Archive for the ‘Chapter 05’ Category

Proverbs 5 12-5-19

December 5, 2019

We have been given a new nature, one that wants to please the Lord. Let’s cultivate this new nature!

My son, pay attention to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding;
so that you will preserve discretion and your lips keep watch over knowledge.

For the lips of a woman who is a stranger [a loose woman–representative of enticement] drip honey, her mouth is smoother than oil;
but in the end she is as bitter as wormwood, sharp as a double-edged sword.

 

God’s words on the Mount Sinai were designed to show us that without Him, we cannot resist evil. Our emotions and our feelings are too strong for us to handle. They always have been. Look at Eve:

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it had a pleasing appearance and that the tree was desirable for making one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her; and he ate. Genesis 3:6

  1. She saw it in a new light, the light of deception. Satan tempted her.
  2. It was pleasing to her–it looked delicious. God designed it to be good, only not to be eaten at this time. The sin was not in the fruit, but in the act of rebellion.
  3. Desire took over. Lest anyone blame Eve, Adam was standing right there! We have to assume that by his inaction he condoned what Eve was doing. We are in this together!

Jesus came to fix us by forgiving our sin and coming to live inside of us, thus giving us His power and His mind so that we can resist sin and learn to be just like Him. Even though we will not be back to how things used to be in the Garden of Eden until Christ returns, we can have the mind of Christ, which is something that Adam and Eve didn’t have! In a way, we are closer to God than they were; they walked with God when He came to walk with them in the garden, but Christ, through the Holy Spirit, is in us 24/7. We are NEVER without Him!

At one time, the Sinai Code (the Torah) brought us death by setting the bar of holiness, one that we couldn’t reach. Actually, it was just a primer, which shows us just how sinful we really were! Paul describes what happened in Romans:

Therefore, what are we to say? That the Torah is sinful? Heaven forbid! Rather, the function of the Torah was that without it, I would not have known what sin is. Romans 7:7a

Have you ever seen a sign that said, “Do Not Touch,” and wanted to do just that? All because the sign told you not to? That is the sin nature at work within us. Paul continues:

13 Then did something good become for me the source of death? Heaven forbid! Rather, it was sin working death in me through something good, so that sin might be clearly exposed as sin, so that sin through the commandment might come to be experienced as sinful beyond measure [seen and known for how bad it really is]. 

Once we are saved and the Spirit of Christ comes to dwell in us, we learn to abide in Him, which means that we grow in knowledge and wisdom and learn to like what He likes and hate what He hates. We learn to trust Him and to lean on Him more and more each day. The love we share with Him and the fellowship we have with Him increase without limit! All we have to do is commit our way to Him each morning and walk with Him throughout the day, acknowledging His presence and authority in our lives and doing as He directs.

Simple? Yes. Easy? No. We still fight the sin nature, but fight it we must! We thank Him for His grace. Think about it: If we didn’t know how sinful were were, how would we appreciate Christ’s sacrifice on the cross? How would we know just how much God truly loves us?

Abba, thank you for showing me my sin so that I can hate it like You do. Why do You hate sin? Because it destroys me and it puts up a barrier between us. Please continue to teach me to turn away from sin, resisting its lure, overcoming desire, and finding peace and rest in Your presence, O Lord. Today is another day; let’s get started. Amen.

Proverbs 5 11-5-19

November 5, 2019

There’s a reason God wants us to stay connected to Him. It’s a dangerous world out there!

7 Now then, my sons [children], listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say.

We have an enemy without and an enemy within. The enemy without is Satan. He wants to lure us away from God, steal every good thing from us, destroy our testimony, and then kill us (John 10:10a). The enemy within is our own sin nature, which can be twice the enemy to us that Satan is. All he has to do is suggest something to us and we zero in on it. How do we combat these enemies?

