Proverbs 11 8-11-20

The trouble with American life is that there are few apparent consequences–in fact, there are just the opposite!

4 Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from [the second] death.
“The one who is victorious [over the cares of this world] will not be hurt at all by the second death.” Revelation 2:11b
7 When a wicked man perishes, his hopes die with him; all the promise of his power [by the devil] comes to nothing.

We are an “instant gratification” society. We want what we want–NOW! Tim Hawkins makes fun of “Taco Express” (approximation): “Like, it’s not fast-enough food? What are they going to do? Shoot it out of a cannon as you drive by?” Many times we don’t see what our choices are doing to us on a comprehensive basis. Each bad decision adds to other bad decisions and will cause us to drift off-course. Here are a few that we don’t see coming:

  • If we don’t tithe, we get to use the extra money to buy something we want. What we don’t see is the gradual inward-turning that our souls do to the point where we become very self-centered. We may even “forget” God (see Proverbs 30:7-9 for a great prayer to pray).
  • If we refuse to say anything about our values, we get to be a part of whatever group interests us. What we don’t see is that we become the company we keep. “Don’t be misled: Bad company corrupts good moral character” 1 Corinthians 15:33. Proverbs 13:20 tells us, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” 
  • If we don’t share our faith, then we are not criticized, ostracized, or persecuted. What we don’t see is that if we don’t acknowledge Jesus to others, then He will not acknowledge us before the Father. IT’S A BIG DEAL! “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns [does not acknowledge] me before others, I will disown [acknowledge] before my Father in heaven. Matthew 10:32-33 Also, we miss the blessing of being useful to Jesus in reaching others for Him. Each grain of salt (a comment, an explanation, even a stance) makes a difference when the Holy Spirit uses it to bring conviction in someone’s life.
  • If we don’t go to church, we can claim any excuse we like and no one can disprove it–especially with online services! What we don’t see is that it’s not about pleasing others or even looking good in their eyes. It’s about pleasing the Father, and He sees the heart!

The real issue is with our relationship with Jesus. He went through so much so that He could be with us and in us. Yet, we treat this miracle, this mighty act of salvation, with disdain and contempt. Do we forget how much it cost Him?!

Let’s not worry about what it will cost us. Even though we may not see the results–and even blessings–of our faith in this life, we trust Christ’s promise that we will receive:

  1. A crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8)
  2. A hundred times as much of whatever we lost (Matthew 19:29)
  3. Eternal life! (Matthew 19:29 again)

Do you believe what He said? Then act on it!

Abba, I call all readers today to take You seriously. You paid a heavy price for our freedom and I KNOW You don’t want us walking back into the very “tar pits of sin” from which You saved us. May we take seriously our commitment that we made when we trusted You for salvation and the calling You now have on our lives. We are Your humble servants. May we start acting like we are Yours. (dare I say amen?)

Proverbs 7-11-20

So, when are you going to surrender your all to Jesus? Is there anything to which you are hanging on? Give it up!

2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Humility- not proud or arrogant; modest: modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance, rank, etc.

When I went to Dictionary.com to look up the definition of Humility, the Word of the Day was “Ductile.” It seemed quite appropriate:

Ductile- capable of being molded or shaped.

That’s what happens to us when we enter Christ’s army. The first thing that happens to us is we go to Bootcamp. Among other things that happen there, we run the obstacle course. This course is designed to condition us, strengthen us, and teach us how to overcome obstacles in our lives. It is designed for us and it is NEVER one that we run by ourselves: Jesus runs it with us! Today, we look at Jesus as the Good Drill Sergeant. He is our Encourager, our Counselor, and our Commander all at the same time. Oh, and we run it more than just once. We will run it many times. In fact, there are many courses that we will run in our lives; all of them more than once.

