Archive for the ‘Chapter 20’ Category

Proverbs 21 1-21-20

January 21, 2020

The kingdom of God is all around us! We just can’t see it–but we can know it. His Spirit reveals it to us.

21 Whoever pursues righteousness and love find life, prosperity and honor.

Jesus told us, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand…is near you…is in your midst” (Matthew 3:2, Luke 9:10, Luke 17:21). There is an entire “world” happening around us all the time! Paul talks about it in Ephesians 6:

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

When God created the heavens, He established them in the form that we know them. The first heaven is the sky, the second heaven is outer space, and the third heaven is where He lives. It was on Day 2 that He separated the waters and the sky (Gen. 1:6-8), and it was on Day 4 that He separated outer space from the third heaven (Gen. 1:14-19). Heaven really is just a breath away. We don’t have to “go” anywhere! Upon death, our eyes are opened to a whole other realm, the realm of the spiritual. We are able to interact there just as we did on earth. It’s just a real as this earth and will one day be reconnected with this earth (2 Peter 3:13, Rev. 22:1).

So, our perspective is this: Because we have such a great place awaiting us, we need not fear death. In fact, we wait patiently for it BECAUSE we know what is in store for us. I don’t know exactly how, but our righteousness, our godly thoughts and actions, motives and intentions, are formed into a crown (1 Cor. 3:12-15, 2 Timothy 4:8) which we will gladly and voluntarily cast down in worship and gratitude at the feet of Jesus (Rev. 4:10 implied). Death is merely the passageway to heaven for Christians. For unbelievers, it’s quite something else. They step into Hades, the waiting place for all who are destined for hell.

Let us not be afraid of dying, nor of letting go of those who go before us. Instead, let us allow it to motivate us to keep our eyes on the prize, which is to be JUST LIKE JESUS. We know that we will be completed in Him when we get there (1 John 3:2). May we spur each other on to good works (Hebrews 10:24) so that our offering to the LORD, our crown, will be a sweet sacrifice to our KING.

Abba, I look forward to the day when the veil between heaven and earth comes down. I can hardly wait to step over into Your side of things–even though I know You are with me and all around me right now. I want to worship You and experience You face to face! In the meantime, I will continue to work on hearing Your voice as You walk with me in this world. Tune me spiritually to be cognizant of You and where You are working, O LORD. Amen.

Proverbs 20 1-20-20

January 20, 2020

The Spirit’s interaction with people is much greater than we might think. The secret is to join Him where He is working!

24 A person’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand their own way?

There is SO MUCH about life that seems random–but is not! God is working His-Story by guiding circumstances and prompting people in certain directions. All the while, He is giving them chance after chance to choose Him–but most don’t. Even Christians have a hard time doing what is obviously right. Most Christians don’t read their Bibles daily, pray continuously (conversational prayer), meet regularly for focused prayer, worship and haverim (the interaction of the Spirit during discussion); we don’t regularly eat right, sleep right, work right (tyranny of the urgent) or play right. Why? Because we live in a world that is overrun by sin: Up is down and in is out; black is white and light is dark.

Jesus told us plainly that without His Spirit, we cannot comprehend the ways of God without His Spirit. For instance,

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit [He moves within us].”

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 

12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?”

Proverbs 20:27 tells us that “the human spirit [which is His Spirit] is the lamp of the LORD that sheds light on one’s inmost being.” The sooner we recognize this truth, the sooner we will acknowledge His presence and participation in our lives. We MUST start trying to see through His eyes, but before that happens, we MUST be willing to change whatever we see that does not align with Him and His will, whether in our lives or in the world. Even as we see it, we must ask the Spirit when and how to change things. Let’s not wait for Him to use physical consequences of our own actions to motivate us to change. Let’s not let this verse be our motto:

30 Blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being. OUCH!

Let’s be about the Father’s business today. Let’s communicate with Him on as many levels as we can so that we miss as little as possible that He is wanting to show us.

Abba, I pray for all who read my blog today that they will take to heart the seriousness of this message. I am trying, too. You have given me an urgency about these times to get the message out as quickly as possible. “Godly lives attract godless people to God.” With godliness comes the moral authority to share with them the Way. May we all make godliness our goal even as we make You our focus. Amen.

Proverbs 20 12-20-19

December 20, 2019

It all comes down to the walk: Are we walking with Jesus? Is He guiding us and teaching us every step of the way?

24a A person’s steps are directed by the LORD;

9a Who can say, ” I have kept my [own] heart pure?”

7a The righteous lead blameless lives;

27a The human spirit is where the LORD shines His light;

Why do we do the things we do? Most of what we do is out of routine. Maybe we need to scrutinize our routine to make sure it’s bringing God glory. Is He directing our path or are we just acting out of habit?

A lot of what we do is taught to us by our family and heritage. A good deal is taught by our culture/society. All of it hinges on how we interpret things according to our temperaments. As we can see, there’s a lot of margin for error in our system of learning. Where does God start?! He starts with the heart.

