Proverbs 26 7-26-20

King David was a man after God’s own heart. We show we are after God’s heart through obedience to His Word.

28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.

In this case, a lying tongue belongs to the person who says he or she loves God, but doesn’t do as He commands. Jesus said,  “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” Luke 6:46. God interprets our love by our actions. Why, you might ask? Consider:

  1. Had God not loved us enough to send His Son, His one and only Son, to rescue us, we would die in our sins, separated forever from Him.
  2. Without Jesus dying for our sins, we would have no Holy Spirit in us.
  3. Without the Holy Spirit in our lives, we would not know God.
  4. The Spirit’s job is to ready us as a bride is prepared for her groom. The Spirit is transforming us making us holy, righteous, blameless and spotless, and is preparing us for our Savior as His Bride. To NOT do what He says implies that we really do not want to be married to the Son.

If a person lived by only the words of Jesus in the Gospels, then he would still live a life worthy of the LORD. But, He has given us the Tanach (the Old Testament), the writings of Luke telling the story of the spread of the Gospel in Acts, and the letters of Paul, Peter, James (Jesus’ half brother), John, and the writer of Hebrews, as well. We have a wealth of knowledge and wisdom at our fingertips–and that’s without our phones and computers!

Today as we worship, may we consider this verse:

7 I will praise You with an upright heart as I learn Your righteous laws. Psalm 119:7

  1. Let us praise Him!
  2. Our upright heart comes from the Spirit working in us: It [the grace of God, which is His Spirit in us] teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,”
  3. Learning His laws, statutes, ways, precepts, decrees, commands, and word will teach us God’s character. What is God’s character?
    1. He is righteous; we have been given the righteousness of God Himself (2 Corinthians 5:21).
    2. He is holy, and has called us to be like Him: Holy. “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16

I want to be just like Him. How about you? We become like Him when we read His words and put them into practice. Earlier, I quoted Luke 6:46. Let’s look at the rest of the passage:

47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

Let’s come to Him today. Let’s “hear” His words as we read them, as we hear them read from the pulpit, as we speak them to each other in Bible study, and then put them into practice. We will be filling God’s “love tank,” and we will be avoiding a whole lot of heartache, detours, and pitfalls.

Abba, bless us as we read Your Word. Make it come alive to us and in us today, O LORD. May we hear Your commands and then set about doing them. Call many to Yourself through us as we show the world that You are worth serving. We love You; may we SHOW You by our obedience. Amen.

Proverbs 26 6-26-20

Listening to the right people makes all the difference in what we believe. Listening to the Spirit is what 1 John 2:18-27 is about!

23 Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware
    are fervent lips with an evil heart.
24 Enemies disguise themselves with their lips,
    but in their hearts they harbor deceit.
25 Though their speech is charming, do not believe them,
    for seven abominations fill their hearts.
26 Their malice may be concealed by deception,
    but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.

These verses are scary. They reveal to us that people deliberately try to deceive us and trick us and lead us astray. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15). There were people like that in the churches of John’s day, and there are people like that in our churches, too! We recognize them by this statement, “I don’t see why…” Many a deception is both exposed and given beginning with those words. They don’t see because they have no spiritual discernment.

Tests #5 and #6 are in our text for today. #5 is found in 1 John 2:19, They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”

#5 Is the Gospel (following Jesus) permanent in your life?

In the parable of the Sower and the Seed, the second seed heard the Gospel and responded to it with great joy, but when they were faced with either persecution or “change” in general, they forsook the Gospel and went back to their old life (Mark 4:17). Did they ever know the LORD? Were they ever filled with His Spirit? According to John, they didn’t and weren’t. The way I see it, when a person throws open the door of his heart and invites Jesus inside, He stands at the threshold with His hand out waiting for two things: the deed to his house and the master key to every room. Until Jesus  receives those two things, He is at the door, but not in the heart. True salvation comes ONLY when the person is willing to give Jesus those two things. It’s positional. Once we have done that, Christ comes in and our salvation becomes relational. We daily renew our commitment to Him and He daily fills us with His Spirit.

Test #6 has to do with those who would mislead the brethren, I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

#6 Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ?

All Jews knew what “Christ” meant. The Gentiles may or may not have. It means, “Anointed One.” It refers to the Messiah of the Jews. We know that God always intended to extend His salvation to all people through the Messiah (Genesis 12:3). Salvation comes through no other name than Jesus (Acts 4:12).

