Proverbs 10 11-10-20

God is love–but He is also God of justice. His rebuke can lay waste to nations; He lays bare our very lives! Hebrews 4:12-13, 14-16 (I always include 14-16 because of the context–it’s not as dire as one might think)

24 What the wicked dread [God] will overtake them; what the righteous desire [God] will be granted.
29 The way of the LORD is a refuge for the blameless [those in Christ], but it is the ruin of those who do evil [go their own way].

As I was reading Jeremiah, I came upon this verse:

Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps. Discipline me, LORD, but only in due measure–not in Your anger, or You will reduce me to nothing. Jeremiah 10:23-24

Jeremiah lives 600+ years before Christ came, yet he knew God intimately. In fact, God chose him to serve Him before Jeremiah was even born and called him to serve as a prophet at a young age (Jeremiah 1:4-10). Jeremiah’s relationship was built upon the Old Covenant. Ours is different. Let’s look at those differences:

Old Covenant- Listen to the terms of this covenant and follow them. From the time I brought your ancestors up from Egypt until today, I warned them again and again, saying, ‘Obey Me.’ But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts.” Jeremiah 11:6-8. The OC is built upon obedience, but people still had evil hearts.

New Covenant- If you love me, keep my commands.” “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:23-26 The NC is built upon obedience, too, but now, we have the Spirit of God living in us! Also, we have changed hearts, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Ezekiel 36:26-27. Jeremiah put it this way, “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” Jeremiah 24:7.

What else did Jeremiah say?

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again [in the church], and you, Virgin Israel, will be rebuilt [through the church].” Jeremiah 31:3-4

“This is the [new] covenant I will make with the people of Israel [and all who believe] after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Jeremiah 31:33

“This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it–the LORD is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'” Jeremiah 33:2-3

Folks, that’s the LORD calling us! Let’s answer today. Read His Word. Call on His name. Obey His commands. Be full of inexpressible joy!

Abba, I take great comfort and get downright excited when I read in the Old Testament what you were going to do in the New Covenant! It blows me away to think of the scope of Your love and Your plans for humanity. I want to be a part of Your story, LORD. How may I help? I will be walking right alongside You today. Just let me know. Amen.

Proverbs 10 10-10-20

We tend to make spending time with God about us giving to Him–when it’s really the other way around!

2 Ill-gotten treasures have no lasting value, but righteousness [righteous treasure] delivers from death.

What are “ill-gotten treasures”? Anything gained for our own glory, security, or pleasure; when it’s all about “me.”

What are “righteous treasures”? Any blessing from the LORD (v6), security gained by integrity (v9), knowledge (concerning the LORD) shared (v11, 13), love that covers all wrongs (v12), discipline that leads to life in Christ (v17), understanding gained through godly wisdom (v23), granted desire (v24 and Psalm 37:4), the fear of the LORD (v.27), JOY (v28), and REFUGE (v29).

We GET much more than we GIVE.

Our heavenly Father wants to spend time with us so that He can shower us with His blessings. Don’t believe me? Then read these verses:

‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:3

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

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay them?”
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Romans 11:33-36

To skip reading His Word and spending quality time with the LORD is to severely short-change ourselves and will greatly hinder us as we try to serve Him in our own power–which, in reality, is sin because it’s in our power and not God’s. The only way to get God’s power is to be with Him in mind and heart–to actually be WITH Him in attention, focus and attitude. The GOAL is ALWAYS COMMUNION. Prayer and Bible study are the only two ways I know to get me where I want to be, which is in a state of awareness of His Presence in me and His Participation in my life.

Let’s give ourselves the best chance we can to live with and for Him by reading the Scriptures today, and then conforming to the Spirit’s will and obeying His commands as we go though this day.

Abba, I pray that You will teach us how to be good students of Your Word. It’s a day-by-day/play-by-play decision on our part to subdue our own nature and allow You to rise in our hearts and take Your throne there. Help us to get beyond our personal feelings and focus on what is the RIGHT thing to do in accordance to Your leadership in our lives and hearts. I know that the Scriptures contain all of the basic ingredients that You want us to have in order for You to make us righteous and holy, complete and mature. May we become less and You become MORE in our lives, LORD Jesus. Amen.

