Man, It Was the Other Guy

The cars go spinning, there is a crash, cars in the wall, damage is done and the emotions are running hot and loud. We have all seen that played out at the track and outside of the track at work and in families, in the gym, at school, etc. Rarely is the case when the one to cause the accident or incident says, “It was my fault”. Even more rare is to hear, and really mean the words spoken, “Sorry, please forgive me.” What a different world and family life we would have if that happened more often. (Warning, faking those words only makes things worse)

Proverbs 24:30-31 I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down.
Because we might have missed it! (funny) We are back to being a good worker. Do you ever question if your work is done for any eternal good? I know I do. That can happen both ways. The evil one can try to talk us into believing our work has no value, but most likely it is of value or the LORD can say yes or no to this question and “self” can lie to us also. In all of this we need discernment and seek what God really has to say, the truth. So how often do you ask God to examine your work? Do you ask Him, “Am I pleasing you with my work”? “Am I glorifying You with my work”? Do I draw attention to You, O Lord, or to self? These verses are a clear warning on being slothful. Don’t be “that” guy or gal. Don’t be that lazy person at home, at work at lazy person for God, for Jesus, and the Kingdom of God.

Proverbs 24:32-4 Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.
We finish the chapter with God continuing His warning on being lazy. I see many that work really hard and I see those that don’t. But listen to this please. It is better not to complain about those that don’t work as hard as you want or do. Instead, we should just focus on our work and the areas that we can improve on. Most f those who point out the faults of others are just trying to deflect and protect self and their own weakness or faults.

Proverbs 25:1 These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied.
We move on to chapter 25.

Proverbs 25:2-3 It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. As the heavens for height, and the earth for depth, so the heart of kings is unsearchable.
God is SO FAR, so beyond, so much greater than anything or anyone. All of our attention should be given to Him.

Proverbs 25:4-5 Take away the dross from the silver, and the smith has material for a vessel;
take away the wicked from the presence of the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness.
This verse touches on government and what is expected. Governments are to be honest and truthful but what we get far too often is the corrupt, selfish, and greedy in government and nations are lead astray. The verse speaks to influences of government. Here is another problem we see in America, the power and influence of lobby groups and “cause” groups. Where are the godly and their voices? Too often those voices are quiet and don’t speak out against sin.

Proverbs 25:6-8 Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great, for it is better to be told, “Come up here,” than to be put lower in the presence of a noble. What your eyes have seen do not hastily bring into court, for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame?
Those are packed verses! Some practical things from them are 1) where do you take a seat at the table? Do you take the power seat? Do you sit in the back? Some place in-between? It is better to take a lesser seat and be moved to the front but it can also be wrong to take a seat in the very back if it is only to have attention drawn to you. 2) Do you stand with the powerful uninvited? Do you wait to be called into a conversation? Do you listen to all voices? I have seen those that don’t have a filter I have also seen those that wait to speak and never get an opportunity to share things of value. We American don’t do well at pausing and just being in each other’s presence and I think that affects our relationship with each other and with God. 3) back to just speaking the truth – Lots to think about here. Have you taken time to be quiet before the LORD and think?

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

Oh, the Stories

It is fun to sit or stand around listening to the old timers tell the stories of their life. The great races in what was the greatest time of American racing. It happened right here in Wisconsin, in the Midwest. The names read like and hall of fame for short track racing. There are those adding to Midwest racing but I don’t know if we will ever see the likes of the time in the 70’s and 80’s. On the other side sometimes I hear a story and think, “I was there and I don’t remember it that way.” At times it makes me chuckle because I know it is a story and other times it is me not remembering it right. We want to get it right in the end so we can help preserve history accurately.

In the same way we want to be clear and accurate on our knowledge of God and His Word. It is much more important than racing or anything else.

Proverbs 24:23-24 These also are sayings of the wise. Partiality in judging is not good. Whoever says to the wicked, “You are in the right,” will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations
This is far too prevalent. There are so many that speak out and what they say is not truth. That is a bad deal but what is just as bad are the ones that echo this or that as a great teaching or thinking. But there is always a crowd around evil and there is rarely a crowd around truth and Jesus.

Proverbs 24:25,26 but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them. Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips.
It is a good thing to call out the false teacher. The last time I had someone at the door I only asked a couple of questions because I knew they were going to lie. I then made it very clear why I could not accept any of their materials. I told them that the people who write their magazines are false teachers because they deny Jesus is God and there are many clear teachings in Scripture which show Jesus is God. I started in on the verses that are such clear teaching. I pleaded with them that they should repent as it is the greatest of all sins and would separate them from God, placing them in Hell for eternity. Oh how I pray they turned their hearts and lives over to Jesus.

Proverbs 24:27 Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.
We are back on the subject of work. It is vital that we listen to what we are to do and then do it. We are to work hard and be honest and finish the job.

Proverbs 24:28 Be not a witness against your neighbor without cause, and do not deceive with your lips.
Great points made in this verse. 1) We are to be careful with our tongue. James makes clear how powerful the tongue is and the damage it can do. Also don’t lie, 2) Make sure you have the facts and not what you want the situation to say. Stick to the fact and don’t try to position them so you turn out to look good, 3) We have to be honest, truthful, reliable, authentic. God has made this very clear. Don’t miss it, you are accountable to Him.

Proverbs 24:29 Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done.”
Straight forward and clear here but too often people say this either with their mouth or in their heart. Instead we should do what Jesus says and that is to turn the cheek, to love enemies, to be kind.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

Warning, Wreck Ahead

You can either take the warning of the spotter seriously and avoid the accident or not. You can choose to listen to the raceceiver or not. You can either obey or ignore the black flag. Each one has good or bad consequences but in each case just like with life we have to make the choice. God takes our choices seriously and we should too. We need a Spiritual Spotter. We need the Holy Spirit. We need to listen to the still voice of God.
We can either listen to the LORD and Holy Spirit and turn from the way we are headed, the wreck we are about to make of our life, or we can listen to someone else we follow, do what we want for ourselves. What choice are you going you going to make?