How do we know that we are saved? The Holy Spirit confirms it in our hearts (Romans 8:16). In fact, you don’t need me to teach you anything, for the Spirit will lead you into all truth and remind you of everything that Jesus has said (John 14:26). His anointing talked about in verses 26 and 27 IS THE HOLY SPIRIT. Let us “remain in Him.”

NOTE: For a full exposition on the word, “remain/abide,” go to The Spirit Within, chapter 7.

Abba, I ask that You fill my readers with Your presence, thus confirming their salvation. I ask that You call them to participate in what You are doing in the world around them. May they “see” you at work and join You in it. Bless them greatly, O LORD, as they walk with You and commune with You. I will do the same. Amen.

Proverbs 26 5-26-20

Yesterday, we began the Top 10 Things I Would Like to Say.
Their importance is not necessarily rated, but their order has a flow to it. They move from initial contact to ultimate destiny.

  1. Absolute truth is based upon empirical, changeless evidence. When followed to its logical conclusion, it must stand the closest scrutiny.
  2. Debating Evolution vs. Creation does no one any good unless a person is willing to consider that the other person may be right (see #1).
  3. Faith comes by hearing; are you ready to listen?
  4. Why I believe in Jesus.
  5. We are designed to create, but not by ourselves. The Spirit wants to create with us through the Indwelling and Filling!
  6. Every decision we make shifts our direction, vision, and course. How much depends upon the decision, and how long depends upon our own stubbornness.
  7. Jesus is Jewish.
  8. We owe quite a debt to Israel.
  9. Jesus is coming soon! How do we get ready?
  10. What awaits us in heaven?

Today, we look at number two,

Debating Evolution vs. Creation does no one any good unless a person is willing to consider that the other person may be right.

 26:3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the backs of fools!
18:2 Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.
26:12 Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.

I have done extensive research into Evolution vs. Creation; I have 150+ slides with explanations of why Creation is true and Macro-Evolution is not. I have great reasons and explanations as to why I believe in a literal six-day creation. I have loads of data on the worldwide flood of Noah. So, I began to write out my beginning argument–and WHAM. God opened my eyes to this: If a person is not willing to consider that I may be right, then he will not “hear” a word I say. If he is not looking for truth, then no amount of truth will convince him. So, I shut it all down and put it away until the LORD calls me to get it out.

There’s only one way a person will even consider truth, and that is if the Holy Spirit calls him to it. I believe that every person has the opportunity to choose Christ at some point in his life. But, I also believe that many won’t–and God knows who they are. He doesn’t make them not choose Christ; He simply knows they won’t because He is omniscient. And, because He is omnipotent, He causes all things to work for the good of those who DO choose Him and according to His good purpose in spite of those who are enemies of the cross.

Since I am NOT omniscient nor omnipotent, I trust that God will use me as His instrument to bring a person to Christ, or to be a witness whose testimony will ultimately be used against that person at judgement when my testimony is played back and any excuse the person may have had evaporates. I view every person I talk to as a potential brother or sister in Christ. I try to follow the Spirit’s leadership when talking to someone. Sometimes, I drop a nugget of knowledge; other times, I get into a conversation about spiritual things. A lot of times, I am told to keep my mouth shut and keep moving. I can only trust that God is keeping me away from scoffers and mockers. I always pray for them. 

Heed the Father’s words:

23:9 Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.

9:7 Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.

Matthew 7:6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” – Jesus

If a person is willing to listen with an open mind, then I consider him under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. He may not realize it, yet, but God is working on his heart. Every word I share from that point on must be designed to show him God: His attributes, His love, and His Son. I can win the argument, but lose the war if I offend him or humiliate him. If he is truly interested in hearing the truth, then he may be interested in hearing about God’s plan for his life.

Also, regardless of how many facts I have, they don’t hold a candle to my own personal testimony about my relationship with the Father through the Son via the Holy Spirit. It’s the part of the story that moves from the intellect to the heart. If the LORD doesn’t confirm in his heart what I am saying, then the person has no conviction of his sin and separation. If there is no conviction, then there is no way for the person to come to Christ. Jesus must be knocking on his heart’s door. It may simply not be time, yet. The statistic is that a person will be exposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ seven times before making the decision to follow Him. I am usually number 2, 3, or 4. I see my job as opening a person’s mind to truth by revealing God to him in ways he may not have previously been presented–according to the Scriptures. Clarity is essential to understanding. The Holy Spirit makes things clear.

From my journal this morning:

If we never learn another thing about the history of the world and the universe, it would not affect the way we live our lives. What matters most is what we do with Jesus. He has the power to save us from our sins and to release us from our chains. Through Him we can have a relationship with God!

