Archive for the ‘Proverbs’ Category

Proverbs 3 7-3-19

July 3, 2019

Is anyone wiser than Solomon? Even from a secular perspective, his reign was beyond compare. What did he believe about Creation?

19 By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; 20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.

Yesterday, we looked at Jesus’ claims of Deity in the Gospels, which I wholeheartedly believe (anyone who claims to be able to rise from the dead–and pulls it off–is worth listening to!). Today, we look at what Jesus said about Creation.

4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:4-6

Jesus was quoting Genesis 1:27 and 2:24. He believed in the writings of Moses. We take them on faith whereas Jesus was the Prompter of those writings. WHAT?! Let’s look:

In the beginning was the Word…the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:1, 14

“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” John 5:39-40

Here is a case-in-point: Moses was instructed to strike the rock at Horeb once and water would gush forth (Ex. 17:6. Note that the pre-incarnate Jesus stood before him there at the rock). Later, when the Israelites came back to this place, the water had dried up, so Moses was instructed to SPEAK to the rock for water to gush forth again. But, he struck it–twice. The first event was to act as an illustration of Jesus being living water and was to die for us (see 1 Cor. 10:1-4). The second event was to be an illustration that Jesus had to die only once; He did NOT need to be struck (die) again. Moses ruined the illustration, but we get the picture. The point is that it was all about Jesus.

Back to Creation. Note in Matthew 19 that Jesus says, “at the beginning.” He also calls God, “the Creator.” It doesn’t get any plainer than that.

But, a person may say, “That doesn’t explain the 6 days = millions of years” theory. Consider this: The same Person (Jesus) who said that there was a beginning and that God is the Creator also said that He is Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:27-28). The Sabbath is taken from creation where God rested on the seventh day and made it holy (Gen. 2:2-3, Ex. 31:17 “It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.” Note that in the next verse, we find that this command was inscribed into the two tablets written by the finger of God!). So, six days are six days. Add the Sabbath, and we have one week. It’s pretty simple, really. Sometimes we are too “smart” for our own good.

I have never understood how people can believe God for salvation through Jesus, yet disregard the REST of His Word. Their logic is unsound. I pray that you will find comfort and courage in the Word of TRUTH today.

Proverbs 2 7-2-19

July 2, 2019

Do you believe Jesus? Do you believe that the disciples wrote His words down correctly? That God has kept His words correct, uncorrupted and complete for 2,000 years?

1 My son [children], if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding–9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair–every good path. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart [the Holy Spirit], and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

What can we gain by reading Jesus’ words? What did He say? Let’s start with His claims to be God’s Son:

There are many verses in Matthew where Jesus calls God His Father, such as 12:50, 16:17, 18:10, 18:19, and then a couple in Matthew that are specific:

Matthew 25:34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” There is no mistaking Jesus’ claim that God is His Father. The next verse, as well:

Matthew 26:53 “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?

John’s whole purpose in his gospel account was to show that Jesus is God’s Son. In 5:17, Jesus said that His Father is always working, and so was He. Here is the leaders’ reaction:

John 5:18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

Jesus went on to tell them that He only does what He sees the Father doing (I assume that the Holy Spirit was revealing it to Him in real time). He goes on to tell them that the Father loves Him and even gives Him the power to raise the dead! In verse 36, He tells them that His works are evidence to His relationship with the Father. Oh, that they had believed!

In John 6:32, Jesus claims to be the Bread of Heaven, much like manna was to the Israelites in the desert. It was a precursor to the Lord’s Supper where He took the bread and said that it was His body (a very specific piece of bread, one that had been pierced, then covered and hidden, just as His body would be in the coming hours).

Chapter 8 contains a great dialogue between Jesus and the leaders. He makes reference to His relationship to God the Father numerous times:

8:18-19 Jesus claims that God testifies about Him and that God sent Him.

8:54-55 Jesus makes it very clear, “My Father, whom you claim as your God…”

Verse 58 says it loud and clear, “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” The phrase, “I AM,” is God’s revealed title to Moses in Exodus 3:14. Jesus claimed not only that He was God’s Son, but to be God Himself in the flesh! I don’t know why this claim came as a shock to them. Isaiah had predicted it 700 years before:

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel–which means, “God with us.”

In chapter 10 of John, Jesus declares that:

17-18 He has been given power by His Father to lay down His life and take it up again;

29-33 He and the Father are one, and the leaders knew that He claimed to be God.

