Friday, November 30, 2012

EMMDEV 2012-11-30 [Proverbs revisited] A proverb for Christmas

I am the most ignorant of men
I do not have a man's understanding
I have not learned wisdom
Nor have I knowledge of the Holy One
Who has gone up to heaven and come down?
Who has gathered the winds in the hollow of His hands?
Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name, and the name of his Son?
Tell me if you know! Proverbs30:2-4

At Christmas we celebrate God's ultimate generosity, self-revelation, and self-denial.

The One who holds the winds and gathers the waters became one of us. And while none of us could go up from earth to heaven, there is One who came from heaven to earth. When we did not have understanding of the Holy One and when wisdom was far from us, God revealed Himself to us.

Ours is not the shadowy faith of the Proverb writer and the rest of the Old Testament believers. What they longed for we have. What they wanted to know has been revealed to us. What they desperately tried to learn has been revealed to us.

At Christmas we celebrate the coming of the One who embodied the fullest picture of God to us. He gave up all of heaven and all of His glory to give Himself to us and reveal His Father to us.

What is His name, and the name of His Son?
We can tell, because we know: Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the Son of God! And because we have seen Him, we have seen the Father!

That brings us to the end of the eDevs for this year.
Thank you for journeying with me and for the kind words of encouragement i have received. Have a good December slow down and a beautifully meaningful Christmas. God bless, Theo

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Thursday, November 29, 2012

EMMDEV 2012-11-29 [Proverbs revisited] Threes and Fours

There are three things that are too amazing for me,
Four that I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky
the way of a snake upon a rock
the way of a ship on the high seas
the way of a man with a maiden Proverbs30:18-19

Proverbs 30 is a fascinating chapter - its sayings are attributed to a man named Agur. It seems that he was fond of the "3 then 4" pattern. It is a literary device which indicates an increasing sense of whatever emotion is being conveyed - in this context an increasing sense of amazement - reaching the high point in the last of the images.

It is easy for us to take our spouses/significant others for granted. It is easy for us to take the gift of romantic love as a right that we deserve. Agur does not fall into this trap - for him the gift of romantic love between a man and a woman is an amazing and wondrous thing!

Look at his three warm-ups:
- The eagle in the sky soars effortlessly on the thermal updrafts that it finds instinctively
- The snake glides across the rocks with incredible speed and agility, its body hugging the rock and finding traction on the smallest of leverage points
- A ship on the high seas seems so small and insignificant and yet it triumphs over the huge waves as it floats to the top of the swells.

When the love between a man and a woman is not hampered by unforgiveness and bad communication it:
- finds energy and beauty that is greater than the sum of the parts
- can have the sensitivity to make incredible progress
- can overcome great and awesome challenges

When last did you look at your marriage/relationship with such wonder?

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

EMMDEV 2012-11-28 [Proverbs revisited] The need for revelation

Where there is no revelation the people cast off restraint
But blessed is he who keeps the law Proverbs29:18

Allow me to wax a little philosophical here:
When human nature is left to its own devices it very easily degenerates. This is especially true on a societal level.

Revelation is something that comes from outside us. It is Divine Input. God's law is something higher than what we would have come up with on our own. When it comes, for example, to something like "love your enemies", we, if left to our own devices, would aim a little lower. Our society is in desperate need of revelation. When you look at the stuff being dished up in our theatres and moviehouses, there is not much to write home about.

The more we immerse ourselves in God's laws, God's principles, and God's revelation, the more we will become like the One who revealed Himself 2000 years ago. When we 'expose' ourselves to the bright light of His revelation, His image is left on the film of our lives and we will look more and more like Him.

When last have you delved into His revelation? The Bible is a key part to our growth toward Christ-likeness. Read it often and regularly to prevent truth-decay. You will be blessed if you do!

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

EMMDEV 2012-11-27 [Thanksgiving Thoughts] Speaking out

After a week of Thanksgiving Thoughts, we are back to Proverbs. This will be the last week of eDevs for 2012...
He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favour
than he who has a flattering tongue. Proverbs28:25

There comes a time when we need to speak the truth.
There is a point at which we have to tell someone that they're wrong, that they're missing the boat, that we don't agree with them, or that they are headed for trouble.