  • Believe that HE is the Son of God who came from heaven to die in our place.
  • Believe that He is the Lamb of God who is the perfect sacrifice that takes away our sin.
  • Believe that He is the Priest of God who lives forever, sits at the right hand of God, and intercedes for us to the Father.
  • Believe that He is the King of kings who is coming back to restore all things.
  • Believe that He is the LORD of lords and will rule all the earth.
  • Believe that He is the Judge of all mankind, the living and the dead, and will dispense justice.
  • Believe that He is the Messiah, Savior of Israel and all who believe on Him and in Him for salvation, life, and even our next breath.

As you are made aware of who Christ is and your sinful condition, do you regret your sins and your broken relationship with God? Will you turn from your sinful, self-centered ways and turn to Christ for forgiveness? He’s standing at the door of your heart. Will you let Him in? Are you willing to live for Christ from now on?

Abba, I pray for all who read this post that they would know You. Make Yourself known to them. Reveal Yourself, LORD! Call them to walk with You daily, continuously. May we move from glory to greater glory as we gain insight and understanding, wisdom and knowledge, discernment and prudence. May today be all about You, LORD Jesus. Amen.

Proverbs 26 4-26-20

When discerning God’s voice, we need to know what it DOESN’T sound like. The enemy is the Deceiver, right?

12 Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Thinking we can do life on our own is what got mankind into this mess in the first place! We never learn to be independent from God. In fact, it’s just the opposite! We are to become COMPLETELY dependent upon the Spirit. It’s the interaction between our spirits and His that makes Christianity useful, vital, and exactly what Jesus intended it to be.

The book, HEARING GOD, by Peter Lord, is a wonderful book and gives great instruction using Scripture as its base. Here is an excerpt from a worksheet Robin made for her Bible Study class:

“Some well-meaning Christians tell us that ‘many things are necessary’ to grow spiritually. But, we must remember that it was the Lord Jesus Christ who said, ‘only one thing is necessary.'”

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

Mary was seated at the Lord’s feet listening to His words. What does that look like today?

Here are some verses that validate the reading of Scripture as our way of hearing from God today:

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24

23 Jesus replied, Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. 25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:23-26

So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. 2 Thessalonians 2:15

All Scripture is God-breathed [from the mouth of God] and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

From Scripture and from God’s voice within us, we can expect to hear words of encouragement and conviction.

We will NOT hear words of discouragement and condemnation. These words are from the devil, the Deceiver.

Tomorrow, we will look at specific verses from Scripture that tell us exactly what the voice of God is saying to His Church, His Bride. Trust me, you will want to know these! Today, let us focus on spending time with Him in worship. Sing praises, tell Him you love Him, and devote yourself to Him. Come to “church” with us at Brookwood today at 9:30 on Youtube. The other thing you might do is join me for Sunday’s Cool (online Sunday School) at 11:00 on Facebook. Of course, both of these can be viewed at your convenience.

Abba, as we find ways to worship You today, may we long for the day when we will be able to meet together and praise you as Your church and as Your family. The fellowship we share in person is what church is all about! You have told us that where two or more are gathered in Your name, You are there! Your glorious presence is manifested in a supernatural way. I long for that taste of what heaven will be like when we stand together in Your presence, O LORD. It’s gonna be AWESOME! In the meantime, bless us today with the intimate fellowship of Your Spirit. Amen.

Proverbs 26 3-26-20

Having trouble reading your Bible everyday? We have an enemy who wants to keep us far away from it! Don’t let him win.

13 A sluggard says, “There’s a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets.”

We may not consider ourselves sluggards, i.e. lazy persons, but when it comes to reading God’s Word, more Christians don’t than do. The sluggard in this verse is “forecasting.” Forecasting is when we think of something that MAY happen and act as if it is already true. In this case, he used his own fear as an excuse not to get out of the house.

The irony is that we are being ENCOURAGED to stay inside during the current “crisis.” God’s Word tells us to be obedient to our local authorities, but it doesn’t mean that we cannot continue to encourage each other in the LORD. We have a grand opportunity with all this extra time at home to spend some quality time with the LORD reading our Bibles.

A great place to start is Psalm 119:18, which says, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” There are several things I would like for you to do:

  1. Open your own Bible and read it for yourself. Hint: It’s nearly in the middle of your Bible.
  2. Mark it with a pen or highlighter.
  3. Interchange the word “law” with other words: commands, statutes, decrees, ways, precepts, word, promise, counsel, truths. David does throughout this psalm.
  4. Jump down to verse 24 and add, “through the Holy Spirit.”

