Archive for the ‘Chapter 03’ Category

Proverbs 3 1-3-20

January 3, 2020

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

December 3, 2019

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

November 3, 2019

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

October 3, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Proverbs 3 9-3-19

September 3, 2019

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.