Fortifying the Fulcrum

January 24, 2013 at 10:20 am | Posted in Ecclesiastes | 4 Comments
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Sometimes the key to wisdom is balancing competing interests. Good leaders place themselves at the fulcrum.

If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.

Ecclesiastes 10:4 (emphasis added)

On one side is pride.

There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler: Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place. I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.

Ecclesiastes 10:5-7

Pliability is on the other side. Rulers must not be too proud, nor too pliable. They must be willing to listen to counsel, but not to be overcome by pressure.

Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

Proverbs 11:14

Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Proverbs 27:5-6

Likewise, those who work under leaders must be balanced.

He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him. Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby.

Ecclesiastes 10:8-9

On the one hand, workers must be aware of their position. When you work it is important to consider where you “stand.” When we dig ditches or break through hedges or chop wood or pick up and move heavy rocks, we need to watch our step, but the same principle applies to the work of the ministry, which can be as dangerous spiritually as theses types of physical labor are dangerous literally. The work of the ministry does require some “heavy lifting” and “getting down into ditches” and poking around in people’s lives even though they might bite you like a serpent. But the Lord empowers us to do these things while we watch where we stand.

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

Psalm 1:1 (emphasis added)

We deal with sinners and with scorners, but we don’t “stand” in their “way” and we don’t sit in their “seat.”

If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct. Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.

Ecclesiastes 10:10-11

Workers balance position on one side and preparation on the other. Cutting wood with a dull ax is a problem of preparation, and so is trying to handle a snake that hasn’t yet been charmed. Talking to a babbler is like dealing with a deadly snake when it comes to spiritual matters. It requires preparation. Both of these dangers for workers can be balanced with precaution.

The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.

Proverbs 21:5

At work and in your Christian walk, take precautions. Be diligent. Think it through. Fools rush in where wise men fear to tread. Precaution will balance out your positioning and your preparation.

Another thing that must be balanced is our communication.

The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.

Ecclesiastes 10:12

Communication can be destructive. Foolish words can hurt others, but here we learn that we can destroy ourselves with our own foolish words.

The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.

Ecclesiastes 10:13

In addition to being destructive, some communication is just downright dumb. In the Bible foolishness is often described as deadly, and “mischievous madness” is just dumb. Once you’ve talked yourself into a hole it’s better to shut your mouth than to try to talk your way out.

A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?

Ecclesiastes 10:14

Balanced on the other side of destructive and dumb communication is determined communication. Determination is a good thing, but it can also be a dangerous thing because sometimes it attracts pride. It is not bad to use words, but it is foolish to be “full of words,” especially when it comes to making bold assertions about the future.

The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.

Ecclesiastes 10:15

“He knoweth not how to go to the city” was an ancient proverb for someone who was demanding – someone who was so busy bossing everybody around that he wore everyone out and missed the obvious signs about how to get to the city.

The balancing principle for dumb and destructive communication on the one hand, and determined and demanding communication on the other hand, is learning to be delicate. We want to be somewhat determined and demanding about truth, but we don’t want to tip over into being destructive or dumb.

Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Colossians 4:6

Salt is a little bit delicate. Too little, and the food will be bland; too much, and the food will be inedible.

I’m Just Sayin’ 9

October 24, 2012 at 9:00 am | Posted in I'm Just Sayin' | 2 Comments
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Christians are not perfect, but, I’m just sayin’, it’s not always wise to advertise that fact. You know the type of person I’m talking about, right? They really love to publicize their shortcomings (often through social media outlets). “I know it’s wrong for me to hate people who accept welfare when they are really just lazy,” they say (or something similar), “but I always say what’s on my mind, and I just can’t help it! So go ahead and judge me if you think you’re perfect!”

What they’re hoping for here is for someone to dare to point out that Biblically it’s not okay for us Christians to hate people. Then they can throw out the Pharisee card, play the victim, and accuse someone of “judging” them.

Here’s the deal. As a Christian, of course you are “not perfect.” No one thinks you are! But I’m just sayin’, if you feel that gives you carte blanche to show off your sinfulness and demand that others ratify it, then you have a bad case of what the Puritan theologians used to call “false piety.” It’s sort of “reverse legalism.” So, the next time you feel the need to express how woefully short you’re coming in your sanctification, take a hint from the Bible and keep it to yourself.

Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

Proverbs 17:28

An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.

Proverbs 11:9

Perhaps you grew up feeling judged and mistreated by people with a “holier-than-thou” attitude. If so, forgive them and get over it. The Bible tells us to confess our faults one to another and to bear one another’s burdens, but that is far cry from bragging about our faults under the guise of a challenging demand to “accept me for me.” I’m just sayin’.

Testing Your Testimony

December 13, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Posted in Acts, Bible Studies | 8 Comments
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When Christians speak of “giving their testimony” they are usually referring to telling the story of their conversion experience. There are qualifications for giving a testimony. The most obvious is: In order to give a testimony, you must be born again (John 3:7).

Can you describe when and where your conversion experience happened? I don’t mean the time you were delivered from some addiction or besetting sin. I don’t mean the time you had a breakthrough and resolved a big conflict in one of your personal relationships. I mean the time you realized that you were a lost sinner and you called upon Jesus Christ to save you.

Ideally, you should know your own salvation testimony backward and forward, and you should be able to – in a very encapsulated and brief way – state it clearly.

personal testimony too long

The Apostle Paul’s personal testimony is given three times in Scripture: Acts 9, 22, 26. In Chapters 22 and 26 he gave his testimony when he had been taken prisoner and was about to be killed.

At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.

Acts 26:13-15

Another requirement for giving your testimony should be that you are motivated by the right motivation.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

I Corinthians 13:1-3

“Charity” in these verses is Christian love. It’s what makes your testimony “real.” Otherwise, your testimony can become a “lure,” whereby you try to sell Christianity to people based only on what happened to you.

Let’s look at the first account of the Apostle Paul’s salvation experience.

And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

Acts 9:1-2

Scripture reveals what he was before he was saved, but that is not the main point of the account.

And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

Acts 9:3

Your testimony should include a description of when you came under conviction for your sins.

And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Acts 9:4-5

Your testimony should include your realization of Who Jesus is, and your realization of your need for Him.

And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

Acts 9:6

It should include your account of surrendering to Him, depending on Him, and trusting Him completely for salvation.

And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.

Acts 9:7-8

And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

Acts 9:20

Your testimony should include the immediate change that happened when you were converted.

But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

Acts 9:21-22

You need to say something about the after-effects of salvation – how the Lord has blessed your life.

Your testimony can be an effective tool in your efforts at personal evangelism.

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

Proverbs 11:30


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