Proverbs 14 5-14-20

We tend to focus on what we fear. We need to fear God more than anything–but a healthy fear!

2 Whoever fears the LORD walks uprightly, but those who despise him are devious in their ways.

The first thing we need to know is that fearing the LORD is NOT about heaven or hell. That matter was decided the day we received Christ into our lives as LORD and Savior. We have the Spirit as our deposit of salvation and all that goes with it:

13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14

The second thing we need to know is that we are NOT on the same level as God. We are made in His image, but He is still King of the universe and we are not. He is the creator and we are His creations. Paul reminds us in Romans 9:20 of this, “But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” which is actually a quote from Isaiah 45:9.

So, what IS a healthy fear of the LORD? It’s a BALANCE of remembering who He is and what He as done for us and promised us. NOTE: The more we find out about God, the greater we trust Him. This reason ALONE is motivation to read our Bibles!

The best passage to see this balance is Psalm 8, which says:

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
    in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?[c]

You have made them[d] a little lower than the angels[e]
    and crowned them[f] with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their[g] feet:
all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

  1. Notice that God is recognized as LORD, King of the universe.
  2. He is omnipotent (all-powerful) against His enemies using even infants and children!
  3. David is awed by the works of God’s hands as he considers creation.
  4. Yet, he knows that God has exalted man above creation and directly under Him.
  5. He finishes with the same thought: You are LORD!

David lived in the awareness of God’s majesty and glory, but also His desire to intimately know His children and interact with them. We are to have that same awareness. This awareness requires us to “check our vanity and arrogance at the door” and “enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” We are to Worship the Lord with gladness, and come before him with joyful songs.” 

For His children, His awesomeness is tempered by His love for His children. John describes this mindset in his letter:

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1a

All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 1 John 4:15-16

There is no fear in this love, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment [of the old mindset], and this shows that we have not fully experienced [learned] his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first. 1 John 4:18-19

And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. 1 john 4:17

Want to know complete love and have confidence as we stand before the LORD? Then in this world live like Jesus. Impossible? Absolutely–NOT! Jesus was completely dependent upon the Spirit to reveal the Father’s will, for intimate fellowship, and for power to complete His mission both daily and ultimately. WE ARE, TOO! We live each day EXACTLY like Him:

  1. Completely dependent upon the Spirit to reveal the Father’s will,
  2. Completely dependent upon the Spirit for intimate fellowship,
  3. Completely dependent upon the Spirit for power to complete our mission.

Let’s be about the Father’s business, reveling in His love and yet showing our respect for Him as our LORD and God.

Abba, may we live in the light of Your glory and grace–what a matchup! You are King of the universe, yet You made yourself nothing, emptying Yourself and taking human form (Philippians 2:6-8) so that I could be set free and reunited with You through Your Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1-2, 16). You empathize with our weakness, but give us power to overcome. You even invite us to join You at Your throne and enjoy Your presence. You give us mercy and grace in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16). LORD, I no longer fear your punishment, but I DO have a healthy respect for who You are. Be Lord of my life today. Amen.

 

Proverbs 14 4-14-20

We are all connected. There’s no way to make a decision that affects only us, which is why we need accountability. Let’s look at three verses from today’s chapter:

6 The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.

When we look within ourselves for wisdom and understanding, we find that pleasing ourselves is meaningless once we get past the momentary; “to what end?” we ask (Solomon wrote a whole book on this subject: Ecclesiastes). Also, our vain attempts to understand the times get swept away by the next wave of new circumstances. It’s time to look up and ask our heavenly Father what is going on! Just know this: He is NOT accountable to us, but us to Him. He doesn’t have to explain Himself or His actions. In fact, He is looking for those whose hearts are set on trusting Him regardless of what happens. 2 Chronicles 16:9a

In 2 Chronicles 14, we learn that Asa king of Judah loved the LORD and served him all his life. He had grown up in a home that was very godless, yet somehow came out faithful. If we don’t think that our actions affect other people, watch this:

  • Solomon was the son of David and Bathsheba. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. They drew his heart away from the LORD.
  • His son, Rehoboam, was Solomon’s successor. His mother was Naamah, an Ammonite (1 Kings 14:33). She was an idol worshiper and raised her son to worship idols, as well.
  • His son, Abijah, was just like his dad and committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been.” (1 Kings 15:3) His mother was an idol worshiper and taught him to do the same.
  • Which brings us to his son, Asa, who somehow got good training and loved the LORD all his life (1 Kings 15:14). He even deposed his grandmother from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive image for the worship of Asherah. (v13)
  • Asa raised a son to love the LORD. “The LORD was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the ways of his father [and his forefather] David before him.” (2 Chronicles 17:3). “His heart was devoted to the ways of the LORD; furthermore, he removed the high places and the Asherah poles from Judah.” (v6). He even appointed priests to go through the towns of Judah and teach God’s Word: “They taught throughout Judah, taking with them the Book of the Law of the LORD; they went around to all the towns of Judah and taught the people.” (v9).

