Archive for the ‘Proverbs’ Category

Proverbs 22 6-22-19

June 22, 2019

Do you have a mocker lurking inside you? Absolutely. We all do! How do we drive him out? Read on…

10 Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended.

The mocker inside us is that part of us that thinks too highly of itself. It holds others and their opinions and even contributions in contempt. It dismisses out-of-hand what other people suggest and usually rebuffs criticism and rebuke even at its own expense.

Pride is the culprit and we all have it. It is at the heart of our sin nature. Oh–you refuse to admit that you have a sin nature? You have just verified the mocker inside you! Admitting that we have a sin nature and that pride is at the center of it allows us to accept Christ’s gift of salvation. He gives us a new template, His life and His words, over which we can lay any scenario or plan to see if it matches His will. We must keep in mind that God’s overall will is for us to be with Him forever, and it begins the moment He comes into our hearts and lives, and doesn’t stop until we are with Him at His throne. Everything points to that end even while He transforms us into the image of Christ.

So, how do we drive the mocker out? The next verse tells us:

11 He who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for his friend.

We must learn to love what Jesus loves. He loves hungry hearts (see Matt.5:6), therefore, let’s be hungry for His words and thirst for His righteousness. He is gentle and humble in heart (see Matt. 11:29), therefore we must learn to be gentle and humble in heart.

Those with whom we hang around have a lot to do with how we are. We must pay close attention to how we become when we are around them.

24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, 25 or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.

Most of the trouble I got into in my life I did with friends. When it’s just God and me, I tend to listen more closely and hear Him more clearly.

The second part is our words. We need to learn to speak with grace, which means that EVERYTHING we say must be run through this filter:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

EVERY word must be building-up words and benefit those who listen. How? By taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). We must hold that thought and ask the LORD what to do with it:

  1. Say it.
  2. Modify it.
  3. Don’t say it at all.
  4. Wait for a more appropriate time.

We CAN do this. We have our whole lives to learn it. If we live until we do, some of us may rival Methuselah!

Let’s work hard to be Christ-like today.

Proverbs 21 6-21-19

June 21, 2019

Complacency is the devil’s best tool. We get comfortable and forget that this world is not our home and that we have an enemy!

4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the unplowed field of the wicked, produce sin!

We love the Lord. We have accepted His gift of forgiveness and received His Spirit. WHY would we want to go back to living life on our own?

We are made body, soul, and spirit. The body is physical, the soul is our minds, and our spirit is, well, spirit. Much like a three-legged stool, we are not much good without all three legs–at equal lengths!

The mind controls the body. What controls the mind is our main concern. We were designed for our spirits to control our minds, which then would control our bodies. What happened? SIN happened and then The Fall. Our spirits died. When Jesus came into our hearts, He resurrected our spirits and filled them with Himself!

Our spirits are much like a balloon that is empty of air. Jesus comes and fills our balloon with His breath of life.

Our spirits can also be likened to walkie talkies with dead batteries. Jesus comes and charges our batteries. Now, we can converse with the Father!

Concerning our verse for today, how are we haughty? We ignore our need for Him to lead us through this life, particularly today. When we quit following the Lord and tell Him that we are just fine right here, where we are and how we are, we have a proud heart.

An unplowed field will raise a crop–of weeds! Thorns and thistles will take over a field quickly. We MUST keep our hearts and minds cultivated through prayer, bible study, and fellowship with other believers. Our walk with Christ must take precedence over daily life. Otherwise, we will become slaves to the tyranny of the urgent and to our own tendencies. Satan WILL fill our time for us if we don’t fill it with walking with God.

We Americans are rich. We have everything we need– and a lot we don’t! We must hold loosely to the things of this world or they will weigh us down. We are in a race and we have a goal: heaven with Jesus! Let’s run with perseverance and tenacity. Let’s be stubborn for Jesus!

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 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. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Proverbs 20 6-20-19

June 20, 2019

F.A.I.T.H. Forsaking All, I Trust Him. We must be abandoned to the Savior, the Captain of our ship, our souls.

6 Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?

We claim to know Jesus, but do we follow Him, walking with Him, listening to Him all the time and doing what He says? If this is not our daily experience, then we don’t know Jesus nearly as well as we think!

His intention was to make a way back to the Father through Himself. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is our confirmation. Why would we not take full advantage of His residence in our lives?

Luke gave us two accounts of people responding out of gratitude in not-so-religiously-proprietary ways:

Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38 and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. Luke 7:36-38

She broke many social rules by doing what she did. She also invested a lot of money in this action, because perfume was expensive (see Matthew 26:9).

The other is when Jesus healed 10 lepers. He told them to go to the priest for the ritual of being declared clean. As they walked away,

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Luke 17:15-16

I see this man as a foreshadowing of our worship. He was a Samaritan, so he couldn’t go to the Jewish priests. Who else did he have than the One who healed him? We are that way. Who else do WE have but Jesus?

Let’s be extravagant in our worship of Him today. Let’s get outside our religious box and lavish our gratitude on Him. Let’s abandon ourselves to Jesus!

I’m abandoned by Steve Fry

Proverbs 19 6-19-19

June 19, 2019

It’s never too late to come back to the Father. He loves us and has forgiven us in Christ. He restores us!

3 A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the LORD.

27 Stop listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.

12 A king’s rage is like the roar of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass.

Solomon didn’t know it, but he was describing the process of salvation/restoration. Jesus put it in the form of a parable (a story):

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. Luke 15:11-24

Notice the things that were given to the errant son upon his arrival back home:

  1. The ring of authority.
  2. The robe of family.
  3. The sandals of sonship.

Because of the Father’s great love, His child was forgiven before he ever got home- maybe even when he came to his senses and forgave himself. When He did get home, the Father restored him! THIS is the kind of heavenly Father we have!

Lets rejoice today in His great love and serve Him out of the gratitude that is in our hearts.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5

A Man and His Sons

Proverbs 18 6-18-19

June 18, 2019

There’s more to being a Christian than just praying a prayer and going to church. It’s about walking with Him and becoming like Him.

15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.

The sequence given in 2 Peter 1:5-7 is faith (believing the promises of God and basing our lives on them), goodness (the character of God), knowledge (if we are wise and discerning), self- control (acquired over time and persistence), perseverance (try and try again), godliness (being like God in manner and thought), mutual affection (brotherly love), and love (a soft heart toward all people).

The purpose of the sequence is to make us effective and productive in our knowledge of Christ (verse 8).

The problem I see among Christians is what I call The Great Disconnect. It’s what happens when we love Christ with our words, but His commands never quite make it to our actions.

I have heard that Buddhists may receive Christ willingly enough, for they believe in many gods. They just add Christ to their collection. But Christ turned to those who followed Him and gave them an ultimatum:

Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh [become obedient to Him] of the Son of Man and drink his blood [receive His sacrifice], you have no life in you. John 6:53

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. 27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:25-27

Even though positionally we are safe in Christ, relationally we are always struggling to die to self and live for Christ. We LEARN to be like Him. It’s that KNOWLEDGE part of the sequence.

Let’s get serious today about following Christ. Let’s turn from our own desires and doing things our own way and turn to Him for direction and fulfillment. May we consider how the Spirit is leading us before we say or do ANYTHING today.

Proverbs 17 6-17-19

June 17, 2019

Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make progress. It involves evaluation and correction. Are we willing?

1 Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.

What do a laboratory, an obstacle course, a batting cage, and a family have in common? They are all places of experimentation and practice. We have the goal: peace, and the problem: strife.

God works within our circumstances. He allows for our choices and the choices of others, yet somehow guides history. HE’S A BIG GOD! He is much more interested in our interaction with each other than He is getting us out of whatever situation we are in.

I heard a sermon the other day that dealt with this interaction. Matthew 15:1-20 was the text. We will look at the last four verses.

17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what make a man [person] ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’” Matthew 15:17-20

To be unclean was to be impure; it can be interpreted as unprepared. When we address the Lord, are we prepared in our minds to receive His fellowship? His counsel? His direction?

What do we do with impure thoughts? We know that they originate in our hearts, which are exceedingly wicked, selfish, and fickle (see Jer. 17:9), and come to us as feelings. We must learn to take these feelings and run them through the filter of the Holy Spirit as we read His Word and pray.

2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Let’s work toward peace in our homes, our jobs, and at church- everywhere! – by renewing our minds and “taking each thought captive making it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:5. Let’s consider others first rather than demanding our own way. It’s the Christ-like thing to do. Only then will we be able to create an atmosphere of peace- as far as we are concerned.

Here is our goal: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18

Practice, practice, practice. We are to be lovingly obstinate. Love is patient and kind. It is never rude. But, love never fails, either. It never gives up and it works to never give in to unclean thoughts and people.

Let us never fail to love.

Proverbs 16 6-16-19

June 16, 2019

Today is Father’s Day. Do we trust our heavenly Father for salvation? For guidance? For our daily needs? For our future?

2 All a person’s way seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the heart.

Most of us were raised to be independent, to stand on our own two feet concerning physical needs, material goods, relationships, etc. The key to Christianity is knowing that we CANNOT be this way spiritually. Adam and Eve never grew spiritually beyond the nursery, and neither can we! We must realize that we are completely and totally dependent upon the Spirit for ANY spiritual discernment, for our life choices, and to grow spiritually.

SALVATION- There is nothing we can do to get salvation. It is a gift bought and paid for by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

SANCTIFICATION- There is nothing we can discern on our own. We are spiritually blind, deaf and dumb. We NEED the SPIRIT! Consider this verse:

25 There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. 

What way is that? OUR WAY! When we choose to ignore God and go our own way, we show what is in our hearts: PRIDE.

18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Pride leads to rebellion; rebellion leads to sin; sin leads to a bad ending. Instead, let’s be grateful for His salvation. Let’s be grateful for His daily leadership in our lives. Let’s be grateful for such a wonderful hope we have in what is to come when we reach His place.

Jesus gave us very specific instructions about this life:

29 “And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” Luke 12:29-31

This Father’s Day, let’s thank the heavenly Father for such a great salvation and for such a wonderful life and future, and depend upon Him for…EVERYTHING!

Proverbs 15 6-15-19

June 15, 2019

Are we listening for rhe Lord’s voice? Is it a habit? Doesn’t it thrill your soul that the God of the universe talks to us?

2 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.

As i was reading Luke this morning, I read a verse that spoke my heart. Here it is:

...for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” Luke 12:12

WOW! He wants to teach me! That’s BIG. But, what’s even bigger is that He wants me to speak for Him!

The same is true for all of us. He has called us to be His ambassadors:

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20

Here’s the previous verse from Luke:

“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, Luke 12:11

Instead of seeing difficult circumstances as, well, difficult circumstances, let’s see them as opportunities to be representatives of Christ to those around us. When we do, we experience the Lord on a whole new level. We learn what true dependence is and how much fun it can be. We learn to trust Him!

Let’s take our job as His ambassadors seriously today, shall we?

Proverbs 14 6-14-19

June 14, 2019

People who don’t know Christ have no idea about the love that Christians have for each other. It’s beyond them.

11 The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish.

It’s a matter of perspective. When a person is among the trees, his view is limited. “He can’t see the forest for the trees.” When he is on the mountaintop, he can see the entire landscape.

As long as we are on this earth, we are “in the forest.” BUT, the Holy Spirit gives us God’s perspective through His Word and through inspiration. The first thing we learn is that this world is no longer our home. In Christ, we become citizens of heaven.

Philippians 3:20 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.

This verse contains all the basics: Who we are, whom we serve, what He is up to, and our hope of what is to come.

The second thing that we learn is that Christ’s way is completely different than the natural way of doing things. His love is “backwards” from the world’s way. It is this reason that the evolutionist cannot understand this verse:

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 10:10

Evolution says that the strong dominate the weak.

Christ says that the strong serve the weak.

Evolution says that Natural Selection is the Rule: Only the strong survive.

Christ says that He is Creator and He charges His children to care for each other, especially to care for those who cannot care for themselves.

Evolution says that “it’s every man for himself.”

Christ says to put others ahead of yourselves. Through Paul, He said,

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. rather, in humility value others above yourselves. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Humble. Taken from Philippians 2:3-7.

Evolution is about hierarchy: The greatest to the least.

Christ is about community and family: the least to the greatest.

25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave–28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matthew 20:25-28

We cannot take the evolutionist’s point of view (worldview). As soon as we do, we lose sight of Christ’s point of view (worldview). Decide today which worldview you will accept. It colors how we perceive everything and everyone.

The “house” of the wicked (those who choose any other way but Christ’s) will be destroyed because it is a house of cards and will topple with the slightest truth; the result is eternal separation from God. The “tent” of the upright (those who believe Christ) base their lives on the truth of Scripture and are just passin’ through this world to His. My favorite promise Jesus gives us is:

14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms [mansions]; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

Let’s revel in this promise and build our lives around it. Let’s be devoted to one another and honor one another above ourselves. It’s the Christ-like thing to do.

Proverbs 13 6-13-19

June 13, 2019

Do we believe God? Is He trustworthy? Yes! Do we refute Satan’s lies with the truth? WE MUST KNOW TRUTH! His truth.

5 The righteous hate what is false, but the wicked make themselves a stench and bring shame on themselves. 16 All who are prudent act with knowledge, but fools expose their folly. 

The idea of millions of years is not new. Satan has been spreading this lie for millenia. He has made the argument to be about the Bible, specifically Creation and the Resurrection, versus Science, and did well until recently. Science is slowly catching up with truth. In every field, new technology is proving that life is too complex for evolution to be true, and that our world and our universe are not as old as they want us to believe.

17 A wicked [errant] messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing.

In order to be trustworthy, we need to know the Bible and what it says about creation and the Resurrection, and we need to have ready answers for those who would refute His Word with bad science (distorted truth).