Proverbs 10 9-10-20

Those who are in Christ Jesus have passed from death to life in Him. Let’s learn all we can about our heavenly Father.

1 A wise son [child] brings joy to his father…
2 …righteousness delivers from [all kinds of] death.

3 The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry [esp. spiritually]…
4 …diligent hands bring [spiritual as well as physical] wealth.
17 Whoever heeds discipline [learning the disciplines] shows [others] the way to life…
23 …a person of understanding delights in wisdom.
28 The prospect [end result] of the righteous is joy
31 From the mouth of the righteous comes the fruit of wisdom…
32 The lips of the righteous know what finds favor [what pleases the LORD]…

The fear that Christians have for their heavenly Father is based upon who He is: Supreme Ruler of the Universe. Upon reading the accounts of those who have spent time in His literal presence (Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 1, Daniel 7-8), I have come to recognize that being in His “physical” presence is terrifying! But, we need not worry; His children are safe with Him. At the same time, we must come to terms with His glory in our lives. Do we want that glory to shine through us? If so, then we must take seriously the fear of the LORD.

By taking seriously the fear of the LORD, we would:

  1. Always fall on our knees (metaphorically if not literally) every morning in repentance, confession, and alignment.
  2. Always consider Him by asking His opinion, which is His will, concerning every matter, even every word we speak–or are about to…
  3. Never think that we have the right to do anything, except, that which is governed by the Holy Spirit and the law of grace.
  4. Always have an attitude of thankfulness for what we have, gratefulness for what He has done, and hopefulness as we look ahead to what the LORD has in store for us.

By taking seriously the fear of the LORD, we:

  1. Live in a constant state of awareness of His presence and, therefore, His scrutiny. Our desire is to please Him in every way (I know there is a tension here; we will talk about that tension another day).
  2. Look for where He may be working and ask to join Him there.
  3. Love everyone-some from a distance that we must keep because of their bad choices, and some close up and personal, but all according to the love that Jesus has for all people. He died for them, you know.

These axioms are all based upon the Word of God, i.e. the Bible. Our heavenly Father has placed literally in our hands His written words to us to make our lives simpler and easier. Do you like simple and easy? I sure do! At the same time, He offers us in the Bible depths of insights of which we can never reach the bottom! Why would we not take advantage of so great a resource?!!!

Let’s read His Word today and listen for Him to speak to us. It really is that simple.

Abba, thank You for Your written Word. You really have made it simple and easy for us. I exult in what I learn about You from You. When I read Psalm 19:7-9, I glory in Your law, statutes, precepts, commands, decrees, and the fear and awe I have of You. I find Your Word perfect, trustworthy, right, radiant, pure, firm, and righteous. They refresh my soul, make me wise, give me joy, allow me to see, give me endurance, and make me righteous. You call to me and I answer. You are a good, good Father. May I be just like You. Amen.

Proverbs 10 8-10-20

What are you eager to do? What floats your boat? What gets you up in the morning? Is it pleasing Jesus? It is the key unifying factor of ALL Christians. Our desire to do good is the key to today’s entire chapter.

3 The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry, but He thwarts the craving of the wicked.

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6. Is righteousness our goal? If not, then we need to check with the LORD and make sure that we are truly His. “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians 13:5. 

We all slip back into old habits and routines, so let’s add a couple of words to this verse: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are [walking] in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is [president] in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” Once Christ saves us, we are positionally seated with Him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). It is our relationship, our fellowship, with Him that is contingent upon our willingness to die to ourselves everyday and live for Him.

11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14 (great memory passage!)

If you’re like me, part of me WANTS to live for Him while another part of me balks at the labor involved. It’s HARD WORK serving Christ! The good thing is that His Spirit within us gives us both the DESIRE and the POWER to do His will:

12 Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe [fear] and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ). 13 [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the desire and power], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. Philippians 2:12-13 AMP

NOTE: Be sure to make notes in your Bible concerning these verses. In most versions, the translation can be misleading.

Concerning our chapter for today, are we EAGER to:

  • Bring joy to our heavenly Father (1)?
  • Have diligent hands (4, 5)?
  • Use our mouths to spread righteousness (6, 11, 31, 32)?
  • Accept His commands (8)?
  • Walk in integrity, doing what pleases Him when only HE is watching (9)?
  • Cover all wrongs with love (12)?
  • Store up knowledge (14)?
  • Heed discipline (17)?
  • Speak the truth in love (18, 19, 20)?
  • Find no pleasure in wicked schemes–even in jest (23)?
  • Fear the LORD in reverence and awe (27)?
  • be joyful at the prospect of living for Jesus (28)?
  • Run to Jesus for refuge (29)?

