Proverbs 9 11-9-21

Slaves to sin or slaves to Christ? Sin=deception, bondage, and death. Christ=life, liberty, and acceptance. It’s a no-brainer.

12 If you are wise, your wisdom [choice] will reward you; if you are a mocker [and reject Christ], you alone will suffer [the consequences].

To be free from the law means that we have no other law than Christ Himself. So, we can forget any rules and, instead, focus on what Jesus is saying to us. He is quite capable of keeping us from straying. Here are three versions of Romans 7:4,

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you also were put to death in regard to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. NASB

In the same way, brothers and sisters, you have died to the laws in Moses’ Teachings through Christ’s body. You belong to someone else, the one who was brought back to life. NOG (Names of God)

There is, I think, a fair analogy here. The death of Christ on the cross had made you “dead” to the claims of the Law, and you are free to give yourselves in marriage, so to speak, to another, the one who was raised from the dead, that you may be productive for God. J.B. Phillips

We are married now to Christ and nothing else. I used to wonder how the first century Christians operated without any type of New Testament Scripture. Well, I don’t wonder anymore. Once they tasted the love of Jesus, they gladly took His yoke upon themselves. In fact, they considered themselves slaves to Christ!

29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29

Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Colossians 6:6

16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 1 Peter 2:16

Rather than seeing our salvation as a one-time event of having our sins forgiven and being given a ticket to heaven, let’s see it as:

  1. The beginning of a conversation with the heavenly Father about His Son.
  2. The sprouting of the Spirit of Christ in us (He is the kingdom of heaven-Luke 17:21).
  3. The awakening of our souls from the sleep of death to walk in the light of His love.
  4. The event of being born again as a child of God.

All four analogies are taken from the Scriptures. Each serves to show that our salvation is the BEGINNING of a relationship. The concept of a transaction leaves so much to be desired, but is still a valid description. Our relationship with Jesus is personal, intimate, and continuous. With Him leading us–and with us following closely–we cannot wander very far from the trail.

What I’m trying to say is that Jesus IS our Bible. We allow the Scriptures to lead us to Him. If we read the Scriptures without consulting Him for interpretation and enlightenment, then we have missed the entire point of the Scriptures! Even then, we must make allowance for ourselves for an incomplete understanding of said Scriptures because we all have filters by which we read the Scriptures; the times we live, the people we live with, and our experiences are three of them. There’s always more to learn.

In the words of Nathan Hamm, a fellow Christian,

“Read the Bible. Follow Jesus.”

Abba, this mantra is how I want to live my life. I want to know You more through study and through experience. I really am willing to give up everything to know You better. Paul said that he considered everything in his world as garbage in comparison to knowing You and your righteousness. I agree. May I know You in the power of Your resurrection, the participation of Your sufferings, and finally, the realization of rising from the dead. You are my Counselor, my Guide, and my King. I will follow You. Amen.

Proverbs 9 10-9-21

On this day, a certain number of years ago, Robin and I were on our way to the hospital…

9 Instruct a wise person and she will be wiser still; teach a righteous woman and she will add to her learning.

Today is Hillary’s birthday! We are so proud of her.

This week, Robin and I got to attend a Double Honor Minister’s Retreat in Red River, New Mexico. We met with three other couples and the host couple:

  • Two pastors and their wives,
  • a Director of Missions who started out as a music minister, then pastor, then missionary, and now a DOM, and his wife,
  • and the host couple, Andy and Becky Dietz, with whom I was on staff at FBC, Borger, TX, many moons ago.

We had a great time together strengthening each other in the Lord and learning about each other’s ministry, encouraging each other and praying for each other. One of the most fun things we did was talk about our families. Since Andy and Becky knew my girls, it was fun telling them about how they follow the Lord and sing/play with me at church on the Praise Team and in choir. We told them how proud we were of Hillary:

  • Her flute-playing ability and the two orchestras of which she is a part,
  • Her participation in the Singing Churchwomen of Oklahoma,
  • Her position in administration at EPIC schools,
  • The fact that she is nearly done with her doctorate in (some kind of degree concerning) Education,
  • and her two cats, plus one outside cat of which she takes care (she was left by a neighbor who moved).

Andy and Becky rejoiced with us in the girls’ close walk with the Lord. We were reminded of the verse,

Train up a child in the way that she should go, and when she is old she will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

Hillary, you make your mom and dad very proud of you and very humbled at the same time. May God continue to bless you as you seek Him.

Abba, thank You for such wonderful children. Hillary and Hayley have been a great blessing to us–as well as good friends. May You bless both of them, and particularly Hillary today on her birthday. Amen.

Proverbs 9 9-9-21

Seven pillars: Wisdom, knowledge, instruction, understanding, insight, prudence, and discretion. These don’t come naturally.

1 Wisdom has built her house; she has set up its seven pillars.

We don’t come by wisdom naturally. It is offered to us by the Holy Spirit. Here’s what the Spirit said in chapter 1, “Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you and make my heart and teachings known to you.” Wisdom requires that we turn to the Lord and ask for it,

indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
Proverbs 2:3-5

How do we get wisdom? God gives it to us, “For the LORD gives wisdom; out of His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (v.6). It’s not something that comes naturally to us because we naturally want to do things in our own power and according to our own intellect. That’s the problem with mankind: We don’t want the Lord’s help; we want to do it ourselves. One of our Proverbs members sent me this yesterday:

I choose whether I will trust the flesh or I will trust the Spirit.

Romans 8:6
New American Standard Bible
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,

Good News Translation
To be controlled by human nature results in death; to be controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace.

I have just recently been appreciating what it means to have the mind set on the flesh. “Sarkos” is the Greek word for flesh and it is not just bad or negative thoughts, intentions, or actions. Even my good intentions or striving in myself to do good can be in my flesh. Any natural ability or function apart from God or trusting in ourselves or our abilities could also be considered setting our mind on the flesh. It happens almost automatically unless we make a decision to continuously turn to and rely on the Holy Spirit within us as grace to live and abide in Him receiving our life supply through His life and power within us. There’s no need to get discouraged or upset when we realize we are off, just turn to Him and reset and go on with our minds set on the Spirit. Praise the Lord for His life in us and as sons of God, we are led by the Spirit of God. We can choose to set our mind on the Spirit today.

It’s not a matter of God “catching us” functioning in the flesh, but of Him helping us break the habit. It’s a lifelong fight that doesn’t end until we leave these bodies. It is at that time that we strip off the corruptible and put on the incorruptible; we remove the mortal and put on immortality, and “death [which is embedded in these bodies] is swallowed up by life.” We find these promises taught in 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 and 1 Corinthians 15:35-54.

If we truly want to think like God, then we need the mind of Christ. The only way to get it is to give our minds over to Him and allow Him to guide our thoughts, which guide our actions, which are determined by our obedience. It really is simple: Jesus comes to us each day saying, “Do you trust me?” We answer, “Yes, Lord!” And then we follow Him.

Trust and obey for there’s no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey

Abba, it really does come down to us trusting You in everything. I categorically give myself over to You. Now, help me with the specifics. Work in me and through me, Lord. I am Yours; do with me as You will. Amen.

Proverbs 9 8-9-21

“Christians are deluded.” I’ve heard it before. In their eyes, we are just deceiving ourselves. In that case…

4 To those who have no sense she [wisdom] says, “Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed. 6 Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of insight.”

8 Do not rebuke mockers [those who make fun or get angry at you because of what you believe] or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.

12 If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.

18 But little do they know that the dead are there [that death awaits], that her guests are [go] deep in the realm of the dead.

Someone who makes such a statement has not thought through his argument. These are the questions I would like to ask:

  • So, in my delusion, I strive to become like a dead man and live as He taught?
  • I get together with other deluded people for fellowship and to worship a dead man?
  • I would give my life in service for this dead man and His promises?
  • What about all the Olympic athletes who give glory to God: are they all part of a collective delusion? Let’s look at five.
  1. Allyson Felix
  2. Sydney McLaughlin
  3. Tamyra Mensah
  4. Keni Harrison
  5. Tatjana Schoenmaker

And these are just a sample of the testimonies!

  • Where are all the other symptoms of delusion, such as antisocial behavior, hallucinations, and persecutory paranoia?
  • And the best question: Why would I love you and want the best for your life?

When it all boils away, what we have left is a person who needs Jesus. We, as Christians, are to display Jesus. We don’t judge, condemn, point out sins and faults, shun, or hold contempt for people who don’t have Jesus. Instead, we are to be Christ to them even when they don’t want us to. So we get harassed; so we get beat up; so they kill us. Let’s not forget the apostle Paul’s words:

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

20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:20-21

May we all have that kind of faith.

