Proverbs 8 8-8-20

Are we fighting the good fight? Are we intentionally “taking up arms” against our enemies: Self and Satan?

5 You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.

The catch is that we ALL are simple [“gullible, without moral direction and inclined to evil” (my note on the bottom of the page in my Bible)] and foolish. We don’t ordinarily look for the godly way to do things. Satan would like to keep us in the dark spiritually. Therefore, we must assume that there is a spiritual battle going on behind the scenes in every circumstance and difficulty.

  1. If it is our own fault, then the battle is in our own souls for dominance. We are rebellious in nature. We must drop to our knees immediately and allow Christ back on the throne of our hearts!
  2. If it is someone else’s fault, then we must drop to our knees immediately and ask for wisdom and discernment on how to handle the matter. We ALWAYS deal in compassion and love even if we must mete out justice. For the most part, leaning toward mercy and grace is the best way to go.
  3. If it is circumstances, then we accept that bad things happen in this decaying world, and that God has allowed these circumstances. Therefore, we drop to our knees and ask for insight and direction concerning what to do next.

May all we do bring glory and honor to Him as we wage war on every argument (whether in our heads or by someone) and bring it captive to Christ.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Look at all the promises we are given if we do:

  1. We find all of wisdom’s words to be true, just, right and upright (vs7-9)
  2. We will find wisdom, which is seeing from God’s perspective (v17).
  3. Spiritual riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity await us (v18).
  4. The treasuries of our hearts will be made full (21).
  5. We will be blessed (v34).
  6. We will find true life and favor from the LORD (35).

May we seek Him today in His Word as He prompts us to read, study, ponder, and live His instructions. If you haven’t been doing so, then TODAY is a great time to START!

Abba, may You move in our hearts today prompting us to read Your Word, to study it, to ponder it as we ask You to explain its meaning, and then to put it into practice in our lives. Your Word is TRUTH. May we guard it and allow it to guide us even as You speak to us through it. I’ll be listening. “Speak, LORD, Your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10). Amen.

Proverbs 8 7-8-20

My grandson, Jake, loves Legos. He builds all kinds of stuff with them. Each verse in the Bible is like a Lego….the Spirit builds all kinds of knowledge and wisdom, understanding and discernment into our lives with them.

Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
    I open my lips to speak what is right.
32 Now then, my children, listen to me;
    blessed are those who keep my ways.

A verse (it’s actually two verses, but one sentence) that means a lot to me is 2 Timothy 3:16-17. It explains why the Word of God is so important and what it does in my life–actually, it’s what the Spirit does with the words of God as He applies them to my life. Here’s the verse:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, [17] so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Jesus,
You are the Favorite Big Brother, the Benevolent Master,
the Ultimate Boss, and the Good Drill Sergeant.

The Favorite Big Brother (Teaching)- We are forever learning, and Jesus helps us every step of the way, just like the Big Brother He is! From the moment of birth until we close our eyes for the last time, we are learning. It seems that we all learn the same basic lessons, too. The most important lesson we learn is that we are separated from God because of our sin. If we are concerned, then we will seek a solution to our problem. The Good News is that the Great Mystery has been made known to us! Let’s read it out of Ephesians:

[1:4] Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. [5] His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure.
[2:1]Once you were dead, doomed forever because of your many sins. [2] You used to live just like the rest of the world, full of sin, obeying Satan, the mighty prince of the power of the air. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. [3] All of us used to live that way, following the passions and desires of our evil nature. We were born with an evil nature, and we were under God’s anger just like everyone else.
[4] But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so very much, [5] that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s special favor that you have been saved!) [6] For he raised us from the dead along with Christ, and we are seated with him in the heavenly realms—all because we are one with Christ Jesus.
[1:6] So we praise God for the wonderful kindness he has poured out on us because we belong to his dearly loved Son. [7] He is so rich in kindness that he purchased our freedom through the blood of his Son, and our sins are forgiven. [8] He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding

To believe in Jesus, to take Him at His word, is to entrust our souls to Him. In doing so, we are purchased, resurrected, adopted, and showered with His kindness, wisdom and understanding. The entrance of the Holy Spirit into our hearts and lives is our resurrection. We become ONE with God! Why? Because of the Father’s great love for us, that’s why! Paul continues:

[3:14] When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,  [15] the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. [16] I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. [17] And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. [18] And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. [19] May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
[20] Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us [through His Spirit], he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. [21] May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen. 

