Proverbs 4 6-4-20

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

See Critique

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?

24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
    keep corrupt talk far from your lips. [Jesus is coming soon]
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
    fix your gaze directly before you. [Jesus is coming soon]
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
    and be steadfast in all your ways. [Jesus is coming soon]
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
    keep your foot from evil. [Jesus is coming soon]

#9 Jesus is coming soon! How do we get ready? Part 2

Yesterday, I made the statement that mankind will not know the hour, day, or year when Jesus is coming back, but we can know the season. Today, we look at His actual coming.

The best verses are in Revelation 19 where John describes the Second Coming:

9 Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”

11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”[a] He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of kings and Lord of lords.

19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20 But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21 The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

Let’s break it down:

  1. The doors to heaven were standing open.
  2. Jesus was on a white horse as opposed to the donkey He rode into Jerusalem.
  3. His names are Faithful and True, the Word of God, King of kings and Lord of lords, plus there is a name that only He knows!
  4. His robe is dipped in blood–whose blood, it doesn’t say. It could be His; it could be His enemies’.
  5. The many crowns represent His sovereignty over all kingdoms.
  6. We are with Him! We are dressed in white (the big tell), and we don’t have weapons–we don’t need them. Jesus strikes down His enemies with the sword of His mouth. How? The same way He created the universe with His words. He will pronounce words of judgement and voila! Done.
  7. The beast and the false prophet are cast into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 

If we were to keep reading, it just gets better and better!

There are other clues to the imminent return of Christ:

  1. One world currency
  2. The mark of the beast
  3. Worldwide communication
  4. Treaties and kingdom coalitions

These we all have now. What we DON’T have is a peace treaty between Israel and her surrounding countries. Clinton tried it in 2000, but failed. President Trump initiated a peace plan in 2017 that is still underway. PEACE. That peace plan may be the very thing that allows Israel to build her temple.

How shall we prepare? Peter tells us how:

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.

14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation… 2 Peter 3:11-12, 14-15

Solomon said it best, though, when it comes to evangelism:

10 If you falter in a time of trouble [don’t look back], how small is your strength [weak is your faith, double-minded is your heart]! 11 Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.

Jesus said that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few (Matthew 9:37-38). Let’s BE THOSE HARVESTERS!

One more thing: Each year, I get really excited when Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) rolls around. Why? I’m glad you asked! Jesus fulfilled four of the seven Jewish festivals, which, by the way, were instituted by God, with His death (Passover and Unleavened Bread), resurrection (First Fruits), and the coming of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost). If He did it with the first four, I believe that He will fulfill the last three just as literally. The New Year is begun with the Feast of Trumpets, then 10 days later is the Day of Atonement, and then the Feast of Tabernacles/Ingathering. These easily translate into The Return, The Judgement, and Heaven. We may not know the day, hour, or year, but we CAN know the season! This year, Rosh Hashanah is Friday, September 18 through Sunday, September 20 (the trumpet can be blown anytime during these days). It seems a bit early according to other prophecies, but–who knows? Christ may surprise us all!

I believe that God is preparing His church for a final push; whether it’s global revival or gleanings, I don’t know. I believe that He is training me for something specific. He has not revealed it to me, and probably won’t until it’s time or close to time to do whatever it is for which He is training me. In the meantime, I am staying close to Him with my eyes fixed on Him; I am writing down everything He is saying to me, and trying to memorize as much Scripture as I can. I am trying to whittle down my testimony and the Gospel presentation to their essential points so that I can share them quickly and concisely. And, I am praying for God’s Spirit to move in your heart and all who read my posts along with those who meet with me for prayer each Wednesday morning.

What is God calling you to do to prepare for what is coming?

Abba, I pray that You will impress upon the hearts of Your children what it is that You want us to do, whether it’s to get up earlier and read more in Your Word, to make lists of people and pray for them, or to talk to our neighbors, coworkers, and even random people to find out what their spiritual needs are–and then to meet them. May we all make ourselves available to You for WHATEVER You have for us to do. We are Yours. Do with us as You will. Amen.

