Proverbs 27 9-27-21

We read the Bible each morning to help us tune in to Jesus’ voice that is within us. It’s that still, small voice.

9 Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend [Jesus] springs from His heartfelt advice.

The Word of God is the Action of God. God spoke and our universe came into being (Genesis 1:1). The next big reveal was when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). How did that happen?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was GodHe was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-4

Jesus is the Action Person of the Trinity. Here are a few verses that bear that out:

27 I was there when he set the heavens in place,
    when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
28 when he established the clouds above
    and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
29 when he gave the sea its boundary
    so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
30     Then I was the craftsman at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
    rejoicing always in his presence,
31 rejoicing in his whole world
    and delighting in mankind.
Proverbs 8:27-31

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17

When it was time for God to act on man’s behalf, Jesus came. He came with the express purpose of dying for us, “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.” John 12:27. There are places where the Bible says that Jesus rose from the dead and that He was raised from the dead. It’s an academic matter. Since Jesus is God, then both are true. Jesus Himself said, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:17-18.

Let’s keep reading in John 1,

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. John 1:9-13

Only God can do that! So let’s review:

  1. Jesus is the Word of God.
  2. Jesus is with God.
  3. Jesus IS God (if this blows your brain, then you’re actually thinking straight!).

What can we deduce from these verses concerning the Word of God and the Bible?

  1. The Word of God is the action of God, and Jesus is that Word.
  2. The Bible is a collection of accounts that verify and confirm the life and ministry of Jesus. The Gospels and Acts give the accounts while the letters help us understand the mystery of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Notice how everything about the Bible points to Jesus. That’s a good thing because it’s all about Him. We don’t worship the Bible; We worship the God of the Bible, Jesus Christ. The Bible is a tool in the hands of God–a very effective tool, one that reveals the Son to us. It’s words are inspired by the Holy Spirit who speaks to us every time we read it. The words recorded in the Bible give testimony to what the writers have seen and heard and experienced (1 John 1:1-3). We listen as we read for confirmation from the Spirit to what we read.

So, we’ve come full-circle: We read the Bible each morning to help us tune in to Jesus’ voice that is within us. It’s that still, small voice, the voice of the Spirit of Jesus saying, “Do you trust Me? Take my hand and let’s walk together today. Tomorrow, we’ll do the same.”

Abba, I trust You. I want to walk with You. Please walk slowly enough for me to stay in step with You. I, personally, don’t think that any of us ever get out of the nursery spiritually, so You’re liable to have to carry me sometimes–often! With the faith of a small child, I trust You implicitly. I love You, Abba. Thank You for loving me. Amen.

Proverbs 27 8-27-21

Our outlook concerning others determines how we treat them. Christ has a specific way He wants us to view each other.

3 Stone is heavy and sand a burden, but a fool’s provocation [when we let people anger or irritate us] is heavier than both.
5 Better is open rebuke [by a loved one] than hidden love [when loved ones shield us from the truth about ourselves].
6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses [tells us what we want to hear rather than what we need to hear].

How are we to regard each other? Are we brothers and sisters in Christ (Romans 8:29)? Are we to spur each other on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)? Yes, but it’s more than that. Let’s read 2 Corinthians 5:17,

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

We are all new creations in Christ. We are not like we were. Each of us is now growing in godliness according to the amount of trust we have in the Holy Spirit as He works in our lives. We must not regard each other as we were before Christ. That person is dead. We are all now part of the Body of Christ, the Bride of the Bridegroom, the Building of God.

Let’s look at the three previous verse 16:

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.

Verse 16 tells us not to regard anyone from a worldly point of view, which means that even sinners hold eternal value. That value is the price Christ paid on the cross for each one of them. We need to begin looking at them as potential brothers and sisters in Christ rather than as heathens and “pieces of trash.” That attitude holds contempt for the ones for whom Christ died!

How should we live? For that answer, let’s go back two more verses:

14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

If we live for Christ, then we live to win those who are lost in sin. We accomplish this feat by being obedient to the Holy Spirit as He leads us. HE will lead us where to go; HE will tell us what to do; HE will put the words in our mouths. If we are following Christ, then we don’t need people telling us what God’s will is (including people who tell us that we need to be telling people about Jesus and witnessing on street corners; that job is reserved for those He calls to do that specific task). We live our lives for Christ to reach the one that He has lined up for us. It may be our child, our sibling, our neighbor, our friend; it’s usually someone with whom we have a relationship. As we grow more mature in Christ, He leads us into new relationships for His sake and His glory. Did you catch Who does the leading? Christ does!

Let’s quit guilting each other into being something we are not. What we ARE is followers of Jesus Christ. HE will “work in us what is pleasing to Him” (Hebrews 13:21). Let’s see people as Christ sees people. WE ALL NEED JESUS!

Abba, I only want to go where You lead me, when You lead me, do what You want me to do, and say what You want me to say. I don’t need to do anything FOR You, just WITH You. It’s the whole point of our relationship. Keep me by Your side, Lord. It’s the highest and safest place I can be. Amen.

Proverbs 27 7-27-21

In order to share the Gospel, we must understand the Gospel. Jesus doesn’t give us salvation; He IS salvation.

6 Wounds [hard truth given] from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses [tells us only what we want to hear rather than what we need to hear].

Salvation boils down to our life before Christ, Christ, and life with Christ. The character of Mary Magdalene on “The Chosen” said, “I was one way before; now I am completely different, and the only thing in between was Him.”

Here is a quick breakdown of what Christ accomplishes in our lives:

  1. Salvation– freedom from the prison of sin. Jesus kills us (we were under the law), buries us (those who are dead are freed from the law; see Romans 6:6), and then resurrects us to new life in Him, with Him.
  2. Sanctification– freedom from the power of sin. The desire to sin does not abate, but it is overcome by a greater desire to please our heavenly Father.
  3. Glorification– freedom from the purpose of sin, which is to kill us. When Jesus comes to live in our hearts and raises us up to new life, we begin our tour of eternity. We are born into the kingdom of heaven! When our time on earth is over, we simply step out of these bodies and into glorious new bodies, imperishable ones, immortal bodies (1 Corinthians 15:50-54). Our salvation will be complete.

Living with Jesus is an adventure, especially when we allow Him to have the lead. Let’s just not forget our destination, which is to be at His throne forever. Chill, enjoy life, tell others about Jesus, and then go home to be with Him at His place. The Christian life really is that simple.

Abba, keeping things simple makes life simple. Help me to keep focused on You, listening to You, and obeying all that You say. I know that You have my best interest at heart, so I can trust You. Lead on, my King. Amen.

Proverbs 27 6-27-21

The rich young ruler went away sad because he was very rich. How would answer Jesus if He asked you to give everything away? (Mark 10:17-22)

1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. NIV

21 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold [to separate the impurities of the metal],
And each is tested by the praise [life] given to him [and his response to it, whether humble or proud].
AMP

Dying to self and living for Christ (with Christ) means that whatever I enjoy, whatever I like, even what I value is secondary to what Christ asks of me. In other words, if Christ asks me to not watch a particular tv show again, I won’t; if Christ asks me to give up certain foods or drink, I will; if Christ asks me to give away anything I own, I will. He sets my values, changes my preferences, and transforms that which gives me joy. It’s what being conformed to the image of Christ is all about.

I have several favorite verses that remind me of my priority. Here they are:

29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. Romans 8:29

18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:18

19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, Galatians 4:19

Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Colossians 3:9-10

17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because in this world we are like Jesus. 1 John 4:17

If these verses are true, then every moment I live is subject to the Master’s hand. Am I really willing to give up my life as I know it if He asks me to? Can I give up Sci-Fy and video games, ice cream and cokes? Can I really give my stuff away to people who could use it more than I? Do I really need a whole bunch of money saved up in order to feel secure? So far, the Lord has only asked me to consider letting go of a few things, but if I’m really wanting to see revival in our church and our land, I need to up my game on getting serious about following Him.