We had a friend who was going out with the wrong guy. No-one wanted to burst her bubble. I eventually plucked up the courage to talk to her. She was angry with me and it was very uncomfortable for us both. When the relationship did come to a very painful and unpleasant end, everybody was wise after the event, all saying that "they never thought it would work." My friend thanked me for my integrity and sought counsel from me because I had cared enough for her to tell her the truth.

This is a character issue: It is easier to keep quiet than to speak the truth to those we care about. If our motive is real love for the person we are confronting, then the results in the long term will always be good.

There is a caveat here. The truth can be brutal. It can drive people into a corner and leave them feeling defenceless and exposed. Telling the truth is important but love is equally important and when we are busy telling the truth. We should not be guilty of doing it in a loveless way. The fact that my friend was able to come to me after the relationship broke up proved that by God's grace I had not burnt bridges in the truth-telling.

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Friday, November 23, 2012

EMMDEV 2012-11-23 [Thanksgiving Thoughts] Mementoes

mementoes: n. pl. me·men·tos or me·men·toes. A reminder of the past; a keepsake.
Samuel took a stone and placed it between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer saying, “Up to here the Lord has helped us.” 1Samuel7:12

After a long period of being hounded by the Philistines, the Israelites gathered at Mizpah to humble themselves before the Lord. As they did this the Philistines attacked them.

Samuel prioritised worship and continued to make offerings to God before the people, and while he did this God thundered out against the Philistines throwing them into disarray and confusion leaving the Israelites to do the "mopping up" of their fleeing enemy.

Along the way Samuel erects a stone, "Ebenezer: Thus far has the Lord delivered us."

It is worth celebrating milestones, victories and breakthroughs - especially if it allows us the opportunity to acknowledge and praise the God who has brought us "thus far."

Celebrations like Thanksgiving and Harvest can become a "monument" - an opportunity to be reminded to give thanks to God. This is also why we have the Christian Calendar - to remind us of Jesus' birth and death and the coming of the Spirit.

Many people keep mementoes or keepsakes on their desks and shelves to remind them of what God has done. A photo, a card, a rock -- all of these are symbols, tokens and reminders that we did not get here by ourselves.

How will you remind yourself of God's ongoing goodness?
How will you remember?

"Up to here, thus far, has the Lord helped us."

All glory be to God - Soli Deo Gloria!

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Thursday, November 22, 2012

EMMDEV 2012-11-22 [Thanksgiving Thoughts] Today!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!
(See the letter I wrote to the congregation about this )
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalms118:24

Psalm 118 is a real gem...
It starts out like this:
"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; His love endures forever."
and follows with calls to various parts of the community to echo the cry "His love endures forever!"

Then the Psalmist recalls victories God has given him over the years:
"The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (v.6) and "I was pushed back and about to fall, but the LORD helped me." (v.13)

Interestingly enough the Psalm also contains two passages that are explicitly quoted in the New Testament as prophecies of Jesus:
"The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone." (v.22)
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD." (v.26) *
Jesus is the ultimate securer of our salvation and deliverance.

The Psalm ends as follows:
You are my God, and I will give you thanks;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever

But it is verse 24 that has grabbed me:
THIS is the day the Lord has made; LET US rejoice...

Each day is a gift to be seized, an opportunity to be enthralled at God's providence. When troubles loom and boom we can think back of God's faithfulness and move forward in faith and trust.

This verse has become my battle-cry.
Today is not the day of the criminals or the bad-news headlines.
Today is not the day of Satan and his cronies.
Today is not the day of depression and cynicism.
TODAY is the day that the LORD has made and I _will_ rejoice and be glad in it!!!!
Hope many of you will be celebrating some form of thanksgiving tonight or this weekend and that your day is blessed.

* These are quoted in Joh12:13 and Act4:11; Eph2:20; 1Pet2:7

Apart from its content, here are some fun stats about Psalm 118...
- It is sandwiched between the shortest (117) and longest (119) psalms.
- It contains the so-called "middle verse" of the Bible. Yep, someone went and counted all the verses in the Bible and worked out that the middle ones are Ps.118:8-9 "It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes."
(Now we know that verse numbers were only added to the text later on so we don't build a theology from this, but it is a fun stat!)