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

If you’ve ever been in the military, this illustration may have both good and bad memories attached to it. Sorry. But, it is a good illustration for the training that we receive as His good soldiers:

Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 2 Timothy 2:3-4

The key is in the phrase, “tries to please.” It’s our desire, and we make every effort to please Him. When Paul wrote to Titus, he talked about Jesus redeeming us from all wickedness and purifying for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good (Titus 2:14). We, as followers of Christ, should be eager to do what our Commander desires. We want to please Him by doing what He commands. He came to live inside of us via the Holy Spirit to give us both the desire and the power to do His will (Philippians 2:13).

The question is, do you desire to please Jesus? Is it your first and last goal everyday? If not, then we should “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). If we consider ourselves as enemies of the cross (Ephesians 2:1-3), then to come to Christ is to surrender to Him–and actually switch sides! We die to ourselves and are raised as new creations in Christ. Our desires change; our habits WILL change. Our reward changes, as well. We have this promise from Peter:

10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things [daily], you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:10-11

There is one more verse in Proverbs 11 that I want for us to view:

5 The righteousness of the blameless makes their paths straight, but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness.

  1. The righteousness- The conditioning we receive is called righteousness. It is both imparted to us by Jesus and it is developed in us by the Holy Spirit. We are promised completion in the course upon death when we are made complete and whole in Christ!
  2. The blameless- It means, “without fault.” Jesus took all of our faults and our guilt with Him to the cross and to death. He now looks at us as faultless and blameless, spotless and perfect, whole and complete. He sees us as we are in Him and as we will be when we see Him in person.
  3. Straight paths- Following Jesus doesn’t mean that the path is straight, but plain and traversable. He would never ask us to do anything that wouldn’t please Him and that He didn’t empower us to do. Think of the path more as “straight ahead.” If we are following Jesus, then the path is always straight ahead of us.
  4. The wicked- Those who follow their own paths. They have not surrendered to Christ; they have not raised the white flag and thrown down their pride. Jesus is NOT their LORD.
  5. Brought down by their own wickedness- Knowing that sin destroys us, in not following Jesus they are walking off the cliff’s edge or walking into quicksand, all traps of Satan. They are self-destructing!

Let’s surrender all to Christ today. Let’s breathe in the Spirit and breathe out the flesh; let’s turn our eyes upon Jesus and away from anything else; let’s surrender our lives and will to Him as we raise the white flag and throw down our pride. Let us “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance [endurance] the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:1b-2a)

Abba, may I be first to raise my white flag and throw down my pride. May I fix my eyes on You and follow You on the straight path, the one straight ahead of me. May I run the obstacle courses of life WITH YOU and learn all I can each time I run them. Teach me everything I need to know for godly living. I am hungry for it–I am DESPERATE for it! Bring it on, amen.

Proverbs 11 6-11-20

Have you ever thought about our motivation behind going to church on Sundays? Why do you go to church?

1 The LORD detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with him.

To be honest, most of us go to church because our parents raised us that way. It feels unnatural–or, at least, a little bit wrong–not to go. At the same time, we may be giving two different signals to the LORD: Going out of duty vs. going out of grateful obedience. Let’s do a little self-analysis and see with what we come up.

Let’s establish a baseline. God commanded the Israelites to go to church. Their church was at the temple, and the men were required to attend three times a year. They had an alternate place of worship in Northern Israel for those who had to travel from the far northern part of Israel, but all men were required to do it. The women and children we encouraged to attend with them. Then, there was the weekly worship at the synagogue.

For those living in Jerusalem, they could go to “church” twice a day for the morning and evening sacrifices. King David made a big deal about going up to worship at the temple as we learn in Psalm 100:

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
 his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Jesus shared this passion for worship. He, too, went to the feasts in Jerusalem, and He entered the synagogue in whatever town He was each Sabbath to worship and teach:
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. Luke 4:16

Jesus taught His disciples to do the same, but they changed the day of worship to the first day of the week in honor of His resurrection. Not only that, they met each day for a while:

46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,  47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47

God wants us to meet together, as well. He said as much through the writer of Hebrews:
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25

So, why do we go to church?