Take geochronometers, for instance. These universe and earth clocks give us approximate time frames for how old they can be. Let’s take a few in decreasing measure:

  1. The moon is moving away from the earth at a rate of 2.5 inches per year. Going back just a few hundred thousand years moves the moon so close to the earth that the tides would be one mile high and cover most land masses.
  2. The magnetic field of the earth is decreasing at a constant rate of one half every 1400 years. As we go back in time, it doubles every 1400 years to the point that it could not sustain human life. That point would be less than 10,000 years! See the link at the bottom.
  3. Comets are made of ice and lose a predictable amount each time they pass the sun. According to their mass, they are less than 10,000 years old.
  4. All great rivers (there are 12) dump sediment where they reach the ocean. The measurement of this sediment accounts for only 4500 years.

When I read about these geochronometers (of which there are many more), I feel gratefulness and thanksgiving toward my Heavenly Father who has revealed to mankind His wonderful creation and has given us validity of His Word. His Word satisfies me in ways that go beyond the physical. These verses express how I feel:

25 The righteous eat to their hearts’ content [with truth], but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry [from hollow lies].

Psalm 36:8 They feast on the abundance of your house [Your Word]; you give them drink from your river of delights [truth].

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [and truth], for they will be filled. 

Tomorrow, we will discuss why the evolutionist cannot understand this verse:

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 10:10

The Earth’s Magnetic Field and the Age of the Earth

Proverbs 12 6-12-19

June 12, 2019

What are we willing to do/change in order to find the way to life? The Spirit will show us the way IF we are willing.

28 In the path of righteousness is life,
and in its pathway there is no death.

Jesus changed everything on how we are to look at ourselves, salvation, and our relationship with Him and each other with this teaching:

3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself [takes this lowly position] like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3-4

We started life wrong without the Holy Spirit within us. We have to be born again, this time by/with the Spirit (see John 3:5). We, then, must continue as little children spiritually in order to learn complete dependence on Him. We must unlearn what we have learned and learn it correctly, such as:

  1. The world teaches Independance. The Spirit teaches complete dependence on Him.
  2. We can’t learn it all in a day. Trust comes through time with acceptable behavior. We learn to trust Jesus as we go through life with Him. We don’t have to worry about Him trusting us–He knows us all too well! Just remember that “Love (Jesus) always trusts (1 Cor. 13:7).”
  3. We must learn the 101 courses before we can learn the 201 courses. Our spiritual skills are wisdom, discernment, discretion, knowledge, discipline, understanding, prudence, and especially guidance. Once we learn to hear and follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit, we can graduate to the next set of classes: Experience, hardship, and suffering. NOTE: It is the LORD’S prerogative to mix up the courses. BE READY!
  4. Repetition is how we learn best. We don’t count the times we fail; we count the times we succeed. Jesus knows how many times we will try before we have success and He rejoices in that truth (1 Cor. 13:6).

How do we begin the process? We are already in it! We up our game tremendously when we saturate our minds with His Word. When we immerse ourselves in it, we connect with Him and He teaches us. Lets DIVE into His Word TODAY!

Proverbs 11 6-11-19

June 11, 2019

Kindness is a characteristic of God. Unkindness is not. Therefore, be kind and you will be like God=godly.

17 Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.

What other words could we include with cruel? Of course, unkind; also, harsh, manipulative, demanding, abrasive, self-centered, haughty, as well as others. Each of these traits damage relationships, and we all are capable of at least some of them.

It’s God’s design. In order to have the capability to love, we must be given the capability to hate. Our ability to choose to love is what makes us like God. We are made in His image (Genesis 1:26), and therefore, have the ability to choose to be like Him. God IS love (1 John 4:16). The problem is that we don’t have the POWER to be like Him, which is why we need His Spirit within us.

With the Holy Spirit empowering us, we CAN be like God=godly. So, what is God like? According to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8,

  1. He is patient.
  2. He is kind.
  3. He is not envious.
  4. He does not boast (put others down by lifting Himself up).
  5. He is not arrogant and proud (He is God, but He doesn’t impose Himself upon people).
  6. He is not rude. OUCH!
  7. He does not insist on His own way (which is why the world is in the shape it’s in!).
  8. He does not get irritable or resentful.
  9. He does not delight in evil.
  10. He rejoices when truth is revealed and honored.
  11. He always protects (our spiritual position in Him).
  12. He always trusts (He allows us to make our own decisions).
  13. He always hopes (His hope is different; He KNOWS that we will someday be glorified).
  14. He always perseveres/endures (He is working His PLAN).
  15. He never fails at any of these attributes.

How about us? Through His Spirit, we can be JUST LIKE HIM. Jesus was when He walked this earth, and we are being transformed into His image (see 2 Cor. 3:18 and Romans 8:29).

The KEY is to walk with Him daily, seeking His face in prayer and in the Scriptures, and then living out His characteristics. Let’s take the initiative and DO IT.

My heart says of you, “Seek His face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. Psalm 27:8

Proverbs 10 6-10-19

June 10, 2019

Want to know what is in people’s hearts? Listen to what they say. How they talk to and about others is quite revealing.

31 From the mouth of the righteous comes the fruit of wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be silenced.

Jesus said, 18 “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these [can] make a person ‘unclean.'” Matthew 15:18. Our hearts rule our mouths. So, how can we control our hearts? Well, we can’t. The only way is to give our hearts to Jesus and allow Him to rule in our hearts, which He does by teaching us to renew our minds with His words and His Presence and participation in our lives.

This verse seems impossible: 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their need, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29 How on earth are we supposed to do it?! Paul gives the key in another letter.

Do not live…“by the standards of this world. 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:2b-5

Where did we ever get the idea that we can take or leave Christ’s directives? His way is the only way through this dangerous maze of life. Jesus says,

18 “Therefore consider carefully how you listen [to Me]. Whoever has will be given more [ever-increasing dependence upon Him]; whoever does not have [dependence upon Christ], even what they think they have will be taken from them [selective dependence is really no dependence at all].” Luke 8:18

Let’s make sure that we are listening and obeying EVERY command of Jesus, especially concerning how we talk to others. If we are impatient with our wife/husband/children, then we are demonstrating that we have an impatient heart. Patience is one of the fruit of the Spirit. If we have the Spirit, then we will hear/feel His conviction even as the words leave our mouths. We MUST learn, by His direction and power, to step back and catch those words at the source–our heart. What is it that makes us impatient? Allow the Spirit to reveal the root and to dig it up. It’s vital to our spiritual health–and our physical health, too!

Proverbs 9 6-9-19

June 9, 2019

Jesus reduced the entire Law to one command: To love as He loves. Do you have the desire? How about the power?

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Jesus changed the word, “fear,” to, “love.” “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

As if His command was not enough, Jesus then based His entire ministry on this one principle by saying, 35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

The problem comes when we don’t want to love, but to hurt and to hate. Then, even if we WANT to love, we don’t have the power to overcome our own feelings and desires.

The Apostle Paul knew exactly how we feel. He said, 21 “So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me [inside trying to take over]. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who can rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” Romans 7:21-24.