Let me ask again, what are you eager to do? Is it to please the LORD? Then, I’ll let you get back to your Bible study! I’m headed back in, myself!

Abba, may we meet with You in Your Word today. May Your Spirit speak to us as we read Your words. May You open our minds to Your righteousness and truth. Then, help us to discern opportunities to put our new-found knowledge to good use. Increase our eagerness, O LORD! Set us on fire for You (I think that’s called revival)! May Your fire fall on us today. So be it!

Proverbs 10 7-10-20

No one likes to be corrected, yet we know that we need it regularly, especially in our spiritual lives.

Lazy hands make for poverty,
    but diligent hands bring wealth.
He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son,
    but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.

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

A good boss will train his employees to do things his way. The employees understand going into the job that the boss decides on how things are to be done. Would that we had this attitude with God! He is the Ultimate Boss. He IS patience. He IS kindness. He IS longsuffering–aren’t we glad!!! He IS gentle. He IS faithful. He promises to teach us how to be these qualities.

The benefits of working for the LORD are awesome! He wants us to work WITH Him. We “see” Him working in people’s lives and He calls us to help Him. We come alongside others even as He comes alongside us (which is the job of the Holy Spirit).

If you haven’t memorized the fruit of the Spirit yet (Galatians 5:22-23), let’s go over them again. They are:

  1. Love, joy, peace- He supplies these. They are what emanate from Him. If we want them, all we have to do is spend time in his presence.
  2. Patience, kindness, goodness- We work at these qualities. They are play-by-play decisions. We must ask ourselves, “Is what I am thinking good?” “Is what I am about to say kind?” “Am I being patient or are my expectations unrealistic?” The Spirit will guide us, train us, and correct us as we go.
  3. Faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control- These fruit are what happens to us over time. We become good and productive apprentices to our Boss. We get into a comfortable groove with Him that just feels good. We can’t expect to stay in that groove forever (He has other things to teach us), but we can enjoy it. He’ll teach us something new and then we’ll hit that groove again. “Higher up and further in.”

24 “The student is not above the teacher [boss], nor a servant above his master [boss].25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers [bosses], and servants like their masters [bosses].” Matthew 10:24-25a

Is it your goal to be like God? Jesus wants to teach us, train us, mold us, shape us, and transform us into the likeness of God, which is Himself. The Holy Spirit is the Agent through which He works in our lives. It’s a 24/7 thing. Let’s not be lazy about our spirituality. It is All-Important if our goal is to be like Christ. The process of becoming like Him affects our relationships, our work ethic, our play, and our worship. We must persevere. “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” James 1:4. 

Ask the LORD for everything you need for today. He will give it–as you need it! Our peace comes when we realize that He will be faithful to do so. Our faith is grown as our confidence builds. We work for the ULTIMATE BOSS!

Abba, I pray that You will grow our faith today as we walk through this day. May we turn to You often; may You give us what we need according to what we ask. Teach us to call on You for EVERYTHING. I don’t want to grow today, LORD, but I know it’s necessary and good for me. So, let’s go! Amen.

 

Proverbs 10 6-10-20

What is it you desire? Good things or evil? God-focused things or self-centered things? His will or yours?

24 What the wicked dread will overtake them; what the righteous desire will be granted.

This verse is a riddle; the answer is the same for both: God. The difference is in our relationship to Him. We Americans teach our children to become independent of their parents as they grow older. There is a lot of value in being able to take care of oneself and ultimately a family.  But, it is not so in Christianity. We must go from being independent to being completely dependent upon the Spirit of God.

Take Elisha, for instance. When the king of Aram ordered his arrest and sent his army to take him, his servant was alarmed: When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:15-17

There is so much more to this world than we can see. The spiritual world is going on all around us, but we cannot see it. Paul even warns us that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12. We need to depend upon Jesus for everything.