Proverbs 24:12 If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?
Stop! Do you real, I mean really, believe God knows and sees all you do? Next question, do you believe, I mean really believe, God is offend by sin, your sin, my sin? Do you really want to be pleasing to God? Think about this. Don’t rush on to the next verse. Take your time and mediate on the Scripture and this thought.

Proverbs 24:13,14 My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.
I find it fascinating that God allows us to enjoy sweets, honey. I sometimes enjoy sweets, honey, sugar too much and it shows in my health. Now on the other side of that is wisdom which I cannot have too much of. So here in lies the big question, Will I, do I, seek God’s Word and wisdom as much as I do sweets, honey, sugar? Let’s measure this. In this past week how much sweets did you eat? How many times did you say no to sweets? I this past week how much time did you spend in God’s Word? How many times did you say no to the flesh desire and instead turned to God in prayer and Scripture? That should leave us a pretty clear picture of where we are at.

Proverbs 24:15,16 Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous; do no violence to his home; for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.
Early in the Book of Proverbs, all the way back in chapter one, we saw how important it is to keep a distance from the wicked and those that will try to snare those who are following the LORD. Here we are 24 chapters later receiving the same message and the same warning. Keep a safe distance from the wicked and from the world.

Proverbs 24:17,18 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.
This is a powerful, clear warning and message to heart. The kids will laugh at something that hurts another person. We should not laugh at that. Instead we are to witness to them. We are to love as Jesus loves. We are to extend kindness and grace and mercy. I know this is not easy and we have to be careful not to be drawn in.

Proverbs 24:19, 20 Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
Do you look at the “success” for the wicked and want it? Don’t you think it would be much better to look at the one following the LORD and want to be like them? Think of the poor, beaten, Christian in the 10/40 window. That is who we should want to be like. A bold witness.

Proverbs 24:21,22 My son, fear the Lord and the king, and do not join with those who do otherwise,  for disaster will arise suddenly from them, and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?
We are back to the warning to fear the LORD. How have you done since we last spoke of it? Have you been any more intentional? Why not make that commitment now, right now? IN this ‘fear the Lord” we see a warning of not to be joined to those that do not fear the LORD. Do you take that statement seriously? I think we should.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

Strict Training

First, happy July 4th and thank you to each person that has served this country or are serving. Also, thank you to the law enforcement men and women, hospital and emergency workers. Thank you for your sacrifice.

We are back on the subject of wisdom and being wise. Do you want to be strong, I mean, really strong? Many would answer, “YES!” Let’s think about that.
I have seen some guys that can lift some major heavy weights. Those that are strong have to put in lots of time in the gym. They have to train, not once a week, not a couple times a week, but daily. They also have to have a focus also. A focus on what and when they eat and drink. They have to rest and sleep in the right amounts. They have a routine that is thoughtful and calculated.

Proverbs 24:5,6 A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might, for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.
If we want to be wise we have to train also. Our training to be wise has to be in Scripture, in prayer, in obedience. To have victory over sin and to draw near to the LORD and gain wisdom there has to a regiment of saying no to self and yes to obeying the LORD. Back to our illustration from life and gaining strength. Just reading the books and magazines is not going to make you strong, you have to hit the gym, exercise, run the miles, etc. The same goes with our life in Christ. We have do the work. It is not good enough just to hang around those that are in good shape and are strong, you have to get in the gym and put in the work. So are you putting in the time and the effort to get in and stay in spiritual shape?

Proverbs 24:7 Wisdom is too high for a fool; in the gate he does not open his mouth.
We will stay with the gym illustration. We have all met the guy that talks about how strong he is and how much he can lift. At one time I could move a bit of weight. I had a fairly serious dead-lift and an ok bench but for me to rack up 300 pounds now would be pretty silly. I am guessing I could still dead-lift that but to bench that now would be a bad thing. I am guessing after getting it off the rack it would come crashing down on my chest and crush me in a bad way. (warning, always use a spotter, even with light weight, you just never know) Do you see the tie in with the fool? He talks a game, a good game, but wisdom is too high, too good. He is an empty babbler.

Proverbs 24:8,9 Whoever plans to do evil will be called a schemer. The devising of folly is sin, and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind.
It is sad, as we said in the last study, how many are out to harm others. So many scams and schemes. Be alert. We have talked about good plans and plans for evil. Are you planning to do what is good? Are you planning to witness to your neighbor or co-worker or classmate?

Proverbs 24:10 If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.
In my house I will hear something like, “I am tired and that is why…” What a poor excuse that is for not thinking and even more so, for not obeying. We need to focus and battle the enemy. He will attempt to distract us through hunger, being tired, pain, noise, business, etc… See how those listed and others that you are thinking about are of the flesh. We have to be strong in the LORD and stand on the solid Rock of Jesus. We cannot allow our faithfulness to be beaten down or bullied by the waves of the evil one.

Proverbs 24:11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
This weekend four people I know passed into eternity and I don’t know if any were saved. That is hard to say but it is the truth. My guess would be maybe not. So I sit here with a very heavy heart. I also question did I present the gospel to them clearly and meaningfully? This should drive me, and I hope it does, to be very direct with those I know not to miss out on salvation and the gospel. I hope you join me as we just don’t know when our last breath is going to be or anyone around us.

So go into strict spiritual training and then use those spiritual muscles, share the hope of Jesus with those around you now!

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd