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Tuesday, January 24, 2023

23 Bible verse about success

Proverbs, practical applications

Proverbs practical applications


In this post, we touch on the power of your tongue by expounding on a few biblical references about wealth and success. We also touch briefly on bible verses to do with politics and the expectations for Christians in regard to the political field.


“Gold there is and rubies in abundance but lips that speak knowledge are a rare vessel”. There will always be many richer people, than wise people


Power of words Proverbs 10:6-14
Our speech has the power to reward and change ourselves and others. All blessings come from God, but they are mediated through a human agent and this entails people praying for God's blessings on the righteous. They are praying for those who go through life with an open hand.

Violence overcomes the mouth of the wicked. The bad words of the wicked invite violence to stop them. It comes back on them thus destroying them. Love draws a veil over everything (meaning that tenderness and forgiveness is always on the minds and lips of those who love). Where there is dissension, hatred (harshness and a lack of love) is normally in the background causing it. Whatever you say is intentionally misunderstood and it stirs up strife.

Tissot- Son of the vineyard, Matthew 25:33-46
Son of the vineyard, Matthew 25:33-46



Whenever there is love, a veil is drawn over your faults and whatever is wrongly done is only an incident and not deemed intrinsic to character.  If you want to know whether you are hated or at least where there is no love, then your every action will be considered a character trait; there is no veil of love.

It is a way of speaking that will help the other person and give them life or damage the other person for life, which is actually violence against them.

Proverbs 11:30 , Proverbs 18:20-21 The power of life and death

“You eat what you speak”. A reckless person’s words pierce like knives/swords. God calls us to love and not to be right. Choose love and not to be right; not to win or to domineer.

Limitations of words. Words should be accompanied by deeds. Faltering in deeds is to show yourself as being lax and entails cowardice, fear, indolence, carelessness, and a lack of resolute strength 

Characteristics of wise speech

We use the mnemonic BREATH. Its stands for:

B- Boast not. Never boast about tomorrow, for we know not what it will bring. Self-praise exalts the self and thus destroys relationships

R- Restrained. Restrain yourself from starting a quarrel, for it is like breaching a dam

E- No Gossiping. Be prudent and keep the knowledge to yourself

A-  Apt

T- Thoughtful

H- Honest

So if you have Gentle BREATH in speaking, you know to speak softly, gently, kindly, and sensitively to the other person.

Strozzi- Guardian angel, Matthew 18:10-14

Parable of the Guardian angel, Matthew 18:10-14



Love covers all wrongs. 
An understanding person heals a broken relationship by maintaining an appropriate silence, even when wronged. Do not speak or gossip to other people on the matter.

When you weigh up what to say, it implies self-control and being considerate. Wickedness is not concerned with the other's well-being. The wicked are rash; the loving are gentle and self-controlled.

Sources of good speech

·      These come from the heart

·      Useful to judge the character of the person

·      Spend time with the wise and in time become wise

As you come to weigh your words, and thus speech, you gain an ability to quickly assess the characters of others simply by how they speak. This is a very useful quality for assessing character, even as people try to hide theirs.

What is the biblical view of politics?

Wisdom gives one social skill of know-how, in order to relate both to people and to God. Politics as per proverbs is meant to eschew wickedness in society, by using wisdom over the wicked, whose ethics are derived from what is right in their own eyes and whose morals may include killing the innocent.

Ethics does not set absolute values, but religion does. Ethics in itself has no authority. If there is no God, then there are no absolute standards and this thus allows for relativism.

 Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines relativism as roughly put, the view that truth and falsity, right and wrong, standards of reasoning, and procedures of justification are products of differing conventions and frameworks of assessment and that their authority is confined to the context-giving rise to them.

If you read the above between the lines, it's essentially saying that ethics are situational, and thus change depending on the context. Christianity however sets absolute standards where ethics are concerned, regardless of the context.

So what type of ethical government will govern us as a people? It will either be the value and ethics of scripture or the values and ethics of the pragmatic person, who has no absolute right or wrong; one could say the ethics of common sense rather than the ethics of Christianity.

Relative values are always determined by consequences of what gives one pleasure, and what is right in one’s own eyes; this is unlike Christian ethics, which we believe come directly from God in the Pentateuch. Whether we like them or not is irrelevant;  we simply consider them absolute.