Let’s look at a passage of Scripture that explains what God does for us upon salvation. It is taken from a passage concerning the return of Israel that is still in process. God has chosen to save Israel one soul at a time rather than as a nation. Pray for them that they may hear His voice and respond to the Gospel just as we did!

26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit inside you; I will take the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh [that responds to Me].
27 I will put my Spirit inside you and cause you to live by my laws, respect my rulings and obey them. Ezekiel 36:26-27

Our desire as Christians is to respond to His voice, live by His laws, respect His commands and obey Him at every turn. If that desire is not in us, then we had better look at our salvation again and make sure that we have the Holy Spirit inside of us! Are we:

  • getting up in the morning hearing His call to sit down with Him and discuss His Word?
  • looking at our daily lives and working on getting rid of the things that we have learned from our family and culture that are contrary to what God desires?
  • listening closely to the Spirit as He directs our steps?
  • trying to die to self and live for Him?
  • rejoicing in the daily process, understanding that we are INTERACTING WITH GOD ALMIGHTY?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The book of Romans is a great letter to people who were not raised Jewish (that’s most of us). It explains what salvation is and what godliness is. In chapter 13, he tells us:

11 Besides all this [learning to love our neighbor as we love ourselves], you know at what point of history we stand [the times of the Gentiles may be nearing its end]; so it is high time for you to rouse yourselves from sleep; for the final deliverance is nearer than when we first came to trust. 12 The night is almost over, the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and arm ourselves with the weapons of light13 Let us live properly, as people do in the daytime — not partying and getting drunk, not engaging in sexual immorality and other excesses, not quarrelling and being jealous. 14 Instead, clothe yourselves with the Lord Yeshua [Jesus] the Messiah; and don’t waste your time thinking about how to provide for the sinful desires of your old nature.

Today, let us focus on Jesus and let everything else go. He will let us know what is worth keeping. He lives for interaction with us; let’s learn to live for interaction with Him.

Abba, I pledge myself today to You and Your will for my life. Even as I go about my daily routine, may You speak to me about what’s important and what is frivolous, what is helpful and what is harmful. May I always be ready to adjust my schedule and my agenda to match Yours. Interrupt me anytime, LORD. I am Your servant. Amen.

Proverbs 20 11-20-19

November 20, 2019

We must raise the idea of there being another way (THE Way), but we must leave the convincing/convicting up to God.

5 The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.

If you haven’t noticed, creation truths, especially new discoveries, are a favorite topic of mine. I thrill to learn something new about God’s creation and our world’s history. Why? Because they give me insights into what God is doing now and what will happen in the future.

I’ve yet to get into a full-blown argument with an evolutionist. I was berated once, but I held to my testimony of knowing Christ personally (Paul warns us in Titus 3:9-11 not to get into arguments with people about such things; there is no convincing them of the truth unless the Spirit is working on them) and that seemed to take the wind out of his sails. We left the conversation on equitable terms. I still pray for John that the Spirit would water the seed planted in him and grow the Gospel in his soul.

9 Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”?

Most people believe in evolution because that is what they have been taught. If they went to a public school, they have been brainwashed with it since kindergarten. They don’t really know how or why evolution works; it’s just all they know. We must keep in mind that we, too, were like them once:

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived [by lies] and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. Titus 3:3

Satan would have us believe the lie of evolution because it keeps us blind. We would like to believe evolution because it allows us to do as we please. We are both deceived and enslaved by it. How does a person become “undeceived” and then “unenslaved”? Only by the Spirit of God shining His light on that person’s soul.

The human spirit is the lamp of the LORD that sheds light on one’s inmost being. Proverbs 20:27

There is a note at the bottom of my Bible that says, “or, A person’s words are…” So, if we were to read the verse using the alternate meaning, it would read like this:

A person’s words are the lamp of the LORD that sheds light on one’s inmost being.

Building on this alternative translation, we can come to this conclusion: We have the opportunity through conversation (and sometimes confrontation) to shed light on a person’s soul. We plant a seed. That seed is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With this thought in mind, I have determined:

  1. To use creation vs. evolution as a springboard into a conversation with people.
  2. If I am confronted, then I will ask them if they are open to another way if the facts are there.
  3. If they are, then we can proceed. If they aren’t, then I will give my testimony (the quick version*) and close the conversation by changing the subject or leaving.

What we bank on is the next few verses in Titus 3 that God will do in them what He did in us:

4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 

Just as God saved US and called US out of the darkness, deception, and slavery, we pray for those with whom we come in contact to be convicted by the Holy Spirit. All it takes to get the ball rolling is for us to say something. We must assume that God brings people into our paths in order for us to share the Gospel through our testimony. Let’s learn how to get into conversations with folks!

Abba, it’s time. It’s time for Your church to get up and get going. We have the perfect opportunity with creation vs. evolution to begin conversations. May I practice what I preach as You lead me into conversations with people. I pray for John that You would work a mighty work in his life. May You grow the seed planted in his heart. May he open his mind to a new way of looking at things and then open his heart to Your kindness and love. Even if we make the devil and his followers mad, may we be strong and courageous! We are Your servants, O LORD. Use us for Your glory. Amen.