We would benefit greatly to read these verses every day! I promise that the Holy Spirit will reveal something new EACH TIME we read them. By learning the words of God as the Spirit teaches us is to interact with God Himself. It’s what Jesus accomplished on the cross for us.

Tomorrow, we look at the Benevolent Master (Rebuke). It’s different than you think.

Abba, I love the way You teach me through Your Scriptures. It’s like having a living encyclopedia in my hands–wait, I DO have a living encyclopedia! You have so much You want to share; many times, I feel like my sponge is full. I know You recognized that look in the disciples’ eyes (John 16:12). May I make myself available to You often by reading Your Word, memorizing Your Word, and talking about Your Word with others. Amen.

Proverbs 8 6-8-20

Here is #10, part 3, of the Top 10 Things I Would Like to Say

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?

18 With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.
35 For those who  find me find life and receive favor from the LORD.

#10
What awaits us in heaven? Part 3

The New Jerusalem-a real city.

We begin with Jesus’ promise that He was going to prepare a place for us. Here is His description:

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” John 14:1-3

Notice how literal Jesus is, “If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?” What will this place look like? We get a pretty good picture of it from, again, John in Revelation 21:2 and 9-22:5. Now, we are the Church, the Bride of Christ. When paired with what Jesus told His disciples in the upper room, we have the dwelling place of Christ’s Bride, which is the Church–us! I don’t think we need to get any more symbolic than what the text says: The Bride of Christ is where the Bride lives. He is building us a mansion that is beyond comprehension! We will all dwell together in the New Jerusalem with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In fact, we will behold Jesus in all His glory as it was before He left heaven on His mission of grace (see John 17:24). 

Here are some dimensions of that city as described in Randy Alcorn’s book, “Heaven,” pages 250-251:

The city’s exact dimensions are measured by an angel and reported to be 12,000 stadia, the equivalent of 1,400 miles or 2,200 kilometers, in length, width, and height (Revelation 21:15-16). Even though these proportions may have symbolic importance, this doesn’t mean they can’t be literal. In fact, Scripture emphasizes that the dimensions are given in “man’s measurement” (Revelation 21:17). If the city really has these dimensions (and there’s no reason it couldn’t), what more could we expect God to say to convince us?

A metropolis of this size in the middle of the United States would stretch from Canada to Mexico and from the Appalachian Mountains to the California border. The New jerusalem is all the square footage anyone could ask for.

Even more astounding is the city’s 1,400-mile height. Some people suggest this is the reach of the city’s tallest towers and spires, rising above buildings of lesser height. If so, they argue that it’s more like a pyramid than a cube.

We don’t need to worry that Heaven will be crowded. The ground level of the city will be nearly two million square miles. This is forty times bigger than England and fifteen thousand times bigger than London. It’s ten times as big as France or Germany and far larger than India. But remember, that’s just the ground level.

Given the dimensions of a 1,400-mile cube, if the city consisted of different levels (we don’t know this), and if each story were a generous twelve feet high, the city could have over 600,000 stories. If they were on different levels, billions of people could occupy the New Jerusalem, with many square miles per person. 

If these numbers are figurative, not literal (and that is certainly possible), surely they are still meant to convey that the home of God’s people will be extremely large and roomy.

The cube shape of the New Jerusalem reminds us of the cube shape of the Most Holy Place in the Temple (1 Kings 6:20), the three dimensions perhaps suggestive of the three persons of the Trinity. God will live in the city, and it is His presence that will be its greatest feature [emphasis added].

The graphic description of the walls, the gates, and the streets are reminiscent of Ezekiel’s vision in Ezekiel 1 where he describes the mobile throne of God. No one doubts that Ezekiel’s vision was exactly what he saw. I see no reason to believe John’s vision was anything else but what he saw, which was a literal building.

