Proverbs 8 10-8-18

October 8, 2018

Ever wonder why God allows His children to endure hardship? We are His messengers. We take light to dark places!

Proverbs 8:2-3 On the heights along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; beside the gates leading into the city, at the entrances, she cries aloud:

God is constantly putting His people in places of influence. Oftentimes, He will allow a king-or president-to rule and provide a godly counselor (such as Daniel). We are often placed in specific circumstances “for such a time as this (Esther 4:14).” The problem comes when all we want is peace and safety. Being God’s person for the job usually means upsetting the current regime, which brings CONFLICT. Change nearly always brings conflict.

We have been studying Paul’s second journey through Macedonia. Everywhere he went, he introduced the people to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Guess what? He endured a lot of conflict! [for more on this subject, read Acts 16-17).

What is our main goal? Is it “peace at all cost,” or are we here to do our Father’s will? If we want to be like Jesus, then we will be about the Father’s business (Luke 2:49).

Let’s connect with Him this morning and allow Him to position us where we can be the most useful for His kingdom.

Proverbs 7 10-7-18

October 7, 2018

Today is a day of worship–everyday is! We meet together to encourage each other and lift each other up. Don’t miss it!

Proverbs 7:1-3 My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.

“The main thing is to keep the Main Thing the main thing!”

God’s Word is living and active (Heb. 4:12), which means that as we read His Word, the Spirit speaks to us. Then, during the day or in the watches of the night, He reminds us of why we read:

  • He loves us with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3);
  • We are sanctified (freed from sin) by the truth of His Word (John 17:17);
  • If we call to Him, He is waiting to answer us (Jer. 33:3)! Btw, that’s God’s phone number!!!

These are just a few of the things His Spirit whispers to us when we stop and listen. These verses are GREAT memory verses–at least, mark them in your bibles; make 3×5 cards of them; use post-it notes and put them on your mirror–do something to learn them! I’m sure that as you read, you will find a great many more that speak to you. 🙂

They will reveal to us the lies of Satan (v. 15) and keep us from the seduction of the temptress (v21). Instead, we will enjoy sweet fellowship with Him as His love, joy and peace radiate from Him to us and through us. It’s our greatest benefit that comes from being in His presence (and makes this world tolerable).

Today, let’s worship Him in Spirit and in truth and enjoy His presence in our lives.

Proverbs 6 10-6-18

October 6, 2018

“Garbage in/garbage out.” It works with what we see, hear, and eat! Let’s be smart about everything we do!

Proverbs 6:27-28 Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?

Newton’s third law of motion is: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

We deal with physics everyday. Knowing how it works helps us to get things done and avoid certain reactions. Guess what? What we eat and drink affects our bodies the same way. One of the major players in how we process what we see, hear, and do relates to our mental filters, which are controlled by the physical demands and condition of our bodies.

What does this mean?! It means that WE are RESPONSIBLE for putting into our bodies the right kind of fuel for our minds to work right. I’m not talking about our physical shape; I’m talking about mental acuity (although, being in shape physically helps).

The sluggard mentioned in verses 7-10 may be eating something that causes mental sluggishness. Does it excuse him? No, but he would do well to find it and fix it.

We all know that sodas are not good for us–and diet sodas are worse! Does that mean “no sodas ever?” That’s for you and the LORD to decide. If/when we do drink sodas, however, let’s be strategic: Drink one for the caffeine boost (just not everyday); or, drink one ONLY with a particular item, like a burger (again, just not everyday). You and the Spirit work it out. He knows what is best: ask Him!

We are physical beings; we react to our outward environment and to our inward environment. The LORD knows how much control we have over each. He is interested in His relationship with you, so He wants to remove anything that hinders that relationship. Note that relating to His Body, i.e. the Church, is a lot of our interaction with the LORD.

Let’s use every advantage to “clear the way” to a closer relationship with Jesus. Use the physical world to enhance our spiritual objective: To Be Like Jesus.

