I had to giggle towards the end of 23....the references to hanging out in taverns, trying new kinds of drinks". I'm sure it is a translational thing (I'm reading the NLT) but it was actually putting truth in really current words/actions. It painted a good word picture for me.
"29 Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? 30 It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks. 31 Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down. 32 For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper. 33 You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things. 34 You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast. 35 And you will say, “They hit me, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can look for another drink?”
There is SO much wisdom in 24....I really would post the whole chapter here with notes on how so much of it impacts me. Read it! It's great! I do love how it ends though....a real long time favorite:
"30 I walked by the field of a lazy person, the vineyard of one with no common sense. 31 I saw that it was overgrown with nettles. It was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down. 32 Then, as I looked and thought about it, I learned this lesson: 33 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— 34 then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber."
I'm back tracking a bit here, but thought these were TOO good not to post:
" 26 An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship."
" 10 If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small. " (a good T-shirt slogan) Sometimes I feel like I THRIVE under pressure....it's the day to day that kills me!!
" 11 Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die; save them as they stagger to their death. 12 Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.” For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve."
That last section is a staple in the pro-life movement...and it is so true. Of course, there are others around the world who are "unjustly sentenced to die" as well, and we need to be aware and intervene in those situations too....as God leads.
WOW! I had done a bit of reading of some of the "newer" Christian authors last fall, sort of seeking wisdom as to why some churches are booming while others are faltering, and ran across some pretty questionable ideas (comparing to the Bible). These verses seem to hit our nation right squarely:
" 6 I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News 7 but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ."
and this is good too:
'10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant." I get caught up in that sometimes...the people pleasing person that I am....sigh....
And I loved when he tells us in v15 how he was chosen before he was born....such a good reminder that even the crummy stuff in our lives before we knew Jesus, it was still all in God's hands. I love the fact that when we surrender our deepest, dirtiest, places to Him, that He will turn it into our greatest ministry opportunities and blessings. Satan can't get a hold of that once we've trusted it to Jesus....as long as we continue to be open and honest about it. Growth happens. Amazing.
It's all interesting, how he scolds those that are acting stupid towards others. My most impacting part though, is the ending of the chapter:
"16 Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.” 17 But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not! 18 Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. 19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. 20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die."
What precious words. I need to write them on my heart...