Proverbs 3 12-3-18

December 3, 2018

Our daily living has a way of showing our priorities. Do we truly walk with God? Our spouse, kids, neighbors, and the world will know it.

Proverbs 3:35 The wise inherit honor, but fools he holds up to shame.

Our daily decisions make us or break us. If we are walking close to Jesus, listening to His voice, heeding His instruction, and enjoying His presence, then everything we do will radiate Christ in some form of fashion. Even though some will hold us in contempt, many more will see us as honorable, faithful, and trustworthy because our word is our bond, they know our standards, and they know Who we serve.

Those who don’t walk with Christ daily are like ships without rudders blown by the wind (see James 1:6). Their beliefs change with whatever season of life they are in. Their word is according to what is best for them, and living for pleasure, security, or love (or a mixture of any of the three) is their driving force behind all they do–at the expense of friendships and integrity. They will be ashamed.

Let’s be deliberate about following Christ. Dig into His Word and listen for His instruction. He has great and mighty things to show us!

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

Proverbs 2 12-2-18

December 2, 2018

It’s our decision. Will we or won’t we? To delay is the same as “no.” Decide. It’s what this chapter is all about.

Proverbs 2:12-15 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.

What we don’t realize is that to choose any way but God’s way is evil and perverse. He is GOD; we need to allow Him to be so in our lives.

What does it look like to choose a different way than the Lord’s?

Luke 9:59-62 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

From what I have gathered historically, his intention was to stay with his father until he died. Honorable? Yes. Traditionally expected? Yes, but was it what Jesus asked of him? No. What did he decide? We won’t know until we get to heaven.

[61] Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

My spin on this fellow is that Jesus knew that his family held sway over him and, if he went back, they would dissuade him from following Him. Again, he had to decide to whom he would listen–right then!

Our choice is the same. Jesus asks of us RIGHT NOW who we will follow. If we read Proverbs 2, we see right away that He is ready to walk with us and teach us and reveal His will–even Himself–to us. The real question is, “Do we really see Him as King?”

My favorite verse in this chapter is:

[10] For wisdom will enter your heart [supernaturally], and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

I NEED wisdom, plain and simple. Also, I would prefer learning to be a pleasant experience. When He teaches me, it is truly pleasant–even ecstatic! Remember that in 1:23 He tells us that He wants to pour out His thoughts to us and make His heart known to us. WOW!!! Let’s take Him up on it!

Please be in prayer for us this morning for our Christmas presentation, “The King Is Here.” May many experience Christ as King in music and stories–maybe some for the first time!

Proverbs 1 12-1-18

December 1, 2018

Are we really interested in obtaining wisdom? God’s wisdom? We might have to adjust our lives if we do that…

Proverbs 1:1-2 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for attaining wisdom

In his testimony recently, Steve Fayfitch said, “Every morning I get up and ask myself if I am going to serve myself or serve my Lord. I answer, ‘I will serve the Lord.'”

The Spirit usually ends his instruction to us with this question, “Will you trust me?” In fact, this question is a great big clue that we are hearing His voice. Trust doesn’t invoke fear, but peace and courage. We can TRUST the Holy Spirit.

In the cartoon movie, “Aladdin,” he asks the princess two different times if she trusts him; it’s how she figures out that it is really Aladdin. This question works the same way. Let’s use it to our advantage; the more we trust Him, the closer we walk with Him, which causes us to be transformed, which makes adjustments to our lives, which touches those around us and exhorts them to trust Him…you get the picture.

The first time:

The second time:

Proverbs 30 11-30-18

November 30, 2018

The trustworthiness of the Word of God is vital to what we know of God. He has revealed Himself to us. Let’s dig in!

Proverbs 30:3 I have not learned [all] wisdom, nor have I attained to the knowledge of the Holy One.

Westerners interpret “knowledge” as learning; it’s what we know. Easterners consider knowledge as experiential; they must experience it in order to know it. We, as Christians, experience God continuously–how? Through His Holy Spirit! He IS God! And He lives in us!!!

But, experience can only take us so far. We must have reference points in order to interpret correctly what we are experiencing. Hence, the Word of God. He has explained to us all that we need for this life. Notice I didn’t say that He has revealed all; we simply couldn’t contain it all with the limitations of these mortal bodies and minds.