Watts- Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37 

Parable of the Good Samaritan





POLITICS AND THE BIBLE

Separation of church and state. 
Government should not interfere with the people's right to worship, however as a Christian country our ethics are based on Christ as should the values espoused by the government. Christians belong first to the Kingdom of God and second to the state. It is incumbent upon us to take from the Kingdom of God and apply it to the state

God gave rulers the sword and the power to uphold righteousness. The government restrains anarchy and evil. If the government represents God, then it has the authority of God behind it. But if it steps out from under God, then it has no real authority behind it and should be challenged. Even at home, if the parents disobey God, then the children can disobey the parents.

Why get involved in politics? 

It is inevitable and inescapable. In a democracy, we all rule and exercise our rule through the ballot. Politics is a form of spiritual war, all aimed at restraining evil; if we do not vote, we inadvertently vote for the wicked. 

Finally, the world is full of fools, mockers, sluggards, and the like, who will continue to have their cake and eat it if the community of believers fails to participate in Politics. We must participate in government because it is there to establish righteousness. Christian political activity is salt and light in a depraved world; we should thus be involved in politics.

 Wainwright- Wise and Foolish Virgins Matt 25:1-13

Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins Matt 25:1-13



Conclusion

We pray and hope that you have enjoyed this short book on certain practical aspects of proverbs. We encourage you to practice, as without it you can derive no benefit.

Feel free to write to us at biblesceneimages@gmail.com should you have any comments, good or bad. We are quite welcoming of praise and criticism alike.

God bless you and we pray that this short read has been useful to you.

Enjoy

22 Bible verses about money (2 of 2)

Proverbs, practical applications

Proverbs practical applications



Money has both a temporal and spiritual quality. Temporal values do give us security against misfortune. It however cannot save you from death, the ultimate enemy. It also cannot do what wisdom does.

Temporal values Proverbs 10:15,  Proverbs 22:7

The temporal value is security against misfortune and also against slavery. It leads to a better quality of life Proverbs 12:9 Money enables you to have a slave so that you can enjoy a better life. We all have appliances in our homes; in the past, people did these things; today's slavery is in what we call jobs (specifically those that underpay). 

Without money, you can’t get an education, a home, etc. Proverbs recognize a real value in money, but while temporal, they are still very real and impact your daily life.

Rembrandt- The prodigal son, Luke 15:11-32

The prodigal son, Luke 15:11-32


Spiritual values

Not too much or too little. Augur, a wise man mentioned in the proverbs, prays to God on wealth by asking Him not to give him too little, lest he dishonors Him by stealing, and not too much, lest he forgets Him in his plenty.

Helping the poor. This is for most, common sense. If you readily accept that wealth is a gift from the most high, it follows that you will use your good fortune, to assist your fellow creatures.

The practical problem presented here is that not all of us can be Mother Teresa, and it's natural not to want to associate with the poor. A needy person is not somebody we want to make friends with. Secondly, the world is full of rascals, masquerading as needy, but they are ravenous wolves, hungry for profit.

The practical solution is to use a well-known body like the church to direct your offerings to the poor. The church organizes human beings for the Kingdom that is coming and assists the needy in their day-to-day wants. A church that focuses on Ferraris and Jets for the clergy (whose main objective is evangelization and not enrichment), is in my view far from the teachings of Christ on the role of the Church. Be discerning about who you entrust to help the poor.

On the poor Proverbs 14:20-21, The poor are shunned and you don’t want to associate with them, but at the same time, we should be kind to them. As mentioned above, the church and those with special charisms to assist the poor should be supported to the hilt.

We may not want to admit it, but it's human to shun the poor; nobody wants a needy friend or to lose existing relationships as a result of having needy friends. It’s the way it is, but many opportunities for helping them exist.

On generosity Proverbs 11:24-25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed

On past evils Ephesians 4:28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. 

The purpose of work is to help those in need and thus become righteous. Money enables us to be righteous... it’s a real value… and it pays dividends in return, but we cannot say with certainty whether it’s in this life or the one to come.

On threatening the poor Proverbs 13:8 If you are not in a position to change your circumstances financially, no threat of any kind moves you. Don’t threaten the poor, they don’t frighten easily, on account of having little to lose. They rely on God and Men of goodwill to fight their battles.

How to have enduring wealth Proverbs 11:23-27 Those who seek the good, are naturally rewarded (I qualify, however, in this world or the one to come). Proverbs 1:7 True and enduring wealth begins with a fear of IAM.