Each week, I read 2 Peter 1:3-8, which gives me insight into my life with God. In this passage, there is vital information for the Christian:

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

  • His divine power– that which raised Jesus Christ from the dead and sustains all living things. See Ephesians 1:16-23 and Hebrews 1:2-3 for more on His power.
  • Given us everything we need for a godly life– His Spirit enlightens us, equips us, motivates us, and directs us through every decision.
  • Through our knowledge of Him- This knowledge is more than just head knowledge. It is experiential, intimate and tested. It’s accumulative, too.
  • Who called us by his own glory and goodness- We are called! He WANTS us! His glory is His greatness, which means that He has the power and authority to call us and make a way for us to be His (it’s what Jesus did on the cross and the grave). His goodness is WHO He is: He is good. He has good thoughts, He is good to His children, and He has good plans for us. Oh, to be like Him in His goodness!
  • Through these (his glory and his goodness) he has given us his very great and precious promises- To redeem us, to sanctify us, to walk beside us, to strengthen us, to protect us, and to take us to be with Him when the time is right. What more do we need?
  • so that through them you may participate in the divine nature- Here’s where it gets good. The divine nature is spiritual perception. It’s the ability to think on a spiritual level where we see from God’s perspective and get to know Him. It’s our connection to Him through which flows “living water:” His goodness, His love, His peace, His joy, and all the other fruit of the Spirit-His life! Because we now live in this divine nature, all of our activities will begin to reflect His nature. If they don’t, then we had better take a closer look at our activities!
  • having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires- Colossians 3:3 says it best: “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Because we have His divine nature, because we are connected to Him, because we have spiritual perception, and because His living water flows through us, we are learning how to disentangle ourselves from the sin that holds us fast, to extricate ourselves from dangerous and destructive relationships, and to enjoy things in this life that promote His love, His joy, His peace, His hope and His grace. If these things don’t interest you, it’s time to take “The Test” given in 2 Corinthians 13:5,  Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

From here we add goodness to our faith, along with more knowledge, self-control, perseverance (tenacity), godliness (what we become as we walk with Him), mutual affection for other believers, and love (seeing people through God’s eyes).

I love the way Peter sums up this section, For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The idea is that if we are connected to Christ, then these qualities will increase (super)naturally, and we will be effective and productive as we get to know Him, serve Him, and fellowship with Him as we walk with Him.

What are we waiting for? Let’s get started!

Abba, thank You so much for this passage. It explains a great deal about the how’s and why’s of our faith. May I stay connected to You even as I “wade through the swamp.” I know I won’t be truly clean until I can shed these clothes of my sinful nature and exchange them for a new, white robe in heaven. In the meantime, help me to focus on You and what You have for me right here, right now. When I fail, I know that You will pick me up, dust me off, encourage me, and take my hand as we continue on. You are SO GOOD! I love you. Amen.

Psalm 73:23-26

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.
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.

Proverbs 5 10-5-19

October 4, 2019

What happens to us when we die? This may take a couple of days, so bear with me.

(21) For your ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all your paths.

The question is, if we do not live beyond the grave, then why does it matter to God? Let’s go back to chapter 4 and look at a passage:

(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.

God is eternal. He is outside of time. One of His characteristics is Omnipresence, which is to be everywhere at once, including the timeline. If we follow verse 18 to its logical conclusion, it would be for the righteous to stand in His presence–outside of time, or, in eternity, which is beyond the grave.

Looking at verse 19, we see the same end for the wicked as we do with the adulterous woman in verses 3-6 of chapter 5:

(3) For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; (4) but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. (5) Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. (6) She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.

How do we know that we will live beyond the grave? Let’s go back to the beginning–I mean, the literal beginning.

(27) So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

(7) Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

We were created with a spirit, something that no other part of creation has. It is the part that is in the image of God. Solomon wrote, ““The dust [of his body] returns to the earth, just as it was, and the spirit returns to the true God who gave it.” Ecclesiastes 12:7 Our spirits are eternal just as God is eternal.

The problem comes with our choice to sin. Because of Adam, we are born without the connection to the Holy Spirit. That connection must come by individual choice. In the meantime, we do what we naturally do, we sin. If we never connect to the Holy Spirit,  we are considered wicked and go down to the grave and eventually to the lake of fire–which was not created for us, but for Satan and his horde (see Rev. 20:14-15).

