Archive for the ‘Chapter 22’ Category

Proverbs 22 11-22-19

November 22, 2019

As Christians, are we ready for “hard times”? Do we really lean on Him for life and strength? It’s important to know now.

4 Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life.

In the Old Testament, it was all about obedience. Their relationship with the LORD was not nearly what God had in mind. People associated worldly blessings of health, riches and long life with God’s blessing. Little did they know that those things are always a means to an end and that each person’s health, riches and life span are determined by several factors, not the least being God’s plan for each person (also included are a person’s willingness and other people’s decisions).

The New Testament, though, is about God coming to live INSIDE each person. We become little mobile temples where God resides! On the day Jesus died–at the very moment He breathed his last– the veil in the temple was torn in two. From all I’ve read, this veil was 30 feet wide and 30 feet tall and about six inches thick. To tear this veil would have taken modern machinery (or a lot of animals yoked together), Yet it was torn from the top to the bottom. The significance of this event is displayed 52 days later at the Feast of Pentecost:

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the rushing of a mighty wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Acts 2:1-4

  1. This “place” was probably Solomon’s colonnade, which was an area of steps with columns; each place between the columns was called a “room.” This area was to the side of the court of the Gentiles and led to the marketplace. A strategic place for the Holy Spirit to come upon them, yes?
  2. Look at who all were there (1:13-14): The disciples and other men along with the women who went with Jesus and cared for the group’s needs (Mark 15:41). Mary, Jesus’ mother is mentioned as well as Jesus’ brothers (James and Jude and the others).
  3. They ALL were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in someone’s native language (v.6)–women included! The men went to the men’s court while the women went to the women’s court, both of which would be just past the Gentile court, which would have been filled, too. That is, if they even got out of the Gentile court…!
  4. The correlation has been drawn concerning the tongues of fire with the pillar of fire that was above the Israelites in the wilderness. That cloud by day and pillar of fire by night was the presence of God with the Israelites. ALL of them would have gotten the correlation, especially if it formed above them and then split into little flames that came to rest on each of them: 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.

The point I would like to make from this event is THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD WAS IN EACH OF THEM. Salvation is NOT a decision we make with our heads; it’s a response to an invitation to come–or, rather, a request to enter. Without the Holy Spirit making Himself known through conviction, and many times a true presence, there is nothing we can do concerning salvation. With conviction comes our own conviction to give ALL to Christ. If left to our own decision, then we could be saved without giving up everything–and that’s what it takes to be saved.

What would happen if, instead of telling someone all the benefits of being saved, we told them how hard it was going to be, but that it is well worth it to have Jesus in them? Then, instead of asking them to pray a prayer, we instructed them to get alone, to fall on their knees and begin to give God everything as each idol, stronghold, and pet sin came to mind? What if we told them to cry out to God for His mercy until they felt Him come in and save them? Indeed, we would have fewer salvations, but the ones we got would be REAL!!! We would know it and they would know it!

I pray you have had an encounter with the LORD Jesus through His Spirit. I pray that You feel His presence in your life and that He talks to you through prayer, His Word, other Christians, and through circumstances. Our constant use and participation in these areas are true evidence of salvation.

Abba, may we take back the kingdom through bold witnessing and by turning up the fire, so to speak, on how a person gets saved. It has been watered down through the past century to the point that culture has crept into Your church. As our world becomes more and more polarized concerning Christianity, I pray that You will call us out as bold ambassadors for You. I look at what you have done in China and ask for that same boldness. I don’t ask for hard times, Abba, but I am ready for them thanks to You. May Your will be done. Amen.

Proverbs 22 10-22-19

October 22, 2019

What is the foundation on which we build our lives? Is it rock or sand?

Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

In 2005, a poll was conducted by Barna, a reputable and thorough Christian polling company, of the number of children who were raised in Christian homes who quit following the Lord after one year at college. The number was an alarming 80%. It’s even worse now!

What happened? There was/is something wrong with their foundation. At first glance, one might say that their knowledge base was wrong, and to an extent, this is true. Unless a young person is grounded in the SCIENCE of a young earth and the Great Flood, he will have a difficult time enduring and succeeding in keeping his faith in today’s VERY secular college world. Many professors will blatantly tell the students that their goal is to make them into evolutionists by destroying the platform of their faith, and these professors are very good at it. We MUST do a better job of equipping our students with information that will give them the foundation to stand firm against such onslaughts. But, this topic is for another time.

The bedrock foundation for every Christian is the love of God. HE loves us, and HE desires a relationship with us. HE takes up residence in our hearts and lives, and HE speaks to us constantly. It is HIS voice that wakes us up each day, HIS voice that guides us during the day, and HIS voice that quiets our souls to go to sleep at night.