That’s as far as I have gotten in my reading of the kings of Judah and Israel. We’ve heard the phrase, “No man is an island,” by Jon Donne, but did you know that Paul said something very similar? Romans 14:7. What we do and believe affects those around us, especially those in our care, like our family.

15 The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps.

God designed us to think. We are made in His image. Our first thought must be to realize that we don’t know the answer because we don’t have all the information. We were ALWAYS meant to be connected to Him for background information, foresight, and guidance. SIN cut us off from the MAIN SERVER, so to speak. Our connection now is with the Holy Spirit. The more we lean on Him for advice, the better off we will be.

22 Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.

We reap what we sow Galatians 6:7-10 . I pray that you will intentionally plan to love the LORD and serve Him, and to encourage those around you to do the same. Revival is all about us being motivated by our love for God to quit doing wrong things and to start doing right things AS WE WALK IN STEP WITH THE SPIRIT. Again, we were never intended to make decisions on our own, but with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s seek Him today. Let’s talk with Him and ask His opinion on everything. You will find that His will is good, pleasing and perfect Romans 12:2

Abba, may I take my own advice and seek Your face today for all the answers to my questions, even if the answer is, “That’s not for you to know; just trust Me.” I AM trusting You, Father, and I am looking forward to seeing Your glory displayed through the circumstances of life, especially MY life. May I be discerning of Your voice so that knowledge comes easily to me, LORD. I’m listening and watching. Amen.

Proverbs 14 3-14-20

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.” Bryan Gilbert

14 The faithless [those who act in unbelief] will be fully repaid for their ways,
    and the good rewarded for theirs.

Even though they claim to have Christ in their hearts and the Holy Spirit in their lives, most Christians still live as though they don’t. Why is that? Mostly because they have not sought the LORD on a daily basis in His Word, enjoyed His company in prayer–except for a quick one along the way, or trusted Him during the day with their decisions (any of them).

The victorious Christian life is what Jesus wants for us. What most people settle for is wandering in the desert. God still provides for our basic needs (just as He did for the Israelites during the Exodus), but He wants SO MUCH MORE for us, including a special relationship with Him. The whole point of the cross was to make it so we could have Him in our hearts and lives! Why settle for a distant relationship?

Jesus wanted the same close relationship with His family and hometown friends. He even went to Nazareth to minister. Here’s what happened:

54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him. 

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”

58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. Matthew 13:54-57

Do we “take offense” with Him when we refuse to allow Him to lead in our lives? When we refuse to consult Him on our decisions (both big and small), when we block Him from giving us useful information, preventing us from hurting ourselves, limiting us in receiving blessings, and allowing Him to lavish us with His love and spiritual gifts–gifts? What gifts?!

1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing [gift–see James 1:17] in Christ. Ephesians 1:3

These gifts are bestowed on us AS WE GO. The Christian life is a WALK WITH CHRIST. He said, “Follow Me;” that intimates a walk. We are told to keep in step with Him (Gal. 5:25). The ironic part of it all is that in order to walk closely to Him, we must sit at His feet regularly, like Mary in Luke 10:39, “She [Martha] had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.”

Let’s determine today that we will sit at Jesus’ feet so that we can follow Him closely as we go through our day and keep in step with Him.

Abba, You have SO MUCH to share with me. You even said as much in the upper room (implied in John 14:30). Now, with the Holy Spirit within me, You reveal as much as I will allow–or can take in! Keep it coming, LORD. I want to know all I can about You, Your Plan, and to be useful in Your kingdom both here on this earth now and when You come. Bring REVIVAL, LORD Jesus! Amen.

Proverbs 14 2-14-20

Jokes that mention the reproductive parts of the body are off-limits for Christians: They conjure up mental images.

This Valentines, we may be tempted to read and/or pass along jokes that get a little personal. As Christians who show Christ to the world, we must not take part in such activities. Here is why:

The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways,
    but the folly of fools is deception.

