Archive for the ‘Chapter 29’ Category

Proverbs 29 12-29-19

December 29, 2019

The Gospel remains constant, but our delivery must be tailored to our audience. What is their greatest need?

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

The one who brings it is doubly blessed.

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7

And so, I try again to put together a salvation presentation. This time, I am emphasizing the attributes that only God can give, like love, joy, peace, hope and grace.

Where do you find love? How about peace and joy? Hope? At the end of the day, who loves you? God does. He’s crazy about you! He loves you so much that He came to earth in human form to win you back. From what? From the chains of sin and death, and from Satan.

Your rebellious nature, your independent spirit, has put you in the enemy’s camp. You are an enemy of God–yet, He died in your place on the cross. He took your sins, your shame, your punishment and your death upon Himself and took it to the grave.

But wait–there’s more. After the accepted time of death (3 days), He rose from the grave! He now sits back on His throne by God the Father and extends new life to you. He wants to rise in your heart just as He did from the grave!

Do you feel Him confirming what I have told you? Do you sense Him calling you to believe that He is who He said He is, which is the Son of God, that He did what He said He would do, which was to die in your place and then rise again, and that He will do what He says He will do: He will come into your heart and life and bring His love that overwhelms, His joy that overflows, His peace that passes all understanding, His hope in a new life and an even better life after this one, and His grace to pardon every sin–past, present and future!

He wants to be your constant companion and to teach you to be like Him. He wants to make you a part of His family with God as your Father and Himself as your brother. In fact, you will become part of His spiritual family, which includes all followers of Jesus Christ, like me!

Will you receive Him now:

    1. Address Him.
    2. Let go of the things of this world that are keeping you in bondage; give all you know of yourself to all you know of Him.
    3. Pledge your life to Him from this point forward to live with Him and for Him as lord of your life everyday.
    4. Thank Him for saving you and for coming to live in you.

Welcome to the family!

It is good for us to review the plan of salvation from time to time. It keeps us fresh concerning our own decision to follow Him and it keeps us honed for when we are called upon by the Spirit to present it.

Abba, I pray that we all will have opportunities to share the Good News. May You give those opportunities. I know that You will be confirming in their hearts the message You want them to hear. May we be bold; may we be desperate to snatch souls back from the fire! I am reminded of this passage from Proverbs 24:

10 If you falter in a time of trouble [which is usually an opportunity to share the Gospel],
    how small is your strength!
11 Rescue those being led away to death;
    hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
12 If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
    does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
    Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?

May I not be timid concerning sharing the Gospel, O Lord. I want to do Your will. Give me opportunities! I will be looking for them. Amen.

 

Proverbs 29 11-29-19

November 29, 2019

We would do well to measure our spiritual wealth against our worldly wealth–not opposed, but different.

3 A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.

Or,

A person who wants to think like God and enjoy what He enjoys brings joy to the Spirit within, and therefore to the Father and the Son, but a person who spends everything–time, resources, brain cells–on pleasure has exchanged any spiritual value for the fleeting pleasures of this life.

Satan knows how to enslave us because we are easily led by our passions and our lusts, i.e. DESIRE. We can’t get past our momentary feelings. If we could just learn to step back for one minute–even 15 seconds–before reacting or deciding, we would allow the initial rush of adrenaline or dopamine to pass, thus enabling us to make a rational choice based upon God’s Word and His command to us.

During that minute (or, those 15 seconds), pray to the Lord that He would give you wisdom from above. Turn your thoughts and attention to Him by addressing Him in your mind. Remembering the consequences of potential actions is good, but we should really be about pleasing our Lord and becoming like Him.

If we can suffer through the temptation, we stand to learn and gain so many things:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 

  1. We have peace with God!
  2. We have access to Him by faith;
  3. We stand before Him in His grace;
  4. We boast in the hope of the glory of God (that which is to come);

But wait, there’s more:

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame [is true; we can bank on it], because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

  1. Suffering produces perseverance, which is the ability to withstand temptation. According to 2 Peter 1:6, we are to add perseverance to our self-control. One enables the other.
  2. Perseverance produces character, which is a godly life. God is creating the character of Christ Jesus in us! WOW!
  3. Our hope is in Christ Jesus and His imminent return. He WILL reward us for our faithfulness. Just to hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” would be enough for me!
  4. It’s more than that: We have His Spirit in our hearts! God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through Him. HE is the reason that we even WANT TO be holy and righteous, to be like God (godliness). Even as His power works through us to give us what we need in times of suffering and temptation, Jesus is transforming us into His own image.

With all that God is doing in our lives, it almost makes us look for suffering–almost. Instead, we receive whatever comes from His hand according to His will for our lives, which brings about the most amazing thing: Intimate fellowship with Christ.

Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy. Proverbs 14:10. God reserves the deepest feelings for Himself.

10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation [and fellowship with Him] in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death [poured out; we are buried with Christ], 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead [we are raised to walk in newness of life because of Him]. Philippians 3:10-11

Let’s take advantage of every situation to become more like Jesus. It makes suffering worthwhile.