If your interest is piqued, then go back to verses 9-16. You will find:

  1. How to stay pure in God’s eyes (9).
  2. The best way to find God (10).
  3. A great verse to memorize (11).
  4. Praise (12)!
  5. A verse about memorization (13).
  6. Joy in living the Christian life (14).
  7. The best way to live our Christian life (15).
  8. What God does for us when we read His Word (16).

If God thought enough about it (the Bible) and us to write down how to get to know Him and then protect it for 3500 years, then I think that we should make it our highest priority to read it, learn it, and obey it. As long as we are in connection with Him, we can’t go wrong!

Let’s redeem the time at home and spend time reading His Word, meditating on it, and putting it into action. Things like, “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” Philippians 2:14-16a

Abba, I want to be blameless and pure, without fault, and shine like stars in the sky. I know the only way to get there is to hold firmly to Your Word. Thank You that You speak to me through Your Word. I can almost hear Your voice as I read! Speak to my heart, LORD Jesus, speak that my soul may hear. I will obey you–it’s how I become blameless! Lead on, O King! This servant follows. Amen.

Proverbs 26 2-26-20

What we know or don’t know about heaven shapes how we live our lives. Our VISION determines our hope.

Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, honor is not fitting for a fool.

Without a clear view of heaven, God’s reality and ours, we tend to lower our sights and work to make this world work for us. There is so much more than just what we see! The kingdom of heaven, which is this earth, the first heaven (the sky), and the second heaven (the sun, moon and stars–space), are separated from the kingdom of God, which is where God lives and saints from this world reside–for a while! Soon, Jesus will come and establish His kingdom here on earth and we will be with Him:

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” Revelation 11:15

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. Revelation 12:10

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. Revelation 21:2

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

God’s overall plan is to live together with us forever. Most people know this part. What they miss are the particulars, such as:

  • Where will we live?
  • Will we have real bodies?
  • Will we keep our identity?
  • Will we know each other?
  • Will we work?
  • Will we do anything besides be part of a huge worship service?
  • Will there be animals?

The answer to all these questions is YES! Tomorrow, we will look at some Scriptures that give us the answers to these questions. For today, let us focus on this verse:

Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint;
    but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction. Proverbs 29:18

The King James Version reads,

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

From these two versions, we can deduce:

  1. If we don’t have a firm concept of where we are going and what God intends for us, then we will wander from God’s path to His glorious future.
  2. We are blessed and happy when we keep His goals and His Plan in mind. Why? Because we can interpret our circumstances and our beliefs according to what He has promised rather than what we see and what we are told (lies and deception by Satan).
  3. We gain hope through our understanding of how God works in this world and what He has planned for His Church, His Bride. Consider this passage:

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen,
    what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
    the things God has prepared for those who love him—

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

Let us pray for the Spirit to reveal to us more of His Plan. There is MUCH about it in the Word of God, so tomorrow we will look at some of those passages.

Abba, please reveal to us aspects of Your Plan that will inspire us to live for You. We pray for revival, which is basically Your bride resetting our sights on You and what You are doing in this world. May we join You in what You are doing, Lord Jesus. Help us to “fix our eyes on You, the Author and Finisher of our faith.” Amen.

 

 

Proverbs 26 1-26-20

READ EARLY: Jesus asks, “What is in your heart? I know, but do you?” Times of worship reveal to us our own hearts.

26 Their malice may be concealed by deception,
    but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.

This verse is part of several (24-26) and usually has to do with wolves in sheep’s clothing. Today, we are using it to describe what happens in worship when the child of God gets into the presence of God.

Malice- “desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another, either because of a hostile impulse or out of deep-seated meanness.” We’ve all been here, whether we wanted to inflict actual physical pain upon someone or verbal pain. We have hoped for and taken pleasure in someone else’s misfortune (however small)–and we’ve done it at church! Our natures don’t change just because we entered a building.

Deception- “to mislead by a false appearance or statement.” We’ve all put on the “spiritual front” when going to church, acting as if all is well at home, at work, in our marriage, families, finances, school, the ball team, health, etc. when it really isn’t. We all have sung the songs and prayed the prayers appearing to mean every word when, in fact, we haven’t cracked a bible in weeks, nor have we spent any time with the LORD preparing our hearts.