I stumbled across a great illustration the other day. I recalled a blonde joke from “ages past.” It seems a blonde woman listened to a walkman with a headset all the time (a walkman is the precursor to an ipod). A friend got curious, came up behind her and removed the headphones. The blonde immediately collapsed! He put the headphones on and heard, “Breathe in; breathe out. Breathe in; breathe out…” I have revised the tale in that he put the headphones back on her and she revived.

Now, consider Ephesians 4:22-24 (great memory verses, by the way):

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self [breathe out], which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self [breathe in], created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Let’s apply the blonde’s technique to being continually filled with the Spirit: “Breathe in the Spirit; breathe out the flesh. Breathe in the Spirit; breathe out the flesh.” It WORKS!

May the Lord call to your mind this humorous way to remember to keep being filled with His Spirit. Let’s lean on Him even as we keep in step with Him.

Abba, may I heed my own advice and continue to practice the presence of Christ in my life. I want to learn to be totally dependent upon You for insight, understanding, discernment, and wisdom (seeing things from Your perspective). You are the air I breathe, O LORD. You are my oxygen. Amen.

Oxygen – by Avalon

Proverbs 10 5-10-20

Being in a constant state of prayer is important for Christians. Having open communication with Jesus is the key… to hearing Jesus, obeying Jesus, and honoring Jesus.

8 The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.

If our prayers only go in one direction, it’s not really prayer. Prayer is:

  • A two-way conversation
  • Intimate communication
  • Close communion
  • We have instant access and constant contact
  • We have sweet fellowship
  • There is dialogue

Prayer is how we relate to the Father through the Son by way of the Holy Spirit:

  • We receive power-little prayer, little power; much prayer, much power
  • We receive solace-comfort, safety, peace, a lifeline
  • We have a foundation; He is our Rock for everything we think, say, and do
  • We have a secure source for life, truth, vision, and the future

Prayer gets us in touch with God and in sync with His Spirit. It also gives us focus and puts everything in focus. We hear words of encouragement and feel His conviction. What we DON’T hear are words of discouragement and condemnation. Those are from the devil.

As we practice putting off our old person and putting on Christ, we are as successful as our prayer life. There is no way I can be patient if I try to do it in my own power. I need His power and His counsel on how to be patient if I am to be successful. The same goes for using kind words–which kind words? When? to whom? I need His direction. Oh, would you look at that! H.I.S. It’s the Holy Spirit with me inbetween!

H(OLY)  “I”  S(PIRIT)

This is how we are to live: With us in the middle of the Holy Spirit every second of every day! Our conversation with Jesus will be continuous as we lean on Him more and more and as we read and read His Word. Meeting with our brothers and sisters in Christ and worshiping together helps, too, even if it’s virtual.

As we honor/remember our mothers today, may we honor Christ as our Savior.

Abba, I look forward to sitting down with Mom one of these days and hearing all about her adventures in heaven. Then I want to go on some with her! I’m sure looking forward to it. As Robin and I go to see her mom today, may You bless our fellowship with family. Guide us with Your counsel throughout this day, O Lord. I’m counting on You–for everything! Amen.

Proverbs 10 4-10-20

Is our desire to be like Jesus? Why? Why not? It’s a question of what our inner person wants.

2 Ill-gotten treasures have no lasting value, but righteousness delivers from death.

Solomon put it another way in his Song of Songs:

2:7 Do not awaken love until it so desires. or “Don’t tempt temptation.” In other words, keep a safe distance between ourselves and the place where desire blossoms.

If driving by the donut shop calls to you (it does me), then take another route. It takes forethought, but it’s worth it. If ads on tv, phone, etc. cause you to think on tempting things, then go to the trouble to record the program so that you can fast-forward through it. If it’s an app, then pay the extra $$ to get it without ads. In the long run, you will be better off and glad you did.

Each temptation acts as an opportunity for us to show our LORD how much we love Him. Do we choose Him or the temptation? What is truly at the core of our heart? A desire to please ourselves or Him? HE was willing to take that chance of allowing us to choose. It’s the “made in His image” part of us. It’s also why He went to the trouble and pain to make it so He could live in us WHILE we are fighting the fight. What a GREAT GOD!!! Now, He prompts us, strengthens us, soothes us, and loves on us even when we fail–especially when we fail! That kind of love and relationship is what gives us the umph to get up and try again–and again until we master it.

