Archive for the ‘Proverbs’ Category

Proverbs 19 10-19-19

October 19, 2019

The problem with sin is that it takes over and becomes all we want, but it doesn’t ever deliver. It just demands more.

A person’s own folly leads to their ruin,
    yet their heart rages against the Lord.

The risk God took in making us in His image is that we get to choose our own way. The problem is that without the Holy Spirit to show us the RIGHT way, the way of life, we automatically choose the wrong way, the sinful way, the way of death. Out of many choices of roads, only one is correct. Likewise, if the hands on a clock are not straight up, then it is any time but 12:00. The ONLY way to know the right way is to have the Spirit of God in us and for us to listen to Him and follow His leadership.

Our faith is built upon the fact that we believe that Jesus is who He said He is.

 “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.” John 8:23

31 To [we who believe him], Jesus said, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

34 “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 

Positionally, once we trust Jesus for salvation, we can never be moved. We are His forever! Relationally, we must follow Him all the time. Because of sin, our “wheels” are out of alignment, which causes our lives to pull to the right or left rather than maintaining a straight course. We must constantly resist the pull of the wheels and course-correct continuously. Is it hard? You bet it is! Is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY! I live to hear Him say, “You’re doing great; keep going.” “I love you and you can do this with My help.” “Just a little further and a little longer and you’ll be there!”

Just imagine what it will be like to have that constant resistance removed from us…that would be heaven–literally! That feeling is what we have waiting for us!!! In the meantime, we struggle to live according to His Spirit. Our life-verse (or one of them) must be Galatians 2:20,

20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,who loved me and gave himself for me.

Let’s live life His way today. We will never be more content, more satisfied, and more righteous! He will set us FREE!

Abba, I know that when I get resistant and do what I want to do in spite of how You are leading me, I always regret it. Help me to quit giving in to sin and to go for what I TRULY want, which is You, Your company, Your blessings, and Your confidence. Lead me, O LORD, and I will follow. Closely. Amen.

 

Proverbs 18 10-18-19

October 18, 2019

If we are not careful, we can go through a day without consulting the Holy Spirit on any decision. NOT GOOD!

It’s more than that, though. Why would we want to go all day without talking to Him? He is the Source of our joy, our peace, our love, our comfort, and our hope! He has the words of life for us each day along with strength for the journey, grace for when we fail, and a strong right hand to help us up when we fall.

Unless, of course, the only reason you wanted Jesus was for fire insurance (not going to hell). In which case, I urge you to give Him your heart–your whole heart, your life–and commit each day to Him. Your “salvation” is not doing you any good if you don’t commune with Him every day about everything. It’s all about the relationship.

Fools find no pleasure in understanding
    but delight in airing their own opinions.

13 To answer before listening—
    that is folly and shame.

If the Holy Spirit is not calling a person, or the person is in rebellion, this foolish attitude rears its ugly head. We don’t “decide” to become a Christian. We answer the call of the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin and prompts us to receive Him into our hearts and lives. Nor do we go through each day deciding on our own what to do and what to say. God is not intolerant of your opinion, but we MUST take a backseat to His will.

Has it occurred to you, yet, that we cannot live our lives as we want to? When we became Christians, we gave our lives to Him. In fact, in order to BECOME Christians, we had to turn away from our sin and self–we had to die figuratively–and turn to Him. God made sure we understood what we are doing by giving us a picture of what happened to us: BAPTISM. It represents us dying, being buried, and being raised:

  1. We die to ourselves and give full control over to Christ;
  2. We are buried with Christ as He takes our sins to the grave;
  3. We are raised to walk in newness of Christ as the Holy Spirit begins the process of sanctification (becoming like Christ) .

Paul explains it so well in Romans 6:

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sinhow can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

We have died to sin. If this is NOT the case for you, then salvation has not happened to you, yet. If it has, then we begin EACH DAY with the conscious thought that we are now dead to sin and alive to Christ. MORE than that, “we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day (2 Cor. 4:16).” We don’t make ourselves godly nearly as much as He makes us godly by transforming us on the inside. Our daily, hourly, continuously giving ourselves over to Him causes us to become more and more like Christ.

Here are some crucial daily instructions:

1. Fall in love with His Word. We do that by falling in love with Jesus. In doing so, we love His Word, which makes us fall even more in love with Jesus, and so on.

2. Place others’ needs before your own. Consider them before you consider yourself–especially in what we say. Their feelings before ours (there’s always a better way to say something). The Holy Spirit will work things out. In other words, the world will not fall apart if things aren’t done according to how you see them!

3. Acknowledge His presence in your mind–He’s right there over your shoulder, out of sight, but not out of earshot. In fact, He’s right by your ear! He doesn’t talk loudly, but in a gentle whisper. LISTEN FOR IT!

4. Find someone with which to fellowship and to share God-stories. It will inspire and encourage both of you, and cause you to pray (sometimes together) for each other. Connections are important!

This passage from Romans 8 tells us how we are to live:

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of [His] righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. 12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

Peter also encourages us to live for Him:

1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life [The Holy Spirit] through our [experiential] knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises [in His Word], so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by [our own] evil desires.

I know: Life’s a struggle, then we die. But, think about it: We cast off this old cloak of sinfulness and put on the immortal, glorified bodies that Jesus has waiting for us, and we get to stand in His presence whole and complete for as long as we like (I’m thinking eternity)! What hope! What a promise! In the words of Johnny Bisagno on a hot and miserable Falls Creek noon service, “He went through all that (the cross and its suffering) for you; can’t you live for Him?” I have vowed ever since to do just that!

Abba, keep me true to my promise to You even as I depend on You to keep Your promise to me. Become more and more real to me as we walk together. Thank You! Amen.

Proverbs 17 10-17-19

October 17, 2019

Want to know what is in your heart? Give God time; He’ll show you.

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

We have a society that loves to commit to teams, groups, activities, studies, etc. and then grows weary, becomes bored, figures out it takes too much time and effort, or is offered a more interesting team, group, activity, study, etc. and quits the first for the second.

We have churches with people who love Jesus, but don’t know Him well enough to commit to Him. They are part of the church and will come occasionally, but family, vacations, work, games, etc. keep them out more than they are in.

We have Christians who claim to know Christ, but are not interested in taking the time each day to read His Word, to apply it to their lives, and to learn to hear His voice. Instead, they trust their own logic, their own fears, and their own–well, to put it bluntly, arrogance.

I can’t judge people’s salvation, but I often wonder if these people really have a working, walking relationship with the Savior. There’s one way to find out, and that is to be tested. We live in a fallen world and we all will face sickness, accidents, physical failure, and death. We live with fallen people and will face strife, adversity, relational failure, desertion, and even hatred–and that’s just from our families! WE WILL BE TESTED. Does God bring them on? He certainly has that right as Omnipotent God, but I think in His Omniscience, He sees our future and what is coming; He tries to prepare us for it, even avoid it if we will listen; still, He promises to walk with us through whatever it is.

What we must remember is that this life is all about our relationship with Him. He uses whatever comes our way to get us to interact with Him. As long as we live life on our terms, avoid consulting Him, ignore Him and His direction, and relegate Him to times of desperation, we miss the point of salvation. In fact, salvation may not have happened, yet.

Jesus was quite clear that to become His disciple, we must give up everything. NOW. When He asks.

23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross [die to self] daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

When He says, “follow me,” He means like His disciples did: they left their families, their work, and their homes and went with Jesus. How many Christians have actually done that? Have you? Until that happens, we are untested. Until we are tested, we don’t truly know. Faith is a gift; it is based upon belief + action. The “gift” part is that God comes to us and says, “Do you trust me? Take My hand and come with me.” Our part is to take His hand and go with Him. It may be getting out of the boat on choppy waters; it may be into a fiery furnace; it may even be into a kangaroo court. Wherever it is, interacting with Him is worth more than ANYTHING in this world.

Forsaking All, I Trust Him.” This is the acronym of FAITH. Are you there, yet?

Abba, I know I’m preaching to the choir, but we all need to be reminded that it’s all about You and knowing You. Please continue to make Yourself known to me. If adversity, trial, and calamity are in my future, I KNOW You will carry me through them; please redeem them through Your grace by using them to refine me like silver, like fine gold. Purify my heart, O Lord. I want to be like YOU. Amen.

Proverbs 16 10-16-19

October 16, 2019

Relationships are dynamic. Parts of them change while other parts remain the same. How is your relationship with Jesus?

33 The lot is cast into the lap,
    but its every decision is from the Lord.

Casting lots was a practice in ancient times to determine God’s will in a matter. We first read about it in Exodus 28:30,

30 Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the Lord. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord.

Nowadays, we depend upon prayer to make decisions. In our prayers, we look for confirmation through the Bible, people, circumstances, and His Spirit speaking to our spirit. We trust in the Overall Plan of God:

  1. God’s goal for us is NOT to make us happy, but to make us holy like Him. He knows that our holiness will ultimately make us the happiest.
  2. He wants us with Him. Our deaths are a blessing in that we shed these Old-Testament bodies and receive our New, glorified bodies, ones in which we can stand before His presence whole and complete–finally!
  3. His plans for us here on this earth are the vehicle He uses to interact with us. THIS IS KEY. It’s not so much about our success in doing what He asks as it is interacting with Him.

For instance: You wake up on any given morning not feeling spiritual. You want all the things you can’t have; you are self-centered and grouchy; you seem to shun anything that will help; you are NOT interested in a quiet time with the LORD. Been there? Me, too!

