Archive for the ‘Chapter 24’ Category

Proverbs 24 11-24-19

November 24, 2019

How is your vineyard today? Have you been taking care of it? Though we are saved by grace, there is work to do.

30 I went past the field of a sluggard, past the vineyard of someone who has no sense; 31 thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. 32 I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: 33 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest– 34 and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.

We are smart when we learn from experience; we are wise when we learn from other people’s experience. Let’s take a lesson from the sluggard in this story and consider our spiritual lives as the vineyard. What happened to this man’s spiritual life?

Answer: He didn’t take care of it.

How about us? How well do we maintain our “garden”? Is salvation the only thing there is until we go to heaven? Granted, we are saved by grace and not by works. I ran across this verse in my reading: “For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.” Romans 3:28. At the same time, we are told to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12b. How so? We work our salvation (that which is already done for us) from the inside out. The Spirit is inside us, so let’s learn to show Him on the outside by becoming transparent. The more we align ourselves with the LORD, the clearer people see Him through us.

What in your life is keeping you from being transparent? Give it to Jesus and allow Him to deal with it. He may take it away; He may shape it a bit differently; He may even transform it into a powerful spiritual tool. It’s all up to Him, but it’s up to you to give it to Him. It’s all part of our spiritual sanctification–our transformation into the image of Christ. It’s how we take care of our garden. In fact, giving Jesus our lives is a daily thing, not unto salvation, but unto transformation.

Want to get the most out of your salvation? Walk with him and talk with Him; learn from Him and worship Him. It’s all about the relationship.

Abba, a lot of times I don’t know what You’re saying to me, but I do know that just being with You is enough in those times. May I continue to sense Your presence as I walk through each day. I know that You speak to my heart and my heart can hear. I look forward to the day when I can hear You plainly. Until then, I will follow You as best I can, mistakes and all. Help me keep my vineyard shipshape, LORD. Amen.

I pray that you will have a grand worship experience in church today.

Proverbs 24 10-24-19

October 24, 2019

Relationships require maintenance. A quick checkup of yourself goes a long way.

27 Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.

I have always taken this verse to heart concerning priorities. It makes sense to make sure that we have a steady income before we go spending it. I am thinking that we may be able to apply this verse to our daily walk, as well. Here are some questions we can ask ourselves:

  1. Who do I want to please today? If it’s the LORD, then good. If I am feeling selfish and self-centered, I need to rebuke those feelings and ask the Spirit to fill me with His Presence and His desires.
  2. Have I taken time to read God’s Word? What we don’t understand is just how important His words are to our lives. They impart life; it’s like eating, only spiritually. We are wired to receive nourishment several times a day. We are wired to feed on His words in the same way. Note cards, phone reminders, sticky notes, etc. go a long way in giving us “snacks” during the day.
  3. Am I okay with those who are close to me? If we went to bed last night with hard feelings or unresolved issues between someone we love, then we need to pray hard about fixing those problems before a root of bitterness sets in, either in us or in them.

The danger of NOT asking ourselves questions like these everyday is given to us in the last verses of this chapter:

30 I went past the field of a sluggard,
    past the vineyard of someone who has no sense;
31 thorns had come up everywhere,
    the ground was covered with weeds,
    and the stone wall was in ruins.
32 I applied my heart to what I observed
    and learned a lesson from what I saw:
33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest
34 and poverty will come on you like a thief
    and scarcity like an armed man.

One day skipped leads to two occasionally, which leads to three, which leads to more days skipped than applied. Before we realize it, our “vineyard” is in a shambles. We “forget” that we have an enemy. That wall of protection is to keep the “varmints” out. The pruning God does in our lives is to make us more productive. Weeding is just part of the daily process while in this world.

Today, let’s spend time with the Father enjoying His presence, participation, and sweet fellowship. Let’s ask ourselves these questions and be in the best shape spiritually we can possibly be today.