  1. Because Jesus commanded us to go. We obey out of gratitude!
  2. Because we as individuals are part of the Bride of Christ. He wants to spend time with His Bride collectively.
  3. He has much in store for us:
    1. Perspective through worship
    2. Fellowship with and encouragement from other believers
    3. Haverim (the sharing of ideas from a biblical perspective)
    4. Teaching from the LORD through others
    5. Ministry (learning to look outside of ourselves)
  4. Together, we are Christ to the world.

What should we pray for as we go?

  1. That we have the right heart attitude as we engage the community of brothers and sisters in Christ.
  2. That we go expecting God to speak to us sometime while we are there.
  3. That we bless the LORD in word and song. The routine, the music, and the hearing of the public reading of the Word minister to us more than we know.
  4. That God would move in a mighty way; that His power would be displayed through the salvation of souls; that we would be touched by His Spirit; that people would turn away from sin and turn to Christ (both the lost and the saved), but we must be ready for Him to start with us.

If you are going to church and sitting/standing back and being passive, then you are missing out on why we have church. God ordained this! Do we really think we know better than God? or, that there are better places to be right then? If we want to hear from God (individually and collectively), then we must give Him plenty of opportunities, and we must seek Him where He calls us to be.

There are some who CANNOT go to church right now. I’ll bet that they WANT TO go! We look forward to the day that they get to come back. The rest of us ought to take advantage of getting together–who knows what the future holds?

“Lord, send a revival, and let it begin in me.”

Abba, You know I haven’t always wanted to go to church. But, I have learned through the years that if I want to be regularly obedient to You, then I will go. Thank You for all the times You have spoken to me in services at Falls Creek, my home church at Calvary in Durant, at FBC, Shawnee, while in school, and then at all the churches in which I have served. Now, O LORD, speak to me once again here at Brookwood. Move mightily among our folks. Bring revival to Your church! And let it begin in me. Amen.

Proverbs 11 5-11-20

We were created for something new. God doesn’t want clones; He wants new creations! But He wants us willing.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
    but with humility comes wisdom.

Clay in the hands of the Potter is a beautiful illustration of us in the hands of God Jeremiah 18:1-6. If the clay is stiff or has lumps, it has to be reworked, adding and removing whatever is needed. The goal is to create something new, something useful, something beautiful. Our lives are like that, too.

We are designed to be molded and shaped, but not by ourselves. Clay that refuses to be shaped remains a clump of clay. It misses out on its destiny, of what it could become. When we acknowledge our spiritual state (empty without the filling of the Spirit) and our complete dependence on Him, God begins to work with us to be conformed to the image of His Son, which is the “radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being (Hebrews 1:3).” But, it’s more than being made to look like Jesus. It’s the synthesis of the two, the fusion of God and each of us that is unique. It’s the making of new creations!

Musicians are my best example of what I’m talking about. When they sit down for a jam session (a time when they either play through known music together or make it up as they go), they add their offerings to the pot and let it simmer. The fellowship shared and the music that is made is unique and satisfying in a way that is addictive.

Likewise, when a songwriter writes a Christian song, he collaborates with the Spirit to create something that honors God. It may be written to share with no one but God and him (or her), a certain person for whom the song is written, or for public use. It may be a one-time song or one that spans the ages, like Great Is Thy Faithfulness or Amazing Grace. I have lots of songs that no one will ever hear. They were written as one-time expressions of my love for God. I have several that I use in my personal worship time. Will I ever use them publicly? Maybe. It depends upon the Lord’s leadership. Whatever He says, goes.

The point is that the synthesis of our collaboration creates something that is special between Him and me, and works on all levels of my life. When I turn my attention to Him and praise Him, His Spirit interacts with mine to pray prayers that I could never pray on my own, yet they are special because He is working with my prayers. We read about it in Romans 8:26-27,

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness [our inability to please God on our own and in our own effort]. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

He and I are creating something new, a gift of praise for my God and King. Your prayers work like that, too. And, when we get together and pray, the gift intensifies and multiplies on an exponential level! THIS is the reason for us to meet and pray!!!