What do we do? We relax. We try not to act out of this mindset. Instead, we turn to our LORD and say, “Lord, I don’t feel spiritual today. I know You love me anyway. Please change my attitude.” In praying this prayer, we:

  1. Confess to Him the truth, which He already knows.
  2. We acknowledge His undying, unwavering love for us.
  3. We ask for help.

Now, we wait upon Him. He will guide our next steps. Whether it’s going back to bed, drinking another cup of coffee, turning on some uplifting music, watching a favorite preacher on YouTube, reading a favorite psalm, or even setting our minds on what is needed and pressing through our funk, we trust that His Spirit is leading us and healing us.

Another thing we must remember is that our knowledge is limited and its direction will change with what we are learning at any given time. For instance, many times, my emphasis waffles between God’s sovereignty and election of the saints and His desire for us to choose Him. I find a verse that leads me down a path only to find another verse that leads me in a different direction. Am I sinning to think wrongly for so long and then find a deeper truth? I don’t think so. As long as I love God and trust that He loves me, that I converse with Him constantly and listen for His voice in others, in His Word, in my spirit, and in circumstances, I KNOW that we are good. I know that I have a lot to learn and that much of it will be learned on the other side of life.

Let’s keep the main thing the main thing: Our interaction with the Spirit is Paramount. Stay in contact with Him ALL THE TIME. The writer of Hebrews said it this way:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Paul said, Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory [our promise that everything will turn out fine]. Col. 3:-4

Abba, I know I’ll never be on this earth what You have in store for me in heaven. That’s the point of heaven. May I make our relationship, our interaction, my highest priority. I know that even if I don’t do things perfectly, I will be obedient to Your Spirit, and that’s enough for me. My goal is not to be perfect, but to be filled with You: Your love, joy and peace, Your patience, kindness and goodness, Your faithfulness, gentleness and Your self-control, Your righteousness and Your truth. Fill me with thankfulness, Lord. May I bask in Your mercy and grace. Amen.

Proverbs 15 10-15-19

October 15, 2019

What does it take to have a discerning heart? It takes awareness, which can only be given by the Holy Spirit.

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

The Holy Spirit comes to us and invites us to become God’s children and to join His family. By accepting Him, we place ourselves under His protection and His leadership. This connection is what Christianity is all about!

Jesus asked for my heart one day. I was six years old. My best friend, Mindy, had recently trusted Him. Her decision prompted me to start paying attention. I know now that His Spirit was using Mindy to get my attention.

I have walked with Him for 52 years now. I don’t really remember the part of my life when I didn’t know Him. Even then, I was learning about Him thanks to my Mom and Dad. For someone to say that He isn’t real is ludicrous to me.

At the same time, how can I relate to someone who doesn’t know the Lord personally how it feels to have Him in my life? I can’t, really. Jesus has to make Himself known. Just like He did to me. God used Wendy’s testimony to get my attention. He will use our testimonies to reach out to others, too. It’s all part of His plan.

I DO know this:

BECAUSE Jesus lives in my heart and converses with me constantly, I trust the verses in the Bible that talk about His resurrection. His Spirit bears witness with my spirit.

BECAUSE I believe in His resurrection, I understand His mission on the cross. He not only reopened the door to heaven, He blew it off its hinges!

BECAUSE I believe His mission, I read the New Testament to study His life to learn how God really feels about us, about sin, and about how we treat each other while learning how we are to treat each other.

BECAUSE I learn about Jesus’ life by reading the accounts of the men (and possibly women who helped with the narratives of Luke and John) who walked with Him, I want to know all that led up to His Coming, which is what the Old Testament is all about!

BECAUSE I have read in the OT of the interaction of God with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Ruth, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Josiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Mary, and many others, it verifies in my soul my belief in Him and God’s interaction with me. Since Eden, it has been His goal to live in us!

BECAUSE I believe in Him and His goal, having experienced it for 52 years now, I believe in a literal Genesis 1-11. There is NO OTHER WAY for things to happen and come out with the same result: Christ in me, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).

The fun part is that everyday (it seems) I learn something new of how science confirms the Bible. It’s like God saved all these great discoveries for our generation. I guess He knew we would need them, huh?

Abba, thank You for Mindy’s willingness to share her testimony with me. Thank You for speaking to me through her. Thank You for making Your presence so real in my life. Thank You showed me early in my life that a consistent and daily time with You is essential to my walk with You. Thank You for being my Guide. I look forward to being with You face to face someday. Amen.

Proverbs 14 10-14-19

October 14, 2019

“Live once, die twice. Live twice, die once.” – Ken Ham

12 There is a way that appears to be right,
    but in the end it leads to death.

The way that leads to death is our own way. It’s the way of our own choosing with no regard for God, His sacrifice for us, or His way of salvation. To live only once is to live without ever being born again. When a person dies in this condition, he is condemned–by his own inaction or defiance–to the second death, the lake of fire, which wasn’t even created for humans (see Matthew 25:41 and Revelation 20:14)!

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. John 3:3, 5-6

15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15

The decision is not up to the Father, but up to each individual. Jesus said that there is only one unforgivable sin, and that is the denial of the Holy Spirit unto salvation.

31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Since it is the Spirit who is Jesus in us, by Whom we are sealed unto the day of salvation, our Deposit, our Guide, and our Taste of what is to come, it makes sense that a person who denies the Spirit entry into their lives cannot be born again and therefore cannot be saved. It is the entry of the Holy Spirit that gives us salvation. Jesus said, “Spirit gives birth to spirit.” A person lives twice through rebirth by the Spirit.

Jesus tells us in His letter to the church in Smyrna that a person who is born again cannot be hurt by the second death:

11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.

Ken was correct: Those who are born once die twice, but those who are born again in Christ Jesus through His Spirit die only once. The question is, where are YOU in the process?

Abba, I pray for all who read this blog that they would examine their hearts and give their lives to You, O Lord. May they be born again in Your Spirit as You come and reign in their hearts. I know that walking with You wipes away the fear of dying because I do not have to fear the second death. When I die, I get to be with You forever! Thank You for calling me to walk with You early in my life. It has been grand!!! I pray I will be faithful to You until the day You call me home. Amen.

Proverbs 13 10-13-19

October 13, 2019

Is there such thing as mutually opposing truths? No. One is right and the other is wrong. But how can one tell the difference?

16 All who are prudent act with knowledge,
    but fools expose their folly.

Truth- objectively; universally, what is true in any matter under consideration Lexicon

Concerning truth, we have two choices:

  1. God’s Word, which is based upon historical fact, eye-witness accounts, archeological facts, and personal experience by believers throughout time;
  2. Man’s word, which is based upon feelings and desires, fed by the lies of Satan and his horde–unless, of course, one doesn’t believe in the spirit world. One might notice that I didn’t list archeological fact. The fact of the matter is that there is no evidence for an old earth nor an old universe. No one was there to testify to it; no testing can be done to verify it; all of the data can also be interpreted from a new-earth perspective; there is much data to prove the Great Flood really happened, which pretty much “washes out” the old-earth theory.

Why does it make a difference? It goes like this:

IF the world was not created by God in a literal six days and dinosaurs lived millions of years ago with man evolving over millions of years from an amoeba to human, then life is built on death; death did NOT enter through the “sin” of Adam, and Jesus’ premise for His saving act on the cross was built on a mistaken notion–if not a lie and deception.

IF Christ did NOT die in our place on the cross and rise again to give us new life, then we have nothing awaiting us beyond the grave.

IF we are not created by God, but by random chance, then we are mindless and cannot rationalize at all. The thoughts I am writing right now are random impulses running through my brain and just happen to be coming out my fingers on this keyboard.

IF we are from amoebas, then there is no morality, but survival of the fittest. Anything goes. It’s the golden rule: He who owns the gold makes the rules. Another motto is: Might Makes Right.

But, IF the universe was created by God,

IF God made the world and everything in it in six literal days,

IF He made mankind in His image and gave him free will,

IF Adam sinned and we with (in) him, thus requiring a Savior,

IF Jesus Christ is the last Adam, the One who gave Himself for us and died in our place,

IF He rose again on the third day thus proving that He is God and that there IS life after death,

IF He offers us eternal life in exchange for the lies, the deceptions, the rags, and the filth of our sin,

IF we receive His gift of salvation by giving Him our lives and trusting in Him from now on,

THEN what Jesus said is true: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

There are two kinds of knowledge:

  1. Tangible, testable knowledge, which can be tested and proven;
  2. Experiential knowledge, which is experienced by individuals and moves beyond the tangible to the known. One cannot argue against experience, unless, of course, he can prove that the experience was a deception. But, that knife cuts both ways. If one tries to prove that Christians made up their salvation experience and our daily walk with God, he opens himself up to be shown that Satan has deceived him into believing the lie about Evolution.

If a person looks at the facts from a purely scientific perspective, one of investigative neutrality, he will find much more evidence FOR the Bible than against it. The problem lies in the fact that people who don’t WANT to believe in God cannot afford to look at the question neutrally, because once they do, then they must admit there is God, and once they do that, then they must answer to Him as their Creator, which they don’t want to do (the true reason for their resistance).

I believe that the Bible is literally true for two reasons. The first is that I follow archeological, biological, historical, and other scientific finds and they ALL prove the Bible’s claims. The second is that I have personally MET the Savior; He now lives in me and we converse constantly.* He is my BEST FRIEND even while being my God.

Oh, Abba, if people could just let go of their fear, their arrogance, and their sin for just a moment and experience what it’s like to know You personally, they would NEVER go back! I know I didn’t. May You move mightily in our families, our churches, and in our world to call those who will listen. I know that You are patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but for everyone to come to repentance.** May Your will be done, my LORD. Amen.

*Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”

**The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Proverbs 12 10-13-19

October 12, 2019

There is a “secret” that is so obvious people miss it all the time! It has to do with intention rather than productivity.

No one can be established through wickedness,
    but the righteous cannot be uprooted.

We tend to brand certain things as “wicked,” others as “godly,” and the rest as “neutral.” Actually, everything that is not godly is wicked. God created us for fellowship, which means that everything we do with Him is godly. Antithetically, everything done without regard for Him or His opinion is wicked. NOW the verse begins to make a bit more sense. If we are walking in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25), then we cannot be uprooted, whereas a person who walks either without the Spirit or out of step with the Spirit cannot be established.

Uprooted from what? Established in what? Here is what Paul prayed for the Ephesians:

16 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 Lord’s holy people, 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 of all the fullness of God.

Here is what he told the Colossians:

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

The early Christians didn’t have Bibles that they could carry around, so we can surmise that it’s not necessarily the reading of Scripture that is this secret. We must look at the intent of their lives. Looking at the above verses, let’s ask ourselves some questions:

  1. How does the Spirit strengthen us with power?
  2. How are we rooted and established in love?
  3. How can we grasp the entirety of the love of Christ?
  4. How can we know this love?
  5. How can we be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God?
  6. How do we continue to live our lives in Him?
  7. How are we rooted and built up in Him?
  8. How are we strengthened in the faith?
  9. How do we overflow with thankfulness?

The answers lie in this secret: Fellowship with Him. We must intentionally focus on BEING WITH HIM. His ways are more caught than taught. His disciples didn’t attend a school once a day where Jesus was the teacher and then go home. NO! They walked with Him and lived with Him. He taught them as they went along. They CAUGHT His love and mercy, His tender compassion, and His mission as He taught the people, fed them and healed them. He even died for them.

After He had risen, He did something extraordinary: He came to live in each disciple! He lives in us, too!!! Rather than being all caught up in living a certain way, let’s focus on walking with Him through today. Let’s read His Word to hear His voice. Let’s attune our ears to His frequency by filtering out as many worldly voices as we can. When we talk to Him, let’s expect to hear from Him. It probably won’t be audible, but we KNOW it when we “hear” it.

Granted, the more we read His words, the more clearly we hear His voice. The more we obey His commands, the better we understand His plan and intentions. We “get it.” Holiness is Christ With Us. Let’s be holy today.

Abba, may each of us come to know You better as we read the Scriptures. May we focus on You instead of being obedient, which will come by being with You and listening to You. “You are our rock, our shield, our fortress, our salvation and our strength.” May we lean on You even as we walk with You today. Amen.

Proverbs 11 10-11-19

October 11, 2019

Making our lives all about Christ–is that your goal? The Spirit within us urges us to make life all about Him.

The righteousness of the upright will direct his way, but the wicked will fall by his own wickedness. The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but transgressors will be taken by their schemes.

What we chronically forget is that we don’t live in a vacuum. Our position is not clinical. We have the Lord drawing us on one side and the devil pulling us on the other. Our own sin nature tends to lean toward the devil’s side while our new nature, Christ in us, counsels us to imitate Jesus.

I see two outcomes:

  1. If we succumb to evil and our own nature, then we must live with the consequences either in this live or the next–or both.
  2. If we answer the call of the Spirit within us, then we reap the benefits and fruit of righteousness. We become a little bit more like Him. We experience His love, His joy, His peace; we gain patience, kindness, goodness, and we become faithful and gentle, even as we increase in self-control. We learn truth and practice righteousness.

Paul expressed this process in this way:

21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

Randy Lind, our state Music Director, shared the anecdote about texting the song, “I Love to Tell the Story,” and his predictive text changing it to “I Live to Tell the Story.” He looked down and realized that the predictive text version was more accurate than the real title!

We must ask ourselves this question, “Is my goal to please myself or to please my Lord?” This question plays a part in every decision we make. If we have truly given our heart and life to Jesus, then we want what He wants. If we are still resistant to the Spirit and what Jesus wants, we need to take the test in 2 Corinthians:

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 2 Corinthians 13:5

We who are in Christ:

  1. Are sanctified by Him. John 17:19
  2. Are being conformed into His image. Romans 8:29
  3. Are being transformed into His likeness. 2 Corinthians 3:18
  4. Are being renewed inwardly day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16
  5. Are having Christ formed in us. Galatians 4:19
  6. Are being renewed in the image of our Creator. Colossians 3:10
  7. Are being strengthened by His power through His Spirit in our inner being. Ephesians 3:16
  8. Are having our needs met according to God’s glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
  9. Participate in the divine nature by living according to His very great and precious promises, thus escaping the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1:3-4
  10. Have the glorious riches of the mystery of Christ in us so that through us He might make this mystery known to the world. Colossians 1:27

NOTE: If you don’t have these verses highlighted and linked, it would be a good thing to do.

Abba, You have invested so much in me. I want to give back to You all I can. Even THAT takes You working in and through me! Have Your way in me, O Lord. I want all to know that Christ lives in me! Amen.

Proverbs 10 10-10-19

October 10, 2019

About what do you think most of the day? Turn it into a conversation with God. We will find out real quick if it’s godly or not!

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
    but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.

Integrity is who we are when no one else is around; it’s just us and the Lord. It’s supposed to be a time of fellowship with Him. Instead, our flesh rears its ugly head and demands that we “take advantage of this time to do what we want.” For instance, watching questionable movies and inappropriate things on the internet can be addictive.

How do we combat these often overwhelming feelings that draw us into sin? We turn to the Word of God. Paul gave us a mandate, we could even call it a formula, for right living:

12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

I used to think that there are three attitudes in this verse. I now see six:

Be joyful–full of His joy, which comes from our acknowledgement of His presence.

Be hopeful–full of the knowledge of what is to come and what He has promised, including strength to overcome temptation.

Be patient–willing to absorb whatever is coming our way and turning it into a blessing for us and for them (we give it to the Father and He gives it back to us as a blessing).

Be afflicted–realize that we NEED the struggle in order to know what is right and what is wrong. It’s how we become like God. It’s how He wants us to grow to be like Him. David recognized this truth: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.” “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” Psalm 119:67, 71. Isaiah did, too: 20 Although the Lord gives you [allows in our lives] the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them [adversity and affliction ARE our teachers].21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you [the Holy Spirit], saying, “This is the way; walk in it.

Faithful–trusting that God knows what He is doing by allowing such trial and tribulation in our lives. “Do you trust Me?” is the question He asks of us each day, and often several times a day.

Prayerful–staying in constant contact with our Lord. It’s what our salvation is all about!

Such a simple verse, but chocked full of meaning. May we commit it to memory and live by it daily.

Abba, I thank You for bringing this verse to my attention today. Even though I read it weekly on one of my cards and among several other verses, You emphasized it today. May I take it to heart and live by it. Teach me to be joyful, hopeful, patient in affliction, faithful, and prayerful. I want to hear Your voice behind me, even in me, directing me in the way I should go. Thank you, Lord, for living in me! Amen.

Proverbs 9 10-9-19

October 9, 2019

How long will we be content with being spoon-fed by the Holy Spirit? At some point, we need to “man up” and be proactive.

Wisdom has built her house;
    she has set up [hewn out] its seven pillars.

God has done His part. He has given us a wonderful foundation in His spoken Word. I look to the first chapter of Proverbs for the seven pillars: Wisdom, instruction, understanding, insight, discernment, prudence and instruction.

She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine;
    she has also set her table.

I liken this verse to the Holy Spirit’s interaction with us. What He shares with us is always pertinent and on-target. It’s our daily sustenance.

She has sent out her servants, and she calls
    from the highest point of the city,
    “Let all who are simple come to my house!”

I see this verse as our call to walk with Him, to grow up spiritually and to take on the mantle of responsibility. The call to wisdom is a call to maturity, one that is gained by setting aside childish thoughts, feelings, and habits and putting on the deeper ways of Christ.

To those who have no sense she says,
    “Come, eat my food
    and drink the wine I have mixed.
Leave your simple ways and you will live;
    walk in the way of insight.”

It’s a daily walk with Him–but it’s much more than that! It’s turning to Him for EVERY decision, for every step we take. We must give ourselves over to Him every time we are  tempted to make a choice ourselves. We must learn all we can in preparation so that we will know–specifically at best, generally at least–what the Holy Spirit desires of us and for us.

Since His Spirit will NEVER contradict the original text of the Bible*, we can trust what the Bible says as long as we ask Him for the correct interpretation of the words, the circumstances, and the timing.

The best passage for us this morning is 2 Timothy 3:16-17,

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

What most people don’t realize is that Paul was referring to the OLD TESTAMENT! The New Testament had not been written yet. The NT is our template, our “overlay,” for how we read the OT. For us, Christ is on every page and in every story. We see the Scarlet Thread (of His blood and sacrifice) beginning with Genesis 3:15 and running all the way to Malachi 4:5-6.

I wish there was a way to goad people into reading the Bible and taking it seriously. But, even the Holy Spirit doesn’t work that way. He invites us, He calls us, He woos us to join Him. He is the perfect Gentleman; He will never force His way into our hearts and lives. He WILL ask, though, and right now He is asking us to join Him at His table.

Abba, I SO want to join You at Your table, but I am in desperate need of a spiritual bath. I feel unclean. Thank You that in the blood of Jesus I am made new and whole and clean! Thank You that it is not up to me to clean myself up; that’s Your job, and You do it with rejoicing. May I take You seriously ALL THE TIME so that You can work through me. I want to be a willing and useful conduit for You, O Lord. Amen.

