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.