Archive for the ‘Chapter 04’ Category

Proverbs 4 1-4-20

January 4, 2020

IronMan and Wonder Women today. Two ways to learn to keep from stumbling in this world and to be encouraged.

18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun,
    shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
    they do not know what makes them stumble.

Since we know Jesus and have His Spirit in us, when we stumble, we can see what made us stumble.  Caring enough to change whatever it is that causes us to stumble only comes by spending time in the LORD’s presence in worship. Did you know that when we read our Bibles that we are worshiping? We are responding to the Spirit’s call, which is the definition of worship! As we read, we become aware of several things: His love, our sin debt, His grace, our gratitude.

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
    Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

Though it cost us all we have, we can get understanding and learn from our mistakes and stumblings. Better to lose the world and gain our souls, right? Many people will not give their lives to Christ because they think they have too much invested in their sin. It would require a drastic change of lifestyle, possibly loss of income, power, or some addiction. They hold onto their rags when they could let go and receive Christ’s riches!

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

As the Holy Spirit instructs us, we need to hold onto His instruction and not let go. In fact, we need to guard it with our lives. The interesting thing is that the more time we spend with Him in prayer and Bible study, fellowship and worship, the more real He becomes to us; the more real He is to us, the easier it is to let go of the things of this world and to hold onto the things that really matter. We crave even more, which is why some people are drawn to church routinely; it’s where they can get all four at one time.

14 [Get off] the path of the wicked and quit walking in the way of evildoers.
15 Avoid it, do not travel on it [anymore]; turn from it and go on your way.

It really is that simple. This admonition is for us each morning. If we look at our lives, the Spirit reveals areas that need His attention. What we are doing or how we are thinking may not be particularly bad, just out of focus. We must remember that our flesh is intrinsically evil and our hearts are amplifiers of our feelings. We TEND toward evil naturally. EVERYTHING in our lives must be laid on the altar and scrutinized by the Spirit. The question is, are we really ready to do it? It’s a daily thing.

Let’s be Christ followers–up close and personal!

Abba, I give all I know of me to all I know of You today. As I learn more about Your love and grace and more about myself and my selfish attitude {and all that goes with it), may I give You that portion tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. May You increase and I decrease (John 3:30). Help me to live for You today. Reveal to me Yourself and myself. Amen. 

Hayley posted this yesterday on Facebook. It fits perfectly with this morning’s devotional:

Everyone is doing their one word for the year thing, and I had two phrases that I’m working on that I was just gonna count for it, which are:
Patience isn’t personal
And
Consistent and courteous
But one word did come to me during my quiet time this morning!

If I had to choose one word for this year It would be WARRIOR. The struggle is real between the corruptive nature of this world inside of me and God‘s nature He has gifted me through the Holy Spirit living inside of me. (Thank you Jesus!) The battle is whether I will claim the victory that is already there or turn to Myself and rely on what I want, how I feel, and how I think – Speaking to myself or others in my head instead of to God. There’s a reason we call those who pray, prayer WARRIORS. This is not just for super spiritual people, this title is for anyone who chooses to turn from self and talk to God instead. I need Him. God, help me to be a WARRIOR

“By these he has given us valuable and superlatively (extreme; supreme) great promises, so that through them you might come to share in God’s nature and escape the corruption which evil desires have brought into the world.”
‭‭2 Peter 1:4‬ ‭CJB‬‬

Proverbs 4 12-4-19

December 4, 2019

When you trusted Christ as Savior, did you present yourself to Him as an obedient slave? That’s what Lordship means.

11 I’m directing you on the way of wisdom, guiding you in paths of uprightness;
12 when you walk, your step won’t be hindered; and if you run, you won’t stumble.

God’s plans for us are for good things in our future and a hope for that future (Jeremiah 29:11). Our hope is in His Coming, either for us individually in death, at which time we go to be with Him in heaven (2 Cor. 5:8), or us as a group, the Catching Up of the Church, at which time we will go to be with Him in Jerusalem (1 Thes. 4:17, Zech. 14:4)! Is there a Rapture in there before Christ comes to earth? Possibly. We shall wait and see!

In the meantime, He walks with us as we go through this life and directs our steps in righteousness and holiness. The question is, how invested are we in the process?

15 Therefore, what conclusion should we reach? “Let’s go on sinning, because we’re not under legalism but under grace”? Heaven forbid! 16 Don’t you know that if you present yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, then, of the one whom you are obeying, you are slaves — whether of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to being made righteous? 17 By God’s grace, you, who were once slaves to sin, obeyed from your heart the pattern of teaching to which you were exposed; 18 and after you had been set free from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.

This progression is universal for Christians and describes first our dilemma and then our solution:

  1. We are slaves to the one we serve.
  2. Our actions reveal who we follow, whether sin unto death (Satan) or obedience unto life (Christ).
  3. We learned the Way of Christ unto salvation and obeyed His command to receive His forgiveness of our sins and His Spirit into our hearts.
  4. After being set free from sin, we became slaves to Him. We WANT TO be righteous! It’s now our new nature.