To me, the key is Jesus’ promise to come get us and take us to be with Him. Whether the New Jerusalem is literal or figurative, whatever Jesus has for us is beyond our wildest dreams! I have THAT in writing, “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him–” 1 Corinthians 2:9.

Abba, the description itself makes me want to go be with You. And to think that what You actually have in store for us is beyond comprehension blows my mind! I know I spend a lot of time thinking about heaven, but Lord, people need hope here in this world, and having a grasp on what heaven is like gives us hope. Please continue to reveal heaven to us even as You use us in Your plan here on this earth. We are Yours. Forever. Amen.

Proverbs 8 5-8-20

Do you consider your heart being changed daily? Can you perceive Christ transforming your life?

If we are being transformed in the image of Jesus Christ, then I want to be like this Person:

30 I was with him as someone he could trust.
For me, every day was pure delight,
as I played in his presence all the time,
31 playing everywhere on his earth,
and delighting to be with humankind.

This is how Jesus was at the beginning of time; it is how He wants us to be at the end of time. The best verse in the Bible to me is Matthew 19:28, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Granted, we won’t be judging the twelve tribes of Israel like the disciples will, but all the other things are true for us:

  1. EVERYTHING will be renewed! It will be like it was in the beginning. According to today’s Proverbs chapter, it’s amazing!!!
  2. Jesus will sit on His glorious throne–again. This time, in Jerusalem as heaven moves to earth, or more accurately, earth is annexed by heaven.
  3. We will rule, but not on that level. Paul tells us that we will judge the nations of the world (Revelation 2:27 and meaning) and even angels (1 Corinthians 6:3). It’s this type of work to which we get to look forward.

If Jesus is restoring all of nature back to its original design and we get to enjoy it as He did, I am SO looking forward to His Return! All we have to do is this:

To him who wins the victory and does what I want until the goal is reached… Revelation 2:26

What victory? The victory over sin and sinful people. How? By following Jesus closely and doing everything He leads us to do. Daily. Every minute. The benefit is that sweet fellowship to which He refers in 3:20, “I will eat with him and he with me.” The key to successful Christian living is found in verse 19: “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.” 

  1. Jesus loves us!
  2. Jesus won’t let us wander too far off the path.
  3. Being earnest means being sincere.
  4. Repent means to realign ourselves with Him. Anytime we realize that we are out of sync or off the path, we re-fix our eyes on Him and move back to His side.

May we set our sights on what is to come when He returns and not get bogged down with trying to make this world work for us. He has SO MUCH MORE in store for us. Let’s just get though this life and take as many souls with us as we go to be with Him.

Abba, I don’t want to sound fatalistic, but I really am counting on Your world being a MUCH BETTER place than this one. There is much joy and love here with family and my Christian family, but I also have an inkling of an idea of what it is GOING to be like in heaven and then back on this earth for the Millennium–and beyond! Patient endurance, LORD. Give me patient endurance. Amen.

Proverbs 8 4-8-20

Are you ready to take the Lord’s Supper with us tonight at 6:30? Pray up, or you will heap condemnation on yourself!

13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.

Passover this year is Saturday; obviously, we don’t follow the Jewish calendar concerning Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Instead, we follow customs established 1600 years ago. Are they correct? It doesn’t really matter. What matters is Jesus’ words, “Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:25 (Paul is quoting Jesus in Luke 22:19 with some elaboration). Since we are not held to customs, rituals, and feasts, we celebrate the Lord’s Supper several times a year. As we participate in the Lord’s Supper tonight, there is a question I would like for us to consider:

Do we have any selfish ambition or vain conceit in our hearts?

Before we answer, we must consider that both are buried deep within us and are actually what cause us to buck against God. They are rooted in pride and arrogance. Consider these verses:

Do nothing from selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Philippians 2:3-4

14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. James 3:14-16

Let us confess these deep attitudes and ask the LORD to give us wisdom from Him:

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:17-18

Let’s not kid ourselves. The reason we do most of the things we do is because we want to do them. I pray that the Holy Spirit would help me die to myself to the point that I want what He wants. It’s not something I can sustain–yet. I am hoping that I can attain it before I die (literally). It’s at least my goal. Join me in this endeavor. He died for us; can’t we live for Him?

