experiences of anger is usually hazardous to your emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual health."

More than that, the Lord Jesus gave directions as to why you cannot afford to excuse yourself or overlook the anger problem:

Matthew 5:21, Jesus said, “You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Do not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are angry with someone, you are subject to judgment!”

Genesis four tells the story of Cain and Abel and the offerings they presented to the Lord. When God accepted Abel's offering but rejected Cain's offering, Cain became violently angry and murdered his brother. James, the brother of our Lord, told his readers that unhealthy anger does not produce the righteous life God wants for His people. Paul warned the Ephesian believers not to sin by storing up unresolved anger. He admonished them to resolve their anger quickly. He warned them that if they did not deal with anger, Satan would use it as a means of working against them.

2. Remember the results

Proverbs 29.22 says, “An angry man stirs up dissention and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.”

Proverbs 15:19 “A hot-head starts fights, but a cool-tempered person tries to stop them.”

Matthew 5:22, “But I say, if you are angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the high council. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.”

Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “Don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you.…for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil.”

Proverbs 15:18, ‘Hot tempers cause arguments.’"

How many of you know this is true: “Anger causes mistakes.” (Proverbs 14:29)

How about this – Proverbs 14:7: “People with hot tempers do foolish things.”

Prov 14: 16 A wise man is cautious and turns from evil, but a fool is easily angered and is careless. 17 A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man who schemes is hated.

29 A patient person [shows]great understanding, but a quick-tempered one promotes foolishness.

Pro 14:29 Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.

Pro 15:18 A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.

Pro 29:22 A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.

Pro 30:33 For pressing milk produces curds, pressing the nose produces blood, and pressing anger produces strife.

3. Reflect before reacting

Proverbs 29:11 “A fool gives full vent to his anger but a wise man keeps himself under control.” Proverbs 12:16 “A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.”

Proverbs 19:11 says, “People with good sense restrain their anger. They earn esteem by overlooking

wrongs.” Pro 19:11 Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

LISTEN INSTEAD OF SPEAKING. James 1:19 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”

DON’T LET IT BURN. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.” Jesus said, “So if you are standing before the altar in the Temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there beside the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God” (Matthew 5:23-24).

Pro 16:32 Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

Matthew 12:34 says, “For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.” The best way to change what you say is to change your heart. And the best way to change your heart is to come to Christ. He will deal with the root issues of your heart.

"Whatever is in the heart overflows into speech." (TLB) Luke 6:45 A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.


One of your deepest needs is to be understood. Paul Tournier, who is a Swiss Christian psychiatrist, says, "No one can fully develop in this world and find a full life without feeling understood by at least one person. No one comes to know himself through introspection or in the solitude of his personal diary. Rather, it is in dialog with his meeting other people." We find out who we are and what God wants us to be through relationships.

Prov 14: 10 The heart knows its own bitterness, and no outsider shares in its joy.

"A man's wisdom gives him patience." Proverbs.19:1

The Bible tells us that when you get angry, that there may be several reasons:

1. Because you're hurt. Hurt causes anger. When you're physically, spiritually, or emotionally hurt you get angry. After the Civil War, Robert E. Lee visited a Kentucky lady who took him to what was formerly her favourite old tree in front of her house. The limbs and trunk had been destroyed by Federal artillery fire. After a brief silence, Lee said, "Cut it down, my dear Madam, and forget it."

Pro 14:30 A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones.

"A man with hate in his heart may sound pleasant enough, but don't believe him; for he is cursing you in his heart. Though he pretends to be so kind, his hatred will finally come to light for all to see" (Proverbs 26:23-26 TLB).

In Israel there is the Holocaust Museum. As you know, Six million Jewish people were killed during the Holocaust, including 1.5 million children under the age of 12. That's hard for us to fathom. We would understand if they were resentful, if they were bitter and hateful and angry, if they were distrustful, if they lived in the grip of resentment. But the Holocaust Museum communicates a very different message. The message, in large letters, is this: "Remember, not revenge”

"Before you criticize someone you should walk a mile in their shoes...... That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them.... And you have their shoes. "

2. Because you're frustrated. When nothing seems to work. When you're forced to wait. When things just don't go as planned. As we discover God’s sovereignty, so our frustrations are healed. Rom 8:28  We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.