Your efforts to honor Him with your life in work, in relationships, and in your time with the Lord are unique and special. They bless God in a way that no other person on earth can do! YOU are that special to him!!! We partner with God to create new “persons,” ones that are made in the image of God, but new and unique–like child are of their parents! It is also why every life is sacred. Even life in a nursing home can be part of the process. God isn’t done with us until He calls us home.

The key to this kind of fellowship and interaction with God is humility. We must give up trying to do things by ourselves. We are made to interact with God in everything. The strength of our connection with Him is determined by our humility, much like an internet connection. We need the Spirit of Jesus in us because we need His cooperation to do anything that pleases Him, and He needs our cooperation for Him to make something beautiful out of our lives.

My favorite daily passage is Psalm 73:21-26. Why?

  • Because it tells me who I am without Him.
  • His presence in my life is profound and appreciated.
  • His personal touch blesses me.
  • His counsel is my daily bread,
  • And His promise to take me to be with Him is the source of my joy and strength to face today and tomorrow.

Oh, Abba, whom have I in heaven besides You? And this earthly life has nothing I desire besides You. My heart and my flesh fail on my own, but You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever. You give me what I need to carry on, all the while being transformed into Your likeness. You are working with me to create something new and beautiful! Right now, I feel like a caterpillar; I can hardly wait to become a butterfly!!! Unique, but alike. That is how we are, isn’t it, LORD? “Have thine own way, Lord, have thine own way; You are the Potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after Thy will while I am waiting, yielded and still.” Amen.

Proverbs 11 4-11-20

God wants our hearts, our minds, our attention and focus. Are you giving Him yours daily? Continuously? or “religiously?”

20 The Lord detests those whose hearts are perverse,
    but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.

He continues with an explanation:

21 Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished,
    but those who are righteous will go free.

He explains with an example:

22 Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
    is [even] a beautiful woman who shows no discretion [God’s view of someone who disregards godliness].

He shows the intent of the heart:

23 The desire of the righteous ends only in good,
    but the hope of the wicked only in wrath.

NOTE: The key to today’s lesson is in clicking on the corresponding links to the Scriptures.

Concerning Easter, we are on the second day of Jesus’ death. It is a regular Sabbath whereas yesterday was the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which was a High Sabbath. That feast will continue for seven days, with the Feast of First Fruits happening on the first day of the week after the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Tomorrow is Sunday, the first day of the week, and is the day that Jesus rose from the dead becoming the First-fruits of all who rise from the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:20-23

Jesus is all about hope and desire. He wants us to have our hope in Him as our Savior and LORD and desire Him as our Friend and Confidante. Is that for what you signed up? Or did you only want the first half: Salvation and the remission of sins, but not the Lordship part? Today is the day to mull that question over and come back to God with an answer because tomorrow we celebrate our Risen Lord and I wouldn’t want you offering the wrong sacrifice, one of a perverse heart rather than a blameless one.

“Christ is either Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all.”

– Hudson Taylor

Have you ever wondered what the disciples were thinking all throughout this day? Or, were they just hurting? I’m guessing that they were fearful, despondent, and maybe even angry. I wonder when they began to remember all that Jesus had told them. The women remembered when the angel told them that Jesus had risen Luke 24:6-8 ; the two disciples on the road to Emmaus didn’t remember until their eyes were opened to Jesus  Luke 24:31-32 ; it is likely that the rest of the disciples didn’t remember until Jesus opened their minds, as well  Luke 24:44-46 .

We can have our minds opened, too, if we read His Word and allow Him to wash our minds  Ephesians 5:26 , transform our minds Romans 12:2 and renew our minds Ephesians 4:23. Are you ready? Me, too!

Abba, may You renew my mind even as I read Your Word and write about it. May You open our minds and hearts to Your words, Your will, and Your plans. You went to a LOT of trouble just to be in us, to be with us. May we never take it for granted! I love You; make Yourself known to me today as I ponder Your sacrifice Ephesians 5:2 . Amen.

Proverbs 11 3-11-20

There’s more to obedience than just obedience. What we don’t realize is that God wants us to succeed. LISTEN TO HIM!