Abba, being ridiculed hurts, but it’s even more frustrating that I can’t get through to them. I want them to experience You as I have and to feel the love, the joy, the peace; I want them to know You as I know You–even better! They are missing so much even as they turn away from so great a salvation. Move in their hearts, O God. Call them to Yourself, and may they answer, “Yes, Lord, Yes!” Amen.

Proverbs 9 7-9-21

Something is precious to you when it costs you something. God’s love cost Him His Son, Jesus. What has your salvation cost you?

8 Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you. 9 Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

Some of the guys and I were sitting around talking this morning and the subject of the Good Samaritan came up. To refresh your memory, here it is (for the full version, see Luke 10:25-37):

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

We came up with three distinctive characteristics for being a good Samaritan. They are:

  1. Inconvenient– Most times, when we see a need, we are on our way to do something. We have schedules, obligations, and appointments. Rarely are we standing around when something happens that calls for us to assist. The sacrifice of our time is the first place a person is called to give if one wants to be like Christ, as the good Samaritan was.
  2. Socially unacceptable– Samaritans and Jews were nationally bigoted toward each other. The Jews particularly held the Samaritans in contempt because of their mixed blood. Often we are called to step across racial lines, economic lines, gender lines, and even religious lines in order to answer the voice of the Holy Spirit. It is the second sacrifice we must be ready to make. In fact, we really need to prepare ourselves ahead of time so that we know how to respond appropriately in order not to offend. If we want to be like Christ, we will have to look beyond these differences.
  3. Expensive– Whatever we think it will cost, count on it being more. “In for a penny, in for a pound,” is an English phrase meaning that once we are committed to a task, we must finish it regardless of the cost. In the case of the good Samaritan, notice that he had already spent oil and wine as well as two denarii (two day’s wages) on the man. He then told the innkeeper that he would cover any extra costs that came up. Like I said, expensive. We know that our income is from the Lord and that He can have us spend it any way He choses. Let’s keep this fact in mind when we go to help and not be stingy. Remember, “Whatever a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Let’s set our hearts to be kind and generous.

When doing good costs us something, it is Christianity at its best. Christ is displayed through us. Also, sometimes we get the opportunity to share the Gospel. People are much more inclined to listen (even politely) when we are helping them. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Let’s be about the Father’s business, shall we?

Abba, You are so good to include us in Your business. Thank You for giving us opportunities to be Your hands and feet, and then Your voice to people in need. It’s worth every minute, every socially awkward moment, and every penny. What do You have for us tomorrow? We’ll be ready (this time). Amen.

Proverbs 9 6-9-21

How can a person tell if he is a Christian, which is a follower of Jesus Christ, His Spirit, and His teachings? #2

16 To those who have no sense [to keep their desires under control] she says, “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” 17 But little do they know that the [spiritually] dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm in the [already spiritually] dead.

How can we tell who the people of God are? Let’s look at it from an individual perspective. Yesterday, we looked at meeting Jesus. Today, we look at our desires.

2. Once you met Jesus and received the Holy Spirit, your desires began to change: The Spirit begins to grow spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) in your life.

  • You desire the love, joy and peace that come from being in fellowship with Jesus;
  • You begin to sense the nudges and the restraining pull of the Spirit as you walk through the day helping you become patient, kind, and good;
  • You realize over time that God is conforming you more and more into the likeness of His Son as you become faithful in walking with Him, gentle in spirit with everyone, and having self-control in all areas of your life.

I’m not saying that your old desires won’t rear their ugly heads, because they will. But, the Spirit in us causes us to realize that when we lean toward those old desires, there is a tension between us and Him. It’s like a wheel that gets out of balance, or a string on a piano (each key has two or three strings) gets out of tune with the others. We crave harmony, so we begin to adjust our desires to match His desires. In fact, if we make our desire to make His desires our desires, then we know that He will make it so. Psalm 37:4 says, “Commit your way to the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Committing your way to Him is making His desires your desires.

This process is called, “sanctification.” It’s a churchy term that means that we are being remade into the image of His Son, Jesus. It’s His process and His doing; we simply do as we are led by the Spirit. We “pay attention to the tension” and get rid of it so that we can make beautiful music together with the Spirit!

How can we have victory over our sinful desires? We don’t have to! Christ already has. In fact, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have [through Him] nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there” Galatians 5:24. We already have the victory in Christ Jesus! The next verse tells us how to live,

25 If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit as He leads us in every part of our lives.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Abba, please plant deep within us the experiential knowledge that we have been crucified with Christ. We can die to our passions and sinful nature and live for You because Your Spirit empowers us to do just that! It’s hard, but it’s worth it. Just experiencing Your love, joy, peace, hope and grace when we are in tune with You and walking in step with You makes it all worthwhile. Thank You, Abba. You’re awesome. Amen.

Proverbs 9 5-9-21

Today is a special day that we set aside to honor our moms and other special women in our lives.

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
31:10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than precious gems.
31:28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her…

Yesterday, we got out a DVD that we recently had made from some old VCR tapes. On the DVD was the birth of Robin’s and my oldest daughter, Hillary. In the video were three ladies who have been instrumental in my becoming who I am today.

The first one is Vera Proffer, my grandmother on my mother’s side. Vera and her husband, Grady, helped raise me in Durant, took me fishing, taught me to love pimento cheese sandwiches and bottled coke (I was famished after a fishing trip), fed me hamburgers on my way to work twice a week in college, and to follow the Lord. Happy (grand) Mother’s Day, Granny.

The second one is my mother, Dorothy Anderson. She and my dad, Andy, raised me to love the Lord, follow my dreams, and to put everything I had into whatever I pursued. Mom was the one who instructed me in how to ask Jesus into my heart and life. In the loving environment of our home, I was a double all-state-er (band and track) my senior year, sang in a singing group with my brother for seven years, and have served in the ministry vocationally for 36 years. Mom always believed in me. When they came to live with us from 2011-2017, I got to watch all over again how I had learned to love my wife in the way Mom and Dad loved each other. Dad had a stroke and died in January of 2017, and Mom battled Chronic Hepatitis C for 41 years and died two months after Dad. I was truly blessed to have them with me those last few years. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

The third one is my wife, Robin. There’s a saying, “All wise men marry up.” I sure did! God put us together because He knew I needed help!!! Through the years, Robin has helped me stay true to my calling, raise two beautiful daughters and now three (and soon to be four) wonderful grandchildren, and grow in my walk with the Lord. She challenges me on every subject to make sure that I am biblically based, helps me musically to be all I can be, makes me aware of situations and people about which I need to know (and am oblivious to), and loves me with an everlasting love. I honor her today. Happy Mother’s Day, Robin.

Today, we go to visit Robin’s mom, Janet, and honor her. She turned 87 last week. Her husband, Herb, takes care of her (he’s 90). Janet is one of the instrumental people in Robin’s life.

I pray that today you will honor the women who have been instrumental in you becoming who you are and who have helped you to walk with Jesus. Mom, step-mom, grandmother, aunt–it doesn’t matter the relation, only the relationship.

Abba, thank You for giving me such a special mom. I know she awaits my arrival. Seeing her in the video sure tugs on my heart. I look forward to the day when we will all be together again with You. Whether here or there doesn’t matter to me. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Proverbs 9 4-9-21

Want to be blessed with God’s kindness and grace? His wisdom and understanding? Believe in Jesus whom He has sent.

13 Folly…14 sits at the door of her house…15 calling out to those who pass by…16 “Let all who are simple [naïve, prone toward evil] come to my house!”

The best I can tell from Scripture, Adam and Eve were perfect before God until they disobeyed. Their disobedience was rebellion; it was sin. That sin broke their fellowship with God–but it didn’t change God’s love for them. He had set up ahead of time the means to get them back into right relationship with Himself through the cross. Read it:

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.  Ephesians 1:3-5

Redeeming us through the cross was God’s plan all along. It’s always been Plan A; there’s never been a Plan B. What did God do with sin? For the answer to that question, we go to Romans 5:12,

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned–

So, sin entered the world through Adam. We get that. Death comes to us all because of sin. We get that, too. It seems unreasonable–until we look at the next part that is found in Romans 5:18-19,

18 Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone19 Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.

