Proverbs 30 9-30-20

The desire for godly wisdom is the first sign of Christian growth. A lack of desire reveals a conflict of interest.

“Two things I ask of you, Lord;
    do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
    give me neither poverty nor riches,
    but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
    and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
    and so dishonor the name of my God.

Do you see the balance in these verses? There are those who would lie to us and tell us that riches will solve everything or that to not have anything means no responsibility. We may even be lying to ourselves! God knows how much of anything that we need, so we learn to trust Him.

Do we have a desire to know God? to obey the Spirit? to fellowship with the LORD Jesus?  You probably set an alarm to get up, made coffee, and may have even set down to breakfast. Then, you had the desire to read this post, which means that you have desire. This desire is from the Holy Spirit within you.

Which would you rather have:

  1. Someone telling you what you should be doing, or
  2. Someone who gives you the desire to do what God wants you to do for and with Him?

Notice that the first option is Old Testament and the second option is New Testament. The difference is in RELATIONSHIP. God wants to have an ongoing and intimate relationship with us through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Our struggle comes in recognizing that desire as Him in us. We must learn to discern His voice from our own voice. Proverbs 24:3-4 gives a beautiful description of how:

By wisdom a house is built,
    and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
    with rare and beautiful treasures.

Wisdom is how the house is built;
Understanding is how it is established (how it works);
Knowledge is how the rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

All of these traits can be found in the Word of God. We just have to dig for them.

Consider yourselves disciples of Christ. Study to show yourselves approved by Him. Learn to rightly divide/decipher/parse the word of truth. Be good workers who need not be ashamed (based on 2 Timothy 2:15). Is this desire in you? OBEY IT! OBEY HIM!!!

I mentioned a conflict of interest. If our interest is divided between what Christ wants for us and what we want to do, then we will always be at a standstill with Him. We can’t build our house; we can’t establish our walk with Him; we can’t fill our lives with the rare and beautiful treasures that He has for us. Let’s decide today to give our whole lives to the LORD Jesus. It will feel a whole lot like salvation, but know that it’s really just moving up to level 2 in our relationship with Him.

Abba, I pray for my readers that they would take seriously this call to commit all to You. You have SO MUCH in store for us if we will only believe You. May we be like the man in Mark 9:24 when he says, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” May we place our lives in Your capable hands. Make us, melt us, mold us, and fill us, LORD. We are Yours. Amen.

Proverbs 30 8-30-20

Each of us has our own miracle story of how God pursued us and reached out to us. Here’s mine.

4 What is His name, and what is the name of His Son? Surely you know!

I do, indeed, know.

My story has three parts:

  1. Salvation
  2. Recommitment
  3. Full-time vocational service

Salvation: At the age of six, I was riding my bike at Mindy Means’ house in Denton, Texas. She mentioned that she was going to be baptized soon. I asked her why and she told me that she had invited Jesus into her life. My interest was piqued. I listened to the sermon that Sunday very closely. That week, I popped into the kitchen and asked my mother, “How do I get saved?” My mother told me to tell Jesus that I know I’m a sinner, but I want Him to forgive me and come into my life and be my Savior. I asked her to help me, but she told me to go into my bedroom, get down on my knees, and do it myself. She said that it was between God and me. So, I did. I remember sensing a man in the room with me, kind of behind me and to the right. He was smiling. When I turned to look at him, he was gone! But, I knew that Jesus had come into my life. I have doubted that day twice since then (as a child), but both times, God confirmed that He did, indeed, save me that day.

My recommitment came after a year of doing things that I ought not to have been doing. I was coming out of the eighth grade and going into high school and was hanging out with a friend, who was four years older than I. We were at Falls Creek; it was Tuesday at the noon service (11:15). Johnny Bisagno was depicting the crucifixion of Christ and what He went through physically. I was riveted. At the end of his sermon, he said, “If Jesus endured all that for you, can’t you live for Him?”

That afternoon, my friend and I went hiking. We found a quiet place and talked about the sermon. We decided that Jesus was worth following. That week marked the re-instatement my fellowship with God, which carried me through those hectic years of high school and even my first year of college.

