Proverbs 9 8-9-18

August 9, 2018

We need to make sure that we are Holy Spirit-driven in all conversations and situations. Let’s not go off half-cocked.

Proverbs 9:1-2 Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars.[2] She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table.

There was a lot of prep work done before Wisdom made her appeal. She made sure that her house was structurally sound. THEN she gave her invitation.

In contrast, there is no preparation mentioned for Folly. In fact, she was all about the thrill:

[17] “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!”

What can we do to ensure that our foundation is strong and that we are Holy Spirit-driven? Let’s look in Romans:

Romans 12:9-18 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. [10] Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. [11] Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. [12] Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. [13] Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

[14] Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. [15] Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. [16] Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

[17] Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody [according to God’s Word and the Spirit’s leadership]. [18] If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

An impossible list? It certainly is–unless we first put into daily practice the first two verses of this chapter:

Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. [2] Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind [by the Word of God]. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Let’s start this morning by spending time with our Savior and then walking in step with Him throughout the day. Let’s be Holy Spirit-led today!

Proverbs 8 8-8-18

August 8, 2018

God is not hiding from us, but He won’t move from His position. We must move to His. It’s the WISE thing to do.

Proverbs 8:35-36 For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD. [36] But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love [court] death.

This entire chapter is the LORD imploring us to choose Him rather than the world. Look at how He pleads with us:

[6] Listen, for I have worthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right.

[17] I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.

[20] I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, [21] bestowing wealth on those who love me and making their treasuries full.

What kind of wealth?

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

What did Jesus think about riches?

Matthew 6:19-21 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. [20] But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. [21] For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

So, who is the wise person?

Matthew 7:24-29 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. [25] The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. [26] But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. [27] The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

[28] When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, [29] because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Who we believe Jesus is has everything to do with how we will respond to this passage. Is He LORD? Of your life? Then, let’s be doers of the Word and not hearers only (James 1:22). Let’s be wise today and follow as close to Him as He was to the Father (see 8:30) and stay glued to His side!

Proverbs 7 8-7-18

August 7, 2018

When we read God’s Word, God’s will is staring us in the face. Leaning on Him IS His will for us. Everything else will follow.

Proverbs 7:1-5 My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. [2] Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. [3] Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. [4] Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” [culture allowed hugging your relatives] and call understanding your kinsman; [5] they will keep you from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words [anything that would lead you astray].

God leads us along one step at a time. Occasionally, He will give someone a heads-up on the future, but not usually. He wants us fixed on Him. That way, we won’t be running off trying to do it ourselves: without Him and in our own power and perspective. WE NEED HIM! All the time, every time.

Let’s use 2 Peter 1:3-8 as a sample passage of storing up His commands within us:

2 Peter 1:3-8 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

What “knowledge” do we have of Him? We have experienced Him in our hearts and lives! We know Him intimately; our relationship with Him has been tested–not to see if it’s true, but through usage. Walking with Him does that.

[4] Through these [His glory and goodness] he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

How do we participate in His divine nature? We learn His promises and then depend on them:

I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:3

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Cor. 3:18

Do you like participating in His divine nature? We have escaped the corruption of this world by being given His nature. Let’s not go back to the world by giving in to inappropriate, twisted, and out-of-control desires. Instead,

[5] For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness [an attribute of God, having the right goals; moral excellence]; and to goodness, Experiential, relational] knowledge; [6] and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance [long-suffering, resetting and trying again]; and to perseverance, godliness [being like God]; [7] and to godliness, [benefits:] brotherly kindness [mutual affection]; and to brotherly kindness, love.

[8] For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ [in your relationship with Jesus Christ, and in your service to Jesus Christ].

Today, let’s commit ourselves once again to His will and His way. Let’s fix our eyes on Him!!!

Proverbs 6 8-6-18

August 6, 2018

Do we really walk with Christ or do we simply visit Him every once in a while? Our actions will show.

Do we make shady or unwise business decisions or make promises we can’t keep? Vs. 1-5

Do we wait until it’s almost too late or put things off until it IS too late? Do we just never seem to get around to doing what we need to do? Vs. 6-11

Do we sabotage our relationships through manipulation and control using ungodly means? Vs. 12-15

Do we live according to our base desires rather than by God’s Word? Vs. 16-19

Do we spend time in His Word daily seeking His face and learning His ways? Vs. 20-23

Do we follow our carnal desires and feed those desires via media and thought life? Vs. 24-35

What good is having a relationship with Christ if we live as if we don’t?

Proverbs 6:21 Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck.

Let’s start today by turning to Him (repentance) and humbly receiving our “daily bread,” which is whatever comes our way: it’s designed to train us to depend on Him, to turn to Him for all things and to lean on Him for direction, strength and endurance.

Hebrews 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

We have this promise:

Psalms 16:11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Proverbs 5 8-5-18

August 5, 2018

Giving thought to our ways is important; asking the LORD to lead us, even more so.

Proverbs 5:6 She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths are crooked, but she knows it not.

We are responsible for our own actions. Free Will requires it. Becoming mature in our faith nurtures it. Being like Jesus provides it. What would Jesus have thought about this chapter? He might have:

  • Loved verses 1 and 2, for they described His relationship with the Father;
  • He might have thought of people He knows who have led this lifestyle.
  • He IS verse 7: “Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say.”
  • He would have seen the danger and resulting consequences.
  • He also would have known God’s heart for what the relationship between a man and a woman is designed to be: a picture of His relationship with the Heavenly Father!
  • Verse 21 would be for Him exhilarating whereas we usually fear it…
  • He knows that sin destroys us, and He prayed for us:

John 17:15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. [20] “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, [21] that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. [22] I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: [23] I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

As we read today’s verses, may we be encouraged to know that God loves us as His dear children even as He loves Jesus, His Son!

1 John 3:1a How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

Proverbs 4 8-4-18

August 4, 2018

We are most at peace when our hearts are in contrast with the chaos in our world and we are right with Him.

Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

Our peace is to be internal no matter what goes on outside our minds and hearts. In fact, hard times come because of:

  • The sinful condition of this world,
  • Bad decisions made by us,
  • And the consequences of other people’s bad choices.

Jesus uses every situation to make us more like Him. Let’s look at some passages:

Hebrews 12:5-8 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, [6] because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” [7] Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? [8] If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.

The writer goes on to say,

[11] No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (A favorite verse of mine!)

King Agur knew the wisdom of inner peace and the dangers of worldly wealth:

Proverbs 30:7-9 Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die: [8] Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. [9] Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

In fact, Jesus said to ask for only today’s bread:

Matthew 6:11 Give us today our daily bread. (Part of the Model Prayer).

We receive our daily bread when we walk with Jesus. Here is what walking with Him looks like:

Proverbs 4:18 The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day [revealing more and more sin with which to deal, but giving more and more grace, love, joy, hope, and peace even as He recreates Himself-His character and attributes-in us!].

Again, our goal cannot be contentment in this world, but rather to be right with Jesus. He gives us this promise:

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

As we go through today, let’s focus on Him and the peace He’s given us (John 14:27). Hanging with Him helps us enjoy His peace!

Proverbs 3 8-3-18

August 3, 2018

We “forget” God’s teaching when we revert back to old habits and ways in times of stress and temptation. Don’t!

Proverbs 3:1-2 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, [2] [the promise:] for they will prolong your life many years [in regard to God’s plan for your life] and bring you prosperity [not always monetary: spiritual, relational, in health, happiness, fulfillment, etc].

James said it this way:

James 1:22-25 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. [23] Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror [24] and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. [25] But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

Practice, practice, practice. We practice holiness. We are given righteousness and are kept blameless. We don’t have to worry about falling; Jesus is our safety net, our harness (like a gymnast on a trampoline), and our Teacher/Coach who helps us learn from our mistakes and to practice correctly. In piano, practicing something wrong only ingrains wrong playing. The same is true in batting, running hurdles, and nearly everything. God’s Word and His Spirit will show us how to live righteous and holy lives–just like Him–if we will give ourselves to Him today. Then tomorrow. Then the next day. Etc.

Proverbs 2 8-2-18

August 2, 2018

Being blameless is simple–but not easy. It requires us to turn from our desires to Him: up front and personal!

Discipline is the key to Christian growth. We practice, practice, practice choosing to obey. His most common words to me are, “Look at Me. Look at Me–look at ME!” If I would just keep my eyes on Him, then “the things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” When we “turn our eyes upon Jesus,” we have this promise:

Proverbs 2:7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,

[8] for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.

[9] Then you will understand what is right and just and fairevery good path.

The key is to walk with Him. It’s a process, both daily and lifelong. Let’s keep in step with Him today.

Galatians 5:25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Proverbs 1 8-1-18

August 1, 2018

Are we wise or are we fools? We prove who we are each day by whom we follow: the LORD or the world.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Each month we begin again our study on Proverbs to renew in our minds true wisdom. So, let’s go over it again. The purpose of wisdom is:

  • To attain knowledge-both intellectual and experiential-of the Holy One;
  • To acquire a disciplined and prudent life, one borne out of discarding all that is harmful-or even unnecessary-and focusing on Him and His ways;
  • To walk life’s path with Him and following His every step and command.
  • Here’s the promise:
  • Proverbs 1:23 If you respond to my rebuke [direction], I will pour out my heart to you and make my thoughts known to you.

    [33] whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.

    He makes it so plain. Then, why is it so hard to do? Because our sin nature doesn’t want us to! We want to do what WE want to do when we want to do it. We can’t beat “the old man” on our own. We need HIM! I love these verses:

    Romans 7:24-25 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? [25a] Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

    Galatians 4:4-6 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, [5] to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. [6] Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”

    Let’s hold onto what we know in our hearts to be true: Jesus is LORD! Let’s serve Him today as we walk in His wisdom by walking close to His side and believing/obeying every word He says.

    Proverbs 31 7-31-18

    July 31, 2018

    I have had the privilege of being married to a Proverbs 31 Woman for 36 years today. Happy Anniversary, Robin!

    Proverbs 31:30-31 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised. [31] Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

    As we read about the virtuous woman, let’s consider some of her attributes:

    • she is trustworthy,
    • She helps and doesn’t hinder,
    • She is diligent in her responsibilities,
    • She cares for the needs of those under her care,
    • She is faithful in her relationships,
    • She is wise and kind,
    • She teaches what she has learned,
    • And she greatly fears the Lord!
  • Whether married or single, these attributes reflect Christ in a woman’s life. These same attributes go for men, as well. We would do well to make them happen in our lives.