God allowed sin to kill everyone who came after Adam, who was our representative, so that Jesus could redeem everyone at one time as our Representative. God even put off the judgement of everyone’s sin until that sin could go to the cross,

25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. Romans 3:25-26

Jesus told us that the only work required to be made righteous and put in right standing with the Father was “to believe in the one He has sent.” John 6:29. That person, of course, was Jesus. We believe Jesus when He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6. He told Martha at Lazarus’ death, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.” John 11:25-26. Then He asked her a poignant question, “Do you believe Me?” He asks us the same question every time we have a decision to make. We prove our faith each time we choose to believe Him and act according to our faith rather than according to our own reasoning. Paul put it like this, we “do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:4.

What is our response to so great a salvation? WE PRAISE GOD!

So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. Ephesians 1:6-8

Right now, give thanks to the Lord for His wonderful gift of grace through our Lord Jesus Christ!

Abba, I thank You and praise You for the wonderful gift of grace You have lavished on us through Jesus. You are so rich in kindness and grace; You have showered Your kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives (Colossians 1:9). Your Spirit who lives in us bears witness with our spirit that we are Your children, adopted into Your family (Romans 8:16-17), and co-heirs with Jesus Himself! WOW! You are amazing, Abba! May Your praise continue forever and be continually on my lips. Amen.

Proverbs 9 3-9-21

Thinking that we can live our lives our way and then make things right with God near the end is inviting disaster.

12 If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.

We continue looking at the book of Matthew from a Jewish perspective. Jesus was dealing with unforgiveness and breach of fellowship among the family; He then turned the conversation from horizontal to vertical.

“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.” Matthew 5:25-26

The statement assumes the guilt of the person with the adversary. Jesus is referring to Himself as the adversary and the Jewish people, particularly the Jewish leaders, as the guilty person. There will come a time when it will be too late to repent. We know that the time to which He is referring is the destruction of Jerusalem (and much of Israel) in 70 A.D.

Let’s talk about judgement. First of all, we will see it spelled two ways, “Judgment” and “Judgement.” There is no difference in meaning, so we won’t worry about it. Secondly, we tend to think of a judge or a ruler who decides to pass judgement upon people, many times randomly or capriciously. This is not the case with the heavenly Father. “Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar” Romans 3:4. God always judges rightly. But there is more to it than just passing reasonable judgement. Thirdly, God’s judgement is both passive and active. It is passive in that He decided (passed judgement) in Genesis 2:17 that He would let mankind suffer the consequences of their own sin based upon their own decisions.

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die [spiritually and later physically].”

It is not God’s nature to mete out wrath. He is a good and gracious God. His desire is that all mankind come to repentance and faith in His Son, Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:9). Even so, there is an active side to His judgement. He uses natural occurrences and people to carry out judgement. He used the Assyrians and the Babylonians as His tools to judge Israel. From a human aspect, if God had not told us that He was doing it, we would have assumed that everything occurred naturally. Concerning Israel and the Assyrians, Israel called upon the Assyrians to help them in a battle. The Assyrians got a taste for the good things in Israel and soon came to invade Israel and take all the plunder. Israel did not repent, and the Assyrians came back and carried everyone off as slaves. Likewise, Hezekiah, king of Judah, showed the Babylonian emissaries his treasuries; eventually, they came and took everything he had shown them (it took several generations, but it happened just as Isaiah said it would in 2 Kings 20:15-18). I believe much of Revelation is like this natural judgement.

The religious rulers of Jesus’ day did not receive His warning and admonition. Instead, the conspired to kill Him. Even after His resurrection, they refused to believe, and persecuted the Church. Their subsequent rebellion against Rome cost them their temple, city, and homeland. Temple sacrifice was eliminated. Why? Because the final Sacrifice had been made when the Lamb of God was slain on the cross. From then on, all true Jews call on the name of Jesus for salvation. Paul said it best:

29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God. Romans 2:29

14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. Galatians 6:14-15

Abba, I, too, want to boast in nothing except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. May the world be crucified to me, and I to the world, daily. Make me new every day, O Lord. Amen.

Proverbs 9 2-9-21

Discipleship is a decision to become a Christ-follower. He has extended an invitation to follow Him. Shall we take it?

4 “Let all who are simple [unlearned, undisciplined, and prone toward ungodly habits and tendencies] come to my house!” –Wisdom [God’s perspective]
9 Instruct the wise [those who want to learn] and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous [made so by Christ] and they will add to their learning.

Young Christians: Are you being discipled by anyone? If not, why not?
Mature Christians: Are we discipling anyone? If not, why not?

  1. A failure on the leader’s part: “There is no one to lead us.”
  2. A failure on the follower’s part: An unwillingness to be discipled.
  3. It could be a mixture of the two.

Today, we will discuss the part of the young Christian.

A disciple of Christ is willing to put himself/herself under the tutelage of a mature Christian for learning. It can be a prescribed period of time. The early church leaders called this relationship, The Catecumenate-“Hearing the Word” (from The Patient Ferment of the Early Church, page 152). Instruction was called, “catechesis,” and the candidate was called a “catechumen.” The sponsor (mature Christian) and the catechumen had a master-apprentice relationship and could last for up to three years. At some point, the sponsor would present the catechumen to the church leaders for evaluation. “The sponsor has to affirm that the candidate has changed: not only the candidate’s thinking (that was the easy part), but also the candidate’s behavior, character, and reflexes–in short, the candidate’s habitus.” “It wasn’t the candidate who answered these questions; it was their sponsor, their accompanying advocate.” pg. 153.

I wonder what would happen if we all had to go through such a rigorous process in order to join our particular group of Christians: How would a “sponsor” describe us? Would our “habitus” be different enough from the world for us to be considered for membership? Have our thinking, behavior, character and reflexes (what happens to us when we are surprised or caught off-guard) been transformed by the Spirit of Christ? According to history, candidates didn’t get to worship with the church, but only with other candidates. Neither did they get to be baptized or partake in the Lord’s Supper until they were considered for membership. They really wanted to be part of the Christian church! Why? Because Christ lived in their hearts and their sole desire was to be like Him, so all the teaching and the rigorous training were exactly what they wanted.

How about us? Is being just like Jesus exactly what we want? Are we willing to go through such training and teaching to learn Christ? This is the question of the ages and the question for the current church–for us.

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

Abba, I realize that in some ways I have an advantage over most folks in that I am encouraged to study and learn in order to help lead the church. At the same time, You know that I answer every day the same question that everyone answers: “Will you follow Me?” Thank You, Lord Jesus, for giving me the privilege to be Your disciple. May I lead others to the same decision; may they find the love, joy, peace, hope, grace and truth that has sustained me and calls me homeward. I, too, count my life worth nothing to me except to complete the task You have given me. Use me up, Lord; I am Yours to do with as You see fit. Amen.

Proverbs 9 1-9-21

Whatever we fear keeps us from experiencing God and all that He is. We must lift our focus from that fear to Him.

10 The fear [recognition of who He is; loving Him above all else] of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and [experiential] knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” John 8:32. It is interesting that just before this statement–and part of it–is this, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” I would like to meld two concepts together. One is hating all else except the Father and the other is whatever we bind on earth is bound in heaven.

26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26

In the Matthew account, Jesus was talking about the fact that He didn’t come to bring overall peace to the world, but a sword as He gives individual peace. The gospel would divide family members, “a man against his father, a daughter against her mother…a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household” Matthew 34-36. It still does.

19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19

We can conject that the keys are faith and trust, belief and obedience. The melding of the two concepts is this: If anything or anyone comes before our belief, faith, trust and obedience to the Lord Jesus, then we are bound here on this earth; being bound to earth tethers us in a way that keeps us from experiencing all that Christ has for us. We must understand that being tethered to this earth is more than just a noose on our foot, “the cords of their sins hold them fast” Proverbs 5:22. Our tethers actually bind us like ropes; they chain us and weigh us down. Mark 4:19 gives us a list, “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things…”. Jesus gave the biggest obstacle for most people: Family. We must give up even our loved ones in order to follow Christ. Do we trust Him to know their future? Is He strong enough and wise enough to take care of them–regardless of what happens to them?

If we can let go of even these tethers, then we are loosed to experience the fullness of His love, joy and peace. Like Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”

Freedom is found beyond the tethers of this world.

By focusing on Christ beyond the good and bad circumstances we are in or our family is in, we can become truly free to experience His peace and feel His joy, to love as He loves, and to give: We give patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control to those around us. We give truth both in word and deed. We practice righteousness because we ARE righteous on the inside; we just need to work it to the outside.

What tethers you to this world? Do you truly believe that our heavenly Father will meet all our needs according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19)? It’s a daily decision based upon daily practice.