As we go to church today and the Bible is read from the pulpit, the quarterly, or even displayed on a wall, may the Holy Spirit come upon us with power and conviction. May these words become real to us:

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13

Lest we get the idea that God means us harm or is looking for a reason to punish us, I make sure that the next verses are presented with the first two:

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.

The kicker is that we ALWAYS are in “our time of need.” We sing, “Lord, I need You.” and, “I need Thee every hour,” and it’s true. Once we get it into our heads and our hearts that we are COMPLETELY dependent upon Him for EVERYTHING, we will worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

Let’s start early today by ‘fessing up to God BEFORE we go to church. Let’s align ourselves with Him through His Word and through prayer. Begin with the above verses if you don’t have a special place to read. Allow Him to reveal your heart to you. Ask for His mercy and His grace. Allow Him to pour His love and compassion on you and receive His forgiveness. It’s all waiting for you at the throne.

Abba, I fall into this category many times when I get caught up in details rather than focusing on You and Your love, Your mercy and grace. I forget that You are waiting for me so that You can reveal Yourself to me. May I take the time today even as the youth lead the music to worship You in Spirit and in truth. Amen.

 

Proverbs 26 12-26-19

What’s the difference between a believer and a follower of Jesus Christ? One believes in Christ; the other HAS Christ.

7 Like the useless legs of one who is lame is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.

Let’s rephrase this verse: Like the useless legs of one who is lame is the Gospel in the head but not the heart.

I am always amazed when a Christian gets “saved again.” What actually happens is a person makes an intellectual decision to follow Christ without actually forsaking his sin and self and trusting Christ to save him. There was no calling by the Spirit, thus there was no transaction of forgiveness and filling. The person was not saved to begin with.

12 Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.

I have a friend whose testimony is that he had everyone fooled; he could play the game of having everyone think that he was a Christian, but he was still in control of his own life. He enjoyed it! Then, one day, the Holy Spirit came to him and convicted him of his sin of pride and arrogance; he repented and received the Holy Spirit into his life and was, indeed, gloriously saved! We must remember Jesus’s own words, No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them,” John 6:44, and “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” John 6:65.

He knows our hearts and He knows when we are ready to do business. It’s not just about being forgiven of our sins, or about going to heaven when we die; it’s about having Jesus in our hearts as LORD!

Every once in a while, I try my hand at writing out a scenario of what I would say to a lost person or group. Here’s my latest attempt:

In a moment, I will ask you if you want to entrust yourself to Jesus as Lord of your life, but first, let me tell you what He’s done for you. You are made in the image of God and are designed to love Him and be loved by Him in an eternal relationship.

Enter sin. Our rebellious nature causes us to reject God and His authority in our lives. Because of our sin, we are enemies of God and we have to die–unless someone will die in our place as a substitute for us.

Enter Jesus. God came to earth as Jesus to die in our place. That’s how much God loves us! Because Jesus was human, He died, but because He was also God, He rose from the dead after three days! He has broken the power of sin and death for all who will trust in Him and ask Him to be their Savior and Lord.

You have just heard the Good News of Jesus Christ. Is the Spirit of Jesus prompting you to trust Him to be your Savior and Lord? Is He urging you to receive His forgiveness and His grace right now? If yes, then do it! If He is not, then PLEASE don’t make an intellectual decision to follow Him. It would be the worst thing you can do. Unless you sense Him calling you, it would all be in vain. You would be making the decision in your own power and of your own volition and it doesn’t work that way. We cannot save ourselves; otherwise, Christ died for nothing.

Seek Him; ask Him; beg Him to call you to be saved. Ask Him to come into your heart and life and cleanse you and save you. Empty your heart to Him of everything that is contrary to Him until you feel Him come rushing in and filling your heart with His love and His Spirit. Then you will know that you know that you KNOW you are saved! What joy He brings with His presence, along with hope and love and PEACE!

Abba, I pray for those I know who don’t know You. May Your Spirit work in their lives to move them to a position of hearing the Gospel and responding to Your call. I know You already are; I’m just agreeing with You in the matter and aligning myself with Your will. May You use me to reach someone with whom You are dealing. May I continuously empty my heart of everything that is contrary to You so that I will be a worthy vessel for Your use, O LORD. Amen.

Proverbs 26 11-26-19

People who believe that evolution is true call our salvation into question. They do not believe in the need for the Gospel.

5 Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.

At the center of evolution is MAN. He is the pinnacle of the food chain. He is exalted above all other life forms and has no need for a god of any kind. The problem is that he is living in a fantasy land. GOD created the heavens and the earth. HE created mankind beginning with Adam. So, what should we tell them?