We are giving thought to our ways. Those who say, “I don’t see anything wrong with it,” are not seeing it from God’s perspective and will be deceived. What IS God’s perspective on such matters? Let’s take a look:

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

There are several great lessons to learn from this passage, but we will focus on one, and that is what Christ did when presented with a woman who was likely in a compromised position and, possibly, attire. He redirected His focus by writing in the dirt! He didn’t address the woman again until they were “alone” (His disciples were with Him). Even then, His attention was on her spiritual condition.

We, too, must learn to redirect our attention when confronted with jokes, stories, movies, etc. that call unseemly attention to sexual anatomy and functions. Let us be prudent and “give thought to our ways.” Today is a great day to begin–again! We are never too old to learn new spiritual habits.

Abba, thank You for teaching me this lesson when I was younger (34ish) albeit in a rather rude awakening. I wish I had learned it through teaching rather than through an awkward experience. Oh well; the point is that I learned it! Help me keep my mind where it should be, which is on whatever You are doing, LORD. Happy Valentine’s Day to YOU, Abba. Thank You for loving me. Amen.

Proverbs 14 1-14-20

Watch your language! It reveals what you are thinking. It exposes attitudes that may not be godly. Is godliness your goal? If not, why not?

3 A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them.

7 Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips.

Have you ever noticed that slang language refers to body parts and functions, many of them sexual in nature? We draw mental pictures with the words we use. The Hebrew language, the Chinese language, and other early civilizations use pictographs as letters. The pictographs are 3D in nature. The Hebrew language has a picture and a number associated with each letter of each word. In the Chinese language, each pictograph tells a story even as they spell a word. In the same way, when we use a specific word that refers to a body part or function, we call up a mental picture in the minds of our listeners.

Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion. Prov. 11:22

What is referred to as “potty mouth” is language that speaks of body functions concerning excrement and other functions that go in a potty. Is that the image you want to call up in the minds of those who are listening? Your spouse? Your children? Your boss? Your LORD?

The apostle Paul gives a pretty strong charge for us to watch our language:

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [by what you say], with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:29-30

4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. Ephesians 5:4

The greatest offense is using words that have a sexual connotation or draw attention to sexual body parts. It’s just not a godly thing to do. As a biblical reference, let’s look at John 8 where the religious leaders dragged before Jesus a woman who was caught in adultery. What did Jesus do? He bent down and wrote in the sand.  He didn’t look at her or address her until her accusers had left. Was He ignoring her? Not at all. He was honoring her by not looking upon her while the topic was being discussed. He avoided even the possibility of Him being accused of anything inappropriate. But, it wasn’t about Him; it was about her. She was His creation, His child, and He cared for her. She was valuable to Him, and He treated her so.

Let’s treat our loved ones the same way by watching what we say and how we say it. Let’s find different ways to express ourselves that don’t call attention to body parts or anything with a sexual connotation. Is our language a point of salvation? No, but it does have quite a lot to do with our sanctification (becoming like Jesus).

Abba, You have dealt with me on this subject several times as You called me from one level to another in my walk with You. Right now, You are working on my “response” to people when under pressure. Help me to respond as You would, O LORD. May I always convey my love and Your love with my words and facial expressions. I feel like I’m asking the impossible, but I’m counting on You to do the impossible for me. I thank You in advance. Amen.

 

Proverbs 14 12-14-19

Have you been reading Proverbs? any of God’s Word? No Christian should be THAT busy! It is better for you to reorder your priorities with His guidance than to wait for Him to do it for you…!

The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.

Today we study why we don’t get saved by works. The reason we don’t get saved by works is the same reason that the Israelites didn’t get saved by following the Law. If we could do it ourselves, then Christ did not need to come.

21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! Galatians 2:21

Paul gives a great explanation in Romans 9. Let’s look:

30 So, what are we to say? This: that Gentiles, even though they were not striving for righteousness, have obtained righteousness; but it is a righteousness grounded in trusting! 31 However, Isra’el, even though they kept pursuing a Torah [the law] that offers righteousness, did not reach what the Torah [the law] offers. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue righteousness as being grounded in trusting but as if it were grounded in doing legalistic works [the scoffer-they could do it themselves]. They stumbled over the stone that makes people stumble.[Isaiah 8:14] 33 As the Tanakh puts it [as it is written],

“Look, I am laying in Tziyon [Zion/Jerusalem]
a stone that will make people stumble,
a rock that will trip them up.
But he who rests his trust on it
will not be humiliated.”[Isaiah 28:16]

 

Satan would have us believe that we can be like God[Genesis 3:3-4]–we only have to do certain things to satisfy Him. There are so many things wrong with this perception!