20 The LORD detests those whose hearts are perverse, but He delights in those whose ways are blameless.

In the Army, when a soldier is told to do something, who takes responsibility for the soldier’s actions? His commanding officer. In the LORD’s army, it works the same way. When we are obedient, we fall under His responsibility and His command. We are BLAMELESS. In other words, no blame can be attached to us because we were simply obeying orders.

Let me “introduce” you to one of my favorite Scriptures:

24 To him who is able to keep you from [falling and] stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence blameless and with great joy— 

  1. JESUS is able to keep us from falling–and even from stumbling–when we obey Him.
  2. Regardless, He will present us before His Father’s glorious presence as perfect in Him. Hebrews 10:14 tells us, “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”
  3. With great joy…WOW! How great? Triumphant joy, exultant joy, unspeakable, ecstatic delight (from the Amplified Version)!

12:00 is when the big hand and the little hand are on the 12. Anything else is NOT 12:00. It is a perversion of 12:00. When it comes to our holiness, we are perfect in Christ, therefore we are 12:00. THIS IS OUR POSITION IN CHRIST and will be how we are presented to the Father.

Our relationship with the Son through the Spirit is basically about learning to be perfect [hitting the mark] by being blameless (obedient). MAJOR emphasis on “learning.” It’s a process–even though we are guaranteed to be presented to the Father as perfect in Christ. His blood “speaks” for us:

24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede [speak] for them [through His sacrifice on the cross]. Hebrews 10:24-25

Let’s quit allowing our lives to be run by our emotions and what we WANT to do (emotions again). Let’s die to ourselves and allow Christ to live through us. In other words, let’s listen to Him and do exactly what He tells us to do–or not do. He has our BEST interests at heart; He loves us! Let’s start by reading His Word and listening for His voice in the words. We won’t be disappointed!

Abba, I am learning so much as I read through the Bible chronologically. It seems to come alive as I read about David and his life on the run from Saul. I can hardly wait to hear David himself tell it! It will also be gratifying to hear Saul say that he learned to not fear the future. There will be SO MUCH to do and SO MANY people to talk to in heaven, and if not in heaven, then in Jerusalem when Christ returns. Will it be soon, Jesus? Even so, come, LORD Jesus! Amen.

Proverbs 11 2-11-20

Why would we pledge our heart and life to the LORD and then live for ourselves? That’s the worst kind of double standard.

We find that Solomon knew about double standards. He wound up reaping what he sowed by the kingdom being divided because of his waywardness, which was passed down to his son, and seemed to hit every other generation for centuries. Solomon preached against double standards; I just wish that he had practiced what he preached.

1 The Lord detests dishonest scales,
    but accurate weights find favor with him.

The integrity of the upright guides them,
    but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.

Many times, God doesn’t have to lift a finger for a duplicitous person to destroy himself; evil people are destroyed by evil. It’s what sin does to us. Jesus said, “The thief [sin] comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.” John 10:10. The destructiveness of sin is why God hates it so much.

What IS sin? It is arrogance that reveals itself in rebellion that displays itself in disobedience that reaps destruction.

ARROGANCE –> REBELLION –> DISOBEDIENCE–> DESTRUCTION

Here are some more verses that pertain to the fate of those who deal in double standards:

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

From today’s chapter:

The righteousness of the blameless makes their paths straight,
    but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness [the fruit of their own schemes].

The righteousness of the upright delivers them,
    but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires [we can’t seem to get away from them].

20 The Lord detests those whose hearts are perverse [strong word of warning],
    but he delights in those whose ways are blameless [strong word of blessing].

By the way, “blameless” is how we are when we are subject to the LORD’s commands and leadership. When He tells us to do something, we stand blameless for the results; HE takes all responsibility and credit for our actions. It’s how things are supposed to work.

Today, may we listen, “bow our heart’s knee”, and obey the LORD’s commands. May we love as He loves, care as He cares, and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to all who will listen–as He leads. Let’s be looking for opportunities so that He doesn’t have to use something major to get our attention…!

