Though we may not always appreciate it, one of the great values of the wonderful book of Proverbs is that the inspired wisdom frequently hits close to home. We do well to reflect upon the sayings and make personal application to self as warranted.
Consider, if you will, the rather pointed observation of Proverbs 14:1: “Every wise woman builds up her home, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands.” (CJB)
The proverb is not speaking about the building or destroying of a physical structure, but to the building up of a family. A wise woman makes decisions which make her family stronger, more loving, more united and better than it otherwise would have been. Through her tireless dedication, she nurtures, admonishes, and loves those in her care so that at the end of the task, when she is closing her eyes and preparing to sleep, she knows that the home she has built will weather her absence.
The foolish woman, on the other hand ends up with a broken family – and it is her fault based entirely on the choices she made, the words she used, the behavior she encouraged, and the way she drove those close to her away. That’s a hard lesson because we so often want to blame others when we ourselves are the ones destroying the relationships we hold dear.
As an immediate application, God is reminding us that if you want a strong home: wisdom, drawn from His Word and applied to the family life, is key; otherwise, sinful, selfish words and actions will only destroy that which we want to preserve. And, as a warning, we do well to realize that years of work can be undone by moments of foolishness. Though a potter may labor for days over a particular vessel, it is the works of mere seconds to shatter the same.
While the proverb is pointed at women in particular, it is equally applied to men. Husbands and fathers who want a strong family must work to build the same up in wisdom, while guarding against those foolish words and actions which will undo all the labor that has gone before.
What is true of the home, is true of the larger world beyond. The proverb’s application stretches to encompass many walks of life: our community, our jobs, our friendships, and even the church itself.
In each case, there is a community built upon relationships between people. These relationships are made stronger through the values and wisdom God teaches in His word. Honesty, integrity, selflessness, faithfulness, love, compassion, kindness, goodness, self-control… values such as these can only strengthen the bonds between people. Likewise, gossip, theft, ridicule, scorn, infidelity, violence, drunkenness, selfishness and greed… these sorts of behaviors tear apart the fabrics of societies, breeding distrust and isolation, and making life more difficult for all involved.
Strong homes, strong communities, strong churches and strong friendships: none of these things happen by accidents. They are built up through wisdom and perseverance, with each member of the community in question acting responsible and loving. When we choose to act otherwise, we bear responsibility for the damage that follows.
The world around us is too often torn apart by those who give no thought to the future of their respective communities as they act irresponsible, selfishly and sometimes even violently. We see images on the television of men and women tearing apart their own homes, their own towns and their own families as they lash out, engaging in self-destructive behavior. This behavior can take the form of rioting, drug-abuse, theft, divorce, alcohol, or a myriad of other sinful behaviors. In each case, the damage done does not just harm those around the perpetrator, but rebounds upon themselves with consequence after consequence.
It may sound cliché, but it’s still true – we must choose to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. We bear responsibility for our own actions and how we are choosing to build up our relationships with those around us. Rather than blaming others for the misfortunes that befall our relationships, we do better to examine our own conduct and whether we are building up or tearing down that which we hold dear.
- churchofchristarticles.com post by Jonathan McAnulty
Why do we have Memorial Day? Well after the Civil War, people in the South created special memorials to remember the southern soldiers who died. These were referred to as “Confederate Memorial Days.” In the North it was called “Decoration Day” and most southerners did not recognize this day as it honored northern soldiers who died in the Civil War or as some called it “The War of Northern Aggression.” It was only after World War II that it became known as Memorial Day and was intended to honor all fallen soldiers who gave their life for their country.
The modern Memorial Day observance looks a lot different than in the early years of its founding. Today Memorial Day has expanded to a three-day weekend; known now as the start of the summer season. Often Memorial Day weekend is centered around family gatherings, cookouts, and picnics. Some people have even expanded the idea of Memorial Day to include visiting and placing flowers on their loved one’s graves.
Yet, the idea of honoring our fallen war heroes seems to be slowly fading away. Like the flowers that are placed at one’s tomb slowly rot, or the marble monuments that are effaced by time. Our nation seems to be forgetting the price for our freedom.
Inscribed on the Korean War Memorial are the words, “Freedom Is Not Free.” We must never forget that our freedom to gather as families, to have picnics, and even go to a cemetery to visit our loved one’s grave, came with a price. Someone’s son or daughter, someone's father or mother, someone’s loved one died so we could enjoy the freedom we have today. “Freedom is Not Free.”