So, even if we want to love God, we are subject to our rebellious nature and the feelings that rise up from our hearts. Without Christ, we are, indeed, wretched. But Paul doesn’t leave us here. He goes on:

25 “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus [Therefore, NO CONDEMNATION!], 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 7:25-8:2.

We still have our old nature because it is wrapped up in our flesh, but we also have the Spirit of Jesus Christ living in us giving us first the desire and then the power to do His will, all the time pronouncing us and keeping us clean, pure, and holy before Him ALL BECAUSE OF THE BLOOD OF JESUS.

13 “For it is God [the Spirit] who works in you to will [the desire] and to act [the power] in order to fulfill his good purpose [to do his will]. Phil. 2:13

What about when we sin now? Well, know that it is covered by the blood, paid for, and removed as far as the east is from the west. We serve Christ out of GRATITUDE IN OUR HEARTS for all He has done for us. We enjoy sweet fellowship with Him. Why? Because He is CRAZY about us! “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1.

As we worship Him in our respective churches this morning, let’s express our gratitude to Him for such a great and most excellent salvation.

Proverbs 8 6-8-19

June 8, 2019

Christian- one who loves and follows Christ, who has Him in his/her heart, submitting to Him and obeying Him in all things.

8 “All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse. 9 To the discerning all of them are right; they are upright to those who have found knowledge.”

46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete. Luke 7:46-49

Robin and I watched the movie, “The Impossible,” about a family of five who survived the Thailand Tsunami in 2004. WOW! Anything not nailed down–and a lot that was–was carried off by the tide as it came in. What surprised me was the reverse tide as the waters rushed back to the sea. The water carried much more “trash” as it came back. Incredible story! It’s on PureFlix. This movie was a perfect illustration of the importance of having a good foundation.

Build on the Rock!

Proverbs 7 6-7-19

June 7, 2019

The battle with temptation and sin is won in our minds. We have a choice. Do we listen to our hearts or the LORD?

1 My [children], keep my words [the words of the LORD] and store up my commands within you. 2 Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye [focus on them]. 3 Bind [write] them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart [memorize them].

Continuing with our 2 Peter passage, let’s review:
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Perseverance– prolonged steadfastness, dogmatic stubbornness. In order to persevere, we must believe wholeheartedly that what we believe is true. Do we really believe that Jesus is God? That He has THE PLAN? That He loves us and has our best interests at heart? If so, then we will hold fast for as long as it takes to become like Him–even if it takes a lifetime, which it will.

Godliness– Being like God in character and action. When people look at our lives, they see Christ and His character over our own. Striving to be like Christ–to walk with God like Him, to pray like Him, to think like Him, to answer like Him, and to know His Word like Him–IS the Christian walk. We become “little christs” to those around us (the literal meaning of the term, “Christian”).

Mutual affection– Caring for each other as members of our own body. We see other Christians as extensions of Christ. Since we ourselves are extensions of Him, then we are joined together in Christ. He is the Head and we are members of His Body, His Church, His Bride, His Temple (all are illustrations from Scripture).

Love– Love is the outward expression of an inner conviction. Notice I didn’t say, “of how we feel.” We base our love on what Christ feels toward others. What does Christ feel toward the lost? Compassion. See Matthew 9:36. What did Christ feel toward His own? He loved them. See John 13:34. How does Christ feel toward us, His brothers and sisters? He loves us and makes us one with Himself and the Father through the Spirit. See John 17:23. Our conviction, our heart’s desire, is to see others as Christ sees them.

There are two verses that should be our banner verses, our mantra, so to speak. They are:

“He must become great; I must become less.” John the Baptist in John 3:30.

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.” Paul in Galatians 2:20.

Living in this manner accomplishes the last part of our passage. We grow in Christ, “in increasing measure,” and become more and more “effective and productive” as we walk with Him, fellowship with Him, and serve Him. The rewards are out of this world!

Let’s get as close to Jesus as possible this side of heaven. If we do, pretty soon we will begin to look like Him and act like Him. What a goal!

Proverbs 6 6-6-19

June 6, 2019

Every spiritual battle we face is won or lost in the mind before it is expressed in deeds. We have the mind of Christ. Let’s use it!

16 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community [of believers].

Each of these detestable things happens in the mind before they are ever acted upon. Haughty eyes come from a contemptible attitude; a lying tongue are from a selfish disposition; hands that shed innocent blood come from a covetous mind, etc. We MUST allow Christ to control our minds.

Mind Control? That sounds dangerous! The problem is that if we do not allow Christ to control our minds, Satan will control them! See Matt. 12:43-45. As goes the mind, so goes the heart; as goes the heart, so goes the body.

If I were to give today’s study a title, it would be, Victory With our Minds Over Our Hearts.” How do we train our minds? By following Christ. How do we follow Christ? I’m glad you asked! Let’s continue our study of 2 Peter 1:3-8.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promisesso that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

His very great and precious promises are wrapped up in the indwelling Holy Spirit. He takes up residence within us and speaks to us in our minds. He is the One with Whom we participate concerning the divine nature and will help us escape the corruption in this world caused by our own evil desires. It’s a process, and it looks like this:

  1. We begin with faith. Faith is believing the promises Jesus gave us and then acting on them. Is He in us? Then we will listen to Him–which includes obedience!
  2. We add to our faith goodness. Why goodness? Because it is the very fibre of God. He is GOOD, and all things good come from Him. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17. If something is good, then it is from God; if it is not good, then it does not originate with God. People ask the question, “How can a good God allow evil in the world?” They do not believe that God, by nature, is good. If they did, then they would recognize that evil does not come from God, but from man. It was the risk God took when He gave us Free Will.
  3. We add knowledge next. The more we know, the better armed we are. Also, the more we know of His Word, through reading and/or experience, the better access the Spirit has to our minds. Example: If our minds are styrofoam balls and the Word is represented by toothpicks that we stick into the balls, then each toothpick becomes a handle for the Spirit to use. The more toothpicks, the better His access to our minds. LEARN the WORD!
  4. Next comes self-control. It’s what it takes in order to overcome our own desire to do ANYTHING ELSE rather than read His Word, listen to Him, and especially obey Him. It’s how we grow up spiritually. Want to be taken seriously as a Christian? Then develop self-control in reading His Word and obeying His Spirit. Exercise your faith by believing His promises and acting on them.

Tomorrow, we look at what happens over time as we grow spiritually. Let’s “make every effort” today by believing, trusting, and acting according to what we know about Him and what His Spirit says to us.

Proverbs 5 6-5-19

June 5, 2019

We tend to obsess on what we focus. Don’t focus on the sin; focus on the Savior! He has the words of life.