In chapter 14 as He was teaching His disciples on that last night, He spoke very plainly. In verses 9-11, Jesus tells them that they have seen the Father because they have seen Him. If they don’t believe it, at least believe the works (miracles) He did.

Verses 20-21, 23-24, 26, 28, and 31 all speak of His relationship with the Father and with the Spirit. Don’t believe in the Trinity? Then read chapters 14-16 and get back with me!

15:15, 23-24, 16:23-28, and 32-33 give us more evidence of Jesus’ deity and His relationship with the Father.

The BEST verses where Jesus makes His claim are:

John 4:26 Jesus is talking to the woman at the well. She brings up the coming of the Messiah. Jesus declares, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

John 20:17 The day Jesus rose from the dead–thus proving that He is God–He met with Mary Magdalene. When she wouldn’t quit clinging to His feet, He told her, “Do not [continue to] hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” That’s pretty clear!

Since we now have no doubts about Jesus’ deity, we can trust everything He told us in His Word as was recorded by the writers of the Gospels and has been protected and sustained through these many centuries.

Tomorrow, we will look at what Jesus has to say about Creation, and Noah and the Great Flood.

Proverbs 1 7-1-19

July 1, 2019

Christianity is much more about our relationship/fellowship with God than it is what we DO for God.

22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? 23 Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my heart to you and make my thoughts known to you.” – Wisdom

The wisdom of the Old Covenant was based upon people’s works to show them that they were incapable of living a righteous life on their own; their sin got in the way. THEY NEEDED A SAVIOR. It was true then and it’s true for us now.

I’ve always struggled to see how verses 24-31 reflected the heart of God. They seem rather petty, “I in turn will laugh..I will mock…they will call to me but I will not answer…” Then I realized that this way of thinking was in line with the Old Covenant. Even by living according to wisdom, they could not live a righteous life. It took faith in the Lord’s grace, that He would grant to them His favor regardless of how well they were living–or in spite of how they were living.

The New Covenant, based upon Christ’s love for us and His sacrifice in our place, puts this passage into perspective. The writer of Hebrews states for us,

“It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Heb. 10:4

Paul tells us in Galatians that Christ fulfilled the law and offers us God’s grace through Christ’s sacrifice,

21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! Therefore, 20 I [consider myself to] 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.

Proverbs 1:32 is still applicable: For the waywardness of the simple [a person who is gullible, without moral direction and inclined to evil] will kill them, and the complacency of fools [those who know the right thing to do, but won’t do it] will destroy them [because sin destroys us–that’s why God hates it]; while verse 33 must be read with New Covenant eyes: but whoever listens to me [we listen to the Holy Spirit] will live in safety [our salvation is sealed by the Holy Spirit] and be at ease [concerning earning salvation], without fear of harm [eternal separation from God].

The best way to interpret the Old Testament is in light of the New Testament. The Levitical law was given to Moses and the Israelites, a special person and a special people. It was designed to show that NO ONE, even God’s chosen people, can be saved by their works. If we become conscious of our sin and our separation of God, then the Old Covenant has done its job. In the words of Jesus,

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17

We read Proverbs because Solomon was the wisest man on earth, but we read Proverbs through the lens of the New Testament, the Law of Love and a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

As you read, listen. He is speaking to you through His words. His Spirit will help you apply them to your life.

Proverbs 30 6-30-19

June 30, 2019

When we walk with Jesus, we walk in the light of His glory. We are transformed into His likeness just by being with Him!

4 Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Whose hands have gathered up the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is the name of his son? Surely you know!

The answer to these questions can be found in the Gospels. Let’s look at them:

Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Let’s reverse the order, Who has come down from heaven and gone up? The answer is Jesus!

In John 3:13, Jesus tells us, “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man.” This reference is to Daniel 7:13-14, which is a description of the Messiah, the Anointed One. In other words, Himself. We also read where He ascended into heaven in Luke 24:51 and Acts 1:9-11.

Next question: Whose hands have gathered up the wind? We find in Mark 4:35-41 that Jesus calmed the storm with a simple command, “Peace. Be still.” Jesus is Lord of the wind and waves.

Next question: Who has established all the ends of the earth? This answer is a bit more subtle in that Jesus gave us a microcosm of creation as evidence that He is Lord of creation. In John 2:1-11, we read the account of Jesus turning water into wine.

  1. There are six stone water jars, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons (v.6).
  2. Jesus had the servants fill them with water. Note that the servants filled them to the brim (v.7). Now, that’s faith!
  3. When the master of the banquet tasted the wine, it was perfectly aged and was the best wine at the banquet (v.9-10).

