Tuesday, August 11, 2015

10 words of assurance that will “ROCK” your faith…#2


#2 - Security

I couldn’t sleep last night.  In between the 10 minute cat naps I heard a horrible story about a 3 year old girl, on vacation with her parents in France, who was left behind at a rest area.  For some unknown reason, the parents didn’t realize it for 90 miles.  90 MILES!  The reporter giving the story said that the 3 year old was able to say these words - “dad’s car left me.”  WOW.  How she must have felt all alone in that rest stop area.  Thankfully the police were able to find the parents and reunite the child.

It’s one of our worst fears as a young person isn’t it?  Being alone.  Being alone or being forsaken has caused many young people to do things they may never have done if they just had the security to know that they were loved and cared for by someone at home.

One of the great assurances we have as a believer, one of the rocks we hold tight to in our most difficult times is the truth of the security we have in Jesus Christ.  He has promised that he will NEVER (ever, ever, ever) Leave us and Never will he forsake us.  Isn’t that good new!  Here, you read them for yourself:

Hebrews 13:5 - Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

Duet. 31:6 - Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

All of us have been left alone at some point, whether by a scorned ex-girlfriend, or a mean set of personal friends or even by a parent struggling to make ends meet.  It is an uneasy feeling.  God has made us to be in community with people.  The problem is often PEOPLE.  We pick and choose and some are left out, left alone or left deserted by ones they thought were close to them.  We often feel that way in our most desperate of crisis as well.  Often times we cry out to God  - “God, where are you?  I need you, I am alone and I can’t go on…GOD, WHERE ARE YOU?  (Have you ever been there?)

Hear again the words of the Lord - “I will never leave you, I will never forsake you…”
When we fail to see him in the midst of our deepest need or are most hurtful times of loneliness, the reality is this - He never left.  He never forsook, renounced, abandon, deserted, quit, left or rejected us ever for all times!  When we thought he moved away, he actually moved closer.  Don’t believe me?  Hear again what his word says:

Isaiah 41:10 - fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:17 - When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them.

Psalm 37:25 - I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.

Isaiah 42:16 - I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

Isaiah 55:1 - "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!

Isaiah 58:11 - The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Isaiah 65:24 - Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.

Are those not amazing verses from God through his word?!  Not only will he not leave us, or will he not forsake us, but also he promises that nothing will separate us from his love.  God said in the book of Romans theses amazing words.  When you are fearful, when you feel like everyone has abandon you and no one loves you - go to this verse and be renewed by the fact that nothing can separate you from God’s love for you as his dear child.  Here is the verse:

Rm. 8:31 - What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can bei against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.j 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And then, listen to what Jesus said about our security and the power of God - these verses our amazing:

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand." (John 10:27-29)


Here it is believers - do not fret, or worry or be insecure in your faith.  God has given you a great and mighty gift - Salvation.  And he is willing to protect that gift at all cost.  No one is as strong as he is; no one is as powerful as he is - he will keep you secure.  AND - do not be afraid when you feel alone or forsaken by the world.  God has never forsaken you, nor will he ever leave you.  Every one of our earthly friends may threaten to, but God never will.

I moved to Chicago Illinois with my family when I was a small boy.  Our family had grown in five years to Mom, Dad and 4 boys and 1 girl.  Now, if you do not know me, let me just say that we didn’t grow up in the “MINIVAN” era.  Mom had all five of us in our Datsun Station wagon, or should I say MINI station wagon.  I remember sitting in the back and mom popping the clutch.  The car jerked and I went flying, hitting the back gate and popping it open.  The next thing I remember is hitting the pavement and watching mom drive away.  Horrified, I jumped to my feet and ran as fast as my 5 year old legs could take me fearing that mom wasn’t going to see me and leave me all alone.  Believers, to many of us feel like I did, especially when crisis hits our life.  We feel like a 5 year old running after God, not thinking he sees us or he hears us, or worse yet, that he wants nothing to do with us.  Poppycock!  Today, let His very words speak security to you.  He will never leave you, he will never forsake you and nothing can separate you from His glorious love.

You are Loved!

10 words of assurance that will “ROCK” your faith…


 
 10 words of assurance that will “ROCK” your faith…




#1 Assurance of Salvation

Our biggest fear is what will happen to us after we die.  It’s the great unknown.  Where do we go?  What will it be like?  Is there a heaven and hell, and who goes?  Death is the great mysterious future for all of us.  Hebrews 9 says - “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment…”  (9:27)

So, all of us will one day have to face death face to face.  Then what?  Some believe in reincarnation, where, based on your last life, and how you lived it, you can move up or down the food chain.  Some believe in oblivion, or nothingness.  That when we die, that is the end.  Still others believe in levels of heaven and oblivion or extinction for non-believers.  Two more - some believe in heaven and hell and a place in-between where you get a second chance to work your way to heaven. And the last one I will share, though I am sure there is more, is what the Bible says, and that is this.  There is  a heaven, and there is a hell.  Heaven is for those who have placed there faith and trust in Jesus Christ as there savior.  Hell is reserved for those who have rejected Jesus finish work on the cross as the only way of salvation.

