6 Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, 7 Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, 8 Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest. 9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep— 11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.” (Proverbs 6:6–11, NKJV)
Ants are fascinating to watch. They labor away, working ceaselessly to feed themselves. And, they work together (how many divided ant hills have you seen?). The ant exerts itself, teaching us to do the same and so avoid the danger that comes with laziness. An even greater danger exists when we choose to be spiritually lazy rather than being “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord” (Rom. 12:11). There is spiritual work that needs doing. Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (Jno. 9:4). Learn from the ant and know the value of labor. Then, like Jesus, be a diligent and faithful worker for God.
21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:21–24, NKJV)
God created woman to complete man; without Eve, Adam had no comparable companion (see Genesis 2:18-20). The wisdom of God is on full display as He fashioned Eve from Adam’s rib. They are now inseparable; one flesh. This informs us of the relationship between the husband and the wife. No longer separate, in marriage they are “one flesh”, united in both body and soul. This God-formed and lifelong union of husband and wife in marriage is the cohesive bond of the family and of society itself. Whenever marriage is redefined and replaced by the will of human beings, society’s building block, the family, is undermined and destroyed. No society can long endure that thumbs its nose at marriage as God has designed it and defined it in His word. Honor marriage; not the sinful imitations of the real thing (read Hebrews 13:4).
11 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another? (James 4:11–12, NKJV)
James, the “bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ”, warns us not to slander our brethren. Backbiting and malicious words must not characterize how we speak of each other. Ironically, some false teachers run to this passage attempting to find shelter against being publicly identified or marked for their divisive error. Paul said to “note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them” (Rom. 16:17). Paul is not advising us to use evil speech or to misjudge a brother. Neither is Paul contradicted by James, whose prohibition is against evil misrepresentation, not accurate identification. On the one hand, we must carefully identify brethren who teach divisive and false doctrine (so they can be avoided), while at the same time avoiding malicious, evil speech. As James previously noted, such tongue control is a mark of spiritual maturity (Jas. 3:1-12).
And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.” (Mark 9:1, NKJV)
When Jesus began preaching the gospel, He said the kingdom of God was near (Mk. 1:14-15). Now, in Mark 9:1, He plainly said the kingdom of God would come (be present) during the lifetime of some who heard Him speak. Although many wish to argue with Jesus over the coming of His kingdom, we will not. Just as Jesus promised, the kingdom of God came with power on Pentecost following His death, resurrection and ascension (read Lk. 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8; 2:1-4). His kingdom is His church, to which He adds those being saved (Acts 2:47). Ever since, those converted to Christ by His gospel are delivered from the power of darkness and conveyed “into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Col. 1:13). This could not happen if the kingdom of God did not yet exist. Since you now know the kingdom of God has come, the crucial question is whether or not you are a citizen of it. Believe and obey the gospel of Christ and you will indeed be a citizen of the kingdom of God (Mk. 16:16; Rev. 1:5-6, 9).
15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise. 16 A fool’s wrath is known at once, but a prudent man covers shame. (Proverbs 12:15-16)
The ability to accept and follow advice from others is a mark of humility. Conversely, the fool pridefully refuses counsel; he is right, and that settles it. The prideful rejection of godly counsel sets the stage for an uncontrolled temper to explode when it is challenged. The remedy for a fool’s wrath includes the wisdom to acknowledge one’s need for help and guidance in life. Above all else, we must humble ourselves to accept God’s counsel, for “the way of man is not in himself” (Jer. 10:23). Cover the shame of wrath by humbly accepting and following the wisdom from above, the word of God.00:05
17 “But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.” 18 So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:17–20)
The gospel of Jesus was spreading in Jerusalem, and the Jewish rulers could not deny the notable miracles being worked by Peter and John (Acts 4:4, 15-16). So, they threatened them in a vain attempt to silence their message. Enemies of the cross of Christ continue to intimidate those who speak the truth about sin, righteousness and the judgment to come. Threats against Christians who speak and live their faith are on the rise. Do not be afraid of their threats. Their tactic of intimidation exposes their cowardice. Continue to live your faith and boldly speak the truth, fearing God rather than men.
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23–26)
Today is Memorial Day in America. We pause to pay tribute to and remember those in our armed forces who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. We cannot help but also remember an even greater sacrifice for an even greater freedom. The Son of God gave His life to free us from our sin and its death. His body hung on a cross until it was dead. His blood dedicated a new covenant that dispenses an eternal inheritance to His people. The Lord’s Supper is a constant memorial proclaiming the grandeur of the Lord’s death. Christians eat the bread and drink the cup to remember Jesus and what His death has accomplished. Never forget.
Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.” (Luke 8:18)
It is not enough simply to listen to what Christ says in the Scriptures, we must hear with understanding to do His will. To achieve this, be careful how you listen to the word of Christ. Be cautious not to listen with your mind already made up about what is right and what is wrong. Such a closed mind will not help you find the truth and accept it. Truth is snatched from the closed mind even as it thinks it knows the truth (the wayside soil, Matt. 13:19). Instead, be like the Bereans and have a ready, willing mind to receive the word of Christ, examine the Scriptures to know the truth, then believe it and do it (Acts 17:11-12). With such a “noble and good heart” you will bear fruit for Christ and increase in His blessings (Lk. 8:8, 15).
He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matthew 13:9)
Someone said since God gave us two ears and one mouth, we ought to listen twice as much as we speak! In today’s verse Jesus calls on us to use our ears to listen carefully to what He says. The Lord calls on us to pay attention, to have great interest in what He says. We can easily be distracted from listening to and following the Lord’s word by life’s cares and the enticements of sin (Matt. 13:22). Jesus wants us to hear His word “with a noble and good heart” and “understand it” so we will follow it and bear good fruit in our lives (Lk. 8:15; Matt. 13:23). Are you listening to the word of Jesus? Or, does it have no place in your heart? Make today (and every day) the day you will pay attention to what Jesus says and keep it.
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (Galatians 5:16-18)
A Christian is not immune from sin’s temptations. But, you have chosen to “walk in the Spirit” and not according to the flesh. You have chosen to follow the Spirit-inspired Scriptures. You have chosen to submit to God and to resist the devil (Jas. 4:7). Choosing to be “led by the Spirit” does not mean waiting for a mystical feeling to compel your daily decisions. You will not receive direct revelation from the Holy Spirit because He has already revealed His will to you in the Scriptures (Jno. 16:12-13; 1 Cor. 2:10-13). Take up the challenge today to “walk in the Spirit” and follow the guidance of the Scriptures.