Proverbs 21 1-21-19

January 21, 2019

Our obedience to the Spirit trumps all logic, circumstances, and desires. We MUST TRUST Him. To not trust Him shows our unbelief.

2 All a person’s ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs the heart. Pr 21:2

The next verse shows the Lord’s desire of our obedience over our service:

3 To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice. Pr 21:3

Doing what we are directed to do is what is “right and just.” If we go back one chapter, we find the reality about just how much we know about our circumstances, the future, and what God really wants us to do:

24 A person’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way? Pr 20:24

In other words, we know NOTHING about our circumstances, future, and what God wants us to do until He tells us.

So, what do we do in each circumstance in which we find ourselves on our face before God asking what to do?

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart [don’t hold anything back] and lean not on your own understanding. [this is the hardest part]; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him [acquiesce to Him, allow Him to take the lead], and he will make your paths straight [direct your paths; the path is not necessarily straight, but our next step is such that we are facing the direction we should go, so the next step is straight in front of us]. Pr 3:5-6

If we are going to walk through difficult situations, let’s get the most out of them. Let’s learn ALL we can and walk as close as we can to our LORD. Remember, it’s all about the relationship.

Proverbs 20 1-20-19

January 20, 2019

When tragedy strikes, we fall back on what we know to be true. God Is In Control.

24 A man’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way? Pr 20:24

There’s a difference between directing and forced marching. God doesn’t make us take His paths. We choose to follow Him. He has great plans for us (Jer. 29:11)–not necessarily on this side of heaven. Jesus said as much:

2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. Jn 14:2-3

When we are overwhelmed, we go with what we know. I go to my favorite psalm for comfort and to remind me once again that God’s got this.

23 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.

These four things are my truth, my reality, my faith.

  1. I am always with Him,
  2. He holds my hand as the Father of a young child!
  3. He guides me with His counsel through the Holy Spirit,
  4. And promises to take me to where He is when my journey through this life is over. WOW!!!

25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

27 Those who are far from you will perish [because they do not trust You]; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you [eventually, everyone is given what they have so often chosen, either God or their own way].

28 But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. Ps 73:23-28

Remember the Weigl family to the LORD today in the loss of their littlest one. God is Good. All the time.

Proverbs 19 1-19-19

January 19, 2019

Are we more faithful to Jesus than when we started with Him or less faithful? Maybe we need to review…

27 Stop listening to instruction, my son [student], and you will stray from the words of knowledge. Pr 19:27

Notice the verse said, “listen.” When we read the Word of God, we must listen for the Holy Spirit. If we don’t, then we rely on our own wisdom and discernment–which, we don’t have! We simply can’t see far enough ahead nor broadly enough.

Now, about our faithfulness: We must never forget that our faith is based upon an event and a person, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. In the (similar) words of Andy Stanley, “If someone tells me of His impending death and resurrection and then does it, I’m going with Him!”

This resurrection continues in our hearts as we are raised to new life. We were dead in our sins, but Christ raised us up! The Apostle Paul said it best:

1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Ep 2:1-5

Are you thankful? Aren’t you grateful? We owe Him EVERYTHING! Connect with Him today in worship. Tell Him how much you appreciate His sacrifice for us. Listen to Him say, “You’re welcome, Beloved.”
Resurrection Pic

Proverbs 18 1-18-19

January 18, 2019

Are we unfriendly? Do we seek selfish goals? Do we resist help and wise counsel?Wake up! Let Christ shine in our hearts.

1 An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgment. Pr 18:1

I looked this verse up in the KJV with Strong’s Concordance numbers:

1 Through desire [longing, lust, with satisfaction, as a charm] a man, having separated [severed, divided, become out of joint with others] himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with [become obstinate] [against] all wisdom [support, help].

In other words,

Through his own lustful desires a person obstinately separates himself from those who can help him lead a godly life.

We must remember that “before a downfall the heart is proud, but humility comes before honor. (12)” We would do well to rebuke ourselves NOW rather than shame ourselves later. When we understand that our souls are weak and cannot control our natural passions, we are close to being where God wants us: completely dependent on Him! I would much rather face physical trials than have a crushed spirit (14). Why? Because the Gospel is a Rock of Truth, and when we come against it, whether in attitude or in action, we will be crushed.