Our dependence on God Proverbs 3:9-10 We need to say to the community, that we depend on him both in service and in how we give. Our intention is to be righteous by aiming for righteousness.

This is in no way about the prosperity gospel, which suggests an immediate mentality of quid pro quo, that is a market transaction where you give and expect an immediate reward in return. Anyone that preaches the prosperity gospel is in my view inherently evil and should be avoided. Under no circumstances should you give any fruits to them, for the sums never reach the needy, but are devoured by Wolves in sheep’s clothing.

The spiritual world, is a world of probabilities, that fall both in this world and the afterlife. We don’t know the full workings of it all, but we do know that our temporal intentions should be about the achievement of righteousness, and the rest will follow, either in this or in the world to come or both.

On having an open hand Proverbs 11:23-27 The idea of giving freely is going through life with an open hand, helping where you can, but with caution (meaning you give where there is a need and only to the deserving; sluggards and mockers don’t qualify).

A Christian will not use the market against the poor to enrich himself. Think of others, but be fair to yourself. If you understand business or economics, then use it for both your benefit and the benefit of others; accommodating all in the value that you intend to create in the market. Other human beings must come first before profit. It is not a zero-sum game but a win-win scenario at all times; this must always be the perspective that a Christian must have.

A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapour and a deadly snare. The problem with sin (in the form of easy money), is getting accustomed to it, namely growing callous against hard work and what is right. When you get used to easy money, you forget how to make it legitimately and frankly you no longer have the patience to wait.  This is the slippery slope that becomes the Achilles heel; you simply forget hard work and scorn those who do.

Never be a surety or guarantor for anything  

This is a sure way to poverty for no action of your own except your goodwill

Never feed the leech Proverbs 30:15 

Never feed a fool, and certainly never a sluggard…for a sluggard is worse than a fool (he who refuses to acknowledge our reliance on the almighty, and our equal status as human beings before Him). 2 Thessalonians 3:10 We are obliged only to help the truly needy

On withholding good Proverbs 3:27 

Do not withhold good from the one who processes good; the moral good. Do not withhold material goods, from the one who processes spiritual good. You go through life generously, but you are obligated to the morally good and thus not withhold material good from them. You are free to ignore the immoral.

Have an open hand, but be careful who you give to. Many charlatans are posing as conduits for the poor and neglected, only for them to enrich themselves. The fault does not lie in the giver, but all the same, choose to be discerning in your giving.

On taking care of the poor Deuteronomy 24:21

In the modern world, a progressive tax system actually achieves this. The poor will benefit more from taxes than the rich, who can create the necessary infrastructure for living using private capital. Progressive taxes, tax-free bands, free health care, food stamps, social benefits etc and the like makes life easier for the foreigner, fatherless, and the widow…  “leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow”… It actually belongs to them.

The same principle applies to your run-of-the-mill mum-and-pop shops and small businesses in general. Why compete with small businesses when you can make money in niches that require significantly more capital. As a rule of thumb, what requires little capital will generally be very competitive, but it becomes easier for the rich since they can compete with the fewer where more capital is required e.g Manufacturing as opposed to retailing. It is simply wrong for one to own the value chain from manufacturing to retail simply because you can; where are the poor that you find there supposed to go? Damn efficiency and applaud humanity!

Related to this kind of thinking, is the issue of social benefits and the desire to work. As human beings, we must give people dignity, regardless of their innate capacity. The government's work is to ensure that its citizens attain a reasonable standard of living, which is further supplemented by hard work. Ensuring a reasonable living standard through social benefits is also a cure for many societal evils brought upon by poverty.1Timothy 5:3-6 This is a natural law and pleasing to God

    Slevogt- Return of the prodigal son, Luke 15:11-32

    Return of the prodigal son, Luke 15:11-32


    Give what you can, and no more Proverbs 3:27

    We are not to give more than we can afford. Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to do it. Ecclesiastes 7:18 We help only when it is in our power to do so; do not borrow to help. Whoever fears God will avoid extremes. By fearing God we obtain discernment to make decisions regarding the needy. You should never do so at the expense of your obligations to your loved ones and those whom God has given to you as your wards. To do so is to test God, who has given you the means to take care of them. 