Proverbs 5 10-5-18

October 5, 2018

We need to be intentional about our lives; otherwise, others will do it FOR us. Serve God and no other!

Proverbs 5:1-2 My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge.

As I read the chapter, I noticed that the path of the wise was deliberate and intentional as opposed to the adulterous woman:

[6] She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.

What she doesn’t realize is that Satan will guide her life if God doesn’t. Look where he led her:

[5] Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.

Where are your feet taking you? Are you walking on the straight and narrow path with Jesus (Matt. 7:13-14)? Are you intentionally spending time with Him in His Word? Are you listening to Him throughout the day? Are you putting into practice all that you are learning?

Let’s be intentional today concerning our walk with Jesus Christ. HE IS LORD. Revel in the knowledge that we are His and He is IN US!

Proverbs 4 10-4-18

October 4, 2018

If we have chosen to serve Christ, then let’s be intentional about it. Being two-faced does both sides a disservice.

Proverbs 4:25-27 Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.

When Jesus came to us and asked for our hearts and lives, we gave Him both. WE RECEIVED SALVATION as His Spirit entered in and took up residence. Our POSITION in Christ is secure.

On a daily basis, He asks us to allow Him to lead as we walk with Him. In our RELATION to Christ, we must “bow the knee” routinely. My pastor quotes the late Adrian Rogers as saying that Jesus must be more than resident in our lives; He must be PRESIDENT of our lives.

Jesus has much to say about trying to live with one foot in both worlds:

Luke 9:62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Revelation 3:15-16 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Wow! Strong words. But necessary words. Lukewarm lives water down the message and impact of the Gospel. It speaks of a divided heart–which MAY speak of an unregenerated heart!

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money [or, “mammon,” which is a personification of riches as an evil spirit or diety, and can represent anything that comes before Christ].

Let’s be about the Father’s business today; let’s allow Him to lead us as we do what we know to do and trust Him to teach us as we go, guiding us in the Way of Truth. Remember:

PRESIDENT, not just RESIDENT!

Addendum:

1 John 3:24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Second addendum:

1 John 4:11-12 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Proverbs 3 10-3-18

October 3, 2018

Before knowing Christ, we are dead in our sin. WE NEED HIM! We would do well to remember our humble beginnings.

Proverbs 3:1-2 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.

FORGET: A primitive root; to mislay, that is, to be oblivious of, from want of memory or attention.

Another way of saying it is, “Do not lay aside my teaching.” We are to keep His commandments in the forefront of our minds. The idea of laying aside His commands is to disregard them. NOT GOOD!

Paul uses this idea in a good way when talking about past misdeeds:

Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

The Greek definition here is: to lose out of mind; by implication to neglect. We may not be able to “not remember,” but we can set the memories aside and render them powerless to influence us. We “neglect” them.

Learning to “forget” is a process, and as with all processes, is daunting at first. But, with time and practice, we become more adept at moving through the process more quickly; sometimes, we can even create shortcuts (this takes a while)!

Let’s press on toward the goal of being perfect–complete, whole, mature–in Christ. We are being made into His image (Romans 8:29). Indeed, we ARE like Him NOW (1 John 4:17)!

Proverbs 2 10-2-18

October 2, 2018

Which is better: To do something we prefer FOR God or to do WITH God what He wants us to do?

God doesn’t need us to do anything for Him. What He wants is for us to love Him. How do we love God?

  • Time-Spending time with Him,
  • Words of Affirmation-Praising God and telling of His attributes,
  • Service-Doing what He says when He says to do it with the right heart attitude,
  • Gifts-He most desires the gift of our lives,
  • Touch- even though we cannot touch God, we CAN be His hands and feet to others for Him–we can be “God with skin on!”
  • The best way that He has prescribed for us to know Him and to spend time with Him is through reading His Word. The Bible is the language of God by which He communicates with us.
  • Proverbs 2:1-6 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you [do we believe that He has our best interests at heart?],

    turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding [do we believe that His way is best?],

    and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding [are we really interested in His way of seeing things?],

    and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure [is learning His will and way the most important goal in our lives?],

    then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God [that experiential, intimate knowledge of Him that He saves for those who seek Him].