As we worship this morning, remembering that we are responding to His call to meet with the family of God, may we consider the question, “What am I willing to give up for Christ?” If revival could start if we got serious about following Him, what might it cost? Would we be willing to pay it? Good questions for a Sunday morning, right?

Abba, as we meet together, may we see each other with new eyes. May we see in each person the potential of being the catalyst for revival. Also, may we see in ourselves Your potential to begin moving in people’s hearts. Our willingness to change may be the spark that You use to start the fire of revival in our land. May it be so, Lord Jesus! Amen.

Proverbs 27 5-27-21

“Grace so amazing is with us each day; for this great love I could never repay…” We are free to love God because of His grace.

19 As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart [Jesus’ life reflects God’s love for us].

Continuing our journey into worship, we have looked at Recognition of God’s Character (Adoration), Acknowledgement of Our Character (Confession) and today we delve into Affirmation of Grace in Christ (Assurance).

Lee Strobel wrote, “Justice is getting what you deserve (punishment). Mercy is not getting what you deserve (no punishment). Grace is getting what you don’t deserve (salvation).” It may not be original with him, but he pegged it with the added definitions. The grace of God is giving us Jesus Christ as the propitiation (substitute) for our sin debt. There’s a song that was popular in the 80’s that goes,

He paid a debt He did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay,
I needed someone to wash my sins away;
And now I sing a brand new song, “Amazing Grace,” all day long,
Christ Jesus paid the debt that I could never pay.

When we sing Christmas carols about His birth, we celebrate His sacrifice of the glory of heaven for us. When we sing about the blood of Jesus, we celebrate the sacrifice of His life for us. When we sing about His resurrection, we celebrate the new life we have in Christ. When we sing of heaven, we celebrate our future with Him in glory. When we read any of these passages in Scripture, call them in prayer, and allow them to be the foundation of our lives, we celebrate Christ in us. When we do it together, we call it “church.”

The message of grace is summed up very succinctly in the song, “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High,”

You came from heaven to earth to show the way,
From the earth to the cross my debt to pay,
From the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky,
Lord, I lift Your name on high.

May we never forget His great sacrifice so that we could be born again AND adopted in the family of God. Bill and Gloria (Gaither) got it right:

I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God,
I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood;
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
For I’m part of the family, the family of God.

I pray that one of these songs will come to mind today as we ponder and meditate on the grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Abba, thank You that people take scriptural truths and put them to music. They become ingrained in our minds and hearts, which is a good thing. Drive deep within us Your message of grace, O Lord. You don’t need us, but You want us. Why? Because You love us. May we love You with all our hearts, Abba. Amen.

Proverbs 27 4-27-21

Who we are on the inside shows up on the outside. People know when we are faking it. Let’s be genuine Christians.

19 As in water, face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.

Perception can be a powerful ally or adversary. Christians don’t want to be fake, but want to allow Christ to shine through us. We must leave others’ perception of us to Him. One of the greatest characteristics of a child of God is graciousness, or, grace. When we show grace to people, we allow that grace to run through our minds and then out of our mouths. Grace must come from the Holy Spirit within us; we say that it must come from our hearts. If Christ is in control of our hearts, then we will be gracious. Thus, if our hearts are full of grace, then people see that we are genuine Christians. Consider these two verses.

22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. Luke 4:22

Let your conversation be always full of grace [be gracious], seasoned with salt [biblical truth and wisdom], so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6

I read these two verses every morning to remind myself that Jesus was gracious in His speech, therefore, I am to be gracious in my speech, which means that caustic remarks, cutting comments, and derogatory speech are not allowed. I am to take those thoughts captive to Christ. In fact, with the power of the Spirit, I can take strongholds of hateful speech and demolish them:

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholdsWe demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Habits feel real, but they are really just what we are used to. A habit takes about three weeks to establish. If we are serious about letting our lights shine for Christ in the world around us, then we must demolish the stronghold of a hateful tongue and allow the Spirit to give us gracious speech, which starts with our thoughts. When a hateful thought comes to mind, run it up to the throne of Jesus and say, “Here, Lord, please take this thought and get rid of it for me. Now, give me one that You want me to have. I praise You and thank You, Lord.” This process will feel awkward at first, then hopeless, but if we stay with it, we will overcome our habit and create a new one, one that brings joy and gladness to us, and glory and honor to our Lord.

I pray that you will read these verses every morning, too, and allow the Spirit to change your speech to His speech.

Abba, I know that a gentle and gracious tongue is a tree of life to those around me. I also know that a cruel, vicious, sarcastic, biting, acid, and bitter tongue crushes the spirit of its victims (Proverbs 15:4). Please train me to think like You because I know if I can think like You, then I will be able to control my tongue. Only with the partnership of Your Spirit do I stand any chance of success. Continue to conform me to the image of Your Son, Abba. I want to be just like Jesus. Amen.

Proverbs 27 3-27-21

Serving Jesus is wrapped up in one word, “Whatever.” Why would we be selective in serving?

3 Stone is heavy and sand a burden, but provocation by a fool [he who refuses to submit to authority] is heavier than both.

The religious rulers wanted to serve God their way. When Jesus tried to correct them, they resisted—big time! Twice the powers that be tried to trick Jesus. Twice He turned the tables on them. Jesus was all about changing the way people were thinking about the law, God, and heaven. Let’s look at the Pharisees’ trap first:

Paying the Imperial Tax to Caesar

1Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?”
18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

  1. The intent was obvious to everyone: The Pharisees and the Herodians wanted Jesus out of the way.
  2. They first appealed to His integrity. They assumed that Jesus would tell the truth. They thought they had Him–little did they know…
  3. The imperial tax was “A special tax levied on subject peoples, not on Roman citizens.” The Jews hated having to pay this tax on top of the regular Roman tax, the temple tax, and their own national tax as well as special taxes imposed by Rome.
  4. They asked for a judgement call from Jesus on this tax. To say, “No, it is wrong,” would have put Him in hot water with the Roman government; to say, “Yes, we need to pay it,” would have put Him at odds with the people.
  5. Jesus knew their minds and the intent of their hearts. He called for a denarius to be brought to Him. We have to assume that one of the Pharisees brought Him the coin. The problem is that it had a picture of Caesar on it as well as the inscription “The Divine Caesar.” It was an idol–and they had brought it into the temple area (see 21:23). Busted!!!
  6. Jesus didn’t call them on the coin. Instead, He specified that we are to give to Caesar what He asks for as leader of Rome and to give to God what God asks of us as Lord of our lives. It’s a valid word for today.
  7. Exit—embarrassed—stage right…

Then, the Sadducees came to trick Jesus with this story:

Marriage at the Resurrection

23 That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 24 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. 27 Finally, the woman died. 28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”
29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.

  1. The story they told Jesus was based upon Deuteronomy 25:5-6 and was a valid point that was taken to the extreme.
  2. Jesus made a public statement concerning their knowledge of Scripture–or the lack thereof–and the power of God. He schooled them!
  3. Our glorified bodies will be beyond just physical bodies. Our physique and the way it works will not be what we know. Marriage will not be needed. Our intimate knowledge of everyone far outshines the intimacy involved in marriage. Neither will there be any need to procreate. I wish I knew what He meant by “they will be like the angels in heaven.” I can assume that our physical needs and desires will give way to heavenly ones.
  4. Jesus then brought it all home to a correct interpretation of Scripture. He quoted Exodus 3:6 to them. Then He interpreted it for them, “He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” Boom. Mic drop.
  5. The crowds were astonished. The Sadducees were surely embarrassed if not downright ashamed. The gauntlet had been thrown down.

