Proverbs 5 10-5-20

Daily faithfulness: That’s what God asks of us. Even when we don’t understand, or feel like it, remain faithful to the task.

8 Now then, my children, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say.

The old farmer sat on the porch with his grandson. The grandson asked him, “Grandpa, why do you read your Bible everyday? What’s the point of reading about people who lived so long ago?”
Grandpa replied, “Because these people walked with the LORD Jesus and were moved by His Spirit to write down what He said and did so that we can know Him, too.”
“But, how can knowing stories about Jesus then help us know Him now?” the grandson asked.
Grandpa answered, “The same Spirit that urged them to write those words moves in our hearts today.” He walked over to the edge of the porch and picked up a coal bucket. “If you really want to know what happens to us when we read His Word everyday and set our minds and hearts on following the LORD each day, then take this bucket down to the well, fill it up and bring it back up here to me.”
“Okay,” the grandson answered dubiously. He took the bucket and went to the well. He filled it and started back up the path to the porch, but the bucket had holes in the sides and the water leaked out. By the time he got to the porch, the bucket was empty.
“Grandpa, there are holes in this bucket! I’ll never get it up here to the porch full.”
“Nonsense. Try it again.” So the grandson marched down to the well and tried it again with the same result.
“This isn’t going to work, Grandpa.”
“Just one more time. Do it for me,” Grandpa said.
With a sigh, the grandson went down and filled the bucket. When he got back to the porch, he set the empty bucket down in front of his Grandpa and said, “See? I knew it was useless. The bucket is empty.”
Grandpa said, “Grandson, I didn’t tell you my goal. My goal wasn’t to have a full bucket of water delivered to my porch. My goal was to have the bucket rinsed of the coal residue that was in the bucket.”
The grandson’s eyebrows shot up in surprise.
“Also,” Grandpa continued, “if you’ll notice, there are flowers along the path, which you watered as you labored up the hill. Thank you.”
The grandson sat down beside his Grandfather and said, “So, what you’re telling me is that even though I don’t see progress, it’s still happening in my life when I read His Word everyday? And that I am still useful to Him even when I don’t realize it?”
“Yes. The point of Bible study and prayer is not so much to educate as it is to fellowship with our heavenly Father. That’s really what He wants. So, you just keep reading and following His instructions and when it’s all said and done, you will have been a good and faithful servant.”
“Thank you, Grandpa,” said the grandson. “I will.”
Grandpa smiled.*

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness.” Matthew 25:21

I don’t know about you, but I live to hear those words.

Abba, may I remain faithful in the little things because I know that You are developing my character, and that out of my character will come the will and determination to do the right thing when times get tough. Keep me depending on You, LORD. I trust You implicitly. Amen.

*This story is not original. I just told it in my own words.

Proverbs 5 9-5-20

Before coming to Christ, we lived in a state of rebellion. We were rebellious by nature. Christ changed all that!

12 “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! 13 I would not obey my teachers or turn my ear to my instructors.”

This is how we were:

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. Ephesians 2:1-3 NLT

But, once we came to Christ for forgiveness and new life, the Holy Spirit now resides in us giving us a heart of flesh (we’re alive) and has removed our stone-dead hearts (Ezekiel 36:26).

Our new nature is based on love (John 13:34-35). We now live in a state of loving God and loving others. When we are rebellious, we put on the grave clothes from which we were delivered. Rebellion is NOT our nature, and we should be able to strip it off like old clothes, just like a dirty old coat. Look what Jesus said to do to Lazarus:

43 Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, Unwrap him and let him go!” John 11:43-44 NLT

Paul makes much over us putting off our old self and putting on the new self:

22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:22-24 NLT

Like I said yesterday, don’t wait for a feeling. Make a conscious, deliberate decision to do things God’s way. As you change the way you think, I promise that it will change the way you feel. If anything, we have the satisfaction of thwarting Satan in his schemes to drag us back into sin. May we all have success in whatever battle field we are fighting.

Abba, I pray for my brothers and sisters that You would give them victory in whatever area of life that is giving them trouble. May they never lose the desire to win in that area even if it takes their entire lives! To know that You are in there right alongside us fighting with us gives us courage, strength, and the will to keep going. Thank You for giving us all we need to be victorious, LORD. May we realize that we WIN just by being with You and leaning on You in our times of need. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP. Remind me again and again, Abba. I love You. Amen.

