Show-off servants

When one is referred to as a show-off, it often means two things, one is that the person has something or has achieved something that he or she is proud of, and secondly that person is not very reserved about their possession or achievement. But what does a servant have to show off,  or should a servant be a show-off?

Acts 16 records the account of a damsel in distress, that had been possessed by the spirit of divination (soothsaying). But when she met the disciples of God, Paul and Silas, she followed them and she cried out “These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.” for many days. The enemy (spirit of divination) recognizes who the disciples of God are and what they are tasked to do. The enemy recognized that Paul and Silas were servants, but not just anybody’s servants; they were servants of the most high God. And as servants, they were show-offs! They showed of the way of salvation. In other words, they showed-off (or should I say, show-cased) Jesus Christ (THE ONLY way of salvation).

Point(s) to ponder:
1. How does the enemy recognize you/me as? Is it as servants of the most high God?
2. As servants of the most high God, are we show-casing  / showing off Jesus Christ, THE ONLY way of salvation?

ACTS 16:16-18 (KJV)
16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.

18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

Memorial day in Jesus’ words

Moina Michael, U.S Professor and humanitarian, commonly known as the Poppy Lady, writes in her renowned poem, “We shall keep the faith”, that the blood of heroes never dies.

Before Jesus was crucified, he met with his disciples in communion (at what is known familiarly as the event of the Last Supper) and told them to remember.

His words were to remember as one partakes of the communion, but what are we to remember?
We ought to remember that the wrath of God was poured on Jesus, so that the GRACE of God could be poured on us.
We ought to remember that, Jesus was forsaken so that we could be adopted.
We ought to remember that because Jesus willingly gave up his communion with God, we can now have communion with God.
We ought to remember that Jesus’ body was broken and his blood was shed, so that ours would not have to be.
We ought to remember that Jesus died (for our sake), so that we can live and live abundantly (under His Lordship).

We must keep the faith for His Blood which brings the remission of sins, covers and washes all unrighteousness. The Blood of Jesus Christ, The HERO never dies.

Points to ponder:
This Memorial day, are you and I honoring Him by remembering Him?
Can it be told of you and me, “He/She shall keep the faith”?

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (KJV)
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

Understand and stand up(right)

From Daniel 10, we learn that when Daniel was earnestly praying in humility for understanding, an answer to his request was sent, but the angel with the answer was delayed due to an invisible war that ensued in the spiritual dimension, between the forces of evil (prince of Persia and later the prince of Greece) and the forces of God (the angel with the answer and Michael, the archangel). When the angel with the answer, finally arrives after 21 days of warfare, Daniel is helped to his knees (Daniel 10:10) and asked to understand the words that he was spoken to and to stand upright (Daniel 10:11).

Daniel sought to understand and he was asked to understand God’s message. Daniel was also asked to stand upright. Ecclesiastes 7:29 informs us that God hath made man upright but they have sought out many inventions which means that God created man(kind)/people upright (in his own image) but man has chosen his own downward path (NLT) (from and since his rebellion and fall in the garden of Eden). God want us to be restored, to stand up and stand upright (faultless) before God. This is only possible if we understand the message that God has sent to us; the message of God’s inseparable love, in the form of His Only begotten Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Jesus Christ is God’s message to mankind. He is the answer to the question – “How can man stand upright?” for it is only Jesus Christ, the only wise God and Savior, who can keep us from falling and present us faultless (upright) before the presence of God’s glory (Jude 1:23).There is no other way to righteousness, to standing upright.

Point(s) to ponder:
1. We must be on our knees (not feet) in order to stand before God!
2. We must believe in the Word of God (Jesus Christ), standing up on our knees in humility accepting His Lordship, so that He can make us stand up(right) before God.
In other words, We must Understand God’s Message to Stand Up(right)!

Ecclesiastes 7:29 (KJV)
29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.

Daniel 10:10-12 (KJV)
10 And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.
11 And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.
12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.

God of the mighty

While learning the song, Agnus Dei, instead of singing “for the Lord God Almighty reigns”, our beloved 5 year old son, Reuben, kept singing “for the God of the mighty reigns.” My loving wife, Sangeetha attempted to correct him, but while she was doing so, it dawned on me that my son, without realizing was proclaiming another truth from the Holy Bible. God, the Most High is not just the Lord God Almighty, but He is also the God of the mighty.

The Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the word, “mighty” as someone who is possessing “power.” As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we are not just a peculiar people, but we are a powerful people, for God did not give unto us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Just as David, a shepherd boy towered over the mighty trained soldier Goliath, with God in us (not just on our side), we are stronger than the strongest and mightier than the mightiest that the world can raise. We are a mighty people and the Most High, who reigns, is our God. For indeed the Lord God Almighty reigns; For indeed the God of the mighty reigns.

1 John 4:4 (KJV)
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Proverbial Relationships with Gossips :: Hearsay Not

Richard Burton, an English scholar from Oxford University at Christ Church writes in his renowned book, The Anatomy of Melancholy, first published in 1621, that “A blow with a word strikes deeper than a blow with a sword.” This is very much aligned with the analogy that King Solomon gives as advice when dealing with gossips as recorded in Proverbs 26:17-28.  The king who asked for wisdom from God and received it, writes, that where there is no hearsay (gossiping), strife ceaseth, and that talebearing is like wood to a fire. Most of us like to gossip, but the Bible tells us that it is the glory of God to conceal a matter (Proverbs 25:2). In a generation, where the social network is prevalent as a day-by-day engagement, not just in businesses, but in personal matters as well, as Christians we must be careful to not fall in the trap of using our words as catalysts that instigate strife or weapons that inflict deep wounds. Words must be used to build (encourage) one another and not de-face them. Let us remember, that the God is in heaven and we are on earth, so let our words be few (Ecclesiastes 5:2).

Proverbs 26:20-22 (KJV)
20 Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.
21 As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
22 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

Proverbial Relationships with Sluggards :: Hinge Not

Proverbs 26:13-16 gives counsel about how to deal with sluggards. It describes a sluggard as one who is so lazy that even feeding himself or herself is considered by them to be a grievous task. They love to sleep and as a door turns on its hinges, so does a slothful man turn on his bed. The Bible goes to the extreme of calling someone who does not provide for his/her own, especially for those of their own house as one who has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel/unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8). The sluggard is asked to go to the ant and consider the ant’s ways and be wise (Proverbs 6:6), for an ant not only works for the present but also plans and acts for the future.

Followers of Christ are called to a life of labor and not of laziness. The Bible says that we are saved by grace, through faith, ordained unto good works (labor and not laziness) (Ephesians 2:8-10). We must not hinge ourselves with a sluggard, lest when Jesus returns as Lord and Master, we would have nothing more to give him for the talents He has given us, and whatever we have been given would also be taken from us (Luke 19:12-26). Hinge Not with a sluggard!

Proverbs 26:13-16 (KJV)
13  The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.
14 As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.
15 The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.
16 The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV)
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Proverbial Relationships with Fools :: Heed or Heed Not!

Proverbs 26:1-12 gives advice on how to behave when dealing with fools. But who is a fool?
Some of the characteristics and definition of a fool according to the Bible are:
A fool says in his heart, “There is no God”, They are corrupt and they do abominable deeds (Psalm 14:1)
A fool has no delight in in understanding, but only in expressing his own opinion (Proverbs 18:2)
A fool has no self-control with his tongue but utters all his mind bringing ruin to himself (Proverbs 29:11; Proverbs 18:7)
A fool despises wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7)
A fool is like one who builds his house upon the sand, because he/she hear the words of Jesus but does nothing about it (Matthew 7:26)

So with an understanding of who a fool is, how are we as followers of Christ Jesus, to deal with them?

When dealing with fools, we must not answer nor heed the arguments of a fool, lest we also become like him. On the other hand,  when it is determined, that a fool’s position must  be challenged, it is important to answer the fool according to his own folly, lest he is wise in his own eyes. In other words, we must know when to heed and when not to heed to a fool.

Proverbs 26:4-5 (KJV)
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

Proverbial Relationships with Yourself :: Hold On

Proverbs 25:25-28 advices us on how we must relate with ourselves. We must have self control and at the same time be selfless as well.

The Scripture likens the man/woman without self control to be like a city that is broken down and without walls (Proverbs 25:28). A broken down city without walls cannot withstand the attacks that come against it and in the same manner a person without self-control is not fortified in his/her defenses against the attacks that come. We must have restraint for anything in excess including sweet honey, which can in the end be bitter, when it is not in moderation. Just as holding on to the reins of the horse can make us control the direction of the horse, so also, having a rule over one’s own spirit can make us head in the direction that we ought to.