7 Now then, my sons, listen to me [focus!]; do not turn aside from what I say [don’t be distracted].

Until we came to Christ, we looked at everything around us. Christ focused us on Him, our Target, and teaches us to shoot at the bullseye (godly living). Each ring emanates from there: our spiritual family (ring #1), and then our earthly family and friends (ring #2). The analogy breaks down from here because hitting the rings seems to be less than hitting the mark. The truth is we go through the bullseye of godly living to get to ring of our spiritual family and then the ring of our earthly family and friends. It’s a matter of priority. [see addendum at bottom]

With godly living being the center of our attention, let’s look at what we have been given concerning godliness by looking at 2 Peter 1:3-8.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let’s break it down:

  • His divine power was strong enough to raise Jesus from the grave, not to mention creating the universe!
  • We have been given the Holy Spirit who gives us everything we need to be like Jesus and to follow Him ALL THE TIME (we call this “daily”).
  • Our knowledge of Him is through the indwelling Spirit. It’s experiential and intimate. We read His Word and hear His voice at the same time. Non-Christians can’t do that. They simply read for knowledge-sake. We read to hear Him. The Word of God is a marvelous micro-receiver that helps us tune in to Him and hear Him as He speaks to us. It is a filter that screens out all the other voices and sounds so that we can focus on Him and His voice. It is also a laser that the Father uses to remove malignant tumors (sin) and damaged tissue (sin’s effects) from our spiritual bodies. In His hands, this laser is better than a surgeon’s scalpel: “The Word of God is living and active [alive}. Sharper than a two-edged sword [a surgeon’s scalpel]…” Hebrews 4:12.
  • HE called US! We didn’t call Him. “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me.” Isaiah 65:1. Why? Because He is GOOD and because of His GLORY. The glory of God is connected to His goodness, which is His nature, His essence, and is expressed as love. “God is love.” 1 John 4:16. Anything that is not good has nothing to do with God. This truth in itself is why we need a Savior–even God Himself! Through His Spirit, He imparts goodness to us, thus giving us His glory and receiving glory from us. Because God is good, we are made good and strive to do good.
  • The greatest promise God made to mankind was to not leave us as we are. Even as far back as the Garden of Eden, God promised a Savior who would save us from the evil one and redeem us, “he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel [even as you strike his heel, he will crush your head].” Genesis 3:15. Jesus also promised the Holy Spirit, and more! the Spirit of truth…you know him for he lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:17. “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. John 14:23. He promised to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), and to be with us to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). But Wait! There’s More!!! God is transforming us, reshaping us, and molding us into the image of His Son, Jesus! Romans 8:29 and 2 Corinthians 3:18 tell us as much. This next verse in particular reveals to us what God is up to in our lives: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Cor. 4:16. IT DOESN’T GET ANY BETTER THAN THAT–on earth, anyway.”

Tomorrow, we will look at the practical side of living with/for Jesus as we continue with verses 4b-8.

Today, revel in the knowledge that God is with us, that He is imparting His goodness and His glory to us, and that we are already godly on the inside; we just need to work it from the inside out!

Addendum: Having our spiritual family before our natural family does NOT trump our responsibilities in taking care of and interacting with family. It DOES affect HOW we take care of them, in what order of importance they come, and how we interact with them. It does NOT include being at church every time the doors are open or dropping everything just because there’s a church function. What it DOES do is it runs everything through the filter of, “Jesus, how do You want me to handle this?” He will speak to us in one (or more) of four ways:

  1. Through prayer. Our continuous fellowship with Him is vital.
  2. Through the Bible. It is His written words to us.
  3. Through circumstances. Do you feel the tension? Pay attention to that tension. It may be the Holy Spirit!
  4. Through others, especially other believers.

Jesus wants us to take care of our natural families. We will let us know the best way to do that. Ask Him!

 

Proverbs 4 6-4-19

June 4, 2019

Are we “making every effort” to learn all we can about God and godly living? Are we learning to love like God loves us?

7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom [at all cost]. Though it cost all you have, [do whatever it takes to] get understanding.

Most of the time, we compartmentalize our lives. We see the different areas in our lives as pieces of a pie. The problem with this analogy is that each piece has equal value, when, in fact, it doesn’t. We would do better to use Paul’s analogy of an archer’s target, “for all have sinned [missed the mark, the bullseye on the target], and fall short of the glory of God [before Christ, we didn’t even aim at the target!].” Romans 3:23. As each concentric circle grows lesser and lesser in value, so do the areas of our lives.

The Lord Jesus is our Target, the bullseye being serving Him and living for Him.

The first ring away from the bullseye represent the necessities of life, which the LORD has promised to us: 31″So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:31-33. This ring also pertains to your spiritual family.

The second ring represent the supplementary things, our bonus items, what we might call discretionary expenditures. We don’t “need” them per say, but we can afford them, so we accrue them. They are secondary to the first ring and are subject to our circumstances as to whether we keep them or not. We hold them loosely as we hold on tightly to Jesus for life. This ring also pertains to relationships outside of our spiritual ones, which can include our natural families. Jesus made this differentiation clear, 48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:48-50.

We all have probably heard this analogy before, but DO WE LIVE IT? Do we make Jesus our Target? Do we aim for the bullseye of godly living? Do we trust Him for the necessities of life (the first ring) and hold loosely to everything else (the second ring)? Do we place our spiritual family ahead of our natural family and friends? Learning to “hate” anyone and anything besides Christ is a tough, long and hard lesson (see Luke 14:26-27).

Tomorrow, we will learn how to “keep our eyes on the prize,” the Target, as we study the 2 Peter 1:3-8.

Proverbs 3 6-3-19

June 3, 2019

Jesus is interested in you now, today. Will you respond to Him now? Today? He wants you as you are to make you what He wants you to be.

5 Trust the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.

I would like to add a phrase to verse six and then back it up with a snapshot from Jesus’ life. “and He will direct your paths FROM THIS POINT FORWARD.” Jesus lives in the “here and now;” He will not hold our past against us, but will use it to make us like Himself–how, I don’t know. I just know that’s what He does. Let’s look at that snapshot:

Johnbut Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now [FROM THIS POINT FORWARD] and leave your life of sin.”

See what happened? Jesus was all about her leaving her life of destructive behavior. He wants the same for us. I like to think that she was among the ones who were saved just after Pentecost, Acts 2:47…And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. She may have even followed Jesus and cared for His and the disciples’ needs (Matt. 27:55-56).

As believers in Jesus, we choose to follow Him each day. What we must understand that we are not equals with Him. He is GOD and we are NOT. We are sheep and He is our Shepherd (John 10:14). We are not cattle to be driven, but sheep to be led, which requires that we FOLLOW HIM. It’s voluntary, which is the risk He took by giving us FREE WILL. We willingly choose to walk with Him, listen to Him, trust and obey Him, and revel in His Presence, thus enjoying the love, joy, peace, hope and grace that emanate from His very Being.

Why would we want anything else but to walk with Him? Let’s choose to walk with Him TODAY. All day.

Proverbs 2 6-2-19

June 2, 2019

Hearing God is not difficult, but it is life-changing. Hence, most people shy away from listening.

6 For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

It’s not “the Bible” that is important; it’s God’s words in the Bible that are all-important. Our base for reading the Bible should be:

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword [a scalpel], piercing to the division of soul and of spirit [He knows us], of joints and of marrow [everything about us], and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart [the true us].