Abba, what tethers me to this world? My love for Robin? No. We have made the pledge to each other to love You first. Our children? No. We gave them to You soon after they were born. Our grandchildren? No. They are Yours, too. Security? Health? Position? MUSIC? No. We consider them forfeited for Your sake. It’s a daily struggle to keep them on the altar, but our daily practice of prayer and Bible study keeps us current on our commitment to You. We KNOW YOU are committed to us. Once more, I quote part of my favorite psalm, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And this earth has nothing I desire besides You” (Psalm 73:25). Jesus, be my Lord and I will be Your disciple. You have the words of life. Amen.

Proverbs 9 12-9-20

Those who trust in Christ have accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. His ways are now their ways. His kingdom is their kingdom.

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

We tend to think of salvation as a one-time event, a transaction. It is true that His salvation has a beginning in our hearts and lives, but it is just that: A Beginning. He births in us His kingdom, which will grow until it fills every corner of our lives. Jesus gives two distinct examples of the growth of the kingdom within us:

18 Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? 19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” 20 Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? 21 It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” Luke 13:18-21

Another illustration is to say that we are inducted into Christ’s kingdom and, therefore, His army and service. From that point on, we are enlisted soldiers. We serve at His pleasure and disposal. Our lives are no longer our own; we belong to Him.

Join with me in suffering [setting aside our own desires, pleasures, and comforts], like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 2 Timothy 2:3-4

Is this kind of relationship what you had in mind? It’s usually not the one presented for salvation. It makes me wonder if we are really interested in having the kingdom of God grow in our lives and become attractive to those who do not know the LORD. What kind of LOVE are we displaying? Jesus said, Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35). There’s an old song entitled, “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love.” To me, it hits the nail right on the head.

Let’s ask the LORD Jesus to refocus our attention to what HE thinks is important. Let’s begin to allow Christ’s love to be the most important thing in our lives. Let’s allow Him to reorient our lives so that we begin to love the Bride of Christ as He does; in doing so, He will draw all people to Himself as we lift up Christ in our lives. He said as much: “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” John 12:32

Abba, may I learn to set aside the things of this world that I like so much and focus on what You consider important. May I use the gifts You have given me to exalt You. I know that when I do, You bring people to a point of decision on what to do with You. May I always present You fully and honestly: You are full of grace, but also truth, salvation and judgment. May my Christian brothers and sisters realize the import of these words, as well. Amen.

They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love by Jars of Clay

Proverbs 9 11-9-20

Due North, in tune, a metal detector, and the Word of God–what do they have in common? They give us truth.

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom [it makes us listen], and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding [He reveals it to us].

  1. When using a compass, true North is always stationary. As we turn to the right or to the left, we orient ourselves by it.
  2. When tuning my guitar, I use an app that shows me when each string is in tune. It shows me how far from “in tune” I am and turns green when I reach “in tune.”
  3. A metal detector ticks louder and faster the closer we come to a metallic object. If wisdom is that object, then the closer we come to it, the louder our “metal detector” (wisdom) ticks.
  4. The Word of God reveals to us truth and righteousness. We then live our lives by that truth and righteousness. We cannot do it ourselves; we depend upon the Holy Spirit for guidance. “You hold me by my right hand, and You guide me with Your counsel.” Psalm 73 23b-24a

Ours is a simple faith, much like a child’s faith, but that is exactly how Jesus told us to be (Luke 18:17). We are designed to receive one command at a time as He leads us. When we follow Him, the worries of this life fade away and we can focus on His face–His countenance cascades down upon us as we behold His beauty and the wonder of His great love and majesty!!! WOW!

Here is Jesus’ command for us today:

So don’t worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things. Your heavenly Father knows all your needs [it’s hard to trust Him if we don’t know Him very well], and He will give you all you need from day to day if you live for Him and make the kingdom of God your primary concern. So, don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:31-34

Concerning worry (from Robin’s notes): Worry is a result of envisioning the future without God; worry only wrecks right now: it sucks the joy out of the present. Worry says that something else is more important than God in our lives, which equals idolatry.

We can do this. He has made it simple on purpose.

Abba, may I take my own advice and simply gaze upon Your beauty and majesty. I KNOW that I will receive Your love, peace, joy, mercy and grace as I stand in Your presence and enjoy Your company. Lead me, LORD. I am Your little child. Amen.

Proverbs 9 10-9-20

Having the mind of Christ is messy–it messes with our logic, our feelings, and our beliefs. Listen to Him!

9 Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.
16 …we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16

From yesterday: “This chapter [chapter 8] is awesome in that we are introduced to how the Word of God can change our lives. Wisdom is seeing from God’s perspective. It’s standing right beside Him looking where He’s looking and having Him explain it to us.

After writing yesterday’s Proverbs, I was reading Matthew 22 and ran across this passage:

29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” 33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching. Matthew 22:29-33

The Pharisees had tried to trap Jesus (v.15-22) and He turned the tables on them. Then the Sadducees (another religious group) tried. They posed a hypothetical situation that was supposed to stump Christ: A man married a woman, then he died. She was passed to his brother (in order to produce an heir for her first husband), who also died. She went through seven brothers and then she died. The question was, “Whose wife will she be in heaven?” The LORD Jesus set them straight!

  1. We interpret Scripture with Scripture, meaning that we cross-reference what we read with what has already been written. King Jesus referred them to the Father’s words to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:6).
  2. The LORD Jesus quoted the Father’s name in the verse, I AM (YHWH or YAHWEH, which means “ever-existing” and “ever-creating”). Look what He did in John 8:58, “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I AM!” The form of the phrase means “ever-existing,” but is different in that it is a personal pronoun and thus more intimate. GOD WAS WITH THEM!
  3. Everyone was astonished because they had been taught for generations that when a person dies, he’s dead until the Messiah comes and raises everyone (see John 11:24). Jesus was telling them that we live beyond the grave IMMEDIATELY. It was a new concept and flew in the face of the Sadducees, who believed that there was NO resurrection at all.

Studying this passage shapes my belief in Jesus Christ as God in the flesh (Immanuel), and the power of God to give me life with Him beyond the grave. You will notice that I went to other passages in the Bible to help me understand the Matthew 22 passage. THAT’S interpreting the Scriptures with Scripture. I used my memory, the reference verses given in my Bible, and an electronic Bible concordance. Googling works, too. Let’s not just read a passage; let’s study it by taking it apart and examining it in light of other Scripture. Let’s ask the Spirit what it means and allow Him to shape our thoughts. Follow every nudge; don’t stop just because it sounds good or fits what we want it to say. Our integrity is at stake here. Let’s be open to TRUTH no matter where it leads us. We TRUST our Savior.

Abba, I pray that as we study Your Word, we will enjoy Your Presence and Participation. Thrill our hearts, LORD, as we seek You in the Scriptures. Grow us today for tomorrow’s questions and challenges. Amen.

Proverbs 9 9-9-20

Our fear of God is different than the fear talked about in the Bible. I am guilty of supporting this wrong kind of thinking.

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.

Teach me Your way, O LORD, that I may walk in Your truth;
Give me an undivided heart that I may fear Your name. Psalm 86:11

I have always maintained that “the fear of the LORD” had to do with awe and wonder with a healthy respect, and these feelings do come with the fear of the LORD. But, we tend to minimize His holiness and superiority if we don’t consider what it means to “fear the LORD.” I have come to understand that “fear” is “real fear.” It’s the terror of standing before a holy God and being found unholy. Jesus said,

“Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear. Luke 12:4-5

We have lost the fear of the LORD in our American view of Christianity. The A,B,C’s of becoming a Christian impart the how-to’s of becoming a Christian:

A. Admit that you’re a sinner.
B. Believe that Jesus is God’s Son.
C. Confess Jesus as your LORD.

But, do we take the time to explain that the fact that we are sinners means that we cannot stand before the holy God of Israel, the world, and the universe? That we deserve more than physical death; we deserve hell? Do we describe what we look like to God: Wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked (Revelation 3:17)? Did I mention that our sin is like filthy rags to Him? Listen to this description:

For your hands are stained with blood,
    your fingers with guilt and filthy with sin.
Your lips have spoken falsely,
    and your tongue mutters wicked things.
Isaiah 59:2

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; Isaiah 64:6

When we tell them to believe that Jesus is God’s Son, do we take the time to emphasize that God left heaven for us–to die for us a horrible death? Do we teach them to cry out to God in Jesus’ name to save them from death and hell and from themselves? Or, do we make it a sales pitch?

