Proverbs 31 3-31-20

Need something to do? God has provided us with the perfect opportunity to get to know Him better!

26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

How do we get wisdom? What is faithful instruction? If wisdom is seeing from God’s perspective, then it follows that we get wisdom from God. How so? By spending time with Him so He can impart knowledge to us. His faithful instruction to us allows us to give faithful instruction to others.

A whole lot of the process of His Word and praying is our EXPOSURE TO HIM. His sheer presence washes over us and we absorb His attributes of love, joy, peace, hope, grace, excellence, truth, nobility, purity, long-suffering, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and even self-control–especially self-control! Also, the more we know of His Word, the more He has with which to work when it comes to reminding us of everything He has said (see John 14:26).

Let me ask some pertinent questions:

  1. If spending time with the LORD each day is not important to you, then why did you get saved? The purpose of salvation is to CONNECT us with the Father through Jesus Christ by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Could God have immobilized our country in order to cause people to slow down and focus on Him? If so, then let’s not waste this opportunity!
  3. Is the Word of God not pleasant to you or understandable to you? There may be a problem:
    1. Make sure that there is no sinfulness looming in your closet. Sin keeps us turned away from Him and acts as a barrier between Him and us.
    2. Is your version of the Bible the best one for you? There are many out there that are good translations. I heard from a friend, “Which translation is right for you? The one you’ll pick up and read.” That said, I would be happy to recommend one. Let’s talk.
    3. Are you reading in the right place in the Bible? Even though the Bible begins at the Beginning, it is not in chronological order. Nor is it necessarily meant to be read as a novel. Even though there is a story-line, the Bible is more a resource book where we go to specific books and chapters and even particular verses pertaining to specific things, ideas, events, etc. It is a reference book for godly living and the story of God reaching out to mankind.

When it comes to starting to read God’s Word, I would recommend the following:

  1. Begin with 1 John. There are 11 verses concerning how to tell if one is saved. It talks of the essence of salvation (4:10), the anointing of the Holy Spirit (2:20), how loved by the Father we are (3:1), and the assurance we have in approaching God (5:13-14).
  2. Read the Gospels next in this order: Mark, Matthew, Luke and then John.
    1. Mark is Peter’s memoirs that were written down by John Mark near the end of Peter’s life (around 62 AD).
    2. Matthew was a disciple of Jesus. He wrote specifically to his fellow Jews.
    3. Luke was a Greek follower who traveled with Paul on many of his adventures. His viewpoint was specifically to a Greek friend named Theophilus (1:3), and covered in detail Jesus’ birth and death/resurrection. He also loved the teachings of Jesus.
    4. John is the last Gospel written. John was the youngest disciple and was “the one Jesus loved” (John 13:23). Evidently, John was like a young brother to Jesus. His Gospel is written to show that Jesus was God in the flesh (1:14). Want to know Jesus personally? Read this book!
  3. From there, I would recommend Romans because of its doctrine of Grace, and Ephesians after that because of its how-to approach. Remember this about Ephesians: The first three chapters are doctrine; the last three chapters are application.
  4. From this point, it’s according to where the Spirit leads you. If you feel led to read Hebrews, please have your computer handy to search verses. Be ready to look back into the Old Testament to learn about the sacrificial system. ALL OF IT points to Jesus and his mission!
  5. Two more things:
    1. For Revelation, have a commentary on hand. You’ll need it!
    2. If you haven’t read the Bible in chronological order yet, it’s a great way to get a timeline of Scripture. Your eyes will be opened to who was alive with whom. It helps to have some kind of historical overview that keeps up with extra-historical happenings, i.e. Egypt, Canaan, Babylon, Persia, etc. and how they all came together in Scripture.

As we read, let’s remember that the Bible is God talking to us. We must be sure to keep our minds open to His voice while we read. Stop and write down anything that you hear from Him. Chase every rabbit! It’s usually Him pointing out some cool fact. ūüôā Linking verses is what we call “stringing pearls.”