As a Christian, this is where the assurance of Salvation comes in as a rock to hold on to, especially during a crisis in your life.  How can we be sure?  What does the Bible say about my salvation?  Here are a few verses to help us:


1 - Remember, Salvation comes from God as a gift, and God isn’t an Indian-giver:
Romans 6:23 - “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God, (salvation), is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

1 John 5:11-12 - “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

John 3:16 - ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

2 - Remember - Salvation provided what we needed - forgiveness from our sinfulness:
1 John 4:10 - “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

John 3:18 - “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.”

John 3:36 - “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on them.”

Hebrews 2:9 - “But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”

Revelation 1:5 - “and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood…”

3 - Salvation is because of God’s amazing love for us:
Romans 5:8 - But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 8:32 - He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Eph. 2:4 - But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),…

2 Thessalonians 2:16 - May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope

1 John 3:1 - See what great 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.

1 John 4:9 - This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

4 - God’s desire is that we receive his Salvation
John 6:40 - For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day."

John 11:25 - Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;

5 - Salvation’s promise is Eternal Life in Heaven with Jesus Christ.
1 Jn 2:25 - This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.

John 3:15 - that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him."

John 6:40 - For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day."

John 10:28 - I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

1 John 1:2 - The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.

1 John 5:13
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Salvation is through Jesus Christ, because of his great love for us and given to us by God.  It comes through faith and only because of grace and mercy (Titus 3:5).  And one other thing - it hits at the heart of our greatest fear - what will happen to us after death.  Paul, the apostle, said this in Philippians 1

“…as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better…”

Now there is someone who fully understood what a rock the assurance of Salvation is to us.  Crisis may lead to death, yes, but what does the Christian have to worry about?  To be with Jesus is a one million percent upgrade!  Hold on to the joy of your salvation.  Your sin is forgiven, your salvation is secure, your home will one day be in Heaven with the author and perfecter of your faith - Jesus Christ!

You are Loved!


If you have never placed your faith in Jesus Christ to Save you, to forgive you from your sins and to restore your relationship with God, then GOOD NEWS.  You can do that today.  The Bible says that Salvation comes to those who 1) repent of there sins and 2) Ask God to save them in the name of Jesus.  Romans 10:9-13 -

“if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

You can have the same assurance of salvation by praying by faith these words:

Dear God, please forgive me for not believing you.  Forgive me for thinking I could work my way to heaven.  Forgive me for not believing Jesus is the way to you.  I place all my faith and trust in Jesus Christ, who died for me and who you raised from the dead and is now at your right hand as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Your word says that if I call to you to save me, you would save me.  God, I am asking you to save me today.  I am asking in the only name I can ask, in the Name of Jesus Christ my savior.  Thank you

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Thoughts from Proverbs 21

Hope everyone has been engaging in those BASIC SPIRITUAL GROWTH BUILDERS  of prayer and reading of the word.  Remember, don't just read it, study it, memorize it and meditate on it!.

Speaking of memorizing - do you have our verse down for the week? 
ASSURANCE OF ANSWERED PRAYER:



 
"Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full." John 16:24



Now, hopefully for some spiritual food to meditate on, from the 21st chapter of Proverbs.  Here are 4-6 verses I found most challenging today:

1) File this under "How we should live:"
v.3 - "To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice..."  God is more pleased with us when we do the right thing and the just thing to our friends and family, then when we play church or go to church just to look good, (that is what is meant by "more acceptable...than sacrifice.)   We need to process this away and remember it always - God cares about the heart more than he cares about your outward appearance with other people.

