Proverbs 6 8-6-20

We forget–or ignore– that Christ came humbly the first time; the second time He will come as a Warrior King!

My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
    if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,
you have been trapped by what you said,
    ensnared by the words of your mouth.
So do this, my son, to free yourself,
25 Settle matters quickly with your adversary [who is Christ] who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. Matthew 5:25-26
How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
    When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 and poverty will come on you like a thief
    and scarcity like an armed man.

Lest we get complacent with our position in Christ, we must remember that we Americans live in an entitled state. In other words, we are spoiled. In fact, even our salvation can be faulty because we base it upon OUR decision to receive Christ (almost in a condescending way). Because of our tendencies, salvation has been made a tricky thing. Our western understanding is that a transaction has been made and that’s it. That’s all it takes. Jesus cleanses us from our sins and we’re good with God now. We continue to live our lives for ourselves, but when things don’t go the way we think they should, we call on Him and He gives us what we want. He is our heavenly vending machine–NOT! It’s also why so many “Christians” leave the faith when God doesn’t perform like they think He should.

Salvation is offered by God through Jesus Christ for anyone who is ready to die–to give up who they are and to become like Christ: Holy, Righteous, and without fault. Impossible? YES, without Christ Himself living in us. Without this willingness everyday, our willful spirits keep Him from “taking the reins” and leading us heavenward. Consider the rich, young ruler:

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Notice that the emphasis is on what he must do. Ephesians 2:8-9 clears that up: God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
  2. Jesus made it clear that only God is good, yet in verse 20, the man declared himself on the same plane as God. Jesus knew better. In fact, Jesus knew exactly what stood between the man and God: his money.
  3. Still, Jesus loved him. He had compassion on him. He gave him a chance to come clean and walk with Him.
  4. The man did not take it–then. We do not know what transpired in his life as Jesus went to the cross and then rose again. We can hope to see him in heaven!

The promise that Jesus gives us is that when we allow Him full access and complete control of our lives, He becomes very involved in our lives. We sense His presence, we feel His love for us, His joy in our decisions, and His peace that He gives to His disciples (John 14:27). We see Him moving and shaking in our lives as He weeds our vineyard, prunes our  vines, and rebuilds the walls around our vineyard (Proverbs 24:30-34).

Are we willing to take His offer of salvation seriously? Every day? We don’t need to be saved but once, but the commitment is and must be the same everyday.

Abba, I pray for my readers that they have given their hearts and lives to You. It is my hope that they have died to themselves and now live for You, with You, and in You even as You live in and through them–and me! May Galatians 2:20 become our mantra: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. This life I live in the body I live by faith [trusting what He has told me in His Word] in the Son of God, who loves me and gave Himself for me.” Hold me to it, LORD. Amen.

 

Proverbs 6 7-6-20

I don’t like it when God subdues me–even though that’s exactly what I asked for! I want to be like Him whatever it takes.

7 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:27

This discipline means that we must subdue radical thoughts and wayward thinking, the difference being that radical thoughts can come unbidden to our minds (demon instigated) while wayward thinking is our own sin nature getting the best of us. The first we take to Jesus and have Him deal with them. The second,  we take to Jesus and have Him deal with them. Going to Jesus should become our first means of defence in our battle for our minds.

This word, “subdue,” is interesting. Let’s look at it (also from 3-17-20):

Subdue-

  1. To conquer and bring into subjection;
  2. to overpower by superior force, overcome;
  3. to bring under control;
  4. to bring under cultivation;
  5. to reduce intensity, force, or vividness = to soften, allay, quiet.

In our Christian lives, we are to conquer our sinful nature and bring it into subjection; we are to overpower by superior force the “old man” within us and overcome the tendencies of our deceitful hearts; we are to bring under control our thoughts, and to cultivate His thoughts; we are to reduce the intensity, force, and vividness of sin in our lives by softening our natures to be like Christ, who is humble, gentle, and long suffering, WITHOUT muting our zeal for the LORD (Romans 12:11).

Concerning our present circumstances, let us allow the Spirit to allay our fears, which means to calm and quieten our spirits. Let us redeem the time by using it to increase our family time, our devotion time, and our worship. We might have to get creative, but all the better as the Spirit leads us!