Abba, as I prepare for tonight’s celebration, may I once again pledge myself to die so that You can live through me. Please help me to move beyond how I feel to what I know according to Your Word, and what I sense and hear from You. I take Your blood as a sign of receiving Your salvation, and I take Your body as my pledge to live for You. May it be so, amen.

 

Proverbs 8 3-8-20

What would you do for God? Would you get up and go to church for Him? Pray He would meet you there in power!

20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
    along the paths of justice,
21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me
    and making their treasuries full.

I ask again, what would you do for God? If He asked you to do and/or endure something for His glory, would you? Paul did. He knew what was coming:

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

Here is Paul’s conviction:

22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to memy 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.

Paul tells us what to expect when we get to Jesus’ side:

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

In the meantime, Jesus promises His Presence, His Participation, His Protection (physical protection up to a point, but spiritual protection always), His Prominence in our lives, and His Peace that passes all understanding. He promises to reveal Himself to those who make the pledge to do ANYTHING He asks ANYTIME He asks:

23 Repent at my rebuke!
    Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,
    I will make my heart known to you. Proverbs 1:23

Finally, what is it that Jesus wants of us? It’s simple, really. OBEDIENCE. It’s how we show Him that we love Him.

15 If you love me, keep my commands. 

23 Jesus replied, Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. John 14:15, 23

WHAT A PROMISE!!!

So, today, let me ask you: Do you love Him? Then obey His commands. What is He telling you to do? THEN DO IT! You will never know true love from the Father, peace from the Son, and joy from the Holy Spirit until you do. Other benefits include:

  • A closeness to God that you’ve never felt before;
  • Patience beyond measure with everyone about everything (this one comes in batches);
  • A testimony that is unreproveable, untarnishable, and unwavering.

How does one begin such an endeavor? The words of this song contain the key:

Search my heart, look deep within my soul;

See if there be anything at all that might

keep me from hearing You,

keep me from seeing You,

keep me from loving You, Dear Lord.

Search My Heart-Oldie but Goodie

Based on Psalm 139:23-24

Proverbs 8 2-8-20

WE NEED CHURCH! The Church is the body of Christ, and we need Christ, therefore, WE NEED CHURCH!

I love those who love me,
    and those who seek me find me.
18 With me are riches and honor,
    enduring wealth and prosperity.
19 My fruit is better than fine gold;
    what I yield surpasses choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
    along the paths of justice,
21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me
    and making their treasuries full.

When we seek the LORD among His people, He reveals Himself in our fellow Christians. He speaks to us through the body of Christ; He encourages us, lifts us up, admonishes us, exhorts us, teaches us, surrounds us, and fills us. There is something unique to corporate worship that we can’t get anywhere else. It’s a Spirit thing.

Consider the warning given at the end of the chapter:

32 “Now then, my children, listen to me;
    blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
    do not disregard it.
34 Blessed are those who listen to me,
    watching daily at my doors,
    waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me find life
    and receive favor from the Lord.
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
    all who hate me love death.”

When we get the attitude that we don’t need to go to church today, it had better be because the LORD has released you for the day to have private worship with Him. He does that sometimes, but it is NOT the norm. Here are some stipulations:

  • Spiritual fast- God calls us to separate ourselves for private worship for a season and for a specific task or reason;
  • Spiritual abuse- God does NOT call us to remain in a spiritually abusive situation. People who make us feel unnecessarily guilty in order to manipulate us are being spiritually abusive. STAY AWAY FROM THEM. Find somewhere else to worship.
  • Seasons of rest- Travel with family for a vacation is acceptable, provided that we don’t take a spiritual vacation while we’re gone. Consider having at least a devotional together wherever you are that Sunday morning.

Otherwise, GAME ON! Even if we need to “suit up” when we go to church, God still calls us to meet together regularly. It’s been His established way of meeting with us for 2,500+ years. It’s not about things making sense; it’s about our obedience. Are we willing to do things His way for His purposes? We don’t have to know the reasons behind His promptings. We have died to ourselves and are allowing the LORD Jesus to live through us. He owes us NO EXPLANATION!

