Archive for the ‘Proverbs’ Category

Proverbs 11 12-11-18

December 11, 2018

Left on our own, our hearts will lead us astray. This is why we give our hearts to Jesus. Ask Him for pure desires.

Proverbs 11:20 The LORD detests men of perverse heart but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.

“Detests” and “delights” are two very strong words. We would do well to note that God feels strongly about us. We know that upon salvation we receive new hearts:

Ezekiel 36:26-27 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

The new heart comes with His Spirit. Positionally, we are safe. But, there is the relational side of our salvation that is where we live. We are now in constant contact with God; what shall we do about it?

We can:

  1. Ignore it, which means that we revert back to old ways and old habits. If this is what we want, then why be saved in the first place?
  2. Relish it. Give ourselves over to our new heart and to Him. Allow Him to transform us into His image. He takes great satisfaction in doing so and we feel His satisfaction in the form of love, joy and peace.

Stay washed*. Stay covered**.

Proverbs 4:25-27 Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.

We have these words to comfort and encourage us:

Matthew 25:21 “His master replied,’Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Now THAT’S heaven!

*washed by the water of Bis Word. Eph. 5:26

**covered by the Holy Spirit, based on Eph. 1:13-14

More on the Mark of the Holy Spirit

Proverbs 10 12-10-18

December 10, 2018

What we are willing to do to know Christ better reveals to us and to the world where our treasure truly lies.

Proverbs 10:3 The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.

Are we interested in the things of God? Do we really want Christ to be our LORD? Are we listening for His voice and looking for His direction? If we acknowledge His Spirit within us, He will give us the desire to know Him.

Proverbs 13:25 The righteous eat to their hearts’ content, but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry.

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

As Christians, heaven has begun for us. Heaven is wherever God is, and He is in our hearts, therefore, we have heaven in our hearts. He is training us in holiness and righteousness, and He knows our limitations in the flesh. One day, we will shed our skin, so to speak, and enter His presence fully. Until then, we enjoy His fellowship the best we can as He has prescribed:

Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Let us have the same attitude as Paul:

Philippians 3:10-12 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Remember that obedience brings blessings–it also brings the right feelings. “If we change the way we think, then we will change the way we feel” (Beth Moore). So, let’s get busy being obedient so that we can enjoy those blessings!

Proverbs 9 12-9-18

December 9, 2018

Are we willing to do whatever it takes? We must reach the point that we are willing to try by trusting Him.

Proverbs 9:2 She [wisdom] has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table.

Preparation is key to success. God had everything lined up for His Advent (Jesus’ birth). How do we know?

Galatians 4:4-5 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.

The fullness of time means that everything was ready. How can preparation affect our lives? As Christ followers, we would do well to:

1. Learn as much as we can in order to know what pleases our LORD.

2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Ephesians 5:10 and find out what pleases the Lord.

2. Put off the old person with his selfish attitude and put on the new person–with the help of the Holy Spirit.

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; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

3. Put into practice what we know and allow the LORD to sharpen and hone us into effective ambassadors for Him.

Matthew 7:24 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.”

2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Let’s remember who we are in Christ and that “nothing is impossible with Him (God-Luke 1:37).” Let’s worship Him in Spirit and in truth in our respective places of worship today.

Proverbs 8 12-8-18

December 8, 2018

Our goal must be Jesus Christ. HE is why we read the Bible, pray, and work on holiness. Connect with Him RIGHT NOW!

Proverbs 8:1 Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?

There was a long time when the written statutes of God were the only way for most people to know God. I’m sure He made Himself known, but the relationship was vague and obscured and was based on obedience to the Law of Moses.

When Christ came, He introduced a new way to know God: Through Him!

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

Hebrews 7:24-25 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

Why do we settle for less?

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” – C. S. Lewis

Many people today discount the Bible because it has too many unexplainable events in it. Let’s take it from God’s perspective: He wants us–His children, His creations–to know about this world in which we live, about Him, and about His plan. He gives us a collection of correspondence explaining why He has lost contact with us and what He has done about it. Why is it hard for us to understand that He would write on a primer level? We judge God when we consider His Word as “beneath us.”

I hold to this verse as my reason to consider The Bible and all its truths as trustworthy–more than that, they are VITAL to us if we are to know God on a deeper level:

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

His Word is written for us and He speaks to us as His Spirit leads us moment by moment. He speaks through the Bible and interprets our world for us through His Spirit. If we did not have the Bible, I believe that He could still lead us into holiness and righteousness through His Spirit–but WE DO! Let’s use it to learn and to communicate with Him. Let’s read it and allow Him to interpret it according to our lives and needs.