Abba, I pray that You would invade our lives. We won’t like it, but we need it! Please don’t let us stay as we are–mired in sin and not knowing how to get out. Subdue my will, O God. Allay my spirit. May I learn the depths of these words in accordance to Your work within me. I realize that this process means that You will be placing me in circumstances that bring out the untested and latent areas of my heart so that they can be exposed to Your light and love. I must learn to subdue them by subjecting them to the law of Christ*. I know I don’t do this on my own. In fact, I must be in complete obedience to You, Holy Spirit, otherwise, I miss the whole point of the exercise, which is learning to reign like Christ WITH Christ. Amen.

The Law of Christ:

  1. Love as you want to be loved (Matthew 7:12).
  2. Love as Jesus loves you (John 13:34-35).

Proverbs 6 6-6-20

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?

23 For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life

#10
What awaits us in heaven? part 1

Let’s begin with some basic facts presented in Scripture that shed light on what is to come by looking at what has already been revealed:

  1. The presence of Jesus in Heaven-
    1. Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. John 13:1. Jesus knew the plan.
    2. After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. 2 For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. 3 And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. 4 I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5 Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began. John 17:1-5. Jesus was sharing the plan with the disciples one last time.
    3. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began! John 17:24. We see Jesus’ heart in this verse. He LOVES us!
    4. And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise [same word as Eden].” Luke 23:43. Jesus reassured the thief that he would be with Jesus in the next world.
    5. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 1:19-20. Paul speaks of what he has seen (2 Corinthians 12:1-4). Jesus IS in Heaven!
  2. We will have real, spiritual, glorified bodies-
    1. It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 43 Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 44 They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies. 45 The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. 46 What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. 47 Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. 48 Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. 49 Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man. 1 Corinthians 15:42-48. These physical bodies of which Paul speaks are far superior to these earthly vessels. We get a pretty good idea of what they will be like by looking at Jesus once He was resurrected.
  3. Jesus could:
    1. Go back and forth between heaven and earth (John 20:17)
    2. Appear wherever He wanted (John 20:19)
    3. Eat physical food (Luke 24:41-43)
    4. Be touched, which requires a physical body (Luke 24:39 and John 20:27)
    5. Was recognizable (John 21:7, 12)
  4. We will be like Him- Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. 1 John 3:2. This is our promise and to what we hold so dearly.

Tomorrow, we will look at the new heaven and the new earth. Today, let’s focus on being like Christ BEFORE He was resurrected:

  1. Meek and humble (Matthew 11:28-30)
  2. Joyful (Isaiah 61:3)
  3. Compassionate (for the lost, Matthew 9:36)
  4. A Servant (Mark 10:45)

If we focus on having these Christ-like traits today, what a difference it will make in our lives and what an impact it will have on those who live with us! They’ll think we are different people–which is the point! “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation!”

Abba, I pray that as we gaze toward heaven, it’s with the intent of being Your hands and feet here on earth. We can endure anything for a season, especially with the promise of the reward You have in store for us! Make us like You, LORD Jesus, a servant to those around us. Amen.

 

 

Proverbs 6 5-6-20

God is love. We are loved by God. If we trust in Him, His love in our hearts drives out all fear. Bank on it.

25 Do not lust in your heart after her [the world’s] beauty or let her [worldly desires] captivate you with her eyes [it’s all smoke and mirrors].

These are fearful days. Satan wants us fearful; it’s easy to control a fearful person. But “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, of courage, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. God has promised in His Word that he has given us everything we need to live a godly life. 2 Peter 1:3. He didn’t promise a LONG life, but a godly life.

People who fear feel they have something to lose. We as Christians are not living for this world, but for the next one. But our citizenship is in heaven.And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3:20-21. Every time an angel shows up he says, “Be not afraid.” Don’t we realize that we have angels attending us all the time? “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:14.

We have a glorious ministry! It is the ministry of the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:7-12. In fact, we have the ministry of reconciliation, in which Christ makes His appeal to people through us; we are to tell them, “Be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.” How can we be bold if we are fearful? What have we to lose? our health? our lives? our loved ones? All of these we WILL lose one day. Why not leave that up to Christ? Our mission, our goal, and our calling in this life is to be obedient to His Spirit who, through the Word, has told us to courageously share the Gospel with whomever He leads us.