My call to full-time vocational service also came at Falls Creek. I was working there as a lifeguard and volleyball referee my freshman year at college. At one of the evening services, I was near the back of the tabernacle (it was open-air then). The speaker was being very blunt about our commitment to Christ and how we are to take it seriously. The Holy Spirit directed me to go down front, so I did. In the counseling room, they gave me a card and had me fill it out. It asked me what decision I had made and gave me some choices. Since the Spirit hadn’t given me any specific direction for ministry, I checked, “other.” Boy, was that an accurate statement! In my ministry, I have been Youth Director (eight years), Music Director (all but six months), Associate Pastor, bus driver, Senior Adult Minister, Sunday School Director, Nursery Coordinator, Janitor, and numerous other jobs that don’t have titles.

In each decision, I felt a desire to follow Christ “higher up and farther in.” I still have that same desire that gets me up in the mornings (most times at 4:30) to spend time with Him. I never lose that desire to follow Him as I go throughout my day. I don’t get life right lots of times, but as long as I am repentant and determined to try again, my relationship with Jesus just keeps getting brighter and brighter.

The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. Proverbs 4:18

That pretty much sums up my relationship with the Father and fellowship with the Son. Do I know Him? YOU BET I DO!

Abba, it’s been 53 years now, and I still feel like a novice at Christianity. At the same time, we have walked together so long (from my perspective) that I cannot fathom ever considering forsaking You for any reason. I look forward to death because I want to see You face to face! At the same time, I think that You still have things for me to do here on this earth. I’m with Paul, who stated the same sentiment in Philippians 1:20-26.
I’m looking forward to church today when I get to lead Brookwood in praise and worship of You. Come and inhabit the praises of Your people, O LORD! Amen.

Proverbs 30 7-30-20

“If we change the way we think, we will change the way we feel.”* The more we think of God, the more we want His ways. Without the Holy Spirit, good things become twisted, perverted, and abused. But, WITH the Holy Spirit, our bad ways begin to transform into good, right and true thoughts and actions (Ephesians 5:9).

5 Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.

Psalm 119 was written by King David. He was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Here is what he wrote about keeping our ways pure:

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
    By living according to your word.

Is it possible for a person to stay on the path of purity? How can he/she maintain it for a lifetime? Yes! By living according to the word of the LORD daily.

10 I seek you with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from your commands.

How do we live according to His word?  By seeking Him with all our heart, soul, mind and with all our strength. The promise is that He will guide us and keep us on the right path. When we do wander off, He will bring us back to the straight and narrow road. Hopefully, it will require only a minor course correction. If not, then we may get caught in a loop of rebellion. This loop will continue until we are willing to look up and acknowledge His Lordship in our lives. King Nebuchadnezzar is a perfect example of this truth, Daniel 4:26-34.

11 I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.

Our souls train our hearts by filling our minds with the word of God. Hiding God’s word in our hearts is vital to all believers. If a believer wants to move up to being a follower (living a victorious Christian life), then he/she will memorize Scripture. It’s not necessary to memorize it verbatim or even its address, but that we know the gist of it (a paraphrase) and at least the book in which it is found. Context helps.

12 Praise be to you, Lord;
    teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
    all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
    as one rejoices in great riches.

Praise to the LORD engenders a submissive spirit and a willing heart. We are eager to do what is good, which is whatever He says. What does He say? “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,” Colossians 3:16. We implore God to teach us His decrees and statutes of righteous living. Otherwise, there is NO WAY to really learn them.

15 I meditate on your precepts
    and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees

We “set our face like flint” (Isaiah 50:7) to keep His commands first and foremost in our minds and hearts. We meditate on them; we delight in them–can you feel the enthusiasm and joy that Jesus feels when His children walk in truth (3 John 1:4)?

 I will not neglect your word.

“I WILL NOT NEGLECT YOUR WORD.” Really? Will you vow to keep this promise? The Holy Spirit will assist you in keeping your vow by reminding you, prompting you and convicting you about it constantly. Sound annoying? IT’S NOT! WE are interacting with the God of the universe!

