Proverbs are the considered reflections of individuals who have been around for a while and know a thing or two about how things go in the world. This wise observer sees that resentment and envy have a negative effect on persons in whom they are nurtured. Harsh and unfair things may happen, but the wiser man will choose not to pity himself.
The truth of this proverb is well known but little heeded. In developed society we are bombarded with a thousand messages a day, that our life would be so much better if we had a better house, a more modern car, if we owned a motor home, if we had designer clothes, if didn't have to buy food at the bargain grocer. The capacity of the human spirit for unrest knows no bounds. To be content with enough, is a greater blessing than having and wanting more.
This is Nehemiah’s interpretation of events that unfolded in the court of the Persian king. Events which led to his return to rebuild the ruined city of Jerusalem. It is a statement of faith. That is to say the events were open to another interpretation. They might have been seen as the outcome of the powerful whims of Artaxerxes, or of fate. Are we pawns in a game of chance? Or is there a gracious intention playing upon the world and upon human hearts? Those who dare the
Do men and women have access to any spiritual resources outside of themselves? When a man must make a choice between a value, the sole beneficiary of which is himself, and an alternative good with the potential to bless hundreds, does the universe give a damn? If the answer is no, then there is no such thing as human excellence—and the world must be a pogrom. If yes—if God brings his goodness to bear on human affairs and ranges his moral forces against evil—then moral ende
A sad commentary on the spiritual health of Israel during a long period of religious compromise! It is easy to read the story of Israel with a holier-than-thou mindset; tut-tutting about their obtuse and stiff-necked ways. But this Scripture should disturb us too. It reminds us that we too are surrounded by people and nations that that do not acknowledge the God of Jesus Christ. The practices of idolatry are relentlessly seductive, and without even realising what we are doin
We humans have a remarkable propensity to put ourselves at the disposal of a perceived ultimate value. This explains persons who tie themselves to trees in the forest to prevent logging, those who spend all their means and energy on their motor car, others who give themselves over to getting as much sensual pleasure out of their bodies as they can before it gets too old for anything. The problem with this is that humans are in every way greater than any other thing, creature
It sounds similar to the folk wisdom, 'The harder I worked, the luckier I got.' Yes, but this says more. It observes that deep satisfactions come to those who apply use mind and body to create, to achieve something; those who take responsibility seriously. On the other hand, the lazy person cannot stop himself from wanting what he could have had if he did the same. The universe id friendlier to the those who join with God in work.
We usually associate righteousness with the conduct of relationships between persons within society. By making our treatment of animals part of the content of good human behaviour, the Bible takes the idea of righteousness and of morality to unexpected heights. Our animals are completely within our power. They flourish or wither at our decision. A person who fails to take benevolent and sustaining responsibility for a weaker, independent creature--even if that creature is a
My mother used to say: 'What goes around comes around." She said this in order to discourage me from rash acts of reprisal against ill-manners or unfairness. She believed that meanness had a way of coming back on the heads of the mean. I think there's some truth in what she said, as there is also on the proverb. Unselfishness can realise some vindication in this life but I think it will take another world beyond to make things as right as they ought to be. And that, of cou
People of faith ought not hold their opinions too strongly. At best, their knowledge is partial. Their apprehension of reality and of God himself is sketchy. There is an element of 'not knowing' in faith, and it need not be despised. It enables Christians to take their place humbly among the rest of men whose ignorance is vast; whose expertise is an approximation.