Do we teach them that confession is more than just saying we’re sorry? That it involves deep remorse and repentance, turning around 180 degrees from our sin, and pledging to strive to live a godly life? Do we teach them that our sin causes great harm to us, to our relationship with others, and to our relationship with God? It interrupts our fellowship and causes us to lose His guiding light and voice at what is usually a very precarious time in our lives. It’s a DANGEROUS time in our lives! Do we teach them that their first confession of sin to the Father is not their last, and that much of our prayer time throughout our lives is spent in confession?

God is good, but He is also just, and His justice cannot allow Him to excuse our sin. Our sins are paid for by the blood of Jesus, but they also carry consequences in this life. A breaking of fellowship with our God is one of them, and is, in fact, the biggest one. What do we do when we find that we are out of fellowship with the LORD?

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners [repent], and purify your hearts, you double-minded [wanting things both ways]. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:7-11

God “jealously longs for the Spirit He has caused to dwell in us,” (v.5), meaning that He wants fellowship with us who are in Christ and have the Holy Spirit in us. Let’s not put off humbling ourselves before the LORD. Let’s run to Him in repentance and humility. Let’s cry out for His mercy and His grace. We have this promise:

16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:16

When do we need it most? When we are caught in the snares of sin. Don’t wait to clean up before coming to Christ. He’s in the business of taking sinful people and making them beautiful, blameless saints! My favorite verse is Jude 24:

24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling [and falling] and to present you before his glorious presence without fault [blameless] and with great joy

Abba, thank You for loving us so much that You provided a way back to You through Jesus Christ, Your Son. May we keep in mind that You are holy and that You have called us to be holy, too, which we can only do by trusting in the Holy Spirit to guide us. Please don’t let us take for granted Your sacrifice on the cross, or to think so highly of ourselves as to try to live godly lives on our own. It just doesn’t work that way. WE NEED YOU. Fill us with Your Spirit, LORD. Amen.

NOTE: Did you notice how many Scriptures I used? Wonder how I knew them? Because I read them in the Bible and committed many of them to memory. Why? Because they’re important to know! Ask God to give YOU verses as you read. He will!

Proverbs 9 8-9-20

Proverbs is designed to be an encouragement. Are you being encouraged by reading the chapter and THEN my post?

9 Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

The Proverbs Club began about 12 years ago with six guys who committed to read a chapter of Proverbs a day (there are 31 chapters in a month, so the chapter we read corresponds with the day of the month). I sent them a small, encouraging text each morning to remind them to read. When I learned about WordPress, I began to write a Proverbs message and then send it out to them as I do now. That was over 10 years ago.

The question is: As a member of the Proverbs Club, do you take time each day to read the chapter and ask the LORD to apply some aspect of it to your life? If you take time to go to my post, then I consider that gravy! The chapter comes first. My thoughts may be based upon the Word of God, but the Word of God ALWAYS trumps human thoughts.

For instance, take today’s chapter. It is about foundations and our need to seek Him in His Word daily. Taking the easy way out always ends in trouble. Let’s look:

1 Wisdom has built her house;
    she has set up its seven pillars.

The Word of God calls us to build on a firm foundation. JESUS AND HIS COMMANDS are our firm foundation (Matthew 7:24-27). By the way, when Scripture addresses are in red, there is a link to that passage in

I add my own commentary: I consider the seven pillars to be the seven admonitions of Proverbs 1, which are wisdom, knowledge, insight, understanding, discernment, prudence, and discretion (verses 2-6).

The promise in this chapter is that we will be wise and that our wisdom will reward us (v12).

There is also one of the most revealing insights into human behavior I know:

“Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” Verse 17

There is a thrill to sin, to being our own boss and calling our own shots, to being the master of our own ship. That’s the up side. The down side is the next verse:

But little do they know that the [spiritually] dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead. 

In other words, IT’S A TRAP! There are no shortcuts to godliness. It takes hard work and repetition, which requires TIME. We tend to be impatient with ourselves. God is not. He understands that it’s a lifelong process and that we will not really get it completely right until we step across the threshold into His kingdom and are glorified. So, let’s relax and be “completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2). Let us “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24). Let us keep the faith according to God’s Word.

Abba, I KNOW that if I focus on You, worshiping You and spending every waking moment aware of Your presence, talking to You even as You prompt my heart, then I will live righteously simply because I am obedient to Your Spirit. You will NEVER lead me into sin, but will save me from it–or lead me out of it. LORD, David said it best, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My heart and my flesh fail, but You are the strength of my heart and my portion [my everything, all I need] forever” Psalm 73:23-24. May we worship You in spirit and in truth today. Amen.

Proverbs 9 7-9-20

“Brother” and “Master” carry different connotations. Jesus is both, but how do we differentiate between them?

8 Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.

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

If  “Favorite Big Brother” were the only title we used for Jesus, we might get the idea that we could take or leave His advice, counsel, and direction. Today, we look at the title, “Benevolent Master,” which carries a much heavier meaning.

Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:28

When Thomas recognized and acknowledged Jesus as resurrected and real, he believed, which means that he put his faith and trust in Him–he entrusted his life to Him. The concept may be better understood in terms of medieval times. A new king would ride through the land and visit the villages of his kingdom. As he did so, the villagers would come out to the road and take a knee, thus pledging fealty to the new king. “Fealty” means: Fidelity to a lord; the obligation or the engagement to be faithful to a lord, usually sworn to by a vassal; Faithfulness.

Taking the word, FAITH, let’s make an acrostic:

F – Forsaking
A – All,
I – I
T – Trust
H – Him.

Forsaking All, I Trust Him

Sounds like a marriage vow, doesn’t it? In fact, that’s exactly what is meant in Ephesians 5:25-27, 30-31. Let’s read them:

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
We forsake all and unite with Christ to form a new creation, one born of flesh AND of Spirit. We are NEW CREATIONS! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Let’s get our heads out of the academic side of truth and into the experiential side. As long as we stand back and study salvation and its benefits, we will never know Christ as we are intended to know Him. We must make the decision to entrust our lives to Him. We have some good examples and exhortations:

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates [money, power, pleasure], or the gods of the Amorites [fear, appeasement], in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21

Let’s go ALL IN:

I hereby pronounce Jesus as my LORD and my God; I hereby turn from every other pursuit for pleasure, comfort, security, and power and make Jesus my sole Provider of all these needs; I will make Him the first One I turn to in the morning and the last One I speak to before sleep; I will walk with Him, lean on Him, depend on Him, and learn about Him all day, every day as He teaches me.
Jesus, You are my LORD and my God. Make Yourself known to me. Show me who You are! May I see You and experience You in everything I do, everywhere I go, and in everyone I meet: If they know You, may our spirits join together in sweet fellowship; if they don’t know You, may I be Your messenger to them. I hereby commit myself to You, Jesus; I take the knee and profess fealty to You, my LORD. Reign in my heart now and forevermore.

By the way, Jesus’ rebuke of Thomas was a boon in our favor:

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” That’s US!

Let’s not wait until Jesus returns to pledge our lives to Him and live for Him. We will miss out on SO MUCH if we do–possibly salvation itself! Let’s follow Him NOW!

Abba, I pray for my readers that they would feel Your urging right now and DO IT! May they take the “All In” pledge. Call them to Yourself, O LORD. Make it plain to them that there is no fence-riding here; it’s either all of You or none of You. We either follow You or we don’t. I choose today to follow You. Be my LORD and my God TODAY. I intend to make the same pledge tomorrow. And the next day. And the next… Amen.

Proverbs 9 6-9-20

Here is #10 part 4 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?