Conclusion: Jesus is Lord of creation. The process of aging the wine is exactly the same as the process of creating a world and universe that LOOKS OLD in just six days. Was it coincidence that there were SIX water pots…?

Next question: What is his name, and what is the name of his son? John tells us all we need to know in 20:31, But these [accounts] are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. If we believe that He is, indeed, the Son of God, our Messiah, then we will love Him and serve Him wholeheartedly. If we don’t, then chances are we do not truly believe, or we are not interested in serving Him. John explains:

3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil [and they didn’t want to change]. 20 Everyone who [continually] does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their [continuous] deeds will be exposed.

If we truly love the Lord Jesus, we will desire to walk in His light more than we want to do evil deeds [which is anything not directed/sanctioned by the Spirit]. Living according to the Spirit is to be like Jesus. As soon as we turn from darkness into His light, we ARE LIKE HIM. Becoming like Jesus simply means that we walk according to His light on a regular basis, listening and obeying the Spirit even as He did (see John 3:34, 5:19-20).

Let’s walk in His light today praising Him together in our respective places of worship.

TRUST AND OBEY
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
But we never can prove the delights of His love
until all on the altar we lay,
For the favor He shows and the joy He bestows
are for them who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

 

Proverbs 29 6-29-19

June 29, 2019

Lordship. Discipleship. Dying to self. Taking up our cross. Why would anyone subject himself to these? Because of who Jesus is!

14 If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will be established forever.

Little did Solomon know that he was describing the King of kings who was to come from his very own lineage! Jesus came through the line of David, who was Solomon’s father. We follow this lineage in Matthew 1, which gives us the lineage of Joseph, Jesus’ step-father. Luke 3 gives us the lineage of Mary, who is also from the line of David through Solomon’s full brother, Nathan (see Luke 3:31 and 1 Chronicles 3:5).

To be clear, Jesus did not come to set up an earthly kingdom. His goal was much bigger than that. He wanted to include the entire world in His kingdom. John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the world,” and Titus 2:11 gives us The Plan:

For the grace of God has appeared [Jesus] that offers salvation to all people.

His kingdom goes beyond this life straight into heaven. Only God could do this, which explains Jesus’ real heritage as God’s Son.

No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known. John 1:18

Let’s follow this truth to its logical end:

  • IF He is God in the flesh (Emmanuel means “God with us” see Isaiah 7:14),
  • IF He has a kingdom and is, indeed, King of kings and LORD of lords (see Philippians 2:9-11 and Revelation 19:16),
  • IF He followed such a radical plan to save us,
  • IF He is your Lord and Savior,
  • THEN let’s radically follow Him.
  • THEN let’s spend an “inordinate” time with Him.
  • THEN let’s consult Him on every decision throughout our day.
  • THEN let’s worship Him and love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

The Bible is God’s primary way of communicating with us. He speaks to us through its message, the message that HE commissioned the writers to write and then HE preserved it throughout the centuries. They dictated His words so that we would have His words in print. He speaks to us through those words just as He did to the writers even as they wrote them down. His Spirit confirms and interprets those words in our hearts and through His body, the Church.

Let’s RADICALLY READ His Word today and listen for His voice. Let’s apply what we know and ask Him to teach us what we don’t know.

#RADforJesus(Gal.2:20)

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 in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Proverbs 28 6-28-19

June 28, 2019

5 Evildoers [those who follow their own guidance] do not understand what is right, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully.

Want to know God?  Seek Him in His Word. It’s the first step in prayer. As you read, He speaks to you as He reveals truth to you. Next step…

Believe what we read. The validity of the Bible is without question. Look at the facts:

  • The seamless story of Redemption over 1500 years in the making from around 1450 B.C. (the time of Moses) to about 100 A.D;
  •  Over 40 different authors from all walks of life: shepherds, farmers, tent-makers, physicians, fishermen, priests, philosophers and kings;
  • Written in three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek;
  • Translated into English in 1382 A.D. by John Wycliffe;
  • EVERY copy and EVERY translation, some going back to 200 A.D. are the same.* GOD HAS PRESERVED HIS WORDS!

Statistically, the Bible is a miraculous book. We can trust it. Even concerning science, we can trust it because science is finally catching up to TRUTH. The Theory of Evolution cannot be trusted because there is no definite proof; nothing can be verified. It better fits the definition of a religion because it is based on faith rather than verifiable fact.

