Proverbs 3 10-3-20

“Trust the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; submit to Him in all your ways…and He will direct your paths.” v.5-6

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil [our own desires, intentions, diversions, thoughts, and even feelings].

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” The Main Thing is the Gospel [Good News] of Jesus Christ:

  • He is the Anointed One, the Jewish Messiah
  • He came from heaven to earth, lived, died, rose again, ascended
  • He is coming back for His Church, His Bride
  • He wants everyone to trust in Him for salvation

Our motto should be:

Whatever it takes to advance the Gospel

In America, Christians get all up in the air about sickness, job loss, divorce (although, not as much), and with things that threaten our health or security. Why?

  • Is Christ not in control?
  • Are we all not destined to die?
  • Have we not taken a vow of poverty, in that we gave everything to Christ for Him to do with as He pleases?

Instead of asking, “Why,” and then praying for God to “fix it,” let’s pray, “Okay, LORD, what do I need to do so that You receive the most glory? How can I advance the Gospel through this crisis? Since You’ve chosen not to protect me from it, then use me in it and carry me through it.”

Who knows? God may have spent your entire life getting you to “such a time as this.” Proverbs 24:10 says, “If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!” In other words, to be strong in the LORD only when times are good shows that we really have not learned to trust Him, yet. Instead of seeing trying times as God forsaking us–or failing!–let’s look at them as growing seasons where our faith is tested, much like exercising our muscles when we work out.

The key to everything is PRAYER. All things in this life are to connect us with the Father. Our very salvation is designed for us to have a close and intimate relationship with Him through Jesus Christ via the Holy Spirit.

Don’t get me wrong! I don’t look forward to hard times, but I do want to wring them for all they’re worth concerning my relationship with Christ and for His glory. I pray that this pandemic would bring many back to Him and would call our country to repentance. Selective obedience is disobedience. We need to give Him ALL.

Abba, may You work a mighty work in our country. I know You are using this Pandemic to call us back to You. May we heed Your discipline, O LORD. Whatever else You use, we accept as from Your hand. Increase our faith, Abba, and call many to Your side. Heal our land, O LORD. Do whatever it takes. Amen.

Proverbs 3 9-3-20

Concerning End Times, we may have the em-PHA-sis on the wrong syl-LA-ble. Let’s focus on His MOVING rather than His COMING.

27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.

I have always read this verse as a business verse, to which it can certainly be applied. Today, I read it differently in light of my beginning statement. We tend to take an “us against them” approach when we think of evil people. We must remember that WE used to be “evil people.” “At one time, we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.” Titus 3:3. We must begin to think differently about those around us.

Proverbs 24:10-12 puts our job into perspective. Let’s look:

10 If you falter in a time of trouble,
    how small is your strength!
11 Rescue those being led away to death;
    hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
12 If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
    does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
    Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?

  1. What does it mean to falter? For us, it means that we take our eyes off the job we are to do. When things get tough living for Christ, we lean in on Him all the more! In fact, we should pray that God would make us “shine like stars in the heavens” (Philippians 2:15). The implication is that it must be dark before our lights can truly be seen. Let’s not worry about how dark it gets; let’s focus on increasing our light!
  2. God brings people into our paths everyday for us to influence for Him. Are we paying attention?
  3. Feigning ignorance just shows that we have been ignoring His commands. Not a good idea!
  4. Rewards, indeed, are coming, but I don’t think that they will be for what we have traditionally considered rewardable. The works that the LORD is looking for is in terms of OBEDIENCE, especially concerning sharing the Good News with potential followers and encouraging the flock to stay close to the Shepherd.

Jesus IS coming back, but before He does, how about praying for a great outpouring of His Spirit? I see every person I talk to about Christ as a potential catalyst for a great revival. When we cry out to God, let’s make it about lost souls!

Abba, You know my heart. I want more than anything–health, wealth, long life–for You to move mightily in our land. May Your Spirit fall on us in POWER, O LORD! May it not be anything we do, but–all of a sudden–people begin to cry out to You in repentance. Revival starts in the hearts of Your children, Abba, I know this. May we begin to cry out to You in repentance. May You begin a great revival in me today. Have Your way in me. Amen.

Proverbs 3 8-3-20

So many people are comfortable with just being saved, but that is NOT what Christ had in mind! He wants FELLOWSHIP!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

His presence in our lives and the fellowship we have with Him has a very practical side. Even while we enjoy Him on a personal level, He is leading us along life’s path. This path is filled with traps, hidden snares, lures, and every kind of temptation. Only Jesus can guide us through them–and rescue us when we get caught in them.