Paul understood the process. Watch the progression:

I was once alive outside the framework of Torah. But when the commandment [thou shalt not covet] really encountered me [when I understood what it was], sin sprang to life [I coveted everything], 10 and I died. The commandment that was intended to bring me life was found to be bringing me death! 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me; and through the commandment, sin killed me. Romans 7:9-11

13 No temptation has seized you beyond what people normally experience, and God can be trusted not to allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. On the contrary, along with the temptation he will also provide the way out, so that you will be able to endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13

24 What a miserable creature I am! Who will rescue me from this body bound for death? 25 Thanks be to God [, he will]! — through Yeshua the Messiah, our Lord! To sum up: with my mind, I am a slave of God’s Torah [Law]; but with my old nature, I am a slave of sin’s “Torah.” Romans 7:24-25 This was how we were before Christ entered our hearts.

But now, “NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus”. Romans 8:1. We now have our minds set on what the Spirit desires (v5). We are pleasing to God because WE CHOSE CHRIST. From now on, it’s simply a matter of learning to be like Him as we walk in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25).

The next time that temptation knocks on our door, we know what to do: Turn to Christ and tell Him that we want to be like Him, therefore, we flee temptation, we resist the devil, we resolutely “set our face” to die to ourselves (just like He did when going to Jerusalem and Calvary), and PRAISE Him for His wonderful grace.

Praise changes what we think about,

which changes the way we feel.

Paul wrote Romans while in Corinth, a wicked, wicked city. Temptations abounded. In the midst of his letter, we find this nugget:

32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience [allowed us to become enslaved] so that he may have mercy on them all [through salvation in Jesus Christ].

How does Paul respond to such a revelation? With PRAISE!

33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! (Psalm 92:5)
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out! (Job 11:7)
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?” (Isaiah 40:13-14)
35 “Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay them?” (Job 35:7)
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things. (1 Cor. 8:6, Eph. 4:6, Col. 1:16, Heb. 1:2-3)
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.

May we turn to Him in praise anytime we feel the tug to look away from Him and to things that tempt us. SING, PEOPLE, SING!

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:15-16

Abba, thank You for giving me the privilege to lead in praise and worship. When I am engaged with You, I know I am right with You. Please help me to transition praise into every area of my life, especially the parts where I struggle. You are wonderful, LORD. I bless you and praise You. You are the KING of the universe and the LORD of my life. Amen.

 

Proverbs 10 3-10-20

In what are we investing? Is it worldly, transitory things, or are we investing in the kingdom of God?

2 Ill-gotten [poor quality, fleeting] treasures have no lasting value, but righteousness delivers from death [spiritual death, moral bankruptcy, and eternal treasures].

What activities can we do that will draw us closer to our LORD? What investments can we make that will make us more righteous, holy, and useful for the Kingdom? This question reveals our motivation. Are we really in this life for the LORD? Have we really given everything over to Him: our lives, jobs, free time, relationships, family? How about our goals, hopes, dreams, wishes and aspirations? If not, then the motivation of our hearts will certainly be revealed by where we spend our time and resources.

23 A fool finds pleasure in wicked schemes [anything that is not God-led], but a person of understanding delights in wisdom [taking our lead from the LORD.

We must be careful not to trust our own intellect, our own perspective, or our own desires. We must not forget that “the heart is deceitful and wicked above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9. It’s why we give our hearts to Jesus so that He can give us His heart. We must learn to access His heart. The most dangerous words we can speak are:

  1. “I don’t see why/why not…” The underlying problem here is no discernment. We must ask for discernment and for God’s perspective. We must then seek it in His Word and trust Him to reveal it to us. Then we must knock on heaven’s door concerning how to use it. Is a solution found? Yes? Great! No? Then repeat the process.
  2. “I don’t care.” Oh, the arrogance that is revealed in these words! It shows our deepest sin: PRIDE. The fact that we don’t care should send up red flags and fireworks in our minds and hearts! REPENT IMMEDIATELY!
  3. “No one has the right to tell me what to do.” Actually, they do–in Jesus’ name and according to His prompting. In 2 Samuel 12:1-14 is the story of the prophet Nathan going to King David and confronting him with his sin concerning Bathsheba. In Galatians 2:11-14, Paul confronts Peter concerning his hypocrisy in Antioch. Let us be wary anytime we have this attitude!