Proverbs 5 8-5-20

Ever wonder why God allows our lives to fall apart? It is so He can direct us in how to put things back together.

12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
    How my heart spurned correction!
13 I would not obey my teachers
    or turn my ear to my instructors.
14 And I was soon in serious trouble
    in the assembly of God’s people.”
21 For your ways are in full view of the LORD,
and He examines all your paths.

I am sure that there are times when God actually afflicts His children. I think that there are times when He doesn’t stop the natural circumstances of this world, i.e. cancer, natural disasters, accidents, genetics, etc. But, I think that most of the time that which we perceive as His afflicting us is actually Him allowing us to reap the consequences of our choices, some that are deliberate rebellion and others that are made out of ignorance. Either way, we learn from these afflictions. King David did:

Psalm 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your word.
71 It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn Your decrees.

In Christ, life becomes a practice field for us. We no longer need to worry about “making the team.” It’s all about learning to be obedient to the Spirit in how to be like Jesus: How to represent God to the world. There may be times when He tells us to “drop and give Me twenty.” In that case, it’s an attitude problem. David had them:

75 I know, LORD, that Your laws are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me. 76 May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant.

The key to this passage is in believing what Jesus has told us, what He has promised us. For instance, in Hebrews 12:4-8, we have this promise:

 

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
(“as a father the son he delights in” Proverbs 3:11-12)

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 

In my own personal creed (see Proverbs 7-29-20), I stated what I believe according to His promises to us:

In fact, I know exactly how David felt when he wrote:

92 If Your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.

Had I not known the above verses and believed them and cherished them, then I would not have learned from my situation and may have been doomed to repeat my mistakes until I learned the lesson–not by God’s hand, but by my stubborn will and poor decisions.

If we will see every problem in our lives as opportunities to grow in Christ, then we would see how God uses these predicaments to bring good for us. There is a verse that tells us this good news, but there is a catch:

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

The catch is in the phrase, “who have been called.” It implies those who are following the LORD closely, “according to His purpose.” We MUST be following the LORD closely to see the good that God is bringing out of our afflictions, both for ourselves and in ourselves and for and in others. The key is in Him asking, “Do you trust Me?” and us responding, “Yes, LORD, Yes, to Your will and to Your way.”

May we read His promises and base our next decisions on those promises. Soon we will be able to say with David, “It was good for me to be afflicted” (73).

Abba, You have taken me through some rough times. I know that TRUST COMES FROM TIME PLUS BELIEVABLE BEHAVIOR. T+BB=Trust. You are always believable and trustworthy. Thank You for Your unfailing love! May I always trust in You as I become trustworthy to You. Amen.

 

Proverbs 5 7-5-20

Our failures build resolve. They give us insight into what we need to do to have victory over sin.

1 My 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.

We each have our vulnerabilities. Our tendencies are particular to our environment, heritage, temperament, and history. God used to say, “This is how I want you to be.” Now, He says, “This is how I will make you to be if you’ll let me.” He even came into our lives so that He could work with us on our character and godliness.

Being like Jesus is our goal and it’s going to take His help, His strength, and His guidance to reach that goal. Praise His Name, He wants the very same thing for us! He is building us up into a temple for Himself. In fact, we are already mobile temples: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God. You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

With the Holy Spirit in us, we have a new nature. In fact, we are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We no longer have to live according to the flesh (Romans 8:4). He calls us to follow Him and then gives us both the desire and the power to do it (Philippians 2:13). If we determine “to put off our former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, to be made new in the attitude of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24), then each day we will come to Him, asking for His daily bread (His words in print, in our heads, and in our hearts), and for Him to “create in us clean hearts and renew a right spirit within us” (Psalm 51:10), WE WILL SEE SUCCESS IN OUR LIVES OVER TIME. Jesus KNOWS how long it will take for us to kick that habit, to create new, godly habits, and to master our bodies and our minds (with some measure of success).

The nice thing is that our fellowship is not built on our successes, but on our turning to Him for assistance, guidance, and strength. The fellowship is in the CONNECTION. It’s all about the fellowship.

Today is Sunday. How about starting today with this new way of thinking? As you worship with the body of Christ, either physically or online, make it a point to commit your life to Him afresh and anew. You will experience His closeness, His love, His joy, and His peace that emanate from His Presence. Then, do it everyday. It never gets old!

The hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,  has a wonderful refrain. It’s one that we can experience right now:

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.

Abba, I pray that each reader will come to You now and place themselves smack dab in the middle of Your throne room floor. I know what You’ll do (because You’ve done it with me): You’ll come down off Your throne and sit on the floor with them, put Your arms around them and love on them. It’s a wonderful place to be!!! Thank You, Adonai, for being SO PERSONAL with each of us. May we trust You more and more as we spend more and more time with You in Your Word and in Your Presence. Amen.

Proverbs 5 6-5-20

Isn’t it time we got serious about our relationship with Christ? “Semester tests” are coming and we haven’t studied…

NOTE: #10, “Heaven,” is coming. Patience, patience…

1 My son, 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.

Why become a Christian if we are not going to follow Christ? Why marry Him if we don’t want to spend every waking moment with Him–at least, that’s how I feel about Robin. I have to admit that I am hooked on His love that is so deep that I’ll never find the edges, with His peace that passes all understanding, with His joy that radiates from His throne and fills my entire being, and His companionship that gives my daily life a weight and a depth that goes beyond the mundane.

Knowing that every activity I have and do with the Spirit is a NEW THING, that together we are creating an offering to the Father that would otherwise never exist, gives my life meaning. Even my prayers are unique! I pray–even when I don’t know what to say–and He takes my prayers and transforms them into special offerings to the Father and the Son. Don’t believe me? Read this next passage:

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but [even as we pray] the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.  Romans 8:26-27

I believe that history is heading to a climax. Satan pretty much has the world where he wants it. The only thing that can hold him back is another worldwide revival. I have read reports that India is the hottest place for salvations in the world with Iran being right behind them. That’s amazing! China has always been a place of a great moving of the Spirit even in the face of great persecution. Could it be that America might be called into revival if we were being persecuted, too? It almost seemed that we might get some with the pandemic. Looking back on it, I can sure see how quickly our society can turn on us!

Rather than say, “Surely not,” let’s get before the LORD and ask Him how He wants us to serve Him, worship Him, and be witnesses for Him in the coming days. The media keeps talking about a resurgence of COVID 19 this Fall; are we ready to find creative ways to meet for prayer–even at the risk of sickness, or will we meekly quit meeting altogether and depend on the internet? The problem with the internet is that it is controlled by companies that can be manipulated. What happens if churches get censured? We would have a LOT of people stranded spiritually. What about having a network of house bible studies with everyone assigned and ready to go if the time comes? The great revival of 1857 started in a noonday prayer meeting of a few businessmen.

I take comfort from passages like Psalm 110:1-3. It’s a Messianic psalm and it describes the power and authority of our LORD Jesus Christ:

The Lord said to my Lord,
    “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand
until I humble your enemies,
    making them a footstool under your feet.”
The Lord will extend your powerful kingdom from Jerusalem;
    you will rule over [in the midst of] your enemies.
When you go to war,
    your people will serve you willingly.
You are arrayed in holy garments,
    and your strength will be renewed each day like the morning dew.

Jesus even quoted verse 1 in Matthew 22:44 in reference to Himself. I take four encouragements from it:

  1. Jesus has all authority. We know that because He said so in Matthew 28:18, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
  2. Even in the midst of my enemies, I can count on Him ruling over my situation. I will NOT fear death (enough to make me shrink from it) either by sickness or otherwise, nor imprisonment (there are lots of “captive” audiences there; ask Joseph). “They triumphed over him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Revelation 12:11
  3. We have the promise that the people of God will rise up in the face of adversity and serve Him. Now THAT’S revival! We will be arrayed in the splendor of the glory of God. That in itself will draw many and make the servants of Satan flee.
  4. Our strength will be renewed as needed. We are Spirit-driven. We will “mount up on wings as eagles, we will run and not grow weary, we will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31.

Folks, let’s be about the Father’s business. Let’s get up earlier and spend time with Him in His Word. Let’s look for opportunities to share something spiritual with people around us. Let’s meet in prayer groups. Let’s be intentional about displaying Jesus in our lives–and I’m not talking a fish on our car! Let’s be ready for that BIG DAY when our faith is tested. I want to be; don’t you?