My son [child], do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son [child] he delights in. Proverbs 3:11-12.

Just before Moses died, he gave a great sermon. It is the book of Deuteronomy. In it, we find some real gems:

However, the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you. Deut. 23:5

Surely it is you [LORD] who love the people; all the holy ones are in your hand. At your feet they all bow down, and from you receive instruction,” Deut. 33:3

[Moses gave a blessing to each of the tribes] About Benjamin he said: “Let the [My] beloved of the LORD [an intimate term of endearment] rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders [as a lamb rests on the shoulders of his shepherd].” Deut. 33:12

These were the children of the arrogant, ignorant, stiff-necked people that God led out of Egypt and called them His own children. This generation’s foundation was built on the Word of God given to them by God Himself, led by God Himself in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, who fed them Himself with manna from heaven, and spoke to them through Moses in the tent of meeting. They walked with God. They had experience on their side.

The question is, have we taught our children to walk with God? It’s not about the rules; it’s about the relationship. It’s not about what other people think about us, i.e. our reputation, nor is it about what embarrasses us (again, our reputation). Do we encourage them to ask God what to do? How to respond? In what to invest their time, money, talents, and relationships? I’m not talking about independence. I’m talking about interdependence, where we teach them to transfer their dependence from us to Him. We, as Christians, are never to be independent.

Because God loves us and desires an intimate relationship with us, He made it happen through Jesus so that His Spirit can now live in our hearts. Once we accept Him as our Lord and Savior, He takes up residence within us and begins a life-long process of sanctification: Becoming like Jesus. We feel His love all the time: Happy love, sad love, joyful love, warning love, quieting love, encouraging love, etc. We learn the language of His love through His Word, the Bible. It is His love letter to us.

Let’s make it a point today to read His love letters and look for the ways He expresses His love to us. Let’s listen for His voice as we go through our day, and obey Him in everything. It’s all about the relationship. As we demonstrate to our children and the people around us what an authentic relationship with Jesus is all about, we can teach them to have one, too. Then, when our children go to college, they have Him with them to help them overcome the lies and deceptions and traps that have been set for them by the enemy.

Abba, I love to hear Your voice speaking to me. It is what I live for. I can endure all things because I KNOW that You have my life in Your hands. I want to be a useful vessel for You. You are the Potter, and I am the clay. Mold me and make me into Your image, O Blessed Father. Thank You, Jesus, for making it happen. Thank You, Spirit, for living in me. Let’s GO! Amen.

 

 

Proverbs 22 9-22-19

September 22, 2019

With great power comes great responsibility. Why? Because we answer to God for how we treat each other.

(2) Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all.

In Ezekiel 34, The LORD is chastising the leadership of Israel for taking advantage of the people. They were using their power for themselves rather than for the people. The LORD said,

“I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.” Ezekiel 34:16

This verse is much like a passage in Isaiah 61, one that Jesus quotes as He began His ministry:

14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to [bind up the brokenhearted], to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,
19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

If it is Jesus who does the gathering, then this passage does NOT pertain to the Dispersion when the Jews came back to Jerusalem after being in captivity, but to the lost sheep of the world–Jews and Gentiles alike. The Lord continues: in Ezekiel 34:

23 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. 24 I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken.

In chapter 37, the Lord uses sticks to represent the uniting of Judah and the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel (which hasn’t happened, yet). He says,

24 “‘My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees.'”

Whether king or prince (the terms are interchangeable), it is clear that David himself will rule with Christ in the Millennial kingdom. Jeremiah 30 confirms this fact:

Instead, they will serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them. Jeremiah 30:9

The most interesting thing to me is the word play that Jesus used concerning the passage in Psalm 110,

41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”

“The son of David,” they replied.

43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,

44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
    under your feet.”’

45 If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.

We know that Jesus is a descendant of David both on Mary’s side and Joseph’s side. Jesus was claiming to be above David. If He had wanted, He could have quoted the Scriptures in Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel about David ruling with Him in Jerusalem in the Millennium! Upon His Second Coming, all things will change. What a future He has prepared for us!

With this future in mind, we prepare for the future, but we don’t hold onto the things of this world very tightly. Let’s be about the Father’s business today, shall we?

Lord Jesus, I worship You today for who You are and for the plans You have for this world and all mankind. May I keep my eyes focused upon You as I go about my daily tasks knowing that You could return any minute and usher in the Millennial kingdom. I look forward to singing with David at Your throne! In the meantime, may I lead the people in Your praise today. Amen.