    Be diligent, content, patient, and hardworking Prov 12:11-24 

    Working the land is tilling, fertilizing, and cultivating; this is hard work. Get-rich-quick schemes and fantasies along the same lines lead to nowhere but failure. Hard work inculcates character; the character needed to enjoy the fruits of that hard work. There is much truth in the saying that “a fool and his money are soon parted”. Easy come, is truly easy go, for the hard work does not act as a buttress against being a spendthrift or prodigal. Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers little by little lets it grow. and is careful about how it is spent 

    Prov 14:23 Is against foolish spending. Prov 13:11  In all toil there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. 

    I have always loved these proverbs. Hard work is truly its own reward. Indeed, the profit margins may differ from one activity to the next, but one will always be in the black when following these Godly principles.

    Tim 6:6 Indeed, enjoy the creation of God, but in all things let there be moderation.

    Hurry hurry has no blessings Proverbs 21:5  As a kid we always heard the adage “Hurry hurry has no blessings”. Haste in money/material things connotes greed. Haste in speech connotes a lack of self-reflection. Never do anything in haste, or feel the urge to act hastily. There will always be a chance for profit or putting in a word; if it can’t wait, then it was never for you to act or say.

    It is imperative to establish a firm economic base by taking care of your sources of income through planning and hard work. Get your fields ready and then build your house.  Know the condition of your sheep and cattle, because riches don’t endure without maintenance.

    Always replenish your income sources. There is a constant resupply in the order of creation to sustain wealth; creation constantly reproduces itself. As God resupplies, we must rethink to fit this new order of things.

    On gifting the rich Proverbs 22:16 

    Gifts to the rich are typically for favours and not out of love; they are the same as bribes (to protect what one has obtained by oppression; so shall he lose by being oppressed by the rich he seeks help from). The oppressor and self-aggrandizer suffer the loss of love.

    The oppressed Luke 14:12-14

    In case you imagine that the oppression of the poor does not affect you, here are some not-so-obvious examples:

    -         Underpaying the worker (beneath the cost of living)
    -         Exorbitant salaries to management and low wages to workers
    -         Sweatshops
    -         Controlling the supply chain thus locking out smaller producers (even when you                  are already swimming in profitability)
    -         Unnecessary competition that leads to growth of market share for larger firms at the              expense of smaller
    -         Substandard products
    -         Fake weights and measures
    -         Denying producer countries, a fair share of the price to alleviate poverty in producer              nations

    Frankly, the list is endless...

    Related to the above is the issue of social benefits to the poor as a means of giving them a decent standard of living. The spirit of the Government in doing so is to give dignity on the one hand and prevent social ills that arise from poverty and hunger. The argument that social benefits make the poor lazy, in my view can only come from those that have not encountered hunger and the other travails of poverty.

    Tissot- The rich man in hell reaches out to Lazarus in heaven, Luke 16:19-31

    The rich man in hell reaches out to Lazarus in heaven, Luke 16:19-31



    Enjoy!

    21 Bible verses about money (1 of 2)

    Proverbs, practical applications

    Proverbs practical applications


    We do not regurgitate the scripture, though the references are given. We simply try to expound on some of the advice given in the proverbs regarding it. 

    a) Becoming a guarantor or surety, leads to slavery; it should never be done Proverbs 6:1-11 

    God hates any kind of debt that takes your freedom away and God's people should be free; (an animal will do anything to free itself from a trap, you must do likewise). Money should be used to unite and not separate

    Human beings must be organized; we cannot survive in chaos. The order of creation has always been that the majority follow and a few lead. Leadership comes with grave responsibilities, and is not for all, however with great power also comes great responsibility. There is no place for anarchy (namely those that dismiss central leadership) among the wise.

    Laziness eventually leads to poverty and scarcity. Teach your children the power of self-motivation and righteous hard work. In the model of the ant, the ant teaches the sluggard the importance of both hard work and self-motivation, namely good work habits. Storing things up takes patience and is slow and timely work. Gathering of the ant entails hard work

    Valckenborgh- Parable of the Lilly in the field, Matthew 6:25-34

    Parable of the lilly in the field, Matthew 6:25-34



    In this world today, where we enjoy such marvels as the internet, computers, and mobile telephony, one literally has the whole world at one's fingertips; it only takes a small amount of self-motivation and exertion to make a mark and a living. It's certainly much easier than in biblical times. A slothful person today is much, much worse than one in earlier times.

    b)  On the value of hard work Proverbs 12:11-12 

    Work with what you have in terms of your skills and interests; get-rich-quick schemes don’t work and anyone delving into such is foolish; there are no free lunches in this world.

    Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow. Indeed, at the root of much evil in this world, is the inordinate love of money. It is the only way that one can explain wickedness such as:

    -        - Selling drugs

    -       -  Trafficking people

    -        - Gambling

    -        -  Injustice of any kind, committed for financial gain

    It is not money that makes the world go round, but a love of our Creator and a love of our Neighbor. We cannot carry money with us to the afterlife, but we can certainly do so with love; it is not just a feeling but a palpable commodity that we can take from this world to the next. 

    Proverbs look at the end of the matter Proverbs 10:1-5 

    The wicked have treasure for the moment but do not profit in the final analysis. People who have wealth but lack understanding are like beasts that perish; they don't know why they live and have no thought for the afterlife.

    What are the dangers and limitations of wealth, and how does one ensure that wealth is enduring? 

    Well, there are two things to consider, firstly that Proverbs looks at the end of the matter, and secondly, rich or poor, our common destiny is death and the struggle for a promised eternity. 

    In sharing this trend of thought, the world will have different reactions depending on the economic class one finds themselves in, for example:

    -        -  For the low and poor, it provides consolation and comfort, for justice will eventually come; if not in this world, certainly in the world to come. 

    -        -  For the high and mighty, it is a warning not to have pride and see that the difference between you and someone low, is an accident of genetics, history, economics, and the like. 

    -         - Death is not the final word, for us as Christians. We live knowing that we must fight for a place in eternity, rich or poor. 

    Wickedness is putting yourself before others, even in the least of things, or taking advantage of others in any way. Money can give you a house, but not a home; food but not fellowship around the table. 

    In the absence of comprehensive knowledge, one cannot have absolute knowledge. That is, without an understanding of wisdom, how can one understand wealth?

    Dangers of Money

    -     It seduces us to sin and death, both by others and ourselves

    -    Our wealth functions like skin. Skin gives us beauty and protects us. Wealth/Money does the same. We start desiring its function as the skin at any cost, even wickedness, by taking it from others unjustly for our own enrichment. 

          When we take from others, it is a seduction unto death, our neighbours and ours. This involves activities like: 

    o   Gambling

    o   Trading stocks and forex and many other market commodities, with no underlying intrinsic value

    o   Corruption at all stages in society and so on

    Money has a danger of making itself a god to all those who trust in it. Whatever a person loves is their god. We all invent idols in infinite numbers daily; we run after these things because they give us security (imagined or real).

    A young girl and boy will esteem their sex appeal as their sense of security; an old man, his wisdom ad wealth; a teacher, their level of education, and so on. What do you depend upon for life, security, and significance? Jeremiah 9:23 

    Wise in their own eyes Proverbs 28:11 A rich person is wise in his own eyes, but a poor person who has discernment, sees through him. A rich person trusts in himself to negotiate life skillfully without the Lord. They find security in their wealth. They boast about being self-made (without acknowledging the talents they have come from on high). How does one explain that for two people, similar in education, drive, instinct, and so on; one ends up wealthy, the other not.

    The deluded rich lord it over the poor. They oppress and treat them harshly. Paradoxically, the ambitious rich person and the sluggard have similar characteristics, both being wise in their own eyes.

    Let us prize wealth, but we are not to trust it or deify it; always remember that it is manifested by created things, which we leave behind on our demise. Always remember that juxtaposed with the poor (and morally upright) being in a bad present state, the same will apply to the merciless rich (and morally corrupt) in a future state.

    I AM is a fortified tower Proverbs 18:10-11 The Lord is a true security, whereas money is a false one. The name of I AM is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe on high. The wealth of the rich is a fortified city; they imagine it as a wall too high to scale.

    The rich and their spiritual attitude to wealth is what makes eternity and heaven very difficult for them. You should tame the money and never allow it to be a master over you as stated in 1Timothy 6:9-10 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the Love of money is at the root of all types of evil. Some people eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

    God provides the ability to gain wealth Deuteronomy 8:11-20 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws, and his decrees.

    God's covenant obligation is to bless us and to enrich us, but it is very dangerous because, at the same time, this blessing can become a seduction into false security independent of God. Too much wealth leads to a false imagination and false security. There is always this tension. You may say to yourself, my power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me. But remember, the Lord your God, gives you the ability to produce wealth and so confirms his covenant. Godliness with contentment is gain 1 Tim 6:6-11 

    Wainwright- Wise and Foolish virgins, Matt 15:1-13

    Parable of the wise and Foolish virgins, Matt 15:1-13



    Enjoy!