A favorite verse of mine is Ephesians 2:10. I particularly like the NLT version:

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

  1. The NIV uses the word, “workmanship.” “Masterpiece” denotes a higher degree of accomplishment and value. It’s not just about His ability to create, but about how pleased He is with His work, with US!
  2. We are new in Christ upon salvation and every day, even all the time. His Spirit is our tree of life, the shekinah glory of God that lives in us and is constantly regenerating us.
  3. The “good things” are acts of obedience. HE puts us into position; HE gives us the tools; HE sets up the circumstances; HE tells us what to do; HE empowers us to do it; therefore, HE gets all the glory even as we enjoy doing it. These “good things” are actually new works that glorify the LORD.

If we hear His voice and heed it, then we will supernaturally live righteously, walk humbly with Him and others, and be witnesses in our homes, school, work, church, neighborhood, city, state, country, and the world, all depending upon His plan for each of us. The Key is DEPTH.

How do we get depth? The rest of today’s chapter tells us how:

  1. We are not wise in our own eyes (verses 7-8).
  2. We honor God with the best that we have. All the time. Every time. (verses 9-10)
  3. We accept the LORD’s discipline in our lives, learning as quickly as possible and thanking Him for the discipline. We are better people for it. (verses 11-12)
  4. We do all we can to find wisdom and gain understanding of Him and His Word by studying the Scriptures and listening to His voice. We will find true treasure and peace in the process. (verses 13-18)
  5. Wisdom, understanding and knowledge all come from Him. We “study to show ourselves approved” (2 Timothy 2:15). Depth comes from study. Are you ready to go deep with Him? (verses 19-20)
  6. Wisdom, understanding, sound judgment and discretion come from a disciplined lifestyle. We MUST apply ourselves to learning all we can about Christ and His Plan and then make ourselves available to Him. Daily.

Christ left His throne in heaven, came to earth in human form, died on the cross for our sake, rose again, and then returned to Heaven and now sits on the right side of the Father interceding for us.

HE DID ALL THAT FOR US. CAN’T WE LIVE FOR HIM?

Abba, I remember when Johnny Bisagno preached at Falls Creek that Tuesday noon session in 1975 this very message about all that Jesus went through just to get us back. That day, Howard and I gave our lives back to You after living for ourselves for so long. Thank You for calling me back. Thank You for not putting me on a shelf!  LORD Jesus, I pledge myself anew to You. I am Yours. Use me as You see fit. Amen.

Proverbs 3 7-3-20

In 1949, on the Isle of Lewis, two older ladies began a prayer meeting that led to a great revival in Hebrides Islands.

Chapter 3 is a Revivalist Handbook! Let’s walk through it:

1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
    but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
    and bring you peace and prosperity.

Understanding that OT teaching was that righteous people were blessed materially–one that Jesus countermanded, we DO believe that we are blessed spiritually by following the admonition of verse 1. The seeds of revival begin when God’s people turn their attention to the Word of God and begin to apply the commands of the LORD to our lives.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
    bind them around your neck,
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name
    in the sight of God and man [generally speaking].

In order for those seeds to grow, we must water them with action. This action cannot be determined by us, nor can we generate “good works” that bring revival. We must lay our lives at the foot of the throne of grace and wait. In His time, He will tell us what the next step is.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

These verses are the crux of revival. When we are willing to trust Him entirely, THEN and ONLY then will revival begin to grow in our hearts.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
    and nourishment to your bones.

Pride is the enemy of revival. Our pride will keep those seeds from growing every time.

Honor the Lord with your wealth,
    with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
    and your vats will brim over with new wine.

One of the main culprits of warding off revival is the love of money. It is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10). Once we are willing to lay all on the altar, the rest of our lives follows pretty quickly.

11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
    as a father the son he delights in.

In order for revival to come to our lives, we must endure the LORD’s discipline. In fact, we must embrace it, want it, even cry out for it. WE NEED CORRECTION. The next verses tell us where we find the what and how:

13 Blessed are those who find wisdom,
    those who gain understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver
    and yields better returns than gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies;
    nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
    in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
    and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
    those who hold her fast will be blessed.

Wisdom is seeing from God’s perspective. Understanding is…well, understanding what we are seeing. We ONLY gain God’s perspective by reading/knowing His Word. We MUST KNOW what He has said in order to know what He desires of us. The Spirit will confirm God’s will concerning what we read. Even our prayers must be scripturally based.

19 By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations,
    by understanding he set the heavens in place;
20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided,
    and the clouds let drop the dew.

Want to know what God’s thinking? What He’s up to? What He wants of us? READ HIS WORD!

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.

James tells us to draw near to God and He will draw near to us (James 4:8). Read with the awareness of His nearness, His desire to open our minds, His presence, out of which flows love, joy, peace, hope, grace, knowledge, understanding, and discernment–WISDOM!

NOW comes the nitty gritty part, the part where His word tells us where to begin in order for us to make our hearts ready for revival:

27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
    when it is in your power to act
28 Do not say to your neighbor,
    “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—
    when you already have it with you.