Folks, we need to give up our arrogance, our “right” to live life our way, and live for Christ. It requires a humble and contrite heart. It requires us being in prayer for our neighbors and friends and loved ones and co-workers, and whoever else to whom the LORD leads us. We must be bathed in prayer and clothed with His righteousness. We must be armored up and armed with “the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.” Ephesians 6:17.

We must remember these words from the apostle John:

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:15-17

Jesus’ brother, James, said this:

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. James 4:4

Instead, let’s set our hearts on Jesus and His Coming Kingdom. Let this verse be our life verse:

11 They triumphed over him [Satan]
    by the blood of the Lamb
    and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
    as to shrink from death. Revelation 12:11

It’s game time, people. Let’s get in the game.

Abba, I sense difficult days ahead. May we prepare, but not hoard; be wise, but not hide; be bold, but not flippant; may we be compassionate, kind, generous, and gentle with those who are struggling with chaos and fear in their lives. May they turn to You, O Lord; may WE lead them TO You. May I be first, O Lord, in the battle. Arm me, empower me, and then give me opportunity. Thank You. Amen.

Proverbs 6 4-6-20

Calvin Miller once stated that the single most tell-tale sign of a Christian is JOY. Is this true in your life?

Want joy in your life? The kind that sustains us, buoys us, and lifts us up? Here’s how:

20 My son, keep your father’s command
    and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
21 Bind them always on your heart [read them];
    fasten them around your neck [memorize them].
22 When you walk, they will guide you;
    when you sleep, they will watch over you;
    when you awake, they will speak to you.

I was praying this morning and running through my Scripture cards. I tweak them to read as prayers (a Beth Moore idea). One of the Monday cards is Ephesians 1:15-23. In that passage is, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened…” (18) As I read that part, I sensed the Spirit say, “You’re doing it.” I immediately realized that I was reading His Word! Reading the Word of God, whether from a bible or from a card, gives me instant access to God–and Him instant access to me. What happens is INSTANT JOY!

Here’s how it works:

  1. I read His Word.
  2. He speaks to my heart.
  3. We have a close connection.
  4. We both experience joy in that connection (Jude 24 says that He gets great joy from presenting us to the Father).

Philippians 1:25-26 says, Since I am convinced of this, I know that I shall remain and stay by you all, to promote your progress and joy in believing, 26 So that in me you may have abundant cause for exultation [JOY] and glorying in Christ Jesus, through my coming to you again.” (AMP). The joy came from Paul’s physical presence with them. The same happens with us and God. When we read His Word, His physical Presence shows up. We feel Him with us; we hear His gentle whisper; we sense His nudge to read here, turn there, write this down, ponder that phrase, etc. It’s a great time of fellowship and worship.

That JOY we feel comes in three levels:

LEVEL 1: We have the satisfaction and security that come from an established relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son by the presence of God the Spirit in our lives, our heart and soul. This level is a sustaining joy through all circumstances. It’s the foundation of our faith.

LEVEL 2: We have joy generated through our relationships with others. The bond we share is an everlasting bond, one that we will carry into eternity. Our hearts are joined together by the Spirit. We experience JOY.

LEVEL 3: We have the joy of sweet fellowship with Jesus through an intimate time with Him. This level we get when we have time set aside for just Him for us to read, pray, ponder, and write down whatever comes to our minds through His Spirit. We feel His pleasure, which translates as JOY.

As we experience quarantine, may we take advantage of the extra time by spending it with Him. We want MORE of Him and LESS of Us. “He must increase; I must decrease.” John 3:30. May our joy be complete in Him. “I have told you this so that my [Jesus] joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:11.

Abba, I pray for all my brothers and sisters in Christ that even though we don’t get to meet together physically, that we would all feel the connection we have in Christ as we spend time in Your Word and in sweet fellowship with You. Join our hearts together through Your Spirit as we worship separately, yet together, at Your throne. May You speak to our hearts at a level that we are not accustomed to having. May the eyes of our hearts be enlightened to the hope to which You have called us, the riches in Your holy people (relationships), and the power we have in You (Eph. 1:18-19). Bless us today, O LORD, with a sense of Your Presence, Participation, Pleasure, and Power. Amen.