Today or tomorrow, let’s make a point of worshiping the LORD in a corporate setting. Whether it’s in a living room or a 2000 seat auditorium, “set your face like flint” to do what He has called us to do, which is meet together regularly.

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

Abba, I know it seems like I have a vested interest in people coming to church, but it’s more than that. You KNOW that I serve You because I believe in what I am saying. You called me first as a Christian to follow You and to serve You as a regular person in the pew. You then called me out to serve You vocationally. Whether I serve You in a church full-time or whether I’m just a regular church member, I WILL meet regularly with Your body of believers because that’s a side of You I can’t get any other way. Make me a well-rounded follower of You, LORD. Amen.

Proverbs 8 1-8-20

Concerning Creation, we take it on faith; concerning Evolution, they do, too, because it’s just as unverifiable. The difference is that we have the Holy Spirit confirming the truth in us. They don’t have anything–not even science!

My [Wisdom of God] mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness.
All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse.
To the discerning all of them are right; they are upright to those who have found knowledge.

If we want to believe something, then we hope that it’s true and look for reasons to believe. If we don’t believe something, then we resist anything that may prove it’s true. The atheist/Evolutionist has this against him: He does not want to believe in God, nor will he consider any evidence of argument that might prove God’s existence.

20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. John 3:20

Why? Because “the Light has come into the world [Jesus], but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil (v.19). They follow the ways of this world and of the ruler of he kingdom of the air [Satan], the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient (Eph. 2:2). 

The true question is, “How does one move from the enemy’s camp to God’s camp?” Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them,” and “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” John 6:44, 65.

So, how does a person who has believed Satan’s lies and is in his camp come to his senses and come to Christ?

The first step is the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Enter the grace of God!

“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’” Isaiah 65:1

Jesus calls all people to have a willingness to receive a different perspective concerning God, creation, and salvation, and He usually calls them through His ambassadors, His Church, but He also calls to people in dreams, visions, and even face to face as He did with Paul on the road to Damascus. However the Gospel is presented, it is God who initiates a relationship with people.

The next step is for a person to open his mind to the possibility that he is wrong and that there may be another way. There is a process given to us that reveals a battle that goes on in each person:

“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. James 4:6-7

  1. If a person maintains a proud heart, then God will NOT draw near to him.
  2. The devil tries to divert the conversation, distract the person, and distort the Spirit’s invitation. The person must resist the devil and he will flee. The way to resist is by submitting himself to God. He has this promise that with just a little inclination, God will draw Himself to that person!

As Christians, we must look for ways to introduce truth. Ask the Father to give you a springboard from which to spring into a conversation. The idea is not so much to present facts, but to get to the Gospel as quickly as we can. I have found that little comments about stuff I have learned that is shared at an appropriate moment can start a conversation about the Gospel, or at least, an aspect of it. Statistically, a person is exposed to aspects of the Gospel an average of seven times before he is ready to make a decision. We may be one of those times.

Today, let’s open our minds to the sharing of the Gospel through conversation with people everywhere: a checker at the store, a teller at the bank, a fellow line-stander, etc. In all cases, a word can be shared concerning truth about Jesus, Creation, proof of the validity of the Bible through archeology, biology, astronomy, etc. We could even share Jesus’ own words or a testimony of what God has done in our lives that is pertinent to the conversation. The Holy Spirit will connect us with the person; we just need to be looking for His guidance to that person and for the right analogy, story, fact, or whatever He leads us to share.

Abba, my greatest desire is to share You with someone. I KNOW who You are and what You have done for me and for the entire world, and it is this message that I want to share with others. I want them to know You as I know You–or even better! I want them to experience the love, joy, peace, hope and grace that I experience every waking minute. Knowing You is truly heaven on earth. I can hardly wait to get to Your place and experience it on a whole different level! In the meantime, lead me to others so that they can experience You, too. I’ll be looking for opportunities today, Lord. Amen.

Proverbs 8 12-8-19

It’s easy to tell if we are one of God’s children: He tells us so. His Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are His children.

