Faithful Wounds, or Deceitful Kisses

“Faithful [are] the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy [are] deceitful” (Proverbs 27:6 [NKJV]). 

The truth certainly hurts sometimes, but when you know that the person telling you the truth is doing so as a friend and it is to help you, then it is not so painful after all.  You come to trust and have faith in a friend who cares enough about you to tell you the truth.  Friends like that are truly the best ones that we can have because we know that they care about us in spite of our failings and weaknesses while also wanting to see us be our best.

We’ve all met people who will tell us what we want to hear in an attempt to get us to favor them for a variety of selfish reasons.  People who are not truly our friends will tell us things to flatter us, or will figure out what we want to hear and then tell us those things to please us, while never truly having any intention of doing what they say and not truly being sincere in their remarks.

We have to be careful in regard to whom we listen in the church because there are false prophets out there.  If we don’t really want to know the truth, but want to hear what will confirm and give credence to our thoughts and desires, we will be blinded when faced with someone who can discern what we want as they seek to please us for their own selfish purposes.  “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).  In the same way, we have to be careful who has our allegiance in regards to other leaders, especially politicians.

During the campaign for president, Barack Obama promised a level of “transparency” that has yet to be seen.  Specifically, this is referring to the debate over healthcare.  See for yourself below:

Also, just like we recently heard Obama deriding the banking industry, we heard him during the campaign doing the same thing toward the pharmaceutical industry. However, this same person who promised such transparency is now leading the crafting of legislation, that will affect every person in this country, behind closed doors with a select few while making deals with the pharmaceutical industry to not allow for drugs to come into this country that would be cheaper. He said he would allow for just the same thing during the campaign that he now has cut a deal to ban. Is this integrity? It sounds like the same, old, “bait and switch” trick. I think many people are realizing they have been deceived, and it’s not from a friend telling them the truth.

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Working For What Matters

There are so many issues to address as we strive to see our country turn to God and so many different directions where our attention can be focused.  Daily, we must remember for what we are fighting for in this life and for whom we are fighting the good fight and running the race as described by Paul in his letter to Timothy (2 Timothy 4:7).

I attended the funeral on Tuesday of a man who had no claim to fame and had no great wealth to leave to others of material things.  He drove a modest truck while giving funds to help purchase a church van with others.  He was frugal with taking trips for himself while donating money for missionaries to travel to other countries instead of going there himself.  He lived in a modest home while giving of his means to see a church building constructed and maintained over several decades of continual commitment to its ministry.  He didn’t write letters very much, but had a communication line open through his prayers that anyone kneeling next to him could hear when he prayed with sincerity and a passion for others.

He and his wife both have lived this way.  They didn’t have exotic foods in their home to please their own tastes, but enjoyed keeping it simple while they always had something to offer to anyone who would visit.  They didn’t eat at expensive restaurants, but always had time to take others out to eat when they knew a listening ear was needed.  They don’t worry about being known by anyone outside their area, but knowing the Creator has been their goal as they have sought to work for Him over many, many years.  Through giving up their claims to themselves, they have a great host of friends and a large family that loves them both; they have riches that money cannot buy.

There was neither a costly funeral nor was there any rich celebrity or politician to speak or sing, but an intact family was present and a congregation that could sing “When We All Get to Heaven”.  There were no limousines or anything that many on this earth associate with significance in this life.  However, when he died, he did have a homecoming party greet him that included the most famous and richest of all—Jesus Christ.  The Bible tells us that he now has a place prepared to live that no man can imagine and will never rot or burn, or need any maintenance.  His body that slowly died is now healthy and well with no need for a doctor every again.  He has been rewarded for living a life of sacrifice in the name of Jesus Christ.  His manner of living is an example that we all can benefit from following.  One day, I will be there and get to see him again along with many others as the future becomes a reality when we hear “… a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, the home of God is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever.” (Rev. 21:3-4, NLT)

Let’s keep our eyes focused on the real prize ahead as we work for what really matters.  I’m reminded of the popular hymn:

“O land of rest, for thee I sigh!
When will the moment come
When I shall lay my armor by
And dwell in peace at home?

To Jesus Christ I fled for rest;
He bade me cease to roam,
And lean for comfort on His breast
Till He conduct me home.

I sought at once my Savior’s side;
No more my steps shall roam.
With Him I’ll brave death’s chilling tide
And reach my heav’nly home.

We’ll work till Jesus comes,
We’ll work till Jesus comes,
We’ll work till Jesus comes,
And we’ll be gathered home.”
  (words by Elizabeth K. Mills)