Proverbs 6 3-6-20

Paul summed up chapter 6 in Ephesians 4:30, “Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit.” How do we grieve Him?

When we act according to what seems good to us, we get into trouble.

1 If you have put up security for your neighbor,
    if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,
you have been trapped by what you said,
    ensnared by the words of your mouth.

We all do it. Something looks like a sure thing, so we act on it–then, we find out that it’s NOT such a good thing! Check this out:

22 Then all of you came to me [Moses] and said, “Let us send men ahead to spy out the land for us and bring back a report about the route we are to take and the towns we will come to.” 23 The idea seemed good to me; so I selected twelve of you, one man from each tribe. Deuteronomy 1:22-23

We find in Numbers 13:1-3 that God honored Moses’ decision and even told him who to select from each tribe (that way, Joshua and Caleb were among them). But, it was NOT a good idea and came back to bite them big time. In fact, it kept them from going into the Promised Land and they wound up wandering in the desert until that entire generation died out (except for Joshua and Caleb).

When we are lazy and don’t take the time to read and pray, to sharpen (our spiritual tools) and sand (away rough spots in our personality), we open ourselves to all kinds of grief. The Spirit within us calls for us to have perpetual fellowship with Him with bursts of intense sessions of fellowship and teaching. We are NOT God, therefore, for us to be our own god and call our own shots grieves Him and quenches the flame inside us.

Grieve- to distress, to create dissonance, to burden.

What we should be striving to do is to delight Him:

11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
    as a father the son he delights in.

The other word that Paul uses concerning the Spirit is “quench,”: “Do not quench the Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19

Quench- Restrict, extinguish, stifle, restrain, put out the fire.

All of these meanings reflect what happens when we are not obedient to His call to spend special and deliberate time with Him. The verse we use a lot for evangelistic purposes was actually written for Christians. When applied to us, it takes on a whole new perspective:

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 [commune*] with that person, and they with me. Revelation 3:20

What we DON’T hear about is the verse BEFORE it:

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

Today, let’s sincerely seek Him. Let’s allow Him to make the micro-adjustments to our lives (a form of repentance) to allow our righteousness and holiness to shine forth from the inside out. Let’s do verses 20-21 (in today’s chapter) and watch verses 22-24 happen for us!

Abba, I DO want to keep Your commands and to not forsake that which I know to be true, which is that YOU live in my heart and You have the words of life! I pray that I will always bind them to my heart and fasten them around my neck. I know that if I do, then You will guide me as I walk, will watch over me while I sleep, and will speak to me when I awake; Your commands will be a lamp (unto my feet), and Your correction and instruction will be a way of life for me. When I walk in step with You, I will be able to avoid the traps of Satan–or come through them like Daniel. You are AWESOME, LORD! Amen.

*Commune- Holding something in common, mutual participation, intimate fellowship, dialogue

Proverbs 6 2-6-20

Vigilance is important. If we quit rowing, we will be carried downstream, thus losing our momentum, and entrapping us.

There are two examples given in today’s chapter that we will apply to our lives. The first one is:

How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
    When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 and poverty will come on you like a thief
    and scarcity like an armed man.

There are things we do all the time concerning maintenance; for instance, dog owners run the risk of getting fleas in their carpet if they don’t vacuum regularly and wash their dogs; if we don’t wash the sheets on our beds regularly, we run the risk of getting bed bugs; the same goes for getting lice if we don’t wash our hair regularly.

In the same way, we must stay focused and diligent in our Bible study and prayer, our worship time and our fellowship with others or we will open ourselves to leaving the paths of righteousness and losing our way. Trust me, the devil has plenty of delectable “paths” for us if we take our eyes off the LORD. We’ve read verses 10 and 11 over in chapter 24:

30 I went past the field of a sluggard,
    past the vineyard of someone who has no sense;
31 thorns had come up everywhere (he had become bristly and hard to deal with),
    the ground was covered with weeds (his daily life was in a shambles),
    and the stone wall was in ruins (his spiritual life was in decay).
32 I applied my heart to what I observed (being smart is learning from our mistakes…)
    and learned a lesson from what I saw (being wise is learning from others’ mistakes):
33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest—
34 and poverty will come on you like a thief
    and scarcity like an armed man.