May we redeem our time at home by spending time with the LORD. We certainly don’t want to miss this golden opportunity!

Abba, I have really enjoyed the extra time to read, study, write, and pray. May I get into the habit and keep it when things finally get back to normal. May we all gain from this hiatus in our schedules. Bless us, O LORD, with a sense of Your presence and delight in us as we spend time with You. Amen.

Proverbs 30 3-30-20

On what should we rely during this outbreak of COVID-19? Can we truly protect ourselves? Should we look elsewhere?

5 Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.

If I were to make a pamphlet to pass out at Wal-Mart, I think it would say this:

What Does God Have to Do with COVID-19?

These are scary times in which we live. Did COVID-19 catch God by surprise? IS there a God to take by surprise?! Consider this:

  1. The order of the universe, particularly human life along with plants and animals, all speak of a divine order and Creator. Otherwise, the second law of thermal dynamics would have reduced everything to its lowest level long ago (entropy).
  2. The mutation of COVID-19 is still within its kind (Micro-Evolution); it will NOT mutate into a different species! There is NO evidence for Macro-Evolution, which is someone’s idea of what he thinks might have happened.
  3. COVID-19 is no worse than some strains of flu that go around every year. The problem is that since it is new, everyone is susceptible. We SHOULD take precautions: Wash hands routinely, maintain space, refrain from touching, avoid large groups, etc.

What we must realize is that even though God did NOT cause COVID-19, He IS using it to get our attention. Here are some things He would like for you to know:

  1. God loves you and wants you to know him personally through His Son, Jesus Christ.
  2. A good life is more than just the number of years lived. God has a plan for you!
  3. Living life without God is a wasted life with no eternal value or reward.
  4. Treat COVID-19 with a healthy respect, but do not fear it. Instead, “fear Him who can throw both body and soul into hell.”¬† –¬† Jesus
  5. Living without God is living as an enemy of God. Turn to him and trust Him. Leave the idea of doing things your way and follow Jesus. He will enter your heart, save your soul, and lead you with His Spirit.

COVID-19 IS A BIG DEAL. GOD IS BIGGER THAN COVID-19

Trust Him for LIFE!

‘Nuff said.

Abba, I have no idea what-or even, if- You want to do something with what I said this morning. Maybe someone will copy it out and circulate it. Maybe You will prompt me to make a pamphlet and hand it out. I am open to that. In the meantime, May You comfort and encourage the hearts of all who read this blog with Your truth. May we all take refuge in Your Word. You have this; I know it. I love You and trust You. Amen.

Proverbs 29 3-29-20

Want to hear from Jesus? It’s simple, really. Turn away from self and turn to Him. Be a son, not a servant.

19 Servants cannot be corrected by mere words; though they understand, they will not respond.

It’s all about attitude. What’s in your heart? Pride? Arrogance? Sloth (laziness)? Malice? Unforgiveness? Lust? Greed? Some measure of all of the above?! Me, too. Why? Because God made us with the capacity to love, give selflessly, and to depend upon His Spirit for power and control. These negative feelings are what happen in our hearts when we don’t have the Holy Spirit guiding us.

The capacity for great love comes with the risk of great transgression.

Jesus had high regard for His disciples. Listen to what He told them:

14¬†You are my friends¬†if you do what I command.¬†15¬†I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master‚Äôs business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.¬†16¬†You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you¬†so that you might go and bear fruit‚ÄĒfruit that will last‚ÄĒand so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.¬†17¬†This is my command: Love each other. John 15:14-17

So, what it boils down to is how we want to be viewed by Jesus: as servants or sons. Ladies, you have been moved to “son-status” by Jesus. In Him, “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”¬†We have been called His friends–more than that, we have been made His brothers and sisters!

