Archive for the ‘Chapter 01’ Category

Proverbs 1 12-1-19

December 1, 2019

Salvation is having Christ inside us. He is now our Savior, our Boss, our Lord. He’s talking; are you listening?

32 “For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
    and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 but whoever listens to me [wisdom] will live in safety
    and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

If we use our own reasoning, we will fail. We will be deceived by the enemy and succumb to be part of his plan. He’s too good at what he does! We must listen to the Holy Spirit all the time. The Spirit is inside us! He is constantly trying to communicate with us. He doesn’t grow tired and He never sleeps (Psalm 121:4). If we ignore Him, then we are deliberately rebelling against His wisdom and direction. Yes, it’s that serious. Once we rebel, we are open to the enemy’s charms–in fact, we join his camp!

Instead, let us fine tune our spiritual ears to hear His voice and determine in our hearts to obey His commands. If we are truly born again, then we WANT TO do His will–His way!

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 sin; how 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.

Our “want-to” has changed. We can no longer be satisfied with doing what we want. We want what He wants. By choosing Christ, we gave Him the right to make us holy. In fact, we promised to let Him. Why do we fight Him so?

Here is the promise of what God is doing in us:

But you, you do not identify with your old nature but with the Spirit — provided the Spirit of God is living inside you, for anyone who doesn’t have the Spirit of the Messiah doesn’t belong to him. 10 However, if the Messiah is in you, then, on the one hand, the body is dead because of sin; but, on the other hand, the Spirit is giving life because God considers you righteous11 And if the Spirit of the One who raised Yeshua from the dead is living in you, then the One who raised the Messiah Yeshua from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you.

12 So then, brothers, we don’t owe a thing to our old nature that would require us to live according to our old nature. 13 For if you live according to your old nature, you will certainly die; but if, by the Spirit, you keep putting to death the practices of the body, you will live.

Where did I learn these principles? From reading the Word of God. Make SURE that you do it today. Don’t trust someone else to spoon-feed you; that’s for babies. Man up! Let’s do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. The Spirit calls us to His banquet table. Let’s go and feast! [Solomon 2:4]

Abba, it’s time for me to put away childish things and be adult about my spiritual health and growth. It’s all about listening to You, Lord. May I continue to fine-tune my spiritual ears to hear Your voice loud and clear. May I recognize the signs that my body is tiring and wearing down so that I can do something about it rather than fall into old habits. May I continue to fill my mind with good-for-me things rather than bad-for-me things, or even fluff. Help me to take seriously my calling to be Your ambassador to this world. Amen.

Proverbs 1 11-1-19

November 1, 2019

Proverbs is the OT way of looking like Jesus. How much simpler and rewarding it is to have Him in us!

32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
    and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety
    and be at ease, without fear of harm.

Our goal as Christians is to be disciples of Christ. What does it mean to be a disciple of His?

18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

It was the same for Philip, Matthew, and all the disciples. They left their jobs, their families, and their expected futures to follow Jesus. There were many who followed Him who weren’t part of the 12. Two of those were Justus and Matthais (Matthais was chosen to take Judas Iscariot’s place among the 12. See Acts 1:21-26). In order to follow Christ, we must leave the life we were living and take up His life.  From that point on, it’s all about learning to be like Jesus. The disciples lived with Him, eating and drinking with Him, walking with Him, ministering with Him, interacting with people (sometimes negatively), but all the time they were learning from Him. They knew Him intimately as He revealed Himself to them, and in doing so, He revealed the Father to them. Did they know that they were learning to be like God?!

We each have our own personalities, our own temperaments, and our own ways to show and receive love. In the words of Keith Green, “We are like windows stained with the colors of the rainbow set in a darkened room till the Bridegroom comes to shining through.” Stained Glass Each of us is set a little differently to reveal Christ unique to us and through us.

For instance, what does Christ’s love look like through you? His joy? His peace? What does His patience look like through you? His kindness? His goodness? How about His faithfulness? His gentleness? His self-control?