When it comes to our schedules, we must make sure that we place them before the LORD and ask Him to orchestrate our activities. He doesn’t work for us–we work for HIM! Can sports become an idol? Sure! Can music? Absolutely. Can gaming? You bet. ANYTHING that we do WITHOUT allowing Him to moderate our activity is on its way to becoming an idol. Let’s allow Him to lead us in our events, activities, and relationships. He can keep us from great calamity and lead us in the way everlasting IF we will give Him our time, talents, resources, relationships–our lives!

Abba, loving You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength is hard. I have so many things that I want to do, to eat, to indulge in…! Teach me to stay away from harmful things that keep me from seeing You, hearing You, depending on You and loving You. Help me to moderate those things that aren’t necessarily bad, but tend to eat up my time and resources. Lead me to activities that draw me closer to You, learn more about You, and experience You on a deeper level. I want my life to be ALL ABOUT YOU, LORD. Amen.

Proverbs 10 2-10-20

Focusing on Jesus is a discipline. Lots of times we don’t feel like doing it, but we KNOW it’s right.

4 Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.

OR,

4 Lazy habits make for spiritual poverty, but diligence in the spiritual disciplines brings blessings.

RESET. That’s what I call it. When I am in a “don’t want to” mode, I reset by acknowledging that I am in such a mode (or mood), changing my schedule, and thanking Jesus for loving me anyway. I then go over all the Scriptures I know pertaining to how I should be when I am Spirit-led. Like these:

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Humility. Philippians 2:3-5

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance [patience, long-suffering], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness [my big one] and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2-3

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects [“we will guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride], always trusts [always giving the benefit of the doubt], always hopes [that each of us will live as Christ wants us to live], always perseveres [keeping at it and never giving up]. 8 Love never fails [we always win!]. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

There are more, but those are the big ones. They are certainly enough for us to chew on for the rest of the day. Let’s ask the LORD which ones(s) He wants us to work on today and get after it. I’m sure that we will have plenty of opportunities to practice…!

Abba, sometimes I’m just tired. But I know that it’s no excuse to act in an ungodly fashion. So, may You well up inside me and give me all the grace I need today to be You to others. Coffee helps. Thank You. Amen.

 

Proverbs 10 1-10-20

We fight clean, but we Christians DO fight. Our weapons are not of this world and they can destroy the enemy’s devises and schemes.

7 The name of the righteous is used in blessings, but the name of the wicked will rot.

Having a good name is important. We need to remember that we are ambassadors for Christ; we stand for Him. When people see us, they need to see Christ in and through us. How we fight is an important way to identify us from the world. There are a few lists that give us a good idea of how the world fights:

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4:31

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. Titus 3:3

29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips,30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Romans 1:29-31

20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions… Galatians 5:20

As ambassadors for Christ, how are we supposed to fight? Paul tells us:

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

What weapons might they be? I will list them and then include the Scripture references below:

Love, grace, wisdom, prudence, insight, understanding, knowledge, discernment, faith, goodness, self-control, perseverance, godliness (moral authority), kindness, tenderness, compassion, and the two greatest of all: THE WORD OF GOD AND PRAYER!

Galatians 5:22-23 The fruit of the Spirit

Proverbs 1:1-6 The seven pillars of wisdom

2 Peter 1:5-7 Increasing measure

Ephesians 6:14-18 Armor of God

If I were to pick out a favorite passage for this morning, it would be Philippians 2:1-5. Let’s look at it:

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus

  1. Be encouraged, be comforted, be one in the Spirit, be tender, be compassionate, be like-minded, have the same love in the Spirit, be humble.
  2. Christ considered us more valuable than His own life. We are have that same attitude and mindset toward others.

As we can see, our task is daunting WITHOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT’S HELP. Now, we see why it is important for us to get with Him early in the morning so that He can lead us and help us all through the day. Let’s be faithful to Him KNOWING that He will be faithful to us.

Abba, thank You for the promises in Your Word that You will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) and that You will tell us what to do and say in our hour of need (Matthew 10:19). May You create in us all of the weapons necessary to combat the enemy. Make us to be JUST LIKE JESUS. Amen.

Proverbs 10 12-10-19

In order to SEE from God’s perspective (wisdom), we must LOOK for God’s perspective. Is that something you want?

