Archive for the ‘Chapter 18’ Category

Proverbs 18 11-18-19

November 18, 2019

Might the Holy Spirit do a mighty work among us today? Are we prepared? Are we looking for Him to move?

16 A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.

We offer the gift of salvation to the people around us when we allow the Holy Spirit to control our lives. We become light-bearers for Him as He shines His light into their darkness.

In Acts 3, Peter and John healed a beggar at the temple gate and were given a great opportunity to proclaim the Gospel, which got them hauled before the Sanhedrin (chapter 4), the religious ruling body. They got to proclaim the Gospel to them–although, it was not well received. As a whole, that group never accepted Jesus Christ as Messiah. There were individuals, though, that did. Nicodemus was one of them. God works on individual hearts and not always on the group. It’s the same in America. We may never bring the country back to godly values, but we can bring individuals to Christ.

Paul was given the opportunity to speak before the high priest, Governor Felix, his successor, Governor Festus, King Agrippa (ruler of the entire area), and finally to Emperor Nero. The presentation of the Gospel was all-important to Paul. It was His calling, his life. His own words: “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace [the Gospel].” Acts 20:24

If we take seriously Ephesians 3:21, which says, “Now to him [Jesus] who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power [His Spirit] that is at work within us,” let’s ask and imagine “the moon!” Let’s ask the Lord Jesus to raise up prophets in our day and age; let’s ask Him to place us in circumstances to be witnesses for Him. Let’s pray for revival in our families, our church, our city, state, and nation!

Imagine the most “lost” person that you know becoming a proclaimer of the Gospel. Now, ask God to make it so! Begin praying for that person-whether male or female-  consistently for God to move in his heart and to call him. Pray that he will listen and respond to His call. Pray that God would then move in the hearts of those around him and that he would be given great opportunities to proclaim the Gospel. Pray BIG!!!

In the meantime, what shall we do concerning ourselves? Let’s ask that WE be called by the Holy Spirit and given great opportunities to share the Gospel. Let’s ask that we be instruments in His hands to call others to Himself. Let’s live our lives “so that in every way [we] will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.” Titus 2:10b How?

  1. Through sound doctrine. What we teach makes a difference.
    1. Be temperate (control our temper) v.2
    2. Worthy of respect
    3. Self-controlled
    4. Sound in faith, love and in endurance
  2. Through reverent lives v.3
    1. Not be slanderers (no gossip or sharing of information that is none of our business, especially our own opinions)
    2. No addictions (let nothing control us except the Spirit of God)
    3. Teach what is good (both in word and deed) v.4
    4. Be loving, pure, kind, submissive to one another
    5. Set a good example v.5
    6. Live with integrity (who we are and what we do when only God can see us)
    7. Have soundness of speech v.8
    8. Demonstrate trustworthiness v.9-10

By living this way, we make the Gospel attractive. Now, whether people listen to the Spirit’s call is not up to us. We are only the messengers. We are Ambassadors for Christ!

Abba, I pray for those reading this blog that You would get a hold of their hearts and work a mighty work within them. Call them to great and mighty things. As our world turns darker and darker, may our lights shine brighter and brighter. May the decisions we make concerning how we live reflect our “followship” of You, O Lord. I also pray for the “lost ones” who seem to be the furthest away from You. May they be the very ones whom You call to proclaim the Gospel in our day! Surprise us all, Abba!!! Amen.

Proverbs 18 10-18-19

October 18, 2019

If we are not careful, we can go through a day without consulting the Holy Spirit on any decision. NOT GOOD!

It’s more than that, though. Why would we want to go all day without talking to Him? He is the Source of our joy, our peace, our love, our comfort, and our hope! He has the words of life for us each day along with strength for the journey, grace for when we fail, and a strong right hand to help us up when we fall.

Unless, of course, the only reason you wanted Jesus was for fire insurance (not going to hell). In which case, I urge you to give Him your heart–your whole heart, your life–and commit each day to Him. Your “salvation” is not doing you any good if you don’t commune with Him every day about everything. It’s all about the relationship.

Fools find no pleasure in understanding
    but delight in airing their own opinions.

13 To answer before listening—
    that is folly and shame.

If the Holy Spirit is not calling a person, or the person is in rebellion, this foolish attitude rears its ugly head. We don’t “decide” to become a Christian. We answer the call of the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin and prompts us to receive Him into our hearts and lives. Nor do we go through each day deciding on our own what to do and what to say. God is not intolerant of your opinion, but we MUST take a backseat to His will.

Has it occurred to you, yet, that we cannot live our lives as we want to? When we became Christians, we gave our lives to Him. In fact, in order to BECOME Christians, we had to turn away from our sin and self–we had to die figuratively–and turn to Him. God made sure we understood what we are doing by giving us a picture of what happened to us: BAPTISM. It represents us dying, being buried, and being raised:

  1. We die to ourselves and give full control over to Christ;
  2. We are buried with Christ as He takes our sins to the grave;
  3. We are raised to walk in newness of Christ as the Holy Spirit begins the process of sanctification (becoming like Christ) .

