Weakness to Grace

Proverb 25: 21 – 22

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

What do you think of this passage? Is this counsel about heaping guilt and shame on your enemy or is it about showing kindness because that is God’s way? I have always thought it was the latter and that the heaped coals are simply a by-product. Seeing what we now learn in the New Testament, seems to confirm this idea.

God saved vengeance for himself (Romans 12:19) and Jesus said to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5: 44). Today’s verse, then, is right in line with New Testament theology. Most of you know God calls us to be charitable towards those who persecute us, so that is not the revelation of the day. It is a good reminder, though, because none of us wants to pray for the person who is a thorn in our flesh. This is where the rubber meets the road, as they say. This is grown up Christianity.

Paul had the same problem. You see, he had a thorn in his flesh as well (2 Corinthians 12: 7). He asked God to remove the painful impediment, but God taught him that the solution to life’s challenges is God’s grace. “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12: 9 TLV). So, I am not trying to tell you, today, to do what you already know God has told you. I am trying to help you find the means to do the impossible because if you are like me, and many others, praying for your nemesis is a hard thing to do, especially when they continue to be a thorn in your flesh. God knows what He is asking of us and knows it is impossible in our strength, so He has blanketed us with His grace so that we may do all things. The theme, then, of this Word of the Day is more about God’s grace as He supports you than about feeding your enemy. I think it is timely too because I know many of you are more challenged during the holidays than any other time.

Here is my prayer for you: Father, cloth these, your beloved, in tapestries of grace and mercy. Comfort them and embrace their hearts with your love. Help us all, Father, to do as you direct us. Pour out your grace upon us and manifest your power through our surrender. Cause your strength and will to shine through our weakness so that your glory fills the visible spectrum. Help those who hinder us. Show them your grace and give us favor in your sight and in the eyes of all people.

Lips of Abundance

Proverb 10: 21

The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of understanding.
In this proverb Solomon contrasts the righteous and the wicked. I am gratified to learn that the lips of the righteous feeds many. I imagine that the lips of the righteous is a blessing which flows out to the city and surrounding area. Words of righteousness create a wellspring of blessing. That is really good news. Now we just have to find a few righteous people. Righteousness is in Christ Jesus which I will explain in tomorrow’s Word of the Day.
Unfortunately, many of us are surrounded by the fools. What is the relationship between these two phrases? It must be that the lips of fools bring famine and lack. I completely believe that. So here is the problem. If you are working in an organization full of people who lack understanding then you are going to corporately experience famine. Even worse, this verse says that fools die because of this lack of understanding. What then do you think is the net effect on the organization of which they are a part? The worst part of this is that there are churches which operate under a complete lack of understanding. 
Why does Solomon use these words and why does he use them together? First, I think he is telling us that not submitting ourselves individually and corporately to teaching is foolishness and leads to malnutrition and ultimately to death. Fools are those who are unwilling to be educated. They know everything and no one can teach them anything. Wise leaders are constantly learning and the wisest of leaders provide learning opportunities for their people. 
How many people do you know who subject themselves to a program of learning? How many people defy the teachings of their bosses and even their pastors. Sure, no person knows everything but there are people with much wisdom and knowledge. No matter how much we think we know, we can still be instructed. There is always someone who can lead us into greater truth.

If you are the smartest and most knowledgeable person in your sphere then you need desperately to widen your sphere. Don’t be foolish. Don’t continue in a lack of understanding. Find teachers and voraciously consume all you can. The key question is not whether or not you agree. The key is always, “Father, what can you teach me from this?”  Be a student all the days of your life and add prosperity and abundance to your life and those around you.