*I was once blind to the truth about God. I was deceived and enslaved by my own sin. But Jesus came into my heart, forgave me of all my wrongdoing, and made me right with God–and He’s still there! We walk through life together and He teaches me how to be like Him. I know He’s real because He lives in me.

Proverbs 20 10-20-19

October 20, 2019

We are all called to give an account for our lives. It would make things easier if we started now with someone.

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters,
    but one who has insight draws them out.

I see this verse working two ways:

  1. A person can look inside himself and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, draw insight and understanding about himself.
  2. A person can avail himself to another person, one he can trust, who can help him determine what is in his heart and what to do about it–according to the Spirit.

The need for someone to whom we are accountable is based upon verse 9:

Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure;
    I am clean and without sin”?

We can justify anything. When we can’t justify what we want, we blatantly do what we want, anyway. DESIRE is just too strong an opponent. Eve had the same problem:

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food [it looked delicious] and pleasing to the eye [sparkly and shiny], and also desirable for gaining wisdom [would make her like God-see verse 5], she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

What should have happened is that Adam should have reached over and knocked it from her hand. If she ate it before he could do that, then he should have counseled her to go before the LORD and confess what she had done. Instead, he allowed her to drag him down with her. Evidently the DESIRE was too great to overcome for him, too.

ON our own, we cannot overcome DESIRE. We need HELP. That help comes from the Holy Spirit. His Spirit in us gives us everything we need for godly living (see Heb. 13:20-21 and 2 Peter 1:3). At the same time, we sometimes need “God with skin on.” We need someone in whom we can trust and with whom we can share our weaknesses and burdens. Then, going to the Word of God, we approach the throne of grace and receive mercy and grace in our time of need (Heb. 4:16).

FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED.

PREPARATION IS 90% OF THE BATTLE.

Back in the 90’s, Promise Keepers was a great vehicle for accountability among men. They set up groups of four to six that met weekly for accountability and Bible study. Many good things came out of those groups.

Whether it’s one-on-one or in a group of 4-6, you might consider either forming or joining an accountability group. Solomon, the wisest man on earth, said,

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

I know this: It’s impossible to get a sound check by yourself. I also know that it’s impossible to live a perfectly righteous life without an objective opinion. I need accountability. So do you. Ask the LORD who He has in mind for you.

Abba, I thank You that Robin is my accountability partner. She holds my spiritual feet to Your fire. I also thank You for the men in my life who love me and ask me the hard questions. May I be that person for other men. Help me to pay it forward, Lord. Amen.

 

Proverbs 20 9-20-19

September 20, 2019

Double standards are tough! We have them and don’t even realize it. Let’s make sure our lives line up with His Word.

10 Differing weights and differing measures—the Lord detests them both.

Moses brought us the Sinai Covenant. It was forged by God’s hand on the tablets (Exodus 31:18) and written out in Hebrew. According to archeological and linguistic studies, the Hebrew language is the oldest language known besides hieroglyphics (which was really a picture language). Each Hebrew letter has a picture and a number attached to it, thus making it rich in meaning. The original version was more than likely developed by Joseph in the 1800’s B.C. and expanded by the LORD with the 10 Commandments in 1550 B.C. and, subsequently, by Moses as he dictated what God had him write down during his lifetime.

This covenant was all about having one standard: God’s standard of holiness.

Leviticus 19:1 The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.'”

Leviticus 20:7 “‘Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God.Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy.'”

The 10 Commandments are Exodus 20:1-17. The commands are a primer for holiness. In holiness, we find unity and oneness.  God commanded the Israelites to treat each other with respect:

Leviticus 19:18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

We have heard this verse before! Jesus quoted it in Matthew 22:39. God even commands for them to treat foreigners as fellow Israelites:

Leviticus 19:34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-bornLove them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

It’s interesting to note that God was interested in equality among the Israelites and even the foreigners (mostly Egyptians) that were among them. Remember our verse on double standards?

The point of the Law was to show us that we are a sinful people in need of a Savior. It was never designed to take away sin, but to cover sin. “Atonement” means, “to cover.” Jesus’ blood on the heavenly altar does more than just cover us: IT CLEANSES US! Let’s take a look at Hebrews (the book):

9:22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood,and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

10:4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

9:12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

7:24 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 for them.

The best verse for equality is Galatians 3:28,

28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

In Christ, we are all on the same playing field. We are heirs of God, co-heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17) and we will spend eternity together worshiping the LORD (Revelation 7:9-10). Let’s imitate Jesus, who loved everyone as His own, and make Him our Standard.

Dear Lord Jesus, may I weigh every opinion, every judgement, today by asking the Holy Spirit His opinion. May You speak to my heart so that I will be able to test and approve what Your will is–Your good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2). Whether it’s eating habits, what I watch on TV, what I say about others,  help me to have ONE STANDARD: YOURS, O Lord. Following You, Amen.