Harmless as serpents?

Mt. 10:16: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.  Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”

Jesus sent out his twelve disciples to preach that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  He instructed them to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons, and to freely give of what they had been given.

But He warned them that He was sending them out as sheep in the midst of wolves.  Doesn’t sound like the safest scenario to me. 

He said there would be persecutions coming.  But He also said that the disciple is not above his teacher, so if they have called Him the master of the house of Beelzebub, how much more would they call those of His household.  It makes sense.  Persecutions do take place.

Now, what did He then tell them?  “Go out there and speak your mind!  Let people know how it is and set them straight!”

I’m sorry, but no.  That’s not what He said.  Now, Jesus wasn’t one to sugar coat things, but He spoke what the Father told Him speak.  And in verses 19-20, He said, “But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak.  For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”

Who is speaking?  Us?  Uh-uh.  The Spirit of our Father.

There is a lot of speaking around us and unfortunately, all too often, it seems that it is not coming from the Father.  Jesus told His disciples to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  I’m afraid that these have gotten mixed up.  I see and hear words that strike out at others, just as a serpent would do.  I see words that are meant to cause harm or injury.  I hear words that have poison dripping from them.

In contrast, doves truly are harmless.  Do you know that the male and the female both produce milk for their young?  They’re nurturers.  Did you know that doves can adapt to almost any environment on the globe?  This reminds me of the way Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners.

Doves have also been a symbol of peace, globally, for thousands of years.  I recall Jesus saying, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.” (Mt. 5:9)

We can be the ones that are the peacemakers.  We can be the ones that fulfill the great commission as wisely as serpents, but as harmlessly as doves.  We weren’t asked to strike out at people.  Yes, be wise.  I’m not ignoring that part.  We are being sent out as sheep among wolves.  We need wisdom.  But Proverbs is full of ways to use wisdom with regard to our words, and when we are supposed to be sharing the “Good News” about Jesus with others, it sure helps if it actually sounds good and doesn’t feel like a slap in the face.

-jamie

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Desiring those Great riches

Pr. 13:7:  “There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; and one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.”

This Proverb is actually the one that spoke to me on Saturday, but I was unable to get to a computer that day.  However, this morning I cannot pass it up to move on to another.

I read Luke 5 on Saturday, as well, and was touched by verse 11, which describes the decision/actions of James, John, and Simon.  “…they forsook all and followed Him.”

These men gave up their plans, their businesses, and their comforts of home to follow Jesus.  What a lovely example of sacrifice they set for us.

Truly they made themselves poor, but as we know, they were far richer in following Jesus than they had ever been before they knew and served Him.

Making ourselves rich is not always the most profitable.  Having possessions does not always mean we have the most.

If our efforts to fit in, to possess, to take the common path, or to attain more for security, we often become poorer and poorer in spirit.  We run out of time for prayer.  (I’ll pray on the way to work)  In talking about our plans, we run out of time to talk about the Lord when we sit in our house, walk by the way, lie down, or rise up.  (Deut. 6)

We’re so busy trying to catch up on our sleep and get things done that the Word of God sits neglected on the shelf.  (I’m sure a devotional email will come through during the day.  I will slow down then to read it.)  Slowly, but surely, our spirit is undervalued and decay begins.

We cannot see the neglect caused to our spirits with physical eyes, the way we can see the deterioration of a house or a pet; however, the decline is still very real.

Following Jesus may me we have less earthly wealth or possessions.  Serving Jesus may mean we have to abandon relationships that stand between us and Him.  Serving Him may mean we have to change our own plans in order to do His will.

Following Jesus; however, will make us far richer in the things that truly matter.  We cannot undervalue our spiritual health and expect to become richer in Him.  We must invest in ourselves and our relationship with the One who matters most of all.  Riches will follow.

Following Him,

jamie

Why go to church?

Pr. 15:2:  “The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.”

Ps. 122:1 says, “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.”  You can find much wisdom in the house of the Lord.  Pastors and teachers spend time throughout the week studying and praying over the Word of the Lord.  They are prepared to use their knowledge rightly to impart to you more wisdom from the Word.

I have heard enough people say that there are hypocrites at church, and that is true.  But guess what?  We are all sinners and have all fallen short of the glory of God.  Not one of us on this planet is perfect, nor ever will be.  The best we can do is to gather together and try to remind ourselves of God’s power, His goodness, His love, His truth, and His strength.  Church is the place where we go to find wisdom.

Find yourself a church where the Word of God is taught and the message of Jesus Christ, Him crucified, and His soon-coming return are preached.  Don’t worry about the imperfections of the workers, as long as Jesus Christ is worshiped and glorified.  He said where two or three are gathered in His name, He is there in the midst.  If you show up, so will He.

Foolish talk will not bring you eternal life.  Go to the house of the Lord, where the tongue of the wise will use knowledge rightly.  The Lord will use the imperfections of the workers to strengthen your soul.

Seeking His wisdom,

jamie