December 31, 2011

Today you should read: Proverbs 31:10-31

We often play to the level of competition. As an athlete growing up I found myself playing at a much higher level when I was up against someone who was better than me. Likewise, if I was playing against someone who was not as good as me I would play worse. Why? I argue that it is in our nature, as humans, to adapt in order to fit into our environment. Often when in social situations, we may say or do things that we would not ordinarily do in order to fit in and not stand out in the crowd. We call this phenomenon peer pressure. So, what does this have to do with wives?

In v. 30, it speaks about how charm is deceitful and beauty is vain. The more I thought about this verse I thought about what our world expects from women. The world expects a certain body style, a certain look, loose sexuality, and for the women to be in charge of a relationship. (Men this last one is largely due to a lack of leadership on our part). These expectations are pumped into girls at a young age through magazines, movies, and television…just to name a few. Beauty and charm are given as the measuring stick that has deceived the women of our world. This includes Christians who are, in large part, lowering themselves to the same standard.

Physical beauty is fleeting and not something to hope in. It cannot be the definition of who you are as a woman. God offers a different standard that the wife of this passage lives by. Her standard is a fear of the Lord. It is in this standard in which she puts her hope and finds her worth. It is because of her fear of the Lord that she is able to honor her family and to bless her husband through her humble submission.

The character of a wife that fears the Lord according to this passage is kind, loving, diligent, selfless, strong, humble, dignified, and generous just to name a few. Her character becomes like that of her master, Jesus Christ. The reason her husband praises her and is blessed by her is that she is a demonstration and a reminder of Grace. The most calloused heart is melted by the Grace of the cross.

Wives, be a picture of Grace to your husbands. This means that many times you will submit to his leadership even though you are “right.” You do it, not because he deserves it, but because you fear the Lord. Your obedience to this command is an act of worship to God and love to your husband. Rise to the standard of your Savior. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)

Ladies, I want to lovingly challenge you to ask yourself these questions:

• To what standard do I live…God’s standard or to the world’s standard?
• What do I need to change in order to become a women/wife who fears the Lord?

Posted by: Chad Wiles

December 30, 2011

Today you should read: Proverbs 31:1-9

Proverbs 31 is a famous passage… but not for the verses I am covering. Chad will enlighten us on the well-known “wife of noble character” section tomorrow. As for today, we’re looking at the first 9 verses of the chapter, and while they aren’t as popular, they pack quite a punch.

Aside from knowing that Lemuel was a king in Massa (Arabia), very little is known about him. Some Jewish scholars say that this could have been another pen name for Solomon as it clearly fits the writing style and content. If that were the case, then the mother mentioned in verse 1 is Bathsheba who knew all too well about the topics covered — evil women, drunkenness, and fighting for the oppressed.

In verse 3, Lemuel gives his son a stern warning about sinfully giving himself to women (plural), especially those who would bring him down. This is a great reminder to us that the Lord desires marriage to be holy: one man given to one woman in a covenant bond. If Lemuel’s son gave himself to these women, his future throne would be in jeopardy. These sinful women would bring him to his knees.

The next section (verses 4-9) give us a neat parallel concerning alcohol and fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves. Lemuel strongly opposes drunkenness in these verses. Check out this commentary from the ESV:

The calling of kings is to serve the well-being of their subjects, especially in protecting the rights of all the afflicted. They must never allow their judgment to be clouded by wine or strong drink. ESV Study Bible

Also, in another one of my study tools (NLT Study Bible), it says this: “Too much wine numbs the senses. A king needs his wits about him and should not overindulge in alcohol.” This translates well to us today. We are in a fast-paced, social media-driven world. The overuse or abuse of alcohol can make you look like a fool quickly, impairing not only your judgment but also your testimony as a Christian. Be wise, be careful, use sound judgment. Remember the words of the apostle Paul in your decisions about alcohol:

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 1 Corinthians 10:23

The parallel that I spoke of earlier comes in verses 8-9. What the author is essentially saying is this: “Instead of opening your mouth to get drunk, use your mouth for something more useful — fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.” This clearly echoes Isaiah 1:17:

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. Isaiah 1:17

CPC, may we always be known for serving & giving. The world needs us. The Lord has called us.

Posted by: Todd Thomas

December 29, 2011

Today you should read: Proverbs 30

Proverbs 30 was written by Agur the son of Jakeh. We don’t know anything else about him. This is the only Proverb he wrote. He sounds like I feel sometimes…

I am weary, O God; I am weary and worn out, O God. I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense. (vs. 1-2)

Verse 5 is a great principle for us to meditate on today…

Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection. Reading and heeding God’s Word brings us protection in many ways.

1. God’s Word is true all the time and in all circumstances.

All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal. Psalm 119:160

2. God’s Word is eternal.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Luke 21:53

3. God’s Word guides me.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105

4. God’s Word keeps me from sin.

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

5. God’s Word searches my heart.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Obeying God’s Word protects me from myself and others. Are you allowing God’s Word to protect you? Read it and live it today!

Posted by: Tim Parsons

December 28, 2011

Today you should read: Proverbs 29

Real Life Humility . . .

What a packed chapter! There are so many instructions. It is tough to digest all of these instructions, while trying to see how they all fit together. But that is a good exercise while reading Scripture. It seems as if two ideas really color the whole chapter. The first is the idea of discipline and corrective rebuke. The second is the idea of righteousness versus unrighteousness. It seems as if the whole chapter is filled with contradicting statements, which show good vs. bad, or godly vs. evil.

This is a good way to look at character issues, as often dealt with in Proverbs, because it shows you not only how to act, but how not to act. With all of these contradictory statements, which are all so applicable, I want to land on verse 23, with the idea of pride vs. humility. It says, “one’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.” (ESV).

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

True humility. I wonder if we really know what it means to be humble anymore. It seems like humility is “out of style.” It seems that in any school, any job, any ministry, any friendship, any relationship, or any marriage, humility will just get you trampled on, while a prideful confidence and boasting will get you respect and recognition. It doesn’t matter who you are or how humble you “act,” the temptation to “not be humble” is ever present.

Why be humble? I mean, what is the point? If you don’t brag about your accomplishments, then how will you get recognition? If you don’t act prideful while in the presence of the rest of your friends, then you will just get taken advantage of and people will take shots at you. What’s the point of laying my life down and serving people if they never even notice?

If we are honest, all of us feel this. So, what is the answer? What is the purpose of humility? It may be out of style with the world, but it is certainly not out of style with the Lord. He places a high value on it. Verse 23 in this chapter says, “one who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.” Honor from whom? Is it from our friends and people around us? Well maybe. But the truth is that we will obtain honor from the Lord. God says “this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” (Isaiah 66.2). This is big! You want to be noticed? Well, you will be noticed by God IF you are humble. Truly humble. James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Do you believe this? Do you value God’s recognition more than man’s recognition? Then practice humility. God will reward what is done in secret.

For a practical application in how to grow in humility, I challenge you to memorize Philippians 2:3-11. Put this verse in your heart and let it take root. It will change you and bring about true humility.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione