Proverbs 7 11-7-19

November 7, 2019

Whatever has a stronghold in our lives, a besetting sin, there IS a way to beat it–today. It’s part of our walk, our story.

5 They [God’s commands and his teachings] will keep you from the adulterous woman [any besetting sin*], from the wayward woman with her seductive words.

*A besetting sin is one to which on account of our constitution, or circumstance or both, we are peculiarly exposed, and into which we most easily and most frequently fall. In the life of every individual, there is a “besetting” sin that can tower like a mountain between the individual and God. The verb of which besetting is the participle form means “to surround with hostile intent; to set upon, attack, assault on all sides.” For example,
The fox was beset by hounds.
St. Anthony was beset by demons.
Believers are beset with sin.

In the expression besetting sin, however, the word “besetting” seems to mean “chief” or “principal.” Judging from usage, a besetting sin is one to which a particular individual is particularly susceptible. Besetting Sin-Definition

This chapter holds the key to overcoming strongholds in our lives. The strongholds keep us from fellowshipping fully with our Savior and from living the victorious Christian life that God desires for us to enjoy.

7:1 My son [child], keep my word and store up my commands within you.

This verse is a call to learn all we can about God, Jesus, the Spirit, and ourselves. His Word is where we start. It’s why we must read it everyday, preferably early in the morning so that it can help us form our attitudes for the day. It starts us off in the right frame of mind.

7 I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who had no sense.

Learning from our own mistakes is being smart; learning from others’ mistakes is being wise. Pay attention to those who seem to enjoy life in all the wrong ways. We will notice that eventually the consequences of “free” living will catch up with them. “Payday Some Day.” Whether it’s a ruined liver from alcohol, no license due to DUI’s, several wrecked marriages, used up and worn out bodies from drugs, or whatever, the consequences WILL come–along with guilt and regret. Even then, our LORD has compassion on them and wants them to come to Him. Some may, but most won’t because of the pattern of self-government that rules their lives.

13 She took hold of him and kissed him…18 “Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning; let’s enjoy ourselves with love!” 21 With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk.

She got his full attention with a kiss. What gets our full attention? How can we deflect that “kiss?” I’m sure they had a good time, but at what expense? 27 Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death. 6:32 But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself. 2:19 None who go to her return or attain the paths of life. 

Returning to our besetting sin keeps us from walking with Jesus with a free heart. Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full [abundantly].” John 10:10b

All of a sudden, this next passage that usually sounds so “milk toast” takes on a whole new meaning:

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

Jesus wants us to know that He understands the hold that sin has on our lives. He KNOWS that we fight with it everyday, that all of our senses are tainted with it and we carry it around in our bodies like a dead weight. Oh, what it must feel like to experience our new, glorified bodies in heaven where that weight of sin is gone!

So, how do we rid ourselves of besetting sin? Well, we don’t, really, not in this world. It always lurks in the shadows. We must be vigilant against it. How?

  1. Go to Jesus. He will give you rest. If you go to Him BEFORE you sin, then He can give you strength to overcome. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
  2. Go to Jesus. If you go to Him AFTER you sin, He will provide comfort and grace along with insight for next time. Some of our closest fellowship with Him is waiting for us when we go to the Savior at our lowest point.
  3. Go to Jesus everyday. Begin the day with Him and walk with Him through the day. Many times, we can head off sin as He steers us around it. Trust Him; follow Him.

God is never exasperated with us. He is never irritated, nor is He disappointed. We are sheep. We “sheep” (whatever that means). He knows and still wants us to come to Him. He loves us with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3) and rejoices/dances over us with singing (Zeph. 3:17). Let’s hold on to this truth!

Abba, thank You for loving us as we are. I look forward to the day when we will be as You have prepared for us to be: Holy, blameless, pure, and free from our sinful nature! I can hardly wait!!! In the meantime, help me to keep my eyes fixed on You, LORD, and to trust in Your guidance and strength. Amen.

Dear Lord,
So far I’ve done all right.
I haven’t gossiped,
haven’t lost my temper,
haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent.
I’m really glad about that.

But in a few minutes, God,
I’m going to get out of bed.
And from then on,
I’m going to need a lot more help.
Morning Prayer

Proverbs 6 11-6-19

November 6, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Proverbs 5 11-5-19

November 5, 2019

There’s a reason God wants us to stay connected to Him. It’s a dangerous world out there!

7 Now then, my sons [children], listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say.

We have an enemy without and an enemy within. The enemy without is Satan. He wants to lure us away from God, steal every good thing from us, destroy our testimony, and then kill us (John 10:10a). The enemy within is our own sin nature, which can be twice the enemy to us that Satan is. All he has to do is suggest something to us and we zero in on it. How do we combat these enemies?

Each week, I read 2 Peter 1:3-8, which gives me insight into my life with God. In this passage, there is vital information for the Christian:

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.

  • His divine power– that which raised Jesus Christ from the dead and sustains all living things. See Ephesians 1:16-23 and Hebrews 1:2-3 for more on His power.
  • Given us everything we need for a godly life– His Spirit enlightens us, equips us, motivates us, and directs us through every decision.
  • Through our knowledge of Him- This knowledge is more than just head knowledge. It is experiential, intimate and tested. It’s accumulative, too.
  • Who called us by his own glory and goodness- We are called! He WANTS us! His glory is His greatness, which means that He has the power and authority to call us and make a way for us to be His (it’s what Jesus did on the cross and the grave). His goodness is WHO He is: He is good. He has good thoughts, He is good to His children, and He has good plans for us. Oh, to be like Him in His goodness!
  • Through these (his glory and his goodness) he has given us his very great and precious promises- To redeem us, to sanctify us, to walk beside us, to strengthen us, to protect us, and to take us to be with Him when the time is right. What more do we need?
  • so that through them you may participate in the divine nature- Here’s where it gets good. The divine nature is spiritual perception. It’s the ability to think on a spiritual level where we see from God’s perspective and get to know Him. It’s our connection to Him through which flows “living water:” His goodness, His love, His peace, His joy, and all the other fruit of the Spirit-His life! Because we now live in this divine nature, all of our activities will begin to reflect His nature. If they don’t, then we had better take a closer look at our activities!
  • having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires- Colossians 3:3 says it best: “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Because we have His divine nature, because we are connected to Him, because we have spiritual perception, and because His living water flows through us, we are learning how to disentangle ourselves from the sin that holds us fast, to extricate ourselves from dangerous and destructive relationships, and to enjoy things in this life that promote His love, His joy, His peace, His hope and His grace. If these things don’t interest you, it’s time to take “The Test” given in 2 Corinthians 13:5,  Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

From here we add goodness to our faith, along with more knowledge, self-control, perseverance (tenacity), godliness (what we become as we walk with Him), mutual affection for other believers, and love (seeing people through God’s eyes).

I love the way Peter sums up this section, 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. The idea is that if we are connected to Christ, then these qualities will increase (super)naturally, and we will be effective and productive as we get to know Him, serve Him, and fellowship with Him as we walk with Him.

What are we waiting for? Let’s get started!

Abba, thank You so much for this passage. It explains a great deal about the how’s and why’s of our faith. May I stay connected to You even as I “wade through the swamp.” I know I won’t be truly clean until I can shed these clothes of my sinful nature and exchange them for a new, white robe in heaven. In the meantime, help me to focus on You and what You have for me right here, right now. When I fail, I know that You will pick me up, dust me off, encourage me, and take my hand as we continue on. You are SO GOOD! I love you. Amen.

Psalm 73:23-26

23 Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

Proverbs 4 11-4-19

November 4, 2019

Eating right helps us in many ways, both physically and spiritually. Our spiritual nourishment comes from God’s Word.

17 They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.

There is a parallel between this verse and the Lord’s Supper, in which we symbolically eat the body of Christ and drink the blood of Christ, the first symbolizing us taking on the servant-life of Christ and the second symbolizing us receiving His forgiveness and new life.

Another parallel is daily bread. Jesus used this analogy in the prayer He taught His disciples to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.”  Luke 11:3. His reference was to the manna given to the Israelites when wandering in the desert (Genesis 16:14-18), which He also referenced when being tempted by the devil in Matthew 4:4, which references Deut. 8:3, “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”

We take in daily spiritual nourishment when we read His Word. Do you want to be strong in the LORD? To be able to stand against Satan? When describing the armor of God, Paul calls the word of God the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). It is a major way that the Holy Spirit communicates with us. His Word is also how we wash and get ready for the day (Eph. 5:26). We renew and transform our minds and thoughts in it (Romans 12:2).

Be sure to spend time in His Word and conversing with Him. If all you do is look up the verses we have just read, it would be a good start! I recommend keeping a lexicon handy, or your phone with a bible app that has a good search feature (it’s the quickest way to get around when following a thread). Allow Him to lead you all over the Bible! It is a very satisfying experience. Have fun with the LORD today in His Word.

Abba, thank You for Your Word. Getting to know You through the Scriptures helps my confidence as I follow You through today. Recognizing Your voice comes more easily, too, LORD, when I read everyday. Keep me faithful to You. Amen.

Proverbs 3 11-3-19

November 3, 2019

Sometimes we forget we are students. We are in training to become perfect in Christ. Train on!

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

God has called us. He has given us His Spirit to come alongside us and train us in righteousness. We have a gift–now, how do we use it?!

God has also given us His written Word so that there is no mistake about what He is doing and what He likes. It’s important that we get to know His Word, reading it everyday for knowledge, yes, but also to hear His holy whisper. The Spirit speaks to us when we read His Word. Consider it a text from the Lord.

To connect the Word of God with His discipline, let’s look at another passage of Scripture:

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

God’s discipline is wrapped up in His Word. Through scripture, He teaches us, rebukes us, corrects us, and trains us in righteousness. We KNOW that we are His because we have this process going on in our lives. We know three things:

  1. We are God’s servants.
  2. We will be thoroughly equipped–at the time we need it.
  3. Every good work–We will be ready for whatever He calls us to do.

This morning as you study your bible privately and then with others, may the Spirit speak to you confirming that you are His; may He reveal truth to you; may He instruct you in how to handle a certain issue in your life; may He ready us for whatever is coming in our lives.

LORD, I just have this feeling that something BIG is about to happen. Make us ready for that day. May we be ready to give our time, talents, resources, and even our lives for the sake of souls. We know that our time on this earth is short; help us make the most of it for You and Your kingdom. We are Your servants. Help us to serve YOU! Amen.

Proverbs 2 11-2-19

November 2, 2019

May we truly realize what God wants for us, the depths of our betrayal, and the lengths He went to get us back!

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

We know that Jesus died on a cross for our sins and then rose again, thus conquering death. Have you ever thought about the implications? Why did God have to go to such great lengths? Was our sin really that bad? Let’s take a look:

When the woman [Eve] saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband [Adam], who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:6

God had told Adam, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 2:16-17

Die how? Certainly not physically–yet. Through separation from the Spirit, their holy covering.

3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked;

What actually happened when they sinned? They joined the enemy’s camp. Their rebellious act was treason. They became the property of Satan. Think about it: The Spirit of God was upon them like a covering. They had no track record of doing anything wrong, but everything was done according to the Spirit. They ignored the warning of the Spirit and trusted in the serpent’s lies. They chose Satan over God thinking that they were making the decision for themselves not realizing that they were being played. Satan’s deception led to their sin and thus to their separation from God! This separation spread like a poison through all of creation.

We know a little bit about how sin affected our world. We have the Great Flood that nearly destroyed it, but we don’t know the heights from which we have fallen in our relation to animals and nature. We understand some of how sin affected our relationship with each other. One has only to read the news and know the depths to which sin has brought us, but we have only a hint of what things were like during those first 1,600 years before Babel when people were of one mind (Genesis 11:6-7).

Satan wanted our worship (see Isaiah 14:12-15, Luke 4:5-7) and we gave it to Him! We joined the devil’s camp. Look at these verses:

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. Titus 3:3

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient [Satan]. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. Ephesians 2:1-3

Our Western culture paints us as inherently good people who make mistakes. “We are not sinners, but mistakers.” WRONG!!! We are born in sin, steeped in sin, and love our sin–before we meet Christ. Now we see why He had to go to such great lengths to save us.

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7

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. Ephesians 2:4-7

O most great and loving Father, thank You for what You have done for us through Jesus Christ. Thank You for Your Spirit who now lives in me and is making me to be like You. May I forsake my old ways of death and betrayal. May You do whatever it takes to purge my old self and take on the new self, created in the holiness and righteousness of You. Amen.

Proverbs 1 11-1-19

November 1, 2019

Proverbs is the OT way of looking like Jesus. How much simpler and rewarding it is to have Him in us!

32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
    and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety
    and be at ease, without fear of harm.

Our goal as Christians is to be disciples of Christ. What does it mean to be a disciple of His?

18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

It was the same for Philip, Matthew, and all the disciples. They left their jobs, their families, and their expected futures to follow Jesus. There were many who followed Him who weren’t part of the 12. Two of those were Justus and Matthais (Matthais was chosen to take Judas Iscariot’s place among the 12. See Acts 1:21-26). In order to follow Christ, we must leave the life we were living and take up His life.  From that point on, it’s all about learning to be like Jesus. The disciples lived with Him, eating and drinking with Him, walking with Him, ministering with Him, interacting with people (sometimes negatively), but all the time they were learning from Him. They knew Him intimately as He revealed Himself to them, and in doing so, He revealed the Father to them. Did they know that they were learning to be like God?!

We each have our own personalities, our own temperaments, and our own ways to show and receive love. In the words of Keith Green, “We are like windows stained with the colors of the rainbow set in a darkened room till the Bridegroom comes to shining through.” Stained Glass Each of us is set a little differently to reveal Christ unique to us and through us.

For instance, what does Christ’s love look like through you? His joy? His peace? What does His patience look like through you? His kindness? His goodness? How about His faithfulness? His gentleness? His self-control?

We each give and receive love a little differently. Are we servants? Gift-givers? Do we love others by spending time with them? Do we affirm them with our words, or a meaningful touch?

We each have different gifts. Are we leaders? Are we details-oriented? Are we mercy-givers? Are we teachers? Come-alongsiders? Do we meet monetary needs? Are we evangelists (those for whom fruit is always ripe)?

There are so many ways and variations for us to show Christ to each other and to the world. The big thing is to spend time with Him, walk with Him, and imitate Him. Paul not only wrote a large portion of our NT, he demonstrated it to the early church, particularly to the Gentiles who did not know the OT scriptures. Here’s what he said:

Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1

Each of us will do it a little differently; each of us is at a different place in our walk with Christ. The key is to KEEP WALKING WITH CHRIST! If we look away, we will wander away. So, these next verses are key to becoming like Jesus:

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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Abba, it is my determined focus to keep You firmly in my sights and to be right by Your side. I want to learn as much as I can as quickly as I can. May I be a willing vessel for You to use in whatever manner You desire. I just want to be part of what You are doing, Lord. May You shine through me in my unique way. May people see You in me! Amen.

Proverbs 31 10-31-19

October 31, 2019

Arguing to win is actually losing. We must win with a goal. That goal must be connection. Otherwise, we are doing more harm than good.

26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

When we say something and how we say it are every bit as important as what we say. If a person is angry, it’s not a good time to try to reason with him/her. If a person is belligerent, then reason is not something to which he/she will listen. Also, beware of being lured into an argument on someone else’s terms. IT’S A TRAP!”

What do we look for when we need to tell someone the truth? Considering that this chapter is about the virtuous woman, I have asked my virtuous wife to help me with the following list:

  1. We must be able to do it in love.
  2. It must be for their benefit.
  3. Do I have the right to talk to him/her about the subject?
  4. Am I the right person for this task?
  5. Am I right scripturally?
  6. Is the Holy Spirit prompting me?
  7. We must not condemn, but aim for repentance and reconciliation.

This list is based upon Matthew 7:5, 18:15-17, 1 Cor. 5:12-13, John 7:24, Eph. 4:15, 32, Gal. 6:1. I’m sure there are other scriptures we could add. If you run across one, please send it to me!

When it comes to evolution, we must be looking for an opportunity to give the Holy Spirit inroads into the lives of the proponents. Obviously, they have bought the lie and are being fueled by the feeling that they are in control of their own destinies. It’s a powerful feeling. In my own experience, this is what I do:

  1. After a quick prayer, I ask the person if he is really interested in my opinion.
  2. If no, then I get out of the conversation as quickly as possible, skipping to #6 if I can.
  3. If yes, then I ask him to figuratively remove himself from the Judge’s seat and allow God to be on His throne. In other words, don’t accuse God and demand Him to explain Himself–even through me. It gives the person the right heart attitude.
  4. I must word the argument in a way that gives the person an out. It’s called “saving face.” It’s important for their dignity.
  5. The problems I have with evolution are:
    1. We cannot get life from non-life. Chemical reactions cannot produce life under the natural physical laws.
    2. Higher information from low information on a cellular level cannot happen. The information must be latent from the beginning.
    3. There is no way around irreducible complexity. Everything in life has a complexity about it that cannot be reduced past a certain point.
    4. There is no room for God in evolution. Reason itself comes from Him. To argue the point of evolution is self-defeating.
    5. This conversation today has the potential of the person being introduced to the Creator of the universe. Ask him if he is willing to ask God to reveal Himself to him.
  6. Personal testimony is important. Tell him about the time you met Christ.
  7. Be willing to wait for an answer. Also, try to end the conversation on an amicable note.

It’s all about connection. We have no idea when or how the Holy Spirit will use the information. We just know that He will and we pray that he listen to Him.

This subject will be coming up more and more often at work and church as secular humanism continues to take over our public schools. We must “be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you [us] to give the reason for the hope that you [we] have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” 1 Peter 3:15.

Abba, I can only think that You are preparing me for many of these kinds of conversations. May they be spiritual ones and not just academic ones. I want them to matter in people’s lives concerning their relationship with You. I realize that ultimately the decision comes down to them; my job is to be a witness and the messenger. YOU do the convicting and YOU do the saving–if they receive the Truth and are willing to receive You. Use me, Abba, as You see fit. I am Yours. Amen.

2 Timothy 2:24-26 (NIV)

24 And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Proverbs 30 10-30-19

October 30, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Proverbs 29 10-29-19

October 29, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Proverbs 28 10-28-19

October 28, 2019

Being known for integrity is not nearly as popular as being known for actions and deeds, but it IS what counts.

4 Those who forsake instruction [God’s Word and His instructions to us] praise the wicked, but those who heed it resist them.

5 Evildoers do not understand what is right, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully.

Our Hero needs to be Jesus Christ. All others, whether sports players, actors, race car drivers, political figures, etc. all need to take a back seat to the One around whom all creation is centered.

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17

36 from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Romans 11:36

When we get away from reading and obeying God’s Word, we take our eyes off of the Lord Jesus Christ and place them on what is around us. Without His perspective, the things of this world sparkle and shine and look enticing. If we are not careful to get back to His Word and His way, we will find ourselves praising the wicked.

When we seek the Lord, we gain His perspective of how this world works, and what is the end awaiting those who follow the prince of this world–whether they realize that is what they are doing or not! We know what is right and we do it in His name and with His power, His presence, and His participation. It’s HOW we walk with God, through the Spirit, because of the Son. Because they are ONE, we are actually walking with Jesus!

Let’s make SURE that our feet are on the Rock (of Jesus) and our names are on the roll (of the saved through the blood of Jesus). Now, THAT’S the right kind of rock and roll!

Lord Jesus, May YOU be the center of all I think and do today. I not only want to do it for You, I want to do it WITH You. I remember Dad’s words when I asked him why he and Mom moved up here with me. He said, “I was tired of not seeing you.” I don’t want to grow tired of not seeing You! Neither do I want You to grow tired of not having my full attention. May I walk closely by Your side today as You draw me into Your embrace. Let’s go, Lord. Amen.

 

Proverbs 27 10-27-19

October 27, 2019

We are in a war. The battle has been raging for some time. Will you fight or will you cry “peace at all cost?”

2 Stone is heavy and sand a burden, but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.

This war is for the souls of men, of women, and of our children. It’s been going on for quite a while, now, and we are seeing the results of our pacifism. What am I talking about? The Bible vs. Darwinian Evolution.

This quote is from “Gospel Reset” by Ken Ham:

Let me put it this way. It’s as if the devil has said, “You Christians can go on teaching kids about the miracles Jesus did in the New Testament. You can teach them about the babe in a manger, and the Resurrection. You can teach them about Jesus healing blind people and raising the dead. Teach them about the feeding of the 5,000, about the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, about Jonah being in the great fish for three days. Go ahead. Teach them these stories. And while you are doing that, I’m going to be indoctrinating those same kids not to believe the Book. I’m going to use the fake news of evolution and millions of years to brainwash them into believing science has effectively disproved the Bible, making it nothing more than an outdated, obsolete book of ‘stories.’ And since you won’t be teaching apologetics, I will teach my own apologetics through the education systems, media, and the Internet to make sure they doubt God’s Word. The more this happens, most won’t even listen to your message of the gospel.” Page 107

What we don’t realize is the importance of the first 11 books of Genesis. Our entire Gospel is based upon God creating the heavens and the earth, in a real-live Adam and Eve, sin, the Curse, the Great Flood, the tower of Babel–even the account of Jonah. If these events were not real events, then Jesus “hung his hat on the wrong hook.”

[3] Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” [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. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Matthew 19:3-6

Jesus’ teaching on marriage is based upon the Genesis account.

[38] Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.” [39] He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. [40] For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earthMatthew 12:38-40

Jesus based His resurrection on the fact that Jonah was a real person and his story was a real event.

[36] “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. [37] As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. [38] For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; [39] and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:36-39

Jesus based His Second Coming on the account of Noah and the Great Flood.

More than 75% of youth who grow up in church leave the faith after high school. The percentage is higher for those who attend a secular college. Why? Mainly because of the teaching of Evolution. WE MUST DO SOMETHING!

What can we do? Let’s begin by believing that:

  1. The Genesis account is TRUE. It happened in a literal six days. Adam and Eve were real. So was the Flood. And Jonah.
  2. Realize that Satan is the mastermind behind this war. He wants our children and grandchildren. Jesus spoke of this day, [9] “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. [10] At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, [11] and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. [12] Because of the increase of wickedness, the love [and faith] of most will grow cold, [13] but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:9
  3. Be proactive. Learn. There is SO MUCH archeological, biological, astronomical, and other information out there today that refutes Evolution that it’s ludicrous for us to NOT be sharing this information.

Verse 14 of Matthew 24 is where we should live, [14] And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Because of these verses, I believe that the Return of Jesus is very near. Let’s join the battle!

Abba, I pray that all who read this blog will take it to heart and see the need to be proactive in what we believe and what we share with our family, friends, and all who are willing to listen with an open mind. Give us faith; open our eyes. Give us courage, knowledge, and wisdom to know what and when to share. Amen.

 

 

 

Proverbs 26 10-26-19

October 26, 2019

We are creatures of habit. In most ways, that’s good. In some ways, though, it can keep us in a loop. Break Out!

11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.

I reckon dogs have always been dogs. ‘Nuff said about that.

The big question is why do we continue to repeat bad choices? It’s like a moth to a flame: we can’t help ourselves. Whether it’s habitual sin, bad relationships, or damaging habits, we seem to have difficulties breaking out of our ruts. I heard one time that a rut is really a grave with both ends kicked out. If we are to follow Jesus daily, then we need to get out of our ruts and be prepared to take a new course.

Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23. Do we WANT to be His disciples? Will we DENY ourselves of our “creature comforts?” Are we willing to take up our cross, which means, to me, to turn my back on what I know and be ready to try whatever He has for me? Are we willing to make NEW HABITS by following Him DAILY?

One of the best–and saddest–examples of what Jesus is asking of us is found in Mark 10:17-22,

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

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

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

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

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

The man’s question was a good one and one that is asked by a good many people. Jesus confronted him with a question, “Why do you call me good?” Then, He spoke truth to him: “No one is good–except God.” The implication is that if Jesus is good, then He is God. The true question was, “Do you believe that I am God?” If yes, then He is worth following; if no, then…

Being God, Jesus knew his heart and what meant the most to him. His wealth was weighing him down. There are many movies about wealth bringing about the demise of many who tried to hold onto their riches but then couldn’t escape. In “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” Indiana wanted to go back for the cup when the building was falling down. Elsa had already lost her life trying to get it. His dad told him, “Let it go.” Indy did and they all got out safely. The lesson is that they tried to hold onto something that was actually holding them back from life. One let go; one didn’t.

Matthew and Luke also have this account in their Gospels, but Mark added a little note that the other ones didn’t: “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” He loves us the very same way. He looks at us–I mean, REALLY looks at us all the way down to the depths of our souls–and loves us wholly, completely, and with abandon. He calls us to give up that which is holding us back from loving Him, from following Him, and from the life that He has for us. Many prefer to stay in that open grave (the rut). LET’S GET OUT OF THE RUT!!!

Here’s how (according to my own experience):

  1. Categorically turn whatever it is over to Jesus. Release it into His hands.
  2. Praise Him for taking it and for how He is going to use it to make us more like Him.
  3. The next time we are tempted, we praise Him for the opportunity to win. In other words, we use praise to remind us of our decision, the feelings we had when we let Him have it, and our pledge to fight.
  4. Ask Him for strength and for a way out. We have this promise: No temptation has seized you but which is common to everyone. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13. I memorized this verse LONG AGO!
  5. If we succeed, rejoice! If we fail, we repent (acknowledge our failure) and receive His love, mercy and grace, encouragement, and instruction on how to beat it next time. We use the event to have a great time with the LORD. We come away looking a little bit more like Jesus.
  6. After a while, either Satan realizes that the particular vice we have is causing him more harm than good because it drives us to the Father, so he backs off, or, (and this is what I really think) we come to see the besetting sin as God does–as that which hurts His children–and it loses its power over us.
  7. When we want to sin, we run to Him. It’s what He wants. He said as much: “Come to Me, all who are weary [of fighting against your sinful nature] and heavy laden [with the burden of carrying the weight of our sin] and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you [it’s a double yoke, and He will pull the Lion’s share of the load] and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest [and peace] for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden [for you] is light. Matthew 11:28-30.

Let’s use today as a spiritual exercise by putting this method into practice. I think that you will find Him to be a GREAT companion, one full of understanding, sympathy, and encouragement.

Dear Lord, I praise You for leading me into this lesson early in life. I still follow it today–I still NEED it today. Help us all to learn to trust You as we walk with You. You are our Rock, our Shield, our Fortress, our Sustainer and our Strength…I think I’ll break out in song! In You, I will not be shaken. Bless You, LORD! Amen.

Proverbs 25 10-25-19

October 25, 2019

Christians are people who have given up their right to live for themselves. We have been crucified with Christ.

Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence,
    and do not claim a place among his great men;
it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,”
    than for him to humiliate you before his nobles.

Exalting ourselves doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t help God because we become unusable in His hands; we are like clay that is lumpy or has become too hard. It doesn’t help those around us because we become difficult to be around; our arrogance and/or bitterness makes us unpalatable. It doesn’t help us because we become myopic; we can’t see anything or anyone beyond ourselves.

Jesus used this very passage as a teaching tool in Luke 14:7-11,

7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

What, then, should we do? We should wait. Before making any rash decisions, we should wait on the Holy Spirit to direct us. In order to wait, we must wade through our initial reaction and feelings, understanding that they are exactly that: a reaction by the natural part of us, the part to which we have died. What part of the following verse do we not understand?

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 loves me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20

How do we live by faith?

  1. We trust the LORD to show us where to sit and with whom;
  2. If the host moves us up, then we go.
  3. If we are left where we are, then we minister to those around us. There is obviously a reason for us to be there.
  4. Trusting Jesus in every circumstance is key.

Do we get to skip the feelings of envy, the sting of unfairness, or the stench of prejudice of sitting with people “beneath us?” Nope. But, we DO get to process them through the Holy Spirit. We acknowledge them and then give them to Him. He takes them and transforms them into compassion and patience, even love.

It has been my experience that the conversation and camaraderie shared at the lower end of the banquet table is preferred to the other end of the table, where one has to watch what one says and how he says it, and has to do everything just so. We can learn things at the servants’ end of the table that we would never have learned at the upper end!

Living for Christ takes attitude. Just make sure it’s the RIGHT attitude: Humility.

Abba, I’m preaching to myself right here. I can get pretty put out with people. I know: I have unrealistic expectations. We are all struggling in a sinful world in sinful bodies with sinful minds, which is why You want us to put off the old and put on the new. Help me to do just that, O LORD. I want to put off my old self and my old way of thinking and put on the new self, which has been created to be like You in true righteousness and holiness. I want to be just like You, Jesus. Amen

 

 

Proverbs 24 10-24-19

October 24, 2019

Relationships require maintenance. A quick checkup of yourself goes a long way.

27 Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.

I have always taken this verse to heart concerning priorities. It makes sense to make sure that we have a steady income before we go spending it. I am thinking that we may be able to apply this verse to our daily walk, as well. Here are some questions we can ask ourselves:

  1. Who do I want to please today? If it’s the LORD, then good. If I am feeling selfish and self-centered, I need to rebuke those feelings and ask the Spirit to fill me with His Presence and His desires.
  2. Have I taken time to read God’s Word? What we don’t understand is just how important His words are to our lives. They impart life; it’s like eating, only spiritually. We are wired to receive nourishment several times a day. We are wired to feed on His words in the same way. Note cards, phone reminders, sticky notes, etc. go a long way in giving us “snacks” during the day.
  3. Am I okay with those who are close to me? If we went to bed last night with hard feelings or unresolved issues between someone we love, then we need to pray hard about fixing those problems before a root of bitterness sets in, either in us or in them.

The danger of NOT asking ourselves questions like these everyday is given to us in the last verses of this chapter:

30 I went past the field of a sluggard,
    past the vineyard of someone who has no sense;
31 thorns had come up everywhere,
    the ground was covered with weeds,
    and the stone wall was in ruins.
32 I applied my heart to what I observed
    and learned a lesson from what I saw:
33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest
34 and poverty will come on you like a thief
    and scarcity like an armed man.

One day skipped leads to two occasionally, which leads to three, which leads to more days skipped than applied. Before we realize it, our “vineyard” is in a shambles. We “forget” that we have an enemy. That wall of protection is to keep the “varmints” out. The pruning God does in our lives is to make us more productive. Weeding is just part of the daily process while in this world.

Today, let’s spend time with the Father enjoying His presence, participation, and sweet fellowship. Let’s ask ourselves these questions and be in the best shape spiritually we can possibly be today.

Abba, I ask these questions of myself today. May I take my own medicine and apply them to my daily life–today! I once again give my life to You for You “to have and to hold,” to do with as You will. I am Yours. I love You and I KNOW You love me! Amen.

“…and find out what pleases the Lord.” Ephesians 5:10

Proverbs 23 10-23-19

October 23, 2019

What would you trade for a close relationship with the LORD? Anything? Everything?

12 Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.

15 My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad indeed;
16 my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.

19 Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path:

17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.
18 There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

As I read about dining with a ruler (1-3), trying to get rich (4-5), eating with a stingy host (6-8), envying sinners (17-18), joining drunkards and gluttons (20-21), adulteresses (26-28), and party-ers (29-35), I am reminded once again that this world is NOT our home, so don’t get comfortable. I am also reminded that our actions here on this earth have major blessings or consequences in heaven.

You may ask, “Why? I thought it was about our relationship with Jesus.”

And it is. Our actions show just where our heart is. We spend our time, our money, our effort, and our attention on that which is most important to us. Everything listed in the verses above is all for worldly pleasure and comfort. Where is the devotion to Christ? Granted, He doesn’t call us to give everything away and live in destitution, but He DOES call us to be willing if He asks. Instead of trying to gain, maybe we ought to try to give.

Asaph* struggled with the age-old question of worldly blessings vs. spiritual blessings. We find his struggle in Psalm 73. We don’t know with what he struggled (v. 14), and as a Levite, we don’t know if he was paid for his work or if it was voluntary. In any case, his struggle is our struggle: Why do sinners prosper while saints suffer?

I think Satan has a lot to do with the answer to this question. He is the prince of this world (John 14:30, Luke 4:6, 1 John 5:19). He gives power to whomever he likes. By making people succeed in their sin, he keeps them from seeking something–or Someone– else. Jesus, on the other hand, calls us out of this world and worldly mindset and tells us to seek first His kingdom (Matt. 6:33). His objective is for us to be made into His likeness (Romans 8:29), not for us to have every desire met (that’s what got Eve in trouble).

Lest we despair as Asaph almost did (v. 13), let us read on:

13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
    and have washed my hands in innocence. (his near-despair)
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
    and every morning brings new punishments. (his daily struggle)

15 If I had spoken out like that,
    I would have betrayed your children. (his near-catastrophe of dis-heartening his fellow worshipers)
16 When I tried to understand all this,
    it troubled me deeply 
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
    then I understood their final destiny. (his reference point: God)

18 Surely you place them on slippery ground;
    you cast them down to ruin.
19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
    completely swept away by terrors!
20 They are like a dream when one awakes;
    when you arise, Lord,
    you will despise them as fantasies. (They chose poorly)

21 When my heart was grieved
    and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;
    I was a brute beast before you. (been there, done that)

23 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand. (YOU take care of ME, my Shepherd!)
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory. (the daily walk)
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you. (compared to knowing Him)
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever. (our comfort, our solace)

Let’s orient our thinking so that Jesus is our focus, our Center. When we do this, we know that we are in the center of His will because we are in the center of His attention.

Abba, thank You for loving us beyond this life. Help us to keep our eyes focused on You. Amen.

Asaph- a prominent Levite singer and seer in David’s court and was the son of Berachiah of the tribe of Levi. (1Chr 6:391Chr 15:171Chr 15:191Chr 16:4-72Chr 29:30). He is the ancestor of the Sons of Asaph, one of the great family guilds of temple musicians.

*Asaph is featured prominently in Chronicles. He is described as the chief of the Levites appointed to minister before the ark of the Lord, and he and his brothers are appointed to sing the songs of thanksgiving to the Lord (1Chr 16:4-7). His description as a seer (2Chr 29:30) also suggests a connection with cultic prophecy. Asaph’s descendants formed an important guild of temple singers in the reconstruction following the exile. In Ezra 2:41 and Neh 7:44, the temple singers are simply referred to as the “sons of Asaph.” It is also an Asaphite, Uzzi, who is established as the overseer of the Levites in Jerusalem during the temple’s reconstruction (Neh 11:22-24). Asaph and the Psalms

Proverbs 22 10-22-19

October 22, 2019

What is the foundation on which we build our lives? Is it rock or sand?

Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

In 2005, a poll was conducted by Barna, a reputable and thorough Christian polling company, of the number of children who were raised in Christian homes who quit following the Lord after one year at college. The number was an alarming 80%. It’s even worse now!

What happened? There was/is something wrong with their foundation. At first glance, one might say that their knowledge base was wrong, and to an extent, this is true. Unless a young person is grounded in the SCIENCE of a young earth and the Great Flood, he will have a difficult time enduring and succeeding in keeping his faith in today’s VERY secular college world. Many professors will blatantly tell the students that their goal is to make them into evolutionists by destroying the platform of their faith, and these professors are very good at it. We MUST do a better job of equipping our students with information that will give them the foundation to stand firm against such onslaughts. But, this topic is for another time.

The bedrock foundation for every Christian is the love of God. HE loves us, and HE desires a relationship with us. HE takes up residence in our hearts and lives, and HE speaks to us constantly. It is HIS voice that wakes us up each day, HIS voice that guides us during the day, and HIS voice that quiets our souls to go to sleep at night.

My son [child], do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son [child] he delights in. Proverbs 3:11-12.

Just before Moses died, he gave a great sermon. It is the book of Deuteronomy. In it, we find some real gems:

However, the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you. Deut. 23:5

Surely it is you [LORD] who love the people; all the holy ones are in your hand. At your feet they all bow down, and from you receive instruction,” Deut. 33:3

[Moses gave a blessing to each of the tribes] About Benjamin he said: “Let the [My] beloved of the LORD [an intimate term of endearment] rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders [as a lamb rests on the shoulders of his shepherd].” Deut. 33:12

These were the children of the arrogant, ignorant, stiff-necked people that God led out of Egypt and called them His own children. This generation’s foundation was built on the Word of God given to them by God Himself, led by God Himself in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, who fed them Himself with manna from heaven, and spoke to them through Moses in the tent of meeting. They walked with God. They had experience on their side.

The question is, have we taught our children to walk with God? It’s not about the rules; it’s about the relationship. It’s not about what other people think about us, i.e. our reputation, nor is it about what embarrasses us (again, our reputation). Do we encourage them to ask God what to do? How to respond? In what to invest their time, money, talents, and relationships? I’m not talking about independence. I’m talking about interdependence, where we teach them to transfer their dependence from us to Him. We, as Christians, are never to be independent.

Because God loves us and desires an intimate relationship with us, He made it happen through Jesus so that His Spirit can now live in our hearts. Once we accept Him as our Lord and Savior, He takes up residence within us and begins a life-long process of sanctification: Becoming like Jesus. We feel His love all the time: Happy love, sad love, joyful love, warning love, quieting love, encouraging love, etc. We learn the language of His love through His Word, the Bible. It is His love letter to us.

Let’s make it a point today to read His love letters and look for the ways He expresses His love to us. Let’s listen for His voice as we go through our day, and obey Him in everything. It’s all about the relationship. As we demonstrate to our children and the people around us what an authentic relationship with Jesus is all about, we can teach them to have one, too. Then, when our children go to college, they have Him with them to help them overcome the lies and deceptions and traps that have been set for them by the enemy.

Abba, I love to hear Your voice speaking to me. It is what I live for. I can endure all things because I KNOW that You have my life in Your hands. I want to be a useful vessel for You. You are the Potter, and I am the clay. Mold me and make me into Your image, O Blessed Father. Thank You, Jesus, for making it happen. Thank You, Spirit, for living in me. Let’s GO! Amen.

 

 

Proverbs 21 10-21-19

October 21, 2019

Our own opinion is exactly that: Our opinion! Whether it depends on truth is determined by our relationship with the Lord.

A person may think their own ways are right,
    but the Lord weighs the heart.

Since our reality can be based upon lies and deception, we must find a stable source of reality. For that, we go to the Bible. The truths of the Bible were either written or inspired to be written by God Himself:

18 When the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God. Exodus 31:18

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

20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:20-21

Not trusting our own opinion is one of the hardest things we do. It comes down to faith.

  • Do we truly believe that God created the heavens and the earth?
  • Do we believe that mankind has a sin problem and an enemy that wants to see us fail?
  • Do we believe that Jesus came to free us from the bonds of sin and death?
  • Do we believe that He (by way of His Spirit) will come and live with us until it’s time for us to go to heaven to be with Him in person?
  • Do we believe that He wants to lead us through this life with as few regrets as possible?

If so, then the only possible way for us to believe these truths is for the Holy Spirit to reveal them to us. All of the above questions are based upon Scripture. If we answer “yes” to them, then we believe the Bible.

The revelation of His truths to us is included in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. He was telling them about how he prayed for them:

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of [or, spiritual] wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

Paul kept asking, which means that he was constantly praying for them. If so, then we can conclude that he was asking for them to constantly be given wisdom and revelation, which could only come from an intimate walk with the Lord. I love his reason: that they may know the Lord better.

My own interpretation of wisdom and revelation is this:

Wisdom– that which we learn from reading God’s Word and applying it even as we consult Him for direction.

Revelation– that which comes directly from the Spirit concerning what we read, what we see, what we think, and what we perceive. He opens our minds to spiritual concepts, future events, and insights (even of ourselves).

May we avail ourselves to His wisdom and revelation all day today as we walk with Him. May we begin by reading His Word!

Abba, I pray for those who read this Proverbs lesson this morning that You would, indeed, give them spiritual wisdom and revelation. Open up their minds and hearts to Your truth. May the eyes of their heart be enlightened in order that they may know Your hope, riches and glorious power, O Lord. Teach us; we are Your willing servants. Amen.

Proverbs 20 10-20-19

October 20, 2019

We are all called to give an account for our lives. It would make things easier if we started now with someone.

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters,
    but one who has insight draws them out.

I see this verse working two ways:

  1. A person can look inside himself and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, draw insight and understanding about himself.
  2. A person can avail himself to another person, one he can trust, who can help him determine what is in his heart and what to do about it–according to the Spirit.

The need for someone to whom we are accountable is based upon verse 9:

Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure;
    I am clean and without sin”?

We can justify anything. When we can’t justify what we want, we blatantly do what we want, anyway. DESIRE is just too strong an opponent. Eve had the same problem:

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food [it looked delicious] and pleasing to the eye [sparkly and shiny], and also desirable for gaining wisdom [would make her like God-see verse 5], she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

What should have happened is that Adam should have reached over and knocked it from her hand. If she ate it before he could do that, then he should have counseled her to go before the LORD and confess what she had done. Instead, he allowed her to drag him down with her. Evidently the DESIRE was too great to overcome for him, too.

ON our own, we cannot overcome DESIRE. We need HELP. That help comes from the Holy Spirit. His Spirit in us gives us everything we need for godly living (see Heb. 13:20-21 and 2 Peter 1:3). At the same time, we sometimes need “God with skin on.” We need someone in whom we can trust and with whom we can share our weaknesses and burdens. Then, going to the Word of God, we approach the throne of grace and receive mercy and grace in our time of need (Heb. 4:16).

FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED.

PREPARATION IS 90% OF THE BATTLE.

Back in the 90’s, Promise Keepers was a great vehicle for accountability among men. They set up groups of four to six that met weekly for accountability and Bible study. Many good things came out of those groups.

Whether it’s one-on-one or in a group of 4-6, you might consider either forming or joining an accountability group. Solomon, the wisest man on earth, said,

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

I know this: It’s impossible to get a sound check by yourself. I also know that it’s impossible to live a perfectly righteous life without an objective opinion. I need accountability. So do you. Ask the LORD who He has in mind for you.

Abba, I thank You that Robin is my accountability partner. She holds my spiritual feet to Your fire. I also thank You for the men in my life who love me and ask me the hard questions. May I be that person for other men. Help me to pay it forward, Lord. Amen.

 

Proverbs 19 10-19-19

October 19, 2019

The problem with sin is that it takes over and becomes all we want, but it doesn’t ever deliver. It just demands more.

A person’s own folly leads to their ruin,
    yet their heart rages against the Lord.

The risk God took in making us in His image is that we get to choose our own way. The problem is that without the Holy Spirit to show us the RIGHT way, the way of life, we automatically choose the wrong way, the sinful way, the way of death. Out of many choices of roads, only one is correct. Likewise, if the hands on a clock are not straight up, then it is any time but 12:00. The ONLY way to know the right way is to have the Spirit of God in us and for us to listen to Him and follow His leadership.

Our faith is built upon the fact that we believe that Jesus is who He said He is.

 “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.” John 8:23

31 To [we who believe him], Jesus said, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

34 “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 

Positionally, once we trust Jesus for salvation, we can never be moved. We are His forever! Relationally, we must follow Him all the time. Because of sin, our “wheels” are out of alignment, which causes our lives to pull to the right or left rather than maintaining a straight course. We must constantly resist the pull of the wheels and course-correct continuously. Is it hard? You bet it is! Is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY! I live to hear Him say, “You’re doing great; keep going.” “I love you and you can do this with My help.” “Just a little further and a little longer and you’ll be there!”

Just imagine what it will be like to have that constant resistance removed from us…that would be heaven–literally! That feeling is what we have waiting for us!!! In the meantime, we struggle to live according to His Spirit. Our life-verse (or one of them) must be Galatians 2:20,

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

Let’s live life His way today. We will never be more content, more satisfied, and more righteous! He will set us FREE!

Abba, I know that when I get resistant and do what I want to do in spite of how You are leading me, I always regret it. Help me to quit giving in to sin and to go for what I TRULY want, which is You, Your company, Your blessings, and Your confidence. Lead me, O LORD, and I will follow. Closely. Amen.

 

Proverbs 18 10-18-19

October 18, 2019

If we are not careful, we can go through a day without consulting the Holy Spirit on any decision. NOT GOOD!

It’s more than that, though. Why would we want to go all day without talking to Him? He is the Source of our joy, our peace, our love, our comfort, and our hope! He has the words of life for us each day along with strength for the journey, grace for when we fail, and a strong right hand to help us up when we fall.

Unless, of course, the only reason you wanted Jesus was for fire insurance (not going to hell). In which case, I urge you to give Him your heart–your whole heart, your life–and commit each day to Him. Your “salvation” is not doing you any good if you don’t commune with Him every day about everything. It’s all about the relationship.

Fools find no pleasure in understanding
    but delight in airing their own opinions.

13 To answer before listening—
    that is folly and shame.

If the Holy Spirit is not calling a person, or the person is in rebellion, this foolish attitude rears its ugly head. We don’t “decide” to become a Christian. We answer the call of the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin and prompts us to receive Him into our hearts and lives. Nor do we go through each day deciding on our own what to do and what to say. God is not intolerant of your opinion, but we MUST take a backseat to His will.

Has it occurred to you, yet, that we cannot live our lives as we want to? When we became Christians, we gave our lives to Him. In fact, in order to BECOME Christians, we had to turn away from our sin and self–we had to die figuratively–and turn to Him. God made sure we understood what we are doing by giving us a picture of what happened to us: BAPTISM. It represents us dying, being buried, and being raised:

  1. We die to ourselves and give full control over to Christ;
  2. We are buried with Christ as He takes our sins to the grave;
  3. We are raised to walk in newness of Christ as the Holy Spirit begins the process of sanctification (becoming like Christ) .

Paul explains it so well in Romans 6:

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sinhow can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

We have died to sin. If this is NOT the case for you, then salvation has not happened to you, yet. If it has, then we begin EACH DAY with the conscious thought that we are now dead to sin and alive to Christ. MORE than that, “we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day (2 Cor. 4:16).” We don’t make ourselves godly nearly as much as He makes us godly by transforming us on the inside. Our daily, hourly, continuously giving ourselves over to Him causes us to become more and more like Christ.

Here are some crucial daily instructions:

1. Fall in love with His Word. We do that by falling in love with Jesus. In doing so, we love His Word, which makes us fall even more in love with Jesus, and so on.

2. Place others’ needs before your own. Consider them before you consider yourself–especially in what we say. Their feelings before ours (there’s always a better way to say something). The Holy Spirit will work things out. In other words, the world will not fall apart if things aren’t done according to how you see them!

3. Acknowledge His presence in your mind–He’s right there over your shoulder, out of sight, but not out of earshot. In fact, He’s right by your ear! He doesn’t talk loudly, but in a gentle whisper. LISTEN FOR IT!

4. Find someone with which to fellowship and to share God-stories. It will inspire and encourage both of you, and cause you to pray (sometimes together) for each other. Connections are important!

This passage from Romans 8 tells us how we are to live:

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of [His] righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. 12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

Peter also encourages us to live for Him:

1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life [The Holy Spirit] through our [experiential] knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises [in His Word], so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by [our own] evil desires.

I know: Life’s a struggle, then we die. But, think about it: We cast off this old cloak of sinfulness and put on the immortal, glorified bodies that Jesus has waiting for us, and we get to stand in His presence whole and complete for as long as we like (I’m thinking eternity)! What hope! What a promise! In the words of Johnny Bisagno on a hot and miserable Falls Creek noon service, “He went through all that (the cross and its suffering) for you; can’t you live for Him?” I have vowed ever since to do just that!

Abba, keep me true to my promise to You even as I depend on You to keep Your promise to me. Become more and more real to me as we walk together. Thank You! Amen.

Proverbs 17 10-17-19

October 17, 2019

Want to know what is in your heart? Give God time; He’ll show you.

3 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart.

We have a society that loves to commit to teams, groups, activities, studies, etc. and then grows weary, becomes bored, figures out it takes too much time and effort, or is offered a more interesting team, group, activity, study, etc. and quits the first for the second.

We have churches with people who love Jesus, but don’t know Him well enough to commit to Him. They are part of the church and will come occasionally, but family, vacations, work, games, etc. keep them out more than they are in.

We have Christians who claim to know Christ, but are not interested in taking the time each day to read His Word, to apply it to their lives, and to learn to hear His voice. Instead, they trust their own logic, their own fears, and their own–well, to put it bluntly, arrogance.

I can’t judge people’s salvation, but I often wonder if these people really have a working, walking relationship with the Savior. There’s one way to find out, and that is to be tested. We live in a fallen world and we all will face sickness, accidents, physical failure, and death. We live with fallen people and will face strife, adversity, relational failure, desertion, and even hatred–and that’s just from our families! WE WILL BE TESTED. Does God bring them on? He certainly has that right as Omnipotent God, but I think in His Omniscience, He sees our future and what is coming; He tries to prepare us for it, even avoid it if we will listen; still, He promises to walk with us through whatever it is.

What we must remember is that this life is all about our relationship with Him. He uses whatever comes our way to get us to interact with Him. As long as we live life on our terms, avoid consulting Him, ignore Him and His direction, and relegate Him to times of desperation, we miss the point of salvation. In fact, salvation may not have happened, yet.

Jesus was quite clear that to become His disciple, we must give up everything. NOW. When He asks.

23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross [die to self] daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

When He says, “follow me,” He means like His disciples did: they left their families, their work, and their homes and went with Jesus. How many Christians have actually done that? Have you? Until that happens, we are untested. Until we are tested, we don’t truly know. Faith is a gift; it is based upon belief + action. The “gift” part is that God comes to us and says, “Do you trust me? Take My hand and come with me.” Our part is to take His hand and go with Him. It may be getting out of the boat on choppy waters; it may be into a fiery furnace; it may even be into a kangaroo court. Wherever it is, interacting with Him is worth more than ANYTHING in this world.

Forsaking All, I Trust Him.” This is the acronym of FAITH. Are you there, yet?

Abba, I know I’m preaching to the choir, but we all need to be reminded that it’s all about You and knowing You. Please continue to make Yourself known to me. If adversity, trial, and calamity are in my future, I KNOW You will carry me through them; please redeem them through Your grace by using them to refine me like silver, like fine gold. Purify my heart, O Lord. I want to be like YOU. Amen.

Proverbs 16 10-16-19

October 16, 2019

Relationships are dynamic. Parts of them change while other parts remain the same. How is your relationship with Jesus?

33 The lot is cast into the lap,
    but its every decision is from the Lord.

Casting lots was a practice in ancient times to determine God’s will in a matter. We first read about it in Exodus 28:30,

30 Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the Lord. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord.

Nowadays, we depend upon prayer to make decisions. In our prayers, we look for confirmation through the Bible, people, circumstances, and His Spirit speaking to our spirit. We trust in the Overall Plan of God:

  1. God’s goal for us is NOT to make us happy, but to make us holy like Him. He knows that our holiness will ultimately make us the happiest.
  2. He wants us with Him. Our deaths are a blessing in that we shed these Old-Testament bodies and receive our New, glorified bodies, ones in which we can stand before His presence whole and complete–finally!
  3. His plans for us here on this earth are the vehicle He uses to interact with us. THIS IS KEY. It’s not so much about our success in doing what He asks as it is interacting with Him.

For instance: You wake up on any given morning not feeling spiritual. You want all the things you can’t have; you are self-centered and grouchy; you seem to shun anything that will help; you are NOT interested in a quiet time with the LORD. Been there? Me, too!

What do we do? We relax. We try not to act out of this mindset. Instead, we turn to our LORD and say, “Lord, I don’t feel spiritual today. I know You love me anyway. Please change my attitude.” In praying this prayer, we:

  1. Confess to Him the truth, which He already knows.
  2. We acknowledge His undying, unwavering love for us.
  3. We ask for help.

Now, we wait upon Him. He will guide our next steps. Whether it’s going back to bed, drinking another cup of coffee, turning on some uplifting music, watching a favorite preacher on YouTube, reading a favorite psalm, or even setting our minds on what is needed and pressing through our funk, we trust that His Spirit is leading us and healing us.

Another thing we must remember is that our knowledge is limited and its direction will change with what we are learning at any given time. For instance, many times, my emphasis waffles between God’s sovereignty and election of the saints and His desire for us to choose Him. I find a verse that leads me down a path only to find another verse that leads me in a different direction. Am I sinning to think wrongly for so long and then find a deeper truth? I don’t think so. As long as I love God and trust that He loves me, that I converse with Him constantly and listen for His voice in others, in His Word, in my spirit, and in circumstances, I KNOW that we are good. I know that I have a lot to learn and that much of it will be learned on the other side of life.

Let’s keep the main thing the main thing: Our interaction with the Spirit is Paramount. Stay in contact with Him ALL THE TIME. The writer of Hebrews said it this way:

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 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Paul said, Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory [our promise that everything will turn out fine]. Col. 3:-4

Abba, I know I’ll never be on this earth what You have in store for me in heaven. That’s the point of heaven. May I make our relationship, our interaction, my highest priority. I know that even if I don’t do things perfectly, I will be obedient to Your Spirit, and that’s enough for me. My goal is not to be perfect, but to be filled with You: Your love, joy and peace, Your patience, kindness and goodness, Your faithfulness, gentleness and Your self-control, Your righteousness and Your truth. Fill me with thankfulness, Lord. May I bask in Your mercy and grace. Amen.

Proverbs 15 10-15-19

October 15, 2019

What does it take to have a discerning heart? It takes awareness, which can only be given by the Holy Spirit.

14 The discerning heart seeks knowledge,
    but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.

The Holy Spirit comes to us and invites us to become God’s children and to join His family. By accepting Him, we place ourselves under His protection and His leadership. This connection is what Christianity is all about!

Jesus asked for my heart one day. I was six years old. My best friend, Mindy, had recently trusted Him. Her decision prompted me to start paying attention. I know now that His Spirit was using Mindy to get my attention.

I have walked with Him for 52 years now. I don’t really remember the part of my life when I didn’t know Him. Even then, I was learning about Him thanks to my Mom and Dad. For someone to say that He isn’t real is ludicrous to me.

At the same time, how can I relate to someone who doesn’t know the Lord personally how it feels to have Him in my life? I can’t, really. Jesus has to make Himself known. Just like He did to me. God used Wendy’s testimony to get my attention. He will use our testimonies to reach out to others, too. It’s all part of His plan.

I DO know this:

BECAUSE Jesus lives in my heart and converses with me constantly, I trust the verses in the Bible that talk about His resurrection. His Spirit bears witness with my spirit.

BECAUSE I believe in His resurrection, I understand His mission on the cross. He not only reopened the door to heaven, He blew it off its hinges!

BECAUSE I believe His mission, I read the New Testament to study His life to learn how God really feels about us, about sin, and about how we treat each other while learning how we are to treat each other.

BECAUSE I learn about Jesus’ life by reading the accounts of the men (and possibly women who helped with the narratives of Luke and John) who walked with Him, I want to know all that led up to His Coming, which is what the Old Testament is all about!

BECAUSE I have read in the OT of the interaction of God with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Ruth, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Josiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Mary, and many others, it verifies in my soul my belief in Him and God’s interaction with me. Since Eden, it has been His goal to live in us!

BECAUSE I believe in Him and His goal, having experienced it for 52 years now, I believe in a literal Genesis 1-11. There is NO OTHER WAY for things to happen and come out with the same result: Christ in me, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).

The fun part is that everyday (it seems) I learn something new of how science confirms the Bible. It’s like God saved all these great discoveries for our generation. I guess He knew we would need them, huh?

Abba, thank You for Mindy’s willingness to share her testimony with me. Thank You for speaking to me through her. Thank You for making Your presence so real in my life. Thank You showed me early in my life that a consistent and daily time with You is essential to my walk with You. Thank You for being my Guide. I look forward to being with You face to face someday. Amen.

Proverbs 14 10-14-19

October 14, 2019

“Live once, die twice. Live twice, die once.” – Ken Ham

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

The way that leads to death is our own way. It’s the way of our own choosing with no regard for God, His sacrifice for us, or His way of salvation. To live only once is to live without ever being born again. When a person dies in this condition, he is condemned–by his own inaction or defiance–to the second death, the lake of fire, which wasn’t even created for humans (see Matthew 25:41 and Revelation 20:14)!

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. John 3:3, 5-6

15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15

The decision is not up to the Father, but up to each individual. Jesus said that there is only one unforgivable sin, and that is the denial of the Holy Spirit unto salvation.

31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Since it is the Spirit who is Jesus in us, by Whom we are sealed unto the day of salvation, our Deposit, our Guide, and our Taste of what is to come, it makes sense that a person who denies the Spirit entry into their lives cannot be born again and therefore cannot be saved. It is the entry of the Holy Spirit that gives us salvation. Jesus said, “Spirit gives birth to spirit.” A person lives twice through rebirth by the Spirit.

Jesus tells us in His letter to the church in Smyrna that a person who is born again cannot be hurt by the second death:

11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.

Ken was correct: Those who are born once die twice, but those who are born again in Christ Jesus through His Spirit die only once. The question is, where are YOU in the process?

Abba, I pray for all who read this blog that they would examine their hearts and give their lives to You, O Lord. May they be born again in Your Spirit as You come and reign in their hearts. I know that walking with You wipes away the fear of dying because I do not have to fear the second death. When I die, I get to be with You forever! Thank You for calling me to walk with You early in my life. It has been grand!!! I pray I will be faithful to You until the day You call me home. Amen.

Proverbs 13 10-13-19

October 13, 2019

Is there such thing as mutually opposing truths? No. One is right and the other is wrong. But how can one tell the difference?

16 All who are prudent act with knowledge,
    but fools expose their folly.

Truth- objectively; universally, what is true in any matter under consideration Lexicon

Concerning truth, we have two choices:

  1. God’s Word, which is based upon historical fact, eye-witness accounts, archeological facts, and personal experience by believers throughout time;
  2. Man’s word, which is based upon feelings and desires, fed by the lies of Satan and his horde–unless, of course, one doesn’t believe in the spirit world. One might notice that I didn’t list archeological fact. The fact of the matter is that there is no evidence for an old earth nor an old universe. No one was there to testify to it; no testing can be done to verify it; all of the data can also be interpreted from a new-earth perspective; there is much data to prove the Great Flood really happened, which pretty much “washes out” the old-earth theory.

Why does it make a difference? It goes like this:

IF the world was not created by God in a literal six days and dinosaurs lived millions of years ago with man evolving over millions of years from an amoeba to human, then life is built on death; death did NOT enter through the “sin” of Adam, and Jesus’ premise for His saving act on the cross was built on a mistaken notion–if not a lie and deception.

IF Christ did NOT die in our place on the cross and rise again to give us new life, then we have nothing awaiting us beyond the grave.

IF we are not created by God, but by random chance, then we are mindless and cannot rationalize at all. The thoughts I am writing right now are random impulses running through my brain and just happen to be coming out my fingers on this keyboard.

IF we are from amoebas, then there is no morality, but survival of the fittest. Anything goes. It’s the golden rule: He who owns the gold makes the rules. Another motto is: Might Makes Right.

But, IF the universe was created by God,

IF God made the world and everything in it in six literal days,

IF He made mankind in His image and gave him free will,

IF Adam sinned and we with (in) him, thus requiring a Savior,

IF Jesus Christ is the last Adam, the One who gave Himself for us and died in our place,

IF He rose again on the third day thus proving that He is God and that there IS life after death,

IF He offers us eternal life in exchange for the lies, the deceptions, the rags, and the filth of our sin,

IF we receive His gift of salvation by giving Him our lives and trusting in Him from now on,

THEN what Jesus said is true: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

There are two kinds of knowledge:

  1. Tangible, testable knowledge, which can be tested and proven;
  2. Experiential knowledge, which is experienced by individuals and moves beyond the tangible to the known. One cannot argue against experience, unless, of course, he can prove that the experience was a deception. But, that knife cuts both ways. If one tries to prove that Christians made up their salvation experience and our daily walk with God, he opens himself up to be shown that Satan has deceived him into believing the lie about Evolution.

If a person looks at the facts from a purely scientific perspective, one of investigative neutrality, he will find much more evidence FOR the Bible than against it. The problem lies in the fact that people who don’t WANT to believe in God cannot afford to look at the question neutrally, because once they do, then they must admit there is God, and once they do that, then they must answer to Him as their Creator, which they don’t want to do (the true reason for their resistance).

I believe that the Bible is literally true for two reasons. The first is that I follow archeological, biological, historical, and other scientific finds and they ALL prove the Bible’s claims. The second is that I have personally MET the Savior; He now lives in me and we converse constantly.* He is my BEST FRIEND even while being my God.

Oh, Abba, if people could just let go of their fear, their arrogance, and their sin for just a moment and experience what it’s like to know You personally, they would NEVER go back! I know I didn’t. May You move mightily in our families, our churches, and in our world to call those who will listen. I know that You are patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but for everyone to come to repentance.** May Your will be done, my LORD. Amen.

*Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”

**The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Proverbs 12 10-13-19

October 12, 2019

There is a “secret” that is so obvious people miss it all the time! It has to do with intention rather than productivity.

No one can be established through wickedness,
    but the righteous cannot be uprooted.

We tend to brand certain things as “wicked,” others as “godly,” and the rest as “neutral.” Actually, everything that is not godly is wicked. God created us for fellowship, which means that everything we do with Him is godly. Antithetically, everything done without regard for Him or His opinion is wicked. NOW the verse begins to make a bit more sense. If we are walking in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25), then we cannot be uprooted, whereas a person who walks either without the Spirit or out of step with the Spirit cannot be established.

Uprooted from what? Established in what? Here is what Paul prayed for the Ephesians:

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Here is what he told the Colossians:

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

The early Christians didn’t have Bibles that they could carry around, so we can surmise that it’s not necessarily the reading of Scripture that is this secret. We must look at the intent of their lives. Looking at the above verses, let’s ask ourselves some questions:

  1. How does the Spirit strengthen us with power?
  2. How are we rooted and established in love?
  3. How can we grasp the entirety of the love of Christ?
  4. How can we know this love?
  5. How can we be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God?
  6. How do we continue to live our lives in Him?
  7. How are we rooted and built up in Him?
  8. How are we strengthened in the faith?
  9. How do we overflow with thankfulness?

The answers lie in this secret: Fellowship with Him. We must intentionally focus on BEING WITH HIM. His ways are more caught than taught. His disciples didn’t attend a school once a day where Jesus was the teacher and then go home. NO! They walked with Him and lived with Him. He taught them as they went along. They CAUGHT His love and mercy, His tender compassion, and His mission as He taught the people, fed them and healed them. He even died for them.

After He had risen, He did something extraordinary: He came to live in each disciple! He lives in us, too!!! Rather than being all caught up in living a certain way, let’s focus on walking with Him through today. Let’s read His Word to hear His voice. Let’s attune our ears to His frequency by filtering out as many worldly voices as we can. When we talk to Him, let’s expect to hear from Him. It probably won’t be audible, but we KNOW it when we “hear” it.

Granted, the more we read His words, the more clearly we hear His voice. The more we obey His commands, the better we understand His plan and intentions. We “get it.” Holiness is Christ With Us. Let’s be holy today.

Abba, may each of us come to know You better as we read the Scriptures. May we focus on You instead of being obedient, which will come by being with You and listening to You. “You are our rock, our shield, our fortress, our salvation and our strength.” May we lean on You even as we walk with You today. Amen.

Proverbs 11 10-11-19

October 11, 2019

Making our lives all about Christ–is that your goal? The Spirit within us urges us to make life all about Him.

The righteousness of the upright will direct his way, but the wicked will fall by his own wickedness. The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but transgressors will be taken by their schemes.

What we chronically forget is that we don’t live in a vacuum. Our position is not clinical. We have the Lord drawing us on one side and the devil pulling us on the other. Our own sin nature tends to lean toward the devil’s side while our new nature, Christ in us, counsels us to imitate Jesus.

I see two outcomes:

  1. If we succumb to evil and our own nature, then we must live with the consequences either in this live or the next–or both.
  2. If we answer the call of the Spirit within us, then we reap the benefits and fruit of righteousness. We become a little bit more like Him. We experience His love, His joy, His peace; we gain patience, kindness, goodness, and we become faithful and gentle, even as we increase in self-control. We learn truth and practice righteousness.

Paul expressed this process in this way:

21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

Randy Lind, our state Music Director, shared the anecdote about texting the song, “I Love to Tell the Story,” and his predictive text changing it to “I Live to Tell the Story.” He looked down and realized that the predictive text version was more accurate than the real title!

We must ask ourselves this question, “Is my goal to please myself or to please my Lord?” This question plays a part in every decision we make. If we have truly given our heart and life to Jesus, then we want what He wants. If we are still resistant to the Spirit and what Jesus wants, we need to take the test in 2 Corinthians:

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

We who are in Christ:

  1. Are sanctified by Him. John 17:19
  2. Are being conformed into His image. Romans 8:29
  3. Are being transformed into His likeness. 2 Corinthians 3:18
  4. Are being renewed inwardly day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16
  5. Are having Christ formed in us. Galatians 4:19
  6. Are being renewed in the image of our Creator. Colossians 3:10
  7. Are being strengthened by His power through His Spirit in our inner being. Ephesians 3:16
  8. Are having our needs met according to God’s glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
  9. Participate in the divine nature by living according to His very great and precious promises, thus escaping the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1:3-4
  10. Have the glorious riches of the mystery of Christ in us so that through us He might make this mystery known to the world. Colossians 1:27

NOTE: If you don’t have these verses highlighted and linked, it would be a good thing to do.

Abba, You have invested so much in me. I want to give back to You all I can. Even THAT takes You working in and through me! Have Your way in me, O Lord. I want all to know that Christ lives in me! Amen.

Proverbs 10 10-10-19

October 10, 2019

About what do you think most of the day? Turn it into a conversation with God. We will find out real quick if it’s godly or not!

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
    but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.

Integrity is who we are when no one else is around; it’s just us and the Lord. It’s supposed to be a time of fellowship with Him. Instead, our flesh rears its ugly head and demands that we “take advantage of this time to do what we want.” For instance, watching questionable movies and inappropriate things on the internet can be addictive.

How do we combat these often overwhelming feelings that draw us into sin? We turn to the Word of God. Paul gave us a mandate, we could even call it a formula, for right living:

12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

I used to think that there are three attitudes in this verse. I now see six:

Be joyful–full of His joy, which comes from our acknowledgement of His presence.

Be hopeful–full of the knowledge of what is to come and what He has promised, including strength to overcome temptation.

Be patient–willing to absorb whatever is coming our way and turning it into a blessing for us and for them (we give it to the Father and He gives it back to us as a blessing).

Be afflicted–realize that we NEED the struggle in order to know what is right and what is wrong. It’s how we become like God. It’s how He wants us to grow to be like Him. David recognized this truth: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.” “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” Psalm 119:67, 71. Isaiah did, too: 20 Although the Lord gives you [allows in our lives] the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them [adversity and affliction ARE our teachers].21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you [the Holy Spirit], saying, “This is the way; walk in it.

Faithful–trusting that God knows what He is doing by allowing such trial and tribulation in our lives. “Do you trust Me?” is the question He asks of us each day, and often several times a day.

Prayerful–staying in constant contact with our Lord. It’s what our salvation is all about!

Such a simple verse, but chocked full of meaning. May we commit it to memory and live by it daily.

Abba, I thank You for bringing this verse to my attention today. Even though I read it weekly on one of my cards and among several other verses, You emphasized it today. May I take it to heart and live by it. Teach me to be joyful, hopeful, patient in affliction, faithful, and prayerful. I want to hear Your voice behind me, even in me, directing me in the way I should go. Thank you, Lord, for living in me! Amen.

Proverbs 9 10-9-19

October 9, 2019

How long will we be content with being spoon-fed by the Holy Spirit? At some point, we need to “man up” and be proactive.

Wisdom has built her house;
    she has set up [hewn out] its seven pillars.

God has done His part. He has given us a wonderful foundation in His spoken Word. I look to the first chapter of Proverbs for the seven pillars: Wisdom, instruction, understanding, insight, discernment, prudence and instruction.

She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine;
    she has also set her table.

I liken this verse to the Holy Spirit’s interaction with us. What He shares with us is always pertinent and on-target. It’s our daily sustenance.

She has sent out her servants, and she calls
    from the highest point of the city,
    “Let all who are simple come to my house!”

I see this verse as our call to walk with Him, to grow up spiritually and to take on the mantle of responsibility. The call to wisdom is a call to maturity, one that is gained by setting aside childish thoughts, feelings, and habits and putting on the deeper ways of Christ.

To those who have no sense she says,
    “Come, eat my food
    and drink the wine I have mixed.
Leave your simple ways and you will live;
    walk in the way of insight.”

It’s a daily walk with Him–but it’s much more than that! It’s turning to Him for EVERY decision, for every step we take. We must give ourselves over to Him every time we are  tempted to make a choice ourselves. We must learn all we can in preparation so that we will know–specifically at best, generally at least–what the Holy Spirit desires of us and for us.

Since His Spirit will NEVER contradict the original text of the Bible*, we can trust what the Bible says as long as we ask Him for the correct interpretation of the words, the circumstances, and the timing.

The best passage for us this morning is 2 Timothy 3:16-17,

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

What most people don’t realize is that Paul was referring to the OLD TESTAMENT! The New Testament had not been written yet. The NT is our template, our “overlay,” for how we read the OT. For us, Christ is on every page and in every story. We see the Scarlet Thread (of His blood and sacrifice) beginning with Genesis 3:15 and running all the way to Malachi 4:5-6.

I wish there was a way to goad people into reading the Bible and taking it seriously. But, even the Holy Spirit doesn’t work that way. He invites us, He calls us, He woos us to join Him. He is the perfect Gentleman; He will never force His way into our hearts and lives. He WILL ask, though, and right now He is asking us to join Him at His table.

Abba, I SO want to join You at Your table, but I am in desperate need of a spiritual bath. I feel unclean. Thank You that in the blood of Jesus I am made new and whole and clean! Thank You that it is not up to me to clean myself up; that’s Your job, and You do it with rejoicing. May I take You seriously ALL THE TIME so that You can work through me. I want to be a willing and useful conduit for You, O Lord. Amen.

*The English language will never be able to completely relate the original Hebrew meaning and context of the Scriptures. We must depend upon Him to reveal to us what He wants us to know.

Proverbs 8 10-8-19

October 8, 2019

Finding life: it’s the ultimate goal. Physically, we have it; spiritually, we need it. Jesus gives us His life in abundance!

(35) For those who find me find life and receive favor from the LORD.

We discussed the other day what happens when we die. We determined that God is eternal and wants us to live eternally with Him. We saw that sin gets in the way and must be dealt with in order to re-establish our connection and close fellowship with God. Now, let’s look at what is in store for every Christian when he dies.

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by lifeNow the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him,whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 2 Corinthians 5:1-9

What do we find in this passage?

  1. We live in an earthly tent. It’s not permanent. Our bodies will grow old and die. Sin brought death into this life, but Jesus offers us eternal life in Him–or better, Him in us!
  2. We have a heavenly dwelling place build by Jesus Himself (see John 14:1-3) and we have heavenly bodies made in His heavenly image. “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” “Just as we have borne the image of the earthly man [Adam], so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man [Jesus].” 1 Corinthians 15:44b, 49
  3. The physical ailments of these earthly bodies of ours reminds us of our heavenly bodies and we long for them. The older I get, the more I am ready for that new body!
  4. Mortality will be swallowed up by immortality! This is the promise of salvation.
  5. We have been fashioned through salvation to live with God forever. Currently, He lives in us through Jesus and His Spirit. Soon, we will go to be with Him, thus leaving this old covenant body and the corrupted world behind.
  6. In the meantime, His Spirit within us is our promise, His pledge, our deposit, His “trust money,” that what He says will happen WILL HAPPEN.
  7. While we are here on earth, we live by faith. Soon, we will leave this earth and live through experience, and this is what the child of God prefers!
  8. Either way, we make it our goal to please Him by being pleasing to Him. What is required to please Him? To believe in Him, His Plan, and His Promise. How do we express our belief? Through obedience. It’s how we demonstrate to Him that we really do believe Him.

In Revelation, Jesus gives letters to seven churches. These churches were real churches, but they were also representative of all churches throughout the ages. At the end of each letter, Jesus gives a promise for the faithful:

Ephesus- Jesus will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. 2:7

Smyrna- He who is victorious (faithful) will not be hurt at all by the second death. 2:11

Pergamum- To the victorious, He will give some of the hidden manna. He will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it known only to the one who receives it. 2:17

Thyatira- To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations…just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star. 2:26-28

Sardis- We will be dressed in white. Our names will never be blotted out from the book of life, but will be acknowledged before the Father and his angels. 3:5

Philadelphia- We will receive a crown. We will be a “pillar in the temple of God.” We will never be made to leave it. He will write on us His name and the name of His city, the new Jerusalem, and Jesus’ new name (something NEW is coming!). 3:11-12

Laodicea- We will sit with Him on His throne (we will share it somehow). 3:21

Exciting times, folks! We have MUCH to which to look forward. Let’s believe it and receive it, name it and claim it. Let’s live for Jesus TODAY!

Dear Lord Jesus, I am reminded once again that my eyes have not seen, nor my ears heard, nor has it even entered into my mind and heart what You have in store for us! May I show You through my obedience to Your Spirit that I believe You. May Your will be done through me today, my LORD. Amen.