Yet, He loves us! He’s crazy about us! He wants us to spend all of our moments with Him in sweet fellowship! WOW! Try getting your arms around this truth!

As we learn more and more [mainly by reading and listening] about ourselves (how debased we are by our sinful nature) and learn more and more about Him (His crazy-love for us), we stand in awe of Him. When we gather to worship each week, our conversation with each other should be all about our walk with Christ and what He has shown us in His Word, in our lives, and in this world.

In case we are still fighting that “I need to please Him” (Old Covenant) urge, here is a case-in-point of why Jesus came: My mother and father left their home in Durant, Oklahoma (they grew up around there), to come and live with Robin and me (7 years ago). They left their home, their friends, and their life to come to Oklahoma City and start over (we built onto the back of our house). After about two years, I asked Dad why they had left their life in Durant to move in with us. He looked at me with a piercing look and replied, “I got tired of not seeing you.”

Jesus came because He “got tired of not seeing us.” He WANTS to walk with us every moment of every day. He came in order to be able to live in us. He dealt with sin so that we wouldn’t have to! HE is the One who is transforming us into His likeness. HE is the One who has made us blameless before the Father and presents us to Him with great joy (Jude 24).

Let’s worship Him in our respective places today with exceeding joy in our hearts and songs of gratitude on our lips.

Proverbs 1 6-1-19

June 1, 2019

How strong is our desire to hear from God? Do we realize that when we do, our lives will change?

7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

“The fear of the LORD” is, indeed, fear: Fear of judgement, wrath, punishment, discipline–but, it’s all Old Covenant! With the Coming of Christ and our adoption as His sons (yes, girls, you, too), our fear is now caught up in making sure we live godly lives out of gratitude in order to please Him.

“Fools [who] despise wisdom and instruction” are those who receive salvation, but aren’t really interested in growing in their relationship with the Father. This life here on earth is dangerous and God would save us from much of it if we will only learn, listen, and obey the leadership of the Holy Spirit. We know that there is no way to get through this world unscathed, but it is better to suffer for righteousness rather than ignorance and unrighteousness.

1 Peter 3:14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will [we may suffer for standing for Him], to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 

Are you putting in the time and effort to learn all you can about God in His Word and by spending time with Him? Are your priorities in order? He wants so much for us to move from Freshman and Sophomore levels to the Junior and Senior levels, from 101 and 201 classes to the 301 and 401 classes. He wants us to move from “cleaning up the shop” to assisting Him in the business of changing lives. WE MUST PUT IN THE TIME.

Here is the warning and the promise:

The WARNING- 32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them;

The PROMISE- 33 but whoever listens to me will live in [inner] safety and be at ease, without fear of [outward] harm.

Let’s begin anew this morning making Him and His Word our highest priority.

Proverbs 31 5-31-19

May 31, 2019

“Actions speak louder than words.” When it comes down to it, we act out of what we believe. Do we believe Jesus?

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate [by her husband-see verse 23].

Jesus was straightforward about salvation and commitment. He told us that we act out of what we believe. If we believe that He is God (one with the Father), then we will do what He says. It’s that simple. Jesus explained this process when He was telling the disciples about the coming Holy Spirit. Let’s listen in:

John 14:15 If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever–17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father and I will love them and show myself to them.

15 “If you love me”– Jesus’ commands are designed to heal us, to direct us, to protect us, and to give us life. In loving Him, we love ourselves.

16 “Another advocate”- Jesus was the first Advocate; He was going to send the Holy Spirit to them, which is Him! In 18, He told them that He would come to them. Granted, He DID rise from the dead and meet them in Galilee, but He also promised to live in them. 23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home in them.” Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one even as Jesus and the Father are one.

19 “Because I live, you also will live”– THE PROMISE! On this promise we hang our hopes and dreams. Jesus is LIFE both in this world and the next!

20 “In him…in me…in you- We have been included in the Trinity! In a secondary fashion, of course. This intimacy goes way beyond any religion–even Jesus’ Jewish religion. WE ARE ONE WITH GOD! Can I explain it? No. But He can. Ask Him to reveal and experience this oneness with Him to you. He is waiting for you to ask.

21 “I will love them and show myself to them”- Want to know Jesus better? Start by believing that His commands are trustworthy. Now, DO THEM. In doing them we have the promise that He will show Himself to us. In many cases, we need to be on the other side of obedience in order to comprehend what He is showing us.

In “The Karate Kid,” Mr. Miyagi taught Daniel a great lesson of hand/arm motion by having him paint a fence [I was going to put a link to a YouTube segment of the movie, but the language was too bad. Sorry]. The illustration holds true. Often, we don’t understand what the LORD is teaching us until we get on the other side of it. The question is, do we trust Him?

Here’s a better example. When Jesus was first calling Peter and Andrew, James and John…

Luke 5:1 One day as jesus was standing by the Lake of Galilee, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, let there by the fishermen [the four future-disciples], who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon [Peter], and asked him to put out a little from shore [first act of obedience]. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat [the water carried his voice much better then being on land].

4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets [second act of obedience].”

6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners [James and John] in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. [WOW!]

8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” [Peter realized that God was working in his life; it brought conviction and worship] 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”[the point Jesus was making] 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

What is our “catch” from this story?

1. When Jesus asks us to do something, do it BEFORE asking why.

2. Be ready for something marvelous and miraculous to happen.

3. We WILL feel conviction and wonder and be moved to worship Him.

4. We don’t have to be afraid. Even if our plans are about to change, they are for our good and His will.

Let’s trust Him and go with His Plan. He has wonderful things in store…

Proverbs 30 5-30-19

May 30, 2019

How is your spiritual diet? Are you feasting on Jesus’ words and starving your worldly appetites?

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

The transitive law, “If A=B and B=C, then A=C,” works well concerning our daily bread. The bread is the word of God (Deut. 8:3); Jesus is the Word (John 1:1, 14); therefore, our bread is Jesus! Jesus Himself said,

I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35

Let’s spend time with Jesus in His Word today. It’s important. No, IT’S VITAL!

Proverbs 29 5-29-19

May 29, 2019

Do we see ourselves as God’s adopted children? Is there gratitude in our hearts for what He has done for us?

19 Servants cannot be corrected by mere words; through the understand, they will not respond.

We are servants of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we must never lose sight of the fact that He has adopted us into His family! Not only that, but we are co-heirs with Jesus, which means that women have been raised to the status of son-ship (unheard of in that day) and we are heirs of heaven itself!

Our service to Him is borne out of gratitude, not duty.