Computers typically don’t erase old data; they just overwrite it. This process is EXACTLY what we need to do with our minds: Overwrite old ways of thinking with God’s words. Not only will they give us a new way of thinking, they are ALIVE with the Spirit of God! He talks to us even as we read His words. Hebrews 4:12-13.

It boils down to this question: Are you really interested in being like your LORD Jesus Christ? Then you will do anything and everything necessary to learn His ways, His likes and dislikes, His character traits, His convictions and what He considers important. Let’s see, what’s important to Jesus? “Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.” John 17:17. Folks, it doesn’t get any plainer than that!

LORD, I pray that You will sanctify us according to our reading and study of Your word. I pray that we all will be on fire when we get through with our Bibles! I know that there will come a day when I will wish I read more, studied more, and memorized more of Your words. May I begin NOW changing that outcome. May my readers join me in this endeavor. Bless them, LORD, with Your presence and sense of pleasure as they read Your word. Amen.

*Beth Moore

Proverbs 30 6-30-20

If we could let go of our own feelings long enough to feel the love God has for others, it would transform us!

5 Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.

IF every word of God is flawless;
IF He shields those who take refuge in Him;
IF His word says, “God is love” (1 John 4:8 and 16b), THEN we can trust that God loves us.

IF He has asked us to believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, THEN we must take Him at His word that Jesus IS God’s Son.

IF Jesus came to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10), THEN we must accept that all of humanity has value: HIS value, the value He placed on us by dying for us.

IF Jesus died for all people, THEN we must love them as He loves them.

There are several truths in our passage for today of 1 John 4:7-21.

  1. God is love (v.8).
  2. Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins (v.10).
  3. God lives in us (v.12).
  4. He has given us of His Spirit (v.13).
  5. In this world we are like Jesus (v.17) because we have compassion on the lost (Matthew 9:36).
  6. We love because He first loved us (v.19); remember that we are like Jesus.
  7. Anyone who loves God loves their brother and sister (v.21) not just in words or speech, but with actions and in truth (3:18).

We have the promise in 4:13 that He will give us of His Spirit so that we can rely on His love for us (verse 16a) to receive all that we need in order to accomplish His will, which is for us to love one another:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

We know that we are God’s children because we love like Him. It is this love and compassion that verifies that we belong to Him. John makes this very point:

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you  may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13

If we link 4:9 and 5:14 together, we get:

This is how God showed His love to us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Jesus as we approach God in confidence, knowing that God hears us when we pray according to His will, which is for us to believe that He is God, that God is love, and that He wants the best for all mankind, but loves us enough to give us the choice of believing Him enough to trust Him and obey Him or not.

It’s a one-time choice of trust unto salvation, and a daily choice of obedience unto fellowship with Him.

John knew what he was talking about because he walked with Jesus three years in the flesh and then for many years with Him in his heart. If we want God and His love to consume us, then we can’t hold anything back that would keep Him from filling every nook and cranny of our hearts. Let’s give our all to God through Jesus with the help of the Spirit everyday!

Abba, I struggle with areas of my life, but my heart I give to You each day–sometimes several times a day. I keep fixing my eyes on You, only to tear them away to look at things in this world. May I learn to see this world through my peripheral vision and to keep You as the center of my attention. May I see people through Your eyes with the compassion You feel toward them. Make me like You, LORD. That’s my prayer today (and everyday). Amen.

Proverbs 30 5-30-20

Today, we are on #6 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?

32 If you have been a fool by being proud or plotting evil,
    cover your mouth in shame.

33 As the beating of cream yields butter
    and striking the nose causes bleeding,
    so stirring up anger causes quarrels.

#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.

“The devil is in the details” may be a phrase for visionaries (they hate details), but we are made up of a lot of little decisions, i.e. details. The “little decision” by the five foolish bridesmaids to not have extra oil cost them the banquet (Matthew 25:1-13). The “little decision” by the foolish servant in not investing his master’s money cost him his position (Matthew 25:14-30). Our “little decisions” cost us in ways that we cannot see from where we are.

Here’s how it works:

The fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

  1. The first three (1-syllable words) are given us by Jesus: Love, Joy and Peace. By the way, these are how we sense God’s Presence; they radiate from Him. They form the fragrance of Christ and are His “aroma.” See 2 Corinthians 2:15.
  2. The second three (2-syllable words) are work: Patience, Kindness, Goodness
  3. The third three (3-syllable words) are character: Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control
    We share the first three through the second three; they create in us the third three. If we don’t share the first three through the second three, then we miss the character-building activities of the Spirit in us to get the third three.

Here are two examples:

  1. A ship’s captain in the old days would go up on deck at night and check his position using the stars. If he didn’t do it every night, but, say, only once a week, he could miss his destination by quite a bit.
  2. When the weatherman shows a tornado on his “board,” he uses an expanding cone to show the path the tornado may take. As the tornado moves, the cone adjusts to keep the most likely path in the center of the cone.

If we decide for a day to ignore the Holy Spirit within us and go our own way (actually, it’s every decision), we will drift off-course just like the ship. As we move away from God’s intended path to build our character (to look like Jesus), the expanding cone that indicates our likely path shifts. Now, instead of God’s best in the center of the cone, it moves to the outside and whatever it is that we think we want is now in the center. Do that a few more times and God’s best is no longer in the cone at all! We will surely miss our destination, which is to be transformed into the image of Christ.

The Church at Laodicea in Revelation 3 had wandered off-course. The problem was that they didn’t know it. Jesus explained it to them:

17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

For a city known for its banking ventures, thriving textile (clothing) business, eye salve industry, and piped-in water, that’s a pretty harsh assessment! Jesus was more concerned with their character than their bank account. How did Jesus view them?

15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

The water piped in from Heliopolis was hot; the water piped in from Colossae was cold. By the time the water reached Laodicea, it was tepid (lukewarm). They knew exactly what Jesus meant by His terminology. Even His exhortation was pointed:

18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Their banking industry wouldn’t save them; their textile business wouldn’t save them; their eye salve business wouldn’t save them. Only what Jesus had to offer would save them. What is it that Jesus offered them?

9 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 

His personal attention! If we sincerely repent and put Him back in the center of our path, we get back on course. His rebuke shows that He loves us and refuses to allow us to continue in our destructive behavior. His discipline teaches us and builds character–His character–in us. We look more like Jesus!

Here’s the best part:

20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

Jesus wants to be with us and have sweet fellowship with us! All we have to do is open the door and invite Him in. This fellowship is ongoing if we will keep Him in the center of our path. He is our North Star for every decision. How long will it take you to admit it and come to your senses? The Prodigal Son did (Luke 15:11-32). He went home and his Dad ran to meet him (unheard of back then), hugged him (even though he smelled like pigs), reinstated him (even though he had all but said that his dad was dead to him), and threw a big party (much to the chagrin of the older brother). Until you do, I reckon you’ll smell like a pig and long to eat pig slop. Lift up your eyes! Change your course! Turn your eyes upon Jesus! He’s waiting for you–even as He is rejoicing over you. You have everything you need in Him:

7 Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 9 God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into fellowship and partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Abba, I pray that Y0u will lock into each of us the passion to follow You diligently, daily, and with great fervor. Yet, in our zeal, keep us close to You so that we will not run ahead of You or lag behind You or wander off to the left or to the right. Help us through Your Word to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, our Beginner and our End. To this End I commit myself today. Amen.

Proverbs 30 4-30-20

This pandemic has been quite revealing concerning our tendencies. Have you grown closer to the Lord? Or, have you found that you can do without church and be just fine?

8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.

Let’s not lie to ourselves. Because we haven’t been able to go to church, some of us have not spent much (if any) time with Jesus during this whole quarantine. It has been quite revealing as to how dependent we were/are on church attendance for our daily bread.