In view of what has happened to us and Whose we are, 15 Therefore, what conclusion should we reach? “Let’s go on sinning, because we’re not under legalism but under grace”? Heaven forbid! Instead, let us learn to walk as “King’s Kids” in love, in righteousness and holiness, and with increasing glory. One day, we will inherit all of heaven and earth along with Christ (we are joint-heirs with Christ, Romans 8:17). We will once again manage the earth and even angels (1 Cor. 6:3–don’t ask me what that will look like).

Abba, I ask that You make Your will very plain to us today. Speak to us as we turn in our minds and hearts to You and to do Your will. It is our intent to learn of You and to lean on You as we walk through today. May You place us in circumstances that allow our lights to shine for You–regardless of how inconvenient, expensive, or even dangerous it may be. Our hope is in You and in heaven, not for anything down here on this earth. Even our family, whom we love so much, we entrust to You and in being with them in heaven forever rather than trying to hold onto them here on this earth. Keep us focused on You, Adonai. You are our all in all. Amen.

Proverbs 4 11-4-19

November 4, 2019

Eating right helps us in many ways, both physically and spiritually. Our spiritual nourishment comes from God’s Word.

17 They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.

There is a parallel between this verse and the Lord’s Supper, in which we symbolically eat the body of Christ and drink the blood of Christ, the first symbolizing us taking on the servant-life of Christ and the second symbolizing us receiving His forgiveness and new life.

Another parallel is daily bread. Jesus used this analogy in the prayer He taught His disciples to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.”  Luke 11:3. His reference was to the manna given to the Israelites when wandering in the desert (Genesis 16:14-18), which He also referenced when being tempted by the devil in Matthew 4:4, which references Deut. 8:3, “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”

We take in daily spiritual nourishment when we read His Word. Do you want to be strong in the LORD? To be able to stand against Satan? When describing the armor of God, Paul calls the word of God the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). It is a major way that the Holy Spirit communicates with us. His Word is also how we wash and get ready for the day (Eph. 5:26). We renew and transform our minds and thoughts in it (Romans 12:2).

Be sure to spend time in His Word and conversing with Him. If all you do is look up the verses we have just read, it would be a good start! I recommend keeping a lexicon handy, or your phone with a bible app that has a good search feature (it’s the quickest way to get around when following a thread). Allow Him to lead you all over the Bible! It is a very satisfying experience. Have fun with the LORD today in His Word.

Abba, thank You for Your Word. Getting to know You through the Scriptures helps my confidence as I follow You through today. Recognizing Your voice comes more easily, too, LORD, when I read everyday. Keep me faithful to You. Amen.

Proverbs 4 10-4-19

October 4, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Proverbs 4 9-4-19

September 4, 2019

Who is at work in us? Jesus is at work in us! He loves renovation jobs! He enjoys the work and our fellowship.

(6) Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.

King Solomon did not know God as we know God. He knew Him from a dream in which God asked him what he desired God to do for him (2 Chronicles 1:7-12). We do not know if God contacted Solomon again his entire life.

We, on the other hand, have Christ living in our hearts! We get to talk to Him ALL THE TIME! Oh, what wondrous love that He would desire a steady relationship with me, and all His adopted brothers and sisters. More than that, God Himself fellowships with us through the Spirit of Christ Who lives in us. I pray that this revelation never gets old to us!

I was reading this morning and a phrase stuck out at me. Most of the time when that happens, it’s the Holy Spirit emphasizing that part of Scripture. Here ’tis:

(20) Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, (21) equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 

We know that Christ lives in our hearts (Eph. 3:17); we know that His Spirit is our seal of salvation (2 Cor. 1:22); we know that His Spirit gives us the desire and the power to do His will (Phil. 2:13); we know that He is pleased to do this for us (Eph. 1:9).

God is building His house and using us to do it (Eph. 2:19-22). Why? I believe that He loves the interaction. He loves us and wants to spend time with us, so by using us to reach others and help others gives Him the opportunity to teach us, rebuke us (when we don’t listen), correct us (like a father would his son when he is learning to sand a board), and train us through exercises and obstacle courses–although our courses are real!

The problem is that when we spend time with the Father, we are both satisfied and dissatisfied at the same time. By experiencing the majesty and glory of the Father–even a little bit–and the love, joy and peace that exude from Him, we become dissatisfied with the things of this world. They no longer hold their appeal. It is enough to know that God is working in me what is pleasing to Him.

Paul had the same struggle:

20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

Peter knew this joy of which we are speaking:

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

If we feel this inexpressible and glorious joy now, imagine what it will be like to stand in His presence new and complete in our glorious bodies, with no sin nature, forever! Folks, THAT’S something worth looking forward to and working toward!

Lord Jesus, may You complete the work You have started in my heart and life (Phil. 1:6). I am looking forward to spending eternity with You and my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. In the meantime, may I focus on You, turning to you often during the day, and enjoy this limited version of life until You call me home. Use me any way you like; I am Yours. Then, Abba, bring me home to You! I am counting the days…Amen.