*The English language will never be able to completely relate the original Hebrew meaning and context of the Scriptures. We must depend upon Him to reveal to us what He wants us to know.

Proverbs 8 10-8-19

October 8, 2019

Finding life: it’s the ultimate goal. Physically, we have it; spiritually, we need it. Jesus gives us His life in abundance!

(35) For those who find me find life and receive favor from the LORD.

We discussed the other day what happens when we die. We determined that God is eternal and wants us to live eternally with Him. We saw that sin gets in the way and must be dealt with in order to re-establish our connection and close fellowship with God. Now, let’s look at what is in store for every Christian when he dies.

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by lifeNow the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him,whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 2 Corinthians 5:1-9

What do we find in this passage?

  1. We live in an earthly tent. It’s not permanent. Our bodies will grow old and die. Sin brought death into this life, but Jesus offers us eternal life in Him–or better, Him in us!
  2. We have a heavenly dwelling place build by Jesus Himself (see John 14:1-3) and we have heavenly bodies made in His heavenly image. “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” “Just as we have borne the image of the earthly man [Adam], so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man [Jesus].” 1 Corinthians 15:44b, 49
  3. The physical ailments of these earthly bodies of ours reminds us of our heavenly bodies and we long for them. The older I get, the more I am ready for that new body!
  4. Mortality will be swallowed up by immortality! This is the promise of salvation.
  5. We have been fashioned through salvation to live with God forever. Currently, He lives in us through Jesus and His Spirit. Soon, we will go to be with Him, thus leaving this old covenant body and the corrupted world behind.
  6. In the meantime, His Spirit within us is our promise, His pledge, our deposit, His “trust money,” that what He says will happen WILL HAPPEN.
  7. While we are here on earth, we live by faith. Soon, we will leave this earth and live through experience, and this is what the child of God prefers!
  8. Either way, we make it our goal to please Him by being pleasing to Him. What is required to please Him? To believe in Him, His Plan, and His Promise. How do we express our belief? Through obedience. It’s how we demonstrate to Him that we really do believe Him.

In Revelation, Jesus gives letters to seven churches. These churches were real churches, but they were also representative of all churches throughout the ages. At the end of each letter, Jesus gives a promise for the faithful:

Ephesus- Jesus will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. 2:7

Smyrna- He who is victorious (faithful) will not be hurt at all by the second death. 2:11

Pergamum- To the victorious, He will give some of the hidden manna. He will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it known only to the one who receives it. 2:17

Thyatira- To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations…just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star. 2:26-28

Sardis- We will be dressed in white. Our names will never be blotted out from the book of life, but will be acknowledged before the Father and his angels. 3:5

Philadelphia- We will receive a crown. We will be a “pillar in the temple of God.” We will never be made to leave it. He will write on us His name and the name of His city, the new Jerusalem, and Jesus’ new name (something NEW is coming!). 3:11-12

Laodicea- We will sit with Him on His throne (we will share it somehow). 3:21

Exciting times, folks! We have MUCH to which to look forward. Let’s believe it and receive it, name it and claim it. Let’s live for Jesus TODAY!

Dear Lord Jesus, I am reminded once again that my eyes have not seen, nor my ears heard, nor has it even entered into my mind and heart what You have in store for us! May I show You through my obedience to Your Spirit that I believe You. May Your will be done through me today, my LORD. Amen.

Proverbs 7 10-7-19

October 7, 2019

We have been told what to do to ensure faithfulness. The question is, will we do it?

(3) Bind them [God’s commands] on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.

I have a small stack of Scripture cards that I go through each week. These verses are ones by which I try to live; some are doctrinal verses that remind me of who God is and who I am in relation to Him, and some are verses that deal with specific areas of my life. For instance, one by which I try to live is from James, Jesus’ brother:

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you [from your present situation as well as eternally]. James 1:19-21

Another (I read this one this morning) that deals with doctrine is from Jude, another of Jesus’ brothers:

24 To him who is able to keep you [from falling or even stumbling] and to present you before his glorious presence [to God the Father and Himself] without fault [blameless] and with great joy 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. Jude 24-25

How about you? Do you have favorite verses? Verses by which you live? Have you committed them to memory? Have you considered writing them down on cards and read them on a regular basis to remind yourself of His promises and His commands? There IS a DISCIPLINE to the victorious Christian life. Think proactively.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with personalizing verses. For instance:

Kelly, as a prisoner for the Lord, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle–I know you have a hard time with this one; be patient by having no unrealistic expectations, bearing with others in Christ’s love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace–stay connected. Ephesians 4:1-3

When we are in crisis or in temptation, Christ goes to the card file of our mind and pulls out verses that will give us confidence, direction, strength and courage in our time of need. Doesn’t it make sense to give Him MUCH with which to work rather than just a little (John 3:16 can only go so far…)?

Abba, I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ that they would create card files of Your Word–Your commands, Your words of encouragement, Your warnings, Your promises, and Your reminders of Your love for us. May we be proactive EVERYDAY concerning our walk with You. Lead us, our Eternal King. Amen.

Proverbs 6 10-6-19

October 6, 2019

This chapter ought to make us shake in our boots. Our sin nature is so strong in us that we NEED the Holy Spirit!

23 For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light,
and correction and instruction are the way to life,
24 keeping you from your neighbor’s wife,
    from the smooth talk of a wayward woman.

Whether it’s pleasure that drives a person or control, the LORD wants to save us from the devil’s traps. We are as bad as two-year-olds in a candy store; we can’t resist our impulses. How do we survive in this world?

21 Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck.
22 When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you;
    when you awake, they will speak to you.

Knowing the Word of God helps us to hear the words of God when He speaks to us. The Spirit is constantly speaking to our spirits. He is constantly running His words through our minds–if we will stop and listen to Him! The key is to mute our own voice in our minds so that we can “hear” Him speak to us. Godly thoughts don’t come naturally; they come from the Spirit in us.

Here are some things that He will say to us (from Colossians 3:1-17):

“I have raised you from death with Me, and part of you is seated with me in heaven; therefore, set your heart on My things and what I want for you.”

“Let go of the things of this earth and focus on what I have for you both in the immediate future and in the age to come.”

“You are now DEAD to the things of this world, but alive to ME and are hidden with Me in God.”

“When I appear, You will also appear with me in glory!”

“I am your Life.”

“Die to this way of life: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. My wrath will be poured out on those who give themselves to these things.”

“There are deeper things I want to help rid you, things from your old life and ways: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language. These should not come from your heart or your lips.”

“Let truth be the only thing that comes from your mouth as you put off your old self with its ungodly practices and put on your NEW SELF, which is constantly being renewed in your experiential knowledge of ME. I AM renewing you daily, hourly, minutely!”

“You are one with your brothers and sisters in Christ. You are all My family. Let me be your all in all as I bind your hearts together in My love.”

“I love you dearly and have chosen you; therefore, clothe yourself with My compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

“Just as I bear with you, bear with others and forgive them for everything. Forgive them as I have forgiven you: Completely and forever.”

“Be like me by putting on My love, which binds you all together in perfect unity.”

“Let My peace rule in your heart; I have called you to this peace. You may thank me for it. A thankful heart is easy to bless.”

“Let My message dig down deep and dwell in you richly; teach and admonish others with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to the Father with gratitude in your heart. Do this and you will experience HEAVEN!”

“As we walk through life together, may each word and deed be done in My name, My power, and on My command. You will thank Me for it.”

Dear Lord Jesus, may You whisper these verses to me all the time! I sure need them. I promise to give You thanks and to have a grateful heart. Make me like You, Lord Jesus. Amen.B

 

 

Proverbs 5 10-5-19

October 4, 2019

What happens to us when we die? This may take a couple of days, so bear with me.

(21) For your ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all your paths.

The question is, if we do not live beyond the grave, then why does it matter to God? Let’s go back to chapter 4 and look at a passage:

(18) The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, 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.

God is eternal. He is outside of time. One of His characteristics is Omnipresence, which is to be everywhere at once, including the timeline. If we follow verse 18 to its logical conclusion, it would be for the righteous to stand in His presence–outside of time, or, in eternity, which is beyond the grave.

Looking at verse 19, we see the same end for the wicked as we do with the adulterous woman in verses 3-6 of chapter 5:

(3) For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; (4) but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. (5) Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. (6) She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.

How do we know that we will live beyond the grave? Let’s go back to the beginning–I mean, the literal beginning.

(27) So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

(7) Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

We were created with a spirit, something that no other part of creation has. It is the part that is in the image of God. Solomon wrote, ““The dust [of his body] returns to the earth, just as it was, and the spirit returns to the true God who gave it.” Ecclesiastes 12:7 Our spirits are eternal just as God is eternal.

The problem comes with our choice to sin. Because of Adam, we are born without the connection to the Holy Spirit. That connection must come by individual choice. In the meantime, we do what we naturally do, we sin. If we never connect to the Holy Spirit,  we are considered wicked and go down to the grave and eventually to the lake of fire–which was not created for us, but for Satan and his horde (see Rev. 20:14-15).

We who connect with the Holy Spirit by receiving Christ’s sacrifice in our place on the cross and turning our lives completely over to Him for direction, sustenance, and life itself, are promised eternal life with Jesus in heaven–and it starts the moment the Spirit enters us!

(9) You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. (10) But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of [His] righteousness. (11) And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Romans 8:9-11

His Spirit is a deposit, a guarantee, of eternal life (2 Cor. 1:22 and 5:5).