Proverbs 4 5-4-20

Dying to self and living for Christ is what Christianity is all about. If we want heaven on earth, we need Christ living in us.

26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
    and be steadfast in all your ways.

Sometimes, the Monday morning blahs get us. It’s hard to move beyond our feelings. This is the time when all of our Bible study comes in handy as we remember that this world is not our home (yet), Jesus is the Leader of our lives, and our feelings can’t be trusted. Today’s chapter tells us to “guard our hearts above all else [keep them on a short leash], for everything we do flows out of it.” v23. In other words, our hearts act as amplifiers for our feelings; we tend to act out of our feelings; therefore, our hearts guide our actions–when it doesn’t really do any thinking! Instead of following our hearts (and our feelings), let’s base our actions on what we know to be true according to the Word of God.

THE FACTS:

14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

Christ died for all so that through Him, we might die to these bodies of sin and be raised to walk in newness of life with him. We owe Him our lives, therefore, we do not live for ourselves anymore, but for Him.

THE TRANSFORMATION:

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way [as just a man], we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: The old has gone, the new is here! 

To live for Christ is to have His attitude and His mission. As we regard Christ, we find that He has awakened our Spirits from the dead and we CAN! We no longer think the way we used to. When we look at our sinful lives and are repulsed by them, we can be sure that it is the Spirit in us that has given us this point of view. Therefore, we take on Christ’s continued mission.

THE MISSION:

18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

This appeal is our ministry, our goal, and our task. The confusing part is that God allows us to be put in interesting-if not extreme- circumstances for our lights to shine. Evidently, we shine best in the face of hardship, sickness, and persecution. Paul is a shining example of these.

THE EXAMPLE:

15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name. Acts 9:15-16

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 2 Corinthians 1:8-9

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10

When we walk through hard times, whether financially, physically, emotionally, or spiritually, we can trust the Lord that He is putting us on display for others to watch. How we respond/react to our circumstances reveals how much of today’s lesson we have learned. Do we step back and realize that God has a purpose for what we are going through or do we try to get back to our normal as quickly as possible? Do we give thanks in all things, or do we complain and throw a pity party? Holding a tight rein on our hearts is imperative as we go to the Father and receive from His hand our daily bread. Let’s take Paul’s perspective on his circumstances.

THE PERSPECTIVE:

We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves [put ourselves on display] in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 2 Corinthians 6:3-5, 8-10

The Quarantine has been good for us spiritually on several levels. Let’s continue the good work that the Holy Spirit is doing in us. Let’s give thanks, endure hardship with patient faith, and display Christ in our lives at every turn.

Abba, may I follow my own advice. Move in my heart today. Amen.

LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. Isaiah 33:2

Proverbs 4 4-4-20

What are you willing to do to know that God is real? To sense His Presence? To feel His love and approval? Anything? Everything?

7 Though it cost you all you have…

Adam and Eve* were perfect. They had only one “temptation” to avoid, which really wasn’t a temptation until the serpent brought it to their attention. Their eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil doomed us to lives of misery. Why? Because we have the knowledge, but lack self-control. We have no power to go against the feelings that temptation brings and to choose righteously.

What we need is for God to come and live in our hearts, to tell us what is right and what is destructive, and to empower us to choose good over evil. WAIT!!! THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT JESUS ACCOMPLISHED WITH THE CROSS/GRAVE/RESURRECTION! His Presence in our lives is where we get our close communication, our sweet communion, with Him. It’s where we feel His love and approval; His Presence brings joy, peace and hope. We relish His mercy and His grace. Spending time recognizing His Presence in our hearts and lives makes us more and more like Him: humble, gentle, patient, kind, faithful, fair, righteous, and holy. It is THIS relationship that makes being a Christian worth it!