Don’t believe me? Consider this. They say, “Given enough time, anything is possible.” This statement is unprovable and is, therefore, unscientific. The second Law of Thermodynamics refutes this claim:

“The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of any isolated system always increases.”

In other words, the universe moves from order to chaos, not the other way around! Here are a few scientific truths that defy an old universe, particularly an old earth, and especially an old race:

  • Our genetics are conservative, not creative. They copy, and over time, they degrade. Geneticists give mankind no more than 70,000 years. Of course, the Bible clearly states around 6,000 years to be accurate.
  • The earth’s magnetic field, which has a half life of 1400 years, projected backward, gives us no more than 7,000 years before it would be so strong that it wouldn’t sustain human life.
  • The rings of Saturn are being pulled into the planet at a steady rate and, traced backward, can be no older than 10,000 years.
  • Likewise, comets lose 5% of their moisture with each pass around the sun, making them less than 10,000 years old.
  • All great rivers have 4500 years’ worth of sediment at their mouths, which is precisely the time of the Great Flood.

There are more–LOTS more. We didn’t even get around to discussing animals that defy evolution, one in particular is the butterfly. Look it up!

If we read God’s Word every day, we start a conversation with Him that lasts all day. If we take a verse or passage that stands out to us and put it on a notecard, then put it somewhere obvious and read it everyday, we will find ourselves “hearing” God’s voice much more clearly.

Jimmy Cox said something profound the other night at Vacation Bible School as he addressed the students. He said, “When I hear God’s voice, I don’t really hear Him speak to me–it’s much closer than that.” WOW! So TRUE! His voice sounds like my own voice, but somehow, I know it’s Him.

Here’s the best way I can illustrate it:

I tune my guitar by plucking one string while plucking another string that is held on the corresponding fret. The strings should sound the same. If they do not, then I hear a warble between the strings. I adjust one of the strings until the warbles subside; once all the warbles are gone, then the strings are in tune. How well I tune my guitar is according to how well I pay attention to the tension (warble) between the two strings.

We would do well to PAY ATTENTION TO THE TENSION (not original) between the two voices within us, our own and the Holy Spirit.

Believing the facts stated above, I, by faith, choose to believe what John wrote at the beginning of his account of the life of Jesus:

1:1 In the beginning was the Word (dynamo, the embodied power of God), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning [of the creation of the world]. 3 Through him [the Word] all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the [our] darkness, and the darkness has not [cannot] overcome it.

9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him [read Proverbs 8:22-31], the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him [generally speaking]. 12 Yet, to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name [Yeshua Hamashiach, The Anointed One, God in the flesh], he gave the right to become children of God…[born again] born of God. 14 The Word became flesh [Jesus!] and dwelt among us. We have seen his glory [John is testifying to have witnessed his life, his miracles, his death and resurrection, his healed wounds], the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth [He speaks the truth to us about ourselves and then deals with us in grace].

I believe it. I hear Him within me confirming its truth. Do you?

*The New Testament has been preserved in more manuscripts than any other ancient work of literature, with over 5,800 complete or fragmented Greek manuscripts catalogued, 10,000 Latin manuscripts and 9,300 manuscripts in various other ancient languages including Syriac, Slavic, Gothic, Ethiopic, Coptic and Armenian.

Proverbs 27 6-27-19

June 27, 2019

Good morning! It’s time to read Proverbs, chapter 27. Ask the Lord for His wisdom, and His power to live for Him today.

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

When we open our Bibles, I pray that this verse describes the fellowship you have with the Father, in Jesus, through the Holy Spirit. For instance, I was reading this morning and ran across this verse:

“I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:49

You will notice the bolded print; that’s the way it read to me. It made me stop and think (ponder) what power He was talking about. It was the Coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. Paul talks about this power in his letter to the Ephesians:

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and the incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, Ephesians 1:18-19

There is SO MUCH in this verse, but let’s focus on the “incomparably great power.” This power is what brings about the regeneration process that takes place daily–actually, continuously– in our lives (see 2 Cor. 4:16, 5:17). It also gives us first the desire and then the power to be obedient to the Spirit in our daily lives.

One of those ways is in how we treat each other. Paul describes the ideal way:

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal [in loving each other], but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord [in this manner]. 21 Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 1210-11, 21

Easy to say, but hard to do. But, it’s part of the process of our becoming like Christ. We are being remade from the inside out; it’s just that our flesh won’t go down without a fight! Learning to win in our spiritual lives is what it’s all about as we follow our Lord Jesus.