So, what happens to us when we die? We get to go be with Jesus:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 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.” John 14:1-3

Tuesday, we will look that the passages that describe the event of dying–or, more accurately, being translated.

Abba, may we put our faith and trust in You for eternal life. May Your Spirit give us faith based on the Word, Your Word. We know it’s true because we have You living in our hearts! No one can deny our relationship with You! Our experience with You is based upon our knowledge of You. Help us to know you better and to experience You more deeply. Amen.

Proverbs 4 10-4-19

October 4, 2019

If you were to die today, how would people remember you? How much like Jesus would they say you were?

13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. – Proverbs 4:13

My heart hurts today. I lost a good friend yesterday. Mike Kennedy was 57 years old when he went to be with the LORD due to a head- on collision. His wife was also injured and is grieving along with the children. Her cousin also died in that accident. Please pray for this family and the driver of the other vehicle.

Mike took today’s scripture to heart and lived his faith everyday. He is a man who loves Jesus and now stands before Him whole and complete, singing to the LORD in the heavenly choir in his new, glorified body! Lucky fellow! We will join him one day. Mike looked a lot like Jesus!

Until then, may we guard our hearts and the instruction that the Holy Spirit gives as we follow Him.

Abba, comfort Mike’s family with Your love and peace even as they grieve the loss of Mike. Actually, we know right where he is: Standing in Your presence! Help me not be a little bit envious of him.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Proverbs 3 10-3-19

October 3, 2019

What would happen to your faith during a personal or national crisis? On what are you depending? In what or whom is your hope?

21 My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,
    preserve sound judgment and discretion;
22 they will be life for you,
    an ornament to grace your neck.
23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
    and your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
    when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
    or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the Lord will be at your side
    and will keep your foot from being snared.

At the risk of sounding pessimistic, the prosperity in which we live is precariously balanced upon a financial precipice. According to the financial gurus, we have about five years before our national debt becomes so large that we cannot even pay the interest, at which point, there are several avenues that the future might take:

  1. The market crashes and we go into a depression again;
  2. We are taken over financially by China, who–from what I understand–holds most of the notes on our loans;
  3. We default on our loans and run the risk of going to war;
  4. The government forces the tax-payers to kick in more money;
  5. The people fire everyone in Washington and start over;
  6. Any number of the above;
  7. Something entirely different that I can’t imagine.

All the more reason to put our faith and trust in the Lord and not in our finances and wealth, nor our way of life here in America. Our faith is in the fact that this world is NOT our home and we are just a-passin’ through to His new home that He is building for us.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 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. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:1-4

I love to couple this verse with one from Jesus’ prayer in John 17:

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

In the meantime, we would do well to do these things:

  1. Keep our debt to a minimum;
  2. Have at least some of our savings in something rather than paper money which is electronically accessible;
  3. Pray for our neighbors that we will be able to help them in their need and that they will turn to the Lord in the time of crisis;
  4. Prepare our church body to be a source of assistance, encouragement and hope during the crisis;
  5. Hope for the best; prepare for the worst.

You may be wondering why we would not fear disaster or ruin (from verse 25). It has to do with our security in Christ. We brought nothing into this world and we will take nothing out of it. I’ve never seen a U-haul trailer behind a hearse! All of the Egyptian pharaohs left all of their treasures behind. How do we know? Because archeologists found their stuff!

How we leave this world is not nearly as important as how we live in this world. We should live with our eyes fixed on Jesus and His ultimate plan for us. In that plan, we can now prepare to help others come to Christ, whether it’s during a national crisis or a personal one. The idea is to take our eyes off ourselves and start living as if the world will end tomorrow–because it COULD! [I told you I may sound pessimistic]

Let’s heed the words of Peter, who gave his life for the sake of the Gospel:

Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget [scientists today deliberately ignore the truth] that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly [an end is truly and surely coming].

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you [and the world], not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance [Here is our task! Let’s be about the Father’s business].

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming [how? by leading people to Christ. THAT will speed His coming]. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:3-13

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that You are waiting until Your children are gathered in. May I be one of Your gatherers, a worker in Your field. Send me, O Lord, send me. May I be ready for the day You call on me. Amen.

37 Then he [Jesus] said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:37-38

Proverbs 2 10-2-19

October 2, 2019

If we are truly His, then our desire to please Him overrides all other desires. If you are not to this place…

(10) For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

If we are not at a place in our lives where our desire to please Him is our overarching theme, then one of two things:

  1. We don’t understand the work of the Holy Spirit who lives inside us, or
  2. We don’t HAVE the Holy Spirit inside us.

Here’s the deal: It’s one thing to have the Holy Spirit but not understand how He works in our lives to make us more like Jesus, but it’s an entirely different thing to be selective about how we will serve Him and allow Him to work in our lives. I do not believe that Jesus will allow a Christian to be comfortable with the latter decision for very long.

When we tell the Holy Spirit what we will and won’t do for Jesus, He backs off and basically says, “Okay, do it your way. Let me know how it works for you.” Don’t believe me?

God mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed. Proverbs 3:34

God opposes [takes a boxer’s stance against] the proud but shows favor to the humble. James 4:6

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5b

“The greatest among you will be your servant. (12) For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:11-12

Many people have a head knowledge of salvation, but it takes committing our entire lives to Christ for Him to take residence in our hearts. My own opinion is that He stands at the threshold of our heart’s door with His hand out, waiting for us to give Him the deed to our house and the master key to every door. We may not even KNOW every door in our hearts, but He wants the master key and the right to enter any door at any time. Only then will He come in and “eat with us and us with Him (Rev. 3:20).”

If Christ is indeed in your heart, then you would do well to “submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil [and his lies about your own elevated position] and he will flee from you. (8) Come near to God [humbly and repentantly] and he will come near to you [and love on you]. Wash your hands, you [still resistant] sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded [those who think you can have Christ without giving Him everything]. (9) Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom [realize just how serious your condition is!]. (10) Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord [the crux of the matter], and he will lift you up [what a promise!]. James 4:8-10

Knowing that Christ is in us and that we have given him everything, we know that His “His wisdom will enter our hearts and His knowledge will be pleasant to our souls.” And, we have this promise to which to look forward:

…may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 13:21b

Lord, I give You my life today. I know I gave it to You yesterday, but yesterday’s gone; nor is it tomorrow, yet, so I can’t give you tomorrow. I have only today to offer You. What’s nice is that giving You TODAY is all You ask! It’s why I like inserting the word “today” in the middle of Matthew 6:33 basing it on verse 34*. You are, indeed, humble and gentle of heart; I do NOT want you to take a boxer’s stance against me! Work in me what is pleasing to You, O Lord. Amen.

*“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness [today], and all these things will be given to you as well [as you need them TODAY]. (34) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:33-34

Proverbs 1 10-1-19

October 1, 2019

Coasting-we don’t get that luxury. If we are not moving forward spiritually, then we are drifting backward.

(20) Out in the open wisdom [continually] calls aloud, she raises her voice [continually] in the public square; (21) on top of the [city] wall she [continually] cries out, at the city gate she [continually] makes her speech:

The Spirit is continuously speaking to us. He doesn’t wait for us to talk to Him; He is constantly speaking to us words of wisdom and insight. He is making Himself known to us through His creation and through His Spirit. Take a look:

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

 16 The Spirit himself testifies [bears witness] with our spirit that we are God’s children.

17 The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Note: This verse is OT and speaks of a time to come. That time came with Jesus Christ who joined us to Israel by destroying the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, between Israel and Gentiles (Eph. 3:11-22). We claim this verse because we are now part of Israel!

God is Ever-Present (Omnipresent). He always works in the NOW. He is calling to us even now! Let’s not take a break from listening for and hearing (heeding) His Spirit. Instead, let’s “encourage one another daily, as long as it is called“Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13

One more thing: Even though I am encouraging you to talk to God and read His Word, don’t let me talk you into anything. You do it because He has called you and you are answering His Spirit. Do it because you want to. If we can be talked into something, then we can be talked out of it. Head knowledge is not enough; we need to experience God on a personal basis with our hearts. Jesus needs to LIVE in our hearts!

What happens to a young person when he goes to a state college? He is hit from all sides with Evolution and Atheism. He will conclude one of two things.

  1. If he has a solid faith that is based upon a personal relationship with Jesus, he will survive spiritually.
  2. If he has a solid faith PLUS good grounding in the Word of God and the truth of Genesis 1-11 (plus the rest of the Bible), he will find like-minded believers and actually prosper.
  3. If he has only a head knowledge of salvation, if the Spirit doesn’t reside in his heart and does not bear witness that he is a child of God, then he will be converted to atheism and recant his salvation and belief in the Bible and God.

We need more than just a “the Bible tells me so” faith. We need:

  1. Relationship- A genuine relationship with God through Jesus Christ via His Holy Spirit;
  2. Foundation- Proper grounding in the truths of the Bible based upon archeology, history, astronomy, biology, physiology, sociology, and science in general.

RELATIONSHIP + FOUNDATION = SOLID FAITH

NOW we understand why we have Sunday School and Life 101. NOW we know why we are to read God’s Word everyday and follow His leading. As we go, people will ask us the reason for our faith. We are NOW able and ready to tell them. Peter said it best:

15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed [convicted by the Spirit] of their slander.

Abba, I ask that You drive deep in our hearts a love for Your Word. Give us a thirst for knowledge that validates and verifies the truth of its history and its message. May we take seriously the upbringing of our young people so that they are prepared to meet the enemy head-on. In fact, I pray that for ALL our people! Give us courage; give us strength; give us faith, O LORD! Amen.