There is another reason to obey Him, and that is because of the dangers of this world. We NEED Him. Our world was never intended to be like it is, but God had made provision even before the whole sin thing started (Rev. 13:8). It went like this:

  1. Adam and Eve walked with God. The Holy Spirit was like a cloak. It was the *Shekinah glory of God, their covering. “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” Genesis 2:25. 
  2. Sin happened and the Shekinah glory of God was removed. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked;” Genesis 3:7a.
  3. Mankind lived without the glory of God for centuries. The Spirit would sometimes come upon a person (Joseph, Samuel, Samson, David, Isaiah, and others), but His residence was usually temporary and always conditional.
  4. Enter Jesus. His purpose was tri-fold:
    1. To deal with the penalty of sin;
    2. To give us the privilege to be adopted as God’s children;
    3. To indwell each of us–to move inside, to inhabit us!
  5. When we die, we are taken to be at His side and given glorified bodies that will last forever. No sin nature, no pain, the ability to stand in the presence of the Father, and to enjoy His eternal pleasures forever!

Our adoption moves us from servanthood to sonship. Our relationship with our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit is the most important aspect of our salvation. It’s for our future and our safety. Let’s make it a priority today.

*Wikipedia: The word shekhinah is not present in the Bible, and is first encountered in the rabbinic literature.[1]:148–49[2] The Semitic root means “to settle, inhabit, or dwell”.[4] The root word is often used to refer to birds’ nesting and nests (“Every fowl dwells near its kind and man near his equal.”)[5] and can also mean “neighbor.”

Verses on adoption:

Romans 8:15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

Romans 8:23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship [its fulfillment], the redemption of our bodies.

Galatians 4:4-5 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.

Ephesians 1:5 …he predestined [made it accessible to] us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—

Proverbs 28 5-28-19

May 28, 2019

Can’t stand to be told what to do? We are all there at some point. Submission is a hard word…

Submission means “to place oneself under the authority of another.” Our pride can get in the way of submitting to the LORD. It often takes the form of rebelling against parents, rules, authority, traditions (not always bad), and good advice. It’s one of Satan’s three tools in his bag of temptations: The pride of life (1 John 2:16). Solomon had this to say:

9 If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.

Solomon couldn’t have been more on target–and prophetic. Here is what happened to the people after Solomon’s time:

Jeremiah 19:4 For they have forsaken [rebelled against] me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned incense in it to gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. 5 They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal–something I did not command or mention, nor did it enver my mind.

It even started with Solomon!

1 Kings 11:1 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter… 2 They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God…

We cannot depend upon our own wisdom. Yes, we have the gift of CHOICE (free will) from God, but it is to choose whom we will serve. EVERYONE SERVES SOMEONE.

Joshua 24:15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

We tend to forget that this world is the enemy’s stronghold. Satan has control of the earth–for a little while longer. “This world is not our home; we’re just a-passin’ through.” Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). We, therefore, cannot view this world as our home, either. Instead,

Philippians 3:20 Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

The question is, “What are we doing today to store up riches in heaven?” Are we investing in THIS world or in HIS world? Are we serving the god of this world by running after wealth, fame, security, power, sensuality, and luxury? Or are we seeking the LORD and His kingdom and His righteousness? In the New Covenant, Jesus made these things important:

  1. Matthew 6:33 “Seek first his [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things [life, food, drink, clothing-the necessities] will be given to you as well.”
  2. John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
  3. John 15:4 “Abide [remain, dwell] in me, as I also abide [remain, live, dwell, reside] in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit [be like Jesus] unless you abide in me.”

Will we choose to seek, love, and abide in Him today? Or, will we choose to follow our own plans? The problem is that to follow our own plans is to choose by default to follow Satan. He makes us think it’s our idea through deception, and we, being sheep, follow all too easily.

May we hear our Savior’s voice and follow Him and Him alone.

Proverbs 27 5-27-19

May 27, 2019

Loving others is how we learn to die to self. It’s what it means to die to self. As we listen to the Spirit, He will show us how.

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

6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted…5 Better is open rebuke [from a friend] than hidden love [withheld guidance–probably because of past experience of getting his hand bitten].

We’ve heard the phrase, “To have a friend, be a friend.” This statement encompasses the ministry of Jesus and is to be our life cause, as well. We as God’s children and Christ’s siblings are to be INITIATORS in friendship–always. Paul called us ambassadors, by which we are to extend the kingdom of Christ to others.

We understand the salvation side of being ambassadors and can tolerate persecution for the sake of the Gospel, but we have a hard time understanding and accepting God’s way of daily witnessing. He wants us to demonstrate His love to others [and each other] the same way Christ did: By dying to self.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God even gave us a “nursery” in which we can learn and grow and practice dying to self. It’s called the CHURCH. It’s not the actual building, but the people inside the building that are the Church, Christ’s Body, His family.

When the president walks off of Air Force 1 and enters another plane, that plane becomes Air Force 1. Why? Because the president is on it. That’s the way Christ’s church is. When we gather in His name–wherever we are, however we are dressed, whatever circumstances there might be, and whoever we are with–we are the Church, and Christ is manifested among us. People see this phenomenon with spiritual eyes and are either drawn to it or repulsed by it because of their sinful nature–or both! It depends on how they respond to the conviction of the Spirit. Our job is not to convict, but to demonstrate Christ’s love by dying to self and living for Him.

There is a great passage about the Church in Ephesians. Let’s look at it:

Ephesians 3:14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

God is our Father. Every Christian bears His name.

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell [rule, abide] in your hearts through faith.

Christ is our power and our strength. He lives and rules in our hearts. Even though we are wasting away on the outside, we are being renewed on the inside continuously everyday (2 Cor. 4:16).

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people [the Church], to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

The key word here is “together.” We are to experience God’s vast love with and through the body of Christ, the Church. I understand that with extreme opportunity comes extreme risk. Church can be a scary place, but that does NOT excuse us from demonstrating Christ’s love to each other. It merely means that we must lean even harder on Christ to do it.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Christ WILL DO immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, but in His way and in His time, in His circumstances, and according to His will as others respond or react to His conviction. We just have to believe that He IS WORKING to make all of us more like Him. He IS receiving glory from our efforts.

I love the phrase, “throughout all generations.” It helps us focus on the fact that as we teach the next generation about loving Christ by dying to self, we are passing on a generational blessing, by which they may be able to “raise the bar” for their generation and then pass on what they have learned to the next generation, by which they may be able to “raise the bar” for their generation, and so on. Thus, the Church of Christ grows, especially as others are attracted to Him by the way we love each other, and we all are being built together in Him to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit (2:22).

Let’s be about His business today as we die to self and live for Him, demonstrating His love by loving each other.

Proverbs 26 5-26-19

May 26, 2019

Come to Jesus for eternal life, real love, true joy, lasting peace, solid hope, and saving faith. All it costs is your life!

3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the backs of fools!

Delayed gratification is not our strong suit as humans. If we see something shiny or sparkly (or desirable), we want it, and if we want it, we “need” it (obsess about it). If we step back just a little, we would see around the facade to who is offering such tempting treats (Satan). We would be able to hear the Spirit say, “Leave this alone; I have something better for you.” But learning to step back doesn’t come naturally. Jesus wants to teach us how to walk with Him and to stay on the path.

King David learned to listen and obey:

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:10

What was it David learned?

