Thursday, June 30, 2016

Writing a Resume

Who would have thought that Solomon had anything to say about writing a resume?

I do not know how employers in general view resumes. I’ve heard some advise folks to ‘beef up’ their resume since employers naturally expect prospective candidates to exaggerate their qualifications.

Wait a minute!
Is this a game of poker? Do I write my resume with the idea of out-thinking or out-maneuvering my prospective boss?

I understand that there are different ways to express oneself. However, there is no need for false humility, and no room for empty arrogance. Simple honesty is the right way. Consider...

   Like clouds and wind without rain
   Is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely.
   --Proverbs 25:14

What if you 'beef up' your resume so that it is selling ‘rain,’ then you get the job, but all you’ve really got to offer is 'clouds and wind'!?

Be wise; be honest.

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Good Eye

   He who is generous will be blessed, 
   For he gives some of his food to the poor.
   --Proverbs 22:9

The first phrase in the original text literally reads: “He who has a good eye will be blessed.” The 'good eye' is not about visual acuity or a healthy eye, but rather the idea of goodness or kindness. Of course, eyes are commonly used to emphasize awareness, and that seems to be the case in this proverb. So, you might say that the 'good eye' is also a sharp eye that is aware of things going on around it.

   "He who has a good, sharp eye will be blessed..."

The person with a ‘good eye’ is one who is aware of those around him and their needs. Along with his keen awareness is a heart of compassion. He looks with a ‘good eye’ of tenderness toward the needy and is moved in his heart.

However, he does not merely see with a keen eye; he is not merely moved by a heart of compassion; he acts. He gives. He shares some of his food with the poor.

This one will be blessed.

The meaning of the word bless is rooted in prayer and praise toward God. It actually means ‘to kneel.’ That is a fitting picture when we think of man ‘blessing’ God. However, it does not fit at all when we think of God blessing man.

When God blesses man, the idea is not that God kneels. Rather, the word takes it meaning from the idea of speaking good things to or about another. So, when man speaks good things to God and about God, he praises. yet, when God speaks good things toward man...

Think for a moment about the nature of God’s speech. In the Genesis account of creation God spoke, “Let there be light.”

What happened when God spoke?
"There was light.”

Does that produce a sense of awe and amazement as you reflect on that event? Do we truly recognize the power and authority and wonder of God's spoken word? If God speaks a blessing to man, it will come about.

   He who has a good eye will be blessed,
   For he gives some of his food to the poor.

Do you have a good eye?
If so, God will speak a blessing for you.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday Religion

Religious people are interested in God’s desire. They ask themselves: "What does God expect of me?"

“Religious people”?

We tend to categorize people. The categories are not exclusive; a person might fit into many categories. There are athletic people, rich people, hungry people, smart people, religious people, etc.

What is a religious person?
It is common to think of a religious person as one who does religious acts: attending religious meetings, engaging in religious ceremonies, praying, charitable giving, fasting, singing religious songs, reading scripture, etc.

For ancient Israel, God's chosen people, there were many religious ceremonies and requirements such as: observing the Sabbath Day, circumcision, tithing, sacrifices, food restrictions, fasting, special days of remembrance, and so on: Religion. However, God desired the heart of the worshipper, not just ritual. He desired holy living and concern for one’s fellow man more than mere ceremony. Solomon said as much:

   To do righteousness and justice
   Is desired by the LORD rather than sacrifice.
   --Proverbs 21:3

Nothing has really changed for the worshipper of God today. To God, religion is as much about Monday through Saturday as it is about Sunday. God expects His people to be holy and He expects His people to love others. Religion is about holiness and love...every single day.
  • What is your attitude toward God on Monday?
  • Would you consider yourself to be 'holy' on Friday or Saturday night?
  • How do you treat people on Tuesday?
  • Is your 'religion' something you 'do' only on Sunday, only in a 'religious' place, only at a religious service?
What does God really desire?

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
--James 1:27 (New International Version)

Monday, June 13, 2016

When a Handshake Meant Something

That’s an understatement.

Times have changed. There was a time when a man’s word was his bond. A gentleman’s agreement meant something. A firm handshake sealed the deal. It was a time when integrity and honesty were held high as marks of good character. Nowadays everything needs a legal document . . . because so many people are not trustworthy. Frustrating, to say the least.

What changed?

Men still make claims. Men still desire for their word to be their bond. Yet, words are spoken, promises broken. American politics is a vivid example of the ‘state of the union.’ (Maybe we should have a contract drawn up with all those 'promises' before elections.)

   Many a man proclaims his own loyalty,
   But who can find a trustworthy man?
   --Proverbs 20:6

The proverb is telling in every age; certainly in our day. People make claims. Perhaps they believe their claims. Perhaps they are full of good intentions. Yet, as the saying goes, “Talk is cheap.” That is Solomon’s point. Anyone can make claims. Yet, how rare and refreshing it is to find a person who lives up to his/her word.

The reality of this proverb is clear. But is that it? Was it written merely to exclaim the difficulty in finding someone who is true to their word? Or is there something more?

  • Do you ever tell a friend that you will do something, but then make an excuse and bail out when a 'better offer' comes up?
  • Do you tell everyone 'yes' because you do not want to hurt anyone's feelings?
  • Do you make promises you cannot keep?

Recognizing the rare and precious value of a person of integrity, one who values honesty and proves himself to be trustworthy by his actions, I think we should ask ourselves a question: 
Am I trustworthy?

Monday, June 6, 2016

Why Some Believers Hate God

Who in their right mind would be filled with rage against God?

The atheist would not rage against God; he doesn’t believe in God. So, this question must be directed to those who claim some degree of faith in or acceptance of God. So, who in their right mind would be filled with rage against God?

Isn’t it God who created the world?
Isn’t it God who created mankind?
Isn’t it God who breathed life into living things?
Isn’t it God who makes the sun shine and the rain fall on all men?

Who would rage against God . . . ?

   The foolishness of man subverts his way,
   And his heart rages against the LORD.
   --Proverbs 19:3

Here are a few important words in this proverb:

Foolishness - This describes the way of the fool first seen in Proverbs 1:7 who lacks understanding and discernment. He does not consider the consequences of his choices.

Subvert - means to twist or pervert.

His way - refers to one’s “way of life”; how a person thinks and conducts himself in general.

Rage - This anger word refers to an ongoing anger that affects one’s disposition (not just a flash of anger); vexation.

The proverb describes believers of our day who are filled with anger when they hear that God does not approve of their way of life. They are the sexually immoral who insist that the Bible does not condemn their lifestyle. They are the individuals who stand against anyone who would have the audacity to speak against their behavior. “Do not judge me,” they cry. They are the ones who cannot allow for biblical truth to contradict their established conclusions about life.

They are people who want to claim a belief in God, yet they discredit the simple teachings of the Bible. There seems to be something about God that appeals to them (perhaps, mercy and grace), however they have no intention of changing their thinking and behavior from their current way of life.

Because they lack understanding and discernment they have twisted the path of life on which they walk. They lack true knowledge of God. So, when they are confronted with the glaring reality of God’s unchangeable holiness, they refuse to accept the reality of their sin. Then, as a result, they lash out in rage against God.

It would seem that Solomon wrote this proverb for our day. It gives us insight into the mind of many in our society today who claim to be religious, even claim to believe in Christ, yet refuse God's divine revelation of scripture.

Be on guard. Do not let the foolishness of our age twist your way. Do not be influenced by those who rage against God!

Be wise.