Archive for the ‘Chapter 13’ Category

Proverbs 13 11-13-19

November 13, 2019

Little steps before big steps. Little responsibilities before big responsibilities. Training before implementation.

13 Whoever scorns instruction will pay for it, but whoever respects a command is rewarded.

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded [expected]; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked [for their return].” Luke 12:48

I went to a commissioning/sending service for missionaries last night. It was quite a service! Great music, great testimonies, great message, and great prayer time around the missionaries. By the time they get to this point, they have done the groundwork for their ministry. They have gone to school, studied the language and culture, and they are ready. Some have even been before!

But, there’s more to their lives than that. Several missionaries mentioned that God put an interest in their hearts for a certain people group early in their lives. They allowed God to groom them for what they are going to do. Some of them married with the same vision and passion, and now they go together to the mission field. What I hear between their words is lives lived with an awareness of the Holy Spirit in their lives, a daily discipline of Bible study and prayer (a concerted and protected time of conversation with Jesus), and a walk that reflects their love for Jesus and all that they believe. They are experts in the Christian faith.

Yet, if you were to ask them, I’m sure that they will tell you the same thing I would tell you, which is that no matter how “good” we get at following Christ, it’s not because of us or anything we do; it’s all Him, about Him, by Him, and through Him (Romans 11:36). We each are just one step away from falling, so we stay riveted to His side. We can hear the voice of Jesus no more clearly than anyone else who will take the time and put in the work to clear out all the clutter and filter out all the interference in our lives that mutes, distorts, and drowns out His still, small voice (Robin calls that my amplified version).

A great verse for fellowship with the LORD is Revelation 3:18.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat/commune/fellowship with him and he with me.”

It is often used as a salvation verse, which is correct, but it goes much deeper than simply salvation. Jesus was talking to Christians and was asking them to let Him into their lives so that He could fellowship with them–a deep and intimate fellowship, a permanent fellowship, one that would go on constantly and would last for a lifetime. It is this level of communion (from which we get the word, “community”) that Jesus calls us, both with Himself and with His Church, His Bride, His Body, God’s other children.

Let’s invite Jesus in today for that deep, intimate level of companionship and fellowship. You’ll never regret it! Who knows? He may call YOU to be a missionary for Him.

“Many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14

“Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:11

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

“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” Luke 14:33

Abba, I pray for those who read my blog that they would give themselves to You today. I give myself to You and ask that you be my Guide today. So, where are we going? I can hardly wait! Amen.

 

Proverbs 13 10-13-19

October 13, 2019

Is there such thing as mutually opposing truths? No. One is right and the other is wrong. But how can one tell the difference?

16 All who are prudent act with knowledge,
    but fools expose their folly.

Truth- objectively; universally, what is true in any matter under consideration Lexicon

Concerning truth, we have two choices:

  1. God’s Word, which is based upon historical fact, eye-witness accounts, archeological facts, and personal experience by believers throughout time;
  2. Man’s word, which is based upon feelings and desires, fed by the lies of Satan and his horde–unless, of course, one doesn’t believe in the spirit world. One might notice that I didn’t list archeological fact. The fact of the matter is that there is no evidence for an old earth nor an old universe. No one was there to testify to it; no testing can be done to verify it; all of the data can also be interpreted from a new-earth perspective; there is much data to prove the Great Flood really happened, which pretty much “washes out” the old-earth theory.

Why does it make a difference? It goes like this:

IF the world was not created by God in a literal six days and dinosaurs lived millions of years ago with man evolving over millions of years from an amoeba to human, then life is built on death; death did NOT enter through the “sin” of Adam, and Jesus’ premise for His saving act on the cross was built on a mistaken notion–if not a lie and deception.

IF Christ did NOT die in our place on the cross and rise again to give us new life, then we have nothing awaiting us beyond the grave.

IF we are not created by God, but by random chance, then we are mindless and cannot rationalize at all. The thoughts I am writing right now are random impulses running through my brain and just happen to be coming out my fingers on this keyboard.

IF we are from amoebas, then there is no morality, but survival of the fittest. Anything goes. It’s the golden rule: He who owns the gold makes the rules. Another motto is: Might Makes Right.

But, IF the universe was created by God,

IF God made the world and everything in it in six literal days,

IF He made mankind in His image and gave him free will,

IF Adam sinned and we with (in) him, thus requiring a Savior,

IF Jesus Christ is the last Adam, the One who gave Himself for us and died in our place,

IF He rose again on the third day thus proving that He is God and that there IS life after death,

IF He offers us eternal life in exchange for the lies, the deceptions, the rags, and the filth of our sin,

IF we receive His gift of salvation by giving Him our lives and trusting in Him from now on,

THEN what Jesus said is true: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

There are two kinds of knowledge:

  1. Tangible, testable knowledge, which can be tested and proven;
  2. Experiential knowledge, which is experienced by individuals and moves beyond the tangible to the known. One cannot argue against experience, unless, of course, he can prove that the experience was a deception. But, that knife cuts both ways. If one tries to prove that Christians made up their salvation experience and our daily walk with God, he opens himself up to be shown that Satan has deceived him into believing the lie about Evolution.

If a person looks at the facts from a purely scientific perspective, one of investigative neutrality, he will find much more evidence FOR the Bible than against it. The problem lies in the fact that people who don’t WANT to believe in God cannot afford to look at the question neutrally, because once they do, then they must admit there is God, and once they do that, then they must answer to Him as their Creator, which they don’t want to do (the true reason for their resistance).

I believe that the Bible is literally true for two reasons. The first is that I follow archeological, biological, historical, and other scientific finds and they ALL prove the Bible’s claims. The second is that I have personally MET the Savior; He now lives in me and we converse constantly.* He is my BEST FRIEND even while being my God.

