Proverbs 10 10-10-21

We are to be light bearers. The best way for us to do that is to demonstrate God’s love for everyone to everyone.

1 A wise child brings joy to his father…11 the mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life…

This past week, we did a study of 2 Corinthians 5:11-21. In it, we discovered that Christ’s love compels us to be ministers of reconciliation. In order to fulfill our role, we will be looking at this amazing love that the Father has for us that is displayed in Jesus Christ. We begin, not with John 3:16, but with John 15:9,

“Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; remain in my love.

We find that the heavenly Father, the King of the universe, loves His Son. We also see that the Son loves us. Does that necessarily mean that the Father loves us as the Son does? No, unless we look back in the evening’s conversation and discover this, “It is the Father, living in me, who is doing His work [loving you]” (14:10). If we read verses 9-11, we find that Jesus was telling Philip and the guys that He and the Father are one,

Jesus replied, “Have I been with you for so long, and you have not known me, Philip? The person who has seen me has seen the Father! How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you, I do not speak on my own initiative, but the Father residing in me performs his miraculous deeds. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me, but if you do not believe me, believe because of the miraculous deeds themselves.

Just in case we missed the point, let’s look at John 10:28-30,

28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them from my Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”

When we say, “Jesus,” we are saying, “Father.” To say, “Father,” is to say, “Holy Spirit.” They are three in one. We tend to forget that point, especially concerning the cross–but, we will save that discussion for another time. Suffice it to say that Jesus is the Father extending His love to us. NOW, we can read John 3:16,

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He [loved us so much that He] gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish [be utterly destroyed by the consequences of their actions,] but have eternal life.

Want to know the real mission of Jesus here on earth? It’s in the next verse: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” Jesus’ mission was to save the world. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Ever. Not before, not during, and not after. Jesus is the exact representation of the Father (Hebrews 1:3), and we know that God is love (1 John 4:8).

If we want to know the love of the Father, we need to get to know Jesus. The Scriptures are a great place to start, but He Himself is the best place to learn about His love. Go to Him and ask Him. He will reveal the Father to us. He will give us His love.

Abba, thank You for loving me and for giving me Your love. I feel it in my heart, and I act on it every day. The assurance of Your love gives me the strength to stay on task. May I be a light/love bearer for You, O Lord. Amen.

Proverbs 10 9-10-21

Wanna know why we do things? “For the love of Christ compels us.” Is it His love for us? or, our love for Him? or, both?

22 The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, without painful toil for it [for millennia, it was believed that wealth equaled the blessing of God; we now have something that is much greater than material wealth: the indwelling of the Spirit].

God’s love for His creation, mankind, is greater than the universe. When sin separated us from Him, He had already set in motion His Plan for getting us back. We must remember that free will is paramount to Him: He wants us to love Him with no manipulation, no strong-arming, and no presets. He came to earth as Jesus to buy us back; He paid the debt that we could never pay.

There are two verses that we will look at today to confirm these truths:

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

God, not wanting any to perish, created the way for all mankind to come back to Him: The cross. When Jesus died, He took every person’s sin to the grave. Spiritually, we all died with Him. Actually, we were already dead spiritually because we did not have the Holy Spirit in us. The Spirit is life, and without Him, there is no spiritual life. But, because of Christ and His finished work on the cross, everyone who accepts Him as God and commits to serve Him as God of their lives receives the life-giving Spirit, which is Jesus Himself (1 Corinthians 15:45).

Now, to answer the question:

  1. Yes, the Spirit compels us to follow Christ in obedience. He is our driving Force now.
  2. Yes, our love for Jesus is driven by our thankfulness and gratefulness for all He has done for us.
  3. We are compelled because of our commitment to Him and because of the encouragement of the Spirit to no longer live for ourselves, but for Christ. He’s the One who died for us and was raised again.