Abba, I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ that they would be able to see the signs of the times and get ready. It’s TIME! May they stop waiting for more signs; may they take this message personally; may they answer the Spirit’s call to “war.” Give us just a little more time, LORD Jesus. Help us to prepare. Amen.

Proverbs 5 5-5-20

Spiritual Realities- We need to get back to the Basics. Let’s not forget that JESUS IS COMING SOON!

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

As easy as it sounds, advice that requires us to change is difficult to heed. People usually think, “I’ll get around to that eventually.” It’s like a round tuit. The problem is that the circumstances that call us to finally move may make our change moot. In other words, it may be too late!

12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
    How my heart spurned correction!
13 I would not obey my teachers
    or turn my ear to my instructors.

So, what are the Spiritual Realities that are basic to our faith?

  1. SIN SEPARATES US FROM GOD. We start with this one because it explains why we have a problem believing that God exists and/or that He would want to be actively involved in our lives. Sin is the willful disobedience of what God has told us to do or not to do. It is rebellion. We all do it everyday without thinking about it. How? By making decisions–any and all decisions–without consulting Him. We don’t because we can’t: We are dead in our sins and blind to God. Ephesians 2:1-3. This reality leads us to the next one:
  2. GOD IS REAL. We may not acknowledge Him, but He is in heaven on His throne ruling the universe. In fact, He has given all authority to his Son, Jesus Christ, Yeshua ha’Mashiach, until God has made all His enemies His footstool. This reality leads us to the next one:
  3. HEAVEN AND HELL ARE REAL. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. One day, every person will spend eternity in one or the other. Revelation 20:11-15. This reality leads us to the next one:
  4. DEATH IS UNIVERSAL, BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE FINAL. Ever since Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, everyone has died*. Yet, God has provided a way of escape from this fallen world of sin through death. This reality leads us to the next one:
  5. JESUS DIED AND ROSE AGAIN SO THAT WE COULD HAVE NEW LIFE. We are born once naturally; we need to be born again spiritually. John 3:5-6. God loves us so much that He came as Jesus to die in our place so that we could be reunited with Him! John 3:16.

The question is, “What will you do with Jesus?” To ignore Him is to choose hell. To receive Him is to accept His sacrifice for our sins, be forgiven, and to make Him Lord of our lives. BE WARNED: We can’t have forgiveness without making Him Lord of our lives. When we receive Him, He comes to live in us by way of the Holy Spirit. He is GOD and He desires that we give up our rebellious ways and follow His lead. In everything. Everyday. Without exception.

You may say, “That’s impossible!” True, in our own power. It’s a process. Look at it this way:

POSITION- We are in Christ. He has signed adoption papers and we are co-heirs with Jesus Christ! Romans 8:14-17. This position cannot change. See John 10:27-30.

RELATION- We are in a dynamic relationship with God through Jesus, through the Spirit. Becoming like Jesus is what the rest of this life is all about! We are being conformed to His image, transformed into His likeness, and are indeed Christ’s ambassadors to those around us.

Why do I share this information? For many, it’s old-hat. To be truthful, I am practicing for sharing the Gospel with others. In fact, I am making the information available to you now so that you can share it with others. As time marches on to its END, we should have more and more opportunities to share the Gospel with people, especially our neighbors and co-workers. Let’s be looking for ripe fruit!

Jesus said, My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” Let’s let His food be our food! What was His food? The soul of the woman at the well!

Abba, I pray that You would give us souls to lead to You. There is much fear because of the pandemic, but that fear has many people searching for answers. We have the answer in You, Lord Jesus! May we share faithfully and fearlessly, and may people respond to the Gospel. Even if they don’t, may we be faithful even unto death. We KNOW that the best is yet to come! I am Yours, Lord. Use me as You see fit. Amen.

The Basics of Life by 4Him

*Enoch and Elijah are the only two exceptions, and may be back to fulfill this reality. Revelation 11:1-14

Proverbs 5 4-5-20

The tragedy of living life without the LORD is the waste, the missed opportunities, and the judgement. Let’s not go there.

22 The evil deeds [deeds done with no regard to God or His plans or commands] of the wicked [those who ignore the commands of God] ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast. 23 For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly [poor decisions].