Oh, Abba, if people could just let go of their fear, their arrogance, and their sin for just a moment and experience what it’s like to know You personally, they would NEVER go back! I know I didn’t. May You move mightily in our families, our churches, and in our world to call those who will listen. I know that You are patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but for everyone to come to repentance.** May Your will be done, my LORD. Amen.

*Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”

**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.

Proverbs 12 10-13-19

October 12, 2019

There is a “secret” that is so obvious people miss it all the time! It has to do with intention rather than productivity.

No one can be established through wickedness,
    but the righteous cannot be uprooted.

We tend to brand certain things as “wicked,” others as “godly,” and the rest as “neutral.” Actually, everything that is not godly is wicked. God created us for fellowship, which means that everything we do with Him is godly. Antithetically, everything done without regard for Him or His opinion is wicked. NOW the verse begins to make a bit more sense. If we are walking in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25), then we cannot be uprooted, whereas a person who walks either without the Spirit or out of step with the Spirit cannot be established.

Uprooted from what? Established in what? Here is what Paul prayed for the Ephesians:

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Here is what he told the Colossians:

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

The early Christians didn’t have Bibles that they could carry around, so we can surmise that it’s not necessarily the reading of Scripture that is this secret. We must look at the intent of their lives. Looking at the above verses, let’s ask ourselves some questions:

  1. How does the Spirit strengthen us with power?
  2. How are we rooted and established in love?
  3. How can we grasp the entirety of the love of Christ?
  4. How can we know this love?
  5. How can we be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God?
  6. How do we continue to live our lives in Him?
  7. How are we rooted and built up in Him?
  8. How are we strengthened in the faith?
  9. How do we overflow with thankfulness?

The answers lie in this secret: Fellowship with Him. We must intentionally focus on BEING WITH HIM. His ways are more caught than taught. His disciples didn’t attend a school once a day where Jesus was the teacher and then go home. NO! They walked with Him and lived with Him. He taught them as they went along. They CAUGHT His love and mercy, His tender compassion, and His mission as He taught the people, fed them and healed them. He even died for them.

After He had risen, He did something extraordinary: He came to live in each disciple! He lives in us, too!!! Rather than being all caught up in living a certain way, let’s focus on walking with Him through today. Let’s read His Word to hear His voice. Let’s attune our ears to His frequency by filtering out as many worldly voices as we can. When we talk to Him, let’s expect to hear from Him. It probably won’t be audible, but we KNOW it when we “hear” it.

Granted, the more we read His words, the more clearly we hear His voice. The more we obey His commands, the better we understand His plan and intentions. We “get it.” Holiness is Christ With Us. Let’s be holy today.

Abba, may each of us come to know You better as we read the Scriptures. May we focus on You instead of being obedient, which will come by being with You and listening to You. “You are our rock, our shield, our fortress, our salvation and our strength.” May we lean on You even as we walk with You today. Amen.

Proverbs 13 9-13-19

September 13, 2019

Doing what Jesus asks is what Christianity is all about. Are we listening? Are we even in the same room?!

(13) Whoever scorns instruction will pay for it, but whoever respects a command is rewarded.

Our terminology has changed since Solomon’s time. We tend to think of the Spirit’s instruction and commands as urgings and suggestions. I think it’s because we know the LORD on such an intimate level that we see His love and gentleness and patience first. What we must do is look beyond His compassion to His Lordship and leadership.

We are called…by Whom? to what?

(6) And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. Romans 1:6

(28) And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

We belong to Jesus Christ. We have been bought by His blood on the cross. He paid a heavy price for us. We should be grateful.

We have been called according to His purpose, which is to be extensions of Him to this world. He came to show us the way and to pay the price. He then returned to His place by the Father’s side. Through His Spirit, we were recruited to be His ambassadors in this world.

The Great Commission, given in Matthew 28:19-20, is usually translated, “Go.” A better way to look at it is, “As you go.” The idea is to be intentional about making disciples as we live our daily lives. The method we use is determined by the person to whom we are talking. Some people come from a Christian background and will understand the lingo we use. Some will come from a religious background that actually gets in the way of understanding because of twisted theology. Some will have no basis at all for comprehending what we are telling them. We must give the Spirit time to cultivate a willing heart. In the meantime, we are to DEMONSTRATE Christ’s love just as He did for us. (8) But God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

“But what if it costs me something?”

“What if it hurts?”

“What if it means watching a loved one suffer?”

“What if I die, or my loved one dies?”

First, let’s remember that Christ showed us the way as a Suffering Servant. Second, don’t forget that He has a NEW WORLD awaiting us! With NEW BODIES! Third, let’s look at the example left by the disciples:

(41) The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Acts 5:41 They had been flogged because they wouldn’t quit preaching the Name of Christ (verse 40). So, what did they do? Go and hide and never speak Jesus’ name again? NO! (42) Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. 

What we must do as modern day Christians is to quit living like we belong to this world and start living like we belong to Christ and His world. We start by yielding our lives to Him each morning–even before coffee!

Are you worthy? Paul–from prison, no less– exhorts the Ephesian church to (4:1) “live a life worthy of the calling you have received. (2) Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (3) Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Are we willing to do as Paul said?

Where do we start? In our homes. If we can do it at home, then we can do it anywhere.

At church. It’s the practice field for our faith. If we can do it there, then we can do it anywhere.

At work, the ballfield, the lake, the mall, while driving (for those inside our cars as well as outside), Walmart, etc. They are where the Gospel needs to be demonstrated.

Just so you know, I’m preaching to myself here. May we all heed His instruction and follow His commands.

Abba, I know what to do; now, give me the desire and the power to do it! In Your name and for Your name, Amen.