Are you grateful? I AM! Let’s follow the Spirit’s leading and serve our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Abba, I surely am grateful for You saving my soul. I look forward to shedding this old sin-ridden body and taking up residence in my new body in my new home–Your home! I know Your kingdom is in me now, and I can hardly wait to step into Your kingdom whole and complete! May my life and my death bring glory and honor to You, O Lord. Amen.

Proverbs 10 8-10-21

The certainty of our salvation is wrapped up in our daily walk with Jesus. Want to know you’re saved? Walk with Jesus.

17 Whoever heeds discipline [stays close to the Master] shows the way to life [to others], but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once said, “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.” The apostle Peter said it like this,

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8

Joy is one of the three fruits that is bestowed upon us by the presence of Jesus in our lives. The other two are love and peace. When we acknowledge Him as being in our lives and in control of our lives, His love, JOY and peace flow from Him to and through us. How do we acknowledge the Lord?

  1. Believing- the entrusting of our lives to Him; the only way to foster such belief and trust is to know Him. How do we know God? By reading the letter He sent us: The Bible! For the younger generation, consider it a long text message. The point is that He thought enough of us to write down everything (at least, some of everything) so that we wouldn’t have to guess or take another person’s word for what He said. The only Person we trust is Jesus because Jesus’ words were/are founded in the Scriptures (Old Testament). The first Covenant corroborates Jesus’ claim as the Son of God, the Messiah.
  2. Experiencing- when we are saved, we entrust our lives to Him; by doing so, we experience Him that first time as we feel His love, JOY, and peace flowing from Him to and through us. It’s amazing! It truly is inexpressible and glorious. What often happens is that a new Christian does not sustain His relationship with Christ through Scripture reading, prayer, and Christian fellowship, and loses the feeling. Then, in a moment of conviction, turns around and faces Christ again, and, entrusting his life once again to Christ, feels that he has been born again because it feels like that first time–sometimes even stronger. Only the person knows for sure if it was a true salvation experience or simply a returning to our first love (see Revelation 2:4-5). Sometimes, Christ calls us to a higher, closer walk with Him. That, too, can be mistaken as a salvation experience. How can we tell the difference? The presence of the Holy Spirit and a changed life. Again, only the person can answer that question.
  3. The end result- This salvation is the ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He is the Spirit of Jesus Christ! Being with Him is being in heaven; the difference in how we perceive Him is the container in which we live. Now, we live in perishable, natural and weak bodies (1 Corinthians 15:42-44), and we see only a reflection (dimly) as in a mirror (1 Corinthians 13:12a) and only in part. Upon death, we will put on the imperishable and the immortal (1 Corinthians 15:53-54), and we will see Him face to face. We will know Him fully, even as we are fully known by Him (1 Corinthians 13:12b).

How do we know that we are receiving the salvation of our souls? We feel His presence as love, JOY and peace that pervades our souls! And how do we make that happen?

By trusting Jesus and reading the Bible.

Bigger than our schedules, higher than our life goals, greater than our own plans, He is our One Desire. King David said,

One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.

Psalm 27:4

Since we are His temple, all we have to do is access Him by turning around mentally and “facing” Him in our minds, by talking to Him and listening for His still, small voice, and by reading His Word and recognizing the impressions and urgings of the Holy Spirit as He helps us think like Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). If we take our Christianity and our decision to follow Christ seriously, we will follow this procedure every day until the day we die.

Abba, I reconfirm my commitment to follow You. Every morning, I trade my will for Your will, my thoughts for Your thoughts (as I read Your Word), my desires for Your desires, and my life for Your life. Use me as You see fit; I am hooked on Your JOY, Lord! Fill me up so that I overflow to others!!! Amen.

Proverbs 10 7-10-21

What we say and what we do had better line up with each other. People spot hypocrisy pretty quickly.

20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver [if their heart is right], but the heart of the wicked is of little value [regardless of what they say].