Our DAILY BREAD is the Lord Jesus. He took the imagery of manna, the bread from heaven, and applied it to Himself. Let’s read it:

48 I am the bread which is life. 49 Your fathers ate manna in the desert; they died. 50 But the bread that comes down from heaven is such that a person may eat it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that has come down from heaven; if anyone eats this bread, he will live forever. John 6:48-51a

We must partake of Him daily. We must feast on His words and turn to Him constantly for direction, assurance, love, joy, peace, hope, and grace. We are dependent upon Him for wisdom, discernment, discretion, and prudence. Do we WANT to be like Jesus? Then we must spend TIME with Jesus!

Proverbs 24 ends with a poignant story of the vineyard of the lazy man:

30 I passed by the field of the lazy man
    and the vineyard of the man lacking sense.
31 There it was, overgrown with thistles;
    the ground was covered with nettles,
    and its stone wall was broken down.
32 I looked, and I thought about it;
    I saw, and I learned this lesson:
33 “I’ll just lie here a bit, rest a little longer,
    just fold my hands for a little more sleep” —
34 and poverty comes marching in on you,
    scarcity hits you like an invading soldier.

Does not your heart burn within you to know Him more? He saved you; He brought you life, joy and peace when He called you to receive Him as your Lord. Are you now reneging on your commitment? “Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.” 1 Corinthians 15:34. It’s as if some people get a light case of salvation–sounds like the measles! The problem with a light case is that it acts more like a vaccine than a full dose. Just so we’re clear: There is no such thing as a light case of salvation!!! We are either completely in or completely out.

IF the Holy Spirit dwells in us, THEN we will desire to please Him. What pleases Him most is when we spend time with Him in the Word of God, for it is from there that He directs us, teaches us, enlightens us, coaches us, admonishes us, and trains us. Let’s show Him our mettle (courage and fortitude, disposition or temperament). Let’s “set our face like flint” and choose to serve the Lord, to become like Him, and to get to know Him. HE wants it; do YOU?

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    my faithful love promised to David. Isaiah 55:1-5

Folks, it doesn’t get any plainer than that! Let’s eat at His table today, breaking bread with Him, and we will feel our hearts burn within us (Luke 24:30-32).

Abba, I pray for my readers that they would take the time and spend the energy to read Your Word, learn it, memorize it, internalize it, apply it, and teach it (there’s no better way to learn than to teach). I burn to learn more; I burn to be more like You; I burn to be WITH You. May I pass on this fire to others, O Lord. Amen.

Proverbs 30 3-30-20

On what should we rely during this outbreak of COVID-19? Can we truly protect ourselves? Should we look elsewhere?

5 Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.

If I were to make a pamphlet to pass out at Wal-Mart, I think it would say this:

What Does God Have to Do with COVID-19?

These are scary times in which we live. Did COVID-19 catch God by surprise? IS there a God to take by surprise?! Consider this:

  1. The order of the universe, particularly human life along with plants and animals, all speak of a divine order and Creator. Otherwise, the second law of thermal dynamics would have reduced everything to its lowest level long ago (entropy).
  2. The mutation of COVID-19 is still within its kind (Micro-Evolution); it will NOT mutate into a different species! There is NO evidence for Macro-Evolution, which is someone’s idea of what he thinks might have happened.
  3. COVID-19 is no worse than some strains of flu that go around every year. The problem is that since it is new, everyone is susceptible. We SHOULD take precautions: Wash hands routinely, maintain space, refrain from touching, avoid large groups, etc.

What we must realize is that even though God did NOT cause COVID-19, He IS using it to get our attention. Here are some things He would like for you to know:

  1. God loves you and wants you to know him personally through His Son, Jesus Christ.
  2. A good life is more than just the number of years lived. God has a plan for you!
  3. Living life without God is a wasted life with no eternal value or reward.
  4. Treat COVID-19 with a healthy respect, but do not fear it. Instead, “fear Him who can throw both body and soul into hell.”  –  Jesus
  5. Living without God is living as an enemy of God. Turn to him and trust Him. Leave the idea of doing things your way and follow Jesus. He will enter your heart, save your soul, and lead you with His Spirit.

