November 12

Proverbs 12:16 (NIV) 16A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.

17:9-10 (NIV) 9He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. 10A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than a hundred lashes a fool.

Julio Ruibal was one of the instrumental men in the revival of Cali, Columbia. He was a man of prayer and fasting. After coming to Cali to minister, he joined the association of pastors and met with them regularly. At one meeting, someone said something that offended him. He decided to quit going. After separating himself for some time, the Lord spoke to his heart and told him to refuse to be offended. He returned to the group with his apologies, a humbler man.

When we let the words that others speak to us repeat in our minds again and again we build up a hatred for that person. Bitterness poisons our heart. It affects our efforts to serve God and even to be at peace with others. The more we allow those words to hurt us, the more we seem to play them over in our minds. But what right do we have to be offended? If Jesus was not offended by those who crucified Him, who are we to hang onto offenses?

We actually put ourselves in a place of torment. The one who offended us is probably not losing any sleep over the matter. In many cases, he or she did not even know that those words cut so deeply. Who, then, is fanning the flames of those words into a fire that is consuming you?

The proverbs for today show us that we are prudent to overlook insults. To cover over an offense promotes love. Didn't our Lord command us to love one another? A rebuke gives us a chance to make sure that we are in sync with the Holy Spirit.

Consider: The rebuke of a friend is often a sincere expression of love, whereas flattery may be meant to destroy us.

November 12

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV) 14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Why should we endure in this faith that we profess? It's because Jesus has gone through the heavens and into the very presence of God to intercede for us. Having gained such a great victory for us, all we must do is endure. What a tragedy if we fall away after He has done and is doing so much for us! Cling to your faith.

After all, this faith that we have is like no other. This faith declares a God that feels our suffering with us. Having endured every temptation we face, He can speak to our hearts the solution that He proved works. He can show us the way out of each and every temptation we face because He found the way Himself. After blazing that sinless trail for us, He gave us His righteousness while taking our sin to the death of the cross.

It is with His righteousness that we can confidently approach the very throne of God. It is a throne of grace to us who have received His mercy through the blood of Christ. There, before the throne, we not only receive grace, that which we do not deserve, but also mercy, that which we do not deserve in the place of judgment that we do deserve.

Asking for the gifts we need to endure and to be what we are called to be is asking for grace. Asking for continual cleansing for our shortcomings and for gifts in spite of the fact that we did not use them properly when last given is asking for mercy. We can confidently ask for both because of our Great High Priest. There is no need to wallow in condemnation.

Consider: Go to the throne of grace and ask not only to be changed, but for every gift you need.