 

Proverbs 30 9-30-19

September 30, 2019

Honoring the Sabbath has a different meaning for Gentiles, but it doesn’t mean we get to skip taking one.

(1b) “I am weary, God, but I can prevail.”

Agur called out to God in his weariness. We are to do the same. In fact, God designed us to need a day of rest each week. The question is, are we taking it?

God created the heavens and the earth in a literal six days. He then rested on the seventh and proclaimed it as a sabbath, holy unto the Lord (Gen. 2:3). In the Sinai Covenant, He commanded the Israelites to keep the sabbath each week.

‘Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11

Gentiles have been released from keeping sabbaths (Romans 14:5-6), but it doesn’t change the fact that we humans are wired to need rest every so often. Just as we need sleep everyday, our bodies need a chance to recharge weekly. Most Christians set aside Sunday to rest from work. Well, that doesn’t work for me. I must find time during the week, usually on Friday or Saturday, to rest.

How about you? Do you have a set (more or less) time to rest from work each week? It’s important.

Another point is play. We need to play. Whether it’s a physical game, an activity, or a sport, we need physical activity that is fun. As in all things, we can go overboard with this one. Moderation is the key (see 1 Cor. 6:12).

There is one thing that we need EVERY DAY and that is spiritual nourishment from the Word of God. Taking a “break” from reading our Bibles is like negative fasting. Fasting is designed to do without real food so that we can concentrate on spiritual food. Negative fasting would be the opposite and have the opposite effect. BAD MOVE. Let’s make sure that we are partaking of spiritual food from the table of Christ everyday. It’s why we read Proverbs daily!

Abba, I didn’t get a chance to rest this past weekend. I ask that You give me opportunities to catch up sometime during the next couple of days. Restore my soul, O LORD. Amen.

Proverbs 29 9-29-19

September 29, 2019

We’re going to church today. Let’s make sure our lives match up to our words of praise. We wouldn’t want to be hypocritical, would we?

(5) Those who flatter their neighbors are spreading nets for their feet.

This verse deals with ulterior motives. What is it we truly want? What are we really wanting to accomplish? If we direct this verse toward God, do we go to church for the right reasons? What ARE some of those reasons?

  1. To worship corporately, bringing Him praise and adoration while lifting up the name of our God and His Son, Jesus Christ, through the uniting power of the Holy Spirit;
  2. To sit under sound teaching, being encouraged in our daily walk;
  3. To fellowship with other believers and to bear each other up in prayer and in life;
  4. To unite with other Christians around the world in solidarity for the name of Christ;
  5. To be empowered to be evangelical in our walk with Christ, displaying Christ in our lives and taking opportunities as they come to be witnesses for Him.

I’m sure there are others, but these are the ones that came to my mind. The question is, are we going to church for the right reasons? Let’s look at some of the wrong reasons that some people go to church:

  1. To see and be seen. It’s a good business move;
  2. Guilt. We were raised to go and we feel guilty if we don’t;
  3. Status. We want to be considered pillars of the community.
  4. Power and influence. We can wield power over others through manipulation and control using the Word of God and personality.
  5. To obtain God’s favor–little knowing that in Christ they already have it!

Here again, the list can be longer, but these are the obvious ones. We don’t realize that by not examining ourselves, we could be flattering the LORD without realizing it. Flattery means, “insincere praise.” Is THAT why we go to church? Certainly not–I hope!

We would do well to let this verse be our “Sunday Mandate:”

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test? 2 Corinthians 13:5

We can use the above lists to make sure that we are going to church for the right reasons. We need attitudes of thanksgiving and gratitude. Even in sorrow, we gain solace in knowing that He is in control and that He gives mercy and grace in our time of need.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace [together] with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Abba, as we meet in Your name today, may we keep in mind that we are there to give You glory, to learn, to lift each other up, and to fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. May we set aside anything that would bring disunity to the body, whether it be attitudes or expectations, history or its lack (not knowing someone). May we be Christ to each other; in this way, we learn to be Christ to others outside of our church family. Bless us today, O LORD, as we meet together and join those already around Your throne. Amen.

 

Proverbs 28 9-28-19

September 28, 2019

Trying to do things on our own is how we got into our sinful condition in the first place. Quit trying. Start depending.

(14) Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.

(26) Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.

We were NEVER meant to do this life on our own. Now, with sin rampant, our bodies tainted with the sin nature, and with demons residing and presiding on this planet, we CANNOT do this life on our own! WE NEED HIS SPIRIT! We need Him with us, in us, going ahead of us, coming behind us, walking beside us, and planning for us, talking to us, instructing us, chiding us, encouraging us, and giving us hope.

The Spirit-filled life is spelled out for us in Romans 8:1-17. Let’s look at the New Living Translation:

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

We no longer fear condemnation. When we hear in our heads/hearts condemning phrases like, “You’ll never measure up,” “You’re a failure,” or, “You’ll always be a disappointment to God,” know that they are from the enemy. God doesn’t condemn; He convicts with words like, “You chose poorly this time; I love you and want the best for you, so listen to me next time and make the better choice. Let’s do this together!”

 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

People who don’t know Christ do not realize their condition: At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. Titus 3:3 Were it not for the Spirit of Christ coming into our hearts and making us alive spiritually (Eph. 2:5), we would still be dead in our sins and headed to hell even while living hell on earth because of our sinful nature. But when the kindness and love of God [Jesus Christ] appeared [to us in human form-Phil. 2:6-10], he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. We will read something similar to this in a minute.

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

We cannot think like God on our own. We need Him to enlighten us by His Spirit. Likewise, we cannot please God on our own. We need Him to empower us by His Spirit.

But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

Relinquishing control to the Spirit is something we must consciously do daily–hourly, even constantly. We rest in the knowledge that He will keep us in this life and beyond death–we will live with Christ in heaven!

12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

The fight inside is our confirmation of our salvation, for the Holy Spirit guides us even as our flesh pulls us in another direction. As children of God, we MUST allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit of God.

15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

The good news: We have been adopted into God’s family and are co-heirs with Jesus Christ (I’m not at all sure what we are inheriting, but I know it’s gonna be good!).

The bad news: We must suffer in this world because of our sinful nature. We struggle each day between doing what the Spirit is leading us to do and what we want to do in the flesh. We suffer the consequences of other people’s bad choices because they either don’t have the Spirit, or because they are not listening to Him. We must weather these bodies as they grow old and die. Growing old is not for the faint of heart!

Paul, who spent time in heaven with Jesus and had the entire Plan laid out before him (see 2 Corinthians 12:1-10), tells us in the next verse:

18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.

This verse is my banner verse. It proclaims that nothing on this earth compares to what is ahead in glory. Let’s keep our “prize” in mind as we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

Lord, You have so much in store for us. There is so much You want for us now, too. It’s all wrapped up in our relationship with You. Knowledge, insight, and understanding are key to knowing You, knowing what to do next, and knowing what is to come. Help me to lean more and more on Your Spirit for these things. May I revel in our connection, O Lord. “Speak, Lord, Your servant listens (1 Sam.  3:10).” Amen.

 

 

Proverbs 27 9-27-19

September 27, 2019

Have you ever noticed that our temptation to sin is at a crossroad? Satan knows what he’s doing!

(19) As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.

If we want to know what is really important to a person, just look at his life. His priorities will tell the tale. Each decision we make moves us in one direction or another.

(18) The one who guards a fig tree will eat its fruit, and whoever protects their master will be honored.

We guard what is important to us. It becomes a priority. Hence, we are known by our deeds just as a tree is known by its fruit (Jesus-Matt. 7:20). We could easily substitute “master” with “boss,” “marriage,” “mind,” etc. We protect what is important to us.

(11) Be wise, my son [child], and bring joy to my heart; then I can answer anyone who treats me with contempt [when someone speaks against the LORD, He can use us as trophies of His grace and examples of His goodness and kindness].

This verse is the Lord’s exhortation to us to make Him a priority in our lives. We bring joy to His heart when we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and with all our strength (Mark 12:30). Satan knows this and works to disrupt and destroy our fellowship with the Lord.

Does sacrifice bring joy to God’s heart? Only when it is accompanied by a heart that is broken over sin and is contrite (repentant) about it. Consider these verses:
22 “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. Psalm 51:16-17
6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6 [Jesus quoted this verse twice: Matthew 9:13 and 12:7]
8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

As we can see, God is much more interested in our relationship with Him than He is our sacrifice to Him. When we choose to spend time with the LORD in His Word and in prayer, when we choose to fellowship with other believers, when we give up anything that causes us to worship anything or anyone other than our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ, we have, indeed, made our sacrifice to Him. We don’t get to choose what that sacrifice is; He does that through circumstances. If we are walking with Him, then our choices will be made for us by virtue of where He leads.

Jesus had just made a stunning statement to His wannabe disciples:

“Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” John 6:53

Now, WE KNOW that He was making a metaphoric statement about His flesh being His body, which was the final sacrifice for our sin and was nailed to the cross, and His blood being the final sacrifice for our forgiveness that was poured out on that cross. They just wanted something to eat. So they turned away.

Jesus turned to His twelve disciples and asked them, 66 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Peter answered for all of them and for all of us: 67 Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 68 “We have come to believe that you are the Holy One of God.”

Peter’s answer is why we get up in the morning and meet with the Lord. It’s why we listen to Him constantly and consistently throughout the day. It’s why we desire to be like Him rather than please our momentary desires. It’s why we fight temptation and work to be holy. We drink from His “living water” that He has given us and has become in us “a spring of water welling up to eternal life (John 4:14).” We live for Him because He is worth living for!* May we, indeed, live for Him today.