1 Wisdom has built her house; she has set up its seven pillars.
“I am going to prepare a place for you, [and] I will come back and take you to be with me…” John 14:3

#10 What awaits us in heaven? Part 4

What will we do? I believe the activity of heaven can be summed up in five words:

Worship, Work, Create, Explore, and Fellowship

“For the Christians, death is the doorway to the Christ who has defeated death and will swallow it up.” Randy Alcorn, HEAVEN, pg. 439

  1. Worship– We will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father; we will bask in the radiance of their glory and enjoy the pure love, joy and peace that emanate from their Presence. We will join the countless millions who will be there with us: After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice [either saying or singing]: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” Revelation 7:9-10. How long will we do this? I don’t know. Does it matter? There will be no need to mark time. In the words of Randy Alcorn, “That isn’t all there is to Heaven, but if it were, it would be more than enough.” HEAVEN, page 195.
  2. Work– We will both rule and serve. What we must remember is that we are returning to earth for eternity. At some point, heaven will be joined with earth–the two will become one again even as it was in Eden, but this time, it’s the entire physical universe. On the fourth day of creation, God separated the heavens, His heaven (the third heaven) from outer space (the second heaven) and our atmosphere (the first heaven); He will simply remove the separation. To Him, it’s no big deal. To us, it’s heaven on earth! There will be plenty to do here as Eden is restored world-wide. Mankind will be back to what we were created to do, which is to tend the garden (Genesis 2:15). Also, Paul mentions judging angels (1 Corinthians 6:2-3), which can mean managing a work detail.
  3. Create– God created us in His image (Genesis 1:26). God just got done creating the universe; we are like Him, therefore, we are made to create. Don’t worry if you don’t think you have a creative spirit. Anything we do in conjunction with the Holy Spirit is new. We ourselves are new creations. Just thinking and praying is creating, along with whatever the Spirit leads us to do: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17. More than that, everything becomes better and greater in heaven. From Randy Alcorn, HEAVEN, page 439:
    “Understanding that our peak doesn’t come in this life should radically change our view of deteriorating health, which otherwise would produce discouragement, regret, anger, envy, and resentment. Elderly people could envy and resent the young for what they can do. People handicapped from birth could envy and resent others for what they can do. But when the elderly and handicapped recognize that their experiences on the New Earth will be far better than the best anyone else is experiencing here and now, it brings anticipation, contentment, consolation, and the ability to fully rejoice in the activities of the young and healthy, without envy or regret.”
    [We can say to ourselves,] “I haven’t passed my peak. I haven’t yet come close to it. The strongest and healthiest I’ve ever felt is a faint suggestion of what I’ll be in my resurrected body on the New Earth.”
  4. Explore– Understanding that we will be like Jesus (Philippians 3:20-21), the idea of thought-transport is not so sci-fy, nor is the concept of exploring the universe that God designed FOR US–renewed, of course. We will also have the entire city of the New Jerusalem to explore and everyone in it to get to know. Then, we have all of earth to explore. As we can see, there will be plenty to do and see, all with hearts full of wonder and delight. We will constantly be thanking God for all He has done–in person, since He will be there with us. Can you imagine Him telling you what He was thinking as He created the giraffe or hummingbird? Speaking of animals, have I mentioned that we will be back in right relationship with them? Robin wants to swim with the whales; I think we will!
  5. Fellowship– Everyone who trusted Christ as Savior and Lord will be in heaven. The multitude that no one could count includes every Christian– and all who trusted in Him BEFORE the cross, as well. There are verses that tell us that David himself will be prince of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 34:23-24). We will spend eternity getting to know everyone in heaven. The neat part will be that we will intuitively know who each person is when we meet them. Peter, James and John intuitively knew Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:4). Still, that’s a LOT of people. I’m glad we have an eternity to do it, don’t you?

Randy Alcorn makes this statement, HEAVEN, page 440, “I don’t look forward to that [death]. But I do look beyond it. I look first to being with my Jesus, second to being with loved ones, third to Christ’s return and the bodily resurrection, and fourth to setting foot on my eternal home–the New Earth. It makes me want to shout and cry and laugh just thinking about it.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Abba, thank you for such a wonderful inheritance. As I read about this inheritance in the Word, I realize that You are giving us back our world–and a whole lot more! You intended us to be with You and enjoy all of Your creation: earth, space, our home in heaven–even before You created them! It’s been Your plan all along. WOW! It blows my mind how much You must love us! Thank You for the hope we have beyond this life. May we make each day here count for You, LORD. Amen.

Proverbs 9 5-9-20

Sometimes, I get in a philosophical mood. Today, I have shared my outlook on my life and what/who governs my life.

10 The fear [awe, respect, adoration] of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding [the more we know, the more        we fear–and love Him].

I don’t fear God for my life; I THANK Him for my life in Jesus. My confidence is in His love for me, but that doesn’t make me not fear Him. Instead, as I gain a better and better perspective of Him, I find Him to be bigger, more majestic, and more awesome than I can imagine! Yet, He desires a personal and ongoing relationship with ME! WOW! He does with you, too!

Consider these three statements:

  1. What I believe about God determines what I do today.
  2. What I have done with Jesus determines how I live today.
  3. My obedience to the Holy Spirit determines my tomorrow.

Concerning #1, I believe God is sovereign; He is both great and good. He loves me and wants to include me in His work, fellowship with me, and take me to be with Him one day soon. He is my Father.

Concerning #2, I believe Jesus is crazy about me and has proved it through the cross. I owe Him everything and I willingly give everything to Him: my life, my plans, my family, my ALL. He is my LORD.

Concerning #3, my obedience to Mr. Holy Spirit is how I show my love to God and my gratitude to Jesus. I have become completely dependent on Him for living life. As I trust Him today, I know He is preparing me for tomorrow. He is my Counselor.

I live for His smile:

  • It reveals His love and approval of me;
  • His love, joy and peace radiate from Him and washes over me;
  • To feel His pleasure and presence is worth it all!
  • Oh, to grasp the height, depth, width and breadth of His love!
  • His smile is my “better option.”

If you’re wondering what this “better option” is, it is the other choice when faced with temptation. When we are tempted, there is always a better option. Usually, there are real and physical options that are tangible, but there are some internal struggles that can only be won by desiring His pleasure and approval more than giving in to the cravings of our sinful nature. We have this promise:

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

His way out is through our personal and intimate walk with Him. If we let Him, He will always keep us with Him, He will hold our hand, He will guide us with His counsel, and ultimately He will take us to be with Him in glory. Folks, it just doesn’t get any better than that here on this earth.

May we all take very seriously our relationship with our LORD. It has everything to do with today, tomorrow, and eternity!

Abba, You know my heart. You know I desire You more than life itself. You ARE life. May I live every moment with this thought in mind. May it wash over the errant thoughts that pass through my mind. May You help me to “take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.” Have Your way in me, O LORD. PLEASE!!! Amen.

Proverbs 9 4-9-20

Life is simple in this respect: Eat daily at the Savior’s table and we will be wise. We will have nourishment for our souls, clarity of thought, vision for today, and hope for tomorrow.

5 Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed. 6 Leave your simple ways [junk food] and you will live; walk in the way of insight.

Adam and Eve began humanity walking with God. How natural it would have been to be walking with Him and to reach up and pull some fruit from a tree. Eating physically and learning spiritually went hand-in-hand.

Abraham ate with the LORD several times. One time, while they were eating, The LORD told Abraham that Sarah would bear him a son “about this time next year” (see Genesis 18 and 21:1-7). Sarah was listening and laughed because she was past child-bearing years. The LORD called her on it, and Abraham named him Isaac, which means “laughter.” How’s that for a sense of humor?

Moses spent time with God regularly, but one particular time, he and 70 elders along with Aaron, his two sons, and Joshua got to eat at God’s TABLE in HEAVEN!

Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up 10 and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli [an intensely blue stone], as bright blue as the sky. 11 But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank. Exodus 24:9-11

We have the account of the Last Supper in all four Gospels. I encourage you to read it in its chronological order. This link goes to a website that has all four readings laid out so that a person doesn’t have to keep turning to each book. Pretty neat! Chronological Reading of the Last Supper

Jesus made reference to one more meal that we will get to eat with Him–and I’m sure many more after that–and that is the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.

25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” Mark 14:25

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:

    For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
    and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
    and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean,
    was given her to wear.”

(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)

Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” Revelation 19:6-9

The Wedding Supper of the Lamb will be at the consummation of the ages. In the meantime, we have this prayer of our LORD, “Give us today our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11. The Word of God is our daily bread“It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on .'” Matthew 4:4 [Jesus being tempted by Satan; Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3]. 

Jesus knocks on the door of our heart each day asking to be let inside for His bread and sweet fellowship. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Rev. 3:20. This verse is not a salvation verse, but a fellowship verse! The one before it is how we open the door: Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.

Let us open the door of our hearts this morning. Let us feast on His Word today and commune with His Spirit. The peace, love, joy and hope that we feel will carry us through our entire day!

Abba, I AM GRATEFUL for the privilege it is to sit down with You and “eat” at Your table. Thank You for making it so easy with my Bible, my computer, my coffee/tea, my cat, and my wife sitting at the other end of the “table” also enjoying Your sweet fellowship. I realize that things may not always be so easy, but I am grateful for THIS time. May I never take it OR YOU for granted. Amen.

Proverbs 9 3-9-20

Our Foundation: That on which everything is built. What is your foundation? God’s will or your own?