We each give and receive love a little differently. Are we servants? Gift-givers? Do we love others by spending time with them? Do we affirm them with our words, or a meaningful touch?

We each have different gifts. Are we leaders? Are we details-oriented? Are we mercy-givers? Are we teachers? Come-alongsiders? Do we meet monetary needs? Are we evangelists (those for whom fruit is always ripe)?

There are so many ways and variations for us to show Christ to each other and to the world. The big thing is to spend time with Him, walk with Him, and imitate Him. Paul not only wrote a large portion of our NT, he demonstrated it to the early church, particularly to the Gentiles who did not know the OT scriptures. Here’s what he said:

Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1

Each of us will do it a little differently; each of us is at a different place in our walk with Christ. The key is to KEEP WALKING WITH CHRIST! If we look away, we will wander away. So, these next verses are key to becoming like Jesus:

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, 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

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Abba, it is my determined focus to keep You firmly in my sights and to be right by Your side. I want to learn as much as I can as quickly as I can. May I be a willing vessel for You to use in whatever manner You desire. I just want to be part of what You are doing, Lord. May You shine through me in my unique way. May people see You in me! Amen.

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 1 9-1-19

September 1, 2019

Many Christians forget that they have Christ in them. They receive Christ–and then forget that they received Christ!

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

God speaks to all people through the wonderful complexity and beauty of our world. With each new invention, we find ways to discover the marvelous works of our Creator.

The heaven declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (2) Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. Psalm 19:1-2

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20

Today in Sunday’s Cool (Sunday School), we are looking at the Monarch butterfly. It comes up from its home in Mexico and migrates north into America for four generations, each butterfly living 2-4 weeks. In the fifth generation, its life is extended to nine months and it flies back to its home in Mexico. Why? Because God programmed it that way! There is no explanation by (D)Evolution for this behavior.

The Fool- a person who knows what is right, but chooses wrong instead.

Right now, I’ll bet you’re thinking that I’m talking about evolutionists–and you’re right, to a certain extent. But, I am also talking about Christians who ignore the Holy Spirit inside of them.

Answer this question: Do you try to please God by what you do?

Paul asked the question in this way: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Galatians 3:2

We are ALREADY pleasing to God through Jesus Christ. Our faith in Him put us in right standing with the Father (John 14:21, 23). What we do each day we do according to what we believe about that relationship.

  1. Is it just unto salvation? Are we on our own after we are saved?
  2. Is it up to us to generate the power to overcome sin?
  3. What happens when we fail?

Salvation means “Christ in us, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).” He lives in our hearts and lives through the Holy Spirit. We are permanently linked to Him. We just need to believe that He cares for us and wants to help us through this life. Let’s answer those questions:

  1. Our salvation is pervasive. It spans our entire being. He wants ALL of us–all the time! He wants constant communication with us. He wants to fellowship with us all the time!
  2. Our spiritual power comes from our relationship with Christ and our knowledge and understanding of what sin does to us: It destroys us. That in itself circumvents a lot of sin. Those sins that continue to plague us are the ones that drive us to the cross. His forgiveness is complete and ongoing. The very struggle is evidence of our new nature in Christ. WE WILL HAVE VICTORY EVENTUALLY. We must believe this.
  3. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. (2) He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2. He who knows the past, present and future has already dealt with our sin. Regardless of what we do, we are positionally right with God. Now, relationally, we can turn away from Him in unbelief (believing that something else is more important than Christ, more fun than being with Christ, or more powerful than Christ), in which case, we lose all the benefits of being with Christ: His love, joy, peace, and the other fruit of the Spirit, as well as our influence and testimony. Yet, throughout our rebellion, Jesus is still pleased to call us His own, because He knows that eventually we will get it.

Abba, I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ that they will become aware of Your presence in their lives, that they would believe that You have their best interests at heart, and that their best choice is to trust You with their lives. May they learn to turn to You for Your opinion on everything, believing that You really do have all the answers. May today be a starting point for them as they follow You. Me, too, Lord! Amen.