COVID-19 IS A BIG DEAL. GOD IS BIGGER THAN COVID-19

Trust Him for LIFE!

‘Nuff said.

Abba, I have no idea what-or even, if- You want to do something with what I said this morning. Maybe someone will copy it out and circulate it. Maybe You will prompt me to make a pamphlet and hand it out. I am open to that. In the meantime, May You comfort and encourage the hearts of all who read this blog with Your truth. May we all take refuge in Your Word. You have this; I know it. I love You and trust You. Amen.

Proverbs 30 2-30-20

Are you lacking in zeal? Have you lost your spiritual fervor? Plug into the SOURCE: Jesus and His Word!

5 Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.

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

How do I know that Jesus is the Word of God? A little later in that chapter, John tells us that, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (v14).” 

Let’s combine these verses with Proverbs 1:23,

Repent at my rebuke!
    Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,
    I will make known to you my teachings and pour out my heart to you.

So, it makes sense that if we read His Word, then we are conversing with God through Jesus Christ as His Spirit makes known to us His thoughts and His heart.

As we read, we receive handles of truth that the Holy Spirit uses to teach us and guide us. For instance, I read this morning Romans 12:9-21, in which are these verses:

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

  1. In order to love, I must be sincere in my love. No flattery or talking about that person behind his/her back. I must truly love that person as a brother or sister in Christ, or a prospective one.
  2. As I learn what God hates and what He loves, I cling to the good and get rid of the bad. I even learn to hate evil because it destroys people, relationships, and everything good.
  3. I learn to devote myself to Christ who calls me to be devoted to others. I must be concerned with meeting their needs as they arise–according to His guidance. Many times, coordinating to meet that need is better than meeting it myself.
  4. Putting others’ needs before my own is what honoring each other is all about.
  5. In these things, we are to be zealous. We keep our spiritual fervor by diving into His Word for refreshment of spirit and time with Him. We bask in His love and the joy, peace, hope and grace that emanate from Him. Serving the LORD is a PLEASURE!

May these truths come alive in our lives today as we make time in our schedules to read His Word and entrust ourselves to His guidance. It’s all about the relationship.

Abba, may You become alive to us as we read Your Word. May You speak to us through it even as we read it. May You call to mind truths that You want us to apply and when You want them applied. As we obey, may we feel Your love, joy, peace, hope and grace, O LORD. Give us a sense of YOU. Amen.

Proverbs 30 12-30-19

Repetition is the key to memory. We lock God’s Word in our hearts by reading and re-reading passages and lessons.

1 The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh—an inspired utterance.

The sayings of chapter 30 are grouped into passages that are easy to memorize. They, in themselves, are not particularly insightful, but the overall link in each passage is a life lesson. For instance,

15 “There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say, ‘Enough!’:

16 the grave, the barren womb,
    land, which is never satisfied with water,
    and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’

 

Each of these examples by themselves is not memorable, but taken together, they form a picture that teaches a great truth: This world is not what it was meant to be, but God will restore it one of these days. In the meantime, we are to accept that which we cannot change, understanding that the LORD knows our plight and has great things in store for us in the future when He restores all things.

The same goes for the plan of salvation as we discussed yesterday. If we break it down into memorizable chunks, it might look like this:

There are three things in life for which people look, four things that they desire, and they are unalterable love, solid hope, pure joy, and unshakeable peace.

The thing that every human needs but does not deserve is grace, which is offered freely through Jesus Christ. Grace IS getting what we need instead of what we deserve!

Faith is believing AND ACTING UPON what we have been shown by the Spirit. If HE does not show us, then we can have no faith. But, once He shows us, we have an obligation to act upon what we now know.

IF we believe that:

  1. He is who He said He is, which is the Son of God,
  2. He did what He said He would do, which was to die in our place and then rise again,
  3. He will do what He says He will do, which is to come into our hearts and lives,

He will bring:

  1. His love that overwhelms,
  2. His joy that overflows,
  3. His peace that passes all understanding,
  4. His hope in a new life and an even better life after this one,
  5. and His grace to pardon every sin–past, present and future!