  1. We are already like God! We have been made in His image. The problem is that because of sin, our relationship with Him is broken. We are in the enemy’s camp!
  2. Doing certain things to “appease the gods” is the way of every religion in history. It sounds like the Sinai Covenant, but there is a difference: The Sinai Covenant was not designed to appease God, but to cover our sin until the Messiah came to take away our sin.
  3. There is nothing we can DO to please God on our own. It’s like trying to clean ourselves up while standing waist deep in a tar pit. “Doing it ourselves” is what got us in this mess in the first place! Had Eve trusted God instead of believing Satan, our history would be an entirely different story.

Proverbs 14 has another verse that is pertinent to our discussion:

27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.

This fear of Adonai [the LORD God] entails trust, just like a son with his father. The fear comes from knowing just who God is and what He’s about. It’s more an awe factor than a fear factor. We don’t fear what God will do to us as long as we trust in Him and follow Him. In fact, it’s not what God will do to us, but what happens to us when we wander away from His side! Sin destroys us. It’s why God hates it so. He wants to guide us around Satan’s snares that lead to destruction.

Today, let us trust Him by spending time with Him in His Word, giving our lives over to Him again today, and choosing this day to serve Him and no other. If we do trust Him consistently, our world will change: Our priorities, what we consider fun, our countenance, our knowledge base–everything!

Abba, I choose to trust you today. I trusted You yesterday and You were faithful beyond expectation! I trust You today because “You have the words of eternal life.” [John 6:68] Help me to stay focused on You as I go about my tasks. Guide me, O LORD, according to Your Spirit. Amen.

Proverbs 14 11-14-19

Our own attitude gets in the way of us hearing God. We must create the right frame of mind in order to hear Him.

6 The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge come easily to the discerning.

Think about it: Why would we not hear from God?

  1. We don’t want to. If we hear from God, He will expect something from us.
  2. We can’t. We don’t know what His voice sounds like and we cannot discern it.
  3. We hear it, but ignore it because He isn’t telling us what we want to hear.
  4. We have never taken the time to learn His language.

If knowledge comes easily to the discerning, then how do we become discerning?

  1. We need to figure out what we want. Do we want to hear from God? If so, are we willing to receive what He tells us and to do whatever He says?
  2. We need to find out what His voice sounds like, and we need to figure out why we can’t hear it. Is there something or someone in our lives that is blocking the signal? Lifestyle will do that; so will hidden sin. Wrong relationships will mute His voice, too. What’s funny is we KNOW what is blocking His voice, but we are unwilling to do anything about it.
  3. If we hear His voice, will we obey it? The works of God display–and fairly shout–His existence, which, in turn, requires our attention. The Spirit of God comes to us and invites us to join Him. Jesus is building His kingdom, which is the Church, and He wants us to not only be a part, but to help Him build it. Are we willing?
  4. It’s difficult to understand what the Spirit wants if we haven’t taken the time to learn His vocabulary, what He likes and dislikes, and what He is likely to say and what He will never say. All of these traits come from reading His Word.

Let’s pull some verses out of Ephesians 4 and 5.

5:18 Do not get drunk on wine [or anything that fogs your brain], which leads to debauchery [making ungodly decisions concerning pleasure]. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

How do we get filled with the Spirit? We sing to God His own words and our own prayers.

5:19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We sing to remember; we sing to instill His truths in our hearts; we sing to re-align ourselves with Him; we sing to ward off the enemy, the devil.

10 Find out what pleases the Lord.

What DOES please the Lord? When His children live in unity of the Spirit and harmony.

Psalm 133

How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity!

It is like precious oil poured on the head,
    running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
    down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
    were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
    even life forevermore. 

 

King David knew how unity makes every get-together, every family, and every kingdom run more smoothly. Unity requires everyone to practice Jesus’ Platinum Rule: “Love one another just as I have loved you.” John 13:34. We must “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in all things consider others better than [before] ourselves. Phil. 2:3. We must also “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” We are to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Eph. 4:2-3. In everything, we are to “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love [which means sacrifice], just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Eph. 4:32-5:2

Want to know what God is saying? Read these verses every morning and implement them. You will hear His voice soon enough–and feel His good pleasure!

Abba, may I take my own advice and commit these verses to memory so that I can implement them everyday. Hearing Your voice, O Lord, is what makes each day bearable and worth living. Speak to my heart, Lord Jesus, speak that my soul may hear. I’m listening. Amen.