They tried again one more time, but we will have to wait until tomorrow. For today, let’s allow God to interpret Scripture for us. When we read a verse or passage, let’s ask Him to tell us what it means and how to apply it. He may not answer right away, but soon that answer will dawn on us as He shows us. He’s like that.

Abba, may You be my light, my knowledge, my wisdom, my discernment, my understanding, my discretion, and my prudence concerning Your Word. May I heed every instruction that comes from Your lips to my ears. Amen.

Proverbs 27 2-27-21

Whether in blood or in Christ, family is important. Our greatest joys come from our closest relationships.

11 Be wise, my child, and bring joy to my heart; then [you and] I can answer anyone who treats [you or] me with contempt.

The method of prayer we use is not nearly as important as the connection we make with the Father through the Son by the Holy Spirit. In fact, it is through Christ that we connect with Christians all over the world beginning with those whom we know personally. From Robin’s brainstorm page:

Why do we pray? (continued)

  • To connect with others in the body of Christ (all over the world) through the Spirit as we seek to align with and reveal God’s authority, power, and His perfect will.
  • To receive assurance of God’s unfailing love and mercy and His faithfulness to “complete the good work He began in you” (Philippians 1:6).
  • For us to understand and proclaim that God is good no matter His answer (Yes, No, Wait).

God does not play favorites with His children, but has a special and perfect plan for us in His will. It may not be as specific as we might think. If His will is to create new thoughts, new glory, new acts of praise, and a new person, then there are variables involved in His will. Does He know how everything will turn out? Sure. He’s Omniscient. But, He’s also Omni-present, which means that He is always NOW. His name is I Am. He lives in this moment with us! His question to us is, “Will you trust Me?”

Isaiah knew what it meant to have a personal, ongoing relationship with the LORD. In His book, we find this exhortation,

Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; 20 but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 1:18-19

With God, it’s all about the relationship. This letter was written down 600+ years before Christ came. It’s always been about the relationship. What did it take to be in a relationship with God?

Wash and make yourselves clean [in the blood of Christ]. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. 17 Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:16-17

As we can see, to be in right relationship with Christ was the same for them as it is for us. We wash in the blood of Jesus; we stop doing evil (selfish, self-centered) deeds and learn to do righteous acts (according to the Spirit’s leading). The LORD even gave some examples. Notice that all three examples have to do with protection. The responsibility we have for God’s children is much greater than our own lives. Again, it’s all about relationship with the Lord and with our fellow brothers and sisters AND potential brothers and sisters.

As we pray today, let’s lift up those around us to the Father and seek ways to minister to them. It’s important to Him, therefore, it needs to be important to us.

Abba, I pray for the Peppers and thank You for their hospitality these past two days. May You bless them in their walk with You. Bless them in their relationships with their family and with whom they come in contact. May You spread the aroma of Christ through them. May Your protection be on Cody as he serves You in Washington, and on Erin and Joe, Rylee and Kinlee as they grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Thank You, Lord, for extended family. Amen.

Proverbs 27 1-27-21

The old hymn says, “Moment by moment I’m kept in His love.” We are! Do you see yourself as kept in His love?

1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

Time is an interesting thing. To live in either the past or the future robs a person of living in the moment. It’s not that we cannot enjoy the past as we look back on it (or rue it, depending upon our prior choices), nor is it that we should not plan for the future. It’s just that we live each moment as it comes, therefore this moment is where our attention needs to be.

How does staying focused on the moment help us spiritually? First we must consider that Jesus lives in the moment with us. Note His use of God’s name from Exodus 3:14 in John 8:58 and 18:5,

58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”

They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He *said to them, “I am He.” And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. Now then, when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

Three characteristics of God are His omnipotence (all-power), His omniscience (all-knowing), and His omnipresence (He is everywhere at all times). God is always ever-present, which is right where we live. So, if God comes to live in us, and He is ever-present, then He interacts with us in this moment. I cannot stress the import of this statement.

  1. God does not look at our past and judge us by it. He judges us on what we decide right now.
  2. God does not look at our future and condemn us for it. He judges us on what we do right now (which may change the outcome).
  3. His Spirit is constantly asking us to choose His way. He does not grow weary of asking; the here-and-now is where He lives, never tiring of being with us because He loves us!

I have been asked if God is ever disappointed with us. The answer is decidedly no. He knows our every failure and tendency; He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. Now, He lives in us urging us to be like Him. He knows that every struggle squeezes the coal and moves it to become a diamond. That is what we are: Diamonds in the rough. What we learn as we walk in step with the Spirit is to yield, submit, and die to our own desires and self-centered way of thinking. We cannot be 100% committed all the time, but we can be 100% committed at the moment. Put enough moments together, and voila’: the victorious Christian life.

In the letters to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3, Jesus tells them their past, where they are in relation to Him in the present, and then their future based upon their choices. He then tells them what they can expect if they are successful in following His commands.

  • If the church in Ephesus would repent and return to their first Love (Christ), then they would be given the right to eat from the tree of life (Revelation 2:1-7).
  • If the church in Smyrna would be faithful during persecution, then they would receive the victor’s crown and not be hurt at all by the second death (Revelation 2:8-11).
  • If the church in Pergamum would repent from the teaching of Balaam and of the Nicolaitans, they would be given some of the hidden manna and a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it (Revelation 2:12-17).
  • If the church in Thyatira would repent of the teaching of Jezebel and hold onto what they have until He comes, they would be given authority over the nations and receive the morning star (Revelation 2:18-29).
  • If the church in Sardis would wake up and strengthen what remains and is about to die, they will walk with the Lord, dressed in white, for they would be worthy. They will never have their name blotted out of the book of life, and He will acknowledge their name before His Father and His angels (Revelation 3:1-6).
  • If the church in Philadelphia would continue to keep His command and endure patiently, they would be kept from the hour of trial and be made a pillar in the new temple of His God in the new Jerusalem. He would write on them His new name (Revelation 3:7-13).
  • If the church in Laodicea would realize how wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked they were and repent, then they would have sweet fellowship with Jesus Christ and would sit next to Him on His throne [don’t ask me how we all could sit with Him–it’s a BIG throne!] (Revelation 3:14-22).

Jesus gives us the same offer. He tells us of our past–not in a condemning way, but simply speaking the truth–and then tells us what to do to change the future that is ahead of us if we continue on the present path. Then He tells us the good things that He has planned for us if we are faithful, trusting Him enough to obey Him. We can trust Him, and in that trust we learn to love Him as He loves us. In that love there is no fear (1 John 4:18). We have moved from judgment to celebration!

Abba, may You continue to chisel away at our unwillingness to believe You when You say that You love us. I know that there is no standing before You and giving an account of every deed–that’s already been paid for and done away with for Your children! What we have to look forward to when we stand before You is the right to eat from the tree of life, a victor’s crown, manna and a new name, authority to rule with Him, a robe of white, to be a pillar in the house of God and fellowship with Him forever. Now THAT’S a future I can get excited about! May our lives and even our deaths bring glory and honor to You, O LORD. Amen.

Proverbs 27 12-27-20

Christianity is not so much about being LIKE Jesus as it is being WITH Jesus. We allow Jesus to live in and through us!

19 As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the [His] heart.

We are PRISMS. Prisms don’t generate any light of their own; they take light that is being shone into them and make it beautiful. Jesus is the LIGHT. In allowing His light to shine in and through us, we become His light to the world. We hide that light when we quit believing that He loves us and wants to work with us as PARTNERS. Yes, He is the Lead Partner, but we are partners with Him, nonetheless. We’re family!