Here’s how:

  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.

Reviewing these aspects of salvation and even rewording them for easy delivery will give the Spirit plenty of ammunition when He calls upon us to speak to someone about salvation. We don’t have to worry about what to say, for the Spirit will give us the words to say at the appointed time (Matthew 10:19). It just helps to have them already in our heads!

Let’s make ourselves as available as we can to the Spirit today.

Abba, I want to be available to You today. Help me to orient my thoughts according to Your Word. It’s important. Give me discernment as needed today. Amen.

Proverbs 30 11-30-19

I love thinking about my salvation and all it entails. It makes me very grateful and appreciative of what Christ did.

12 those who are pure in their own eyes and yet are not cleansed of their filth;

Salvation is a spiritual matter. If we could think our way into heaven, then there was really no need for Christ to come.

Salvation is a legal matter. If we could work our way into heaven, then there was really no need for Christ to take the blame for our sin.

Salvation is an allegiance matter. If we could talk (words without action) our way into heaven, then there is really no need for Christ to be Lord of our lives.

From the Complete Jewish Bible:

12 This is how it works: it was through one individual that sin entered the world, and through sin, death; and in this way death passed through to the whole human race, inasmuch as everyone sinned.

17 For if, because of the offense of one man, death ruled through that one man; how much more will those receiving the overflowing grace, that is, the gift of being considered righteous, rule in life through the one man Yeshua the Messiah!

Satan talked Adam and Eve into rebelling against God. Through his lies he sparked DESIRE in Eve’s heart (and Adam’s, evidently) with which they were unprepared to deal. I believe that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was for LATER when they had grown in the LORD and walked with him a few thousand years (a while). Who knows? If they had passed this first test, God may have allowed them to eat it right then! We don’t know and we won’t care once we get to heaven…

We all have DESIRE within us. It was awakened that first day in Adam and Eve and we all are cursed because of it. That’s the bad news. The GOOD news is that because Adam was the representative for all mankind, Jesus could be the representative for all mankind, as well! I’m pretty sure that Satan didn’t know this spiritual truth.  1 Corinthians 2:8 says, “None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” Neither did he understand that Jesus intended to be the perfect sacrifice, giving His life in place of our own:

  1. It took a human to be our substitute; sheep and cattle wouldn’t do (they had never sinned).
  2. It took God to be perfect; humans couldn’t be–that’s the whole reason He came!

Verse 17 uses the phrase, overflowing grace, and defines it as “the gift of being considered righteous.” This gift is in one way being offered to everyone, but in another way only offered to a few.

  1. It is offered to everyone in that Christ died for all. Anyone who will trust in His sacrifice and make Him Lord of his life WILL BE SAVED.
  2. It is offered to a few in that only those who have the DESIRE FOR HIM awakened in them will actually turn from their sin and turn to the LORD for salvation.

What criteria does God use to determine in whom He will awaken this desire and thus extend the invitation to be saved? I don’t know. What I DO know is, “The lamp of the LORD searches the spirit of a man; He searches out his inmost being.” Proverbs 20:27. God knows who has the DESIRE within that can be fanned into flame. For that matter, He MAY work at fanning EVERY PERSON’S desire, but many snuff it right back out.

To be clear, Genesis 6:3, which says, “My Spirit will not strive with mankind forever;” is referring to death being the end of any chance of salvation. The idea of us rejecting the Holy Spirit’s call and it being the last one is false–although, if we reject Him too often, we grow callous and set in our ways, thus making it more and more difficult to hear His voice and sense His call. Even so, He does not give up until death. Here’s the rest of the verse: “for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.” Then the Great Flood came and they all perished.

As we can see, we have A LOT for which to be thankful. May we express our gratitude to Him today and follow Him closely.

Abba, thank You for so great a salvation! I study it often and ALWAYS find something new, some new nugget of truth that thrills my soul. May I never treat my salvation with contempt or take it for granted. Your blood and sacrifice are too valuable for that. Praise be to You, LORD Jesus, Yeshua Messiah! Amen.