Paul explains it so well in Romans 6:

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sinhow can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

We have died to sin. If this is NOT the case for you, then salvation has not happened to you, yet. If it has, then we begin EACH DAY with the conscious thought that we are now dead to sin and alive to Christ. MORE than that, “we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day (2 Cor. 4:16).” We don’t make ourselves godly nearly as much as He makes us godly by transforming us on the inside. Our daily, hourly, continuously giving ourselves over to Him causes us to become more and more like Christ.

Here are some crucial daily instructions:

1. Fall in love with His Word. We do that by falling in love with Jesus. In doing so, we love His Word, which makes us fall even more in love with Jesus, and so on.

2. Place others’ needs before your own. Consider them before you consider yourself–especially in what we say. Their feelings before ours (there’s always a better way to say something). The Holy Spirit will work things out. In other words, the world will not fall apart if things aren’t done according to how you see them!

3. Acknowledge His presence in your mind–He’s right there over your shoulder, out of sight, but not out of earshot. In fact, He’s right by your ear! He doesn’t talk loudly, but in a gentle whisper. LISTEN FOR IT!

4. Find someone with which to fellowship and to share God-stories. It will inspire and encourage both of you, and cause you to pray (sometimes together) for each other. Connections are important!

This passage from Romans 8 tells us how we are to live:

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of [His] righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. 12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

Peter also encourages us to live for Him:

1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life [The Holy Spirit] through our [experiential] knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises [in His Word], so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by [our own] evil desires.

I know: Life’s a struggle, then we die. But, think about it: We cast off this old cloak of sinfulness and put on the immortal, glorified bodies that Jesus has waiting for us, and we get to stand in His presence whole and complete for as long as we like (I’m thinking eternity)! What hope! What a promise! In the words of Johnny Bisagno on a hot and miserable Falls Creek noon service, “He went through all that (the cross and its suffering) for you; can’t you live for Him?” I have vowed ever since to do just that!

Abba, keep me true to my promise to You even as I depend on You to keep Your promise to me. Become more and more real to me as we walk together. Thank You! Amen.

Proverbs 18 9-18-19

September 18, 2019

Where do you get your joy? Your foundation for strength? Your impetus? I get mine from knowing that Jesus is coming soon!

(10) The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

We trust in the name of Jesus for salvation. We trust in His promise that He is coming back. In fact, all of history gives us perspective on God and His plan for His children. The strong tower in which we trust is based upon what He has done and what He has told us will happen soon. Let’s take a look at the covenants that God has made with certain people throughout history:

God’s covenant with Noah-

“I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

Let’s look closely at this covenant:

  • It’s with all mankind and all living creatures. Not really understanding from where the waters came caused fear that it may happen again. God promised that it wouldn’t. Knowing what we know now, we understand why God would make such a promise. There was a hydroplate below the landmass of what is called Pangea. God pierced the hydroplate with His “finger” causing air to hit superheated water. The ensuing expansion of the superheated water split the earth beginning somewhere around Caesarea Philippi, heading down into the Indian Ocean and then splitting to go east, turning up the coast of the Americas, coming around Alaska, and heading back down the Asian coast to meet itself near New Zealand, and west, turning up the Atlantic and going all the way to near the north pole. Once this water quit expanding and everything cooled off, the broken land masses settled down into their current positions. This spectacular occurrence CANNOT happen again geologically.
  • The rainbow, which is an article from God’s very throne (see Rev. 4:3), was placed in the sky when storm clouds gather. This phenomenon happened with the clouds, which showed up because of the flood, as light was refracted through them. There were no rainbows before the Flood because there were no storms.
  • God’s sign is unalterable until He brings forth the New Jerusalem and the new heavens and new earth (Rev. 21-22). How that Day comes about is still a mystery, but we do have some clues given in 2 Peter: 10-13,

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat [possibly from the heat of His gaze]. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

Whether it is a complete meltdown, which would usher in the new heavens and the new earth, or a restoring of earth to its former glory, which would usher in the Millennium and Christ’s physical reign in Jerusalem, we don’t know. All we know is that God has a plan and we can run to the stronghold of this Plan and be safe. “Don’t worry; be happy (in Jesus).”

Tomorrow, we will look at God’s covenant with Abraham and how it is still in effect today.  In the meantime, let’s take great comfort in God’s providence concerning our world and our future.

Abba, I love reading about Your interaction with people. I love the way You interact with me. Thank You for providing a way for us to be close. My heart goes out to those of the OT who couldn’t know You like I know You. I envy those of the NT who got to walk with You when You were on earth. I hurt for those who don’t know you now, especially those who stubbornly refuse to acknowledge You. Speak to their hearts, O God. They are deceived. Reveal TRUTH to them in dreams and visions. May they give their hearts and lives to You even as I have done. May it be soon because You are coming soon. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Amen.