The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.

We tend to want God’s provision and protection but not His direction. We still want to live as we want to live. It used to be that life in America used to reflect Christian values; not so much anymore. The good side is that Christians are having to be more deliberate about their Christianity these days. As the days grow darker, we will need to be even more so. The winds of trial separate the chaff from the wheat. In other words, when Christianity no longer benefits many, they will abandon it for what does benefit them. They have missed the most important thing: Their relationship with the LORD Jesus Christ, which lets us know that there never really was one.

23 A fool finds pleasure in wicked [his own] schemes, but a person of understanding delights in wisdom.

Do we understand that our lives are not our own anymore? Do we comprehend that the Spirit of God lives in us and has, with our consent, commandeered us for His will and His glory? If so, then we will seek out God’s will, His heart, and His passion. We will work at hearing His voice and obeying His commands. We will look for His direction and then follow it.

24 What the wicked dread will overtake them; what the righteous desire will be granted [the answer in both cases is God!].

This verse is a promise for us Christians and the consequence for those who refuse to follow Christ. They will ultimately answer to God for their rebellion. We, on the other hand, will be rewarded by standing in His presence blameless, righteous, spotless and holy–made so by the blood of Jesus Christ and His indwelling presence in our lives.

It’s time to change the way we think about our lives. Paul had the right idea:

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies [when Christ returns and makes all things new]. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:18, 22-25

God has a wonderful future in store for us. We must set our hearts on what He has in the future rather than what we can get out of this world right now. Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Let’s give our mortal lives to our blessed Savior knowing that He has a much better life in store for us beyond this life. What does He want you to do? ASK HIM! He knows and has a wonderful plan.

Abba, I once again give You my life to do with as You will. I give You my health, my ministry, my marriage, my money, my material goods, my free time–everything for Your glory. May You use me to further Your kingdom in whatever manner You choose. I am Yours lock, stock and barrel. So, what shall we do today? TBC…

 

Proverbs 10 11-10-19

Christ has bought us and we are His. Our life is not our own anymore. Quit acting like it is.

5 He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Today is Sunday. What is God calling you to do? For most of us, He is calling us to meet together in His name, praise Him, and study His Word together. For some, He has different tasks (for instance, taking care of the sick). It’s all according to what He is telling each of us.

The key is to ask. But, we need to do the “leg-work” in doing so, which is grounding ourselves in His Word daily to learn His character and what He will and won’t ask us to do. There is always a right way and a wrong way to do something.

  1. The right way is the way that the Holy Spirit is leading us. We need to be tuned in to His voice so that we can hear Him clearly.  Spending every waking moment aware of His presence is how that clarity happens. It’s what Jesus was able to do and it’s what we can do, as well, because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
  2. The wrong way is to lean on our own understanding and feelings. Our understanding and feelings about a matter can change by being told a different opinion, having truth revealed to us (we may read it or someone may tell us, or we may experience it), or with how we feel physically.

Satan’s lies are prominent and prevalent. We need to seek the truth in God’s Word. Let’s do that together this morning.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
    It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
    like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
    and makes its circuit to the other;
    nothing is deprived of its warmth.

Want to see evidence of God? Look at His creation. Six days and perfection! It’s even beautiful after the Fall and the Flood, which is what we see today.

 

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
    and all of them are righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold,
    than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
    than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.

King David saw the Word of God as a way to get to know Him. WOW! Nearly everyone else sees it as a book of rules. Let’s look beyond the rules to the Ruler.

12 But who can discern their own errors?
    Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
    may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
    innocent of great transgression.

David knew that he couldn’t be “good” on his own. He needed help. He called upon the LORD to assist him in being holy and righteous. Let’s do the same.

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart

    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Abba, as we come to You today linking our lives with others who have given their lives to You, may we sense Your presence in and among us. May we treat each other as fellow children of God, fellow heirs of Your kingdom, and siblings with Jesus Christ Himself. I am honored to go to church today, LORD. Speak to my heart; teach me; allow me to be a blessing to others today. In Your name and Your power and Your presence, amen.

Proverbs 10 10-10-19

About what do you think most of the day? Turn it into a conversation with God. We will find out real quick if it’s godly or not!

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
    but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.