In other words, be up-front and honorable in your business dealings.

29 Do not plot harm against your neighbor,
    who lives trustfully near you.
30 Do not accuse anyone for no reason—
    when they have done you no harm.

Be the trustworthy neighbor. “Let your light shine before men so that they will see your good deeds (being trustworthy) and will glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

31 Do not envy the violent
    or choose any of their ways.

Do not mimic the ways of evil people. Instead, choose godly role models and learn from them.

32 For the Lord detests the perverse
    but takes the upright into his confidence.
33 The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
    but he blesses the home of the righteous.
34 He mocks proud mockers
    but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.
35 The wise inherit honor,
    but fools get only shame.

These verses remind us that God is still active in our world. He is looking for people who are seeking His heart:

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9a

All it takes is a few people praying to spark a revival. The timing is up to the LORD. We just need to be faithful, willing, ardent, and compliant to the Spirit of God.

We will talk more about this subject of revival tomorrow. In the meantime, pray with me for Him to give us clean hands and pure hearts. Pray this prayer with me:

Dear Lord, we come before You in repentance for having proud hearts and dirty hands. We have done things our way for so long that our way seems right, feels right, and even looks right. But, when we read Your Word, we find that none of us is righteous unto ourselves. WE NEED YOU, Your guidance, Your correction, even Your rebuke. Give us clean hands and pure hearts, O God (Psalm 24:4). Renew a right spirit within us (Psalm 51:10). “Show us Your ways, LORD, teach us Your paths. Guide us in Your truth and teach us, for You are God our Savior, and our hope is in You all day long (Psalm 25:4).” “My heart says of you, ‘Seek His face!’ Your face, LORD, I will seek (Psalm 27:8).” Begin now to work revival into our souls, O God. We need to be desperate for a new and fresh moving of Your Spirit in our hearts and across this land. Amen.

Critique of #9, Jesus is Coming Soon, 6-3-20

One of the things I like about posting is the feedback I get. In this case, I need to make some adjustments and clarifications to what I said. The blue print is what I have either added or changed from the original. The red print is either a link or is the subjective material.

Here is #9 of the Top 10 Things I Would Like to Say:

Their importance is not necessarily rated, but their order has a flow to it. They move from initial contact to ultimate destiny.

  1. Absolute truth is based upon empirical, changeless evidence. When followed to its logical conclusion, it must stand the closest scrutiny.
  2. Debating Evolution vs. Creation does no one any good unless a person is willing to consider that the other person may be right. 
  3. Faith comes by hearing; are you ready to listen?
  4. Why I believe in Jesus.
  5. We are designed to create, but not by ourselves. The Spirit wants to create with us!
  6. Every decision we make shifts our direction, vision, and course. How much depends upon the decision, and how long depends upon our own stubbornness.
  7. Jesus is Jewish.
  8. We owe quite a debt to Israel.
  9. Jesus is coming soon! How do we get ready?
  10. What awaits us in heaven?

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.

#9 Jesus is coming soon! How do we get ready? Part 1

This entire section is under reconstruction. As new light has appeared on my horizon, I am seeing Revelation with different eyes beginning with its date of composition, which may have been around 65 A.D, in which case most of the events that happen in it are concerning the fall of Jerusalem and the complete destruction of the temple, thus putting a definitive end to the sacrificial system.

A premillennial dispensational view:

Believing like I do that John had his vision of Jesus and heaven in 90+A.D, Christians have been looking for the Return of Christ for over 1900 years. He said, “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done [on account of Me].” Revelation 22:12. From our perspective, it would seem that he is dragging His feet. But, Peter explained that, “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 [at least, an understanding of] repentance [with an opportunity to respond].” 2 Peter 3:9.

At the same time, Daniel, Jesus, Paul and John gave us some really good clues to know the season of His Coming. It is into those that we will delve today. Just be aware that mankind is not to know the day or the hour or even the year–but, we can know the season!

25 “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. Daniel 9:25-26

This part is understandable as we look back on history. Jerusalem was rebuilt in 445 B.C. and Daniel’s seven “sevens” and sixty-two “sevens” equal 490 years, which just happens to be the year that Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He died that week. The next part, after the destruction of Jerusalem, becomes very vague:

 The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary [the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D.]. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” Daniel 9:25-27

Since the temple was destroyed and has not been rebuilt yet, we can assume that this ruler is yet to come. For insight as to who he is, we go to Matthew 24:15, “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—” and then to 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” 

Now we KNOW it hasn’t happened, yet. The interesting part is that since the miraculous revival of Israel in 1948 and her subsequent victories over her enemies, there has been a push to have everything ready for the temple when it is built for the fourth and last time–even down to the Red Heifer! Update on the Building of the Third Temple

Verses 6-8 describe how it will go down:

6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.