"A relaxed attitude lengthens a man's life." Proverbs 14:30 (LB) A tranquil heart is life to the body, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones.

There is always something funny or amusing we can laugh about during the hard things of life. Humor has a way of dissolving the tension of a situation. So often in tension our perspective is out of focus. But there is something about humor that helps bring it back into focus and we see the situation for what it really is, when we can laugh about it. The Scriptures tells us that a relaxed attitude lengthens a man's life.

3. Because you're insecure. When you're threatened, when you're afraid, when your self worth is attacked then that causes anger.

"See to it that no-one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." (NIV) Hebrews 12:15

As we discover more of the grace of God, so we become more gracious. 1 John 4:19 We love because He first loved us.

As we understand God’s grace, so our insecurties are healed.

But if we don’t address these inward issues in ourselves,, then we will find ourselves becoming not better, but bitter.

23 Smooth lips with an evil heart are like glaze on an earthen vessel. 24 A hateful person disguises himself with his speech and harbors deceit within. 25 When he speaks graciously, don’t believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart. 26 Though his hatred is concealed by deception, his evil will be revealed in the assembly. HCSB

I recently read this in Dear Abby: "I'm 44 years old and would like to meet a man my age with no bad habits. Rose." Abby responded, "Dear Rose, So would I".

4. Restrain your remarks.

Proverbs 15:1 says that “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Watch your words. Proverbs 21:23 "If you want to stay out of trouble, be careful what you say."

Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer quiets anger. But harsh ones stir it up."

anger is contagious, infectious.

If you get it you'll give it to other people. If other people get it, you'll probably get it. If somebody's continually angry at you, eventually you're going to get angry at them. It is contagious. So it says whatever you sow you're going to reap. If you sow harsh words, you're going to reap harsh words back.

There’s a book called Patton's Principles for Managers Who Mean It, by Gen. George S. Patton. One of the laws in Patton's book is, Never fight a battle where you don't gain anything by winning. Know what battles to fight and know what battles aren't worth fighting. "When someone wrongs you it's a great virtue just to ignore it." Proverbs 17:27

Don’t suppress it

Don’t repress it. . (Ephesians 4:26) “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”

Don’t express it.

Proverbs 21:23 says, “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.”

Romans 12:17-21) “Do not repay evil for evil… Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath…Overcome evil with good.”

Do confess it.

Acknowledge your anger to yourself and God. It is impossible to hide your anger form an omniscient God, and it is equally hard to fool yourself. Have you been honest with God and yourself regarding your anger, or have you tried to hide it under a layer of superficial Christianity?

Psalm 139:1-6. Lord, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away.
3 You observe my travels and my rest; You are aware of all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue, You know all about it, Lord.
5 You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me.
6 [This]extraordinary knowledge is beyond me. It is lofty; I am unable to [reach] it.

Tell God that you are angry at whatever the source of your anger is. Open the channel of communication with your heavenly Father who will not condemn you for your feelings. Identifying your source of anger will keep you from hurting others who are innocent. Perhaps you are angry at someone at work and take it out on your family. Do they deserve such treatment?

Perhaps my favourite character in American history is Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln's Secretary of War was a man named Edwin Stanton. One day Stanton was complaining about a certain general in the Northern army. Stanton verbally vented his anger. Lincoln let him do so. Stanton said, "I'd like to write him a letter and tell him what I think of him." Lincoln responded, "Well, why not do it? Sit down and write him a letter saying all you have said to me." Stanton was surprised at Lincoln but he wrote the letter. He later showed his letter to Lincoln who acknowledged that he certainly had raked the general over the coals and torn him to shreds. Then Lincoln asked, "Now what are you going to do with this letter?" "Mail it," replied Stanton. "I wouldn't," replied the president quietly. Then Lincoln invited Stanton to throw the letter into the fireplace. That's what we all need to do with our unresolved anger - Get rid of it! Release it to the Lord! It will kill you if you don't!

