29 January 2006

...On Words of Counsel

Experience shows that we often have a tough time accepting counsel or advice. It offends our pride. We also live in a culture flattered and lured by the subjective. “I did it my way,” goes the song. “If it feels good do it!” “What’s true for you may be different than what’s true for me.” Too often we ride the winds of subjective opinion or the popular. We cry for freedom without responsibility and without restraint. But without objective counsel and restraint, “everyone does what is right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6) These are not words of freedom but words of judgment. We need objective counsel. We need restraints to keep us on the straight and narrow and to dampen the cycles of opinion and fad. “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint.” (Proverbs 29:18) A primary source of counsel and restraint is the written word. Written history—history of the world, our country, of nations rising and falling, of leaders good and bad—provides insight and perspective. Biography provides example. The Bible reveals who we are, who God is and what he has done for us, and—for the Christian—is to be our delight (Psalm 1). So let us seek objective truth. Let us set aside our pride and the subjective and be open to counsel and guidance for living. Let us grow in the counsel of a good book and in the Good Book. Let us take up and read!

Recommended: Richard Mayhue's "Practicing Proverbs"

"Practicing Proverbs: Wise Living for Foolish Times," by Richard Mayhue, Christian Focus Publications, 2003

“To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice...” Those words, recorded in the first chapter of Proverbs, introduce the purpose of a book rich in practical application for living. But the treasures of Proverbs remain largely neglected by most Christians. Mayhue’s unique work helps to organize the Book of Proverbs for six life applications: spiritual, personal, family, intellectual, work-place and societal. A brief biography of King Solomon is provided to relate the content to its author. Mayhue also addresses the common questions raised in the reading of Proverbs. The work also has several practical indexes including devotional, life-application, subject and thematic which assist the reader in applying Proverbs to life’s challenges. Use this book for personal study, family devotions, small group study, and for a handy reference when facing questions of discernment. Practicing Proverbs is highly recommended for every home library.

15 January 2006

...On new beginnings

The New Year traditionally brings a sense of being able to start fresh, to renew our manner of living and to rededicate ourselves to the larger things of life. Consider these words from The Valley of Vision entitled A Disciple’s Renewal...
“O my Saviour, Help me. I am so slow to learn, so prone to forget, so weak to climb; I am in the foothills when I should be on the heights; I am pained by my graceless heart, my prayerless days, my poverty of love, my sloth in the heavenly race, my sullied conscience, my wasted hours, my unspent opportunities. I am blind while light shines around me: take the scales from my eyes, grind to dust the evil heart of unbelief. Make it my chiefest joy to study thee, meditate on thee, gaze on thee, sit like Mary at thy feet, lean like John on thy breast, appeal like Peter to thy love, count like Paul all things dung. Give me increase and progress in grace so that there may be more decision in my character, more vigour in my purposes, more elevation in my life, more fervour in my devotion, more constancy in my zeal. As I have a position in the world, keep me from making the world my position; May I never seek in the creature what can be found only in the Creator; Let not faith cease from seeking thee until it vanishes into sight. Ride forth in me, thou King of kings and Lord of lords, that I may live victoriously, and in victory attain my end.”
May God grant us the grace to appropriate this prayer in our lives as we begin anew in 2006. Take up and read!