Abba, I ask these questions of myself today. May I take my own medicine and apply them to my daily life–today! I once again give my life to You for You “to have and to hold,” to do with as You will. I am Yours. I love You and I KNOW You love me! Amen.

“…and find out what pleases the Lord.” Ephesians 5:10

Proverbs 24 9-24-19

September 24, 2019

Being made in God’s image has its advantages and its disadvantages. Judging others is definitely a downside.

Whoever plots evil will be known as a schemer. The schemes of folly are sin, and people detest a mocker.

Most of us don’t consider ourselves as plotters of evil. While we don’t sit around devising schemes to steal money or kill someone, there is another form of evil that tends to infiltrate our thoughts. When we do ANYTHING that is NOT SPIRIT-DRIVEN, we are acting in our own power and our own will. We deny the Spirit’s authority in our lives and we miss His way. We may have cleaned up our actions, but our thoughts betray how far we have to go in being like Jesus.

Jesus spelled it out to us in Matthew 7,

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Here’s the thing: What is God working on in a person’s life? His past? His upbringing? His habits? His attitude? His thoughts? His words? His deeds? In other words, we don’t know. Sometimes, they don’t even know. Add to this predicament difficult circumstances and we wonder what God is doing!

We must remember that:

  1. God is sovereign, which means that He is always in control. We will NEVER fall through the cracks concerning Him and His concern for us.
  2. God created the natural laws and we live according to them. He works within those natural laws (in other words, we all die) and rarely circumvents them. He WILL work everything according to His will concerning people’s salvation, but not necessarily for our physical benefit. It usually has to do with influence and witness. In fact, He may even use our deaths to reach others for Christ. Are we willing to go there with Him?
  3. He is much more concerned with our walk with Him than us living a perfect life. We must remember that it’s all about the relationship!

When we get impatient with other brothers and sisters in Christ, we are imposing expectations* on God and them. We expect God to work on the same things in their lives that He is working on in ours. WE CANNOT DO THAT. He may be doing a much deeper work in them, in which case our expectation is unwarranted. If we persist in our judgement of them, we are into sin. In fact, we border on becoming a mocker, which has all kinds of consequences,

God opposes [takes up a boxer’s stance against] the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Proverbs 3:34 and James 4:6

The LORD detests the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. Proverbs 16:5

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

Penalties are prepared for mockers, and beatings for the backs of fools. Proverbs 19:29

One of the main reasons for learning to not be judgemental is the fall-out. When our expectations are not met, then we become angry, disappointed, callous, spiteful, and eventually bitter. We shut out those people who “don’t measure up.” We hold them in contempt and speak unkindly about them and even to them. We become the very thing for which we hold them in judgement, which is unChristlikeness.

Here’s what Paul instructs us to do when we find ourselves standing in judgement of others:

(30) Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (31) [How?] Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling [fighting, both physical and verbal] and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4:30-31

That’s the removal; here’s the replacement:

(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. (32) Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:29, 32

How do we go about actually doing these things? We allow the Spirit to do it FOR us. We ask Him to flush out all ungodly thoughts and feelings. We ask Him to replace them with the joy of our salvation, the peace that He bestows upon His children, and to teach us to love as He loves, which means seeing others as He sees us: His precious children who are being groomed to reign with Him. Let’s get started today, shall we?

Abba, I pray that TODAY we might have victory in our lives concerning judgemental attitudes and having expectations of others. I’ll be first, LORD. I confess to being impatient and a bit harsh (unfiltered words) with someone(s) in my flock. I will apologize. Help me to be patient and long-suffering with them as they work through a life’s worth of history as You call them forward and upward. I pray that my brothers and sisters in Christ will have your own attitude with each other. May we be Christ to each other, LORD. Amen.

*There are three kinds of negative expectations:

  1. Unspoken-We expect the other person to intuitively know what we want.
  2. Unrealistic-What we are expecting is not logical or attainable.
  3. Unmet-We don’t get what we want–or expect–so we get angry, impatient, etc.