1 Wisdom has built her house; 

The foundation of Christians is THE FEAR OF THE LORD. Verse 10 tells us, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…” FEAR means to hold in high regard, respect.

she has set up its seven pillars.

I see these seven pillars as Wisdom, Knowledge, Instruction, Understanding, Insight, Discernment, and Prudence (see Proverbs 1:2-6).

2 She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table.

The difference between Wisdom and Folly is preparation. Wisdom took time to prepare. In verses 13 and 14, we read that Folly did none of the preparation for guests, and what did she really have to offer? “Stolen water” and “forbidden food (v17).” What was the result of visiting her? DEATH (v. 18)!

Each day, we are given the gift of time. How we use that gift is up to us. Do we spend the proper amount of time in preparation? Do we read His Word to know what He has to say to us? Do we communicate with Him through concerted prayer? Jesus said,

27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Do we want to know the Father? Then we get to know the Son. How? Jesus also said,

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

Hence, our foundation: The Word of God (our Bible).

The pillars of our faith are built through our relationship with the Spirit of God who lives within us. They come through Him revealing them to us as we read, look, listen, and do. That communication between us and the Spirit is called PRAYER.

Prayer = Conversation; dialogue

Prayer = Communion-holding something in common (love for the Father), mutual participation in acting on that love.

In Prayer, there is:

  1. Power! Little prayer=little power; Much prayer=much power (Bill Green).
  2. Solace! Our lifeline, our comfort, our safety, our peace.
  3. Foundation! Our Rock for everything we think, say, and do.

In Prayer, we have:

  1. Conviction- the Voice that tells us which way to go. “And you will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'” Isaiah 30:21. It is a voice of encouragement that tells us the next step toward godliness (God) regardless of our last step (or misstep).
  2. NO Condemnation- We no longer have to worry about eternal consequences or dissolving our relationship with God. Jesus removed the barrier between us and God and HE makes sure it NEVER comes back. How? By living in our hearts! If we hear words of condemnation or discouragement, we can be sure that they are from the enemy, Satan, and we are to repel them! We spend our entire lives learning how to discern between the two voices and how to live by the Spirit’s voice and how to resist the other one.

I know this lesson is basic, but I find that I do better if I  go over the basics regularly. In fact, all the information on Prayer listed above is on a notecard that I read everyday! IT’S THAT IMPORTANT!!! May we all take Bible study and Prayer as seriously as God does.

Abba, thank You for revealing Yourself to me through the Scriptures. I find nuggets of wisdom and revelation all the time when reading Your Word! Thank You for conversing with me all through the day. May I “tune in” routinely. I pray for my brothers and sisters in You that they would learn the treasure they have in Your Word and in Prayer. You are an awesome God to have established such an intimate way to commune with Your children! May we all take full advantage of it!!! Amen.

Proverbs 9 2-9-20

From what is Christ calling you away? To what is He calling you? Is there something He is addressing in your life?

Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults;
    whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.
Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;
    rebuke the wise and they will love you.
Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;
    teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

The LORD’s voice is plain and evident in a Christian’s life. It’s how we came to Him in the first place: He spoke to us, convicting us of sin, and asking us to give ourselves to Him. He came into our lives and has been part of us ever since.

In your relationship with Him, have you made yourself available to Him on a regular basis? Have you honed the weapon of prayer? Let’s look at some ways to sharpen our prayer lives:

  1. Praise– Praise is telling God who He is. It’s a confession and acknowledgement of His attributes and deeds. One of those deeds was to save us, therefore we sing about our salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ.
  2. Listening– Listening for God to speak is not easy. We are an impatient people. There are so many things that have our attention that He waits until we clear our minds of those things–that takes time!
  3. Waiting– In time, He will prompt us to pray for a certain thing, event or person; He may prompt us to address a certain issue in our lives; He may call us to pray over someone. This “Season of Prayer” is very important to the people of God, His Church. In fact, it is the MAIN EVENT in worship.

They [the remaining disciples] all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the [men,] women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers [120 people in all]. Acts 1:14 Ten days later and while they were meeting, Pentecost happened! Read it in Acts 2.

A little later, Peter healed the lame man at the temple gate and Peter and John were called before the Sanhedrin (religious powers). They were threatened to not speak about Jesus. they went back to their group and had a prayer meeting, praising the LORD for the privilege to testify on His behalf. Here’s what happened:

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. Acts 4:31

So, how do we get back to prayer in our churches? All my life, church has been about honoring God, but mostly from a third person aspect. We laud Him, but from a distance. I would like to change that. I’m not sure how, but I’m trusting God to lead me. I KNOW He is leading Bryan, my pastor. Please pray for us as we seek His will in this matter.

In the meantime, join me in prayer every chance we get to meet together. Pray for me as I pray for you:

Abba, I lift up my brothers and sisters in Christ today that this day will be one of special importance to them, for it is the day that You call them to a higher and closer walk with You. May You make Yourself plain and evident to them. Speak to them even as You did Moses, “With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD.” Numbers 12:8. I know it can be scary, but experiencing You gives us hope for today and bright hope for the future! Give them–give us!–as taste of Your glory, LORD. It’s addictive and I cannot get enough!!! Amen–for now.

Proverbs 9 1-9-20

Do you enjoy having the Holy Spirit lead you? Yes? It’s a wonderful relationship. No? Still fighting for the lead. No Holy Spirit? No salvation!

She [wisdom] has sent out her servants, and she calls from the highest point of the city,
4 “Let all who are simple come to my house!” To those who have no sense she says,
5 “Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed.
Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of insight.”

14 She [folly] sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city,
15 calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way,
16 “Let all who are simple come to my house!

Our lives are made up of choices. It’s like walking through a marketplace where vendors are calling out for us to sample and purchase their products. Everything looks wonderful and tasty. The real problem is that Satan is behind much of what is being advertised:  it’s addictive. His goal is to get us hooked so that we want more and more and more. Not only that, it’s extremely bad for us and will ultimately kill us. We need Someone who knows what is good and what is bad for us.

Enter the Holy Spirit. He knows what is good for us and what is designed to kill us. WE NEED HIM! He IS wisdom. HE is the One who is calling to us into a conversation with Him.

24 Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Cor. 1:24

We like shiny and sparkly things. We like foods that taste good. I love a good burger from Dan’s Diner. It comes with grilled onions and greasy french fries–a whole basketful of them! I don’t eat there often because I know that the fat and cholesterol levels are off the charts! I also love the smell of Wintergreen Skoal dipping tobacco, but I know that it’s addictive and bad for my health, plus I have this command from the Lord:

18 Do not get drunk on wine [don’t allow anything to take control of your body and mind], which leads to debauchery [uncontrolled and indecent behavior]. Instead, be filled with [and controlled by] the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18

I enjoy consulting Jesus on these matters. In fact, I try to do it for every decision I make. So far, He has been right about every single one (go figure!). There is a certain satisfaction that I feel when I have made the right choice. Also, I feel His pleasure when I choose wisely. I feel close to Him even if the results of my choices are not liked by others. I live for His love, joy and peace that emanate from Him.

There is another benefit to consulting Jesus about every decision and that is my worldview increases. I become aware of how God is working in world events; I understand Scripture better; I perceive relationships more clearly; I discern when people are being truthful to me (I’m still working on this one; I can be rather gullible). Reading the Bible becomes fun as I comprehend biblical concepts. He LOVES to reveal spiritual truths to us!

What are the consequences to NOT listening to the Spirit?

To those who have no sense she says, 17 “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” 18 But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.

Sin is fun for a season, but there’s always a catch, a payment, and a consequence. Is our sin really that much fun? Are we willing to sacrifice a close relationship with the Father through the Son by way of the Holy Spirit just for a season of desire? Let’s make our decision to follow Him today. Yesterday is past. We start fresh from here. Sure, there are consequences from sin with which we all are still dealing, but God gives grace. Paul knew all about looking ahead:

I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me [a deep, rich, close relationship with Him]. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it [attained it]. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus [a new life with Him].

Let’s make right choices today by listening to the Spirit’s guidance, direction, warning, and instruction. Let’s enjoy His love, joy and peace as we go!

Abba, I sure do love spending time with You. You have so much that You want me to know. I’m learning as fast as I can! Please keep opening my mind to Your truths and Your worldview. Then lead me in teaching others what You have shown me. May I be an encouragement to them to follow You closely. Amen.


Proverbs 9 12-9-19

Looking ahead to what is coming in the next election year, it promises to be a wild ride–it’s a wild ride right now!

Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;
    teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.


