A Piece of Good Advice ~ based on a sermon by Pastor Kevin Dudley

May 15, 2013

May 12, 2013

Proverbs 31:1-9

As a culture, we are constantly seeking advice on both major and minor life decisions. From Dear Abby to the daily horoscopes down to television talk show hosts. My generation has taken it a step further and collects some of our most valuable insights and opinion from the likes of Twitter and Facebook status updates. We take advice from “celebrities” and our counterparts who often know less about life than we do and then find ourselves in positions of resentment when their advice proves wrong. On Mother’s Day Sunday, Pastor Kevin Dudley shared Biblical advice, reminding us that the best advice we can ever receive will come from the Lord.

In the selected reading, Kind Lemuel receives a piece of good advice from his mother, that God has deemed valuable enough to be shared with us all through His Word. Verse one says that it is an “inspired utterance his mother taught him.” I find value in word utterance, because it puts me in mind of the many things that my mother, grandmothers, aunts and other women in my life have uttered to me casually, that have guided my beliefs and ideals in a significant way. Pastor Dudley taught on Sunday that our wealth in life is tied up in what we decide to do with the wisdom we are given. No matter what has happened in our lives, no matter how tragic or devastating our past may have been, we who receive the Word of God have an all access pass to the greatest advice on Earth. When we listen to God and trust in His good advice, our life will release the potential of our greatness. Just like those who turn to their daily horoscope to decide what risks they will take for the day, we as Christians should always turn to the Word to guide us and push us to the decisions that will lead to us reaching our full potential. We were not made to be a subpar kingdom of people, but to move in extraordinary ways in the pursuit of bringing God glory in all that we do for all the He has done for us. Many of us do not know what we are even capable of doing and becoming. I can humbly add my name to that list; I have been in question of what my talents and purpose will be since leaving college. I have a world of desires and dreams inside of me but allow fear and bad advice to paralyze my ambitions, rather than leaning on the promise of God and walking in faith toward the things that He has created me to do in His Kingdom. Like many others, I’ve allowed bad advice to hinder my possibilities and tarnish my own self-image.  I am happy, however, to serve a God who does not leave me where I am but is always giving good advice through the people in my life to push me to my fullest potential –He is doing the same for you.

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From Psalm 31:1-9 Pastor Dudley gave three pieces of good advice and principles we must live according to when we desire to reach our full potential, just as King Lemuel’s mother gave to him.

First, we have to bless our connections. In verse three his mother says to him,” Do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings.” This is not to be taken as a warning against women in general, but to say that what we have inside of us is too valuable to waste on toxic relationships. We often give too much to the wrong people, misusing what God has given us and tarnishing our self-worth.  When we tie our value up in people, we are allowing them to determine the significance of what God has created. God has given us an identity of our own and He is the only person we need to be made whole. Matthew 7:6 says, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” We must honor God by building healthy relationships with people who appreciate us and what we do for them. Do not give what is good inside of you to those who don’t deserve it; we all deserve to have people in our lives who encourage us and build us up. Sometimes the families we are born into seem to be our greatest enemy when it comes to encouragement, but we are not bound to anything of this world and because we are free in Christ we have the power to walk away from any and every situation that brings us harm and destroys what God has built in us. He has given us all a life that is too valuable to pour it out to that which destroys us.

It is not for kings, Lemuel—it is not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.” We were called to be a part of the Kingdom of God and so we must  believe in our consecration.  Kings and queens do not carry themselves like everyone else. They are set apart by more than their title; they are set apart by their actions and that is what we are called to do as Christians. We cannot risk our worth by giving in to low level thinking. We do not have to fall to the temporary pleasures of substances and habits of this world when we are feeling down because we have something higher to look toward.  A few years ago I fell into a terrible addiction for retail therapy. The dilemma was that generally my lack of income was what had me down…so I would waste money that was given to me from God to cover my needs and waste it away on things that added no value to my life. It was a terrible cycle and left me in a financial web that has taken much prayer and discipline to even begin to get out of. I look back on the money that I wasted and the larger investment of getting out of debt and think about where I could be in life had I relied on God during my times of need rather than allowing a habit to control my moods. How many blessings have we blocked and how much of God’s plan for us have we delayed because we let something else into our lives and gave that thing power over us? When we have royalty attached to our identity, the distractions of life don’t dilute us and we are not easily broken. We can rely on God to speak into our hearts during hard times and do not have to numb ourselves to the trials of life because we understand that there is more for us.  No one and nothing should ever be allowed to control our spirit except the Spirit of God.  Let beer be for those who are perishing, wine for those who are in anguish! Let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more (verses 6&7 NIV).

Pastor Dudley said a while back that we will know that something is from God if it feeds into the lives of others –God does not bless us only for us and He has given each of something that is meant to be a benefit to us all. We as members of His Kingdom must build our lives through our contribution. In verses 8 and 9, King Lemuel’s mother tells him to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, judge others fairly, and defend the rights of the poor and the needy. As servants of the Lord, we will often be called to invest in things which may not give us any return. Many of us are not walking in abundance because we have not yet shared what God has given us already. Blessings are meant to flow through us, not stop here. We have to share the glory we have received. This goes beyond monetary resources; it can be as simple as picking up the phone on your way home from worship service and sharing with a friend or relative the message that was given that day. As members of God’s Kingdom we all have within us affluence and influence that allows us to take what has been poured into us and let it flow on to someone else, making room for God to pour even more into us. “Service is the rent we pay for living on this earth.” –Martin Luther King, Jr. God does not bless us so that we can sit on it, He blesses us so that we can be empowered to share our blessing in service to someone else.

Like King Lemuel, many of us have received good advice from our mothers’. Some of us have received good advice from other women in our lives who have taken on the role of mother; some of us have taken our good advice from the newspaper, internet and television. The one place we can always turn for the best advice is to the Word of God who will never lead us in the wrong direction. He is calling for us to bless our connections by harvesting meaningful and healthy relationships and turning away from those who aim to bring us down. He needs us to believe in our consecration so that we understand our value and allow only The Holy Spirit to guide our spirit. And by serving those around us and allowing His blessings to flow through us to others, He is telling us to build our lives through our contribution. God continues to speak good advice in our lives –but do we believe in who we are and take heed to His instruction so that we can reach our fullest potential?

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