Abba, may You reveal in my life any double standards I have. I want to be righteous and holy, so please turn up the heat on my kettle so that I may shine as silver purified seven times, as gold refined in the fire. I know that revival starts in MY heart, so, “Lord, send a revival and let it begin in me.” Amen.

Proverbs 11 1-11-20

Is what God says in His Word important to you? Is He your chief source, or do you have others that weigh in as heavily?

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

As you read Proverbs 11 this morning, consider the word “righteousness” to stand for truth according to God’s Word concerning Creation. Conversely, think of the word “wickedness” and its corresponding descriptors to stand for those who believe in Evolution.

Let’s define “evolution.” Evolution can stand for Darwinian Evolution or Neo-Darwinian Evolution. Both tout macro-evolution (complex life from simple life) as the origin of life and leaves no room for any kind of intelligent design. Life happened and continues by chance.

There is such a thing as micro-evolution, which is usually referred to as adaptation within a species. In other words, everything that “evolves” was already latent in the genes of the species. God made them adaptable.

There are two verses that particularly stand out to me:

19 Truly the righteous [those who strive to for righteousness] attain life, but whoever pursues evil finds death.

27 Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it.

Here is what I see: It’s not enough to just avoid evil. We must seek righteousness, searching for it as we would mining for gold. We must dig for it, haul it out of the mine of our minds and process it. With gold, it would be cleaned up, melted down and purified, and then shaped into whatever form the Maker has in mind. With righteousness, it would be dug out of Scripture, pondered, and laid at the feet of Jesus; He would then help us apply it to our lives.

If I were asked why I believe that Evolution is a deception of Satan and why I believe in Creation, I would answer (in order of least to greatest):

  1. The odds of life coming from nothing are too great for it to be true. It would take more faith to believe in life from non-life than to believe in Creation.
  2. Intelligent Design leads to a Designer: God. More specifically, Jesus, through Whom all things were made and are held together (Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:2-3). Irreducible complexity is one of the ways we see the I.D. of God.
  3. The Spirit of God came to me and opened my mind to His world, confirming His creation of it. He and I have an ongoing relationship in which He reveals new truths about this world, Himself, Heaven and eternity.

If you are wondering, “What’s the big deal? Can’t a person believe whatever he wants to believe?” You would be right. The problem is that Evolution is not just being believed. It is being taught–more than that, it is being forced upon many unsuspecting souls. We might as well call it the Gospel of Evolution. We must know what we believe and WHY so that when the opportunity arises, we can intelligently give an answer for the hope we have in Christ. Consider these two verses:

24 The path of life leads upward for the wise to keep them from going down to the grave. Proverbs 15:24 We are moving either up or down. Let’s keep moving UP!

15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:15-16

Let’s prepare ourselves both in knowledge and in response concerning this matter. IT’S IMPORTANT for the sake of our generation, the next generation, and future generations.

Abba, Your Word is truth. I learned that straight from Jesus (John 17:17). You said You created everything and I believe it. It is settled in my mind. From this point on, I am simply discovering how You did it. It is for Your glory to reveal concealed knowledge (Prov. 25:2). As I learn new facts and discover new truths, may I glorify You and praise Your name; may I teach others these new facts and truths so that they may praise Your name and glorify You, as well. The saga continues–for a while. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Amen.

 

Proverbs 11 12-11-

What legacy do we want to leave? Are we heroes of the faith? Let’s be remembered for our faith, courage, and love for Jesus.

24 One person gives freely, yet gains even more;
    another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.

25 A generous person will prosper;
    whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

 

If we were to act on these verses, what would it look like? It would look like we were “testing God” to a certain extent. And, you know what: It would be true! Yet, here is what God says to us about our faith:

38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

How about this verse:

10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. Luke 16:10.

Ah, but there’s a catch:

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48b

We in America have been given great wealth. All we need to do is study history and we will see that our generation is the wealthiest in America’s history. If we look at the other countries of the world, we will see that we as a people are far wealthier than 90% of the population. Yet, the people around us are starving for spiritual food. They are being fed “food” that is NOT nutritious for their spirits:

  • Our phones in and of themselves are not bad, but the time we waste on them is;
  • We are, generally speaking, dependent upon expressing our opinion;
  • Likewise, we are hooked on TV in that we watch more television than we do reading;
  • Our food has been tainted by the food industry: we are hooked on flavor instead of nutrition, convenience rather than responsibly cooking it ourselves;
  • Even though we have more free time than any generation before us, we are overweight and use our time frivolously.

