Archive for the ‘Chapter 17’ Category

Proverbs 17 11-17-19

November 17, 2019

Come, take a journey with me to the island of Crete. Let’s study Titus and the letter Paul wrote him as he ministered there.

16 Why should fools have money in hand to buy wisdom, when they are not able to understand it?

The currency here is not actual money, but ability. What good is wisdom to a person who doesn’t intend to use it? These are the people with which Titus had to deal.

10 For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain.

Invariably, there are some folks who cannot give their whole lives to Jesus. The harder they hold onto some part of their lives, the more adamant they become about keeping it. That part becomes their focus and ruins their relationship with the Father.

Then, there are those who are “sent” by Satan to infiltrate and sow seeds of discord and spread lies. These people may think that they are “free,” but they are really bound to Satan with long chains.

12 One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” 13 This saying is true.

Before we go judging Paul too harshly for “buying into” such a statement, we must realize that the saying describes us, too! We all lie; we all are evil in our flesh; we all are lazy and look for the easy way out, putting off what we know is right; we all are gluttons who take a good thing to extremes and use it in ways that are not godly.

Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. 

I looked up the word, “sharply,” in the Greek and guess what it means: “Sharply, curtly, severely.” Notice the word, “harshly,” is not used. We must always speak with love and grace, but we must speak the truth.

15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

In those young and fledgling house churches, there were many who were caught up in the initial wave of the Spirit of God moving on Crete who did not actually believe. They were still living according to the flesh and they had not given themselves wholly to Jesus. This description is still accurate today. We have many in our churches who pay lip service, but don’t really believe. There are several other reasons to come to church:

  1. Habit and tradition. It’s how they were raised.
  2. To keep peace and harmony at home (the spouse wants him/her to go).
  3. Fellowship. They have friends there.
  4. Business: Connections and relationships.
  5. Agenda. Some people come to cause problems, sway people to their way of thinking, and some even to seduce!

Paul encouraged Titus, as his true son in their common faith (verse 4) to appoint faithful men to be in charge and to guard the fellowship. The role of pastor carries quite a burden. Let’s pray for our pastors as they guard the sheep from the wolves.

As we go to church today, may we go with minds open to the people around us. Pray for them that they may meet with God and give themselves wholly to Him. May we do the same!

Abba, I give myself wholly to You today. Only You have the words of life. Only You have the Plan for mankind. I just want to be a part of what You are doing. Make me like You, Jesus, make me like You. Amen.

Proverbs 17 10-17-19

October 17, 2019

Want to know what is in your heart? Give God time; He’ll show you.

3 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart.

We have a society that loves to commit to teams, groups, activities, studies, etc. and then grows weary, becomes bored, figures out it takes too much time and effort, or is offered a more interesting team, group, activity, study, etc. and quits the first for the second.

We have churches with people who love Jesus, but don’t know Him well enough to commit to Him. They are part of the church and will come occasionally, but family, vacations, work, games, etc. keep them out more than they are in.

We have Christians who claim to know Christ, but are not interested in taking the time each day to read His Word, to apply it to their lives, and to learn to hear His voice. Instead, they trust their own logic, their own fears, and their own–well, to put it bluntly, arrogance.

I can’t judge people’s salvation, but I often wonder if these people really have a working, walking relationship with the Savior. There’s one way to find out, and that is to be tested. We live in a fallen world and we all will face sickness, accidents, physical failure, and death. We live with fallen people and will face strife, adversity, relational failure, desertion, and even hatred–and that’s just from our families! WE WILL BE TESTED. Does God bring them on? He certainly has that right as Omnipotent God, but I think in His Omniscience, He sees our future and what is coming; He tries to prepare us for it, even avoid it if we will listen; still, He promises to walk with us through whatever it is.

What we must remember is that this life is all about our relationship with Him. He uses whatever comes our way to get us to interact with Him. As long as we live life on our terms, avoid consulting Him, ignore Him and His direction, and relegate Him to times of desperation, we miss the point of salvation. In fact, salvation may not have happened, yet.

Jesus was quite clear that to become His disciple, we must give up everything. NOW. When He asks.

23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross [die to self] daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

When He says, “follow me,” He means like His disciples did: they left their families, their work, and their homes and went with Jesus. How many Christians have actually done that? Have you? Until that happens, we are untested. Until we are tested, we don’t truly know. Faith is a gift; it is based upon belief + action. The “gift” part is that God comes to us and says, “Do you trust me? Take My hand and come with me.” Our part is to take His hand and go with Him. It may be getting out of the boat on choppy waters; it may be into a fiery furnace; it may even be into a kangaroo court. Wherever it is, interacting with Him is worth more than ANYTHING in this world.

Forsaking All, I Trust Him.” This is the acronym of FAITH. Are you there, yet?

Abba, I know I’m preaching to the choir, but we all need to be reminded that it’s all about You and knowing You. Please continue to make Yourself known to me. If adversity, trial, and calamity are in my future, I KNOW You will carry me through them; please redeem them through Your grace by using them to refine me like silver, like fine gold. Purify my heart, O Lord. I want to be like YOU. Amen.

Proverbs 17 9-17-19

September 17, 2019

Ready for God to use you? Isn’t that for what you signed up? He uses willing vessels, not necessarily filled vessels.

(3) The crucible or silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart.

To be filled with knowledge is good, but to be filled with His Spirit is much better! There is a paradox at work in our lives, which is that the more we know, the less we depend upon Him to work through us. What’s funny is that the thing we need to learn the most is to be completely dependent upon Him!

I’ve heard it said that God equips the called rather than calling the equipped. If we want true equipping, we can talk to a doctor who has been through what he treats, like juvenile leukemia. Was that NOT the kind of knowledge we meant? Would anyone voluntarily go through something like that in order to sympathize with his patients and to be able to treat them more accurately*? None of whom I am aware. We could easily use breast cancer or diabetes for examples. Those we know who are going through times of “testing” with these examples are learning to walk with Jesus VERY closely.

Beth Moore gives three Scenarios in her study on Daniel concerning fiery trials in our lives. It is based upon the account of the three Hebrew men and the fiery furnace:

Scenario A: We can be delivered from the fire.

Dividend: Our faith is built.

Scenario B: We can be delivered through the fire.

Dividend: Our faith is refined.

Scenario C: We can be delivered by the fire straight into the arms of Jesus!

Dividend: Our faith is perfected.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6-7

The word, “proven,” is showing on the outside what is already on the inside. If our intention is to bring praise, glory and honor to Jesus Christ, then we are ready for whatever comes our way and however He wants to use us.

Looking beyond this world to His world is something with which each of us must come to terms. He wants us with Him (John 17:24), and we know that eventually we all go to be with Him. When and how are up to His plan and how we choose to fit into it.

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

Are we ready and willing to be put in harm’s way, to go through the crucible, for the Lord’s glory? to win someone to Christ? to show people that our faith is real and that Jesus is real? Let’s renew our commitment to Him this morning!

Dear Lord Jesus, I commit myself once again to Your will and Your way. May You use me in whatever capacity You decide. I just want to be available to You. My life is Yours. Amen.

* Jesus did. 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 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 4:14-16