These people may be good folks, but they are NOT interested in following God. Many of them are our own family members. There are three things that we can do for them:

  1. Pray, pray some more, and keep on praying. Pray alone; pray with others. Continue to intercede for them, lifting them up to the LORD. Ask and keep on asking. Be faithful in prayer. Pray for conviction of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
  2. Live the faithful life in front of them. We are on display as Christ’s trophies of grace (2 Corinthians 2:14 AMP). Ask God to guide us whenever they are around and whenever we have dealings with them. Pray for conviction of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
  3. Ask the LORD to prompt us to send notes, cards, texts, songs, YouTube videos, Facebook posts, etc. that are encouraging and insightful. Pray for conviction of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

This time in America is fraught with fear. If COVID-19 doesn’t cause a recession, the nation’s reaction to our leaders’ reactions WILL! The world will want everything to go back like it was. CHRISTIANS SHOULDN’T. Our country was sliding down the slippery slope of complacency–NOT ANYMORE! Let us pray that God would send REVIVAL during this down time. May people be urged to “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” Isaiah 55:6. 

As followers of Christ, this crisis is a wake-up call for us to be attentive, to reorient our lives to Him and His Word, and to be lights during this dark time. Instead of being full of fear and doom, let’s be full of faith and hope. Let’s set our sights on what is coming (Christ’s Kingdom) and not on what is happening.

Are we doing all we can? Are we doing all He has asked us to do? Then, that’s enough. Rest. Then, pray some more. Enjoy that sweet fellowship with the Father.

Abba, as we meet together separately today, may we focus on You and what You have for us. You want to meet with us as Your children. May Your Spirit work a mighty work in all of us today. Speak to our hearts, LORD. Help us to get our hearts and lives oriented to You and Your holiness. Then, help us to reach out to those around us as You call our attention to them and their need. May we be bold for You, O LORD–but, wise, too. Amen.

Proverbs 5 3-5-20

God sees all and knows all; He has His Plan, yet He still allows us to make our own choice concerning Him.

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

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

The only TRUE decision we have is the choice to receive God through Jesus Christ or reject Him. Jesus called the rejection of the Spirit’s call the unpardonable sin:

31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit [when He comes calling] will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. Matthew 12:31-32

At the same time, God takes all of everyone’s choices–even our everyday ones–and weaves them into His Greater Will, which He will bring to pass in His proper time. What we have to decide when making EVERY decision is whether or not to believe in His Greater Will.

  • Do we really believe that He has our best interests at heart?
  • Do we really believe that God controls the nations–even when they are “out of control?”
  • Do we really believe that He will meet our every NEED (not desire, mind you) according to His Plan (rather than ours)?

What we forget (or ignore) is that His Plan involves us leaving this earth and going to Heaven to be with Him. Why do we fight it so? What is it about this earth that makes us want to fight to leave it?

My personal opinion is that we don’t know enough about where we are going to get excited about it. Let’s see:

  • We’ll be in the presence of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
  • We will have new bodies that won’t hurt or age!
  • We’ll be will loved ones–both known and just met!
  • Later, we will return with Jesus to reign with Him on this earth.
  • We’ll get to explore God’s creation–to the utmost regions of space!*

To believe that God is Omnipotent (all-powerful), Omniscient (all-knowing) and Omnipresent (everywhere at once–even in time) and to act upon this belief in our daily lives is what faith is all about. When we try to “hedge our bets” or we turn to our own manipulations is idolatry–we have set something in place of God as first in our lives.

  • Do we trust Him with our health?
  • Do we trust Him with where we live, or with whom we live?
  • Do we trust Him in HOW LONG we live, or the shape in which we will live?
  • Do we trust Him with our finances? Lodging? Friends? Politics?
  • Do we trust Him with our lives and our eternity?

It would seem that a God who would come to earth as one of us to die in our place and then rise again as God is worth trusting. Also, He has proven time and again that nothing gets by Him and that He promises that everything that happens to us, whether it is caused by us or other people’s bad choices, He works into the fabric of His Tapestry for our good–even if it means coming Home to Him.

Speaking of tapestries, there is a story of a man who had a vision of his life as God sees it: his life was the backside of a tapestry. There were threads going everywhere! It was very chaotic, and every color was present–even black, which represented dark times in his life. He asked God where He was during all of the chaos of his life. God, then, turned the tapestry over and there was a picture of the man, complete and whole, standing with His Savior.