Let us not be “half-hearted creatures,” but hunger and thirst after righteousness.

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

[I got that out of the Bible]

Proverbs 7 12-7-18

December 7, 2018

God gives grace to cover our sin, but He doesn’t necessarily shield us from its damage. Where’s the lesson in that?

Proverbs 7:7 I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who lacked judgment.

When the Holy Spirit calls to our attention something He wants us to do or avoid, we sometimes don’t recognize His voice because it sounds like our own. We need to know the things God would say in order to discern what He is saying to us. Our familiarity with what God has already said coupled with our new nature gives the Spirit handles with which to work in our lives. The more handles (Scripture that we know, experiences we have had), the easier it is to distinguish His voice from our own or the myriad others around us.

This chapter is about sexual sin. DESIRE has been awakened in all of us; it is a terrible taskmaster, for the more we feed it, the more it wants. What this means is that we have an addictive nature. We must therefore guard ourselves against even the prospect of sexual sin. Know the rules! What does God say about sex? Just understand that we can no longer rely on culture to give us godly morals. In fact, we could argue that whatever the world is doing, it’s probably wrong.

Where does this quandary leave us? Back at the Word of God, back at church among godly examples, teaching and preaching, and strong worship, back at a called-out life with new friends and new habits and new pastimes, back at strong families (if you don’t have one, make one!).

It’s not forever. Soon, Christ will come or call us home. We can make it until then with God’s help and each other.

Let’s heed James’s warning today:

James 4:4-6 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely [He jealously loves us and He knows our sin is destroying us]? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Proverbs 6 12-6-18

December 6, 2018

What is it that uses up our brain cells? What dominates in our minds? Where does it take us mentally? Let’s make sure it’s godly!

IF it is not godly (if it takes us into mental sin), then do this:

Proverbs 6:5 Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.

[4] Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids.

[9] How long will you lie there, you sluggard [quit wasting time and brain cells]? When will you get up from your sleep [realize how important it is to make it right–right NOW]?

Of the seven things that the LORD hates (verses 16-19), it is the fourth one that scares me to death:

[18a] a heart that devises wicked schemes,

Why? Because if we allow our minds to build a scenario of sinful activities, we are training ourselves to sin. Where is God in that?! How can we think on godly things while entertaining sin in our minds? Does it not grieve the Holy Spirit?

King David knew the importance of training the mind:

Psalms 119:2 Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.

[37] Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.

[48] I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decrees.

[58] I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.

[97] Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.

[103] How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

[127-128] Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold, and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.

[131-133] I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands. Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name. Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.

[147-148] I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.

[165] Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

Jesus thinks keeping our minds guarded is important:

Matthew 5:27-28 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” NOTE: David fell away from guarding his mind and thoughts and fell into sexual sin with Bathsheba. We must be diligent and vigilant!

Paul gave us some good guard rails pertaining to our thought habits:

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things.

Let’s get started, shall we?!

Proverbs 5 12-5-18

December 5, 2018

We have a certain honor as children of the King. Do not regard it flippantly. Once lost, it is hard to regain.

Proverbs 5:9 lest you give your best strength to others and your years [dignity] to one who is cruel,

Sin begins in the mind. When our thoughts become dark and we dwell on the subject, we are tempted to act on our own evil desires. When we do, we actually sin twice: once with the dwelling and again with the action.

James 1:13-15 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire [the thinking], he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin [the doing]; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death [sin destroys us].

We are to “take each thought captive to make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor.10:5).” How can we do such an seemingly impossible task? Through the process of sanctification:

  1. to make holy; set apart as sacred; consecrate–we are set apart by the Holy Spirit and chosen by Him to be His ambassadors.
  2. to purify or free from sin: Sanctify your hearts–this is the continuous work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
  3. to impart religious sanction to; render legitimate or binding: to sanctify a vowOur struggle is what verifies our salvation; without the Holy Spirit, we would not be saved, nor would we have the fight inside.
  4. to entitle to reverence or respect. As we become more like Christ, we are honored–or ridiculed–as Christians: “little Christs.”
  5. to make productive of or conducive to spiritual blessing–this is where we live.
  • Christ is making us productive and conducive to His spiritual blessing. Our job is to make His job easier by doing all we can to honor Him in our lives. Let’s begin by finding out who we are, whose we are, and our role in this process by reading God’s Word. Now that we are armed with His revelation, let’s ask the Spirit to reveal to us what to do and how to do it and to do it with us! He will teach us our “triggers” (what tempts us) and how to avoid them. He will also teach us what to do when we are caught yet again in the traps of deception. He loves us and never grows weary in well-doing. He IS patience. Are we glad?!!!
  • Proverbs 4 12-4-18

    December 4, 2018

    We walk in the light, but it’s as if our eyes have scales. Jesus removes the scales one by one so that we see Him more clearly.