Abba, when I ask you to make me like You, I fully understand that suffering is involved. I also know that to reach people for You (according to Your leadership) will mean suffering at the hands of those who do not want to know You. So be it. My life is Yours, Lord. Live through me. Amen.

 

Proverbs 29 10-29-19

October 29, 2019

The beauty of a daily walk with the Lord is that we have only today about which to be concerned.

17 Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.

Daily discipline brings about godliness in our lives. The process is called SANCTIFICATION, which means, “set apart.” God sets apart TODAY in which to interact with us, to refine us, to mold us and make us and shape us into the image of Christ. TODAY is when He is hands-on with us.

Most of the time, He uses circumstances as object lessons in which He calls certain things to our attention. As we walk with Him, we hear His voice just over our shoulder as He makes a point about something or someone. What does He say? It is always true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). It is always patient and kind, it is never rude or dishonoring, but is always protective and trusting (1 Cor. 13:4-6).

Jesus said in Matthew 6:11, “Give us this day our daily bread.” In the same chapter, He told us to “(33) seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (34) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble [anxiety, strife, problems, tasks] of its own.”

The LORD is Omnipresent, which means that He is always in the present. He wants us to live that way, too. For instance, when we forecast the future, “I’ll tell him, but he won’t believe it,” we speak out of turn for someone. We really have no idea what that person will say. It’s according to how the LORD leads that person at that moment. The person may not even know that he is being directed by the Spirit! We must be concerned with what the Spirit is telling us to do RIGHT NOW, today.

Often, I find that what He tells me to do has to do with the future. He directs me to make plans while following His lead.

For instance, I was reminded by the Spirit and urged to make a call yesterday to a person about a possible date for a presentation. Come to find out, the time I want them to come is a slow time for them and they would be happy to come–and accommodate us in any way we like! To me, the most interesting part of this story is that everytime I thought about making the call last week, I felt a tension (“pay attention to the tension”), so I put it off. Then yesterday morning, I felt the “go ahead” to make the call. He works like that in our lives all the time. His timing is perfect.

As God sets us apart today and gives us today’s bread, let’s focus on becoming like Jesus: Obedient to the Spirit, loving God’s family, and ready to sacrifice our lives for others.

Dear Lord Jesus, I want to be like You. May I be obedient to Your Spirit in all things today; may I love the Body/Bride today in words and deeds; may I be ready and willing to sacrifice my life for the sake of others–in many small ways and even in the BIG ONE. I know that if I am these things today, I will be just like YOU. Sanctify me today, Lord. Amen.

Proverbs 29 9-29-19

September 29, 2019

We’re going to church today. Let’s make sure our lives match up to our words of praise. We wouldn’t want to be hypocritical, would we?

(5) Those who flatter their neighbors are spreading nets for their feet.

This verse deals with ulterior motives. What is it we truly want? What are we really wanting to accomplish? If we direct this verse toward God, do we go to church for the right reasons? What ARE some of those reasons?

  1. To worship corporately, bringing Him praise and adoration while lifting up the name of our God and His Son, Jesus Christ, through the uniting power of the Holy Spirit;
  2. To sit under sound teaching, being encouraged in our daily walk;
  3. To fellowship with other believers and to bear each other up in prayer and in life;
  4. To unite with other Christians around the world in solidarity for the name of Christ;
  5. To be empowered to be evangelical in our walk with Christ, displaying Christ in our lives and taking opportunities as they come to be witnesses for Him.

I’m sure there are others, but these are the ones that came to my mind. The question is, are we going to church for the right reasons? Let’s look at some of the wrong reasons that some people go to church:

  1. To see and be seen. It’s a good business move;
  2. Guilt. We were raised to go and we feel guilty if we don’t;
  3. Status. We want to be considered pillars of the community.
  4. Power and influence. We can wield power over others through manipulation and control using the Word of God and personality.
  5. To obtain God’s favor–little knowing that in Christ they already have it!

Here again, the list can be longer, but these are the obvious ones. We don’t realize that by not examining ourselves, we could be flattering the LORD without realizing it. Flattery means, “insincere praise.” Is THAT why we go to church? Certainly not–I hope!

We would do well to let this verse be our “Sunday Mandate:”

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test? 2 Corinthians 13:5

We can use the above lists to make sure that we are going to church for the right reasons. We need attitudes of thanksgiving and gratitude. Even in sorrow, we gain solace in knowing that He is in control and that He gives mercy and grace in our time of need.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace [together] with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Abba, as we meet in Your name today, may we keep in mind that we are there to give You glory, to learn, to lift each other up, and to fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. May we set aside anything that would bring disunity to the body, whether it be attitudes or expectations, history or its lack (not knowing someone). May we be Christ to each other; in this way, we learn to be Christ to others outside of our church family. Bless us today, O LORD, as we meet together and join those already around Your throne. Amen.