There are many theories as to who the “One” is who now holds the antichrist back. I personally think that it is the Holy Spirit as He uses the Church to stand in the gap; this is where we stand today. Eventually, somehow, we get removed and the antichrist is finally free to do as he pleases.

Caveat: To know specifically how the antichrist will take over the world, read the following verses of 9-12. I think that you will see what I see: Control of the press, made-to-order miracles (like vaccines for viruses that were manufactured), manipulated video, and other such things. At the same time, I know that God doesn’t want anyone to perish, and if we fervently ask, He might grant another worldwide revival to thwart the evil one’s plans once again. People need Jesus more than ever before!

So far, we’ve just looked at what will happen to set up Christ’s Return. Tomorrow, we will look at His actual Return. Jesus said, “Watch out that no one deceives you…Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” Matthew 24:4, 42. Let’s put our hope, our faith and our trust in Him. Let’s share our hope, faith and trust with those around us. LET’S SHARE JESUS!

Abba, I pray that this post will not scare anyone, but will motivate every Christian to be about the Father’s (Your) business. It’s time to scrap the “American Dream” and adopt a heavenly one. YOU ARE COMING SOON! We not only want to be ready, we want to be found as diligent, good and faith servants. Call us to the battle, LORD. Make us ready! Amen.

Proverbs 3 6-3-20

Here is #9 of the Top 10 Things I Would Like to Say:

Their importance is not necessarily rated, but their order has a flow to it. They move from initial contact to ultimate destiny.

  1. Absolute truth is based upon empirical, changeless evidence. When followed to its logical conclusion, it must stand the closest scrutiny.
  2. Debating Evolution vs. Creation does no one any good unless a person is willing to consider that the other person may be right. 
  3. Faith comes by hearing; are you ready to listen?
  4. Why I believe in Jesus.
  5. We are designed to create, but not by ourselves. The Spirit wants to create with us!
  6. Every decision we make shifts our direction, vision, and course. How much depends upon the decision, and how long depends upon our own stubbornness.
  7. Jesus is Jewish.
  8. We owe quite a debt to Israel.
  9. Jesus is coming soon! How do we get ready?
  10. What awaits us in heaven?

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.

#9 Jesus is coming soon! How do we get ready? Part 1

See: Critique of #9, Part 1, Jesus is Coming Soon, 6-3-20

Believing like I do that John had his vision of Jesus and heaven in 90+A.D, Christians have been looking for the Return of Christ for over 1900 years. He said, “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done [on account of Me].” Revelation 22:12. From our perspective, it would seem that he is dragging His feet. But, Peter explained that, “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 [at least, an understanding of] repentance [with an opportunity to respond].” 2 Peter 3:9.

At the same time, Daniel, Jesus, Paul and John gave us some really good clues to know the season of His Coming. It is into those that we will delve today. Just be aware that mankind is not to know the day or the hour or even the year–but, we can know the season!

25 “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. Daniel 9:25-26

This part is understandable as we look back on history. Jerusalem was rebuilt in 445 B.C. and Daniel’s seven “sevens” and sixty-two “sevens” equal 490 years, which just happens to be the year that Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He died that week. The next part, after the destruction of Jerusalem, becomes very vague:

 The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary [the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D.]. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” Daniel 9:25-27

Since the temple was destroyed and has not been rebuilt yet, we can assume that this ruler is yet to come. For insight as to who he is, we go to Matthew 24:15, “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—” and then to 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” 

Now we KNOW it hasn’t happened, yet. The interesting part is that since the miraculous revival of Israel in 1948 and her subsequent victories over her enemies, there has been a push to have everything ready for the temple when it is built for the fourth and last time–even down to the Red Heifer! Update on the Building of the Third Temple

Verses 6-8 describe how it will go down:

6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.

There are many theories as to who the “One” is who now holds the antichrist back. I personally think that it is the Holy Spirit as He uses the Church to stand in the gap; this is where we stand today. Eventually, somehow, we get removed and the antichrist is finally free to do as he pleases.

Caveat: To know specifically how the antichrist will take over the world, read the following verses of 9-12. I think that you will see what I see: Control of the press, made-to-order miracles (like vaccines for viruses that were manufactured), manipulated video, and other such things. At the same time, I know that God doesn’t want anyone to perish, and if we fervently ask, He might grant another worldwide revival to thwart the evil one’s plans once again. People need Jesus more than ever before!

So far, we’ve just looked at what will happen to set up Christ’s Return. Tomorrow, we will look at His actual Return. Jesus said, “Watch out that no one deceives you…Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” Matthew 24:4, 42. Let’s put our hope, our faith and our trust in Him. Let’s share our hope, faith and trust with those around us. LET’S SHARE JESUS!