5. Repattern your mind.

(Romans 12:2) “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

(Proverbs 22:24-25) “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.”

Pro 22:24 Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, 25 or you will learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.

I came across a story about a missionary couple in the Philippines. Her husband was killed by a careless taxi driver. Philippine law said that he had to stay in jail till all investigating was finished. But the widow exercised her right to release him. To her surprise he came to prefuneral services. (In the Philippines Christian churches it a Service of Hope.) She told him she forgave him - he started smiling but left - she never expected to see him again. This is how she describes meeting him again the next night at a church service, "The man approached me, this time accompanied by his wife and 3 sisters. All four women cried noisily on my shoulder. (She's the widow here!) There were grateful for their loved ones release from prison. The taxi (jeepney) driver and his family attended Matt's funeral. Matt's parents told him that they too forgave him for Matt's death and believed that God had a purpose in Matt's death." The driver and his family started attending church and eventually all accepted Christ into their lives. - Decision Magazine September p.30

6. Rely on God’s control.

(Colossians 3:15) “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…”

Prov 14:26 In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence and his children have a refuge. 27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning people from the snares of death.
We need some deep seated changes that only God Himself can work in us.

Now, having pinpointed the source of your anger, choose to respond to it through the power of the Holy Spirit. No one can make you angry. You make yourself angry. This is a crucial principle to realize. You can control your emotions because you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the supernatural presence of God who gives you His power of self-control. There is no excuse for out-of-control anger when the God who controls heaven and earth lives within you to make you like Himself.

Proverbs 14, 29 6 Keys to Controlling Anger

Proverbs 14

17 A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man who schemes is hated.
25 A truthful witness rescues lives, but one who utters lies is deceitful.
26 In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence and his children have a refuge.
27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning people from the snares of death.
28 A large population is a king’s splendor, but a shortage of people is a ruler’s devastation.
29 A patient person [shows]great understanding, but a quick-tempered one promotes foolishness.
30 A tranquil heart is life to the body, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones.
31 The one who oppresses the poor insults their Maker, but one who is kind to the needy honors Him.
32 The wicked are thrown down by their own sin, but the righteous have a refuge when they die.
33 Wisdom resides in the heart of the discerning; she is known even among fools.

Proverbs 29

Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath.
9 If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.
10 The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.
11 A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.

20 Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

22 An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.
23 A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

1. Resolve to wrestle with your wrath

(Proverbs 29:11) “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”

2. Remember the Results.

(Proverbs 29:22) “An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.”

(Proverbs 15:18) “A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension…”

(Proverbs 11:29 LB) “The fool who provokes his family to anger and resentment will finally have nothing worthwhile left.”

3. Reflect before reacting.

(Proverbs 29:11 NLT) “A fool gives full vent to anger, but a wise person quietly holds it back.”

(Proverbs 19:11) “A man’s wisdom gives him patience…”

Ask myself…

Why am I angry? What do I want? How can I get it?

4. Restrain Your remarks

(Ephesians 4:26) “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”

(Romans 12:17-21) “Do not repay evil for evil… Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath…Overcome evil with good.”

Don’t suppress it. Don’t repress it. Don’t express it. Do confess it.

5. Repattern your mind.

(Romans 12:2) “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

(Proverbs 22:24-25) “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.”

6. Rely on God’s control.

(Colossians 3:15) “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…”


Proverbs 27 How To Be A Fragrant Friend


9Ointment and perfume delight the heart, And the sweetness of a man's friend gives delight by hearty counsel.

Fragrance.. Parfum.. from a perfumery. During the course of our trip to the perfumery this happened (sequence where the lady talks about the Nose!)

Fragrance.  If you would have friends, show yourself friendly.

It was Frederick the Great who said, "The more I get to know people, the more I like my dog."

