Wisdom for Daily Living #24: I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again

PROVERBS DAY #24: I GET KNOCKED DOWN, BUT I GET UP AGAIN

“For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity.” (Prov. 24:16).

There is a false teaching going around the church today that says, “Once you believe in Jesus and become a Christian, you won’t have any more problems in your life.” However, as much as I wish that was true, there is no Biblical basis for this belief. In fact, Jesus Himself said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

This is a very important principle for us to discover. Just because you believe in Jesus doesn’t mean that you won’t have any more troubles. Walking in obedience to God’s Word is no guarantee that you will never have a problem in your life. However, when Jesus is your Lord and Savior, He will always be there to help to overcome those trials and challenges. There is a story in the life of Jesus that helps to illustrate this truth for us:

“As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” He was already in the boat, so they started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm arose. High waves began to break into the boat until it was nearly full of water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. Frantically they woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you even care that we are going to drown?” When he woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, “Quiet down!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.” (Mark 4:35-39).

Sometimes we think that bad things only happen when we disobey God. But Scripture tells us otherwise. Jesus’ disciples found themselves in a storm immediately after being obedient to Jesus’ command to “cross over to the other side of the lake.” You can be walking in faith and obedience, doing your best to live by the principles of wisdom in the Bible, and yet troubles will still come. However, you don’t have to let those troubles overcome you. When a storm comes, remind yourself that Jesus is in your boat. And Jesus can bring peace into the most dark and difficult storms in our lives!

So the next time you fall down, don’t just sit there and have a pity party and say, “I’ve fallen but I can’t get up!” No! Instead, do what the prophet Micah said to do: “Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me.” (Micah 7:7-8). When you get knocked down, get back up again!

TODAY’S READING: PROVERBS CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR.

Pastor Chris Jordan

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Wisdom for Daily Living #23: Searching for the Meaning of Life

PROVERBS DAY #23: SEARCHING FOR THE MEANING OF LIFE

“Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the LORD. For surely you have a future ahead of you; your hope will not be disappointed.” (Prov. 23:17-18).

I have mentioned several times on this devotional journey that Proverbs is God’s wisdom for daily living. But lest we think that the book is limited only to the here and now, Solomon reminds us to look towards the future as well. Another translation of that verse says, “For surely there is a hereafter, And your hope will not be cut off.” Translation = this life is not all there is! There is life after death, and after we live our lives on planet Earth, we have the hope of everlasting life in Heaven.

Another book that Solomon wrote is Ecclesiastes, where he takes his readers on a search to find the meaning of life. He writes:

“I said to myself, “Come now, let’s give pleasure a try. Let’s look for the ‘good things’ in life.” But I found that this, too, was meaningless. “It is silly to be laughing all the time,” I said. “What good does it do to seek only pleasure?” After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine. While still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way, I hoped to experience the only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world. I also tried to find meaning by building huge homes for myself and by planting beautiful vineyards. I made gardens and parks, filling them with all kinds of fruit trees. I built reservoirs to collect the water to irrigate my many flourishing groves. I bought slaves, both men and women, and others were born into my household. I also owned great herds and flocks, more than any of the kings who lived in Jerusalem before me.

“I collected great sums of silver and gold, the treasure of many kings and provinces. I hired wonderful singers, both men and women, and had many beautiful concubines. I had everything a man could desire! So I became greater than any of the kings who ruled inJerusalembefore me. And with it all, I remained clear-eyed so that I could evaluate all these things. Anything I wanted, I took. I did not restrain myself from any joy. I even found great pleasure in hard work, an additional reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless. It was like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.” (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11).

Solomon looked for meaning and satisfaction in pleasure, possessions, money and hard work, but didn’t find it there. After twelve chapters searching for the meaning of life, he writes: “Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.” (12:13-14).

TODAY’S READING: PROVERBS CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE.

Pastor Chris Jordan

Calvin & Hobbes (c) Bill Waterson.

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Wisdom for Daily Living #22: Training Our Children

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PROVERBS DAY #22: TRAINING OUR CHILDREN 

“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prov. 22:6).

On March 25, 1995, I married my best friend, Liza Woods. Right from the beginning of our relationship, we both knew we wanted to have many children. And so, you can imagine how excited we were six months after we got married when we discovered that Liza was pregnant with our first child. Yet, along with that excitement came a sense of the awe and responsibility of raising children. What did we know about being good parents? What if we made some mistakes and totally messed up our kids? It was then that we were thankful for this wonderful promise that God has given to us in His Word: If we as parents will do our part in training up our children in His ways, then He has promised to hold them on the straight and narrow path. Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.”

Our hope and prayer is that our children will grow up to know Jesus personally, experience the love of God, and serve Him with all of their hearts. But what can we as parents do to ensure that will happen? The answer of course is in the Bible: “And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart… And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again.” (Deut. 6:5-7).