14 Good advice is mine, and common sense; I am insight, power is mine.
15 By me kings reign, and princes make just laws. 16 By me princes govern,
nobles too, and all the earth’s rulers. 17 I love those who love me;
and those who seek me will find me.

Paul shares some amazing things in Romans 8 about our relationship with God through Christ. The Spirit of Christ comes to live in our hearts (see v.9) when we believe that Jesus says who He says He is and did what He said He’d do, and when we trust in Him by placing our faith in Him as our Savior and as our LORD. This process is covered in 10:9-10,

If you declare [publicly] with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe [trust] in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved [delivered]. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe [trust] and are justified [continue toward righteousness], and it is with your mouth that you [publicly] profess your faith and are saved [delivered].

It’s all about the relationship. The problem we have is getting beyond our own self-centeredness. If we can grasp what Paul is saying, we will be able to let go of the things we like and think we need in this world in exchange for what Christ has for us both in this world and in the next. WE HAVE THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST LIVING IN US! Here’s what He has done for us:

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

God didn’t promise an easy life on this earth, but He did promise an extraordinary one by living for Him rather than for ourselves. As children of God, let us long for His country and His Presence. In the meantime, let us enjoy Him as we meet together and praise His name, study His Word, and fellowship in the Spirit. Let’s have CHURCH!

Abba, as we meet today in our respective churches, may we grasp the fact that we are all joined together in You through Your Spirit. May we join those who are already around the throne worshiping You. We are ALL ONE FAMILY! Wow!!! Thank You for including me in Your family, LORD. May I honor You with my life today–and forever. Amen.

Proverbs 8 11-8-19

Getting people to see reason is impossible. Without the Holy Spirit unveiling their eyes, they simply can’t see.

You who are simple, gain prudence;
    you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.
Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
    I open my lips to speak what is right.

When talking to someone about spiritual things, whether it’s the Gospel or Creation, we must always pray for the Spirit to open their eyes to the truth. All of creation gives testimony to God’s existence and power, but Satan has pulled the wool over their eyes in so many ways and in so many areas. Getting people hooked on sin keeps them chained to keeping the sin coming. Giving them alternative beliefs keeps them from searching for the truth.

Jesus calls us sheep. Sheep wander away just because. They are NOT diligent creatures concerning their own safety. They want what they want at the moment, which is grass from that area over there… then, over there…then, over there–until they are lost, caught in briars, fall in a hole, or become prey. WE NEED A SHEPHERD! Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:14).

The veil that is over the hearts of people is their own willful pride. They are unwilling to accept that they are sheep. They would rather trust their own imaginings about right and wrong, origins, who God is and what He will and won’t do, and what is good for them. Not until they are willing to listen to reason will the Holy Spirit lift the veil.

The Apostle Paul talks about this veil in 2 Corinthians 3,

6b for the letter [the Law] kills, but the Spirit gives life.

The Old Sinai Covenant showed us that we cannot be right with God without the Spirit. Its job was to show us our sinful state.

Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

The ministry of the Spirit in the New Covenant, which came through Christ: His life, death, resurrection and ascension, is SO MUCH more glorious than the first covenant.

12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

We are to present the truth of God’s Word, the Gospel, and Creation and pray for the Spirit to convict their hearts. If they are willing, then the Spirit will lift the veil and they will come to see the truth and come to Christ. Many do; many more do not.

 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate [can gaze upon] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which come from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Verse 18 is the bedrock foundation of our daily walk. Being transformed into His image is what is happening to us everyday! And the Lord receives ever-increasing glory as we do.

Let’s not be afraid to present the truth of the Gospel and Creation to others. Maybe the Spirit will use our humble efforts, our meager lunch, to work a miracle and speak to their hearts.

Abba, I pray that You will give me many opportunities to speak truth. Just one more soul, Lord, just one more soul…Amen.

Proverbs 8 10-8-19

Finding life: it’s the ultimate goal. Physically, we have it; spiritually, we need it. Jesus gives us His life in abundance!

(35) For those who find me find life and receive favor from the LORD.