We who connect with the Holy Spirit by receiving Christ’s sacrifice in our place on the cross and turning our lives completely over to Him for direction, sustenance, and life itself, are promised eternal life with Jesus in heaven–and it starts the moment the Spirit enters us!

(9) You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. (10) But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of [His] righteousness. (11) And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Romans 8:9-11

His Spirit is a deposit, a guarantee, of eternal life (2 Cor. 1:22 and 5:5).

So, what happens to us when we die? We get to go be with Jesus:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; 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.” John 14:1-3

Tuesday, we will look that the passages that describe the event of dying–or, more accurately, being translated.

Abba, may we put our faith and trust in You for eternal life. May Your Spirit give us faith based on the Word, Your Word. We know it’s true because we have You living in our hearts! No one can deny our relationship with You! Our experience with You is based upon our knowledge of You. Help us to know you better and to experience You more deeply. Amen.

Proverbs 5 9-5-19

September 5, 2019

Paying attention is vital. It’s easier to let someone else to lead or do the details, but it doesn’t excuse us when something goes wrong.

(1) My son [child], pay attention to my wisdom, turn your ear to my words of insight, (2) that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge.

Each morning, the Holy Spirit whispers these words to us. We recognize them as, “I probably should get up and spend some time reading my Bible and praying.” We stand our best chance of having a successful day spiritually if we begin our day by aligning ourselves with Him.

Wandering aimlessly through our day ignoring the Spirit is the best way I know to find pitfalls and traps set by Satan. The adulteress mentioned in this chapter fell into one:

(5) Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. (6) She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it. (22) The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them [her]; the cords of their sins hold them [her] fast.

I think one of the reasons people can ask Christ for salvation and then deny Him access to their daily lives is because we do not teach them to fear the LORD. Before salvation, that fear is actual dread; after salvation, it should be a reverential fear, one of awe and respect. We should never forget that He disciplines those He loves (Heb. 12:7-8).

Let’s take three examples from the Bible: Moses, Isaiah, and Paul.

Moses- According to Numbers 12:3, “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” How did he get that way? By spending time with the LORD. He learned that he had no power within himself (Ex. 4:10). He relied upon the LORD telling him what to do and where to lead the Israelites. Being in the presence of God reminds us that HE is God and we are NOT!

Isaiah- He was shone the throne of God! He experienced the splendor of His majesty and the glory of the LORD which filled the entire temple. His response? (5) “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” Isaiah 6:5. THIS response is the response of every human who stands before the LORD. Isaiah was cleansed by a coal from the altar; we are cleansed by the same blood from that altar, the blood of Jesus!

Paul- On the road to Damascus, Paul immediately recognized that he was in the presence of Jesus. (5) “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. Acts 9:5. What was Paul’s response to learning that it was Jesus? (9) For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. He was humbled. Throughout Paul’s ministry, his assessment of God became greater even while his assessment of himself lowered and lowered. Early in his ministry, he considered himself the least of the apostles (1 Corinthians 15:9). In the middle of his ministry, he considered himself the least of the brethren (Ephesians 3:8). At the end of his ministry, his opinion of himself had fallen to being the worst of sinners (1 Timothy 1:16). For Paul’s analytical breakdown of himself–and us, read Romans 7:7-25, but be sure to read 8:1-4, too (it’s the best part).

As we spend time with God today, let’s be in reverential awe of Him that He would deign to live in our hearts and fellowship with us! That in itself is reason enough to spend time in prayer and Bible study!

Dear LORD, may I never lose the awe of Your presence in my life. When I come to You, I recognize my own unworthiness, yet I am encouraged by Your Spirit because in You I am worthy. Help me to “put on Christ” as I go through my day. Teach me to put off everything in my life that hurts me and/or others, and what keeps me from You. I love King David’s words and adopt them for myself: (4) One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of he LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4. Your temple is in me, now. May I never forget that! Let’s walk. Amen.