“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21). Here is another great bit of wisdom for us to consider as we close out this year.
We all have plans that we have pondered over the years. And many of those plans never are fulfilled. It frustrates our expectations of life if we fail at all our imaginations. Its so much better to just surrender our plans to God’s design and let Him set the direction for our future. In doing so, we are much more likely to fell content with our life just as it.
As I look back over my life, I see that the Lord’s purpose has always succeeded, although the success of my plans has been limited. God always wins in the tug-of-war between our wills. New Year’s Resolution: Stop fighting God’s will and surrender to His leading.
“A hot tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again” (Proverbs 19:19). Here’s another great verse to hang on your refrigerator.
The Proverbs are a collection of wise sayings, and this one is surely wisdom. A man (or woman) with a short fuse incites trouble unnecessarily. Their temper flares whenever they don’t get their way, and guarantees they will not get their way because others will soon refuse to deal with their hot head.
But this wise saying is not about the hot tempered person; its about those of us who want to rescue them from the penalty, or result, of their hot temper. The pain that results from the out of control temper is designed by God to teach him/her to control that temper. If you or I step in to rescue them from that pain, they will not learn life’s lessons and grow. Rescuers will be destined to keep rescuing from then on.
Sometimes its better to let someone suffer the consequences or sit in jail, even if we love them. Its because we love them that we do so. That’s wisdom. New Year’s Resolution: Cool my hot temper.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Let Israel say: ‘His love endures forever.’ Let the house of Aaron say: ‘His love endures forever.’ Let those who fear the Lord say: ‘His love endures forever’” (Psalm 118:1-4).
There is no question that His love endures forever. This was a favorite praise line in the Old Testament. Whatever comes, God’s love never fails. No matter what it looks like, His love endures forever. And declaring this belief is connected to giving thanks to the Lord. Thanks is not for what He has already done, but faith believes what God is going to do.
Because He is good. All His thoughts for us are for our success and prospering of our way. God wants us to be over-comers, but insists that we acknowledge His goodness. And he will test that belief. His love endures forever. New Year’s Resolution: Keep reminding myself that God’s love endures forever.
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers” (Psalm 1:1-3).
Here is a great description of what it means to have the blessing of God upon your life. It starts by what we need to stop doing: trusting in the advice of worldly-minded people. Then it moves to what we must do: Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. It concludes with a picture of what he/she is like: a great tree with roots constantly watered. And then comes the promise: Whatever such a man/woman does shall prosper.
Don’t enter 2014 like you entered 2013. Learn from your mistakes, let God strengthen your way, and move forward with confidence.
“When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, ‘How did it go, my daughter’?” Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her and added, ‘He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.” Then Naomi said, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today’.”
Naomi had a healthy respect for Boaz’s word. If he says it, she said, he won’t rest until the matter is settled. Where are the men who keep their word like that today? Naomi based that statement on his reputation alone, and her expectation of how honorable people functioned in that culture. We don’t live in a culture that keeps its word, or that lives honorably. So we don’t expect it.
To pick a mate for a healthy, God-fearing relationship, make sure he or she is an honorable person. Someone who deceives to get you will surely deceive once they’ve got you.
God is looking for men and women of honor, people who keep their word and don’t rest until the matter is settled. Let’s learn valuable lessons from this story of Boaz and Ruth.
“So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, ‘Don’t let it be known that a woman came to the threshing floor’” (Ruth 3:14).
Honor is an almost forgotten character trait, but important to both Boaz and Ruth. They did not want their reputation tarnished by people thinking that they were intimate prior to marriage. What other people think about you may be true or false, but it is your reputation, nonetheless. And they went to great lengths to preserve their good reputation in their social network.
They were not covering anything up. Yet, human nature tends to think the worst. So they agreed to not mention this encounter to anyone lest others jump to conclusions and scar their honor. I suggest we all work hard to preserve our honor. For us Christians, it is our testimony of holiness that makes us respectable and believable. What are others saying about you?
“Although it is true that I am near of kin, there is a kinsman redeemer nearer than I. Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to redeem, good; let him redeem. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it” (Ruth 3:12-13).
Boaz does not try to deceive Ruth in any way about their relationship. He comes clean with her. He says in effect, ‘I’m not the miracle worker you think I am. There is a closer relative out there than I, and he has the legitimate right to redeem your family’s inheritance before I do’. I’m not sure there are many men out there who would risk losing their future by being forthright and completely honest. But Boaz is an example for us.
Note also that Boaz doesn’t send his future wife off to do the dirty work. Boaz sets a plan to approach the nearer relative regarding redeeming the inheritance the following morning. He fights for her. And He fights fair. And he leaves the results up to God. That’s walking by faith.