Here’s the process:

  1. We are given the Holy Spirit and are born again; we are spiritually raised from the dead!
  2. Jesus replaces our hearts of stone with new hearts of flesh that resonate with the heart of God (the heartbeat of heaven).
  3. Our desire is to please Him, so we begin to revise our desires so that they are pleasing Him–and not destructive to ourselves and those around us (this is the tough part).
  4. The power we receive from the Spirit is HOW we, basically, beat our worldly side into submission. I liken it to Wack-A-Mole, where “moles” (my own desires) pop up in various places on a board and I hit them on the head with a spiritual mallet.

The idea is to “lean not on your own understanding,” but “in all our ways acknowledge/lean on/depend upon Him.” Proverbs 3:5-6 We are not to do anything by ourselves or in our own power, but we are to rely on His Spirit to direct us, tell us what to say and do, and then empower us to do the right thing. Honoring others above ourselves is just one of the harder things we are called to do.

Let’s hang our hats on this verse today: for it is God [through the Holy Spirit] who works in you to will [have the desire] and to act [with His power] in order to fulfill his good purpose [in everything we do]. Philippians 2:13

 

Proverbs 26 6-26-19

June 26, 2019

The character of God: Good. We strive to be good. What does that entail? Is it possible to attain? Let’s see…

Before we look at the goodness of God, let’s take a look at the heart of mankind:

24 Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit. 25 Though their speech is charming, do not believe them, for seven abominations* fill their hearts. 26 Their malice may be concealed by deception, but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.

*6:16 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 [among the brethren].

When we give our lives to Christ and the Holy Spirit comes to live in us (see Gal. 2:20), He begins the process of sanctification/transformation. Jesus (via the Spirit) teaches us His way, which is the way of God. We learn to be GOOD. But, what does that process entail? Paul describes it:

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

First, we must unlearn what we have learned. We are to put off what we were taught by life and by others, with regard to our former way of life; to put off our old selves, which are being corrupted by their deceitful desires. How were we? Just look at our Proverbs text for the day! Our hearts were deceitful and wicked above all things and beyond cure. Jesus came in and replaced our natural heart with a new heart, one that beats with the rhythm of heaven. It is that heart to which we are attuning our lives.

Second, we are to be made new in the attitude of our minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. This is where we live, learning to be like God.

Before we go any further, let’s get something straight. For Christians, Practice makes PROGRESS, not perfect. Our perfection will not ever be complete until we are out of these old-covenant bodies. It is this final process that makes death so glorious! For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:53-54 Until then, we walk with Jesus emulating Him as truth is revealed to us. It’s a continuous and progressive process. Precept upon precept. Somehow, Jesus takes our mistakes that we make out of habit, listening to our old nature, and our ignorance of holiness and works them out for our good.

Sure, it’s messy! Jesus KNOWS this very well. He lived here, remember? But He is already looking forward to our re-creation as we transition to His world and His kingdom. Our hope is not in being perfect in this world, but becoming like the company we keep: Jesus!

Let’s spend today aware of His presence in our lives. Let’s listen to Him as He comments on every thought we have as well as the things that are going on around us. Remember that His voice doesn’t condemn, but rather convicts by shining light on things that need fixing, adjusting, or replacing. He is always pleased with us because we are His. He is always humble and gentle with us and has no expectations of us, only the hope that we will learn to listen to Him and enjoy His company. Everything else will either fall away or fall into place as His character, His GOODNESS, transforms our character into His likeness.

#WalkWithJesus=LJPHG (Love, Joy, Peace, Hope and Grace)

Proverbs 25 6-25-19

June 25, 2019

Good News! God loves us and wants us! Through His Spirit, He has given us everything we need to be like Him!

25 Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.

Jesus brought good news from a distant land (heaven). His good news is that God loves us so much He came in the form of Jesus to live, die and rise again so that we could have eternal life (John 3:16, Phil. 2:5-10). That life is now living in us! Eternity has already begun for those who are in Christ and Christ in them.

Galatians 2:20 gives us the instructions of how to attenuate to God’s leading in our lives:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. This life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Our faith is based upon His promises. Those promises are written down in Scripture. Our attitude is that we have been crucified along with Christ on the cross. We die to ourselves, our wants, desires, wishes, dreams, hopes, cravings, and our temptations so that Christ may live through us. We work to express His character: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal. 5:22-23), humility (Matt. 11:29), truth (Eph. 5:9), being noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8). How? Through obedience and practice. Diligence and repetition are our best teachers. Listen, listen, listen to the Spirit!