What does Jesus want from us as a generation? Let’s look at God’s Word and see:

He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Luke 10:2

If we are to enter the harvest, what shall we face? What does that field look like?

  1. It’s a spiritual battle. Evil is invading every area of society.
  2. We will lose this world. It’s a given. Look at 2 Peter 3:10. Instead, “we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” v.13
  3. The battle will grow intense as the Day of Christ’s return draws near. To the seven churches in Revelation 2-3, Jesus said, “To the one who is victorious…” 2:7, 11,17, 26, 3:5, 12, 21. We must stand firm.

We have this promise:

58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58

What more could we ask? Let’s be about the Father’s business. There are people to reach for Christ, so let’s use every available asset to reach them!

Abba, I include myself in this exhortation. I want to “go out in a blaze of glory,” one that honors You and brings many to Christ–or, at least, witnesses to them. Their decision is their own. My responsibility, my desire, is to exalt You in all I do. Use me, LORD Jesus, to be a prayer warrior for the lost, including Israel and the Muslim countries, and to be an ambassador to all around me. Amen.

 

Proverbs 11 11-11-19

What is your perspective? Are you looking forward to spending the day with the Father?He is with you.

5 The righteousness of the blameless makes their paths straight, but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness.

Our righteousness is in Christ. He gives us His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). His Spirit in us makes us blameless; all our sins have been washed away by the blood of Jesus. Because of the atoning action of His blood, we are constantly cleansed until the day when we step out of these bodies into new and glorious ones that no longer have the sin nature in them! This next verse tells us to what we have to look forward:

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

Not only are we kept from falling, we have been given any and every spiritual gift (as we need them):

Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:7-9

“Fellowship with His Son” is key. It is the entire point of salvation–it IS salvation! If we are not interested in fellowshipping with the Son, Jesus Christ, who lives in us by the Person of “Mr.” Holy Spirit, then we have missed the whole point of salvation. Heaven is all about Him! If we don’t want any part of Him now, what makes us think that we will be happy in heaven when EVERYTHING there is about HIM?

What we are talking about here is abiding. We are to abide in Christ. Abiding is all about making our relationship with Christ permanent. It means “to remain, to live.” Our lives are to be all about Christ. His Spirit even gives us the want-to to want to! Let’s not let how we feel today give the devil a foothold; let’s not give him an inch of ground by committing ourselves to Christ today, studying His Word, and “setting our face like flint” to converse with Him all day, doing as He says and following where He leads (Isaiah 50:7).

26 I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you astray. 27 But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ. 1 John 2:26-27

Let’s remain in fellowship with Christ today. He will teach us everything we need to know and will equip us with everything we need. Is it a battle? Yes. Will it be easy? No. But, it will certainly be worth it!

Abba, You have promised us so much: Your presence, Your participation, Your protection, Your provision, and so much more! Help me to stay connected to the Vine, which is you, O Lord. May I fellowship with You all day today as we walk through life together–to the real life You have waiting for me by Your side in Heaven. Thank You for Robin, in whom I see much of You. Help us to finish well. We love You, Lord. Amen.

 

Proverbs 11 10-11-19

Making our lives all about Christ–is that your goal? The Spirit within us urges us to make life all about Him.

The righteousness of the upright will direct his way, but the wicked will fall by his own wickedness. The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but transgressors will be taken by their schemes.

What we chronically forget is that we don’t live in a vacuum. Our position is not clinical. We have the Lord drawing us on one side and the devil pulling us on the other. Our own sin nature tends to lean toward the devil’s side while our new nature, Christ in us, counsels us to imitate Jesus.