Abba, I pray that this post will not scare anyone, but will motivate every Christian to be about the Father’s (Your) business. It’s time to scrap the “American Dream” and adopt a heavenly one. YOU ARE COMING SOON! We not only want to be ready, we want to be found as diligent, good and faith servants. Call us to the battle, LORD. Make us ready! Amen.

Proverbs 3 5-3-20

I’m afraid that the pandemic is the fault of Brookwood staff. We prayed for revival; we got Quarantine!

11 My child, do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the child he delights in.

During our quarantine, I hope that you have been able to focus on Jesus. I pray that you have increased your wisdom and understanding by spending time in His Word. If you have not, IT’S NOT TOO LATE! Just coming to the realization that you are missing out is a big step. Verses 11 and 12 are leading somewhere: to verses 13-18!

13 Blessed are those who find wisdom,
those who gain understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long [eternal] life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are [heavenly] riches and honor.
17 Her ways are
pleasant ways,
and all her paths are
peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
those who hold her fast will be blessed.

During this time of “blessed subtraction,” I have been honing my testimony and Gospel-sharing skills. I haven’t had a chance to use them, yet, but I am hoping that soon the Lord will give me opportunities.

40 days ago, we began “40 Days for Revival,” an intense time of focus on our lives as we prepared for revival meetings–that were supposed to start today! “Coincidentally,” these 40 days ran in tandem with the 40 days of quarantine. The Tuesday evening of the inauguration of the 40 days, I sang a song called, “More of You,” by Brandon Holt. I will be singing it again near the end of the services today. The first line of the song is, “My life’s desire is to be more like You.” From that line, I have fashioned five “life desires:”

  1. To be more like Jesus
  2. To be useful to Jesus
  3. To encourage others to know Jesus
  4. To give my life for Jesus
  5. To go be with Jesus

These desires are based upon Psalm 73: 23-24, which says,

23 Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.

The next two verses speak my heart:

25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

I pray that you are having a great time of growth in the LORD during this time of “Righteous Removal” (of things that keep us from seeing Jesus clearly), and that you have come to know Him better. Today, we have the opportunity to meet together again. PLEASE BE WISE. CONSULT THE HOLY SPIRIT as to whether you should attend in person or online. May the Spirit’s peace be upon you either way.

Abba, I am looking forward to this morning with a little trepidation. What’s it going to look like? How many will venture out? It doesn’t matter; it’s just the unknown. YOU are our focus; YOU are our object of affection and worship. May You be praised as we lift up Your name, O LORD. “Make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful” (Psalm 90:17). Amen.

Proverbs 3 4-3-20

We have free time: What will we do with it? Will we while it away, or will we use it to seek the LORD? Let’s GROW!

My son [child], do not forget my teaching,
    but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
    and bring you peace and prosperity.

NOW is a great time to pick a book of the Bible and read it–but don’t stop there! Look up its history and read background information concerning when it was written, by whom, the circumstances, and the audience. Allow the Holy Spirit to teach you during this time.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
    bind them around your neck,
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name
    in the sight of God and man.

If we love God, we will love His creation, which includes us and others. If we are faithful in this love by loving others and ourselves (not in a self-fulling way, but in godly ways), then we will be a blessing to God and to those with whom we live.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

During these trying times, we need not fear. God’s plans for us go well beyond this life on earth. He has plans for us that venture into His heaven, back to earth with Him, and then beyond this earth as we know it–although it will be transformed when Christ returns, it will still look and function like earth– to the melding of heaven and earth!

What are the conditions for peace in and with God?

  1. Trust- We are to trust Him. There’s a difference between trusting and believing. Believing in Him can be strictly intellectual; it can be hostile; and it can be dismissive. Even the demons believe–and shudder (James 2:19). Trusting requires action. We must put feet to our faith.
  2. Lean on- Lean on what? Not our own understanding, but on His. How do we get His understanding? By asking, seeking, and knocking.
    1. In study– We ask the LORD to reveal His understanding to us; we seek His knowledge in His Word; we knock when we find something that catches our attention.
    2. In prayer– We ask the LORD to reveal Himself to us; we seek His face at the throne of grace; we knock by presenting ourselves first on the altar, and then by interceding for others as the Holy Spirit prompts us.
    3. In fellowship– We ask God with whom He wants us interacting today; we seek them out in whatever manner is acceptable, and then we approach them in the attitude of Christ: humble and gentle of heart (Matthew 11:28-30).
  3. Submit- Many versions use the word, “acknowledge.” It’s a good word, but it does not convey the complete attitude we should have when we come to Christ. The word, “submission,” portrays a king and his loyal subject, which is EXACTLY the picture we are supposed to have in this verse!