Proverbs 30 10-30-19

The world will not always be the way it is. Our lives will not always be the way they are.

21 “Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up: 22 a servant who becomes king, a godless fool who gets plenty to eat, 23 a contemptible woman who gets married, and a servant who displaces her mistress.

“Why do bad things happen to good people?” This question has plagued mankind for millenia. People use it to blame God for all the bad things that happen in life. They presume to sit in judgement of God! Let’s look at the answer according to His Word:

  1. God created mankind in His image, which means that we have reason and choice.
  2. Adam and Eve chose poorly and, consequently, we all do–all mankind does. Why? So that, through one man sin entered, so through one Man the debt of sin could be paid. “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all [who trust in Him] will be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22
  3. Mankind has the choice to do good or to do evil. When evil choices are made, then people suffer the consequences. Why is that God’s fault? THE GREAT RISK that God took by giving mankind the ability to choose was necessary for us to have the ability to choose Him willingly.
  4. God loves us SO MUCH that He came to die on the cross FOR US. He rose again to prove that He IS GOD. Our belief and subsequent faith in this event is what gives us the right to become children of God. “Yet to all who did receive him [and what He did for us], to those who believe in his name, he gives the right to become children of God—John 1:12
  5. This world is dying. WE are dying. Until Jesus comes back and makes things right, we must suffer through. Why does Jesus tarry? “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

So, don’t give up; don’t give in. Our condition is like the two frogs that fell into a container of milk. They paddled and paddled until one frog gave up and “croaked.” The other just kept paddling until he made butter and was able to jump out. Let’s keep on paddling, folks! We just have to keep on walking with Jesus and trusting in His Plan.

Mark Lowry does a spiel on Luke 2:1, which begins, And It Came to Pass . He says that’s how we are to live our lives: With the idea that we shall pass from this life, and therefore should look at everything as transient. We are sojourners on our way to a new country! Aren’t you glad!!!? The Imperials “Keep On Walking”

Dear Jesus, I pray You would come today! At the same time, I see how You are working Your plan to continue to save the Gentiles (more and more Muslims are coming to Christ) and how You are beginning to call the Jews back to Yourself. It’s almost time for Your Return, but not quite. Keep using me in Your Plan, O LORD.  How may I be of service to You today? Let me know, amen.

 

Proverbs 30 9-30-19

Honoring the Sabbath has a different meaning for Gentiles, but it doesn’t mean we get to skip taking one.

(1b) “I am weary, God, but I can prevail.”

Agur called out to God in his weariness. We are to do the same. In fact, God designed us to need a day of rest each week. The question is, are we taking it?

God created the heavens and the earth in a literal six days. He then rested on the seventh and proclaimed it as a sabbath, holy unto the Lord (Gen. 2:3). In the Sinai Covenant, He commanded the Israelites to keep the sabbath each week.

‘Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11

Gentiles have been released from keeping sabbaths (Romans 14:5-6), but it doesn’t change the fact that we humans are wired to need rest every so often. Just as we need sleep everyday, our bodies need a chance to recharge weekly. Most Christians set aside Sunday to rest from work. Well, that doesn’t work for me. I must find time during the week, usually on Friday or Saturday, to rest.

How about you? Do you have a set (more or less) time to rest from work each week? It’s important.

Another point is play. We need to play. Whether it’s a physical game, an activity, or a sport, we need physical activity that is fun. As in all things, we can go overboard with this one. Moderation is the key (see 1 Cor. 6:12).

There is one thing that we need EVERY DAY and that is spiritual nourishment from the Word of God. Taking a “break” from reading our Bibles is like negative fasting. Fasting is designed to do without real food so that we can concentrate on spiritual food. Negative fasting would be the opposite and have the opposite effect. BAD MOVE. Let’s make sure that we are partaking of spiritual food from the table of Christ everyday. It’s why we read Proverbs daily!

Abba, I didn’t get a chance to rest this past weekend. I ask that You give me opportunities to catch up sometime during the next couple of days. Restore my soul, O LORD. Amen.