If you’ve never had it before, that close relationship with Jesus Christ, that sweetness of fellowship that comes from having Him in your heart, I urge you to give your life to Him today. Ask Him to convict you of sin–you’re probably going, “WHY?” His Presence in our lives is felt most when we feel the conviction of sin: the things in our lives that are destroying us and those around us (relationally if not literally). It is His conviction that prompts us to act when He wants us to; His conviction empowers us to choose rightly. But, it all begins with the conviction of present sin in our lives. Respond to His conviction; it is His way of loving you! Ask Jesus to come, live in your heart, forgive you of all your sin, and to rule and reign as LORD and King in your life. You’ll never regret it!

If you have, but it’s been a while, He is just a prayer away. In fact, knowing His peace–feeling it and understanding it–comes from being in His Presence. But, we cannot come to Him just any old way; we must come as He dictates. He is holy, therefore, we must come to Him wholly (get it?). We must climb up on the altar and die to ourselves in order to get to His lap, so to speak. In doing so, He pours on us His Pleasure! Know this: We must determine in our hearts to live for Him from now on; He knows when we are holding back. The man prayed, “I believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” Mark 9:24. It’s all part of the conviction we feel from the Spirit. We must learn to sense it, obey it, and live by it. Then all the things that come with salvation we enjoy every time we come to Him.

If you want to have it everyday, then come to Him the same way we did that first time: completely, wholly, and with abandon. The neat part is that the more often we do it, the easier it gets, the more rewarding it gets, and the more real it gets! Spending time with Him is as easy as turning around in our minds. It’s what is meant by “transforming our minds” in Romans 12:2, “the renewal of our minds” in Ephesians 4:23, and the “clothing of ourselves with the LORD Jesus Christ” in Romans 13:14. You may have noticed that I used three verses from the Bible; the Bible is where we learn to turn to Him, HOW to turn to Him, and WHY we need to turn to Him everyday, every hour–continuously.

May we use this “down time” to fire up our prayer life and Bible study. Answer His call to join Him. Don’t be afraid of conviction, because it’s how He communicates His desires to us. Look for it; ask for it; recognize it as His Participation in our lives.

Abba, I praise You for Your conviction in my heart and life. I recognize it as Your way of warning me, calling me, and empowering me to do Your will–WITH You and NOT for You. As I read Your Word and as I turn to You as often as I recognize Your voice of conviction, may I get better and better at it, and faster and faster at turning to You. When I do turn to You, You become SO REAL in my life! I’m addicted, LORD. I want MORE of You (I realize I have ALL of You in my heart, but I want to know and access as much of You as I can). Make it so today, LORD Jesus, Yeshua Ha’Machiach. Amen.

*Adam and Eve were real people who lived in a real Garden of Eden. They walked and talked with God, and were the Parents of all humanity. We’re looking at about 6500 years ago. Don’t believe me? Let’s talk.

Proverbs 4 3-4-20

Why read a chapter of Proverbs every day? Because the Spirit wants to speak to us and impart wisdom to us.

20 My son [child], pay attention to what I say;
    turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
    keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
    and health to one’s whole body.

If we were to consider these verses as an intro into the next few verses, we would get an entirely different impression about the author’s intent. The nuggets of wisdom are not random; they have a rationale that we would do well to consider.

23 Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.

How do we guard our hearts? The previous verses tell us to pay attention and do what God tells us either in His Word or in our spirits. He is King there, so protect the throne!

24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

How do we guard our mouths? By paying attention to what we say. We KNOW when we are about to say something derogatory, slanderous, callous, dirty, or ungodly (something God would not say or approve). May we always remember that our arrogance in disregarding God is telling us to do leads to rebellion, which leads to disobedience, which leads to destruction.

25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.

How do we guard our eyes? We must predetermine what we will intentionally look at and and NOT look at. We must also predetermine what we will do with sights that we unintentionally see. Looking away as quickly as we can is the first thing; the second thing is turning our thoughts to the LORD and asking for help. We cannot unsee it, but He can mitigate its effects on our minds.