The promise we receive when we trust in, lean on, and submit to Him is that He will direct our ways and make them straight. GUIDANCE. It’s not that our path will go straight, but that He will lead us straight on the path–wherever it goes and however many twists, turns, dips and climbs it has. The idea is to not stray from the path. We tend to think of roads and cars in today’s society, but this verse was written in a time when people walked or rode horses (or donkeys). The best place to walk was in the middle of the path. To stray to one side or the other was to endanger oneself and his mount. We must have the same mindset and stay in the middle of the path.

Robin and I love to go to Estes Park, Colorado, for vacations. We love to hike! When hiking up the mountain, though, we rarely get to climb side-by-side. Instead, one will take the lead and the other will follow. When walking with the LORD, there are times when we walk side-by-side with Him, but most of the time, He will take the lead. We would do well to stay close to His heels! Robin and I conversed the entire time, so we can trust the LORD to do the same with us. We need only to stay close.

Let’s be as Solomon was–at least, at the beginning of his reign–and follow God with our whole hearts:

“And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge [submit to] the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. 10 Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.” 1 Chronicles 29:9-10

May we be strong and do the work God has for us. Let’s “study to show ourselves approved, workmen who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing and handling the Word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Abba, I ask that You reveal Yourself to me in Your Word today. I also ask that You reveal Yourself to all who read Your Word today. May we all take refuge, find comfort, gain knowledge, and be empowered as we spend time in Your presence. Show us how to use our time wisely. Show us You, LORD. Amen.

 

Proverbs 3 3-3-20

Trusting in something besides the LORD? Finances? a relationship? a position? Anything before him is idolatry.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

When asked which of the commandments was the greatest, Jesus gave them an answer that wasn’t in the 10 Commandments. Let’s look at the passage:

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like [equal to, the second part of] it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40

Jesus knew that if we love the LORD with all of our hearts, that if we trust Him with everything, to be our Light, our Shield, and our Provider of everything we need, then we would keep the rest of the commandments. We would have no need or desire to break them.

#1: “You shall have no other gods before me.” Sheep trust their shepherd and only their shepherd. If our Shepherd is meeting all of our needs according to His riches in glory (Phil. 4:19), then we have no need for any other gods/shepherds.

#2 “You shall not make for yourself any graven image.” The LORD is the Power behind everything in our lives. He uses all things to teach us and to keep us. When we focus on His tools rather than Him, the Craftsman, we run the risk of idolizing the tool. Loving Him and trusting Him with all our heart keeps us from this temptation.

The rest of the commandments are easy to keep when we love Him because His Spirit guides us into all truth and empowers us to keep His commands.

#3 “You shall not take the LORD’s name in vain (misuse it).” 

#4 “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.” 

#5 “Honor your father and your mother.” 

#6 “You shall not murder.”

#7 “You shall not commit adultery.”

#8 “You shall not steal.”

#9 “You shall not give false witness (lie).”

#10 “You shall not covet (want what is not yours).”

Without the Holy Spirit living in our hearts equipping us and empowering us, we can’t keep ANY of the commandments. With Him living in us and walking beside us, encouraging us and empowering us, giving us the want-to to want to, we can keep ALL the commandments. We begin by making the decision to love the LORD our God with all our heart, soul, mind and with all our strength. We demonstrate our love for Him by loving our neighbor as ourselves.

King David said, “Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” Psalm 86:11. Let us have undivided hearts and be wholehearted today in our service to our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ. HE IS our All in All.

25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

For, we are always with Him; He holds us by our dominant hand, He guides us with His counsel, and when this life is over, He will take us into Glory (verses 23-24). Folks, it just doesn’t get any better than that!

Abba, I pray that You will search my heart and flush out any cobwebs of idolatry that might be lurking in the corners. I want to serve You with an undivided heart, with my whole heart. See if there be any offensive way in me; if there is, then help me root it out! Then, lead me in your way everlasting. This is my daily prayer, O LORD. Amen.

Proverbs 3 2-3-20

Our connection with God is never lost, but it can become corrupted. Keep those lines of communication open!

3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

How much we’re willing to trust God depends on how much we are willing to talk to Him. As much as God likes for us to read His Word and do His will, He prefers for us to be in contact with Him all the time. In fact, in order for us to correctly interpret what we read, we need Him to tell us how to interpret it. Also, in order for us to please Him in what we do, we need to do it WITH Him. He doesn’t need for us to do anything FOR Him.

Ephesians 6:18 tells us to pray always. Here it is in a few versions:

ESV- praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

NIV- And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

AMPC- Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).

CJB- as you pray at all times, with all kinds of prayers and requests, in the Spirit, vigilantly and persistently, for all God’s people.

NLT- Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

MSG- In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

As we can see, our connection with the Spirit is vital, and our connection with each other is maintained through prayer. One way to see prayer is as a conduit between us and God, and us and each other. The Spirit flows from God to us, and then from us to one another. How clean the pipes are and how open they are depends upon us. The Spirit is ALWAYS flowing–we just tend to allow our pipes to become corroded, or we neglect to open the valves.

