I’m so thankful for a God who is faithful! He is faithful to His promises! He is faithful to His Word! He is faithful in His love and forgiveness. What would all His attributes mean to us if He was not faithful to them? He is completely trustworthy every day and every minute of the day.
Today’s podcast episode is the last in the series of godly character traits. We’ll dive in a little deeper on the episode to learn how we can also be faithful and four specific areas of our lives that require this important attribute.
You can listen to the whole episode here. Here’s a snippet of the podcast…
I’m not a professional gardener, but I absolutely love having flowers, plants and herbs growing in my yard. I enjoy going out each day to water, clip and prune as necessary.Lately, however, it seems the thing I spend most of my time doing isweeding.There is a weed that is growing in my front flower bed that has a long vine, so when I go to pull it up I get a foot of vine and roots. If I’m not home to weed for a couple of days that weed goes crazy and pops its little head up everywhere!
This morning as I was reading Proverbs 24 I thought of my garden when I read verses 30 and 31 – “I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and, lo, it was all grown over with thorns and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall there was broken down.” I wonder if this man’s weed was what’s growing in my yard? It has the same ability – it could completely cover up everything in a matter of time, and break down a stone wall. But why was it allowed? The beginning of the verse tells us the reason – the gardener was lazy. I wonder where he was and what he was doing all the while the weeds were taking over his beautiful garden with the stone wall? I also have to ask myself why things get put off in my world? Why are things left undone? Oh, I could come up with all kinds of good excuses:
There’s so much to do in a day
There simply aren’t enough hours to accomplish everything
Everyone needs me
I have to have a little down time too, you know!
I don’t get enough help from others
As I continued to read this passage it seems that the writer of this chapter was also wondering as he passed by this forsaken garden how this could have happened. It says in verse 32 – “Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep. So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.”
The destruction didn’t happen overnight. It happened slowly, just like when a person travels on foot makes slow progress. This lazy person prefers sleep. He wakes up, then rolls back over for another little nap. Instead of working he indulges himself in snoozing.
Laziness isn’t just seen in our gardens. It can be seen by: neglect of meal preparation – waiting until everyone is starved to begin trying to find something to eat. The piles of laundry that need to be washed, folded or ironed. The mounds of junk mail stacked on the counter or desk that need attention. The lesson waiting to be studied. The children in need of love, attention and teaching are loud voices of our drowsiness. The stacked up dishes, splattered mirrors, dusty furniture, cluttered closets, and unorganized cabinets are all like the broken down wall in the garden as they tell all that pass by that we are apathetic.
In trying to control my weed problem out front, I did some research and read this statement:
“Weeds are simply plants that are growing in the wrong place.”
When we neglect the things we should be busy about doing each day, we’re growing in the wrong place, too. Some of those “wrong places” could be – spending too much time at the Internet (it’s sure easy to do!), running around town more than necessary, being away too often just for the sake of going to have fun, or too much time on our phone. While we’re doing those things the weeds are taking over.
The article I read went on to say, Weeding is a very ‘low-tech’ job, the only tools required are a hand fork, a garden fork for larger specimens, and a bucket to collect the debris. Luxury extras are a kneeling pad and a pair of gloves. The tools we need to reign in laziness are also simple – godly discipline and elbow grease!
One prayer I pray often is, “Lord, establish the work of my hands today.” (Psalm 90:17) I need the Lord to help me keep focused and use my time wisely. I could easily waste a day on unnecessary things, things that would let the weeds grow like crazy while I was completely oblivious.
What are some things that you know the Lord would pleased you accomplish today? Don’t let the weeds take over and break down your walls!