Abba, I pray that these verses will inspire the readers to seek Your face and Your fellowship. It’s what You desire most. I know that positionally, we are already pleasing to You because we are in Christ. Now, we want to take every advantage of our position in Him by paying close attention to our relationship with Him. May we guard and protect that trust with our lives. I want to be known as a man after Your own heart, even as David was. Make it so, Father God, make it so. Amen.

*Sorry for the bad grammar, Hillary. Emphasis was needed. It should have read, “We live for Him because He is worth for what we are living.” It just didn’t have the “pop” I wanted.

Proverbs 26 9-26-19

September 26, 2019

Were it not for the Holy Spirit, we would all be fools, sluggards, wise guys, meddlers, gossips, and liars!

(12) Do you see a person wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

(16) A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven people who answer discreetly.

Want to know what we are like without the Holy Spirit? Just read this chapter. It shows the natural side of our human nature. What the Holy Spirit does is He takes the unrestrained drive to control, manipulate, and conquer and makes us like Christ. He channels and focuses that energy into godly activities and godly characteristics:

  • Loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and having self-control;
  • we always want the best for people, and rejoice in their success;
  • we are sad when they are sad and when bad things happen to them (whether self-inflicted or not);
  • We do not repay evil for evil, but overcome evil with good.

A fool who realizes that he is a fool and gives his life to Jesus Christ then uses the drive that once made him a fool to please Christ (with the help of the Spirit).

The sluggard who once did only what he felt like doing (which was as little as possible) gives his life to Christ then takes that desire to please himself and places it upon Christ (with the help of the Spirit).

The meddler who once put his nose in everyone else’s business gives his life to Christ and then begins to look for ways to be Christ to others (with the help of the Spirit).

The gossip who once took great pleasure in sharing privileged information gives his life to Christ and begins to pray for those people, talking to God about them instead of others (with the help of the Spirit).

The liar who once manipulated through untrue speech gives his life to Christ and begins to take life as it comes, being truthful in every situation (with the help of the Spirit), thus gaining the trust and respect of his family and peers.

We were never intended to be unbridled, unrestrained, and unfocused. Sin has stripped mankind of its ability to be godly. The problem is that instead of recognizing what has happened, mankind has reveled in its “freedom of captivity.” They prefer the chains of sin to the yoke of Christ.

For those who have received Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are exhorted, with the major assistance of the Holy Spirit, to:

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness,righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And people wonder why we go to church–WE NEED EACH OTHER!!! We need encouragement, corporate worship, teaching, direction, example, inspiration, and sometimes rebuke, correction, and training (see 2 Tim. 3:16). Church is where we go to practice loving each other. Sometimes, it’s hard to love family. It’s still what we do, though. When it gets untenable, we pray and ask the Lord if we are free to go or if we need to stay and strive. HE directs our path.

Just remember one thing about church: It’s all about attendance. If we don’t go, we cannot participate in what God is doing through the body of Christ. “Isolated embers soon grow cold.” Or, “Isolated members soon grow mold.” Whichever. I’m not saying that we need to be there every time the doors are open. It’s just that in our hyper-mobile society, we tend to treat church as a convenience. Vacations, sleep-time, company, events, and a plethora of other things are given higher priority. Just remember that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be, also.” Matthew 6:21.

So, the question is: Where is your heart? At the ballfield? The bed? Work? Or, is it in God’s hands? If so, then we will place a high priority on being with the family of God.

Abba, I pray that all Christians will see the benefits of being part of a church, the body of believers that honors You and, therefore, each other. It’s tough, sometimes, but I learn so much about myself and about how You are working in other people’s lives when I go and participate, and I am encouraged. May we be Your hands and feet, Lord, to those around us. Give us discernment and discretion; give us wisdom and understanding; give us knowledge and prudence; give us insight into what You are achieving through Your Body, of which I am a part. Amen.

Proverbs 25 9-25-19

September 25, 2019

What we say is controlled by what we think. In order to have a “gentle tongue,” we must think grace-full thoughts.

(15) Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.

I’ve always wondered how a tongue can break a bone. Here is the verse from the Expanded Bible:

With patience you can convince a ruler, and a gentle [tender] word can get through to the hard-headed [breaks bone].

I see two things that are needed in order for this verse to happen:

  1. Time– We have to put in the time, especially if there is adversity. Sometimes it’s a good thing to pull up stakes and start fresh somewhere else. Just remember that the odds of finding exactly what we want somewhere else are not very good. We would need to put in the time there, as well, in order to affect change. Many times, we are called to stay and strive. We must believe that God has us where we are for a reason. Maybe putting in the time is the reason.
  2. Opportunity– Opportunity requires commitment over time. Trust = Time + Believable Behavior. When we get the opportunity, we must remember to use gentle, kind, soft, tender, encouraging words.

Whether it’s our spouse, kids, boss, co-workers, church family, strangers, or people we see often as we grocery shop, buy coffee, get gas, etc. it’s a good thing to demonstrate the love of Christ and the character of Christ. What is Christ’s character?

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Let’s be gentle and humble in heart today with each other. No one has time for petty offenses. Let’s love each other fiercely and prove to the world that Christ’s way is the BEST AND ONLY way to do life right!

Abba, may I heed my own advice and use gentle words. More than that, I want to think gentle thoughts about my brothers and sisters. Help me, O Lord, to see them as You do. We are all sheep in need of a Shepherd; YOU are that Shepherd. May we follow You as we practice our Christianity on each other. Amen.

TODAY is See You At the Pole. Pray for our youth around the world as they meet at the flagpoles of their schools and pray for their schools, fellow students, their country, and the advancement of the Gospel.

Proverbs 24 9-24-19

September 24, 2019

Being made in God’s image has its advantages and its disadvantages. Judging others is definitely a downside.

Whoever plots evil will be known as a schemer. The schemes of folly are sin, and people detest a mocker.

Most of us don’t consider ourselves as plotters of evil. While we don’t sit around devising schemes to steal money or kill someone, there is another form of evil that tends to infiltrate our thoughts. When we do ANYTHING that is NOT SPIRIT-DRIVEN, we are acting in our own power and our own will. We deny the Spirit’s authority in our lives and we miss His way. We may have cleaned up our actions, but our thoughts betray how far we have to go in being like Jesus.

Jesus spelled it out to us in Matthew 7,

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Here’s the thing: What is God working on in a person’s life? His past? His upbringing? His habits? His attitude? His thoughts? His words? His deeds? In other words, we don’t know. Sometimes, they don’t even know. Add to this predicament difficult circumstances and we wonder what God is doing!

We must remember that:

  1. God is sovereign, which means that He is always in control. We will NEVER fall through the cracks concerning Him and His concern for us.
  2. God created the natural laws and we live according to them. He works within those natural laws (in other words, we all die) and rarely circumvents them. He WILL work everything according to His will concerning people’s salvation, but not necessarily for our physical benefit. It usually has to do with influence and witness. In fact, He may even use our deaths to reach others for Christ. Are we willing to go there with Him?
  3. He is much more concerned with our walk with Him than us living a perfect life. We must remember that it’s all about the relationship!

When we get impatient with other brothers and sisters in Christ, we are imposing expectations* on God and them. We expect God to work on the same things in their lives that He is working on in ours. WE CANNOT DO THAT. He may be doing a much deeper work in them, in which case our expectation is unwarranted. If we persist in our judgement of them, we are into sin. In fact, we border on becoming a mocker, which has all kinds of consequences,

God opposes [takes up a boxer’s stance against] the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Proverbs 3:34 and James 4:6

The LORD detests the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. Proverbs 16:5

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

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

One of the main reasons for learning to not be judgemental is the fall-out. When our expectations are not met, then we become angry, disappointed, callous, spiteful, and eventually bitter. We shut out those people who “don’t measure up.” We hold them in contempt and speak unkindly about them and even to them. We become the very thing for which we hold them in judgement, which is unChristlikeness.

Here’s what Paul instructs us to do when we find ourselves standing in judgement of others:

(30) Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (31) [How?] Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling [fighting, both physical and verbal] and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4:30-31

That’s the removal; here’s the replacement:

(29) Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen. (32) Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:29, 32

How do we go about actually doing these things? We allow the Spirit to do it FOR us. We ask Him to flush out all ungodly thoughts and feelings. We ask Him to replace them with the joy of our salvation, the peace that He bestows upon His children, and to teach us to love as He loves, which means seeing others as He sees us: His precious children who are being groomed to reign with Him. Let’s get started today, shall we?

Abba, I pray that TODAY we might have victory in our lives concerning judgemental attitudes and having expectations of others. I’ll be first, LORD. I confess to being impatient and a bit harsh (unfiltered words) with someone(s) in my flock. I will apologize. Help me to be patient and long-suffering with them as they work through a life’s worth of history as You call them forward and upward. I pray that my brothers and sisters in Christ will have your own attitude with each other. May we be Christ to each other, LORD. Amen.

*There are three kinds of negative expectations:

  1. Unspoken-We expect the other person to intuitively know what we want.
  2. Unrealistic-What we are expecting is not logical or attainable.
  3. Unmet-We don’t get what we want–or expect–so we get angry, impatient, etc.

Proverbs 23 9-23-19

September 23, 2019

So, you’ve given your life to Christ. Are you now trying to walk in your own cleverness? You have received the Spirit! Listen to Him.

(4) …do not trust your own cleverness.

We need to learn to walk according to the Spirit and His leading rather than according to our own concepts and ideas, opinions and feelings. We have ZERO spiritual discernment, therefore it would be foolish for us to continue in life expecting to live a godly life without consulting God.

(9) Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn the wisdom of your words.