Can we trust God? Here is what He says about His Word:

Proverbs 30:4-5 Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and the name of his son? Tell me if you know! [5] Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”

We are not intended to see His Word as a manual to read and then do, but as an interactive program where He guides us through it.

My daughter, Hillary, teaches at EPIC, Oklahoma City’s online school. Every so often, she meets with each student and works with him on his school work. This concept is a great illustration of what happens each time we read the Bible!

In fact, His Spirit is Him in us:

2 Peter 1:3-4 [Through] His divine power has given us everything we need [His Spirit] for life and godliness through our [experiential and intellectual] knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. [4] Through these [His glory/power and His goodness] he has given us his very great and precious promises [His Word: spoken first and then written down], so that through them you may participate in the divine nature [hear His words from Him and then do them together] and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires [by transforming our minds and changing our attitudes].

We have been blessed to have God in our hearts. Let’s learn more and more about Him through His Word and by daily walking with Him.

Proverbs 29 11-29-18

November 29, 2018

Prophecy is designed to warn and to give the opportunity to change the future by changing the present.

Proverbs 29:1 A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.

With each rebuke, the person sets his face against changing; he dives a little deeper into whatever that in which he is caught up. If it’s drugs, then he spirals down into a hole that eventually kills him. If it’s gambling, debt overtakes him–the kind where they break arms–and he can’t make enough to clear his debts, so he gambles again. Eventually, he loses his family and friends, his health, and even his life.

But, who is it that brings destruction? Is it God? Or is it the consequences of the person? Is not each little consequence and each rebuke not a type of prophecy telling him that if he keeps on the road he is on, that sure destruction is coming?

Jonah preached to Nineveh that they had 40 more days until Nineveh would be overthrown (Jonah 3:4). Look what happened:

Jonah 3:5 The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth [a sign of repentance].

Did judgment come? No.

Jonah 3:10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.

God, Who is in control of all things, allows us to determine our own fate–to a point. I believe that there was something to the mourning process (a break in a chain of events) that circumvented the destruction of Nineveh at that time. We read in history that destruction DID come, but more than 50 years later (two+ generations).

In our own lives, we would do well to consider godly rebuke as a type of prophecy. Intended for our good, we are shown where our current behavior is headed and we are given the opportunity to “change our evil ways.” As children of King Jesus, we repent often (course corrections) as instructed by the Spirit. He will speak to us through prayer (our conscious contact with Him), through the Bible, through people (friends, sermons, lessons, and even enemies), and through circumstances. We must be wise and heed good advice from wherever it comes.

Proverbs 25:12 Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise rebuke to a listening ear.

Let’s start today heeding wise rebuke from His Spirit in the Word of God. We can head off a lot of “destruction” this way…

Proverbs 28 11-28-18

November 28, 2018

Our stories matter. How we live our lives is being watched by others. Let’s give the Holy Spirit plenty to work with!

Proverbs 28:5 Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully.

[9] If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable.

These two verses blended together give us the “secret” to victorious Christian living. We need to understand justice fully, and we need to listen to the Law-Giver. Notice that it says “turns a deaf ear.” Now, look at this verse:

Revelation 2:17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

When we read God’s Word, when we hear it preached, when we discuss it in class, when we see it lived (and the Spirit points it out to us) in other people’s lives, we are hearing our Lord Jesus Christ speak to us His law, the Law of Love.

How do we understand justice fully? By understanding Jesus’s heart for people.

Ephesians 3:17-19 so that Christ may dwell [abide, rule] in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God [and His love].

1 John 3:1 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! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

The words of the Bible are just “tinkling brass” and a “resounding cymbal” if the Spirit doesn’t speak to us through them and we don’t heed what He says. Mankind has misused the Scriptures throughout history! Let’s blend Scripture with His leadership today. We MUST remember that we may be the only Jesus some people will ever see and we may be the only Bible they’ll ever read.

Proverbs 27 11-27-18

November 27, 2018

Appreciating close friendships is important. We should not take them for granted. They most likely will be eternal.

Proverbs 27:9 Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel.

Beyond the physical aspect of marriage is friendship. If something were to happen to one of you and the physical part of your relationship became impossible, what would become of your marriage?

In a broader sense, our friendships across the board usually come with expectations: Daily contact, sharing time, feelings and experiences which are all part of our relationships. We allow ourselves to be open to another person so that we can receive an objective opinion about our lives. If we trust our friend, then we value his/her opinion. We grow together, and together, we grow.

