Archive for the ‘Chapter 02’ Category

Proverbs 2 1-2-20

January 2, 2020

Has God given you a spiritual goal for this year? Have you asked Him for one? Do you WANT to be more like Jesus?

2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding– 

Setting goals helps us to stay on track without allowing the “tyranny of the urgent” to draw us away. Our physical health has something to do with what we accomplish, as well. In order to achieve our goals, especially our spiritual ones, we need to be as healthy as we can be and in our right minds (which rules out alcohol and marijuana along with harder drugs).

Here are some examples to consider:

  • Get up 30 minutes early in the morning to read God’s Word and pray. Ask the Spirit to guide your reading time. Make lists of the people in your life and pray for them on a specific day. Of course, going to bed at a decent hour will help a lot!
  • Eating right always makes a difference. Choose foods that give you mental acuity, i.e. protein, low sugar, and NO high fructose corn syrup. The fewer ingredients (and ones you can pronounce) the better. Check out the ingredient list for Lays potato chips, Fritos, and Cheetos. The difference will surprise you.
  • Along with a fit mind goes a fit body. Figure out when you feel the best during the day and work in some work-out time. Walk, walk, walk! Walking can be done anywhere, in any clothes (except shoes), and in any weather (especially indoors).
  • Have a project:
    • Listen to or watch a series on Creation or other Bible topics on YouTube;
    • Listen to or watch a series by a well-known preacher/teacher;
    • Listen to Christian music instead of secular music;
    • Learn to read music (it’s a language, and one that’s not that hard to speak);
    • Get involved in a ministry, whether in-church or out-of-church, one from which you receive no benefit other than serving;
    • Pick a book of the Bible and learn all you can about it; practically memorize it!

These are just suggestions. Ask the LORD what HE would have you do. Let’s not be content with where we are; He has a wonderful adventure ahead of us! Even storms take on a new feel when we are walking with Jesus. Who knows? We may even get to walk on water with Him!

In all things, “Preach [teach, share] the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” We are His ambassadors. Let’s go be salt and light in our corner of the world.

Abba, I certainly don’t exempt myself from setting goals. Please help me to pick the ones You want me to do and then empower me to do them. Hold me accountable to You, O Lord. Grow me. Fill me. Get me ready for whatever is coming next in my life and in this world. Counting on You, amen.

Proverbs 2 12-2-19

December 2, 2019

Living a godly life isn’t all that hard; all we have to do is die to ourselves. In fact, we already have!

10 For wisdom will enter your heart, knowledge will be enjoyable for you,
11 discretion will watch over you, and discernment will guard you.

What we don’t realize most of the time is the active role that the Holy Spirit takes in our lives. If we were to tune in to all that He does for us, we would be awed and grateful! Just the fact that you are interested in spiritual things is courtesy of Your resident Holy Spirit. The entry of the Spirit of Christ into our lives happened the very moment that we gave our hearts and lives to Jesus Christ, Yeshua Messiah. He, through the Holy Spirit, came to live in us, to speak to us, to lead us, to grow us , and to develop us into fully equipped and devoted followers of Christ. One of my favorite verses is 2 Corinthians 4:16, which says, “Though outwardly we are wasting away [growing older], inwardly we are being renewed daily.” Add to that 2 Corinthians 3:18, “And we all, who with unveiled faces reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit, and we have a pretty solid description of the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives.

Why would God go to so much trouble for us? Because He loves us! It’s what the cross was all about. By dying to ourselves, we can live for Him. Paul explains the process:

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will also be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was put to death on the execution-stake [the cross and we were crucified] with him, so that the entire body of our sinful propensities [our leanings and tendencies] might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For someone who has died has been cleared from sin. Now since we died with the Messiah, we trust that we will also live with him. We know that the Messiah has been raised from the dead, never to die again; death has no authority over him. 10 For his death was a unique event that need not be repeated; but his life, he keeps on living for God. 11 In the same way, consider yourselves to be dead to sin but alive for God, by your union with the Messiah Yeshua. Romans 6:5-11 CJB (Complete Jewish Bible)

As we  go through today, let’s remember that He is for us and with us. Let’s let Him guide us as we walk through this day. “What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms. What a blessedness, what a peace is mine, leaning on the everlasting arms.”

Abba, thank You for such a great salvation, one that keeps giving and giving; one that changes me into who I was created to be little by little, attitude by attitude. Sometimes, I don’t see it. In fact, I get frustrated with the slowness of the process, especially if I think I am going backwards! But, I know that You are the one who keeps me, and You are the one who is in charge of my transformation into Christlikeness, so I trust that You use EVERY moment and EVERY decision to make me more like Your Son, Jesus. You are the Potter, Abba, I am the clay. Mold me and fashion me according to Your Plan and Purpose. Let’s GO! Amen.

Proverbs 2 11-2-19

November 2, 2019

May we truly realize what God wants for us, the depths of our betrayal, and the lengths He went to get us back!