    Proverbs 4:18-19 The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. [19] But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.

    1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT) Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.

    Paul knew what it was like to have real scales on his eyes. It happened when He had his Damascus Road experience:

    Acts 9:18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again.

    We know that the light of Christ is perfect and bright, which means that any obscurity comes from us. So, what obscures His light? Let’s look in Ephesians and see what Paul says:

    Ephesians 5:11-14 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them [in and to yourself]. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible [and, therefore, can be dealt with], for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

    How do we go about identifying the dark things–the scales–in our lives? We must first realize that we are children of light (v8) and that we are called to live as children of light “for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth (v9).” Then comes my favorite verse:

    [10] and find out what pleases the Lord.”

    If we spent even a portion of our day looking for what pleases Him, He would show us!

    Let’s have the wherewithal to open God’s Word and ask our LORD to reveal Himself to us by shining His light on dark places in our lives. Do we really want to be like Him? Are we ready to allow Him to sanctify us and ready us for His use?

    1. What takes up most of our free time?
    2. What do we think about most?
    3. What can we hardly wait to get back to?
    4. How do we reward ourselves?
    5. Do the answers to the questions have any eternal significance: Are they making us more godly (good), more righteous, and stronger in the Truth of God’s Word?
  • If not, give it up, let it go, throw it down.
  • Proverbs 3 12-3-18

    December 3, 2018

    Our daily living has a way of showing our priorities. Do we truly walk with God? Our spouse, kids, neighbors, and the world will know it.

    Proverbs 3:35 The wise inherit honor, but fools he holds up to shame.

    Our daily decisions make us or break us. If we are walking close to Jesus, listening to His voice, heeding His instruction, and enjoying His presence, then everything we do will radiate Christ in some form of fashion. Even though some will hold us in contempt, many more will see us as honorable, faithful, and trustworthy because our word is our bond, they know our standards, and they know Who we serve.

    Those who don’t walk with Christ daily are like ships without rudders blown by the wind (see James 1:6). Their beliefs change with whatever season of life they are in. Their word is according to what is best for them, and living for pleasure, security, or love (or a mixture of any of the three) is their driving force behind all they do–at the expense of friendships and integrity. They will be ashamed.

    Let’s be deliberate about following Christ. Dig into His Word and listen for His instruction. He has great and mighty things to show us!

    Jeremiah 33:3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and mighty things you do not know.’

    Proverbs 2 12-2-18

    December 2, 2018

    It’s our decision. Will we or won’t we? To delay is the same as “no.” Decide. It’s what this chapter is all about.

    Proverbs 2:12-15 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.

    What we don’t realize is that to choose any way but God’s way is evil and perverse. He is GOD; we need to allow Him to be so in our lives.

    What does it look like to choose a different way than the Lord’s?

    Luke 9:59-62 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

    From what I have gathered historically, his intention was to stay with his father until he died. Honorable? Yes. Traditionally expected? Yes, but was it what Jesus asked of him? No. What did he decide? We won’t know until we get to heaven.

    [61] Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

    My spin on this fellow is that Jesus knew that his family held sway over him and, if he went back, they would dissuade him from following Him. Again, he had to decide to whom he would listen–right then!

    Our choice is the same. Jesus asks of us RIGHT NOW who we will follow. If we read Proverbs 2, we see right away that He is ready to walk with us and teach us and reveal His will–even Himself–to us. The real question is, “Do we really see Him as King?”

    My favorite verse in this chapter is:

    [10] For wisdom will enter your heart [supernaturally], and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

    I NEED wisdom, plain and simple. Also, I would prefer learning to be a pleasant experience. When He teaches me, it is truly pleasant–even ecstatic! Remember that in 1:23 He tells us that He wants to pour out His thoughts to us and make His heart known to us. WOW!!! Let’s take Him up on it!

    Please be in prayer for us this morning for our Christmas presentation, “The King Is Here.” May many experience Christ as King in music and stories–maybe some for the first time!