The Spirit desires our company. Why do we deny Him? Most times, it’s because we have sinful things we want to do and being with Him interferes with our plans. If anything, we are afraid of what He might ask of us. WE want to be in charge of our lives, even though we KNOW that it will not end well, which leads us to the next example:

My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
    if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,
you have been trapped by what you said,
    ensnared by the words of your mouth.
So do this, my son, to free yourself,
    since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands:
Go—to the point of exhaustion—
    and give your neighbor no rest!
Allow no sleep to your eyes,
    no slumber to your eyelids.
Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
    like a bird from the snare of the fowler.

When we find ourselves in a mess, caught in a trap, and drowning in quicksand, let us not be too proud to cry out to God. The realization of our predicament is actually Him opening our eyes to our present condition (see the parable of the lost son in Luke 15, esp. v17); this action is called, “CONVICTION.” It comes with His PRESENCE. In His PRESENCE, we feel His love for us; as we give ourselves over to Him, we receive His peace, which leads to joy. Who DOESN’T want these aspects in their lives?! As He leads us, He walks us through the steps to get out of the snare we are in and leads us back to the path of righteousness. Thankfully, we get usually back to the path much quicker than we got away from it.

Knowing that we are all one step away from leaving the path, let us be diligent about our time with the LORD and serve Him with willing hearts. Let us be ready in season and out of season (anytime, whether it’s convenient or not) to give an account for our faith, to help a brother or sister in need, and to make godly choices.

Paul gave this charge to Timothy, and is applicable for us today:

“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” 2 Timothy 4:2

Abba, once again I place myself on Your altar. I know I keep crawling off; may You seek me every time and turn me around. I know I am happiest when I am at Your side, looking up at You. I also know that I am the most productive when I am there. You have a way of making little into much (I’m thinking of Your miracles with the bread and fish). May You do that in my life and with my life, LORD. Use me as You see fit; You are the Potter and I am the clay. Mold me and make me according to Your will. I reserve nothing for myself. Amen.

Proverbs 6 1-6-20

We know that sometime today we will be tempted to act on our feelings. That we safeguard our hearts is important.

7 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no [visible] commander, no overseer or ruler, 8 yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.

We don’t have a visible king, but we do have Jesus as LORD. He guides our hearts and thoughts–if we are listening! Why would we come to Christ for salvation and then go back to the things that were killing us in the first place? To what things am I referring?

  1. Our own selfish thoughts. The motivation of our hearts was to please ourselves even at the expense of others, including God. Titus 3:3 says that “at one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.” Christ has saved us from ourselves and from Satan “through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.” We have been given new hearts; let’s use them to glorify our LORD.
  2. Our own selfish ways. Habits are hard to break. Our flesh becomes conditioned really quick to addictive behavior and chemicals. The release of endorphins in our blood system gives us the “high” we crave for so many things. The “high” we receive from sugar and especially caffeine and high fructose corn syrup can become addictive. A person told me recently that if “said person” ever became allergic to sugar, then “said person” would just learn to live sick. When we gave our hearts and lives to Jesus Christ, that includes our physical bodies. Let’s give them daily to Him to change as He sees fit. He doesn’t want us hooked on anything but Him [the essence of Ephesians 5:18]. What does He offer? Love, joy, and peace, hope and grace, purpose and life, His righteousness and His presence and participation in our lives!

Let’s “put in the time” to become successful at following Christ. Even as we read His Word, let’s plead with Him to make Himself known to us, to lead us, and to keep us on the straight and narrow path as He walks with us day by day. He will!

One more thing: What we read in His Word and learn today by listening to His Spirit becomes the arsenal from which we draw for tomorrow’s challenges–and sometimes today’s! If you are not going through anything particularly rough right now, rejoice and be glad! Make a point of thanking Him, and then study hard for the next bout of rough weather. If you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death, fear no evil because He is with You every step of the way. He has His Shepherd’s Crook ready to keep you from falling into any traps and He will keep the evil one away. JUST STAY CLOSE TO HIM. Pray; worship; sing songs that lift you up and increase your faith; lean on your brothers and sisters in Christ; count it all joy as you face trial of many kinds (James 1:2)–unless you brought it upon yourself; then it’s time to repent and change your ways. He is waiting to fill you with His presence and all that comes with it (His love, joy and peace, etc.).