Proving the Love of Christ is of utmost importance. God calls us to show love to people, both Christians and non-Christians. We must prove that:

  1. We are followers of Christ and not just believers. The difference is whether we just intellectually believe in Him or actually entrust our lives to Him. “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder” James 2:19.
  2. The power of Christ is in us changing us into Christ-like people. The people around us must see the change in us. Forgiveness, and purity of mind and heart are what they will notice quickly.
  3. Having Jesus in our lives is more than just talk. We have to walk the walk. Be encouraged; all Christians must walk the walk, too. Let’s hold each other accountable.

Everything that happens to us has a spiritual purpose. Let’s use it to its full advantage. When people notice that we are different and ask us about it, let’s tell them that it’s Christ in us that is making the difference. If the Spirit is working in them, then they will ask more questions. If He is not, then we pray for them that He will begin soon to work in them, maybe even using our words and/or our lives to bring their hearts under conviction.

Steven Curtis Chapman sings,

You can run with the big dogs, you can fly with the eagles,
You can jump through all the hoops and climb the ladder to the top,
But, when it all comes down, you know it all comes down to the walk.

Abba, help us to walk the walk even as we talk the talk. I know it’s important for our lives to match our words. No double-standards here. Thank You for setting the example personally. By relying on Your Spirit all the time, I know we will succeed. Amen.

The Walk by Steven Curtis Chapman

Proverbs 10 6-10-21

How can a person tell if he is a Christian, which is a follower of Jesus Christ, His Spirit, and His teachings? #3

9 Whoever walks in integrity [according to God’s commands even when it’s just him and God] walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths [short cuts, hidden sins, old habits] will be found out [revealed to all].

How can we tell who the people of God are? Let’s look at it from an individual perspective. The first two points were:

  1. There was a point in time when Jesus came to you and prompted you to give Him your heart and life–and you did, holding nothing back.
  2. Your desires began to change:
    1. You desire the love, joy and peace that come from being in fellowship with Jesus;
    2. 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;
    3. 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 and spirit with everyone, and having self-control in all areas of your life.

Today, we will discuss how our habits change.

3. Your habits change. As you desire to walk with Christ and obey Him, He calls you to learn of Him. The best and most convenient way is by studying your Bible. He made sure you had a copy by speaking the words, overseeing them written down by a faithful follower, preserving those words for two millennia, having them painstakingly translated into your language, and faithfully copied and produced as the Bible you now have. Don’t take it for granted.

  • Prayer becomes vital to you. It’s a conversation that begins as you get up and continues all day until you go to sleep. Things that make you ignore the Spirit, like explicit movies, graphic video games, risqué books, and pornographic material, no longer have the hold on you they once did. You now see them as fellowship-breakers, and your communion with the Lord holds a higher value. Christ means more to you than any of these things. Being a pure and clean vessel (conduit) in order for Christ to flow through you to others becomes your highest priority. Being in constant conversation with Jesus is your new way of life.
  • We begin to desire to meet with the family of God. We meet with other Christians and share experiences, what we are learning, and talk about Him. We meet for worship, prayer, fellowship, and learning (discipleship). We read the Word together, we sing songs together, we eat together, and we pray together and for each other. This fellowship goes beyond the color of our skin, our heritage, gender, politics, preferences and social status. We become a new race (Galatians 3:28, Ephesians 2:15, 1 Peter 2:10, 9).

Habits take about three weeks to become ingrained. If this process of changing your habits seems intimidating or overwhelming, just commit for 21 days. We can endure anything for three weeks, right? Let’s read His Word every day. Jesus said, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11), and, “People don’t live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 8:3). Let’s pray by opening up that conversation first thing in the morning and not closing it until we go to sleep that night, and let’s commit to meeting with the family of God on a regular basis. It’s worth it!

Abba, may my readers come to a full and complete knowledge of what it means to walk with You daily in step with the Spirit. The fellowship we share, the insights You bring to our awareness, and the opportunities to join You where You are working are what Christianity is all about! Keep growing us, Lord. We want to be like Jesus. Amen.

Proverbs 10 5-10-21

The joy of serving Christ grows over time as we get to know Him personally. It’s the secret in the sauce.