    For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding [His Spirit has much to show us if we will pause and listen].

    King David understood the necessity–and the benefits–of seeking the Lord’s presence:

    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.

    Let’s enjoy our relationship with the Father through the Son by way of the Holy Spirit as we read His Word and walk with Him in obedience. It’s really all we have; indeed, it is all we will ever need!

    Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges [knows and reveals] the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

    Proverbs 1 10-1-18

    October 1, 2018

    Learning how God thinks and feels helps us to align our thoughts and feelings with Him. The best place to start is the Bible.

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

    The LORD looks after His children–He just thinks bigger than we do! He is not limited to time and space as we are. We have difficulty imagining what life beyond this life is like; He LIVES THERE!

    Consider this:

    1 Corinthians 2:9 However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”

    In the same chapter, Paul explains that the Spirit knows God’s mind and is willing to share it with us–according to our willingness to receive such knowledge and our capacity to understand it. The question is, “Do we believe that God WILL and that we CAN?

    God is looking for those who trust Him and are willing:

    2 Chronicles 16:9a “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”

    Jeremiah 33:3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

    “If we change the way we think, it will change the way we feel.” –Beth Moore. Let’s allow God to change our thinking as we read His Word today. Listen for Him and believe what the Spirit says about Him, about you, and about His will.

    It’s a process.

    Proverbs 30 9-30-18

    September 30, 2018

    Don’t take my word for anything concerning Scripture. The idea is for you to read and hear it from Him yourself!

    [5] “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. [6] Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.

    One of my favorite passages is Acts 17:10-11,

    Acts 17:10-11 As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. [11] Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

    It’s important for us to go to the Source so that we hear directly from Him on the matter. So, how do we hear from God? Henry Blackaby lists four ways in “Experiencing God”:

    1. The Bible,
    2. Prayer,
    3. The Church (His Body, which is other believers),
    4. And circumstances (sometimes He doesn’t give us a choice).

    Another “guiding light” is His peace. In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed the same prayer three times until His had peace about the situation (see Matt. 26:36-44). Jesus had just given the disciples His peace:

    John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. [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.”

    Having His peace doesn’t mean that we will know or understand what He is doing; it simply means that we trust Him and are being obedient to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

    Still another sure sign of being in His will is JOY. It comes from being in His presence,

    John 15:11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. [16:24] Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive [peace, trust, assurance], and your joy will be complete.

    If we live according to our peace and joy that are found in Christ, we will be the most brilliant lights for Him in this dark world.

    Philippians 2:14-16a Do everything without complaining or arguing, [15] so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe [16] as you hold out the word of life

    Let’s dig into His Word today!

    Proverbs 29 9-29-18

    September 29, 2018

    Finding knowledge and gaining wisdom: both are admirable when sought from the right source–The LORD!

    [18] Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who heeds wisdom’s instruction.

    The phrase, “I don’t see why…” is a telltale sign that wisdom is not abounding at the moment. The whole point of wisdom is to be able to step back and see more of the picture. If a circumstance has a rope border, chances are it’s a noose! The only way for us humans to see what is going on in the spirit world is to have the Holy Spirit reveal it to us. We have NO spiritual insight in and of ourselves. The verse,

    Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

    can read, “Blessed are they who realize that they are spiritually bankrupt and are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked from a spiritual standpoint (Rev. 3:17), for they now have access to all of heaven’s riches and wisdom through the Spirit.”

    When will we quit trying to do it ourselves? God created us to interact with Him, for us to be one with Him in thought and deed.

    John 17:20-23 “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.”

    We use John 3:16 as our banner verse, but verse 23 here could easily be our daily verse! Let’s dwell on His indwelling and on how much He loves us and wants to be ONE with us!