The other reason for praying for each other is to take our eyes off of ourselves. Intercessory prayer is a selfless act. It pleases God. Our Savior set the example, and we follow it via His Spirit.

9 “I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.”

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message [us!], 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:9-11, 20-23

The best way to evangelize is through prayer. As we pray, the LORD will instruct us on where to go and when, who to see, and what to say and do. Often, God uses us through or prayers to open doors so that others can witness boldly. It’s all according to His Plan. Only He knows, so we ask. Our faith is in believing that He is working in and through us, and, as we see His Plan working, our faith grows.

Let’s water those seeds and stretch those muscles in prayer today. May we ask the LORD to speak to our hearts and to make His presence and will known to us today.

Abba, You speak to us constantly. We have only to turn our attention to You and listen to what You say. I know that my level of comprehension goes up as I read Your Word. It’s like a vocabulary book for interpreting what You are saying. It gives me context and background for what You will and won’t ask or do. In fact, Your Spirit uses the very words I read to speak to my heart! May my “face” be turned toward You all the time, and when I feel myself turning away to look at something else, remind me, O LORD, to turn back to You (the very definition of repentance). I love the words to the old hymn, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” May I keep my eyes fixed on You, LORD. Amen.

Proverbs 3 1-3-20

The Christian life can be summed up as: J.O.Y. – Serving Jesus first, others second, and you last-or not at all.

The task: 1 Do not forget His [the LORD’s] teaching, keep His commands in your heart;

The reward: 2 They will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity [the LORD’s blessing, not necessarily money].

The task: 3 Let love and faithfulness [to the Lord] never leave you; bind them around your neck [like a necklace], write them on the tablet of your heart [memorize and internalize them].

The reward: 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man [you will be a worthy ambassador for Christ].

The task: 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit [acknowledge, make first place] Him,

The reward: and He will make your paths straight [direct your paths; show you the way to go].

Verses 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-18, and 21-26 can be done the same way. Each of them gives us an aspect of how to put Jesus FIRST in our lives. Jesus is all about helping others. With His Spirit directing us, there is no way to miss helping others in their time of need. There are two things to remember:

  1. Just because we see a need doesn’t mean that it is our duty to meet it.
  2. We must wait on the LORD to prompt us to do it IN THE PROPER TIME AND WAY.

Usually, when we see a need, it’s because the Spirit has shone a light on it for us and called our attention to it so that we can help–but not necessarily. If it’s not for us, then we should be feeling a tension about helping. PAY ATTENTION TO THE TENSION. When we help is important (timing) ; how we help is important, as well (procedure). He will guide us if we are listening, if we are paying attention and not acting on our feelings, which can be misleading.

The best way to get “in the zone” spiritually is to:

  1. Give ourselves to Jesus categorically every morning–first thing, even before coffee!
  2. Saturate ourselves with the words of God–Jesus via the Word. We must remember that Jesus IS the Word (John 1:1–4).
  3. Practice the Presence of God by keeping an open dialogue going. He really is with us and communicating with us.

One of my favorite passages is Isaiah 30:20-21, which says,

20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them [they will be revealed to you by the Spirit how He has taught you through adversity and affliction]. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way;walk in it.”

Jimmy Cox once said, “I don’t hear His voice audibly–it’s louder than that.” He is So right! Christ’s voice is unmistakable when we are in the habit of listening. Let’s get ourselves into the habit of listening for His voice everyday, all the time.

Abba, I present myself to You as Your apprentice, even Your slave; do with me as You will. Of course, I’m counting on Your own words that You are humble and gentle, and that Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light (Matt. 11:28-30). But, I also remember what you said to Paul as he was beginning to walk with you, “I will show him how much he must suffer for My name.” Acts 9:16. I receive that verse, too. I’m for whatever is going to bring You the most glory, LORD. I am Yours to do with as You please. Amen.

Proverbs 3 12-2-19

Choosing Righteousness seems unnatural, but once we do it enough times, we form a pattern of godliness in our lives.

[13] Happy the person who finds wisdom,
the person who acquires understanding;
[14] for her profit exceeds that of silver,
gaining her is better than gold,
[15] she is more precious than pearls—
nothing you want can compare with her. CJB

We have grown up in a world where so much is backwards: right is wrong and wrong is right. How can a person know the truth? Even the Word of God has been twisted to “say” what people want it to say rather than allowing it on its own. We cannot trust ANYTHING that we have learned in life except that which comes from the Spirit of God.

So, what do we do? We must learn to lean heavily upon the Spirit to show us His truth and to teach us His ways. Wisdom is seeing from God’s perspective. The only way to do that is to be subject to Him often enough to gain a larger perspective than just the here-and-now. We must quit thinking from moment to moment and start thinking on a larger scale.