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

EMMDEV 2012-11-21 [Thanksgiving Thoughts] Healing and Gratitude

14 When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him--and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" 19 Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well." Luke17:14-19

Ten lepers came to Jesus as a group. Leprosy made them outcasts. So much so that they banded together to come to Jesus. They found their courage in numbers. One of them was a Samaritan and Jews usually hated them, but their leprosy even overcame their racial bigotry.

They ask Jesus for healing and He sends them to the priest who would certify them cleansed. On the way they are healed - Jesus honours their faithful obedience to His command.

Maybe the other nine (who we presume to be Jewish) simply regarded healing as their right. Maybe they saw Jesus simply as an instrument of God's blessing that was their right as children of Abraham. Maybe they would have made the appropriate thank offerings at the temple. They aren't necessarily "bad" men.

But the Samaritan sees deeper. He recognises that the healing is undeserved and that the Healer is more than an instrument in God's hand. He senses that there is something special about Jesus and, in an act of worship, throws himself at Jesus' feet.

One can sense Jesus' disappointment. He had hoped to do more than simply heal ten broken bodies - he had hoped to reach ten souls. Nine of them were healed in their bodies, but it seems clear that they did not understand undeserved grace.

Only one of ten realised that what he had received was not a right, but a gift. He alone realised that the Giver was even greater than the gift. He alone was healed in body and soul.

Gratitude reminds us that we are not God and that we have no "rights" to "demand." Gratitude connects us to the Giver!

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

EMMDEV 2012-11-20 [Thanksgiving Thoughts] Gratitude - start right

Hi everyone
I am taking a bit of leave today, but as this week is Thanksgiving in the USA and I have been challenging folk in the congregation to celebrate Thanksgiving in their own way, I wanted to interrupt the Proverbs series to write on gratitude. Bill Hybels contends that the holiday of Thanksgiving _institutionalizes_ gratitude.
I'm summing up the sermon I preached on Sunday (so I'm not working too hard on a leave day!)
Today's text is longer than usual, but worthwhile:
Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion;
to you our vows will be fulfilled.
2 O you who _hear prayer,_
to you all men will come.
3 When we were overwhelmed by sins,
you _forgave our transgressions._
4 Blessed are those _you choose_
and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the _good things of your house,_
of your holy temple.

5 You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness,
O God our Savior,
the `hope` of all the ends of the *earth*
and of the farthest *seas*,
6 who _`formed` the *mountains* by your power,_
having armed yourself with strength,
7 who _`stilled` the roaring of the seas,_
the roaring of their waves,
`and` the turmoil of the *nations*.
8 Those living far away fear your wonders;
where morning dawns and evening fades
you call forth songs of joy.

9 You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it.
10 You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
11 You crown the year with your bounty,
and your carts overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the desert overflow;
the hills are clothed with gladness.
13 The meadows are covered with flocks
and the valleys are mantled with grain;
they shout for joy and sing. Psalms65:1-13

Selwyn Hughes makes this insightful statement: “One of the worst moments for an atheist is when he feels thankful for some special blessing but has no-one to thank”!

David does not make this mistake:
He is thankful for the rain that has fallen (see the end part of the Psalm) but he starts in the right place. He is not filled with an abstract sense of gratitude - He is THANKFUL TO GOD. He is thankful to the GIVER before he focuses on the gifts. (It's similar to the way we want our kids to read the card on the gifts before ripping off the wrapping.)

In the first stanza (1-4) David is thankful that God:
- hears prayers (i.e. steps into personal relationship with us)
- forgave our sins
- chooses us
- fills us with the good things (blessings) of His house.

In the second stanza (5-8) David realizes the scope of God's greatness extends throughout the earth, the sea and the mountains.

The third stanza (9-13) is about the rain that has fallen to nourish a dry land. His imagery is beautiful and evocative. It creates the impression of walking in freshly rained on fields (something he would have done as a shepherd.) It shows deep reflection on and appreciation of a gift many take for granted!

This week marks a time of focusing on Gratitude as an attitude.
But David gets our thinking straight - more than an attitude, it is a Relationship with God who is an awesome Giver.

