4 Wise Creatures Pt1/4 the ANTS

Wise Little Creatures pt1/4

ANTS

God uses nature to teach spiritual lessons. “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee.” (Job 12:7).

In Proverbs 30 there are several lessons being taught using nature. This article and the next 3 will look at “four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise.”

(Prov 30:24-28)

The first little creature in the text are the ANTS (25; cf. Prov 6:6-11).

The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;”

The ANTS are among 4 little creatures that are called exceedingly wise. What makes that so? Here are at least 4 lessons from the ANTS.

ANTS are ALL in ALL the time. Not only do they gather enough for their current needs, they also gather for the coming winter. “Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” (Prov 6:8)

What are the lessons for us? There are two types of lessons, physical and spiritual. First the physical lesson; We ought to be working while we can and while we’re able more than our present needs. The scriptures point out a few physical needs. 1) Needs of others. “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” (Eph 4:28; cf. Ac 20:35; 1Th 4:11) and 2) Needs of our family when we can no longer work, the winter of life. “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (1Tim 5:8-16). The spiritual lesson is in the third point.

The second lesson from the ANTS is that they NEVER give up. If you try to block the way of a line of ants, they will climb over, go around, he’ll go under, or move whatever is blocking them. They NEVER quit. That’s a great lesson for us. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,” (Eph 5:15). They press on, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:14). They fight the good fight, they run and they strive for their purpose.

A third lesson from the ANTS is they THINK ahead in the summer. (I don’t know what an ant thinks, but the proverb tells us what they do) “…they prepare their meat in the summer;” “Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” (Prov 30:25; 6:8)

The spiritual application is what’s important. Man doesn’t live forever on the earth and must make arrangements for eternal life. We can’t be so naïve as to believe that summer lasts forever, neither does our physical life. The Hebrew writer wrote, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Heb 9:27). Paul wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;” (2Cor 5:10-11). The wisdom from the ANTS instructs us to be reconciled to God through obeying the gospel of Christ before it’s too late. (cf. Heb 5:9; 2Thess 1:8-9).

The fourth lesson from the ANTS is they START immediately. On the first warm day of spring, they’re out working. At the first opportunity, the ANTS go marching on to find their food. The proverb writers contrasts those that slumber too much with the diligent effort of the ANTS. “How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?” (Prov 6:9). In the NT, sleep is a metaphor for those that are dead spiritually (1Cor 11:30) and for those that aren’t watching (1Th 5:6). “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” (Rom 13:11).

You can easily tell which denominations believe that baptism is not necessary for salvation; THEY SCHEDULE BAPTISMS. That is completely opposite to what the scriptures teach. “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” (Acts 16:33). The Eunuch, upon hearing about Jesus asked, “See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” When your ‘pastor’ teaches about salvation, will his hearers have the same response as the Eunuch? The lesson of the ANTS is that they START immediately. When is the best time to obey the gospel? TODAY! “For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2Cor 6:2).

Have no FEAR?

No Fear Inc Logo Decal Sticker

 

Can Caution become Cowardly? 

Rev 21:8 “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

 

Can Concern become Worry?

2Cor 11:28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

Mat 6:25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life,

 

Can Obeying the Government become disobedience to God?

Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

Acts 5:29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.

 

These are questions each of us must consider and answer as we continue to face this new world of COVID fear.

 

What is FEAR? 

FAILURE?

Mat 25:24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 ‘And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’

 

Are we afraid of EVIL men?

Lu 12:4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. Mat 10:28

 

Perhaps we’re afraid of the ANONYMOUS or invisible enemies.

Ro 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Maybe our FEAR has opened the door to RATIONALIZING our disobedience?

Num 14:2 And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Num 14:10 And all the congregation said to stone them (Joshua & Caleb) with stones.

 

We live in a new world now that COVID-19 has entered. Say what you will about the virulence of the virus, it matters not. The FEAR of it exists in many hearts regardless of the reality.

It’s easy to talk about FEAR when there’s not much to fear. It becomes much more difficult when you are facing the command to cross the Jordan into battle.

 

WHAT IS COURAGE?

Courage is not the lack of FEAR. Courage is taking action despite the fear.

Courage is not taking action without precautions. Paul was both ready to be bound, but also to die [Acts 21:13]. But that boldness didn’t mean he shouldn’t take precautions. The Lord told him he would make it to Rome, but it was Paul that foiled the plot against his life. It was Paul that stopped the Roman soldiers from scourging him by appealing to his Roman citizenship.

 

FEAR is a natural emotional response that protects us from harm. It is good when it prompts you to take precautions. We recognize fire’s power to burn, but it doesn’t stop us from utilizing it for good.

FEAR becomes sin [Rev 21:8] when it stops one from doing that which is right. When it stops one from obeying God.

 

Let us move away from fear. The answer to casting out fear is LOVE.

1John 4:17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

 

Let us LOVE God so much that we will do His will.

John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

 

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

Mat 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

Our Light needs recharging!

 

Remembering Who & Whose you are

This is advice given by many a parent to their child as they send them out into the world. It’s good advice which every Christian ought to practice for themselves.

Reminding ourselves of our past is a good exercise, and often painful, that can aid us in our current walk in the Lord. In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul did it for the saints. He said, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” [1Cor 6:9-11] This reminder was meant to admonish the brethren that their current attitudes could be changed for the better by a reminder of who they used to be and who & whose they are now. He went on to say, “know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [v19-20] Remembering who & whose we are can continue to help modern day Christians in 3 ways…

REMEMBERING OUR PAST: By reminding ourselves of what manner of person we once were, that we’ve been freed from the bondage of sin through the blood of Christ, can help us to refocus ourselves to the hope of heaven. “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” [Eph 2:5; cr. 1Co 7:23; Ga 3:13]

REMEMBERING OUR HELPERS: No one is an island unto ourselves [Rom 14:7]. We’ve all been aided in some way. The Holy Spirit tells us that none of us heard the gospel without a preacher; “…and how shall they hear without a preacher?” [Rom 10:14b]. It is a very good exercise to make a list of those helpers in your life. I keep a running list of folks who have taught me lessons by their example or through their time. Those who have lifted me up when I was down, both emotionally & financially. Those who have motivated & inspired me to be more than I was. Who taught you the gospel? Who helped you to become a better Christian? Whose example do you wish to emulate? [cr. Phil 3:17] By making this list you will become more grateful and much more aware of influencers currently in your life. More importantly, it will make you more aware of those you can help.

REMEMBER HOW FAR YOU’VE COME: The third way remembering our past can help is by showing us how much we’ve grown. Paul reminded Timothy of this, “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” [2Tim 1:5-7]. This reminder was to inspire Timothy to use all his gifts for the furtherance of the gospel. We can do this. Service to our King increases by using our growth.

Some might argue that Paul also told us to forget those things that are behind [Phil 3:13]. This is not a contradiction, because in the context of his statement he listed some of the things he had done, including persecuting the church [v6]. What he means by this is that as we remind ourselves of our past that we ought not to let it paralyze us from pushing forward or to think we’ve already achieved something.

We all need to remember that success in this life is not the end of things. For the Christian, success is serving God His way so that all may come to the knowledge of His dear Son and be able to go to heaven when He returns. [Eph 4:13; cr. 2Pet 3:9]

One final reminder. We need the reminder that we can become disqualified. Jude wrote, “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.” [Jude 1:5]. Why do WE need this reminder? Because it’s possible to fall away today.

spencer

Under Pressure

It’s that time of year again when summer vacation comes to a screeching halt and our children head back to school. Back into the pressure cooker of studies, homework and sports. These are good pressures, but there’s another pressure they will face, peer pressure.

Peer pressure is not new, AND it’s not restricted to the school yard. Peer pressure continues throughout life. Don’t fool yourselves you big people, we all need to guard our hearts from the pressures of the world.

Before you can overcome peer pressure, you must become aware of it and from where it will come. Following are the 6 areas of pressure everyone faces.

THE 6 PRESSURES OF LIFE:

TO BE CONFORMED TO THE WORLD: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” [1John 2:15] (1Tim 2:9; 4:12; Rom 12:2; Jas 4:4)

Conformity — people acting like everyone else, without knowing why or what they are doing. Conformity is the opposite of COURAGE. It’s hard to go against the crowd, but that is the best way.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.” [Mat 7:13]

TO GIVE UP THE FAITH: “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” [Mat 10:22] (2Tim 4:10; 1Cor 9:27)

In today’s world, true Christianity is frowned upon for its stance against sin and denominationalism. In many classrooms, our children are compelled to believe in humanism & evolution. But stand firm, for a reward awaits the faithful.

Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” [Rev 2:10]

TO BE DISHONEST: “Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:” [Prov 1:14] (Rom 12:17; Phil 4:8; 2Cor 13:7; Rev 21:8)

Honesty seems to be a lost art today.  In some cultures, religions and politics lying is an acceptable form of communication. We must guard ourselves from lies or we might end up believing some of them and that’s not good. [2Thess 2:10-11]

Now I pray to God that you do no evil,” [2Cor 13:7]

TO BE POPULAR: “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” [Gal 1:10] (2Tim 4:3; John 12:42-43; 1Th 2:4)

Nobody likes to be isolated from others, but better to have just a few quality friends than to do what is necessary to have many friends. The compromises of your integrity are just not worth it.

For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” [Acts 4:20]

COMPROMISE THE TRUTH: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:32] (1Pet 1:22)

You may have noticed a subtle change in way people refer to truth. Listen carefully and you’ll hear people say, “your truth” or “my truth.” We live in a time when majority of people no longer believe in THE truth, but you must.

Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” [John 17:17]

TO BE LUKEWARM: “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.” [Mat 12:30] (Rev 3:15-16)

People don’t really care what you do so long as you don’t make them look bad doing it. Being a quality Christian is going to make folks look bad. People may become uncomfortable with you as you walk in the light. But this is God’s desire, that people see your good works and glorify Him by converting [1Pet 3:1-5; Mat 5:16].

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” [1Cor 15:58]

There’s a man who has never been on time to work and the boss refuses to fire him. The reason will shock you!

A FEW WEEKS AGO, I learned of a man who has been working with the same company for more than 10 years. From the day he was hired, he has NEVER BEEN ON TIME. As a matter of fact, he’s been off his scheduled time by an hour and a half!!! A full 90 minutes! I know from personal experience that his co-workers probably hate him for it, but won’t say anything. Can you believe it? Yet, after all these years, his employer has refused to fire him.

This is a 100% true story. This is not a made-up illustration to make a point. It involves an actual person, with a real boss, a real job and real co-workers.

I said the reason will shock you

This person, who has never been on time to his job, and is scheduled to work, at 9am Monday through Friday, comes in at 7:30am every work day, 90 min BEFORE HIS SCHEDULED START TIME!! Now you’re saying, “OOOOH! I get it. He comes in EARLY for his shift.” You also see why it’s shocking. We know it’s a good thing to be on time for your shift or even better, to arrive early, but who comes in 90 minutes early?

Someone once said, “if you’re on time, then you’re 15 minutes late.” Very few people say that today, it’s from a bygone era. Our culture today seems to be asking, “what is the minimum amount of work I can do and still get paid?” Others work as if the minimum wage is the amount of money needed just to get them to show up, but if you want them to do any work they’re going to need more money! These days, it’s normal for the employee to blow through the doors in the very nick of time to punch in, then proceed to put their stuff away, use the restroom, get a cup of coffee and be ready to work within 15-20 minutes of arrival.

Christians are different, or at least they ought to be. We have learned from our Master that we are peculiar people set apart to be different from the world, not to be normal, rather we are to overcome normal.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. [Romans 12:2]

As Christians, we also know we ought to do MORE than what is expected of us, even if it means to arrive early for our shift at work. Let it never be said of us that we are just like the world in our thoughts and actions. Our Master taught us to go beyond what is expected of us, to go the EXTRA MILE.

And whosoever shall compel thee to go one mile, go with him two. [Matthew 5:41]

He also taught…

His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

[Matthew 25:21]

You see, Christians don’t work for people and our reward is not the check on Friday. No, we have a Heavenly Master, and our treasure is with Him.

Servants, obey in all things them that are your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord: whatsoever ye do, work heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that from the Lord ye shall receive the recompense of the inheritance: ye serve the Lord Christ. For he that doeth wrong shall receive again for the wrong that he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

[Colossians 3:22-25]

There’s another point I could make, but alas, I’ve run out of room so I’ll leave it for you to ponder.