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

This morning, Robin and I will go to a memorial service for a dear friend, Linda Free. Linda was the wife of Tommy, with whom I worked in Wichita Falls, TX. Linda had a heart as big as Texas. Her motto was, “We just need to love them where they’re at” (best southern accent). And she meant it! After many years of physical struggle, she is now whole and complete in the presence of the Lord. Her race is won and she is enjoying the fruit of a life of serving the Lord Jesus.

How much do you desire to know Jesus? Are you interested in finding out what He likes and what saddens His heart? Do you crave His presence and participation in your life? The answer to this question will tell us whether we have made Him Lord of our lives or not. Let’s take time this morning to reflect on our relationship with Christ. Do we dread spending time with Him or is it the highlight of our day? Let’s renew our relationship with Jesus today.

Abba, I want You to be my Lord and Friend. Thank You for making such a relationship possible. That You would want a personal relationship with me in the first place is amazing! May I never take You for granted. May I carry over this desire for a deeper relationship into my marriage, my relationships with my children and grandchildren, and even with my friends and prayer partners. Connect us, Lord, with Your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Proverbs 10 4-10-21

Dying to self and living for Christ is at the heart of Christianity. Why? Let’s take a look.

13 Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning…14 The wise store up knowledge…

As we continue to consider the ramifications of the New Covenant, let’s look at the roots of this “New” Covenant.

…the Lamb who was slaughtered before the world was made. Revelation 13:8

Why was Christ slaughtered as a Lamb before God made mankind? So that the law would be in place that sin would kill us. What?! Sin needed to kill us in order for Christ to raise us!

14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose on their behalf. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

God Himself told Adam and Eve what would happen if/when they sinned, “…for the day you eat of it you shall surely die [spiritually].” Genesis 2:17. This law was put in place to keep us from being eternally separated from God. Who is eternally separated from God? Satan and his followers. They cannot be saved because the law of Christ does not apply to them. They are eternally living their rebellion because outside of time, the “time” is ever-present. All of a sudden, the passage in Hebrews 3:7-19 and, specifically, verse 13 make sense:

13 But encourage one another every day, as long as it is still called “today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 

As long as we (humans) are in the timeline of life, we have the opportunity to receive the salvation of Christ. Once death happens, there is no more “time” for salvation, “And just as it is destined for people to die once, and after this comes judgment,” Hebrews 9:27.

How do we apply the knowledge that we have died with Christ? Paul tells us in Romans 6:4, “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Tomorrow, we will look more into our death and resurrection in Christ. For today, let’s contemplate God’s wondrous plan and His immense love for us and how we may live a new life in and for Him.

Abba, You are truly wonderful! Your plan has always been for us to be at Your side. Thank You for making it happen through Christ Jesus. May I never take for granted the lengths You had to go to be resident in us by way of Your Holy Spirit. May You not be just resident, but President in our lives. Amen.

Proverbs 3-10-21

A Ready Guide to Worship

11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence [it’s a heart issue].

Worship is different than praise and thanksgiving. We praise the Lord and give thanks to His holy name. Worship is a response to His Spirit speaking to us. It requires “listening ears” that we can only get when our hearts are tuned to Him. I love the first verse of Come Thou Fount, which reads, “Come, thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace.” Somewhere in a service, we need to move from talking about God to talking TO Him. When we acknowledge Him, His Spirit speaks to us in the music, the prayers, the sermon, and the invitation. It’s important for us to move from praise to worship.