Another verse we should consider is 22:3, The prudent see danger and take refuge,
but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.”

What I consider to be vital areas are:

  1. The support of Israel. Either as a nation or as an individual, we have been warned by God to support Israel. We may not approve of their spiritual state at present, but we know that they are in a type of suspension until the “times of the Gentiles has been fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). But, we are seeing God begin to move in the hearts of individual Jews! They are coming to Christ and accepting Yeshua as Messiah in numbers never seen before. We must do everything we can toward the salvation of the Jews–at the expense of the Gentiles? Goodness, no! But, we have this promise: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;” Genesis 12:3. That statute is still valid.
  2. The rights of the unborn child. Abortion is the modern worship of the god Molech (see Leviticus 20:2-3, Jeremiah 7:31). We, as a nation, cannot ask for God’s blessing if we condone and protect by law this behavior. We must preach against it and teach that those little lives are sacred and must be protected.
  3. We must have a strong military. The show of might-and the willingness to use it- curbs evil. Nuff said.
  4. We need a good moral climate. Judeo-Christian values is on what our nation was based.
  5. We need a strong economy. Whatever decisions are made should be made with these things in mind:
    1. What promotes new business?
    2. What promotes people’s safety in spending? In other words, do people feel safe to spend?
    3. Is our country’s leaders being wise in how they spend our country’s money? This one is a can of worms–or snakes. I’m afraid that the leaders who try to open this one up will (and have) become the “problem.” We need to pray for courage and protection for those willing to take on “the beast.”

For these things we pray and vote. We must remember that as the time of Jesus’ Appearing draws near, this world will grow darker–which means that our lights should grow stronger and brighter! Let’s make sure that we are watching and discerning the times according to God’s Word and His Spirit.

34 “But keep watch on yourselves, or your hearts will become dulled by carousing, drunkenness and the worries of everyday living, and that Day will be sprung upon you suddenly like a trap! 35 For it will close in on everyone, no matter where they live, throughout the whole world. 36 Stay alert, always praying that you will have the strength to escape all the things that will happen and to stand in the presence of the Son of Man [as one approved].”

Abba, I am both excited and wary about the coming election. I know that You put kings and leaders in place and remove them, raise nations up and bring kingdoms down, and I am counting on You doing the same thing with America. May we Christians be faithful to honor You with our lives, vote according to Your leading, and to be witnesses wherever we go and in whatever circumstances we find ourselves knowing that You are in charge of our lives. Make us intentional followers of the Way, O LORD. I place my faith and trust in You again today. Amen.

Proverbs 9 11-9-19

Are we taking advantage of our time, the internet, and our discretionary time to learn all we can of God and His Word?

9 Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

The first thing that the wise learn is that they don’t know very much. A humble attitude is necessary in order to learn. The very next verse implies this humility:

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

The “fear” is humility. It’s where we recognize that HE is GOD and WE are NOT. Jesus sits on the throne of the universe and rules; we allow Him to rule our lives. He is bringing all nations and every individual to their knees in acknowledgement of His Lordship. We do so willingly and gladly.

The “knowledge” that we seek is gained by spending TIME with our Lord in prayer, in His Word, in service, and in our daily walk. Our conversations with people are a perfect time to put into practice the traits of Christ: He is loving, peaceful, joyful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and exercises self-control. He is truthful and acts righteously toward everyone. He speaks life to all He meets. WE SHOULD BE LIKE JESUS!

As we imitate the LORD Jesus, we understand more and more the love He has for us, the goodness from which He acts, and we see more of His plan for humanity and our own lives. Most of the time, our lives run slowly concerning our knowledge and understanding of spiritual things. This is actually a good thing! We need time to process and practice before moving to the next lesson. The idea is to learn these lessons the first time around; the tests get harder if we have to take them again–and again.

Let’s put into practice all we know of Christ and ask Him to teach us more about Him, His purpose and plan for us and for our world.

Abba, may we learn from You and then imitate You. Help us to be humble and gentle, patient and kind. Help us to be good, just like YOU. If we accomplished nothing but these traits today, we would be so much like You that people would start asking questions–and want to be like You, too! Isn’t that the point? Work a mighty work in me, O Lord. Amen.

My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice. Ezekiel 33:31-32

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24


Proverbs 9 10-9-19

How long will we be content with being spoon-fed by the Holy Spirit? At some point, we need to “man up” and be proactive.

Wisdom has built her house;
    she has set up [hewn out] its seven pillars.

God has done His part. He has given us a wonderful foundation in His spoken Word. I look to the first chapter of Proverbs for the seven pillars: Wisdom, instruction, understanding, insight, discernment, prudence and instruction.

She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine;
    she has also set her table.

I liken this verse to the Holy Spirit’s interaction with us. What He shares with us is always pertinent and on-target. It’s our daily sustenance.

She has sent out her servants, and she calls
    from the highest point of the city,
    “Let all who are simple come to my house!”

I see this verse as our call to walk with Him, to grow up spiritually and to take on the mantle of responsibility. The call to wisdom is a call to maturity, one that is gained by setting aside childish thoughts, feelings, and habits and putting on the deeper ways of Christ.

To those who have no sense she says,
    “Come, eat my food
    and drink the wine I have mixed.
Leave your simple ways and you will live;
    walk in the way of insight.”

It’s a daily walk with Him–but it’s much more than that! It’s turning to Him for EVERY decision, for every step we take. We must give ourselves over to Him every time we are  tempted to make a choice ourselves. We must learn all we can in preparation so that we will know–specifically at best, generally at least–what the Holy Spirit desires of us and for us.

Since His Spirit will NEVER contradict the original text of the Bible*, we can trust what the Bible says as long as we ask Him for the correct interpretation of the words, the circumstances, and the timing.

The best passage for us this morning is 2 Timothy 3:16-17,

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

What most people don’t realize is that Paul was referring to the OLD TESTAMENT! The New Testament had not been written yet. The NT is our template, our “overlay,” for how we read the OT. For us, Christ is on every page and in every story. We see the Scarlet Thread (of His blood and sacrifice) beginning with Genesis 3:15 and running all the way to Malachi 4:5-6.

I wish there was a way to goad people into reading the Bible and taking it seriously. But, even the Holy Spirit doesn’t work that way. He invites us, He calls us, He woos us to join Him. He is the perfect Gentleman; He will never force His way into our hearts and lives. He WILL ask, though, and right now He is asking us to join Him at His table.

Abba, I SO want to join You at Your table, but I am in desperate need of a spiritual bath. I feel unclean. Thank You that in the blood of Jesus I am made new and whole and clean! Thank You that it is not up to me to clean myself up; that’s Your job, and You do it with rejoicing. May I take You seriously ALL THE TIME so that You can work through me. I want to be a willing and useful conduit for You, O Lord. Amen.

*The English language will never be able to completely relate the original Hebrew meaning and context of the Scriptures. We must depend upon Him to reveal to us what He wants us to know.

Proverbs 9 9-9-19

I am reminded one more time that we are travelers in this world headed for a better one: God’s home!

(10) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

We are of two mindsets.

One is of this world in that we live here, we move and breathe here, we love here and experience all sorts of happiness and tragedy, along with a range of emotions.

The other is of heaven and all that is going on there. We join those already around the throne for worship and enjoy sweet fellowship with the Son at His throne; we walk with the Spirit 24/7; we have the aroma of Christ! (see 2 Cor. 2:15)

Christians view this world through the lens of heaven. Our biggest question is, “LORD, what will please You the most?” It’s based on one of my favorite verses:

(10) and find out what pleases the Lord. Ephesians 5:10

Pretty simple, really. The best way is to ask Him. His Spirit will show you what will please Him the most. Know that you are already pleasing to Him as a person; we are talking about conduct. In our relationships here on this earth, we are to conduct ourselves like children of the King.

(12) Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young [or old, for that matter], but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

Let’s set an example today of whose we are. Let’s begin by spending time with the LORD Jesus in prayer and Bible study so that we know our assignment. To be pure in thought is to be one-minded. Let’s focus on being heavenly minded today by constantly asking the Spirit, “What do You want me to do next?”

Lord Jesus, I have prayed and read Your Word. I have tuned in, so now I want to stay tuned in as we walk through this day. May I focus on Your voice as I go about my business, and may I enjoy Your Presence and Participation in my life today. May I be a model Christian so that others see Jesus in me. Help me when I stumble to learn from the experience even as You help me up. May I be stronger in my conviction to be like You with each failure and reset. Thank You, Lord, for wanting a relationship with me. You knew what You were getting! It’s all about YOU. Amen.