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Friday, November 16, 2012

EMMDEV 2012-11-16 [Proverbs revisited] The value of friendship

Do not forsake your friend and the friend of your father
and do not go to your brother's house when disaster strikes you
better a neighbour nearby than a brother far away.
As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another. Proverbs27:10-17

They say that blood is thicker than water, but that is not always a good thing. There are times that we need the simple uncomplicated love of a friend more than we need the love of a complex historic family structure. The proverb is not against family - it would not promote loyalty to a father's friend if it was - it is just arguing that there are times that a friend can be closer than a brother.

Sometimes we desperately need the objectivity of a friend rather than the subjectivity of a relative. Our friends often see us apart from our history and upbringing and these insights are valuable.

The wonderful thing about friendship is that it is a mutually beneficial thing - iron sharpens iron by friction. Friendship isn't always easy: we have to work at it; there may be friction and heat; and the sparks may even fly, but we come out sharper!

How many friends do you have? Are there any you can phone in the middle of the night? If you have none, then something is missing - begin to enlarge your circle!

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Thursday, November 15, 2012

EMMDEV 2012-11-15 [Proverbs revisited] Making love obvious

Better is open rebuke than hidden love Proverbs27:5

"But she knows I love her" is the excuse many men give for not being affectionate and caring.

One of our most basic needs is to be loved. Our children need to be told regularly that we love them. This need is so basic that they will misbehave in order to receive a reprimand rather than to live with no expression of emotion at all.

Hidden love does not give security or comfort. Instead it creates insecurity, lack of confidence, and even rebellion. Our families need the security of being told that they are loved. When last have you told those nearest to you that you love them? I make a point of telling Caleb regularly that I love him and that God loves him.

We might argue that we _do_ things that show our love for those around us, but we should also take time to look them in the eye and tell them that we love them. There is nothing in the world that makes you feel better!

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

EMMDEV 2012-11-14 [Proverbs revisited] Grabbing hounds by their ears

He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own
Is like one who takes a dog by the ears Proverbs26:17

Grab a dog by the ears and you will in all likelihood be bitten!

This is the balance to the verse we looked at yesterday - there is a time to get involved and there is a time to mind your own business. Unfortunately human nature is slow to help and quick to get involved in loud arguments - just the opposite of what God wants us to be!

One of my favourite sayings is "God has given us two ears and one mouth - go figure!" The problem is that we all have opinions and it is soooo tempting to air our opinions - even when our opinions have not been requested! This almost always gets us into trouble!

There is another well-known saying that is appropriate here: In situations like this people would rather _see_ a sermon than _hear_ one. We as Christians are often guilty of being opinionated and pontificating instead of being gracious and service-orientated.

Let's be people who are quick to help and slow to voice our opinions!

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

EMMDEV 2012-11-13 [Proverbs revisited] Do something!

Rescue those being led away to death;
Hold back those staggering towards slaughter.
If you say "We knew nothing about this,"
Does not He who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not He who guards your life know it?
Will He not repay each person according to what he has done? Proverbs24:11-12

It is more and more common these days for people to be less and less interested in or concerned about the fate of others. "It's none of my business!" we say. We don't want to intrude. We don't think we can do anything. And, besides, we have enough problems of our own.

The challenge that comes from these verses is a very serious one. Cain asked "Am I my brother's keeper?" Scripture seems unequivocal - we are our brothers' and sisters' keeper. God will hold us responsible if we stand on the sidelines watching someone go under.

It's important for us to make a decision to get involved to help wherever and whenever we can. It's often complex, it's often messy, it's often time-consuming and energy-sapping, but one day it might be us who needs help.

Greg X Volz, one time lead singer of the Gospel Rock Band, Petra, put out a solo album with this song:

Man Overboard.

I'm sure that you remember him, he used to come around here a lot,
He never wanted much attention,
but he could hear the things we taught,
He's got a lot of trouble at home,
and I've been trying to give him a hand,
And lately he's been slipping deeper,
and I don't know how long he'll stand.

Somebody help me.

There's a man overboard, sinking in the turning tide,
There's a man overboard,
and I don't know what sent him over the side,
But there isn't much time, (isn't much time)

I know it's easy to shake your head and say,
"Too bad," and walk away,
Done it far too many times myself,
when I couldn't find a thing to say,
But this is my brother, this is my friend;
I love him more than I can tell,
And I can't bail him out all by myself,
and I won't watch him go to hell.

