Proverbs 25 9-25-18

September 25, 2018

Becoming like Jesus is our goal and our destiny. Being obedient to His Spirit is how we become like Him.

[28] Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.

I would give anything to be able to “fight the good fight if faith (1 Timothy 6:12)” and live my life with my focus on the Gospel and sharing God’s love; instead, I wind up spending all of my energy and brain usage on self-control. My first inclination for anything is selfish, or, at least, self-centered. Learning to think of others and their welfare first does not come easily. I understand why the LORD saw fit to place His Spirit inside of us: We need His personal assistance if we are ever to succeed in holiness. His residence in us has SO MANY benefits, one of which is that we have the mind of Christ:

1 Corinthians 2:16 “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

In order to access Him, we must first put off our “old man,” our former selves:

Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; [23] to be made new in the attitude of your minds;

And put on the new man–Jesus Himself!

[24] and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

This task never gets easy. I used to think that as I grew older that it would get easier; instead, what I find is that God keeps reaching down into me and pulling up more “stuff” with which to deal.

Take forgiveness, for instance. We say we forgive someone, but we cannot shake the memory of the deed or the feelings that go with the memory, so the next time we see the person, we have to work through the process all over again. As we pray for this person and work on releasing hIm each time, we find that, over time, we begin to have God’s heart for that person, which is always compassion. Do we ever forget? Probably not. But we can transform the memory into a “trophy of His grace” if we are persistent. We are ALL trophies of His grace:

Ephesians 2:7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

As we walk with Jesus today, know that we are being fashioned into His likeness–somehow, someway–and that the WALK is the important part. We’d best leave the rest up to Him.

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Proverbs 24 9-24-18

September 24, 2018

Checking with the Spirit on everything, asking and looking for His will in every situation: This is how to walk in the Spirit!

[1] Do not envy wicked men, do not desire their company; [2] for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble.

What most people don’t realize that if it is not God’s way, then the way is wicked. The choice is not between good and best or good and right; it’s between God’s way or wickedness.

We simply don’t know enough or can see enough concerning the future, the Spirit world, or God’s wonderful, overarching plan in order to make an informed decision. So, let’s stop trying, shall we?!

James put it like this:

James 4:13-17 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” [14] Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes [again, we don’t know enough or see enough of the future, the spirit world, or God’s wonderful, overarching plan]. [15] Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that [ask God!].” [16] As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. [17] Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

Think about this last verse: Is it about not doing the right thing or is it about not asking what the right thing is? Jesus wants to be a part of every area of our lives. He has a plan that will bless our socks off if we let Him. All we have to do is ask! All the time! About everything!

Proverbs 23 9-23-18

September 23, 2018

What is your life’s goal? What is it you seek? Let’s be wise and trust the LORD to give us all we need.

[23] Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.

What is offered out there in the world?

V1-3 Power.

V4-4 Riches.

V6-8 Influence.

V9 The ways of fools.

V10-11 Wealth through underhanded practices.

V17-21 The party scene.

V26-28 Sexual addiction.

V29-35 Substance addiction.

Instead, let’s put our daily faith and trust in Jesus by “applying our hearts to instruction and our ears to words of knowledge (v12).”

Let’s take our vow to Christ Jesus seriously and follow Him. Let’s worship Him in Spirit (communion with Him) and in Truth (no pretending on our part) today (Based on John 4:23-24).

Proverbs 22 9-22-18

September 22, 2018

Taking inventory of our lives should be a daily affair. We do it every time we read His Word and apply it to our lives.

[4] Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life.

Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. [20] But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. [21] For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Where do these verses intersect? The formula is the same for each, but the aim is different.

Solomon believed that a humble heart mixed with the fear of the LORD resulted in physical and material blessings. To a great degree, he was correct. But Jesus changed our focus. He took it off this world and placed it on His kingdom, which is heaven. “My kingdom is not of this world…” (John 18:36).

With this concept in mind, how then shall we live? As a freed people, as a forgiven people (ALL sin: past, present, and FUTURE!), a joyful people, a LOVED people.

If we really want to know Christ, we will make Him a priority in our lives. Think about it: If spending time with Him in serious Bible Study DAILY will make a big difference in the quality of our lives (the fruit of the Spirit, for instance) and the caliber of our lives (making a kingdom difference in the people with whom we come in contact), doesn’t it make sense to DO IT?

I pray Paul’s prayer to the Ephesians for you often:

Ephesians 1:17-19a I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. [18] I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, [19] and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

Ephesians 3:16-19 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, [17] so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, [18] may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, [19] and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure [the brim] of all the fullness of God.

God is waiting for us. He wants to include us in what He is doing. Let’s “take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of us.” (Phil. 3:12).

Proverbs 21 9-21-18

September 21, 2018

God has invited us to walk with Him. To take that invitation lightly is to hold our very salvation in contempt!

[1] The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.

The way I see it, we have a choice to be a willing party or an unwilling/unwitting party to what God is doing. Staying close to Him, hanging on His every word, emulating Him in character–He will include us in His plans! What joy we feel, what peace we have when God talks to us! It is, indeed, a privilege.

We have this passage from earlier this month:

Proverbs 8:33-35 Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it. [34] Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. [35] For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD.

Jesus said it like this:

Matthew 7:24-27 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. [25] The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”

Mary got it!

Luke 10:39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.

Let’s sit at Jesus’ feet today; let’s be included in what God is doing. Be part of His process. Read, pray, listen, & obey!

