The Wrong Source of Help and Advice

Looking in the Wrong “Cupboard”

Sometimes when we are looking for help, we look in the wrong places to find it. Then, when we get to the right place, we look in the wrong “cupboard” to find it. Think about how often this applies when we are seeking help to improve our marriages. The tendency is to go talk to a friend without considering if that friend would be a good source of help.

Seek help in the right places.

Seek help in the right places.

Many years ago, I was counseling a young couple in Birmingham on a weekly basis. They had real problems, and both evidently wanted to try to save the marriage. Then, a pattern developed. At the end of each session, both husband and wife seemed to agree on things each should do to solve the problems. However, when we met next, the wife was on a totally different page. The husband said that shortly after we met each week the wife changed. I finally asked him what were the influences in her life that brought this about. He mentioned that she had three close friends at work.

She thought those friends’ advice should help. However, it turned out that all three of those close friends were divorced. The wife thought surely their counsel should become part of her life. How wise is it to ask those who are failures in their marriages for advice about marriage? If I wanted to learn to fly a plane, I would not try to learn how to fly by asking someone who had crashed three planes! The wisdom gained by crashing a plane or “crashing” a marriage may not be wisdom at all.

Solomon said, “In a multitude of counselors there is safety” (Prov. 24:6). Think about this and recognize that because we go to the right place (multitude of counselors) to find help we may look in the wrong “cupboard” when we get there. You cannot just ask anyone for help. Hear the words of David, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly” (Psa. 1:1). The help found in the “cupboard” of ungodly counsel does not help. The verse implies that to seek counsel from the ungodly may not bring blessing but a curse! Think about that counsel given the wife by her three ungodly friends!

One other point about this is that all counsel be tested against what the Bible says. The words of James give great insight. “The wisdom from above first is pure, then peaceful, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” (Jas. 3:17). Make sure that when you look in any “cupboard” you use James’ words to measure what is there.

Hear the wisdom of Solomon again. “There is no wisdom or counsel against the Lord” (Prov. 21:30). Need help in making any decision? There is wisdom in many counselors, but those counselors must be godly!

Posted in Dan Jenkins | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on The Wrong Source of Help and Advice

The Land that Drinks in the Rain

The Land that Drinks in the Rain

There are several warnings in the book of Hebrews against Christians losing their faith and falling away. One of these reads as follows: “For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned (Hebrews 6:7-8; NKJV).”

To be sure, Hebrews 6:8 is a powerful warning.

But the starkness of verse 8 is contrasted with the beautiful imagery found in the previous verse: “the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it.”

Are you drinking in the rain?

Are you drinking in the rain?

Let us take a moment to think about that image. Christians are like soil, watered frequently by the rain God sends and in this blessed state they bring forth abundant fruit for the Lord.

Rain which falls upon the land in the spring and summer is indeed a blessing: a sign of God’s love and care (cf. Matthew 5:45). When the rains don’t come, and the land grows dry, men despair and worry about their crops. At the same time, when the rains are regular and the crops grow bountifully, too often we take that rain for granted.

The “rain” that God sends upon His people is plentiful and frequent and there are no spiritual droughts of God’s making. In Christ we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3). God so loves us that He sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10). God so loves us that He gave us His holy word which is able to make us wise unto salvation, instruct us in every good thing, and prepare us for every good work (cf. 2 Timothy 3:15-17). God so loves us that He hears the prayers of His saints, and He answers them (cf. 1 John 5:14). God so loves us that He has promised that all things will, in the end, work to the good of those that love Him and answer His call, thus giving us an unshakeable hope and joy (cf. Romans 8:28ff). He has confirmed in His word, and God cannot lie, that there is eternal life in His Son (cf. Titus 1:2).

Yes, the spiritual blessings of God are like the rain, and they come often upon the saint who spends time in God’s word, reflecting upon the promises of God, and allowing those promises to strengthen and encourage the soul. As the beloved apostle John noted, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1)

When we consider the multitude of God’s abundant blessings upon His followers, it is slightly disheartening that more don’t take advantage of these blessings. Unlike the land, which has no choice in whether to receive the rain or not, individuals have a constant choice whether to heed God or not.

Thus the Scriptures tell us, “blessed is the man who does not walk in the council of the ungodly, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water…” (Psalms 1:1-3a)

We have a choice whether to delight in God’s word, from whence comes so many blessings, or whether we will instead listen to the wisdom of worldly men and order our lives according to their evil principles. The blessings are there, ready to be drunk in by those willing to receive them; but we must choose to partake.

Just as disheartening are those souls who do drink of the blessings of God, yet never choose to produce anything of value with those blessings. Like a garden untended, the heart can produce a multitude of weeds and thorns: thorns which Jesus warned would choke out spiritual productivity (cf. Matthew 13:22). But again, we have a choice what kind of fruit we bear. If we drink in the blessings, but focus our hearts on money and the cares of the world, then the blessings will not bring forth the fruit God wants.

The message is this: God has poured out manifold blessings, raining them down upon all who would receive them. Whether you accept those blessings, and how you use them is up to you.

 

Posted in Jonathan McAnulty | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on The Land that Drinks in the Rain

Iniquities

“Bruised For Our Iniquities” (Isa.53:5)

One of the great lessons of the Mosaic Law is that a holy God cannot dwell among an unholy people.  Yet God desires to dwell with His people, and the people with God.  How?

God planned a sacrifice for man's iniquities.

God planned a sacrifice for man’s iniquities.

God must make provisions to remove their iniquity, the cause of their unholiness.  In Israel’s day, God did this through the tabernacle and the priesthood.  Notice God’s statement to Aaron in Numbers 18:1.

“So the Lord said to Aaron, ‘You and your sons and your father’s house with you shall bear iniquity connected with the sanctuary, and you and your sons with you shall bear iniquity connected with your priesthood.’” 

Iniquity here is basic moral failure and the punishment associated with it.  The priesthood and the tabernacle were to assume the punishment for moral failure for the nation of Israel. But who lived in the tabernacle?  God did!  The whole setup was designed to show that ultimately God desired to take the punishment for our sins, and then one day, He actually did it in the person of Christ Jesus.  Hebrews 10:12-14 states this truth:

“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” 

The priesthood and the tabernacle lead us to Jesus!  In fact, everything in the Old Testament points us to Jesus.  Paul taught us,

“Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24). 

As we study the Old Testament, let us never forget that it is all about Jesus!  God bless you, and I love you.

Posted in Kevin Cauley | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Iniquities