Somebody help me.

There's a man overboard, sinking in the turning tide,
There's a man overboard; well,
I don't know what sent him over the side,
But there isn't much time, (isn't much time)

Why are we here? Why do we live?
How can we take more than we give?

There's a man overboard, he's sinking in the turning tide,
There's a man overboard; don't know what sent him over the side,
There's a man overboard, sinking in the turning tide,
There's a man overboard,
and I don't know what sent him over the side,
But there isn't much time, (isn't much time)

(You can listen to the song here: )

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Friday, November 9, 2012

EMMDEV 2012-11-09 [Proverbs revisited] Winning battles

The horse is made ready for the day of battle
but the victory rests with the Lord Proverbs21:31

We always quoted this one at exam times! To study and to prepare is to make the horse ready for battle. The peace and the calmness and the ability to express our learned knowledge is God's contribution.

Sometimes we tend only to ask for help when we have not done our homework. Often in His great mercy, God answers us, but His choice and preference is to work with us instead of doing it for us. His desire is that we should grow in maturity and discipline. He wants to take the training wheels off our bicycles so that we can learn to do it on our own and enjoy the freedom of the ride.

Making the horse ready is hard work. It is often also secret work. There is no applause, audience, or fanfare but the results are worth it. This is about character. It is true of exams, work, marriage, and parenting. The hard work we do in secret will bear fruit and make a difference if we combine it with God's power to make us do our best.

Wesley said: "Work as if everything depended on you and pray as if everything depended on God!"

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Thursday, November 8, 2012

EMMDEV 2012-11-08 [Proverbs revisited] The power of wisdom

A wise man attacks the city of the mighty
and pulls down the stronghold in which they trust. Proverbs21:22

I like this one!

Wisdom is connected to the will of God.
It is to think before we act.
It is to be ready to receive advice
It is based on values of integrity, justice, and love.
It needs a clear picture of God and a humble picture of ourselves.

When we are armed with God-given and God-guided wisdom, there are many things we can tackle and overcome.

Wisdom and courage are a powerful combination which will allow us to overcome bad habits, blockages in the work place, and strongholds in our family lives.

I love the way this proverb combines wisdom (which we associate with quiet and contemplative settings) and the hurly burly and chaos of the battlefield. Wisdom is earthy, practical and life-saving.

So, how do we get wisdom?
(We did look at this at the beginning of the series, but to recap:)
- Ask God for guidance
- Get advice from others who are wise
- Base life on the firm foundation of truth, integrity, and God's Word
- Be ready to obey when guidance is received.

When we are equipped like this, Giants will fall.

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

EMMDEV 2012-11-07 [Proverbs revisited] Wisdom

Andries Combrink sent this one to me and I just couldn't resist it - especially the bit about the wrinkles at the end!!!! :-)
Wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Proverbs3:15

Knowledge is not the same as wisdom...

We all place a high value on knowledge. We envy people who are highly trained and have scarce skills. We work hard and pay a lot of money to acquire as much knowledge for ourselves and our children, as possible. And we have many resources. We have magazines, books, newspapers and the internet, good schools (in our community) and various colleges! We are an information-oriented society that has accumulated so much knowledge that we had to invent microchips on which to store it all.

We are a society that loves the hunt for knowledge. We want as much of it as possible.

In this way we are like the church in the times of James. The people whom James addresses also placed a high value on knowledge. They actually were too proud of all the knowledge they acquired. They thought that they were superior to the average person on the street, because they had more knowledge than they have. They thought that their knowledge made them wise.

The problem was that they confused knowledge with wisdom.

James, being as direct as he is about everything he writes, also was correcting this misunderstanding. He tells them that knowledge and wisdom is not the same thing. Knowledge is simply facts and information. It is theory without implementation. It is policy that does not come to fruition A with only knowledge without wisdom is someone who has accumulated a lot of facts and information without implementing it. It is like faith without works: dead and useless!

According to James, you can know who is knowledgeable, without having wisdom, by his or her characteristics, which are envy, selfish ambition, and jealousy (James 3:14). In other words, a person of knowledge can use what he or she knows to advance him or herself, only.

But wisdom is knowledge that is used to help others. It is implemented for the sake of others, for the growth of the Church and for extending God’s work. Wisdom is the use of what one has learned in one’s life of faith and experience with God, to impact on others.