For instance, if we quit believing that He loves us as we are, then we begin to fear His retribution for our failures to “measure up.” We read His Word for rules to follow and for a certain way to be that will be pleasing to Him. We don’t want to “disappoint Him.” The problem is that He ALREADY loves us and is pleased with us. He is ENJOYING living life with and through us. We do not need to fear His retribution; Jesus took it to the cross for us. To think that He will punish us is to deny Christ’s finished work on the cross! I am not saying that there are not consequences to our ungodly actions, but I AM saying that we no longer need to fear God’s wrath. Neither do we need to fear disappointing Him. He knows our weaknesses–He knows our FUTURE! He even knows how many times we will get things wrong before getting them right. Guess what: He rejoices in the time we WILL get them right! Until then, we are under His tutelage by way of the Holy Spirit, who is the epitome of love, joy and peace, patience, kindness, and goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness, and He has COMPLETE self-control (He is GOD, you know).

John said it like this:

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:13-19

Let’s see,

  1. We know we live in Him and He in us by knowing His Spirit who is in us.
  2. John testifies to the fact that Jesus is who He says He is and did what He said He would do.
  3. Want God to live in you and you in God? Then acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God; bank on it, depend upon it as if your life depended on it, because it does! Now, ACT on that knowledge.
  4. We are like Jesus because His light shines through us (Ephesians 5:8), therefore, we do not fear judgment.
  5. His love drives out our fear, because fear has to do with punishment. Remember, Jesus took our punishment to the cross!
  6. We spend our lives learning how to acknowledge and accept His perfect love. Our fears are world-generated; His love, joy and peace are heaven-generated. Let’s focus on the heaven-generated ones!
  7. We can love (not fear) because He loved us first. He started it; He will finish it (Philippians 1:6).

If you having trouble believing me or even following me, consider the verses in Colossians that we studied several days ago:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in GodWhen Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4

We are dead to this world, therefore, we cannot fear death. Trust Christ in how we leave our earthly bodies. He has SO MUCH MORE waiting for us! But, let’s not wait until we get THERE to begin experiencing heaven. HEAVEN LIVES IN US NOW! Jesus brings the kingdom of heaven to us when He enters us. So, let’s get started!

Abba, thank You for loving me so much that You came and took my place on the cross. Thank You for putting me to death and raising me to walk in newness of life with You. I look forward to each day learning to love instead of fear, and to “set my mind” on the things of heaven. You get such a kick out of teaching me, and I am glad! Open my mind to heaven; open my heart to You, LORD. I want to know You deeply and intimately. TBC

Proverbs 27 11-27-20

COVID 19 is real! At the same time, we need not fear it. Why? Because our hope and trust are in the LORD!

22 Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding him like grain with a pestle [mortar and pestle is used grind up pills into powder], you will not remove their folly [fear, knee-jerk reactions] from him.

We can thank COVID 19 for showing us what is in our hearts. All of a sudden, going to church became a liability; singing together became a big deal, and even meeting with family is dangerous! What happens when we must weigh the cost–or potential cost–of what we have done perfunctorily for so long? We find out what is truly important to us.

So, how has your relationship with the LORD fared during the pandemic?

The exiles from Israel to Babylon found themselves in a similar predicament. Everything they had known had been uprooted–including them! Jeremiah sent them a letter giving them instructions on how to not only survive, but to thrive during their exile, which we can liken to our pandemic, especially if we have had to quarantine:

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jeremiah 29:4-7

For us, it might be like Jeremiah saying, “Settle down and enjoy the solitude. Submit to your leaders’ admonitions. Don’t worry about getting sick; if you do, I will take care of you. Just don’t be the reason others get sick because of your stubbornness. Seek the peace and prosperity of your city, state, and country. Pray to the Lord for it, because if they prosper, you too will prosper.”

Verses 10-14 include a promise, a plan, a purpose, a provision, and a protection that I think we need to hear:

The Promise: 10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this placeIn God’s time, He WILL RESTORE us as a church and as a family.

The Plan: 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a futureWe can take great comfort in His plans. Just remember that His plans include taking us to be with Him someday.

The Purpose: 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Fellowship, companionship, worship. These are what our God desires! We don’t have to wait to give Him these. All we have to do is turn away from our willfulness and embrace the circumstances. Look for ways to fulfill His purpose. Virtual church, house church, private worship time, etc.

The Provision: 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heartThis verse is the “how to” of the passage. Are we seeking His face with all our hearts? Are we dying to the flesh (our own wills) and deliberately seeking His will alone? Are we choosing to praise Him regardless of our circumstances? We WILL find Him when we seek Him with all our hearts.

The Protection: 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivityI will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” God has this. We don’t have to worry. Even if we are never the same: Social distancing may become a permanent part of our society; masks may be a permanent requirement in certain places; testing may become an in-home regular thing. So what? How does that change His Promise? His Plan? His Purpose? His Provision or His Protection? It Doesn’t!

Let’s keep the main thing the main thing. Exalting our Savior, whether in life or in death, is what attracts those who are interested to Him. They are looking for something beyond COVID. Let’s give “it” to them. Let’s show them Jesus!

Abba, may You be exalted during this time of stress and uncertainty. May we rest in Your Promise, Your Plan, Your Purpose, Your Provision and Your Protection–not from the virus, but from the fear that comes with the virus. Three times in Luke 12 I read today, “Do not be afraid.” I take great comfort in those words! May my confidence be in You and You alone, O LORD. Amen.

‘Tis the season: We Three Kings-COVID version

Proverbs 27 10-27-20

Want to know God’s will for your life today? Open His Word and spend time with Him. That IS His will!

5 Better is open rebuke than hidden love. God’s love is hidden in His Word. Let’s find it!

6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. We can trust the Spirit to “wound us” to make us better. “The word of God is a scalpel…” (Hebrews 4:12), and He uses it to remove sin and grossness from our lives.

7 One who is full loathes honey from the comb, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet. Even God’s reprimand tastes sweet when we are hungry for His presence and company in our lives. We KNOW it’s for our own good.

9 Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from His heartfelt advice and counsel. This verse particularly applies to our LORD. He brings joy to our hearts, and His counsel is pleasant to our souls.

If God does not cause our circumstances, He at least allows them. His intention is to draw us to Himself. He knows what kinds of things are needed in our lives to get us to look to Him, to come to Him and allow Him to care for us and fellowship with us. We must remember that as His sheep, His first responsibility is not our happiness, but our safety. In His presence is the safest place I know!

Let’s spend time with Him this morning–especially if you are home due to weather–in His Word. If you have internet, use a lexicon to look up meanings of words. Tie verses together (string pearls). I tied two verses together this morning: Matthew 3:10 and Mark 11:20. Look them up and give me your assessment.

Abba, as always, You call us to Your throne where we receive mercy and grace for this hour. May we acknowledge Your continuing presence in our minds and hearts today. Thank You for being our Good Shepherd. Amen.

Proverbs 27 9-27-20

I am convinced that the going and making disciples is about involving ourselves with people in their lives. We earn the right to speak to them about Christ by the lives we live.

2 Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; another, and not your own lips. In other words, we cannot speak our own moral authority; it must be granted by the people around us.

6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. A person has to know he can trust you before he will trust your message.

Our commission is found in Matthew 28:18-20. Here it is in the Amplified Version for clarity:

18 Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority (all power of absolute rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19 Go therefore [as you go,] and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words]baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.”