This process works especially well in the spiritual realm. We spur each other on toward love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24), and we tell each other the painful truth:

Psalms 141:5 Let a righteous man [a good friend] strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it.

As we go through today, let us first thank God for our good friends/mates, make ourselves available and open to their counsel, and then work to be a good friend to them. Start with the Lord Jesus; He is our dearest Friend.

John 15:15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends…

Proverbs 26 11-26-18

November 26, 2018

Until we realize that our hearts are vain and corrupted, we will never see our need for a Savior.

Proverbs 26:12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

As Christians, we have pledged ourselves to Christ. Do we call on Him and seek His advice on every decision? Do we see the need? I had a leader of a church once say to me that he had the mind of Christ, therefore whatever he thought was right and was according to Christ. He was mistaken about the process of sanctification where we learn to not trust our hearts, but to put on Christ by being transformed by the renewing of our minds.

What’s wrong with our hearts?

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

Jeremiah 9:14 Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts; they have followed the Baals, as their fathers taught them.”

What, then, is the first thing we should do everyday?

Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, [we are] holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

How do we go about this “offering our bodies as living sacrifices?”

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

How do we renew our minds?

Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

What about our flesh, the old nature that keeps trying to gain control–and WILL if we are not diligent and steadfast in our walk with Christ?

We must remind ourselves often (many times a day) that:

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved [loves] me and gave himself for me.

We must remember the cross and how much Jesus loves us (John 3:16, Eph. 3:18-19), and that He calls us His little children (Mark 10:15). His manner is gentle and humble; we, to should be gentle and humble if we want to be like Him.

Matthew 11:29 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.

Let’s strive to be just like Jesus today. Let’s walk with Him and bask in His countenance, where we find joy and peace, and all eternal pleasures (Psalm 16:11, John 14:27).

Proverbs 25 11-25-18

November 25, 2018

Self-control is necessary to accomplish anything that takes a while. Instant gratification messes it up. Look ahead!

Proverbs 25:28 Like a city whose walls are broken down is a person who lacks self-control.

If not a city, how about a vineyard?

Proverbs 24:30-34 I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.

The sluggard is a person who is too lazy to do things right the first time. He usually either does them again or does without.

The one who lacks judgment chooses the one cookie now over several cookies later (a test on children). One would think that there is no harm in this decision–and he would be right. The problem comes when the choice makes us fat, late, or miss an opportunity, and it’s all because we chose poorly.

How do we learn self-control? First, rest assured that God is growing it in us!

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Second, His Spirit asks us all the time if we will listen to Him. When we choose Him, He teaches us self-control. Consider this:

1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire (quench the Spirit, as in Ephesians 4:30); do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.

Consider prophecies here to be what the Holy Spirit reveals to us as the end result of what we are considering. If we are considering another piece of pie, can we afford the calorie count? How about our sugar level? Will it make us sleepy or cranky? Have we even eaten dinner, yet (he says sheepishly)?!

As we can see, the Spirit warns us about all things. The question is, “Are we listening?”

Proverbs 1:23 If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you.

Oh, what opportunities we have missed in life deciding for ourselves rather than checking with our Lord! Let’s not make the same mistake today.

Psalms 37:4-7 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him.

Proverbs 24 11-24-18

November 24, 2018

Delayed gratification is what heaven is all about: giving up pitiful worldly pleasures for the riches of heaven!

Proverbs 24:19-20 Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.

I heard a story from a friend who was invited to the concert of a famous singer. The person already had tickets, and when they got there, the person took my friend backstage to meet the singer and his group. How did the person get such privilege? He was directly related to the singer!

Heaven is like that: We don’t pay for our own tickets and we get to see God and worship Him–all because of the finished work of Christ on the cross of Calvary.

With this goal in mind, are we willing to wrestle with our worldly desires when we know that if we are faithful, we will receive much more in heaven?

1 Corinthians 4:2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.

Matthew 25:23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!'”

2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

2 Timothy 2:11-13 Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he will remain faithful,for he cannot disown himself.

Revelation 17:14 They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”

I cannot speak to the riches of heaven, for I have not seen them. What I CAN speak about is my LORD, for I know Him personally. HE directs my steps and prepares a place for me in heaven WITH HIM. I intend to stick close to Jesus all the way to His place!

John 14:2-3 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 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 17:24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”