God knows. God cares. God is working for our good. Do we believe Him? Enough to give Him our finances, our worries about our health, relationships, spouses (if you have one), children, jobs, and every other concern we might have? If we trust Him with today, we eventually will have trusted Him with our lives. Let’s find out all we can about Him in His Word. You’ll be glad you did.

Abba, thank You for revealing Yourself to me when I was six. It has been a wild ride! I have seen You work in my life time and again; I have heard Your voice everyday for 53 years–even though sometimes I ignored it. May I finish well. Use me as You see fit, O LORD. May I be of kingdom use! Amen.

*This assumption is based upon the plan that the barrier between our heavens and His heaven is erased (see Revelation 21) and all of heaven, which includes our universe, will then be available for us to explore.

Proverbs 5 2-5-20

Maintenance is important for cars, houses, our health, and our spiritual lives. DAILY maintenance is prescribed.

1 My child, pay attention to my wisdom, turn your ear to my words of insight, 2 that your lips may preserve knowledge.

Living on yesterday’s grace–not a good idea! Each day, we get up as new creations in Christ who need the nourishment of the Spirit and fellowship with our heavenly Father and His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Scriptures to consider:


16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16

2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that when we are saved, we become new creations. This verse tells us that EACH DAY we become more and more like our Savior. We can either help or hinder the Spirit as He works in us (Eph. 4:30 “quench” = “hinder”).

11 “Give us this day our daily bread…” John 6:11

Bread in that day had no preservatives, so it became stale overnight. We also have the reference to manna, the bread from heaven, which spoiled overnight–except on the day before Sabbath, where it lasted two days (Exodus 16:21-26).

25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

Christian history tells us that even a century after Paul (read about Justin the Martyr in 168 AD), Christians would meet together each day before daybreak for prayer and encouragement, and to be lights in a dark world as they went to work. We would do well to consider meeting more often for the same reasons.

Please pray with me on this matter: I sense that God is about to do something unusual at Brookwood. I would like to begin going to church early in the morning for an hour of prayer. I would begin with one day a week and then go from there. I am asking for guidance as to what day and what time. I am also asking for people to join me there as the Spirit leads. I will update you as I receive confirmation from the Spirit.

Abba, You know my heart. I want to be attuned to Your Spirit, and prayer is the only way I know to do that. Bible study is important, too, because You speak to me through Your Scriptures, but it is in prayer that I fellowship and commune with You. Lead me in this endeavor, O LORD, for I feel Your urging to do it. Amen.

 

 

 

Proverbs 5 1-5-20

Today–all day–is a day we Christians set aside for worship and fellowship with the LORD and with each other. Let’s honor it!

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

The LORD knows something we don’t: He has placed eternity in our hearts and we have a seven-day clock. Every seven days (on the seventh day), we need to stop our work, break our schedule, and take time out to get together with other Christians for worship, fellowship, an encouraging word, haverim (the fellowship we share in and with the Spirit as we discuss His Word), and rest at home (or in homes) with the family. Check this out:

11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11

If we were Jewish, this day would be Saturday. Since we are grafted in by the Holy Spirit, we worship on the day that the LORD Jesus was raised from the grave, which was the first day of the week. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to partake on Sunday, other days are acceptable. The point is to:

  1. Take time out to DO IT;
  2. Find a group that meets at your time and be with them for praise and worship, fellowship and teaching.
  3. Try to take the entire day off from work. Play some. Entertain some. Spend it with family and friends.

The point is in the obedience. Is the LORD important enough to us to set our schedules by Him? Are we really interested in honoring Him in this way? Let’s look at some more Scriptures:

10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse [our time is included], that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. Malachi 3:10

and since we have a great priest [Jesus] over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess [by being faithful to Him], for he who promised is faithful [to us]. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds [haverim], 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Let’s be children of God who WANT to spend time with Him in prayer and Bible study, corporate (together with other Christians) worship, haverim, and fellowship. May ministry and evangelism flow from us during the week because of our time together today. We have this promise from Him:

20 For where [even] two or three gather in my name, there am I [Jesus] with them.” Matthew 18:20

LORD, may I be intentional about my worship today. I can get caught up in the details of making everything happen and forget to focus on You. Yes, I want everything to go right, but not at the expense of honoring You. It rather defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? May You be honored and lifted up, magnified and glorified in Your Church today, O LORD, all around our city, state, country, and the world. Amen.

Proverbs 5 12-5-19

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

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

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

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.