The first thing we need to remember is the previous verse: “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him.”

Oh oh. It seems we have a contradiction! How could these two verses be interpreted?

Verse 4: Evolutionists tend to come at Christians with an attitude of arrogance and contempt and many times aggression. We should NOT use these tactics in our approach.

Verse 5: We need to meet them on their own ground by taking that ground back through facts. There are plenty out there thanks to TRUE science and technology.

In all of our conversation, though, there is this truth: We KNOW Christ personally as our LORD and Savior. We KNOW that our faith is real and is based on real information and on truth. That’s why we should move quickly to the Gospel as soon as we see a “faltering” in their argument. If we can cause them to doubt evolution, then we have a chance to win them back to the Gospel. It’s the same tactic that Satan used in the garden. He got Eve to doubt God’s goodness and truthfulness. If we can get them to doubt the truthfulness of evolution, we may win them back by presenting the Gospel. The Holy Spirit will take it from there (as if He wasn’t involved in the first place!).

If a person doesn’t believe that the first 11 chapters of Genesis are real and literal, then there is no reason to believe in Abraham and the miracle of his Call and the miraculous birth of his son, Isaac. If we don’t believe in the Promise, then we have no basis for the salvation of the Gentiles–or anyone, for that matter.

18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousnessfor us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Romans 4:18-24

Asking someone if he believes in evolution is a great conversation-starter. He will almost always come back with, “Yes.” It’s not rude to ask him why he believes. Most people will answer, “Because it just is; everyone believes in evolution,” which is a great lead-in for us to say, “I don’t, and here’s why…”

  1. Life doesn’t come from non-life. Biology bears this out.
  2. New information doesn’t come from old information. Genetics bears this out.
  3. Irreducible complexity. Chemistry bears this out.
  4. A young earth. REAL science (that can be measured and tested) bears this out.

It would be wise on our part to know the science behind these reasons. There’s plenty out there! Just Google it.

We are in a war, people! Evolution is behind why our society is failing. It has taken away people’s reason to live, to strive, and to get along. It has taken away the moral authority of the church and our standing in the community. It has caused doubt and fear, disdain and hostility toward Christians and the Gospel. It is Satan’s BEST LIE: “You will be like God [or, you will be your own god]…” Genesis 3:5

Consider this:

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” Psalm 14:1a

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1

To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, 26 to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd. Psalm 18:25-26

If we know the LORD and He shows Himself to be faithful, blameless and pure to us, then we can be shrewd in order to show Him to those who have been deceived. They will see our sincerity (which comes from a daily, close walk with him) and the Spirit may prompt them to want what we have. If we can get to the Gospel as quickly as we can, we may just win this war ONE SOUL AT A TIME.

Abba, I am feeling the urgency of the times and hopefully Your Spirit to speak out on this subject. May You give me opportunities to give testimony of your love and grace, Your glory and Your goodness. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for those opportunities. Amen.

 

 

Proverbs 27 10-27-19

We are in a war. The battle has been raging for some time. Will you fight or will you cry “peace at all cost?”

2 Stone is heavy and sand a burden, but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.

This war is for the souls of men, of women, and of our children. It’s been going on for quite a while, now, and we are seeing the results of our pacifism. What am I talking about? The Bible vs. Darwinian Evolution.

This quote is from “Gospel Reset” by Ken Ham:

Let me put it this way. It’s as if the devil has said, “You Christians can go on teaching kids about the miracles Jesus did in the New Testament. You can teach them about the babe in a manger, and the Resurrection. You can teach them about Jesus healing blind people and raising the dead. Teach them about the feeding of the 5,000, about the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, about Jonah being in the great fish for three days. Go ahead. Teach them these stories. And while you are doing that, I’m going to be indoctrinating those same kids not to believe the Book. I’m going to use the fake news of evolution and millions of years to brainwash them into believing science has effectively disproved the Bible, making it nothing more than an outdated, obsolete book of ‘stories.’ And since you won’t be teaching apologetics, I will teach my own apologetics through the education systems, media, and the Internet to make sure they doubt God’s Word. The more this happens, most won’t even listen to your message of the gospel.” Page 107

What we don’t realize is the importance of the first 11 books of Genesis. Our entire Gospel is based upon God creating the heavens and the earth, in a real-live Adam and Eve, sin, the Curse, the Great Flood, the tower of Babel–even the account of Jonah. If these events were not real events, then Jesus “hung his hat on the wrong hook.”