I recommend the following:

  1. Learn the names of your neighbors and their families. Call them by name as you see them.
  2. When you talk to them, ask questions and listen to their stories. Usually, they will ask questions of you, but not always. Some people learn by watching our facial expressions and body responses to what they are saying or while they are talking. For instance, they are watching to see if we are just listening until we get a chance to talk or if we’re really interested. They can tell by our fidgeting when we are ready to go.
  3. Try not to listen to any gossip (conversation that is none of our business); if you do, try to turn it with a reasonable excuse. At the least, mention that you will pray for that person that things will turn around for the subject of the gossip.
  4. Don’t let too long go between visits (my dilemma). People enter and exit seasons of their lives; they associate us with those seasons. If they associate us with a past season, then we must begin again building trust.
  5. Share the Gospel in chunks. Pick a relevant topic and share what Jesus has done for you in that area. Leave the whole package for a Divine Appointment: When they come asking.

Jesus did this again and again in people’s lives: Nicodemus, Nathaniel, Bartimaeus, to name a few. Let’s be diligent to pray for our neighbors and look for opportunities to share what Christ is doing in our lives. The Holy Spirit will move when the time is right. Trust Him even as you are earning the trust of your neighbors.

Abba, You have called us to be salt and light in this world. We are Your ambassadors. Are we doing a good job? Do we even care? What about calling us to places where people need the Gospel–wait, that would mean that we are missionaries…we ARE! We’ve even been commissioned! LORD, call us out of our comfort and into Your ministry. I will look for You to do it in my life this week. Amen.

 

Proverbs 27 8-27-20

God desires a personal, ongoing relationship with us. Do we really think that He would let us go? He loves us too much!

9 Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.

This pleasantness is what Jesus brings to the relationship. His “heartfelt advice” is spot-on every time. He brings JOY to our hearts! We are His and He is ours. God gave us to Him. How can God give us to Jesus? As we come to God through Jesus, we place ourselves in His hands. We are, then, His to do with as He pleases. It just so happens that He pleases to give us to Jesus.

If anyone knew what Jesus meant by His words, “Those My Father has given me,” it was John. He walked with Jesus for 3 1/2 years and was part of Jesus’s inner circle. He met with Jesus after His resurrection and even got to see Jesus ascend into heaven! He was part of the birth of the Church when the Holy Spirit came and indwelt the disciples. He was friends with Steven, the first martyr, Barnabas, and Paul later on. He pastored the church at Ephesians up until he was banished to Patmos.

Let’s look at what John had to say about this phrase:

27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30

Jesus was talking about those who believed in Him, which many Jews didn’t (see verses 23-25). If Jesus holds us and the Father holds us, then that’s a divine double-fisted grip! Ain’t nobody gonna break that grip! This is not the only place that Jesus refers to His disciples as the ones the Father gave Him,

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. John 17:6

The idea of “once saved, always saved” didn’t originate with Baptists. The idea was stated by Jesus Himself. Once we belong to Jesus, there is no getting out of His grip. If a person were to want to, it really proves that he never really belonged to Jesus. Again, it is John who explains why:

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. 1 John 2:19

Those who come to Jesus are GRATEFUL. They have passed from death to life (John 5:24). They have experienced the joy and peace and love of the Father. They are reborn and made new! There is NO WAY that a person would turn from all he receives from the Father UNLESS there is secret sin tucked away in his heart that he is unwilling to give up. Most likely, it’s the simple fact that he wants to be the ruler of his own life, the captain of his own ship, and the caller of his own shots. In other words, he never really repented.

As for God predetermining who gets saved, John says this:

11 He came to that which was his own [the Jews], but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. John 1:11-12

Did you catch the word, “all?” It’s kinda important. It refers to every person who believes and receives. The fact that the phrase, “Jesus died once for all,” is used 6 times in some form in Romans and Hebrews should be enough for us to believe that even though God foreknows everything, He does not choose for us. It is this ability to choose that He gave mankind when He created us (Genesis 1:27).

If we are not experiencing the love, joy, and peace of God, then something’s wrong. These fruit of the Spirit are given to us by God and we enjoy them regardless of our circumstances. How? By spending time with Him, by acknowledging His presence in our lives as well as His Lordship. By calling out to Him and seeking Him in His Word, we avail ourselves to Him for fellowship and we accept His leadership in our lives. Have we done this? Are we doing this?

Let’s carve out time in our schedules for God, to read His Word, and to enjoy sweet fellowship with Him in prayer. Our spiritual lives depend on it!

Abba, You know I want more of You. I would love to spend more time with You in prayer and Bible study, but the cares and worries of this world–my job, my family, my house/yard, my cars/bikes, etc.–tend to take precedence. I hate the tyranny of the urgent! Help me to do “the balancing act” of keeping all the plates in my life spinning without neglecting You. Thank You for walking with me through the day. Our conversation as we go helps tremendously in how I respond to others, see needs, and do my job well. May I depend upon You more and more, Jesus. Amen.

 

 

Proverbs 27 7-27-20

The child of God wants to read the Word of God. It’s our love letter from Daddy (Abba).

9 Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.

Jesus is our Friend (John 15:14-15). In our lives, we might run into this problem: Jesus is trying to speak to you, but you’re not hearing Him. Why not? Probably because you and He aren’t connected. Let’s consider the Bible our “telephone” to God, and even though His Spirit is within us, God is still on His throne. Our connection with God is His Word and it is translated by the Holy Spirit. It’s why a non-Christian cannot read the Bible and understand it. He has no Spirit to interpret.

14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:14

Our Daily Process

16″But we have the mind of Christ.” The Spirit of Christ who lives inside us tells us what God says, interprets for us, and gives us understanding. He then gives us the desire and the power to be obedient. In the process, we are molded into the image of Christ. We take on His character.

The first thing the Spirit does is show us the enormity of what Christ did for us when He forgave us of our sins and washed them away. We become grateful.

Then He shows us what He is doing for us now even as we routinely experience His love, joy and peace. We become thankful.

After that, He begins the slow and thorough work of drawing out our deepest darkness by shining His light where we don’t necessarily want Him to shine it. We become thoughtful, compliant, and compassionate as we realize the debt we owe Him and that He wants to save others, as well. We WANT to be involved in the saving of others. It’s important to Him, so it becomes important to us.

Today, if you don’t have a regular reading schedule or plan, read any or all of these passages:  John 3:16-21, Titus 2:11-14, Ephesians 2:1-10. They will confirm, illustrate, and explain His plan for you.

Abba, I pray for my readers that they will want to step into Your light and allow You to cleanse them and purify them. I pray that they will be eager to do what is right according to Your leadership in their lives. I ask that they grasp the depths of their sin, the glorious salvation in You, and their position in Christ. We, as new creations, are Your masterpiece, O LORD! WOW! May we spend today and the rest of eternity pondering this truth. Amen.

 

 

Proverbs 27 6-27-20

What great love the Father has for us! We can’t help but obey Him. His Spirit within us compels us to follow Him!

One who is full loathes honey from the comb,
    but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.

When we are full of ourselves, we don’t crave the things of God. When we are empty of ourselves, then even His discipline seems sweet to us! Why? Because the very interaction of His Spirit with us is worth more than anything this world has to offer!!!

One of the telltale signs that a person is a follower of Jesus Christ is that they do what Jesus says. They have an ongoing and personal relationship with Him and are interested in doing things His way, in His time, and WITH Him. Their enthusiasm to be obedient and their joy that comes from being in His presence is obvious. Does this person describe you? It can! All we have to do is believe and act on these verses:

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

What can we learn from these verses?

  1. God loves us lavishly. Even as we are! We have worth because He deems us worthy.
  2. We are His children! We have been bought back, adopted, never to be lost again.
  3. Those in the world don’t know Him. Let’s introduce them to Him!
  4. WE WILL BE LIKE CHRIST! What a promise!
  5. Let’s keep ourselves pure just as He is pure. He’ll help us!

Salvation Test #7 is found in 3:6, “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to [in] sin has either seen him or known him.”

