Out of all the great versus and teachings in Proverbs this one should resonate for all of us. Think back to when you were a child and you were trying to talk your parents into to letting you do something they were against. As kids, our negotiating skills left a little bit to be desired, so our best argument was, “Johnny’s parents said it was ok for him to go” and they answered with the classic line, “if Johnny parents said it was ok for him to jump off a cliff would you?” You knew that was coming, right? . . . The truth is that they were only looking out for what they thought was best for us. I
would say most of the time they were right on the money.
As we mature we become responsible for our own decisions via the free will we are granted by God and the Great County in which we live. The “them” Solomon speaks of in Pro 1:15 refers to “Sinners.” They say a man’s character is judged by the company he keeps. I think our character is greatly affected by the company we keep. If you hang out with people who use drugs there’s a good chance that one day you’ll do the same. If you associate at work with those whose ethics are not pure, then soon enough, you’ll be heading down that same path. It’s really that simple to head down that wrong path, unless, you choose the “road less traveled”. “Going along with the group” is an issue we all have faced since we were kids. It was not easy back then to say, “No, that’s not something I want to do”, and it is not any easier today, but this is exactly what Solomon urges us to do.
Do the decisions you make on a regular basis lead you to the peace that only righteousness can offer or are your decisions affected by what others might say or think?, and possibly leading you down a dark path! Pro 1:15 – my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths;
Below are quotes from 4 different men of varied backgrounds. However, they all seem to understand that service to others is the “secret” to true happiness.
No time is better spent than that spent in the service of your fellow man.
-Bryant H. McGill-
Give me five minutes with a person’s checkbook, and I will tell you where their heart is.
Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
The best way to find your self is to lose yourself in the service of others.
Doing nothing for others is the undoing of one’s self. We must be purposely kind and generous, or we miss the best part of existence. The heart that goes out of itself, gets large and full of joy. This is the great secret of the inner life. We do ourselves the most good doing something for others.
Now think about this . . . . How do you get your happiness “fix”? Do you go buy “stuff”? Do you go to the hottest places to be seen? Are you wrapped up in your business’ success and how much money you’ll make this year? If you’re doing this or that and at the end of the day you’re laying in bed thinking there has to be more . . . well there certainly is.
Think about the last time you helped someone without being asked, your basic “random act of kindness”. It could be a simple gesture like taking a grocery cart in for someone or volunteering at a shelter. That feeling of helping another is unmatched and the good news is that it’s not by happenstance. God created us to help one another, so why wouldn’t he make the feeling we get when we’re helping others, one of the best experiences we’ll ever have. Sure, closing a big deal at work may give you a fleeting feeling of elation but not the comforting feeling that we get when we know that we’ve made a difference in someone’s life. The more you serve the better it gets and the more you’ll want to serve. Then
perhaps someone else will see your actions and they’ll want to serve and so on and so on. Lastly, if we don’t lead by example then how will others, especially our children, learn that service is the most admirable of deeds. Giving of your time and resources to those who truly need help is a reward unto itself. 1 Peter 5:2 – Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;
Hope, . . . . In the last year we’ve heard a lot about Hope. For a such a small word it can mean so many things to so many people. For a child at Christmas he “hopes” for a certain present. For the girl on her first date, she “hopes” that he is ”the one”. For that first time Marathon runner, they “hope” that they can make it to the finish line. For the family struggling to makes ends meet they, “hope” they can pay their mortgage.
For those who believe in Christ and that today marks his Resurrection, it is this very event that gives us “eternal hope”. Hope that when we screw up, we’ll get it right tomorrow. When I strayed from living right and partied my 20’s away my mother always had hope that God was watching over me and that one day I would figure “it” out. Her hope was that God would bring me back to her and the rest of my family and closer to him. When I did not have hope myself, she had hope for me, Why? because her hope was of Jesus and the wonderful things he can do in someone’s life. This hope is not anxiety laden, it is a hope wrapped in peace and faith that God has a plan and whatever the outcome, it is for the greater good. I can now tell you without an instance of hesitation that because of my mother’s hope & prayers, he was
with me every second. In those days, I put myself in quite a few bad spots and came out of every single one unscathed. God had a plan for me then and I’m doing my best to make use of it now. I also know that a life with Christ is not without its problems. It’s these “blessings” that make us better people, especially when we put our hope and faith in the one who knows us better than we know ourselves.
Today let’s pray for those who know and feel “hopelessness” as it is the saddest state that one can be in. Jesus overcame the world, most of the time all WE have to do is overcome ourselves. Have hope in the eternal gift that Jesus offers and tomorrow you can resurrect your life.
John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
In my opinion, the above scripture is the greatest example of forgiveness that we have. Here, Jesus is dying on the cross, not only for you and me but also for the very people that are crucifying him. From the time he was betrayed in the Garden by Judas, through his “trial” by the Pharisees, punishment and crucifixion at the hands of Pilate and his Guards, he was insulted, spat on, cursed at and beaten in every way imaginable. Still, while hanging from the cross and fighting for every breath he took, he asked God to forgive these people. If we look further, these were not the desperate words of a dying man. Jesus spoke of this before in Luke 6:27-30, where he tells to us to do good to those who hate you and bless those who curse us.
Oh yeah, you may think it’s easy for Jesus to say this and do that but we are just mere humans. If you think about it how many times have you benefited from holding a grudge? What satisfaction, moreover peace, do you get from cursing at someone who cut you off in traffic? If we’re honest with ourselves there are very few things that happen to us that we haven’t done to others, that is also why Jesus said in John 8:7 – If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone . . .”, let that one sink in for a minute . . . it convicts me every time!
Back to that person who cut you off in Traffic . . . . What if they had a sick child in the car and were just trying to get to the doctor. It would be pretty easy to forgive them then, wouldn’t it? Regardless, Jesus poured out his blood to forgive our sins, is it too much to ask us to swallow a little pride to forgive others? As my good friend Dan says . . . . “not so much”!
As we approach Resurrection Sunday (Easter) think about those around you and what they may be going through. We tend to assume the worst in people and all Jesus wants us to do is look for the best.
Luke 23:34 – Jesus said, “Father, FORGIVE them, for they do not know what they are doing.”