Abba, I know I stumble sometimes. Help me to learn to be quick about repentance. The quicker I can get turned back to You the quicker I can overcome my circumstances, learn to defeat those temptations, and enjoy Your presence and participation in my life. May I be wise and do the things that build a solid foundation so that when the storms of life come, I will not fall. I’m depending on You, LORD Jesus. Amen.

Proverbs 6 12-6-19

Why do we do the things we do? It’s important for us to understand our motivation. Who are we trying to please: Ourselves or Christ?

3 So do this, my son [child], to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands:

9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?

12 A trouble maker and a villain, who goes about…

16 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to Him:

25 Do not lust in your heart after her beauty…

32 But a man [or woman] who commits adultery has no sense…

If we are motivated by our natural desires, desires of the flesh, then we act according to the natural man [person]. It is what it is: Only Natural. But, those of us who have the Spirit of God living in us can move beyond the natural to the supernatural, i.e. the spiritual. We answer to a higher calling and have power available to us through Him to overcome our natural tendencies, and thus to behave like Christ and to become in thought and motivation just like Christ.

Jesus brings out in us all the good things in our personality. Imagine if everyone was kind and compassionate, slow to anger and considerate. What if everyone was quick to forgive and not remember the wrong? Would everyone be the same? Would we all be robots? Hardly! Instead, we would all be at ease with each other and would be free to be ourselves without having to worry about condemnation and ridicule. We wouldn’t have to worry about “landmine” topics, nor about there being sharks in the water (figuratively speaking).

Jesus wants to free us from the bonds of sin and our natural tendencies in order to become the persons we really are. Slavery is inhibiting, to say the least. Why would we want to stay bound to our old nature? Christ has SO MUCH MORE waiting for us! Here’s how it works:

8:1 Therefore, there is no longer any condemnation awaiting those who are in union with the Messiah Yeshua. Why? Because the Torah [Law] of the Spirit, which produces this life in union with Messiah Yeshua, has set me free from the Torah [Law] of sin and death. For what the Torah [Sinai Covenant] could not do by itself, because it lacked the power to make the old nature cooperate, God did by sending his own Son as a human being with a nature like our own sinful one [but without sin]. God did this in order to deal with sin, and in so doing he executed the punishment against sin in human nature, so that the just requirement of the Torah might be fulfilled in us who do not run our lives according to what our old nature wants but according to what the Spirit wants. Romans 8:1-4 CJB

Knowing that Christ has set us free from our old selves, these next verses take on a new focus:

30 Many people who heard him say these things trusted in him. 31 So Yeshua [Jesus] said to the Judeans who had trusted him, “If you obey what I say, then you are really my talmidim [disciples]32 you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:30-32 CJB

We now know the truth, and that truth is that in Christ we have been set free! Now, let us let that truth set us free from following our sinful natures, and instead, follow Christ.

20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 NIV

Here it is from the Complete Jewish Bible:

 20 When the Messiah was executed on the stake [cross] as a criminal, I was too; so that my proud ego no longer lives. But the Messiah lives in me, and the life I now live in my body I live by the same trusting faithfulness that the Son of God had, who loved me and gave himself up for me. Galatians 2:20 CJB

Today, may we make it a point to set aside our natural desires and way of thinking to consider His perspective [wisdom] and to do things that please Him, namely, our obedience. It’s all about the relationship, that interaction we have with the Spirit of God.

Abba, thank You for guiding me day by day, minute by minute. I live for our relationship. The stuff I do is a distant second compared with communing with you in sweet fellowship. May I learn what quenches the Spirit (restricts the connection) and avoid it, even overcome it, depending upon how entrenched it is. Keep sanctifying me, Lord. I want to be JUST LIKE YOU. Amen.

Old Man’s Rubble-Imperials 1977

Chorus: Are you living in an old man’s rubble? Are you listenin’ to the father of lies?

If you are then you’re headed for trouble. If you listen too long, you’ll eventually die.

Verse 1: Are you walking’ with unnecessary burdens? Are you trying to take them upon yourself?

If you are then you’re living in bondage, And you know that’s bad for your spiritual health.

Are you trying to live by your emotions? Are you puttin’ your faith in what you feel and see?

Then you’re living just to satisfy your passions And you better be careful, ‘cause you’re being deceived.

Chorus: Are you living in an old man’s rubble? Are you listenin’ to the father of lies?

If you are then you’re headed for trouble. If you listen too long, you’ll eventually die.

Verse 2: Are you puzzled by the way that you’re behavin’? Do you wonder why you do the things you do?

Are you troubled by your lack of resistance; Do you feel that something’s got a hold on you?

Well, deep within’ you there’s a spiritual battle. There’s a voice of the darkness and a voice of the light.

And just by listening you’ve made a decision, ‘Cause the voice you hear is gonna’ win the fight.

Chorus: Are you living in an old man’s rubble? Are you listenin’ to the father of lies?

If you are then you’re headed for trouble. If you listen too long, you’ll eventually die.

Chorus 2: If you’re living as a new creation If you’re listening to the Father of light

Then you’re living in a mighty fortress And you’re gonna’ be clothed in power and might. 

Proverbs 6 11-6-19

We can never get away from sin, which is why we need a vaccine, an antidote. We need the Holy Spirit in us!

32 But a man [person] who commits adultery [any sin] has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself.

Satan tempts us to sin because he knows this truth: Sin destroys us. How? It keeps us from looking at the Father. When we don’t look at the Father, we are led astray by what we see. We are fooled by the way the world seems–it’s a lie, a house of mirrors, created by Satan to ensnare us. He has most of the world fooled, so it’s easy for him.

The first thing he does for us in America is hold out the carrot of the American dream: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

  1. We take life for granted, but not in other parts of the world, for instance, China. Abortion is the antithesis of life. We should fight it every chance we get.
  2. Liberty is assumed in America. We have our rights! We should thank those who fought/fight to keep those rights available to us.
  3. The pursuit of happiness is a misnomer. Happiness doesn’t really make anyone happy for long. What we should pursue is peace: Peace with God and peace with our brothers and sisters. I’m not talking about peace at all costs; that’s not liberty. It takes away our lives. I’m talking about the peace that comes when people are one in the Spirit of the Lord.

The second thing Satan does is get us hooked on something. If he can get us to go overboard in an area of our lives, he can manipulate us and control us. Be it drugs, sex, shopping, gambling, eating out, eating snacks, drinking, power, racing, sports/watching sports, luxury, recreation–the list is practically endless–it’s a shiny lure with a hook on the end. Oh yeah, fishing. We must lay everything down at the feet of Jesus everyday. Sometimes, many times a day. Remember, we can never get away from sin in this life; it’s always around us and part of all we do. We live in sinful bodies, so everything we touch is tainted. It’s hard to live godly lives when sin is so prevalent. It’s why we need to lean HARD on Jesus and trust His Spirit.

The third thing Satan does is distract us from Truth. Our truth is that we live in a world of sin, but God has called us out of this world to walk holy and godly lives according to His Spirit. We look forward to another country and another city where God’s people can worship Him without this sinful nature getting in the way. And, God wants us to bring as many with us as possible. Even THAT depends on Him drawing them. Let’s be faithful followers so that He will draw them to us and we can show them the Way.

20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Philippians 3:20-21

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses [those who have gone before us], let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-2

Blessed and worthy of praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ, just as [in His love] He chose us in Christ [actually selected us for Himself as His own] before the foundation of the world, so that we would be holy [that is, consecrated, set apart for Him, purpose-driven] and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined and lovingly planned for us to be adopted to Himself as [His own] children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the kind intention and good pleasure of His will— to the praise of His glorious grace and favor, which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved [His Son, Jesus Christ]. Ephesians 1:3-6 AMP

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined [intentionally determined] to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. Romans 8:28-29

13 For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing (desire) and the ability (power) to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.  Philippians 2:13 AMP

Abba, I pray for my readers that they would take courage from these Scriptures just as I do. I ask that You drive their message deep in their souls. Please call them to mind when we are tempted to look away from You and be frightened by the wind and waves–but, when we do, may we do as Peter did and cry out, “Lord, save me!” At which point, may You reach out Your hand and pull us to Yourself! Draw us close to Your side, O Lord. We NEED You in a BIG way! Amen.