Test #7 Does sinning bother you,
knowing it hurts your fellowship with the Father?

The key is if there is conviction of sin. If there is no conviction, then the Holy Spirit is not present. If He is not present, then there is no salvation. One of my favorite life verses is Hebrews 12:11, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” “Even what is bitter tastes sweet” falls right into this verse!

Verse nine sets us up for Salvation Test #8No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed [Spirit] remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right [habitually and without conviction] is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

Test #8 Do you have conviction of the Spirit when you sin, particularly when it comes to your relationship with your brothers and sisters in Christ?

The blessing of God is NOT material blessings, although He makes sure we have what we need to do His will.
The BLESSING of God is His Presence with us.
                                               Immanuel: God With Us
The HOPE of God is what He has in store for us.

Let’s not forget verse two where John reminds us that Christ is coming back. This promise is our hope. What happens if we die before He comes back? Paul teaches that we go to be with Him where He is: Heaven (2 Corinthians 5:8). In fact, part of us is already seated with Him in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6).

I want us to end today with an explanation of our relationship with Jesus as given by Peter, the leader of the disciples who walked with Jesus:

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Keep reading His Word. It’s where I found all of these gold nuggets! His Spirit confirms each one of them in my heart. How about you?

Abba, I pray that my readers will read these verses for themselves and allow You to speak to them, confirming the truths of Your Word in their hearts. Fill them with that inexpressible and glorious joy of which Peter speaks. Your love compels me to honor You with obedience. Getting more of You makes me want more of You! It’s a delicious cycle. Fill me, LORD, to the top. Amen.

Proverbs 27 5-27-20

We’re on #3 of 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. 
  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!
  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?

Faith comes by hearing; are you ready to listen?

John 16:12-15 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

Jesus was about to rock the disciples’ world–as if He already hadn’t–which is what makes today’s Proverbs verse so poignant:

27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

The disciples were about to have a really bad night and even worse few days as Jesus would be arrested, tried, sentenced, and crucified. But, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit, which did come 50 days after His resurrection on Pentecost–which, by the way, is this Sunday. Be sure to thank the LORD for His indescribable gift! Let’s look at the passage from John:

12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.” Jesus knows how much we can absorb at one time. He would never overdose us on revelation. In fact, we should be more concerned about “under-dosing” on revelation. Most times, we are not interested in learning something new. Why? Because it requires getting out of our comfort zone. It may cause pain or at least discomfort. And effort. Yet, if we want to be like Jesus, the Holy Spirit has a whopping job ahead of Him. We should probably do whatever He wants to do.

13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. Let’s take it apart:

  1. He is the Spirit of truth–straight from the Father. We can trust Him. He will never lead us wrong.
  2. He will guide us into all truth. There is nothing dressed up or spun to look better than it is. It is the unvarnished truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, which is the only way to be able to deal accurately and effectively with circumstances or situations.
  3. He speaks only what He hears…from whom? Jesus said it was from Him that the Spirit receives what to give to us. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. We can trust the Spirit to give us the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). Want to know what Christ thinks about any given subject? Ask the Spirit. He will tell you. But, be ready to act on whatever He tells you, because He never reveals something just for knowledge sake; it’s for awareness and action.
  4. The Spirit will prepare us for what is coming in our lives–if we will listen. We get so caught up in living for the moment that we forget that things NEVER stay the same for very long. Christ is always preparing us for the next step, the next season in our lives, and He speaks to us through His Spirit. Let’s be ready.

15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” Only the Son can claim His Father’s stuff. We can only imagine to what Jesus was referring. His power? His dominion? His omniscience? His glory? All of the above? Yet, in the next 24 hours of he passage, He would die on a cross for us. Now THAT’S love! This verse is the closest one to a Trinity verse that I know. Jesus = the Father = the Holy Spirit. They are three-in-one. Don’t ask me to explain it. We may understand when we get to heaven and see all three in person. Until then, we just take it on faith to be true.

Here’s the point: The Father wants us to learn from His Son, who wants to teach us through His Spirit, the One who lives inside us and with us. Since He never sleeps, He is constantly communicating with us His love, His peace, His joy, as well as hope, grace, revelations from His Word, snippets of the future, insights about people, events, and circumstances, and the approach of the enemy. He even sings over us in our sleep! See Job 35:10

Let’s do the prep work. Let’s read our Bibles with the intention of giving the Spirit as much to work with in our minds as we can. Let’s stay in constant contact with Him throughout the day as we listen for His instruction and direction. Each time we mess up, let’s back up and correct it as He directs. Start with, “I’m sorry. That didn’t come out right. Let me try again…” Each time we correct ourselves, the quicker we will be to catch ourselves the next time we begin to mess up. It doesn’t disappoint God; in fact, He is happy that we learned something! We have become more like Him!!! Everyone rejoices.

One more verse: Romans 10:17 “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” The verse is speaking specifically about salvation, but we can take it a step further in light of our John 16 text. The message we hear are the words of Christ that He has given the Spirit to say to us. These words have their origin in the Father. The more we listen to His voice, the more faith we will have as we discern and obey.

The Spirit has lots to say to His Church, His Bride–us! Are we ready to listen?

Abba, if there’s one thing You have taught me, it’s not to ask, “Why?” but to ask, “What?” “What is it You want me to see, know, and/or do next?” Walking with You is exercise, LORD. May I be up for the task and the challenge. My You give me the strength, stamina, and desire to do Your will today as opportunities come my way. I’m saddled up, LORD. Let’s ride! Amen.

The Great Adventure – Steven Curtis Chapman

Proverbs 27 4-27-20

What does God’s voice sound like? What kinds of things will He say to us? Those with the Spirit hear His voice!

19 As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.

What is your passion? What is your life’s goal? As followers of Christ, HE must be our PASSION; our life’s goal must be to BECOME JUST LIKE JESUS. Our hearts reflect our life’s goal. If our passion is to become Christlike, then people will be able to see that passion in our choices and in our lifestyle.

That being said, we MUST be able to discern His voice in order to do what He wants. Hence, our study is on how to distinguish God’s voice amongst all the other noises clamoring for our attention.

[From Robin’s worksheet on HEARING GOD by Peter Lord]

If we do the “one thing” Jesus mentioned in Luke 10:42 [Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to Him rather than helping Martha fix dinner], here are some of the things we can expect to hear God say to us:

His words John 6:63, Peace John 14:27, Joy John 15:11, Faith Romans 10:17, Love Romans 5:5, Guidance John 16:12-13, Wisdom James 1:5, Mercy and grace Hebrews 4:15-16, Assurance of forgiveness 1 John 1:9, Our needs met Philippians 4:19, Comfort 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Instructions Psalm 32:8 and Psalm 73:23-24, Protection from evil John 17:15 and 1 Corinthians 10:13, His love for us John 14:21 and 1 John 3:1, Revelation from God John 16:14-15, Correction Hebrews 12:6, Discipline Hebrews 12:11, Assurance of salvation Romans 8:16

The definition of PASSION is, “any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.” This definition is rather generic. One of the other definitions is specifically poignant to us: “a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything: a passion for music.” 

Do we have a strong, powerful and compelling desire to follow Christ, to walk by His side, to listen to His instruction, and to become just like Him? Do we have an extravagant fondness for His presence and His company? Do we enthusiastically read His Word in order to hear His voice? Are we compelled by an inner desire to know Him more? Better? Deeper? I pray that your answer is a resounding, “YES!” If you’re like me, you have these strong feelings, but want even more! May the LORD grant us our request.