6 For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

We know that Jesus died on a cross for our sins and then rose again, thus conquering death. Have you ever thought about the implications? Why did God have to go to such great lengths? Was our sin really that bad? Let’s take a look:

When the woman [Eve] saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband [Adam], who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:6

God had told Adam, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 2:16-17

Die how? Certainly not physically–yet. Through separation from the Spirit, their holy covering.

3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked;

What actually happened when they sinned? They joined the enemy’s camp. Their rebellious act was treason. They became the property of Satan. Think about it: The Spirit of God was upon them like a covering. They had no track record of doing anything wrong, but everything was done according to the Spirit. They ignored the warning of the Spirit and trusted in the serpent’s lies. They chose Satan over God thinking that they were making the decision for themselves not realizing that they were being played. Satan’s deception led to their sin and thus to their separation from God! This separation spread like a poison through all of creation.

We know a little bit about how sin affected our world. We have the Great Flood that nearly destroyed it, but we don’t know the heights from which we have fallen in our relation to animals and nature. We understand some of how sin affected our relationship with each other. One has only to read the news and know the depths to which sin has brought us, but we have only a hint of what things were like during those first 1,600 years before Babel when people were of one mind (Genesis 11:6-7).

Satan wanted our worship (see Isaiah 14:12-15, Luke 4:5-7) and we gave it to Him! We joined the devil’s camp. Look at these verses:

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

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient [Satan]. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. Ephesians 2:1-3

Our Western culture paints us as inherently good people who make mistakes. “We are not sinners, but mistakers.” WRONG!!! We are born in sin, steeped in sin, and love our sin–before we meet Christ. Now we see why He had to go to such great lengths to save us.

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 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, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7

O most great and loving Father, thank You for what You have done for us through Jesus Christ. Thank You for Your Spirit who now lives in me and is making me to be like You. May I forsake my old ways of death and betrayal. May You do whatever it takes to purge my old self and take on the new self, created in the holiness and righteousness of You. Amen.

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 2 9-2-19

September 2, 2019

Christ promises us His protection–but from what? Should our lives be a bed of roses? What about the thorns?

(6) for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.

To believe that Christ as promised to protect us from bad things happening is not only wrong doctrine, but downright dangerous to our faith. In fact, it’s faith in the wrong god! Satan would have us think that God is like a candy machine: we put “money” in and out come blessings. This “god” doesn’t exist. “Name it and claim it” only works concerning God’s will and His characteristics, such as His love, His grace, and His desire to see all people come to Christ. God arranges for us to be put into dark places so that our lights can shine for Him.

There is a passage in Philippians that deals with our lights, but it is usually used for just the first part of the passage:

(14) Do everything without grumbling or arguing,

The rest of the passage is the “why:”

(15) so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky (16) as you hold firmly to the word of life. Philippians 2:14-16a.

From this passage, we learn:

  1. Our actions either point people to Christ or turn them away from Christ. Let’s work to draw all people to Christ through how we treat each other. “And they’ll know we are Christians By Our Love.”
  2. We want people to “see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16.” Our good deeds of being the hands and feet of Christ, of being Christ to a lost world, draw attention to the Father and give the Spirit opportunity to speak to their hearts.
  3. We live in a warped and crooked generation. What is interesting is that Paul was quoting Deuteronomy 32:5, which tells us that Moses, too, lived in a warped and crooked generation. Things haven’t gotten any better! How do we live in it without being sucked into it? By staying close to the Source of our flame!
  4. Just like the stars, we display God’s invisible qualities–His eternal power and His divine nature [of goodness and and faithfulness] (Romans 1:20).
  5. Holding firmly to the word of life is KEY.

Yesterday in Sunday’s Cool (Sunday School), we were discussing the question of the difference of studying the Bible personally and discussing the Bible in a group setting. When we are in a group setting, our attention is on whoever is speaking; we learn truth from each other. When we study the Bible alone, our attention is on Him who is speaking to us through the Scriptures; we learn truth straight from the Source. Both are good and necessary to be well-rounded and complete in our faith, but one has priority: Reading the Word of God for ourselves to hear Him speak to us personally.

Life is a rollercoaster ride–sometimes in the dark! It has ups and downs, corkscrews and loops. Never fear! There IS a destination: Heaven. In the meantime, let’s let our lights shine for Christ in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. May we say as Paul said:

(12) I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (13) I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13

Abba, as I walk through this life, I realize what You mean by having to “hate” this life and even my loved ones for You. If I am going to be available for You to use in ANY situation, then I must be willing to lay down my life at any time–even to watch my loved ones lay down their lives for You. May I not “shrink from death (Rev. 12:11)” when my time comes. I ask only this: That someone would be brought to saving faith in Jesus Christ through my sacrifice. May Your will, and Your will ALONE, be done. Amen.