Unfortunately, we have this Sunday school mentality in the North American church that says, “I will just bring my kids to church, and send them to Sunday school (or children’s church), and I will let the church teach them about God.” However, if parents think that one class once a week is going to help their children to know God, then they are mistaken. Children spend approximately 35 hours a week in school, and countless hours watching television and playing video games. If parents aren’t taking the time to teach their children about God on a daily basis, then they are going to lose the battle for the souls of their children. The Bible tells us we must teach our children God’s principles again and again, and talk about them wherever we are and whatever we are doing.

Don’t misunderstand what I am saying here. I believe firmly in the importance of children’s ministry in the church, and believe that the church must come alongside of families to help them train their children. But this cannot take the place of regular instruction in the home. Pray for your children daily, and take the time to sit down and teach them God’s Word. Commit to doing family devotions every day, and when you do, God’s hand will be upon them always.

TODAY’S READING: PROVERBS CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO.

p.s. the above photo is of my family in June of 2017 at my youngest son’s graduation. I’m so blessed that all of my children love the Lord and are faithfully serving Him in their lives!

Pastor Chris Jordan

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Wisdom for Daily Living #21: What is Righteousness?

PROVERBS DAY #21: WHAT IS RIGHTEOUSNESS?

“He who follows righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness and honor.” (Prov. 21:21).

We have seen that one of Solomon’s teaching tactics includes contrasting two opposing life choices, such as wisdom and foolishness, diligence and laziness, and humility and pride. Behind each of these specific lifestyle choices is the ultimate distinction between righteousness and wickedness:

  • Righteousness:    Wickedness:
  • Wisdom                  Foolishness
  • Diligence                Laziness
  • Humility                 Pride

Solomon tells us: “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, But righteousness delivers from death.” (Prov. 10:2). And “As righteousness leads to life, So he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.” (Prov. 11:19). To choose a righteous lifestyle leads to life and blessing, and to choose wickedness leads to death and destruction. But – what is righteousness?

Righteousness can be looked at from two different perspectives. One is right-standing with God, and the other is acting in an upright, virtuous, moral way. Let’s take a look at these two different aspects to righteousness:

1.     Right-standing with God – Putting Your Faith in Jesus:

The first time we see the word righteousness used in the Bible is in Genesis 15:6 where it says, “And Abraham believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” Here we see that Abraham’s right-standing with God did not come from living a perfect, holy life (because indeed no one can or ever has lived a perfect life, except for Jesus). Rather, righteousness was credited to his account as a gift when he put his faith in the Lord. Romans 1:17 teaches us this: “This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” Do you want right-standing with God? Put your faith in Jesus, and trust Him to be your Lord and Savior, and forgive you of all of your sins. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ today!

2.     Right-living before God – Acting in an Upright Manner:

In addition to our positional righteousness, which comes from a personal relationship with Jesus, there is also a practical righteousness, where we choose to do what is right and good – that is, we obey the teachings of the Bible. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33). Walk in righteousness, and you will be blessed.

TODAY’S READING: PROVERBS CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE.

Pastor Chris Jordan

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Wisdom for Daily Living #20: God is Great and Beer is Good? – #Proverbs

PROVERBS DAY #20: GOD IS GREAT AND BEER IS GOOD…? 

“Wine produces mockers; liquor leads to brawls. Whoever is led astray by drink cannot be wise.” (Prov. 20:1).

I love family weddings. Every summer since we’ve moved to Manitoba, one of my wife Liza’s cousins has gotten married. The pattern of these events is always the same: ceremony, reception, and then dancing! And with the dancing comes an abundance of country music songs. One of the popular songs that makes it out onto the dance floor every year is a song by Billy Currington called People are Crazy. In this story song, he tells the tale about meeting an old man in a bar who tells him, “God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy.”

Now while it is true that God is great (and few would argue with the fact that people are crazy!) is it true that beer is good? What does the Bible have to say about drinking alcohol? This has been a controversial topic among Christians for many years. The Bible does not have a black and white standard that says, “thou shalt not drink alcohol” but it does say a lot on the topic. Our key Scripture teaches us that people who drink become mockers and fighters, and if you are led astray by alcohol, you are not wise. Still though it doesn’t say you cannot drink. Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of the following Scripture gives a real clear picture into some of the dangers of drinking alcohol:

“Who are the people who are always crying the blues? Who do you know who reeks of self-pity? Who keeps getting beat up for no reason at all? Whose eyes are bleary and bloodshot? It’s those who spend the night with a bottle, for whom drinking is serious business. Don’t judge wine by its label, or its bouquet, or its full-bodied flavor. Judge it rather by the hangover it leaves you with – the splitting headache, the queasy stomach. Do you really prefer seeing double, with your speech all slurred, Reeling and seasick, drunk as a sailor? “They hit me,” you’ll say, “but it didn’t hurt; they beat on me, but I didn’t feel a thing. When I’m sober enough to manage it, bring me another drink!” (Prov. 23:29-35).