We discussed the other day what happens when we die. We determined that God is eternal and wants us to live eternally with Him. We saw that sin gets in the way and must be dealt with in order to re-establish our connection and close fellowship with God. Now, let’s look at what is in store for every Christian when he dies.

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by lifeNow the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him,whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 2 Corinthians 5:1-9

What do we find in this passage?

  1. We live in an earthly tent. It’s not permanent. Our bodies will grow old and die. Sin brought death into this life, but Jesus offers us eternal life in Him–or better, Him in us!
  2. We have a heavenly dwelling place build by Jesus Himself (see John 14:1-3) and we have heavenly bodies made in His heavenly image. “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” “Just as we have borne the image of the earthly man [Adam], so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man [Jesus].” 1 Corinthians 15:44b, 49
  3. The physical ailments of these earthly bodies of ours reminds us of our heavenly bodies and we long for them. The older I get, the more I am ready for that new body!
  4. Mortality will be swallowed up by immortality! This is the promise of salvation.
  5. We have been fashioned through salvation to live with God forever. Currently, He lives in us through Jesus and His Spirit. Soon, we will go to be with Him, thus leaving this old covenant body and the corrupted world behind.
  6. In the meantime, His Spirit within us is our promise, His pledge, our deposit, His “trust money,” that what He says will happen WILL HAPPEN.
  7. While we are here on earth, we live by faith. Soon, we will leave this earth and live through experience, and this is what the child of God prefers!
  8. Either way, we make it our goal to please Him by being pleasing to Him. What is required to please Him? To believe in Him, His Plan, and His Promise. How do we express our belief? Through obedience. It’s how we demonstrate to Him that we really do believe Him.

In Revelation, Jesus gives letters to seven churches. These churches were real churches, but they were also representative of all churches throughout the ages. At the end of each letter, Jesus gives a promise for the faithful:

Ephesus- Jesus will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. 2:7

Smyrna- He who is victorious (faithful) will not be hurt at all by the second death. 2:11

Pergamum- To the victorious, He will give some of the hidden manna. He will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it known only to the one who receives it. 2:17

Thyatira- To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations…just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star. 2:26-28

Sardis- We will be dressed in white. Our names will never be blotted out from the book of life, but will be acknowledged before the Father and his angels. 3:5

Philadelphia- We will receive a crown. We will be a “pillar in the temple of God.” We will never be made to leave it. He will write on us His name and the name of His city, the new Jerusalem, and Jesus’ new name (something NEW is coming!). 3:11-12

Laodicea- We will sit with Him on His throne (we will share it somehow). 3:21

Exciting times, folks! We have MUCH to which to look forward. Let’s believe it and receive it, name it and claim it. Let’s live for Jesus TODAY!

Dear Lord Jesus, I am reminded once again that my eyes have not seen, nor my ears heard, nor has it even entered into my mind and heart what You have in store for us! May I show You through my obedience to Your Spirit that I believe You. May Your will be done through me today, my LORD. Amen.

Proverbs 8 9-8-19

Science follows the evidence no matter where it leads, yet we tend to view it according to what we want it to say.

27 I was there when he set the heavens in place,
    when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
28 when he established the clouds above
    and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
29 when he gave the sea its boundary
    so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.

It doesn’t get much plainer than this concerning creation. Who is “He” mentioned in these verses?

30     Then I was constantly/the craftsman at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
    rejoicing always in his presence,
31 rejoicing in his whole world
    and delighting in mankind.

This “He” is Jesus Christ!

but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. Hebrews 1:2

If there is a question about the Bible, we must realize that our knowledge is incomplete. God waited until mankind invented the microscope to reveal His creation processes to us. One merely has to look at the human cell to find that there is NO WAY that it could have self-created! It is FAR too complex and each part depends upon the other.

It comes down to what we want to see. In Creation, I see the hand of a loving God, One who takes part in His creation and wants me to interact with Him. I am awed by all that He has made and I rejoice in it.

This morning, I invite you to join me, at your respective churches, to exalt the Lord God and to praise His name. He invites us to come to His throne together and eat with Him! WOW!

See you there!

Abba, thank You for the invitation. I will gladly take you up on it! Amen.