14¬†For those who are led by the Spirit of God¬†are the children of God.¬†15¬†The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.¬†And by him we cry,¬†‚ÄúAbba [Daddy],¬†Father.‚Ä̬†16¬†The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit¬†that we are God‚Äôs children.¬†17¬†Now if we are children, then we are heirs‚ÄĒheirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:14-17

Do we cry out, “Abba, Father?” Do we share in His sufferings? Do we do as Paul did,¬†“Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly;¬†I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.¬†27¬†No, I strike a blow to my body¬†and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:26-27?

Today, let us be intentional about our worship. Let us come before Him with purposeful praise and thanksgiving. Let us read His Word and bless Him for it. Let us take His words to heart and apply them to our lives. Let us love and give selflessly and allow the Holy Spirit to guard and guide our lives. LET’S HAVE CHURCH!

Abba, may Your Spirit have His way in our hearts and lives. I wish my life had a “backspace” button, but it doesn’t, so I reckon I’ll have to learn from my mistakes, deal with the fallout, and trust You to help me avoid making the same mistakes again. You call me, “friend,” so I KNOW You know my tendencies–yet, You love me anyway. In fact, the Bible says You’re crazy about me (I have loved you with an everlasting love-Jeremiah 31:3)! May I never take that love for granted. Calm my heart, LORD. Fill my spirit with Your love, joy, peace, hope and grace. May I feast on Your truth and may I receive Your abundant life as I walk in step with You today. Amen.

NOTE: Join me on YouTube at OKC Brookwood. Our service is at 9:30, but you may watch whenever you like.

NOTE 2: I am doing a “Sunday’s Cool” (Sunday School) lesson at 11 on Facebook live. Go to my Facebook page and join me!

Proverbs 28 3-28-20

“Do not worry–” Why not? There are many valid reasons! Because Your Savior said there is no need. He’s got YOU!

1 The wicked [those who follow their own ways] flee though no one pursues, but the righteous [those who are in Christ Jesus] are as bold as a lion.

When we are saved, eternity with Christ begins right then. Nothing can touch us spiritually, and what happens physically is not up to us, either. If we are living obedient lives, then EVERYTHING that happens to us is the responsibility of the Father. We must assume that every detail of our lives has meaning and purpose, so we ask the Holy Spirit to make us aware of what He is up to in the world around us. We know that:

  1. Our salvation is secure. 23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23. Who sanctifies and keeps us? God Himself! We have peace with God!!!
  2. Heaven is waiting.¬†20¬†But our citizenship¬†is in heaven.¬†And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,¬†21¬†who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Philippians 3:20-21¬†A new home and a new body–WOW!
  3. This life we live is about furthering the kingdom.¬†24¬†However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me‚ÄĒthe task of testifying to the good news of God‚Äôs grace. Acts 20:24¬†This verse states every Christian’s task: Testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
  4. Our God will supply all our¬†needs.¬†19¬†And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19¬†All of our circumstances are designed for us to be witnesses for Him. Let’s use them!
  5. We must be content. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13 Regardless of what happens concerning our health, the economy, etc. we are in His care.

So, how do we put this information into a usable format? Let’s take us where we are today and assume that we are here at the LORD’s direction. Let’s look for an avenue to express our faith to others, especially those with whom we come in contact each day. In what area has God given you to serve? Consider that area your mission field. He has us where we are as His Light, so let’s shine “like the stars in the universe” (Phil. 2:15).

Speaking of 2:15, let’s look at the whole passage:

14¬†Do everything without grumbling¬†or arguing,¬†15¬†so that you may become blameless and pure, ‚Äúchildren of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.‚Ä̬†Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky¬†16¬†as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ¬†that I did not run¬†or labor in vain.¬†17¬†But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering¬†on the sacrifice¬†and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.¬†18¬†So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

Paul understood that his life here on this earth was all about promoting and spreading the Gospel. His scope was bigger than ours, but our mission is the same: We are His ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20). Even if it costs us our job, savings, house, health, and even our very lives, let us “be glad and rejoice” with each other. Remember that our eternity with Christ began the moment we received Him into our hearts. There is nothing we need to fear.