18 Everyone who falls on that stone [the truth of Jesus] will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.” Lk 20:18

It’s better to be voluntarily broken than crushed.

Let’s seek Him, His face, and His will today (15). He truly is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (24).

Proverbs 17 1-17-19

January 17, 2019

Knowing that God has heaven waiting for us, what are we willing to endure for the sake of Jesus and His message of love?

3 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart. Pr 17:3

From Google:

Crucible- a ceramic or metal container in which metals or other substances may be melted or subjected to very high temperatures.
a situation of severe trial, or in which different elements interact, leading to the creation of something new.

God honors the decisions of every person to be obedient or disobedient to His leadership. Consequently, those who choose disobedience cause hardship and heartache for those around them. When they are in charge of a country, such as North Korea, many face the crucible for their faith in Jesus. Pray for the 60,000+ Christians in labor camps as they patiently endure (Col. 1:11) this trial. And they are in good company. Read Paul’s account of their missionary journeys:

12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world. 1Co 4:12-13

What are we willing to endure, go without, or take on for the sake of our LORD? Many times, our circumstances dictate these “opportunities” to stand for Him. Let’s be bold and brave and face them with the confidence we have in the hope of heaven! These things we know:

  • That He has our back;
  • That something good will come of it;
  • That even if we die, we have so much to gain in heaven;
  • That one way or the other, we will be created into something new. WE WILL BE LIKE CHRIST!

Of course, don’t go looking for a crucible. Allow God to lead your circumstances.

18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Ro 12:18
Let’s join in prayer for those who are going through a crucible. Let us “rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn (15),” and take on their attitude:

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Being ambassadors for Christ is not always easy. Let’s be ready for whatever comes our way trusting that Jesus knows our hearts and that he will sustain us.

“Sometimes He calms the storm, and other times He calms His child.*

Proverbs 16 1-16-19

January 16, 2019

Our daily life decisions are important, for they will ultimately dictate our destination. Be wise!

2 All a man’s ways seem innocent [pure, reasonable, justified] to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD. 3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do [give your plans to Him], and your/His plans will succeed. Pr 16:2-3

We read this chapter each month. It reminds us to make sure that God is the LORD of our daily lives. The term, “daily,” stands for that continuous connection between us and the Savior through the Spirit. It’s like calling Him on the phone, putting in an earpiece, and then never hanging up. He’s in our head!

We must keep in mind that our connection with Him is first, primary, paramount, and certainly essential to victorious Christian living. Our close relationship with Him is the VERY REASON He came! How important it is to to stay connected to Him?

Jesus said, 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains [abides, lives, submits to the rules of the house] in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing [of kingdom value]. Jn 15:5

What is “of kingdom value?” What does that mean? Let’s look:

10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder [the Gospel given to him by Jesus Christ], and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ [dying to self and living for Him]. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones [works of obedience], wood, hay or straw works of disobedience and selfishness], 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day [of Christ’s Return] will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire [of His gaze] will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. 1Co 3:10-15

Let’s stay connected to the Vine today. Start with this prayer (or one like it):

“Lord Jesus, right here, right now, I give you my life. I want to trade my desires for Your desires, my dreams for Your dreams, my goals for Your goals, my success for Your success, my _____ for Your _____, etc.”

LET’S DO THIS!

Proverbs 15 1-15-19

January 15, 2019

Where do we get our direction for daily decisions? From where do we draw? We had better know, lest we be deceived!

14 The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly. Pr 15:14

The flip side to this coin is:

12 A mocker resents correction; he will not consult the wise. Pr 15:12

We must be willing to trust Jesus with our lives daily, and with our daily lives. Otherwise, our faith is weak, our unbelief great, and He can do little with us and for us.

58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. Mt 13:58

The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are God’s revealed plan for us. What is that plan? TO KNOW HIM! We can know Him on a personal level and not just from the testimony of someone else, whether that testimony is today or 2000 years ago. The crucial point and difference from any other religion is that WE CAN KNOW CHRIST! It is the ONLY way to BE a Christian. Jesus said,

11 Give us today our daily bread. Mt 6:11

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. Jn 6:35

37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. Jn 6:37

Let’s come to Him this morning giving Him our whole hearts and receiving from Him all that we need for today as we walk with Him in obedience.