How do we hear the voice of God? He is inside us, so it sounds like us. How can we discern between our “voice” and His voice? We base truth on what He has already told us. And what has he told us? He went to the trouble of having it written down for us. It’s the Bible! When we read the Bible, we enter into prayer because the Spirit speaks to us even as we read His words. I will go so far as to say that if a person doesn’t read God’s Word, he will not be able to discern His voice.

“I may listen to a thousand tongues, but I only hear one whisper.” This quote is from a song by First Call (back in the 80’s). We hear His gentle whisper by being becoming attuned to His voice, what He would say and do according to what is written down in Scripture. Today, may we spend time with Him in prayer–reading His Word–and die to ourselves (we ARE crucified, you know) and allow Christ to live through us as we emulate Him.

The Future by First Call

The Future – Lyrics

Proverbs 24 6-24-19

June 24, 2019

Christians live in a divided world. We love our Lord, but we also love this life. Holding tightly to one and loosely to the other is a constant battle.

5 The wise prevail through great power, and those who have knowledge muster their strength. 6 Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.

What power? The power of the Holy Spirit. Whose knowledge? The knowledge of God. Verses 3 and 4 expound His wisdom, understanding and knowledge. Elsewhere in Proverbs:

3:19 By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.

Whose guidance? His guidance. What advisers? There are several directions we can go here. One is the Holy Spirit’s direct input in our minds. Another is the advice of godly people in our lives. Yet another is the wisdom and testimony of those we read in the word of God, people like Noah, Job, Abraham, Moses, David, Peter, John, Paul, etc. We take courage and comfort from their lives and their words, especially Jesus, who shared with us His Plan for us and for the world:

Luke 21:12 …they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.

It sounds like we must give up this life to gain His life, to use this life to grow the other life. EXACTLY! Matthew and Luke quote Jesus twice with this concept, and Mark and John quote Him, too:

Matthew 10:39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. [See 16:25, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24, 17:33, and John 12:25]

So, what does Jesus offer that is worth giving up this life? Let’s read and find out!

John 17:24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am [as I return to heaven], and to see [and experience] my glory [seated at your right hand], the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”

WOW! Keep reading:

Ephesians 2:4 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. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Double WOW! But, wait. There’s more:

Jude 24 To him who is able to keep you from falling [or even stumbling] and to present you before his glorious presence without fault [blameless] and with great joy–25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Christ’s ultimate goal for us is to be with Him at His throne in heaven. From John, we have Christ’s words to us:

Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

All of a sudden, this life pales in the light of all that Christ as in store for us. Let us cherish all that this life has to offer in relationships, beauty, and love, but be ready to let it go for Christ’s sake when the time comes.

Let’s keep our eyes on Him at all times, staying connected by His Spirit.

“Stand firm, and you will win life.” -Jesus

 

Proverbs 23 6-23-19

June 23, 2019

Take a moment to review your life. Who’s been driving: you or the Lord? The destinations are quite different.

9 Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words. 

19 Listen, my child, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path.

Each of us has a stubborn streak. My hope is that we all learn how to get beyond it to see the truth about life, love, and communication.

Life– All life comes from God. He is CREATOR. I love the fact that science is quickly catching up with Truth. Each new invention allows scientists to discover more and more reasons to discount evolution and believe in a Creator. I call it, “I C (see) Design.” It is based on the Irreducible Complexity of life. The more we see with microscopes and telescopes, the more we find that all of creation started with many working parts all at once. IT’S AWESOME!

Love– Our ability to love comes from God who loved us first and is, indeed, the embodiment of love. His very nature is love. He is CRAZY about us! The judgmental side of God that we see in the Old Testament, the Judge of sin, is NOT the side He wants to express to us. JESUS is “God with Us.” His sacrifice on the cross is God paying the price for our sin and rising from the dead so that we could experience God’s love once again. Now, THAT’S going the distance!

Communication– Learning how to talk to God and to Hear His gentle voice is simple, yet takes a lifetime. Interacting with God helps us interact with each other. He is patient with us, so we learn to be patient with others. He is gentle, so we learn to be gentle with others. And so on. The very fact that we CAN have a walking, talking, working relationship with the God of the Universe is mind-blowing! Vice President Pence knows what I’m talking about. Do you?

I invite you to respond to me concerning any questions or comments you might have, even if they are oppositional. I would love to begin a dialogue with you.

Let’s worship in our respective churches today. He’s worth it.

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.