I see two outcomes:

  1. If we succumb to evil and our own nature, then we must live with the consequences either in this live or the next–or both.
  2. If we answer the call of the Spirit within us, then we reap the benefits and fruit of righteousness. We become a little bit more like Him. We experience His love, His joy, His peace; we gain patience, kindness, goodness, and we become faithful and gentle, even as we increase in self-control. We learn truth and practice righteousness.

Paul expressed this process in this way:

21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

Randy Lind, our state Music Director, shared the anecdote about texting the song, “I Love to Tell the Story,” and his predictive text changing it to “I Live to Tell the Story.” He looked down and realized that the predictive text version was more accurate than the real title!

We must ask ourselves this question, “Is my goal to please myself or to please my Lord?” This question plays a part in every decision we make. If we have truly given our heart and life to Jesus, then we want what He wants. If we are still resistant to the Spirit and what Jesus wants, we need to take the test in 2 Corinthians:

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 who are in Christ:

  1. Are sanctified by Him. John 17:19
  2. Are being conformed into His image. Romans 8:29
  3. Are being transformed into His likeness. 2 Corinthians 3:18
  4. Are being renewed inwardly day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16
  5. Are having Christ formed in us. Galatians 4:19
  6. Are being renewed in the image of our Creator. Colossians 3:10
  7. Are being strengthened by His power through His Spirit in our inner being. Ephesians 3:16
  8. Are having our needs met according to God’s glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
  9. Participate in the divine nature by living according to His very great and precious promises, thus escaping the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1:3-4
  10. Have the glorious riches of the mystery of Christ in us so that through us He might make this mystery known to the world. Colossians 1:27

NOTE: If you don’t have these verses highlighted and linked, it would be a good thing to do.

Abba, You have invested so much in me. I want to give back to You all I can. Even THAT takes You working in and through me! Have Your way in me, O Lord. I want all to know that Christ lives in me! Amen.

Proverbs 11 9-11-19

Today is 9/11. We remember that tragic day when we saw the extent of evil in this world. Were it not for the Spirit, where would we be?

(18) A wicked person earns deceptive wages, but the one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.

We have a fight inside of us. Were the Holy Spirit not present in our lives, there would be no fight. We would be easily won over to a cause, to temptation, to seduction, and would be easy prey for the Enemy (Satan). Anything we could justify we would do with no guilt–on the contrary, we would feel satisfaction! Proverbs 15:21 tells us that “folly delights a person who has no sense [Holy Spirit].” 

But, we DO have the Holy Spirit, therefore we struggle each day to overcome our base desires and to do what pleases Him. Knowing that I am already pleasing to Him positionally helps, but it doesn’t erase the heaviness I feel when I have to fight so hard–and often lose–to submit my fleshly desires to the Spirit. I want what I want! But, more than I want what I want, I have a higher desire, which is to please the Lord Jesus. Therefore, I work really hard to “put to death” my natural desires and lean on Him. It’s one of the times that I feel closest to Him. He shares my struggle.

Verses that support this process:

14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do [even while loving it].16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me [he is not saved at this point], that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing [even when he tries to do good, he can’t sustain it].20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it [we are all slaves to sin].

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me [his own base desires–his flesh], waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

To a certain extent, we still live here. As long as we are in these “old covenant” bodies, we will fight the natural desires of this flesh. But, look at what Jesus has done for us:

8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 7:14-8:2

In the Greek, this phrase reads, “Therefore, NO CONDEMNATION!!! for those who are in Christ Jesus!” This is the part we live by faith: to receive according to His word that we are pleasing to Him.

As for Him sharing my struggle,

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Dear Lord Jesus, may I take advantage of Your grace and humbly submit myself to You today. My hope is that by staying in Your presence, I would have Your perspective of sin and temptation and be able to resist it. May I not turn my back on You in order to sin, O Lord! In so many ways, I am still like a 2-year-old spiritually. Grow me up, Lord. Give me wisdom so that I CAN see from Your perspective, but I will need Your strength and Your power in order to actually overcome sin and temptation in my life. I can NEVER do it on my own. Fill me up, Lord, with Your Presence. I will certainly need Your Participation. Amen.