[3] Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” [4] “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female, [5] and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? [6] So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Matthew 19:3-6

Jesus’ teaching on marriage is based upon the Genesis account.

[38] Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.” [39] He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. [40] For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earthMatthew 12:38-40

Jesus based His resurrection on the fact that Jonah was a real person and his story was a real event.

[36] “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. [37] As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. [38] For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; [39] and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:36-39

Jesus based His Second Coming on the account of Noah and the Great Flood.

More than 75% of youth who grow up in church leave the faith after high school. The percentage is higher for those who attend a secular college. Why? Mainly because of the teaching of Evolution. WE MUST DO SOMETHING!

What can we do? Let’s begin by believing that:

  1. The Genesis account is TRUE. It happened in a literal six days. Adam and Eve were real. So was the Flood. And Jonah.
  2. Realize that Satan is the mastermind behind this war. He wants our children and grandchildren. Jesus spoke of this day, [9] “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. [10] At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, [11] and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. [12] Because of the increase of wickedness, the love [and faith] of most will grow cold, [13] but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:9
  3. Be proactive. Learn. There is SO MUCH archeological, biological, astronomical, and other information out there today that refutes Evolution that it’s ludicrous for us to NOT be sharing this information.

Verse 14 of Matthew 24 is where we should live, [14] And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Because of these verses, I believe that the Return of Jesus is very near. Let’s join the battle!

Abba, I pray that all who read this blog will take it to heart and see the need to be proactive in what we believe and what we share with our family, friends, and all who are willing to listen with an open mind. Give us faith; open our eyes. Give us courage, knowledge, and wisdom to know what and when to share. Amen.

 

 

 

Proverbs 26 10-26-19

We are creatures of habit. In most ways, that’s good. In some ways, though, it can keep us in a loop. Break Out!

11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.

I reckon dogs have always been dogs. ‘Nuff said about that.

The big question is why do we continue to repeat bad choices? It’s like a moth to a flame: we can’t help ourselves. Whether it’s habitual sin, bad relationships, or damaging habits, we seem to have difficulties breaking out of our ruts. I heard one time that a rut is really a grave with both ends kicked out. If we are to follow Jesus daily, then we need to get out of our ruts and be prepared to take a new course.

Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23. Do we WANT to be His disciples? Will we DENY ourselves of our “creature comforts?” Are we willing to take up our cross, which means, to me, to turn my back on what I know and be ready to try whatever He has for me? Are we willing to make NEW HABITS by following Him DAILY?

One of the best–and saddest–examples of what Jesus is asking of us is found in Mark 10:17-22,

17As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. No one is good—except God alone. 19You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”

20“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

21Jesus looked at him and loved him. One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

The man’s question was a good one and one that is asked by a good many people. Jesus confronted him with a question, “Why do you call me good?” Then, He spoke truth to him: “No one is good–except God.” The implication is that if Jesus is good, then He is God. The true question was, “Do you believe that I am God?” If yes, then He is worth following; if no, then…

Being God, Jesus knew his heart and what meant the most to him. His wealth was weighing him down. There are many movies about wealth bringing about the demise of many who tried to hold onto their riches but then couldn’t escape. In “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” Indiana wanted to go back for the cup when the building was falling down. Elsa had already lost her life trying to get it. His dad told him, “Let it go.” Indy did and they all got out safely. The lesson is that they tried to hold onto something that was actually holding them back from life. One let go; one didn’t.

Matthew and Luke also have this account in their Gospels, but Mark added a little note that the other ones didn’t: “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” He loves us the very same way. He looks at us–I mean, REALLY looks at us all the way down to the depths of our souls–and loves us wholly, completely, and with abandon. He calls us to give up that which is holding us back from loving Him, from following Him, and from the life that He has for us. Many prefer to stay in that open grave (the rut). LET’S GET OUT OF THE RUT!!!