In addition to having self control, we must be selfless as well, not seeking our own glory. The Bible says that those who search their own glory is not glory at all. (Proverbs 25:27).

Proverbs 25:27-28 (KJV)
It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

Proverbial Relationships with Enemies :: Heap

Proverbs 25:21-22 advices us on how we must relate with our enemies. The Bible also teaches us that  we must repay good for evil and not render evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that we are thereunto called, so that we should inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:9) and warns us if on the other hand we repay evil for good, evil shall not depart from that house (Proverbs 17:13).

Jesus told us that we must love our enemies, bless them that curse us, do good to them that hate us, and pray for them which despitefully use us, and persecute you (Matthew 5:44). Our love must be expressed in action. This means that if our enemy is hungry, we must give him/her bread to eat; and if he/she is thirsty, we must give him/her water to drink. For in doing so, we heap coals of fire upon their head and our reward will be from the LORD. (Proverbs 25:22).

God expressed his love in action i.e, while we were still sinners and ENEMIES of God, Jesus died for us (James 4:4, Romans 5:8); He became manna (the bread), so we may eat of Him and live. He is the source of living waters and all who thirsty can come to him to be quenched.

Point(s) to ponder:
1. Do you need to reconcile with any one?
2. Do good to them that are your enemies!

Proverbs 25:21-22 (KJV)
If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:
22 For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.

Proverbial Relationships with Neighbors :: Hasty and Halting

Proverbs 25:8-20 gives counsel on relationships with neighbors. This section advices us that we must at times use our feet and tongue hastily, while at other times, we must halt them, lest we weary our neighbor and be hated.

The Bible instructs us that we must not go forth hastily to strife (dispute) but when we have a dispute, we must be hasty with our feet to go and make peace; to amend the relationship and reconcile (Proverbs 25:8). We must also be hasty with our tongue, to debate our cause if we are at fault or speak words of compassion (mercy) and forgiveness, if we have been wronged (Proverbs 25:9). A word spoken at the right time (fitly) is like apples of gold in settings of silver (Proverbs 25:11).

The Bible is balanced in its counsel. We are also advised to halt our feet and tongue, when dealing with neighbors. Have you ever come across someone who is always in someone else’s business. Every time that person is encountered, people often exclaim something to the effect of “Oh no, here he/she comes!” We are to mind our own business. We are not to be bothersome. We are to halt our feet from our neighbor’s house lest we make them weary and hate us (Proverbs 25:17). If we are respectful of the other person’s time, we are more likely to be invited. We must also exercise restraint and halt our tongue from speaking lies and giving false witness against our neighbor. For in doing so, we end up, pounding (mauling) and piercing our neighbor for no real cause, because a man who bears false witness is a maul (to pound) and a sword, and a sharp arrow (to pierce) (Proverbs 25:18).

The word ‘Neighbor’ according to Merriam Webster’s dictionary is defined as one living or located near another. We live on earth and God is in heaven (Ecclesiastes 5:2). We are in this sense God’s neighbors. According to the parable of the good Samaritan, the one who had mercy is the one who is a neighbor (Luke 10:37).

Jesus was hasty with his feet to come and settle the strife (dispute) of sin between God (Himself) and us (mankind). He was hasty with his tongue to speak words of eternal life, love and compassion (mercy). Jesus also halts his feet. He does not barge into anyone’s life, but waits patiently at the door, knocking, and waiting for the person to open their life and let Him in (Revelation 3:20). Jesus halts his tongue, being God, for He cannot lie or bear false witnesses (Numbers 23:19), but instead truthfully mediates for us, even if we sin (1 John 2:1). Jesus Christ is the best neighbor one could ever have.

Jesus said, love thy neighbor as you would love yourself. This would mean, we should learn from the Scriptures how to relate with our neighbors; know when to be hasty and when to halt our feet and tongue.

Points to ponder:
1. Do you have anyone to go make amends with? Be first to go and settle the dispute and reconcile! Be hasty with your feet!
2. Is there someone who deserves a word of forgiveness or compassion or mercy from you? Withhold not your words that is fitting! Be hasty with your tongue!
3. Are you considered by others as being bothersome? Halt your feet and withdraw them from your neighbor’s house, lest you be hated.
4. Do not lie or bear false witness against your neighbor. Halt your tongue!

Proverbs 25:8-11 and 17-18 (KJV)
8 Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame.
9 Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another:
10 Lest he that heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away.
11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

17 Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour’s house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.
18 A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.