Integrity is who we are when no one else is around; it’s just us and the Lord. It’s supposed to be a time of fellowship with Him. Instead, our flesh rears its ugly head and demands that we “take advantage of this time to do what we want.” For instance, watching questionable movies and inappropriate things on the internet can be addictive.

How do we combat these often overwhelming feelings that draw us into sin? We turn to the Word of God. Paul gave us a mandate, we could even call it a formula, for right living:

12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

I used to think that there are three attitudes in this verse. I now see six:

Be joyful–full of His joy, which comes from our acknowledgement of His presence.

Be hopeful–full of the knowledge of what is to come and what He has promised, including strength to overcome temptation.

Be patient–willing to absorb whatever is coming our way and turning it into a blessing for us and for them (we give it to the Father and He gives it back to us as a blessing).

Be afflicted–realize that we NEED the struggle in order to know what is right and what is wrong. It’s how we become like God. It’s how He wants us to grow to be like Him. David recognized this truth: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.” “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” Psalm 119:67, 71. Isaiah did, too: 20 Although the Lord gives you [allows in our lives] the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them [adversity and affliction ARE our teachers].21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you [the Holy Spirit], saying, “This is the way; walk in it.

Faithful–trusting that God knows what He is doing by allowing such trial and tribulation in our lives. “Do you trust Me?” is the question He asks of us each day, and often several times a day.

Prayerful–staying in constant contact with our Lord. It’s what our salvation is all about!

Such a simple verse, but chocked full of meaning. May we commit it to memory and live by it daily.

Abba, I thank You for bringing this verse to my attention today. Even though I read it weekly on one of my cards and among several other verses, You emphasized it today. May I take it to heart and live by it. Teach me to be joyful, hopeful, patient in affliction, faithful, and prayerful. I want to hear Your voice behind me, even in me, directing me in the way I should go. Thank you, Lord, for living in me! Amen.

Proverbs 10 9-10-19

Planes fly in holding patterns; humans do, too. Bitterness is one of those holding patterns. It’s time to land that plane!

(12) Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers all wrongs.

Bitterness begins as righteous indignation. We have been offended! We either strike out at the person or we withdraw our fellowship from that person. A simple apology may not be enough; we want retribution! Bitterness, when fully formed, turns into hate, which leaves no room for the love of God in our hearts.

Jesus dealt with this attitude in the Sermon on the Mount. He said, (3) “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust [a person’s weakness] in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank [of self-righteousness and judgemental attitude] in your own eye? (4) How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? (5) You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5

A big problem with harboring bitterness in our hearts is that it affects those around us. We become cynical, rude, and hateful. We lose our joy and our hearts grow cold toward the Lord and others. Bitterness is also an attitude that can spread to our spouses and our children(17) Whoever heeds discipline [the Lord’s way] shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction [stubbornly refuses to let go of the root of bitterness] leads others astray. Proverbs 10:17

Children see through us because they live with us and know us–sometimes better than we know ourselves. They watch to see if our words match our actions, our faith matches our preaching, and if our walk matches our talk. They may even reject our faith because they do not see us living what we say we believe. They conclude that it must not be real. We MUST deal with our bitterness and hatefulness, people!

God is very clear about what to do with bitterness:

(30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (31) Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (32) Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:30-32

It really comes down to trust: Do we trust the Lord enough to know that He will take care of the situation? Do we allow the situation to drive us to His throne for comfort and fellowship with Him? Instead of staring at a person’s wrong, do we lift our heads to gaze at His face? Only HE can give us the strength and courage–and even the desire–to forgive. Pray for compassion. We are most like Jesus when we are compassionate.

(36) When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd [and these were the people who would eventually kill Him]. Matthew 9:36

We don’t get a “by” on this one, but we do get a second chance. All we have to do is turn to the Father and say something like, “Lord, I give you this situation. It wasn’t fair, nor was it right, but I am letting go of it and handing it to You. Give me love and compassion in the place of bitterness and hurt. I know it may take a while for me to feel the change; it is enough to know that You are working in me to effect that change. Thank You for Your love for me and Your patience with me. Amen.” Just know that you may have to pray this prayer each day for a year!

If we allow our struggles to whisk us to the throne of Grace (Heb. 4:16), we have effectively transformed our potential fellowship-breakers into worship makers!

(16) Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16