James tells us that the characteristics of a wise person are gentleness, sincerity and peacefulness (James 3:17).

In ancient times, unlike the modern day, it was wisdom that was sought after and valued, more than knowledge. The book of Proverbs tells us that "wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her" (Proverbs 3:15). Proverbs also tells us that "the person who trusts in oneself is a fool, but the one who walks in wisdom is kept safe" (Prov 28:26). The book of Ecclesiastes even says: (Eccl 8:1) “Who is like the wise? Who knows the explanation of things? A person’s wisdom brightens their face and changes its hard appearance.” He is saying that foolishness is the cause of wrinkles!”

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

EMMDEV 2012-11-06 [Proverbs revisited] Don't make your commitments lightly

It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly
and only later to reconsider his vows Proverbs20:25

I nearly skipped over this proverb and then it struck me that this was a theme that Jesus came back to more than once.

Do you remember His story about the two sons who were asked to do a job? The one said yes, but didn't do it - the other said no but then went and did it. The second son was commended over the first. (Mat21:28-31)

Jesus also talked about putting our hand to the plough and not looking back (Luk9:62), and about counting the cost of committing ourselves to Him so that we would not be like the person who started building without checking if he had the materials and then had to stop half way because the building could not be completed. (Luk14:28-30)

God is not impressed by quantity but by quality. Let us make sure that we are people who finish what we start in His name. It brings His name and Kingdom into disrepute when we are not diligent in completing what we do for Him.

Paul wrote to Archippus ( a soldier in the church in Corinth) "See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord" (Col4:17)

Jesus also talked about our "yes" being "yes" and our "no" being "no".

When we finish what we started and keep our commitments it honours God.

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Friday, November 2, 2012

EMMDEV 2012-11-02 [Proverbs revisited] Revenge

Do not say "I'll pay you back for this wrong"
Wait for the Lord and He will deliver you Proverbs20:22

Someone I knew had a coffee cup that said: "I don't get mad - I get even!"

The desire for revenge is an integral part of our fallen human nature. Unfortunately this almost always ends up in an endless unsatisfying cycle of wronging others and being wronged by others and very often it is the innocent bystanders who get hurt along the way.

The problem with revenge is that when we do it, we do it imperfectly and without clean slates. We do not have the right to sit in judgement and mete out revenge because we ourselves are unjust. God does not indulge in revenge, but He avenges. He acts on our behalf when we are wronged. He will right the wrongs and balance the scales of justice.

The problem is one of timescales. We want justice to be done here and now, whilst God has a longer term view. Sometimes justice happens in this life and sometimes it will only come at the end of the age.

I'm learning to be patient when I am wronged: God will sort it all out - I don't have to perpetuate the cycle of heartache and pain, He will give me the strength and the courage to pick things up and move from where I am.

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Thursday, November 1, 2012

EMMDEV 2012-11-01 [Proverbs revisited] A happy marriage is not a right

He who finds a wife finds what is good
and receives favour from the Lord.
Houses and wealth are inherited from parents
but a prudent wife is from the Lord (19:14) Proverbs18:22

Marriage: To have a spouse is not a right, but a privilege. To be able to share our lives with someone else - especially if that someone else is working faithfully at the marriage - is a blessing that we should not ignore.

Taking one another for granted is a definite marriage-killer. When couples are not proud of their partners and thankful for their contributions then the lie of discontentment quickly steps in.

A happy marriage is something to be really thankful for. Sometimes the routine of work, children, and timetables blinds us to the fact that two totally unique individuals have put their lives together and, in spite of all the potential pitfalls, it is working!!!

Can I urge you to thank God for your spouse and to take the time to express your appreciation to them for what they mean to you? Even if things are in a bit of a rut, it is still better than being alone, or in an unhappy marriage. If you are married, your challenge for the day is to buy some flowers or biltong for your spouse and say: "You're doing a great job - I'm proud of you - and I'm very grateful that you're in my life."

If you are not married yet, remind yourself that marriage is a privilege, and wait patiently: God has a great plan for you! Maybe you have a friend who is taking his/her spouse for granted - help them see the bigger picture!

Theo Groeneveld
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