Here are some guidelines for encouraging worship:

  1. Tune your heart to sing His praise. Singing our faith and our intention helps us focus on Him. I know somewhere down the line, men have gotten the idea that it’s okay for them not to sing–wrong! Tell that to King David, or Jesus. They both sang. Men, we need to model true praise and worship by singing to the Lord. Perfection is not necessary; just a willing heart.
  2. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever.” List in your mind everything that comes to mind for which you are thankful. Be sure to include His attributes and His love, His greatness and His goodness. Allow yourself to be carried along by the music and the flow of the service.
  3. Keep something handy on which to take notes during the sermon. The Lord highlights things for us; when He does, make a note. Expect God to speak to you through your pastor–whether in agreement or in rebuttal. Try to see from his perspective, which includes age, temperament, history, and education.
  4. Keep comments to others, whether by mouth or phone, to a minimum and make sure to not say anything negative about what is being said. If you have a question or disagreement, jot it down for another time. Pray about it; study on it; discuss the topic, but not the disagreement. It’s important to not defame anyone. Stay away from disparaging* and caustic** remarks. Instead, PRAY.
  5. Don’t “check out” during the invitation i.e. packing up your things getting ready to go, checking your phone for messages, etc. Instead, pray for God to move in hearts–especially yours! Now is a great time to hear from Him as we lay our hearts and lives before Him in an attitude of humility.

God is speaking to His Church. What is He saying? “He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to His church” Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22.

“Speak, LORD, Your servant is listening.” These words were spoken by Samuel the first time he heard Your voice. I am sure that he spoke them many times in his life. How can I be so sure? Because I speak them often, as well. May I never impose my will over Yours. Twice lately, I have misheard You and have been corrected and then mildly rebuked. No worries; I consider them as training. I now know better how to hear Your voice. I have learned that when there is a question, don’t go any further until I am sure of Your answer even if I miss an opportunity to do or say something. “When in doubt, don’t.” I’m learning, Lord. I’m only 60. When I’m 80, maybe You’ll call me like You did Moses. If You do, then I am sure You will equip me with everything I need to do Your will. In the meantime, keep training me, Lord. Amen.

*disparaging-tending to belittle or bring reproach upon.
**caustic-capable of burning, corroding, or destroying living tissue; severely critical or sarcastic.

Proverbs 10 2-10-21

The goal of discipleship is reproduction: The making of new disciples who will in turn make new disciples, etc.

1 A wise son brings joy to his father…
5 He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son…
8 The wise in heart accept commands…
11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life…
13 Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning…
16 The wages of the righteous is life…
20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver…
21 The lips of the righteous nourish many…
31 From the mouth of the righteous comes the fruit of wisdom…

From “The Master Plan of Evangelism” by Robert Coleman
There is no use to pray for the world. What good would it do? God already loves them and has given his Son to save them. No, there is no use to pray vaguely for the world. The world is lost and blind in sin. The only hope for the world is for men to go to them with the Gospel of salvation, and having won them to the Savior, not to leave them, but to work with them faithfully, patiently, painstakingly, until they become fruitful Christians savoring the world about them with the Redeemer’s love.
Here finally is where we must all evaluate the contribution that our life and witness is making to the supreme purpose of Him who is the Savior of the world. Are those who have followed us to Christ now leading others to him and teaching them to make disciples like ourselves? Note, it is not enough to rescue the perishing, though this is imperative; nor is it sufficient to build up newborn babies in the faith of Christ, although this too is necessary if the first fruit is to endure; in fact, it is not sufficient just to get them out winning souls, as commendable as this work may be. What really counts in the ultimate perpetuation of our work is the faithfulness with which our converts go out and make leaders out of their converts, not simply more followers. Surely we want to win our generation for Christ, and to do it now, but this is not enough. Our work is never finished until it has assured its continuation in the lives of those redeemed by the Evangel. (pages 109-110)
The test of any work of evangelism thus is not what is seen at the moment, or in the Conference Report, but in the effectiveness with which the work continues in the next generation. Similarly the criteria upon which a church should measure its success is not how many new names are added to the role nor how much the budget is increased, but rather how many Christians are actively winning souls and training them to win the multitudes. The ultimate extent of our witness is what matters, and for this reason values can only be measured by eternity.
This is the new evangelism we need. It is not better methods, but better men – men who know their Redeemer from something more than hearsay – men who see his vision and feel his passion for the world – men who are willing to be nothing in order that He might be everythingmen who want only for Christ to produce His life in and through them according to His good pleasure. This finally is the way the Master planned for his objective to be realized on the earth, and where it is carried through by his strategy, the gates of hell cannot prevail against the evangelization of the world. (pages 113-114)