Let’s start with a picture of who we were and who we are now in Christ:

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. Romans 6:15-18

From the moment we were saved, we were given a new nature, one that craves God and His righteousness. We WANT TO be righteous. It is THIS nature to which we should pay close attention because it is guided and controlled by the Holy Spirit who lives in you. Our allegiance is now to Christ!

This new mind sets us free from sin in that we now have a choice. Before we trusted in Christ as LORD, we didn’t have a choice. Now, because of the Holy Spirit within us and our new nature, we DO have a choice. I will say this: while making the choice, our feelings are still worldly; but after we have chosen rightly, the peace and joy that emanate from the Father to us is WELL WORTH IT! Just the comparison between the pay-off for sin and the intimate fellowship with the Father is enough to make us want to be righteous ALL THE TIME. Our motivation has certainly changed!

20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:20-23

Verse 23 reads like this in the CJB, “For what one earns from sin is death; but eternal life is what one receives as a free gift from God, in union with the Messiah Yeshua, our Lord.

Let’s concentrate today on the righteousness that comes from God and enjoy the benefits of our union with Jesus!

Dear LORD, Thank You for freeing me from the chains of sin and yoking me to You. I would much rather walk with You in righteousness than walk alone in my sin. It’s still tough making righteous decisions because I am still tempted by my flesh and my worldly mindset. Help me, O LORD, to replace my worldly thinking with godly thinking through Your Word and through Your guidance. May I rethink EVERYTHING in my life and make it subject to You and Your righteousness. Let’s start right now! Amen.

 

Proverbs 3 11-3-19

Sometimes we forget we are students. We are in training to become perfect in Christ. Train on!

11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
    as a father the son [child] he delights in.

God has called us. He has given us His Spirit to come alongside us and train us in righteousness. We have a gift–now, how do we use it?!

God has also given us His written Word so that there is no mistake about what He is doing and what He likes. It’s important that we get to know His Word, reading it everyday for knowledge, yes, but also to hear His holy whisper. The Spirit speaks to us when we read His Word. Consider it a text from the Lord.

To connect the Word of God with His discipline, let’s look at another passage of Scripture:

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. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

God’s discipline is wrapped up in His Word. Through scripture, He teaches us, rebukes us, corrects us, and trains us in righteousness. We KNOW that we are His because we have this process going on in our lives. We know three things:

  1. We are God’s servants.
  2. We will be thoroughly equipped–at the time we need it.
  3. Every good work–We will be ready for whatever He calls us to do.

This morning as you study your bible privately and then with others, may the Spirit speak to you confirming that you are His; may He reveal truth to you; may He instruct you in how to handle a certain issue in your life; may He ready us for whatever is coming in our lives.

LORD, I just have this feeling that something BIG is about to happen. Make us ready for that day. May we be ready to give our time, talents, resources, and even our lives for the sake of souls. We know that our time on this earth is short; help us make the most of it for You and Your kingdom. We are Your servants. Help us to serve YOU! Amen.

Proverbs 3 10-3-19

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 3 9-3-19

Only those who have been adopted know the significance of what God did for us. The rest of us simply marvel!

(11) My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, (12) because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

When we accepted the invitation by God to allow Him to save us, He picked us up, cleaned us up, placed His Spirit within us, dressed us up, signed adoption papers and sealed them up, and then sat us next to Him in the heavenly realms.

Best verse I’ve read lately:

(6) Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6 [\[“Abba” means “Daddy”]

It is the Spirit who lives in us that helps us cry out to our heavenly Father. The following verse goes even further:

(7) So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

Why would God do such a thing? Because He loves us! God is GOOD. Everything He thinks, plans and does flows out of His goodness. People ask why God would allow such evil in the world. IT’S NOT BECAUSE HE LIKES IT. He loves mankind so much and wants us to have the choice to follow Him. With that choice come blessings and consequences. Our choices are what cause evil in this world. We all live with the consequences of other people’s bad choices, just as the next generation will live with ours.

God’s goodness and love are expressed in Jesus Christ. Consider these verses:

(3) 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. (4) 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 3:3-7

Folks, it doesn’t get any better than that! He doesn’t see us as sinners in need of punishment; He sees us as lost sheep in need of a Shepherd, as lost children in need of a Father, as sinners in need of a Savior!

The next time you are asked, “Why does God allow evil in this world?” be sure to tell them about CHOICE and GOD’S INVITATION. Their question is the perfect segue into the Gospel.

Abba, I pray that we all would grasp the significance of what You have done for us. I am Yours, LORD, lock, stock, and barrel. To know that I am adopted into Your family frees me to love You with all my heart and with abandon. I no longer have to worry about not pleasing You–I am already pleasing to You, and Your Spirit keeps me that way. May I listen closely to You today as we walk together in sweet fellowship. Amen.