Proverbs 20 9-20-18

September 20, 2018

The more we walk with the Savior and read His Word, the easier it is to choose His ways. We gain His perspective!

[3] It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.

This verse is a typical proverb. It has a positive action and a negative action. I learned from a friend yesterday to “look at the root, not the fruit.” The reason we are not like God is because we are still living in our old sin nature. If we want to be like Jesus, we are going to have to work at it–or die, which makes us immediately transformed into His image. In the meantime, we must put some effort into it. It’s our decision every day.

2 Peter 1:8-9 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. [9] But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

Paul tells us:

Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; [23] to be made new in the attitude of your minds; [24] and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

If we walk with the Savior routinely, we will find that He brings up areas on which to work, insights to apply, and attitudes to have/lose. We will find out who we really are:

Proverbs 20:27 The lamp of the LORD searches the spirit of a man; it searches out his inmost being.

In our quest to become godly, let’s meditate on His Word today and listen to how the Spirit wants us to apply what we know. Let’s not worry about what we don’t know; He will guide us into all truth in His time and according to His plan.

John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes [which He has!], he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come [our next step].

Proverbs 19 9-19-18

September 19, 2018

We show our arrogance when we try to walk through a day without the Spirit’s guidance in the Bible.

[2] It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.

I feel that this verse describes a lot of church people on Sunday mornings. It’s been a week since they last heard the Word–and they didn’t even read it for themselves! Can a person really be born again and be content with staying a baby in Christ?! Can we, once we have met the LORD of the universe, be content to stay acquaintances when He is inviting us to walk with Him and to know Him personally? It makes me wonder if their hearts are really with the Lord:

Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The phrase, “I’m too busy to spend time in God’s Word,” reveals an arrogant heart. That person is holding God and His Word in contempt and has become a mocker:

Proverbs 19:25 Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence; rebuke a discerning man, and he will gain knowledge.

It’s only a matter of time before the enemy catches that person in a snare.

[27] Stop listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.

Proverbs 22:5 In the paths of the wicked [those who are willfully disobedient] lie thorns and snares, but he who guards his soul stays far from them.

Proverbs 19:29 Penalties are prepared for mockers, and beatings for the backs of fools.

God corrects His children. Pray that He would correct us today through His Word and the Church.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, [17] so that the person of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Proverbs 18 9-18-19

September 18, 2018

What does it take to live a Christ-like life? Christ! We need Him to show us how. Not interested? Well…

[12] Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.

And, sooner or later, our mouths betray us:

[18:2] A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.

Then,

[6] A fool’s lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating. [7] A fool’s mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul.

If we will humble ourselves, He can teach us. If not, then why did we become Christians in the first place? Christ’s work on the cross was to pay for our sin debt so that we could be re-established in a right relationship with the Father. Upon salvation, we receive a NEW NATURE, one that seeks after God’s own heart so that “we might be to the praise of His glory (Eph. 1:12).” In other words, we are to be like Christ!

[15] The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.

Let’s be wise today and seek God by discerning the Spirit’s voice within us and obeying Him. Let’s use our salvation wisely!

Proverbs 17 9-17-18

September 17, 2018

Awareness and discernment are key to learning. The Spirit gives us both through His Word and conversation with Him.

[10] A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than a hundred lashes a fool.

This verse is a life verse for me. I memorized it ages ago and God has used it in my life to shape me more and more into His image (I still have a long way to go!). He gives me truth from His Word, like:

Ephesians 4:26-27 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, [27] and do not give the devil a foothold.

It’s easy to read, but impossible to do without the assistance of the Holy Spirit. I am protected in Christ by His Spirit, but I know I have “chinks in my armor” from my own sin nature. My flesh has a predisposition toward sin; my new nature has a predisposition toward godliness. His Spirit gives me both the desire and the power to do His will and to become more and more like Him!

Philippians 2:13 for it is God [through His Spirit] who works in you to will [my want-to] and to act [the power to do so] according to his good purpose.

Another favorite of mine is:

Hebrews 12:11-13 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

My days in track made this verse very real. Hours spent running bleachers and using that sprint machine, then all the practice at the track jumping hurdles paid off during the races. The next two verses were my mantra:

[12] Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. [13] “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed [capable].

How do we strengthen and how do we make level paths? By walking in step with the Spirit,

Galatians 5:25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Let’s accept criticism as constructive and His discipline as life-giving. We want to be as much like Him as we possibly can!

Psalms 141:5 Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it.

Proverbs 16 9-16-18

September 16, 2018

Satan is the father of lies. He would have us believe that he is strong and that he is right. We know better!

Proverbs 16:16 How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver!

Satan offered Jesus all the riches of the world, but He turned them down (Matt. 4:8-10). He knew the One who gives true riches–His Father!

Proverbs 16:20 Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.

It is the same for us. We may not gain worldly wealth, but we will grow in wisdom and stature even as Jesus did (Luke 2:40). We begin to think like Him, which leads to acting like Him. WE BECOME LIKE HIM! We live our lives with Him in mind. Who knows: maybe we will have the privilege to die for Him even as He did for us!

Have you counted the cost of following Christ (Luke 14:25-35)? Are you willing to lay down your daily life to follow Him? How about giving your life for knowing Him? Who knows? It may come to that! We must hold loosely to the things of this world and “hold onto Jesus for life.” – SCC

Let’s ask Jesus to open our hearts and minds to Him today. Knowing Him personally makes all the difference in this world–and the next!