This book sounds like something we need today–yet, it was written in 1963. What happened? Did we not heed the warning? How come our entire church calendar is not structured around discipleship toward evangelism and more discipleship? How well do we know our Lord? How well do we WANT TO? Are we really on board with His plan? In case we think that Jesus was introducing something new, we have these illustrations from the Old Testament:

  1. The birth of Israel through Abraham and Sarah–Each son had children, who had children, who had children, etc. until Israel was a mighty nation, so great in number that the Egyptians were threatened by them (Exodus 1:6-12).
  2. Daniel’s dream of the rock that grew into a mountain that filled the whole world (Daniel 2:35).
  3. The water coming out from under the threshold of the temple in Ezekiel’s vision that grew to be a great river that turned the salt water of the Dead Sea into fresh water (Ezekiel 47:1-12).

From Jesus Himself, we have these parables:

  1. The mustard seed (Matthew 13:31-32) that starts as the smallest of seeds, yet grows to become a tree.
  2. The yeast in the dough (Matthew 13:33) that works its way into sixty pounds of flour.

As we can see, God’s plan all along was for us to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with others. Here’s the plan:

  1. We learn- There are some great resources out there to help us learn a good strategy; the best one is the Bible!
  2. We pray- Our ongoing relationship with the Father through the Son in the Spirit is how we connect with Him; with us connected to Him, He can then use us to connect with others. He will lead us to each person to whom He wants us to share.
  3. We initiate- Whether it’s a text, a call, or a visit, we seek out that person.
  4. We share- Our story is our best evangelistic tool. They want to know what is so special about Jesus. Well, we know Him personally and enjoy His love, joy, peace, hope and grace! Now, THAT’S worth sharing!
  5. We strive- Rarely does a person respond to the Gospel the first time he hears it (the average is seven times before a decision is made). We simply continue to pray, initiate and share short examples of God’s amazing grace in our lives. God will bring the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6).

Jesus gave a parable about increasing our investments, The Bags of Gold in Matthew 25:14-30. Jesus expects obedience. When will we learn that salvation is not about us, but about His glory? Let’s make it all about Him, shall we?

Abba, You know that I am thankful for my salvation; I know that when my heart beats in sympathetic rhythm with Yours that I find myself consumed with spreading the Gospel. The question that runs through my mind constantly is, what is best going to spread the Gospel: Me going out or me training others? May You give me opportunities to train others even as I go out in Your name and Your power, under Your orders and Your protection. Let’s go, Abba! Amen.

Proverbs 10 1-10-21

Let’s let NOTHING distract us or deter us from worshiping our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, today. He is our EVERYTHING.

1 A wise child brings joy to his father…blessings crown the head of the righteous…the wages of the righteous is life…the lips of the righteous nourish many…the way of the LORD is a refuge for the blameless. vs 6, 16, 21, 29

What we are zealous about reveals who we truly worship.
Zealous– intensely devoted, eager, or enthusiastic; that which dominates our conscious thought.

Today, as we enter into our time of worship, whether at church or at home, may we consider about whom we are zealous. There are really only three choices: One is our heavenly Father, another is Satan, who is the god of this world, and the third is ourselves–which really is worshiping Satan because we live in rebellion against the heavenly Father (see Ephesians 2:1-3). Here’s what Jesus was zealous about,

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!” John 12:23, 27

Jesus was all about going to the cross for us. Why? So that He could break the power that sin and death had on our lives, so He could send His Spirit to live in our hearts, and so He could give us eternal life (beginning the moment His Spirit entered our lives). Now, tell me, are you THANKFUL?!!!