Proverbs 14 1-14-19

January 14, 2019

Lashing out: physically or verbally cutting someone. It’s something 2-yr-olds do naturally. How come WE still do?

3 A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride and his talk brings a rod to his back, but the lips of the wise protect them. Pr 14:3
Lashing out is usually a reaction to an adverse situation. The problem is that it reveals several things about the one lashing out:

  • He/she got caught with his guard down;
  • There was an expectation that wasn’t met;
  • There is still some self-centeredness going on.

When we are walking in the Spirit, we have His Presence washing over us, which means that we are being bathed in the light of His majesty and glory, we are being flooded with His love, joy, peace and hope, and we are being reminded of all He has said to us along with new instruction and direction.

When we are walking in the Spirit, we do NOT react by lashing out, but we respond in love and with grace. Here is an interesting verse:

7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?
– 1Co 6:7

Cannot God protect us from wrong-doing? If He doesn’t (thus granting the offender the right to choose wrongly), can He not replace DOUBLE what is taken from us? He certainly did in Job’s case (Job 42:10). What if He doesn’t this side of heaven? Are we okay with that?

The flip side to this coin is when we are protectors of others, in which case we must respectfully fight to protect those in our charge and those who cannot fight for themselves, especially our children.

8 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. 9 Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Pr 31:8-9

Staying connected to the Spirit is key to godly living. Let’s thank the LORD for the indwelling Holy Spirit!

Proverbs 13 1-13-19

January 13, 2019

Guarding our lips means we must first guard our thoughts. This truth ought to scare us to death! Help us, Jesus!

3 He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin. Pr 13:3

“Think before speaking.” How often have we heard this piece of sage advice? It’s true! When we are quiet, when we rest in His presence, when we acknowledge the leadership of the Holy Spirit, when we deliberately subdue our natural selves and allow Him to lead us, then we not only avoid speaking rashly, we also experience the benefits of knowing Him:

  • The fruit of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control;
  • Hope and grace;
  • Sweet fellowship and counsel;
  • Courage!
  • A sweetness to life and our close relationships;
  • A solid foundation;
  • Each of these layer upon layer, and so much more!

The goal is to become so much like Jesus in character that we exude His aroma to all around us.

15 For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 2 Co 2:15

Can we hide ourselves in Christ and allow Him to shine through us? You bet! IF we will get out of the way…

Let’s die to ourselves and live for Christ today. It’s the only way we will ever be able to enjoy the blessings mentioned above.

Have a great time in worship today. Bless Him, and allow Him to bless you.

Proverbs 12 1-12-19

January 12, 2019

Respect is a one-way street. The Lord asks us to give respect regardless of others’ response. It’s called loving unconditionally. It’s HIS kind of love.

4 A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones. Pr 12:4

The “noble character” is her Christ-like character. It’s what the Holy Spirit generates in her by His resurrection power. She got that way by learning to die to self and live for Him, to get out of the way and allow Christ to lead in her life. Was it easy? No! It took many days, weeks, and years to learn to respond rather than react, to not speak rather than to say something destructive, and to make sure that her body language and facial features did not reveal what her natural self was thinking.

Have you seen it, yet, guys? CHRIST ASKS THE SAME OF US! We can only get there by walking ever in His presence, abiding in Him and obeying His direction.

Marriages are friendships, and friendships are where we are to practice our Christlikeness. Let’s live these verses:

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ep 5:21

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
… 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Phl 2:3,5

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ep 4:32

Related verses From today’s chapter: 14, 16, 18, 23

Assignment: Record (either literally or mentally) your next conversation with someone with whom you struggle having a respectable conversation WITH THE EXPRESS PURPOSE of critiquing yourself: do you sound loving and respectful, or is your tone harsh? Are you whiny? manipulative? Did you have to “win” the argument? Was Christ honored by your part of the conversation?

Our joy is at stake here, as well as our marriages and our testimony. Let’s get this right!