Abba, it’s scary to think about the future. Even the present is pretty scary right now. But I know that You hold my life in Your hands. In fact, I’ve read the end of Your Book and I know how the Story ends. I look forward to returning with You as You come back to earth and set up Your new Kingdom–who knows? I may even meet You in the air! In the meantime, LORD, may I hang onto these words,¬†“They triumphed over him [the devil] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Rev. 12:11.¬†When my time comes, I want it to count for You! Even so, come, LORD Jesus! Amen.

 

Proverbs 27 3-27-20

Let’s put on our thinking caps and figure this out: What is sin and how are we sinful? Do we even care?!

God created the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (see Genesis 2:9), and called it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Could it be that it was there for a future purpose, and was NOT there simply to test Adam and Eve? If so, then when they were old enough–at the time, they were just infants spiritually–it follows that God would have led them to the tree and instructed them in its use. That’s as far as we can go with the knowledge that we have.

We DO know this: The knowledge of good and evil is the awareness of each when we come into contact with them. What we do with them makes that contact either a lesson in righteousness and holiness with an increase of knowledge and fellowship with the LORD, or sin. Sin breaks our fellowship with the LORD, makes us unholy and unrighteous, and will ultimately destroy us. Remember the equation:

PRIDE = ARROGANCE –> REBELLION –> SIN –> DESTRUCTION

Here’s the big question: Do you care?

  1. Do you care that you have sin in your life and it’s destroying you?
  2. Do you want the LORD to root out all evil in you?
  3. Do you desire a close relationship with the LORD?
  4. Are you interested in being righteous and holy?

These questions may sound simple and even juvenile to “old” Christians, but I ask myself these very questions often! The Holy Spirit prompts these questions in my life routinely. Why? Because they are my motivation to listen to Him. The answer, “Yes!” is what gets me out of bed early to pray and read and study and write. This same motivation is what I want for YOU.

There is a hymn entitled, “Take Time to Be Holy,” that sums up our daily walk. I took the liberty of highlighting certain phrases that are pertinent to me:

1. Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
2. Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
3. Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.
4. Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

Take Time to Be Holy (beautiful orchestration)

John Longhurst had an insight for the future (see the last line) in that we will have jobs on the new earth when we get back from heaven (see Rev. 19-22 and Isaiah 65-66)–but that’s another lesson.

Let’s redeem this time of sequester by spending lots of time reading His Word, listening to uplifting music, watching inspiring movies and shows, fellowshipping with those with whom we have been sequestered, and connecting through the internet with friends and family. DON’T MISS THIS GRAND OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH!

Abba, I want to grow, too! Thank You for speaking to me this morning. I love it when You say, “Grab your pen and write this down…” May I care about sin in my life that is destroying me; May I want to root out any “offensive way in me” (Psalm 139:24); may I desire a closer relationship with You; may I choose righteousness and holiness to be my highest goals, for it is then that I am most like You. LORD, please give me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4). Amen.

Proverbs 26 3-26-20

Having trouble reading your Bible everyday? We have an enemy who wants to keep us far away from it! Don’t let him win.

13 A sluggard says, “There’s a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets.”

We may not consider ourselves sluggards, i.e. lazy persons, but when it comes to reading God’s Word, more Christians don’t than do. The sluggard in this verse is “forecasting.” Forecasting is when we think of something that MAY happen and act as if it is already true. In this case, he used his own fear as an excuse not to get out of the house.

The irony is that we are being ENCOURAGED to stay inside during the current “crisis.” God’s Word tells us to be obedient to our local authorities, but it doesn’t mean that we cannot continue to encourage each other in the LORD. We have a grand opportunity with all this extra time at home to spend some quality time with the LORD reading our Bibles.