Here’s the test to see if we are truly enthusiastic about growing in Christ, if we truly have a passion for following Him as His disciples: We will look each of these verses up in our Bibles and mark them. We will write them on cards and read them weekly. We will memorize them. Internalize them. Speak them to God in the form of prayers. Read them as His words to us. We must set our minds to the task. Once we get started, His Spirit will encourage us to continue. In fact, He’s calling us to start right now!

Abba, I pray for my readers that they will take this challenge seriously. Their development in the faith depends on their immersing themselves in Your Word. Thank You that You provided such a tool for us to get to know You. It was quite ingenious. May we use it to its fullest extent as we get to know You more. Amen.

Word of Caution: The third seed in the parable of the Sower Mark 4:1-20 was “choked by the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things, thus making it unfruitful.” v.19. May this consequence not happen to us! May we be the fourth seed: “Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop–some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown [according to our calling and place in life].” v.20.

Proverbs 27 3-27-20

Let’s put on our thinking caps and figure this out: What is sin and how are we sinful? Do we even care?!

God created the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (see Genesis 2:9), and called it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Could it be that it was there for a future purpose, and was NOT there simply to test Adam and Eve? If so, then when they were old enough–at the time, they were just infants spiritually–it follows that God would have led them to the tree and instructed them in its use. That’s as far as we can go with the knowledge that we have.

We DO know this: The knowledge of good and evil is the awareness of each when we come into contact with them. What we do with them makes that contact either a lesson in righteousness and holiness with an increase of knowledge and fellowship with the LORD, or sin. Sin breaks our fellowship with the LORD, makes us unholy and unrighteous, and will ultimately destroy us. Remember the equation:

PRIDE = ARROGANCE –> REBELLION –> SIN –> DESTRUCTION

Here’s the big question: Do you care?

  1. Do you care that you have sin in your life and it’s destroying you?
  2. Do you want the LORD to root out all evil in you?
  3. Do you desire a close relationship with the LORD?
  4. Are you interested in being righteous and holy?

These questions may sound simple and even juvenile to “old” Christians, but I ask myself these very questions often! The Holy Spirit prompts these questions in my life routinely. Why? Because they are my motivation to listen to Him. The answer, “Yes!” is what gets me out of bed early to pray and read and study and write. This same motivation is what I want for YOU.

There is a hymn entitled, “Take Time to Be Holy,” that sums up our daily walk. I took the liberty of highlighting certain phrases that are pertinent to me:

1. Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
2. Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
3. Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.
4. Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

Take Time to Be Holy (beautiful orchestration)

John Longhurst had an insight for the future (see the last line) in that we will have jobs on the new earth when we get back from heaven (see Rev. 19-22 and Isaiah 65-66)–but that’s another lesson.

Let’s redeem this time of sequester by spending lots of time reading His Word, listening to uplifting music, watching inspiring movies and shows, fellowshipping with those with whom we have been sequestered, and connecting through the internet with friends and family. DON’T MISS THIS GRAND OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH!

Abba, I want to grow, too! Thank You for speaking to me this morning. I love it when You say, “Grab your pen and write this down…” May I care about sin in my life that is destroying me; May I want to root out any “offensive way in me” (Psalm 139:24); may I desire a closer relationship with You; may I choose righteousness and holiness to be my highest goals, for it is then that I am most like You. LORD, please give me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4). Amen.

Proverbs 27 2-27-20

That with which we are filled dictates what we crave. The world=Worldly desires. Filled with the Spirit=Spiritual desires.

7 One who is full loathes honey from the comb, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.

Do we crave heaven? Do we even know enough about it to want it? Lots of people are afraid of heaven even though they believe in it. Fear comes from not knowing what the Bible teaches us about heaven.

We can learn a lot from the Transfiguration in Matthew 17:

1 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

  1. They saw Jesus in His glorified state, the one that He left to come to earth. “Abba, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, and to see My glory, the glory You have given Me because You loved Me before the creation of the world.” John 17:24. We, too, will be glorified in heaven. “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2. Our glorified state means NO SIN NATURE! We won’t fight those evil thoughts any longer!!!
  2. Moses and Elijah were recognizable people. The disciples inherently knew who they were, presupposing that we, too, will be inherently known to everyone around us in heaven. Since we are the sum of our experiences, and knowing that Moses stood for the Law and Elijah stood for the Prophets, we can assume that they were cognizant of their past and what is happening on earth. They may have even known what was going to happen! Their knowledge of events went WAY BEYOND what they knew while on earth, therefore, it is safe to say that ours will, too.
  3. Lest we think poorly of Peter, the Transfiguration happened during the Feast of Tabernacles, at which time everyone was required to build tents and live outdoors for a week to identify with the children of Israel during their 40 year excursion through the desert. It was also a week of celebration that modeled the fact that our lives here on earth are in earthly, temporary tents (bodies) and that heaven is coming! Peter was simply trying to accommodate everyone. I’m sure the trio was amused.
  4. The appearance of Moses and Elijah gives us great insight into these facts:
    1. We will have real and identifiable bodies.
    2. Who we are in heaven is directly tied to who we are on earth. Remember that Jesus repeatedly said, “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.” Matthew 19:30. He also said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.” Matthew 20:26-27.
    3. We will know and be known for who we are. In other words, our souls continue to be us. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12.

That’s all for today. Soon, we will cover what we will be doing in heaven. THAT’S an exciting study, for sure! For now, let us be assured that we will be US in heaven and that what we do here on earth matters eternally. Let’s be about the Father’s business, shall we?

Abba, thank You for the assurance I get when I read about heaven. Thank You that You want us to KNOW! I want to foster my relationship with You so that I don’t miss out on a single thing either here or there. It’s not that I want to be great in the kingdom, but I DO want to hear these words from You, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.” “Come and share your master’s happiness! Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” (Matthew 25:21, 34). I live to hear these words! Please help me to make it so. Amen.

Proverbs 27 1-27-20

It’s a new work week. Have we armored up? Prayed up? Read up? Have we asked Him for counsel? Let’s do it!

24 Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; 24 for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.

Assessing our current situation with an objective mind sometimes requires an objective opinion from an outside source. Having a Christian brother or sister ask us questions like these is a good idea:

  1. Is how we are living God-honoring?
  2. Is what we are doing helping us reach our goals?
  3. Are our goals based upon the Holy Spirit’s leadership or on our own desires?

Bucket lists are great, but not at the expense of what God is wanting you to do for His kingdom. Routine is good, but only if it meets the current needs of the situation. Unnecessary change is NOT good; keep what is working and adjust what is not.

12 The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

As we look into the future, we must remember what James said:

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

The implication is for us to check with the LORD everyday and follow His lead. It is according to His will that we do anything of Kingdom value. THAT IS the point, isn’t it? Kingdom value? Doing things a certain way because we like them a certain way is self-serving and there is NO Kingdom value to it. It’s the difference between gold, silver and precious gems vs. wood, hay and stubble (1 Cor. 3:12).

If we truly want revival for ourselves, for our church, for our city, state, and country, even the entire world, we MUST take stock on a personal level and allow the Holy Spirit to deal with us first. The old revival hymn goes like this,

Lord, send a revival,

Lord, send a revival,

Lord, send a revival,

and let it begin in me.

Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to begin revival in our hearts as we take stock of our present situation and then our future. May it all be to His glory.

Abba, I recognize that I need You to search my heart and know my thoughts. I need You to see if there is any wicked way in me and root it out as you lead me in Your way everlasting (Psalm 139:24). May revival come to my heart today. Amen.

Proverbs 27 12-27-19

Are we filling our lives with thoughts of God? Better said, are we allowing God to fill our thoughts with Him?

