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Daily Boost

  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


 

Daily Boost

May 27, 2014 - Five Don'ts

By George P. Wood

My wife and I are the proud owners of a Yorkshire terrier named Charlie. We rescued him from a no-kill shelter, and he is a good dog. But on occasion, he starts to do something only bad dogs do, and we have to tell him no. (Actually, I have to tell him. My wife spoils the little beast.)

"No" is a very powerful word. So is its cousin "don't." They're not long words, and they don't have many syllables, but they pack a considerable punch. Pronounced with sufficient volume and authority of tone, they stop Charlie dead in his tracks and make him think twice before he personally waters the indoor plants.

I think the Bible uses these terms precisely because of their brevity and force. If your child is about to run into the street, you don't begin a windy lecture on looking both ways. You yell, "Stop!" at the top of your lungs. The lecture is for later. Similarly, when God looks at the harm we're about to do to ourselves through sin, He first yells, "Don't!" and then explains why.

Proverbs 3:27-32 is an example of a loud "don't" followed by an explanation. The voice is that of a father giving advice to his son, but behind that voice is the Heavenly Father speaking to His earthly sons and daughters.

"Do not withhold good from those who deserve it,
when it is in your power to act.
Do not say to your neighbor,
'Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow' —
when you now have it with you.
Do not plot harm against your neighbor,
who lives trustfully near you.
Do not accuse a man for no reason —
when he has done you no harm.
Do not envy a violent man
or choose any of his ways" (vv. 27-31, NIV).

The first four don'ts govern our relationships with our neighbors. If I had to summarize them, I'd say:

Don't be stingy with them!
Don't procrastinate to help them!
Don't conspire against them!
Don't lie about them!

How often are we tempted to violate these don'ts? How often, for example, do we fail to mow the lawn of the little old lady next door? Or refuse to loan a hammer when it's right there in the toolbox? Or play loud music late at night when the neighbors are trying to sleep? Or gossip with others about the neighbors behind their backs?

The fifth don't concerns a lust for violence. Few people yearn to go outside and beat a stranger up. But many pay money to be entertained by someone doing that on the movie screen. Or buy their children ultraviolent video games. Should they?

At the end of the don'ts comes an explanation:

"For the Lord detests a perverse man
but takes the upright into his confidence" (v. 32).

 If we do the don'ts, we harm our relationships with our neighbors and with our God. To save us from harm, God yells a loud authoritative "Don't!"

Are we listening?

— George Paul Wood is director of Ministerial Resourcing for the Assemblies of God and author of The Daily Word online devotionals.

 

 

 

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