Proverbs 6 10-6-19

This chapter ought to make us shake in our boots. Our sin nature is so strong in us that we NEED the Holy Spirit!

23 For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light,
and correction and instruction are the way to life,
24 keeping you from your neighbor’s wife,
    from the smooth talk of a wayward woman.

Whether it’s pleasure that drives a person or control, the LORD wants to save us from the devil’s traps. We are as bad as two-year-olds in a candy store; we can’t resist our impulses. How do we survive in this world?

21 Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck.
22 When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you;
    when you awake, they will speak to you.

Knowing the Word of God helps us to hear the words of God when He speaks to us. The Spirit is constantly speaking to our spirits. He is constantly running His words through our minds–if we will stop and listen to Him! The key is to mute our own voice in our minds so that we can “hear” Him speak to us. Godly thoughts don’t come naturally; they come from the Spirit in us.

Here are some things that He will say to us (from Colossians 3:1-17):

“I have raised you from death with Me, and part of you is seated with me in heaven; therefore, set your heart on My things and what I want for you.”

“Let go of the things of this earth and focus on what I have for you both in the immediate future and in the age to come.”

“You are now DEAD to the things of this world, but alive to ME and are hidden with Me in God.”

“When I appear, You will also appear with me in glory!”

“I am your Life.”

“Die to this way of life: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. My wrath will be poured out on those who give themselves to these things.”

“There are deeper things I want to help rid you, things from your old life and ways: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language. These should not come from your heart or your lips.”

“Let truth be the only thing that comes from your mouth as you put off your old self with its ungodly practices and put on your NEW SELF, which is constantly being renewed in your experiential knowledge of ME. I AM renewing you daily, hourly, minutely!”

“You are one with your brothers and sisters in Christ. You are all My family. Let me be your all in all as I bind your hearts together in My love.”

“I love you dearly and have chosen you; therefore, clothe yourself with My compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

“Just as I bear with you, bear with others and forgive them for everything. Forgive them as I have forgiven you: Completely and forever.”

“Be like me by putting on My love, which binds you all together in perfect unity.”

“Let My peace rule in your heart; I have called you to this peace. You may thank me for it. A thankful heart is easy to bless.”

“Let My message dig down deep and dwell in you richly; teach and admonish others with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to the Father with gratitude in your heart. Do this and you will experience HEAVEN!”

“As we walk through life together, may each word and deed be done in My name, My power, and on My command. You will thank Me for it.”

Dear Lord Jesus, may You whisper these verses to me all the time! I sure need them. I promise to give You thanks and to have a grateful heart. Make me like You, Lord Jesus. Amen.B

 

 

Proverbs 6 9-6-19

Our main goal is not to live a sinless life, but to have Christ formed in us. The other will come in time.

(21) bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck.

Where do we learn to be like Christ?

  1. From the Gospels- Christ’s own words, written down by inspiration of the Holy Spirit by godly men, compel us to imitate Him and to obey Him.
  2. From Paul’s letters- He was shown the Master Plan by the Master.
  3. From Peter’s and John’s letters- Both men walked with Christ. They were given the task of leading the Church after its creation–always by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
  4. The Old Testament- Knowing the overall plan and by reading about God’s interaction with our forefathers gives us depth and a foundation for our faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8
  5. From other Christians- Their experience is important to our faith. We can avoid many pitfalls and traps through their wisdom and experience.

Paul wrote to the Galatians, who were having problems with false teachers trying to lead them back into Judaism, and said:

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

Let’s learn a lesson from the Jeremiah when he was at the potter’s house:

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to himThen the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.

Isaiah, too, knew the message of the potter:

Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8

Today, may we determine in our hearts that we will be soft and malleable in the hands of our Lord and Savior. May we kill our pride and our flesh (sinful nature) and put on our new nature in the Spirit, the one created in true holiness and righteousness (Eph. 4:24). Let’s allow Christ to be formed in us TODAY!

Abba, this is my plea and goal today. May people see Jesus in me as You are formed in me. Amen.