A Charlie Brown cartoon expresses this well. Lucy is standing holding her hands together and claiming rather piously, "I love humanity, I love all humanity" and then she adds to herself, "it's people I can't stand."

One of the most severe epidemics of our time is loneliness. Though most of us are surrounded by people, we live in a society of loneliness. Everyone, from little children to aging seniors experience feelings of isolation, rejection and seclusion. We often think of single people who live alone as being lonely, but some of the loneliest people I have known have been married with a house full of children.

There are two types of loneliness:

First, there is SOCIAL loneliness. This occurs when we are isolated from our families and friends. Second, and worse there is EMOTIONAL loneliness. This is the most common type of loneliness. It occurs when we feel we have no one to share our deepest concerns, no one who truly understands our struggles or our joys. The solution to the problem of loneliness is friendship. All human beings both need and crave friendship. We need someone who will rejoice with us or cry with us, someone who will comfort us

Friendship is essential to a healthy, happy life. In a 3 year study of 1,000 adults, Dr. Nan Lynn of the State University of New York, researched those qualities that make people mentally healthy. She found that people who have close friendships were less often depressed and anxious than those who did not; and generally enjoyed a better state of wholeness. Everybody needs and wants friends. Loneliness is the number one emotional problem in our society. The top best-selling book of this century - outside of the Bible is "How to Win Friends and Influence People." One of the top rated shows on television is called "Friends." Though it presents a rather warped perspective on friendship, it reminds us that people are interested in the subject of friendship. When God made man, He said, "it is not good for man to be…" - what? Alone! Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto!

I'm afraid that what our culture values is friendliness. Friendliness isn't the same as friendship. We like friendly flight attendants, friendly salespeople, friendly politicians. And I like them, too. But friendliness is not the same as friendship. If your car salesman is a very friendly guy it does not mean he wants to be your friend after the deal is closed. Please don't get me wrong. I like friendly people. I even like friendly machines. When I shopped for my first computer several years ago - dazed by all that I saw - the salesperson pointed to one of them and said, "Now this one - this one is user friendly." I said, "I'll take it." User friendly. But I have to tell you my computer has never become my friend.

9. Ointment and perfume delight the heart, And the sweetness of a man's friend gives delight by hearty counsel.

1. Be Careful of Flawed Friendships:

False Security and Insecurity 1,2 Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth. 2 Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.

Do you see these two attitudes?

Dale Carnegie, "You can make more friends in 2 months by becoming interested in other people than you can in 2 years by trying to get other people interested in you."

I went out to FIND a Friend, But could not FIND one there.

I went out to BE a Friend, And Friends were Everywhere!

How many slams in an old screen door? Depends how loud you shut it

How many slices in a bread? Depends how thin you cut it.

How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ‘em.

How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ‘em.

Foolish Friendships 3-5 A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, But a fool's wrath is heavier than both of them. 4 Wrath is cruel and anger a torrent, But who is able to stand before jealousy? 5 Open rebuke is better Than love carefully concealed.

Proverbs 22:24-25, "Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared." Proverbs 23:20-21, "Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags."

False Friendships 14 He who blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, It will be counted a curse to him

Proverbs 14:20, "The poor are shunned even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends."

Proverbs 19:4, "Wealth brings many friends, but a poor man’s friend deserts him

Proverbs 19:6 says, "Many curry favor with a ruler, and everyone is the friend of a man who gives gifts."

Someone has said, "you never know how many friends you have until you buy a cottage on the beach."

2. Be Faithful To Faithful Friendships

Prov 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Inspite Of Their Reproofs 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. 7A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, But to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

8 Like a bird that wanders from its nest Is a man who wanders from his place.

Proverbs 12:26 says, "a righteous man is cautious in friendship; but the way of the wicked leads them astray." Proverbs reminds us that it is distinctly possible to sink a genuine friendship by ill-advised behavior and attitudes. For instance:

You can forfeit a friendship due to a tongue that is offensive.

Proverbs 17:9, "He who covers an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends."