26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.

How do we guard where we go? Again, predetermination and intention play big roles in our destination. We must decide where we want to be and how we want to get there. As Christians, we have these verses to guide us:

19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, Galatians 4:19

20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1b-2a

24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24

Last verse of the chapter:

27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.

How do we guard our steps? This answer is simple, but not easy to do. We are to follow the Savior by walking in step with Him. He will show us only a few steps at a time–sometimes, only ONE step at a time–as He leads us toward the Celestial City. Consider these verses:

25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you [in other words, don’t concern yourself with someone else’s walk]? You must follow me.” John 21:22

Today, let’s answer His call to follow Him–closely. Let’s keep in step with Him as He leads us onward and upward (higher up and further in).

Abba, may I focus on You today. I want to be aware of Your presence and hear Your voice whispering to me all the time. Sometimes You are instructing me what to say/not say; other times You are giving me discernment or insight; still other times you are simply encouraging my spirit. May I become more and more attuned to Your voice and the nuances of Your Spirit’s moving in my life and in the world around me. Make me AWARE, LORD. Amen.

Proverbs 4 2-4-20

We must be careful not to make our salvation all about us because it’s really all about Him. He is our all in all.

26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
    and be steadfast in all your ways.

Get wisdom, get understanding;
    do not forget my words or turn away from them.

Our Salvation is due to His sacrifice. He deemed us worthy to be saved, therefore we have  incredible worth- the blood of our God! Salvation came to us not when we said a prayer, but when we recognized His great gift of salvation through His blood and responded by bowing our head and knee. It’s for His glory that we are saved, not our happiness. King David said,

Not to us, Lord, not to us
    but to your name be the glory,
    because of your love and faithfulness. Psalm 115:1

The story of His great sacrifice is given in Philippians 2. Let’s read it:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge [confess] that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

 

Through our salvation, we have given Him our lives for Him to use as He wishes. We have died to ourselves and now live for Him, with Him living through us (Galatians 2:20). If He asks us to suffer for His glory, do we need to understand why in order to submit? NO! Dead people don’t have opinions, nor do they make decisions about what is fair. If we want fair, we have only look at our lives and see that fairness would gain us hell!

When we gave our lives to Jesus Christ, we did so because He is worthy. We join in the song that is being sung around His throne in Heaven right now:

Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
    to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
    and honor and glory and praise!” Rev. 5:12

Our happiness is founded and sealed in knowing Christ and having His Spirit in our hearts and lives. Anything else good that happens to us is gravy. God is continuously putting us in places for our lights to shine. I personally think that He puts us in place for even one person! Even as Moses was arguing with God about not being His spokesman, God already had Aaron on the way to meet him (Ex. 4:14).

Our satisfaction comes from knowing that we are being of use to Christ. Any good things that we experience are secondary to our primary function: Being available for His purposes. The neat part comes from knowing that being in His presence brings us overflowing peace, joy, hope,  grace, and a true sense of His love for us. We also have this promise from Him:

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. John 17:24

So, what do we say to growing old? To His glory! What do we say to cancer? To His glory! Persecution? To His glory! Hardship? To His glory! We  glorify Him the most when all we have to praise Him for is His worthiness. In fact, our lights shine the brightest in our darkest moments.

If you are going through a trial or “dark moment,” be encouraged. You have the opportunity to give glory to Him, to praise Him for Who He is–with no other apparent reason for praising Him–and for letting your light shine for Christ. Trust me, someone is watching. May that person come to Christ because of your sufferings.

As we look forward to this Sunday, may we say with David, “Not to us, O LORD, but to Your name be glory.”

Abba, I realize that I have not had to suffer much in my life so far. At the same time, You have called me to set aside my own life for Your will. You know that I was ready on several occasions if You had called upon me to give my life. I once again offer myself to You for You to use in whatever way will bring You the most glory. Sincerely yours, Kelly.

Proverbs 4 1-4-20

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

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

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

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

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.