A great place to start is Psalm 119:18, which says,¬†“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”¬†There are several things I would like for you to do:

  1. Open your own Bible and read it for yourself. Hint: It’s nearly in the middle of your Bible.
  2. Mark it with a pen or highlighter.
  3. Interchange the word “law” with other words: commands, statutes, decrees, ways, precepts, word, promise, counsel, truths. David does throughout this psalm.
  4. Jump down to verse 24 and add,¬†“through the Holy Spirit.”

If your interest is piqued, then go back to verses 9-16. You will find:

  1. How to stay pure in God’s eyes (9).
  2. The best way to find God (10).
  3. A great verse to memorize (11).
  4. Praise (12)!
  5. A verse about memorization (13).
  6. Joy in living the Christian life (14).
  7. The best way to live our Christian life (15).
  8. What God does for us when we read His Word (16).

If God thought enough about it (the Bible) and us to write down how to get to know Him and then protect it for 3500 years, then I think that we should make it our highest priority to read it, learn it, and obey it. As long as we are in connection with Him, we can’t go wrong!

Let’s redeem the time at home and spend time reading His Word, meditating on it, and putting it into action. Things like,¬†“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” Philippians 2:14-16a

Abba, I want to be blameless and pure, without fault, and shine like stars in the sky. I know the only way to get there is to hold firmly to Your Word. Thank You that You speak to me through Your Word. I can almost hear Your voice as I read! Speak to my heart, LORD Jesus, speak that my soul may hear. I will obey you–it’s how I become blameless! Lead on, O King! This servant follows. Amen.

Proverbs 25 3-25-20

Christians should handle stress differently than the world. Our God is on His throne!!! What does humanity tell us compared to what His Word tells us?

From: eDocAmerica.com Concerning Stress Management
Be Mindful –
When you have a lot going on, and your mind is thinking of all of the worst case scenarios, racing thoughts can take control and get away from you.  Make yourself stop and focus on being exactly where you are for just one or two minutes.  Do this by taking the time to notice:
    • 5 things that you can see
    • 4 things that you can feel
    • 3 things that you can hear
    • 2 things that you can smell
    • 1 thing that you can taste
You may not be able to notice all of these things, but the idea is to reach out with your senses and notice the things around you.  Maybe you will notice how intense the lights are in the room, or the pressure of your body in the chair, or maybe the sound of a bird outside your window.  Be right here, right now.  Avoid going backward or forward in your mind.  Just be in the moment, in the exact place that you are.

As Christians, we have an advantage over the world in handling stress. God tells us to¬†“cast your cares/burdens/stress/anxiety upon Him [the LORD] because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7. We are to instructed to:

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7

Let’s take that list and “Christianize” it:

  • 5 things we can see:
    1. God working
    2. People in need
    3. Our world barreling toward destruction
    4. Revival on the verge of breaking out
    5. Our LORD Jesus preparing to return!
  • 4 things we can feel:
    1. His peace in our hearts
    2. Our connection with other Christians
    3. The fear of those around us who don’t know Christ
    4. His urging to share His good news when given the opportunity
  • 3 things we can hear:
    1. His voice over our shoulder
    2. His voice through His Word
    3. His voice in what we run across on the web and what we read/watch/listen to
  • 2 things we can smell:
    1. The aroma of Christ in others
    2. The aroma of Christ in us
  • 1 thing we can taste:
    1. “Taste and see that the LORD is good;” “His Word is sweeter than honey to my lips.”

As we can see, we have a lot for which to be thankful. Let’s be a GRATEFUL people today; let’s be a JOYFUL people and a HOPE-FILLED people. Let’s be the LIGHT OF CHRIST to all around us.

Abba, You are amazing. May I redeem this “down” time by upping my game in the spirituality department. My time with You has been sweeter lately; may I capitalize on our connection and allow You to grow it stronger. With whom may I share Christ today? #showme. Amen.