  • God makes the path of life known to us. Not all at once, but one step at a time. Think of walking with Him on a dark night with Him carrying a lantern and all we can see is just a few feet around us. The light is strongest next to Him, so let’s stay as close as we can.
  • We are filled with JOY when we are consciously in His presence. If we focus on joy rather than that fleeting feeling we get from giving in to temptation, we will overflow with His joy, which is sustainable by His Spirit.
  • The other benefits we receive as we walk close to Him are called, “eternal pleasures,” and include love, peace, hope, mercy, grace, faith, guidance, family, His presence, His Power, His Participation, etc. (I’m sure there are others).

As we walk through this Memorial Day Weekend, let’s thank God for our countrymen who gave their lives for our freedom. That freedom allows us to worship the LORD as we want. Let’s ask the LORD to show us how to walk so close to Him that “the things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

Proverbs 25 5-25-19

May 25, 2019

Those who have drunk from the well of salvation, who have tasted His living waters, are able to endure anything life throws our way!

4 Remove the dross from the silver, and out comes material for the silversmith;

Raw silver is like most ore; it is in seams of rock. When it was mined, it was put into a cauldron and heated. The dross (non-silver) rose to the top (about 10%) and was scooped off. Then the heat was turned up a notch so that more dross would rise to the top (another 10%). This process was repeated in seven steps, at which point the silver was 99.999% silver. THEN it was considered pure.

And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, refined seven times. Psalm 12:6

When is the silver pronounced ready for use? According to the silversmith, “When I can see my reflection in it.” THAT’S what Jesus is doing in our lives! We must consider the imagery of being mined from the earth as more literal than we want to admit. We are encased and encrusted with non-heavenly material. The Spirit knows what is there, the silver of our souls, and wants to make us pure for heaven’s sake, “ready to ship,” so to speak.

The question is, “Are we willing to go through the process of refinement?”

19 Like a broken tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble.

Being faithful to the LORD only during good times is like the seed that was planted on the rocky soil. “But since they have no root [Jesus as the foundation for daily living], they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word [when living according to God’s Word conflicts with what they want], they quickly fall away.” Mark 4:16-17

What we don’t realize are the many idols that are set up in our lives. Anything that overrides the Spirit’s voice and His leadership is an idol. When we go through hard times, many people get mad at God because He didn’t bless them the way they thought He should (Old Covenant thinking). But, Jesus never promised that He would bless us with worldly blessings (health, wealth, security, etc.); instead, He promised that we would be persecuted just as He was (John 15:20).

We who have tasted His living water, that personal relationship, that close fellowship we have with Him through the Spirit, understand that we would give anything–EVERYTHING-in order to maintain it and even make it flourish. Jesus wants us to know Him more fully. In fact, He wants us to become just like Him when He was on earth and experience the close fellowship He had with the Heavenly Father.

My father-in-law just had his knee replaced. He went through great pain (the surgery and therapy) in order to reap the full benefits of his new knee. It works great! He is looking forward to having his other knee replaced in a few weeks. Why is he willing to go through so much pain and suffering? Because he has the hope of having two new knees based upon his experience of having his first one done.

Our hope is the same. We have tasted salvation through the Spirit coming to live in us. Now we have the promise of sanctification (being made in the image of Christ on the inside) and glorification (being transformed into the image of Christ on the outside in heaven). Our hope is based upon our experience. We Want MORE!

Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Paul said, “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings–” Philippians 3:10

“Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness, with the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8

Instead of wallowing in self-pity, let’s revel in the process. WE ARE BECOMING MORE LIKE JESUS!

Proverbs 24 5-24-19

May 24, 2019

The Spirit gives us insight, which helps us look beyond ourselves to others to see their needs and perspectives-and care.

10 If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!

Certainly, this verse has to do with courage, but I’m thinking that most of the time it has to do with convenience. We get caught up in our own plans and what we are doing to the point that we are reluctant to allow for interruptions. We become impatient.

Impatience manifests itself as anger, rolling eyes, quick and/or harsh movements, acid tongue, berating words and punishing behavior.

Our strength is in the Spirit. His work in us is the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. When we allow Him to grow these fruits in our lives, we do not fight guilt, we do not succumb to pressure from others, we are better able to defeat temptation, and we are finally able to love others as Christ loved the church: we give our very lives for each other. “Against such things there is no law.” Gal. 5:22-23.

Let’s keep looking upward to Him for encouragement and fellowship, inward for help from the Spirit, and outward to others as we demonstrate Christ to those around us.

Proverbs 23 5-23-19

May 23, 2019

What is your foundation? From where do you seek wisdom? Your heavenly Father wants to give you His wisdom. Trust Him; He knows what He’s talking about!

[23] Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.

Many of us learned a children’s song that conveys our childlike faith:

“Jesus loves me, this I know

For the Bible tells me so.”

For those who believe that the Bible is God’s revelation to mankind, the fact that it’s in the Bible is enough for us. For those who have doubts or do not have enough information to believe, we must elaborate for them why we accept the Bible as factual, authoritative, and trustworthy. For more information about the history of the Bible, see the series, “The Bible For Grownups” on youtube.

We accept God’s words because we have faith. That faith is based upon the promises of Jesus, both those that we have experienced and those that we look forward to experiencing. CHILDLIKE FAITH IS NOT BLIND; IT IS TRUSTING IN THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD. We don’t have to understand everything in order to believe. In fact, Jesus told us that we must have faith like a child in order to be His followers (Matthew 18:1-4) Consider:

  • Has God run the universe without you since the beginning?
  • Will He continue to run it His way after your life is over?
  • Have you trusted Jesus and His substitutionary sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins?
  • Do you believe that trusting in Jesus re-establishes our relationship with the Father?
  • Do you accept His adoption of you into His family?

If we can believe these things unto salvation, then why is it so hard to accept that God can speak to His servants, have His message written down, preserve it throughout the ages, and then speak to us through it every time we read it?

Believing that He’s big enough to maintain the integrity of His own Word, let’s look at what the Bible has to say about God’s words to us.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, [17] so that the man [person] of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Paul was referring to what we call the Old Testament (the New Testament hadn’t been written, yet). Here’s what we know about the Bible that Paul knew:

Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

God made sure that His words were written down and preserved. They were written over 1400 years, by 40+ authors, in three different languages, from 70+ walks of life and several countries, all with one message of love and culminating in the Coming, life, death, burial, resurrection, and future Return of Jesus Christ.

Here are some Fun-Facts:

  • The Scriptures are Light (Psalm 119:105), Food (Deut. 8:3), and Water (John 4:14)  to the soul.
  • Jesus refers to God’s words as Truth (John 17:14).
  • It is God’s words to us (1 Thessalonians 2:13 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13).
  • We are to preach God’s Word (2 Timothy 4:2).
  • We are purified by His Word (1 Peter 1:23), and it stands forever (v 25).
  • God conveyed His words via His messengers (2 Peter 1:21).
  • The Word of God is living and active; His Spirit flows through His words (Hebrews 4:12-13).

To read God’s Word and have Him speak to our hearts: That is the defining characteristic of Christianity!

Let’s read to know HIM!