1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

James helps us put this verse into perspective:

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

The proof of Christianity is our relationship with the Lord Jesus in a daily walk with Him. He wants to fill us with Himself! If He is our Lord, then we will submit to Him and His leadership in our lives. We will seek Him in everything we read. How? By holding up what we are reading to the truths of God’s Word, comparing–sometimes contrasting–it to make sure it is worthy of our time and effort. We don’t want to be filling our thoughts with trash. Paul tells us this:

1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died [your choices are no longer yours alone to make], and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3

We will also seek Him in everything of which we are a part, whether civic, sports, political, business, and even spiritual. The clubs, teams, and other groups in which we might participate require a lot of our discretionary time, time that might be better dedicated to family, spiritual participation, and personal study time. We must remember what is important and what is at stake.  4 “When Christ, who is your life,appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Is what Christ wants the most important thing in your life? Have you asked Him about your participation in a particular group? Is that the best thing for you in your life right now? He will let you know if you ask Him. At the same time, there are certain things on which He has already given us His opinion if we would apply what we know from his Word to our daily lives.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. If any activity or group promotes or leads to any of these vices, STAY AWAY! Recognizing them for what they are is actually the Holy Spirit revealing them to you!

 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. A good test for ourselves is if the activity or group leads us to walk in holiness and righteousness or if we are constantly having to make excuses, be on our guard, compromise, or stand up (confrontationally) for what we know is right.

There is another area that is a bit more subtle. It deals with our attitude and tendencies toward uncontrolled feelings and desires.

 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander,and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new selfwhich is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

We are being renewed by what we learn about our Creator! We are being conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). What we read, what we listen and watch, with whom we spend our time, and who we trust to tell us the TRUTH are important to our spiritual growth in the knowledge of God. What we know shapes us into His image. Yes, the Holy Spirit is daily transforming us into His image (2 Cor. 3:18 and 4:16), but we can help the process along by intentionally choosing to spend our time, money, and energy on godly things and activities, with godly people.

Let’s live smart for Christ. It makes a difference in this world and will make a BIG difference in the next one. More on that later.

Abba, I pray that we will all take very seriously our walk with You in this world as You lead us to the next one. I know that You are excited about getting us to where You are so that we can really enjoy what You have in store for us and what You had intended for us from the beginning. Thank You for not giving up on us! We look forward to Your Day of Redemption when You renew all things (Matt. 19:28). What an exciting day that will be! In the meantime, help us to be more like You moment by moment. Amen.

Proverbs 27 11-27-19

How do we know the way to go? We must trust Him one step at a time. That means we must walk close to Him.

12 The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

There is a catchphrase that I like: “I may not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future.” First Call used it in a song a few years ago (okay, 34 years ago!). The Future We can trust the LORD to guide us through whatever is going on in our lives and in the world IF we are willing to walk with Him everyday. If we are not watching closely, He may suddenly take a path unseen by us and we miss the turn. Getting back to His side can often be painstaking in that we have to scramble. I hate that feeling! Even if the circumstances are not rough or painful, I DON’T LIKE being out of sync with Him.

Jesus warns us to stay close. Let’s look:

13 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 STAY CLOSE!

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Luke 16:10 STAY CLOSE!

Paul warns us to stay close, as well:

25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25

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. Ephesians 5:1-2

One of my favorite passages is the Ask, Seek, and Knock passage from the Amplified Bible:

Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

Rather than seeing myself as a nuisance, I prefer to see myself as an understudy that is trying to learn everything he can from the Master and to do everything according to the Master’s instructions WITH THE MASTER. Example:

When I help Doc Lewis build a cabinet, I have a rough idea of what is involved (I have helped him before), so I try to anticipate his needs, such as getting the wood out of the pickup, having the nail gun ready to hand, handing him the glue container, etc. Many times, I wait for him to say, “Hold this board like this…” at which time I hold it exactly like he tells me. Over time, I can even anticipate having the next board ready to glue/nail. What I DON’T do is try to tell Randy how to do it according to how I think it needs to be done. Even if the cabinet is for me, HE is the craftsman and I the apprentice. As we work, we have a great camaraderie and I enjoy my time with him. We always turn out a great product!

This example is how I view my walk with Jesus. He is the Master Craftsman in life and I am the apprentice. In Jesus’ day, it was Rabbi and Disciple. In fact, that’s what Jesus calls us:

23 Then he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

Let’s be good disciples today and walk in step with Him. Spend time in His Word (He IS the Word); acquiesce to His voice and instructions: be diligent as faithful servants and disciples. At the end of the day, we will hear: Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21

Abba, I long to hear those words! In fact, they are my main motivation for doing Your will today. I know that I have Your righteousness, but I still want to produce righteousness in my life (James 3:18). I can only do that by staying close to Your side, listening to Your instructions, and doing things exactly as You tell me. I will be listening closely, LORD. Give me something to do even as I enjoy my time with You. Amen.

Proverbs 27 9-27-19

Have you ever noticed that our temptation to sin is at a crossroad? Satan knows what he’s doing!

(19) As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.

If we want to know what is really important to a person, just look at his life. His priorities will tell the tale. Each decision we make moves us in one direction or another.

(18) The one who guards a fig tree will eat its fruit, and whoever protects their master will be honored.

We guard what is important to us. It becomes a priority. Hence, we are known by our deeds just as a tree is known by its fruit (Jesus-Matt. 7:20). We could easily substitute “master” with “boss,” “marriage,” “mind,” etc. We protect what is important to us.

(11) Be wise, my son [child], and bring joy to my heart; then I can answer anyone who treats me with contempt [when someone speaks against the LORD, He can use us as trophies of His grace and examples of His goodness and kindness].

This verse is the Lord’s exhortation to us to make Him a priority in our lives. We bring joy to His heart when we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and with all our strength (Mark 12:30). Satan knows this and works to disrupt and destroy our fellowship with the Lord.

Does sacrifice bring joy to God’s heart? Only when it is accompanied by a heart that is broken over sin and is contrite (repentant) about it. Consider these verses:
22 “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. Psalm 51:16-17
6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6 [Jesus quoted this verse twice: Matthew 9:13 and 12:7]
8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

As we can see, God is much more interested in our relationship with Him than He is our sacrifice to Him. When we choose to spend time with the LORD in His Word and in prayer, when we choose to fellowship with other believers, when we give up anything that causes us to worship anything or anyone other than our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ, we have, indeed, made our sacrifice to Him. We don’t get to choose what that sacrifice is; He does that through circumstances. If we are walking with Him, then our choices will be made for us by virtue of where He leads.

Jesus had just made a stunning statement to His wannabe disciples:

“Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” John 6:53

Now, WE KNOW that He was making a metaphoric statement about His flesh being His body, which was the final sacrifice for our sin and was nailed to the cross, and His blood being the final sacrifice for our forgiveness that was poured out on that cross. They just wanted something to eat. So they turned away.

Jesus turned to His twelve disciples and asked them, 66 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Peter answered for all of them and for all of us: 67 Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 68 “We have come to believe that you are the Holy One of God.”

Peter’s answer is why we get up in the morning and meet with the Lord. It’s why we listen to Him constantly and consistently throughout the day. It’s why we desire to be like Him rather than please our momentary desires. It’s why we fight temptation and work to be holy. We drink from His “living water” that He has given us and has become in us “a spring of water welling up to eternal life (John 4:14).” We live for Him because He is worth living for!* May we, indeed, live for Him today.

Abba, I pray that these verses will inspire the readers to seek Your face and Your fellowship. It’s what You desire most. I know that positionally, we are already pleasing to You because we are in Christ. Now, we want to take every advantage of our position in Him by paying close attention to our relationship with Him. May we guard and protect that trust with our lives. I want to be known as a man after Your own heart, even as David was. Make it so, Father God, make it so. Amen.

*Sorry for the bad grammar, Hillary. Emphasis was needed. It should have read, “We live for Him because He is worth for what we are living.” It just didn’t have the “pop” I wanted.