You can’t eat your friends and have them, too! The little beast whose cage is between the teeth can cause us to forfeit valuable friendships. Betraying a confidence, talking behind a back, sarcasm, belittling a friend - a runaway tongue can destroy a friendship. We expect viciousness from our enemies, but not from our friends. Yet, we cannot be betrayed by an enemy, only by a friend. The reason a dog has loyal friends is because he wags his tail and not his tongue. A true friend doesn’t rub it in; he rubs it out.

You can forfeit a friendship due to tendencies that are objectionable.

I take you back once more to Proverbs 23:20-21, "Do no mix with those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags." How tragic to see a man whose only remaining friend is a bottle, because all his loyalty became devoted to that. He gives away all that is really valuable in life to hang on to something destructive.

We can forfeit friendships due to treatment that is overbearing.

We can forfeit friendships by being overbearing and obnoxious to our friends. Proverbs 25:17, "Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house - too much of you and he will hate you." That’s pretty blunt, isn’t it? Give your friends some space and don’t smother them or they’ll get tired of you.

Proverbs 27:14, "He who blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it will be counted a curse to him." Be careful not to embarrass a friend even by overbearing compliment.

15 A continual dripping on a very rainy day And a contentious woman are alike;

16 Whoever restrains her restrains the wind, And grasps oil with his right hand.

In other words your husbands and wives should be best of friends, and not through overbearingness smother the other.

Instead of Family

10 Do not forsake your own friend or your father's friend, Nor go to your brother's house in the day of your calamity;

From Charles Bridges Proverbs

9. Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so cloth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel (from the counsel of the soul, marg.)

Most refreshing are ointment and perfume to the senses.’ Not less so is the cordial of friendship to the soul. Who does not feel the need of a brother’s or sister’s hand, or their heart ? The sweetness and tenderness of a sincere friend soundly heals the wound. Sympathy is the balm of friendship. “My friend is to me as my own soul,” the sharer of my joys and my sorrows. How could I bear my sorrows alone?

The heartiness of a friend’s counsel constitutes its excellence. It is not official, or merely intelligent. It is the counsel of his soul. He puts himself in our case, and counsels, as he would wish to he counselled himself. Moses’s heart was thus rejoiced by Jethro’s counsel, relieving him from a heavy and needless burden. (Exod. xviii. 17—24.)

Often has the sympathy of a brother’s experience cleared our path, and brought us direction and encouragement.

10. Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near, than a brother far off. Man without principle is the creature of caprice. His friendships have no warranted stability. The ointment soon loses its fragrance. The sweetness of hearty counsel (Verse 9) is forgotten. New friends gain influence; and even the father’s friend—the long-tried family friend—is forsaken.

If other things are better when new, a friend is better that is old and tried. (See Eccius. ix. 10.) For how can you trust an untried friend?

An old friend is even better than a relative!

For though relationship ought to be the closest bond; yet, without a higher principle, selfishness will too often predominate. Joseph found far greater kindness among foreigners, than from his own kindred.’ Jonathan’s affection afforded to David, what his brothers’ jealousy would never have given him. The Saviour found his most soothing sympathy in the day of his calamity, not in his brethren’s house, but in the persevering attachment of his devoted friends.

One friend and neighbour closely knit in unity, near at hand, and in readiness to assist, is better than a brother as far off in affection, as in distance. Charles Bridges - Proverbs

Prov 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 18:24a, "A man of many companions may come to ruin…" The King James Version reads, "A man that has friends must show himself friendly." And that is true. But the Hebrew literally reads, "a man of many companions will be broken into pieces." Keil and Delitzch, in their commentary on Proverbs, translate this, "a man of many friends comes off a loser." They explain that what this verse is saying is that a man who sets himself to gain many friends comes finally to be a loser. But why would this be so?

Well, it is my impression that this is referring to treating the friendship of others too lightly; compromising quality for quantity. Some people are so insecure that they feel like they have to surround themselves with a lot of admirers for the sake of their ego.