So the Bible doesn’t say that you can’t drink alcohol, it just makes it abundantly clear that if you do, you run the danger of destroying your life! How many people have ruined their lives or the lives of their families through the use of alcohol? My dad was an alcoholic who abandoned our family, so I know firsthand the negative effects of alcohol. Now even though the Bible doesn’t forbid the use of alcohol, it does state that drunkenness is a sin: “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation.” (Eph. 5:18). (Note – just because it says don’t be drunk with wine doesn’t mean it’s okay to get drunk on beer or rum or another form of alcohol!). Drunkenness leads to dissipation (excess in the KJV), a word that means an abandoned, dissolute, wasted life. Beer… is not good!

TODAY’S READING: PROVERBS CHAPTER TWENTY.

Pastor Chris Jordan

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Wisdom for Daily Living #19: You Are Richer Than You Think

PROVERBS DAY #19: YOU ARE RICHER THAN YOU THINK:

CARE FOR THE POOR

“He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given.” (Prov. 19:17).

Do you think of yourself as being poor or rich? Many people who live in Canada or the US would consider themselves to be poor people, but the reality is, we are rich! If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank or in your wallet, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy. More than one billion people do not have access to safe water today. So – the next time you go to get a drink of water from your tap – or help yourself to some bottled water – may that remind you how blessed you are!

Dave Toycen, the President of World Vision Canada, writes: “Living in the twenty-first century offers tremendous opportunities to those who have, but for the three billion people of the world living on less than two dollars a day it’s a crushing existence of grinding poverty, despair, and unremitting daily challenges.” (The Power of Generosity).

The Book of Proverbs has a lot to say about our responsibility to care for the poor. Our key Scripture today tells us that when we give to the poor, we are lending to the Lord, and He will repay us. Proverbs also says, “Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor.” (Prov. 22:9). Do you want to be blessed by the Lord? Then we need to take seriously our responsibility to care for the poor. God’s Word even goes so far to say, “Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing…” (Prov. 28:27).

In addition to the many blessings promised to those who help the poor, there is also a warning given to those who ignore the needy: “Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need.” (Prov. 21:13). Sooner or later, all of us will need God’s help in our lives, and if we have done our part to reach out to the poor today, then we can count on God’s help and provision tomorrow.

Some of you might ask – how can we help the poor? If we give our money to a homeless person living on the streets, isn’t it possible that they might just take that cash and go buy drugs, alcohol or cigarettes? How can we be good stewards of our money, but also care for the poor? Well, one way is by giving towards some of the many different ministries that are devoted to caring for the poor, such as Union Gospel Mission. Another way is by supporting global missions, like our church’s mission trips to Costa Rica, where we go to ministering to some of the poorest families in third world country countries. Pray about it, and ask the Lord where He would have you give financially to help the poor.

TODAY’S READING: PROVERBS CHAPTER NINETEEN.

Pastor Chris Jordan

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Wisdom for Daily Living #18: The Deadly Sins of the Tongue

PROVERBS DAY #18: THE DEADLY SINS OF THE TONGUE

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Prov. 18:21).

The title for today’s devotional is adapted from a chapter in Robert Morris’ book The Power of Your Words. There are so many challenging nuggets of wisdom in Proverbs relating to our speech, so today we are going to look at a few of them.

Deadly Sin #1: Lying – Telling the Untruth:

In the list of the seven things the Lord hates, the second one is a lying tongue (Prov. 6:16-19). Even though this is one of the most common, widespread sins that people commit, that doesn’t mean God approves of it. Proverbs 12:22 tells us that “lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.” God hates lying!

Deadly Sin #2: Strife – Stirring Up Division:

Another item on the list of the seven things the Lord hates is one who sows discord among brethren, or stirs up strife. Proverbs 6:15 warns us that these people will be destroyed suddenly, broken beyond all hope of healing.

Deadly Sin #3: Gossip – Dishing the Dirt:

A gossip is a person who habitually spreads intimate or private rumors or facts. The Bible warns us about such people: “A gossip tells secrets, so don’t hang around with someone who talks too much.” (Prov. 20:19). Don’t gossip!

Deadly Sin #4: Slander – Passing Along False Information:

Slander is worse than gossip because it is a false, malicious statement about someone. Proverbs 10:18b says, “whoever spreads slander is a fool.” The Bible warns us not to keep company with a slanderer (1 Cor. 5:11).

Deadly Sin #5: Talebearing – Breaking Confidences:

“A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.” (Prov. 11:13). In the church, people should feel safe to confess their sins to one another and know that what they share will be kept in confidence.

Deadly Sin #6: Contentious Speech – Habitually Speaking Strife:

Someone who is contentious is argumentative, combative or quarrelsome. “It is better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a contentious wife in a lovely home.” (Prov. 21:9). God doesn’t want us to be argumentative.

These are only a few of the ways that we can speak death into other people’s lives. But don’t forget that we also have the power in our tongue to speak life, encouragement, affirmation and blessing into people’s lives, too!

TODAY’S READING: PROVERBS CHAPTER EIGHTEEN.

Pastor Chris Jordan

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