Here’s how (according to my own experience):

  1. Categorically turn whatever it is over to Jesus. Release it into His hands.
  2. Praise Him for taking it and for how He is going to use it to make us more like Him.
  3. The next time we are tempted, we praise Him for the opportunity to win. In other words, we use praise to remind us of our decision, the feelings we had when we let Him have it, and our pledge to fight.
  4. Ask Him for strength and for a way out. We have this promise: No temptation has seized you but which is common to everyone. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13. I memorized this verse LONG AGO!
  5. If we succeed, rejoice! If we fail, we repent (acknowledge our failure) and receive His love, mercy and grace, encouragement, and instruction on how to beat it next time. We use the event to have a great time with the LORD. We come away looking a little bit more like Jesus.
  6. After a while, either Satan realizes that the particular vice we have is causing him more harm than good because it drives us to the Father, so he backs off, or, (and this is what I really think) we come to see the besetting sin as God does–as that which hurts His children–and it loses its power over us.
  7. When we want to sin, we run to Him. It’s what He wants. He said as much: “Come to Me, all who are weary [of fighting against your sinful nature] and heavy laden [with the burden of carrying the weight of our sin] and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you [it’s a double yoke, and He will pull the Lion’s share of the load] and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest [and peace] for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden [for you] is light. Matthew 11:28-30.

Let’s use today as a spiritual exercise by putting this method into practice. I think that you will find Him to be a GREAT companion, one full of understanding, sympathy, and encouragement.

Dear Lord, I praise You for leading me into this lesson early in life. I still follow it today–I still NEED it today. Help us all to learn to trust You as we walk with You. You are our Rock, our Shield, our Fortress, our Sustainer and our Strength…I think I’ll break out in song! In You, I will not be shaken. Bless You, LORD! Amen.

Proverbs 26 9-26-19

Were it not for the Holy Spirit, we would all be fools, sluggards, wise guys, meddlers, gossips, and liars!

(12) Do you see a person wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

(16) A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven people who answer discreetly.

Want to know what we are like without the Holy Spirit? Just read this chapter. It shows the natural side of our human nature. What the Holy Spirit does is He takes the unrestrained drive to control, manipulate, and conquer and makes us like Christ. He channels and focuses that energy into godly activities and godly characteristics:

  • Loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and having self-control;
  • we always want the best for people, and rejoice in their success;
  • we are sad when they are sad and when bad things happen to them (whether self-inflicted or not);
  • We do not repay evil for evil, but overcome evil with good.

A fool who realizes that he is a fool and gives his life to Jesus Christ then uses the drive that once made him a fool to please Christ (with the help of the Spirit).

The sluggard who once did only what he felt like doing (which was as little as possible) gives his life to Christ then takes that desire to please himself and places it upon Christ (with the help of the Spirit).

The meddler who once put his nose in everyone else’s business gives his life to Christ and then begins to look for ways to be Christ to others (with the help of the Spirit).

The gossip who once took great pleasure in sharing privileged information gives his life to Christ and begins to pray for those people, talking to God about them instead of others (with the help of the Spirit).

The liar who once manipulated through untrue speech gives his life to Christ and begins to take life as it comes, being truthful in every situation (with the help of the Spirit), thus gaining the trust and respect of his family and peers.

We were never intended to be unbridled, unrestrained, and unfocused. Sin has stripped mankind of its ability to be godly. The problem is that instead of recognizing what has happened, mankind has reveled in its “freedom of captivity.” They prefer the chains of sin to the yoke of Christ.

For those who have received Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are exhorted, with the major assistance of the Holy Spirit, to:

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness,righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And people wonder why we go to church–WE NEED EACH OTHER!!! We need encouragement, corporate worship, teaching, direction, example, inspiration, and sometimes rebuke, correction, and training (see 2 Tim. 3:16). Church is where we go to practice loving each other. Sometimes, it’s hard to love family. It’s still what we do, though. When it gets untenable, we pray and ask the Lord if we are free to go or if we need to stay and strive. HE directs our path.

Just remember one thing about church: It’s all about attendance. If we don’t go, we cannot participate in what God is doing through the body of Christ. “Isolated embers soon grow cold.” Or, “Isolated members soon grow mold.” Whichever. I’m not saying that we need to be there every time the doors are open. It’s just that in our hyper-mobile society, we tend to treat church as a convenience. Vacations, sleep-time, company, events, and a plethora of other things are given higher priority. Just remember that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be, also.” Matthew 6:21.

So, the question is: Where is your heart? At the ballfield? The bed? Work? Or, is it in God’s hands? If so, then we will place a high priority on being with the family of God.

Abba, I pray that all Christians will see the benefits of being part of a church, the body of believers that honors You and, therefore, each other. It’s tough, sometimes, but I learn so much about myself and about how You are working in other people’s lives when I go and participate, and I am encouraged. May we be Your hands and feet, Lord, to those around us. Give us discernment and discretion; give us wisdom and understanding; give us knowledge and prudence; give us insight into what You are achieving through Your Body, of which I am a part. Amen.