The only condition that the Holy Spirit deems worthy of entry into our lives is complete surrender and devotion. There must be a time in our lives when we pledged allegiance to our Lord and Savior, a total giving over of control of our lives to Him. For all time. There are those who trusted Christ to save them from their sins, but never gave Him their lives. It is my opinion that He is still standing at the threshold of their hearts waiting for two things: One is the deed to their lives, and the other is the Master key to every room in their hearts. What we are talking about is fealty, which is an old English term for the pledge of the people to their king. Everything about their lives was then controlled by him and dedicated to his service.

If every person who went to church (or watched online) were a Christian (a close follower of Christ, a true disciple), then why is the percentage of them who read their Bibles at least four times a week only 3%?

3% said they read the Bible four or more times a week,
10% said they read it “several times,”
and 9% said they read it once a week.

2020 State of the Bible

Is the Bible not our instruction manual for godly living? Is it not the source of who God is, His plan for humanity, and the account of our salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ? If we think we can please God without reading His Word, then we are confused and deceived or downright rebellious. God thought enough of us and His Plan to write it down for us to have in black and white. We don’t have to take anyone’s word for it; it’s there for us to read for ourselves! Not only that,

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword [a scalpel], it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

As we enter into our worship time today, let’s consider how God instructs us to come before Him:

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
    let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    the flock under his care.
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7

Abba, as I stand before my congregation, may I be the Lead Worshiper rather than the Worship Leader. May I be the first to come to You in humility recognizing who You are and the high honor we have to even come before You! May I lead the people in praise, in testimony, and in prayer, O LORD, as we pledge ourselves to You and renew our devotion to You. May Your Holy Spirit bind our hearts together; may He speak to each of us encouraging us, consoling us, and urging us to stay in Your presence all week long, listening to Your voice, and following Your commands. We are Yours, heavenly Father. We follow You, Lord Jesus. We comply with Your prompting, Holy Spirit. We worship You in the splendor of Your holiness (Psalm 96:9). Amen.

Proverbs 10 12-10-20

The point of Christmas is the Coming of God to earth in human form, the form of a baby. What was the point of His Coming?

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

Hallmark Movies hit all around the true message of Christmas–even portraying the manger scene with shepherds and wisemen–but leave out the real reason for gift-giving. The reason gifts are given at Christmas is to honor the Gift given to us that Christmas day, which was “a Savior who is Christ [Messiah] the Lord.” Jesus’ Mission–His subsequent life, ministry, death, burial, resurrection and ascension–is the point of His coming. The Gift He brings to us is the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

For us non-Jews, it is difficult to understand the importance of the sacrifice made by Christ the WAY Christ made it. Suffice it to say that it was important for Christ to die a certain way, at a certain time, and in a certain sequence. Let’s get a general view from Peter in his first sermon:

22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” Acts 2:22-24

What we see here is the PLAN of God for Christ to die for the sins of the world. What ELSE we see here is Jesus defeating death for us. That’s HUGE! What else did Peter say?

32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

There were many witnesses to the resurrected Christ. They saw Him ascend to heaven where He is seated at the right hand of God, and He has sent the promised Holy Spirit (see Ezekiel 36:26-27, and Joel 2:28-29). What does this testimony mean to both Jews and non-Jews? Peter tells us:

36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

Jesus fills the offices of both Priest and King. He is our Priest who presented Himself as the Sacrifice for us, and He is our King because we have received Him as such. We have the kingdom of God in our hearts through His Holy Spirit, of which Jesus is Supreme Ruler.

Let’s spread the Good News of His wonderful Gift this Christmas when we give gifts to others. Consider printing, reading, or saying,

“I present you with this gift to remind us of the amazing gift
that God gave us through Jesus Christ, the gift of eternal life in Him.”

Peter finishes his sermon with a call to repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38-39). May we have opportunities to give the same call to our loved ones and other people in our lives.

Abba, may we make Christmas about You and the Gift You gave us in Jesus. May Your Spirit convict of sin, which brings repentance, and inspire many to give their lives to You. Amen.

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!
I will pour out my thoughts [and heart] to you,
    I will make known to you my teachin
. 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.

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!


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.


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