Our arrogant attitude is what got us into a sinful mess in the first place. It is the very thing that needs to change in our lives as followers of Jesus. Humility is the foundation of salvation. When we realize that we cannot please God on our own, that we cannot outwit Satan, and that we cannot even please ourselves, then we will be in a position to accept what the Spirit has to offer.

(12) Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.

The more instruction and learning we can get, the more handles the Holy Spirit has for our lives. When we study the Bible, when we read books and watch videos or listen to sermons and interviews, our minds tend to stay on the path of learning. We ponder what we have seen, read and heard, thus allowing the Spirit to interpret for us. When we put our knowledge into a godly perspective, we begin to think like God. We see from His perspective, which is what wisdom is.

Here is what God thinks of us when we are wise:

(15) My child, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad indeed; (16) my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.

Satan would have us put off any reading of the Bible or taking the time to watch a video. He will try to convince us to play secular music instead of Christian music, or music in general instead of listening to a sermon or interview. He would rather we read the newspaper or play a game than read God’s Word.

So, the question is: Who are we trying to please? Is our happiness first on our list? Or, have we crucified ourselves with Christ on the cross and now live for Him and Him alone? We must ask ourselves this question everyday–sometimes several times a day.

Romans 12:1  Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

The problem with living sacrifices is that we can crawl off the altar. Let’s stay on the altar today, shall we?

Abba, I place myself squarely on the altar right now. When I feel the urge to slide off, please rebuke me, teach me, correct me, and train me in righteousness. I will enjoy our interaction along with the peace, love and joy that come from simply basking in Your presence. I am Yours, Lord. I am following You. Amen.

Proverbs 22 9-22-19

September 22, 2019

With great power comes great responsibility. Why? Because we answer to God for how we treat each other.

(2) Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all.

In Ezekiel 34, The LORD is chastising the leadership of Israel for taking advantage of the people. They were using their power for themselves rather than for the people. The LORD said,

“I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.” Ezekiel 34:16

This verse is much like a passage in Isaiah 61, one that Jesus quotes as He began His ministry:

14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to [bind up the brokenhearted], to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,
19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

If it is Jesus who does the gathering, then this passage does NOT pertain to the Dispersion when the Jews came back to Jerusalem after being in captivity, but to the lost sheep of the world–Jews and Gentiles alike. The Lord continues: in Ezekiel 34:

23 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. 24 I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken.

In chapter 37, the Lord uses sticks to represent the uniting of Judah and the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel (which hasn’t happened, yet). He says,

24 “‘My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees.'”

Whether king or prince (the terms are interchangeable), it is clear that David himself will rule with Christ in the Millennial kingdom. Jeremiah 30 confirms this fact:

Instead, they will serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them. Jeremiah 30:9

The most interesting thing to me is the word play that Jesus used concerning the passage in Psalm 110,

41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”

“The son of David,” they replied.

43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,

44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
    under your feet.”’

45 If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.

We know that Jesus is a descendant of David both on Mary’s side and Joseph’s side. Jesus was claiming to be above David. If He had wanted, He could have quoted the Scriptures in Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel about David ruling with Him in Jerusalem in the Millennium! Upon His Second Coming, all things will change. What a future He has prepared for us!

With this future in mind, we prepare for the future, but we don’t hold onto the things of this world very tightly. Let’s be about the Father’s business today, shall we?

Lord Jesus, I worship You today for who You are and for the plans You have for this world and all mankind. May I keep my eyes focused upon You as I go about my daily tasks knowing that You could return any minute and usher in the Millennial kingdom. I look forward to singing with David at Your throne! In the meantime, may I lead the people in Your praise today. Amen.

Proverbs 21 9-21-19

September 21, 2019

“You become the company you keep.” True statement. We tend to rub off on each other. Make sure You choose wisely.

(4) Haughty eyes and a proud heart–the unplowed [uncultivated] field of the wicked–produce sin.

In this case, a person must spend time with the Master Farmer. Jesus is our Master Farmer. He is the Sower of the Seed (Mark 4:1-20). Once our connection is established and we are comfortable at His feet, we begin to take on His characteristics, His personality traits. What are those traits? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). Truth and righteousness are included in those fruit (Eph. 5:9). Hope is also instilled in us (Rom. 15:13). In order for these fruit to find their way into our lives, WE MUST SPEND TIME WITH HIM. He has spoken to us through His Word.

King David knew this truth. He loved God’s word. Psalm 119 is a testament to that love:

Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heartthey do no wrong but follow his ways.

10 I seek you with all my heartdo not let me stray from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. 16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

24 Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.

27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.

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

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

60 I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.

102 I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.

129 Your statutes are wonderfultherefore I obey them. 130 The unfolding of your words gives lightit gives understanding to the simple.

132 Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name. 133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.

135 Make your face shine on your servant and teach me your decrees.

167 I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly.

171 May my lips overflow with praisefor you teach me your decrees. 172 May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous.

The relationship that David had with the LORD was intimate and ongoing. 2 Samuel 7:1-29 reveals the depth of that relationship. Here are some key verses of their conversation:

[The LORD speaking through Nathan] “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth.

16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.

18 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said: Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?

24 You have established your people Israel as your very own forever, and you, Lord, have become their God. 25 “And now, Lord God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, 26 so that your name will be great forever

This covenant that the LORD established with David is called the Davidic Covenant and is still active. Tomorrow, we will look at how it is still active and to what we have to look forward!

Dear LORD, thank You for making such an intimate fellowship available to me and to ALL Your children! May I never take You for granted. Amen.

Proverbs 20 9-20-19

September 20, 2019

Double standards are tough! We have them and don’t even realize it. Let’s make sure our lives line up with His Word.

10 Differing weights and differing measures—the Lord detests them both.

Moses brought us the Sinai Covenant. It was forged by God’s hand on the tablets (Exodus 31:18) and written out in Hebrew. According to archeological and linguistic studies, the Hebrew language is the oldest language known besides hieroglyphics (which was really a picture language). Each Hebrew letter has a picture and a number attached to it, thus making it rich in meaning. The original version was more than likely developed by Joseph in the 1800’s B.C. and expanded by the LORD with the 10 Commandments in 1550 B.C. and, subsequently, by Moses as he dictated what God had him write down during his lifetime.

This covenant was all about having one standard: God’s standard of holiness.

Leviticus 19:1 The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.'”

Leviticus 20:7 “‘Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God.Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy.'”

The 10 Commandments are Exodus 20:1-17. The commands are a primer for holiness. In holiness, we find unity and oneness.  God commanded the Israelites to treat each other with respect:

Leviticus 19:18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

We have heard this verse before! Jesus quoted it in Matthew 22:39. God even commands for them to treat foreigners as fellow Israelites:

Leviticus 19:34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-bornLove them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

It’s interesting to note that God was interested in equality among the Israelites and even the foreigners (mostly Egyptians) that were among them. Remember our verse on double standards?

The point of the Law was to show us that we are a sinful people in need of a Savior. It was never designed to take away sin, but to cover sin. “Atonement” means, “to cover.” Jesus’ blood on the heavenly altar does more than just cover us: IT CLEANSES US! Let’s take a look at Hebrews (the book):

9:22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood,and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

10:4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

9:12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

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

The best verse for equality is Galatians 3:28,

28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

In Christ, we are all on the same playing field. We are heirs of God, co-heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17) and we will spend eternity together worshiping the LORD (Revelation 7:9-10). Let’s imitate Jesus, who loved everyone as His own, and make Him our Standard.

Dear Lord Jesus, may I weigh every opinion, every judgement, today by asking the Holy Spirit His opinion. May You speak to my heart so that I will be able to test and approve what Your will is–Your good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2). Whether it’s eating habits, what I watch on TV, what I say about others,  help me to have ONE STANDARD: YOURS, O Lord. Following You, Amen.

 

Proverbs 19 9-19-19

September 19, 2019

Do your plans line up with God’s plans? Have you even considered it? He sees and knows SO MUCH MORE than us. Trust Him.

(21) Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

Yesterday, we looked at Noah and his covenant with God–or rather, God’s covenant with him and with us, too, if we carry it to its conclusion (we still see rainbows, don’t we?). Let’s look at God’s plan for Abraham.

God’s covenant with Abraham- I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” Genesis 17:7-8

God also made these promises to Abraham:

“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3

He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Genesis 15:5

This covenant is continuing to this day! God is still calling people to become His children, and thus to become children of the promise that He made to Abraham, “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Even non-Jews? Absolutely! Let’s look at what Paul told the Galatians:

3:7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.

3:14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

3:26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

4:6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

How long will this process continue? Jesus gave us that answer:

24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Luke 21:24

Paul expounds on that answer by explaining the strategy of the Gospel:

25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a partial hardening until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written:

“The deliverer will come from Zion;
    he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
27 And this is my covenant with them
    when I take away their sins.”

28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. Romans 11:29

God plans to turn His love and attention back to the Jews just as soon as the time of the Gentiles has been fulfilled. When is that? Possibly, the Rapture. In any case, God loves Israel! We should, too. King David tells us to:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
    “May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
    and security within your citadels.”
For the sake of my family and friends,
    I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
    I will seek your prosperity. Psalm 122:6-9

Lest we become conceited and judge the current Israel, we must remember this fact, “You do not support the root, but the root supports you.” Romans 11:18

Abba, I pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May You show Yourself mighty in their defence and on their behalf. Save them, Abba. I know that the Spirit is moving in a great way among the Jews. May it continue until Your Return, O Lord. I hope that I get to see it from this side of heaven, but I will be more than happy to watch it from Your side! Amen.