Our text says, "a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." One of the great friendships of the Bible was that of David and Jonathan. In I Samuel 18:1, the Bible says, "Jonathan loved David as himself." IT also says that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David. Their spirits were bound together. When I’m talking about fellowship, that’s what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about partying together; I’m talking about heart knit together as one… an unbreakable bond. Proverbs 18:24 speaks of "a friend who sticks closer than a brother." True friends spend time together. They need each other and know it. We were not made for solitary, isolated living. We were made to fellowship.

Several years ago, Burt Bacharach and Carol Bayer Sager wrote a song that topped the charts that says: Keep smiling, keep shining - knowing you can always count on me, for sure. That’s what friends are for. In good times, in bad times I’ll be on your side forevermore. That’s what friends are for

3. Be Thankful For Refining Friendships

Fellowship The value of fruitful friendships.

If you have a true friend, you have something of great value. What are friends for? Here are some answers from Proverbs:

Emotional encouragement: Proverbs 27:9, "…the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel." When we are down, the companionship and consolation of a friend is like soothing oil on an open wound or like sweet perfume. A friend is someone who believe in you even when you have ceased to believe in yourself. A friend is someone who multiplies your joys and divides your grief.

Spiritual counsel and guidance: Proverbs 27:17, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens his friend." Friends can keep one another from becoming spiritually dulled; they sharpen each other. They help take the rough edges off. You are helping shape everyone with whom you come in contact. And a good friend gives constructive counsel and guidance to help shape your friend into the likeness of Christ. Someone has said, "A friend is one who strengthens you with his prayers, blesses you with his love, and encourages you with his hope."

The mutual excitation for evil is a solemn warning against “evil communications.” But most refreshing is it, when, as in the dark ages of the Church, “they that feared the Lord spake often one to another.” Sharpening indeed must have been the intercourse at Emmaus, when “the hearts of the disciples burned within them.”

The Apostle was often so invigorated by the countenance of his friends, that he longed to be “ refreshed with their company.”

” Two are better than one “ our Lord sent his first preachers to their work. And the first Divine ordination in the Christian Church was after this precedent. (Acts, xiii. 2—4.)

‘The communion of saints’ is an Article in our Creed. But is it practically acknowledged in its high responsibility and Christian privilege? Gladly let us take up the bond of brotherhood. If a brother seems to walk alone, sharpen his iron by godly communication. Walk together in mutual consideration” of each other’s infirmities, trials, and temptations; and mutual “provocation “ of each other’s gifts and graces. 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. –Charles Bridges, Proverbs

Oscar Wilde wrote, "A true friend always stabs you in the front." Proverbs 27:6 says "Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful."

Benjamin Franklin, "Be slow to make friends, and slower to lose them."

Nature itself shows us that we need each other. There is a bird in Alaska called the Golden Plover. Every winter it does what any sane person would do - it flies to Hawaii.For this annual trip it flies across open sea. There are no islands along the way and since the Golden Plover cannot swim, it goes the whole way without a single rest stop. This is incredible because the distance is 2,800 miles and takes eighty-eight hours. Just imagine driving your car that long. The bird must beat its wings 250,000 times. To prepare for the trip, the Golden Plover pigs out until fat constitutes one-third of its weight. This is its fuel. Each hour it flies, it consumes one-half of one percent of its body weight. (This is very efficient - jets consume twenty-four times as much.) If a two-hundred-pound person did this, they would lose a pound an hour. After flying seventy-two hours a Golden Plover should have consumed all its fat, but this would leave it over 500 miles from Hawaii. We would expect it to drop out and crash into the sea, but it doesn't. The reason is that God gave them companions.By flying in a V-formation instead of by themselves the birds save twenty-three percent of their energy. The leader breaks up the turbulent air, making it easier for those who follow. When the leader gets tired he drops to the back of the line and another takes over. In this way they not only make it to Hawaii, they also have a small supply of fat left to help them in case the wind is against them. Like the Golden Plover, people need other people. We can help each other go the distance.

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