It happens to everyone at least once in their lifetime – the betrayal of a dear friend. You thought they would stick with you through thick and thin, when the chips were down, or when you were the last person to be chosen when they were picking teams. When the betrayal comes, it’s a dagger in our heart and the loss is felt with a grief like death. I speak as one who knows…and you do, too. We read in II Timothy 1 that Paul did, too…
This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
Phygellus and Hermogenes – let’s give them nicknames – Gellus (hmmm, was he jealous?) and Genie…two men named for being deserters of Paul. They turned against him and led a group of others to do the same. This is the only place their names are mentioned in the Bible. How sad that their names are recorded in God’s Word as an example of unfaithfulness! One commentator I read said, “These men couldn’t do anything about their ugly names, but they could’ve done something about their ugly character!” How true!
Why did they desert him? Speculation says they could’ve been afraid that they might also end up in a Roman prison if they were known to be associated with Paul.
I think of Paul, writing this letter from his prison cell, recounting the two men who turned on him. Had they at one time been there with Paul when he preached? When he did miraculous works? When the prison doors were opened? When he ministered the Word from his home? Perhaps. But at some time, they realized it would be better for their own sakes to disassociate with Paul, so they did, and they led a group to follow them.
Years ago when my husband was deserted by a dear friend, Dr. Bob Jones III called to say,
Dale, you’re in good company. Matthew 5:12 says, Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Jesus is the Supreme example of being betrayed by friends. Of course Judas was the one who led the soldiers right to him, but Scripture reminds us that they all forsook him and fled. We probably would have, too, had we been there.
BUT then Paul goes on to say,
The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: 17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. 18 The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.
Thank God for all the Onesiphorus’s!! Those are the dear ones who:
Stay near when the others slip away, quietly, one by one.
Stay near to meet a need that no one else even notices.
Stay near because they are not ashamed to be associated with you.
Stay near to remind you of God’s promises.
Stay near to remind you that you are not alone.
Stay near to comfort you.
May the Lord grant us memory loss of all the betrayers. Let’s just let it go. But may we praise God and also imitate the character of the stayer, Onesiphorus. The church needs more of them!
How might you come alongside someone who is ministering for the Lord to encourage and serve them this week? Here are some posts that might help you know how. How have others served you like Onesiphorus did Paul?
It was several years ago that we had a delightful surprise of old friends stopping in to see us! These dear folks – John and Becky, were saved under my husband’s ministry years ago in Indiana. People that trust the Lord during the time you’re at a church become so special; they are your spiritual children. It’s always refreshing to see them or hear from them and learn that they are still walking with the Lord and being faithful to Him.
After I walked in and found them sitting in our church, we had our squeals and hugs, of course, then the service started. As we sang and worshiped together I thought about how surprised they would have been if we hadn’t been at church! They just assumed that since it was Sunday night we would be at church! I’m glad they found us there. I’m glad we were doing what we were supposed to be doing!
Later as I considered that thought I wondered, “If someone came looking for me early in the morning would they automatically assume I’d be in my quiet place? Would they find me at the computer checking Facebook instead? Would I be at prayer meeting on Wednesday night or would I be home instead because I was tired from a busy day and this is the only night I have to rest?”
More importantly, would the Lord find me doing the things I ought to be doing? We don’t do the things I mentioned for men’s approval, but because we love our God.
Many “good” Christians attend church two out of every five Sundays. Church is sort of optional and we’re missing the blessing of the church and it’s having a terrible effect upon our culture. The church was meant to be God’s place of encouragement for His people where you heard the Word of God and where you were strengthened in the things of the Lord. ~ David Jeremiah
Where will you be found when someone comes looking for you? We all need rest, but there is always time to do the right thing. I’m certainly not always faithful, but my friends’ surprise visit was a good reminder that where we find ourselves is a good indication of our priorities. We are also preaching a message to those that are watching our lives – unsaved neighbors and our children. May others always find us faithfully living for our Savior!
Friends, may I just ask if you are faithful to your local church? What is your priority? Your family? Why not bring them with you to church? Show them your priority is God’s house. Why not give them an appetite for preaching, teaching and the fellowship of God’s people? Is your priority your leisure activities? Remind yourself of the One that gave you that to enjoy!