This Memorial Day is also a reminder of another memorial that takes place every first day of the week, and that is the memorial of our Lord’s death upon the cross. It too is a reminder that our spiritual freedom is not free; it comes with a price; the blood of our Lord (Rev. 1:5). As we gather around the Lord’s table and take the Lord’s Supper may we never forget the one who said, “This do in remembrance of me” (Lk. 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24,25).
The Lord’s Supper will always stand as a constant reminder of the memory of Christ’s death and return. The only way to bring it down is to forget and neglected to do it.
May we never forget those precious souls who died for our freedoms and may we always remember our Lord’s death until He returns, by partaking of the Lord’s Supper each first day of the week.
In Christ’s Service, Mark T. Tonkery
So you decided to stop serving the Lord? Perhaps the elders made a decision you didn’t like, and your decision was to quit serving the Lord? Maybe the preacher preached too harsh, too negative, a sermon that made you think “he’s preaching that sermon at me,” so in response, you decided I’ll stop serving the Lord? Or perhaps, you saw “hypocrites” in the church, and being tired of the “hypocrites” you decided I’ll stop serving the Lord. Maybe a family member or a long-time friend mistreated you and you decided, I’ll stop serving the Lord. What do all these responses have in common?
One, these responses indicate a focus on the wrong individuals.
Two, these responses indicate a fixation on “taking it out” on the wrong person—the Lord. But wait, “I still love the Lord, I just don’t like some who claim to be His people, and for that, I’m justified to be absent from Bible Study and worship. I’m justified not to visit those who are struggling with sickness, sorrow, and sin.”
Three, these responses indicate a failure to recognize that “what I do only hurts me” is a bunch of nonsense because in reality it also hurts the very One who suffered for you—Christ (Hebrews 6:6). Please consider for a moment, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith: who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down on the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2). Perhaps if we spent more time being focused on the Master than on the mistreatment from others our responses would be different, and our lives would be more faithful and fruitful.
Further, “consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Hebrews 12:3). I dare say that none of us have been as mistreated by so many as Christ was. Yet, imagine if Christ would have quit on the world because of the world’s mistreatment of Him?
When we contemplate the mistreatment suffered by Christ, what mistreatment have we suffered that is such that we have the right to quit serving Him?
When we consider Him, truly consider Him, we have not been so mistreated, and especially by Him, that we are justified to stop serving Him. Thus, may we Consider Him, and faithfully serve rather than considering the 10,000 “reasons” to forsake Him. (Author Unknown)
The fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Cor: 13:14
And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. Acts 2:44-47
Jesus’ blood is thicker than water. There should be nothing that creates a tighter bond than sharing in the eternal grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. Nothing should create more comradery than sharing the mission of Jesus to seek and save the lost. Nothing in this life should speak Jesus louder to the lost and dying world than the inseparable fellowship of Christ’s church.
I once baptized a 70 year-old man who had learned the truth as a teen but had never obeyed the gospel. For more than 50 years he had lived a life of guilt, anxiety and fear - knowing that he was lost. So many people believe they can postpone their decision to follow Jesus. You will never find peace in your life until you resolve the matter of your soul’s salvation. Postponing important decisions often leads to tragic results. A person who is sick can put off going to the doctor until it is too late to be cured. A person who is lost can put off coming to Christ until it is too late to be saved. Many will be lost because of indecision. You may say “I haven’t yet decided about becoming a Christian.” But in reality, you have already decided - you’ve said no. The fact that you don’t want to admit it, shows that you know that your decision is wrong. There are many reasons why you should become a Christian - Today.
BECAUSE LIFE IS SHORT Those who put off their obedience make a dangerous assumption - that they will have more opportunities. But, “we know not what will be tomorrow. For, what is your life? It is a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)
BECAUSE DEATH IS CERTAIN Solomon said “the living know that they shall die.” So do we - we just don’t know when.
BECAUSE HEAVEN AWAITS THOSE WHO ARE SAVED “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those that love Him.” (I Cor. 2:19)
BECAUSE HELL AWAITS THOSE WHO ARE NOT God does not wish for anyone to perish, but for all to repent. (II Peter 3:9) He will, however, take vengeance on those who do not obey the gospel. (II Thes. 1:8)
BECAUSE THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS THE BEST LIFE ONE CAN LIVE Follow Jesus and you will know true joy, peace, and happiness. The choice is yours, “but for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)