 2) File this under: "How we treat our spouses:"
vv. 9&19 say this - "9 - It is BETTER (everyone say better), to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife..." and then "19 - It is BETTER, (there's that word again - think God means this...), to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman..."   These verses aren't meant to make us think - "poor you, you've got it rough..."  NO!  ever hear the phrase - "it takes two to tango..."  that's not about dancing to a Latin song, but about fighting and quarreling.  Your home should and must be a place of peace!  Husbands, as you learn to LOVE your wife, remember, you don't always have to be right in everything.  And you don't have to always argue your point.  Solomon give great graphic imagery here - constant quarreling is like being in a desert land or the rooftop of your home.  Middle-Eastern homes were constructed so as to have a place of cool rest and relaxation at the end of a hot day, and that place was on the roof top.  They were basically flat.  Today we call it the back porch.  Now, i don't know about you, but living on my deck or back porch in August isn't what I find exciting, when I know I have a comfortable bed inside and a air conditioner to keep me cool.  But, and we all know it's true, marital relations that are strained because one or both parties can not forgive and move on - well now all of a sudden - sleeping on the porch might seem better to avoid the strife.  Question - Is that really the Love described in 1 Corinthians 13  - "patient, kind, forgiving one another..."

3) File this at the TOP of the LIST in BOLD LETTERS under: "I BETTER FIGURE THIS OUT QUICKLY OR MY LIFE WILL SEEM TO BE FULL OF TROUBLE!"  (or just file it under "DUH!")
vv. 2&30-31 say about the same thing - see if you can figure it out ok?!
"2 - Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart..."
"vv30-31 - No wisdom, now understanding, no counsel can avail against the LORD.  The horse is made ready of the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD."
Solomon is trying to instill in us this principle - You can have your thoughts and ways and plans, but unless you have them all prayed up and blessed by the LORD - you thoughts and schemes and ways and plans may go down as a big zero!  God loves to invite us into his sovereign rule and reign of our world.  As things come to mind that may seem like a great idea, don't be afraid to pray through that with the Lord and seek His wisdom and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in all that you are doing.  WE HAVE TO GET THIS CHURCH -  Jesus said the same thing as Solomon said, but he put it this way: "apart from me you can do nothing..."

4) Lastly, File this under that increasingly used, and quite full file called:  "What should I say and how should I say it?"
v.23 - "Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble..."
"keeping" is the Hebrew word "shaw-mar'" and is the idea of "guarding, to observe, give heed, have charge of, keep watch and ward, protect, save life."  So by its meaning, the verse is a great reminder to have watch over what spews out of your mouth.  "Will this glorify God?" "Will I embarrass my wife or family by saying this? And "is it really important that I win this arguement?"  Guard your mouth and guard your tongue and life will be better for you and your family.

Have a great day and meditate often today on what God is saying to you THROUGH HIS WORD.

You are Loved



Monday, July 20, 2015

Recap on "working for Christ" message


Here are some highlights from yesterdays message on the final W - working for Christ.
If you missed it, take some time and re-read the parable Jesus told in Luke 19.  Clearly he was trying to get a message across to his disciples that each of them have a gift given, and they are expected to use it.

What Principles can I learn from this Story? 5 principles, here they are:
 1b) Life is not a POSSESSION; it’s a TRUST.  Your life isn't yours!  BonJovi Got it all wrong.  As a believer, you had a life, and then you realized that it wasn't working out the way you thought it was suppose to, and you then did what?  You gave your life to Christ.  Look again at 1 Cor. 6:19-20 - 

"do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies."

For the believer - your life isn't a possession - it belongs to Christ.  You gave it away at Salvation and not must follow Him.  He has given each of us a gift - and that leads us to our next point  - 
2b) The Smallest GIFT must be put to good use.  I love the Bible.  Over and over I see the great stories that echo this principle - "Little is much when God is in it..."  think about the boy and his lunch that he gave to Jesus to feed 5000 men and their families.  Did Jesus use it?  of Course - although it was little, it was much in the hand of the creator.  You may not think you have a great gift or even a great talent, but I can tell you - like the boy who gave up his lunch and watched Jesus feed everyone with it -you surrender your talents and gifts to God and watch what he does.  Say it with me - Little is much when God is in it...


3b) Two kinds of people - those who USE their opportunity and those who DON'T.  Churches everywhere are full of givers - NOT JUST $ but time and talent - and full of TAKERS.  Which are you?  God loves the Givers.  Join the work that he has for us to do!


4b) The FUTURE is NOW.  if you are waiting for something great to come along or just the right situation - Stop!  Before you know it you will have missed your opportunity.  Jump in now and get on board.  God knows what you can do and will use you accordingly.

5b) Accountability to God is the most SIGNIFICANT event in the FUTURE.  (Rm 14:10; Heb. 9:27)  Accountability to God for what we have done for him is the major theme of this parable.  It is coming, and might be sooner than you think.  Who really knows how much time you have left before you will be standing before him face to face.  Work now until he comes.


5A] Plugging in at HBC.

1b) Everyone has a GIFT that is needed.

2b) Opportunities are MANY - there should be ZERO unemployment here.

3b) You will not grow beyond where you are NOW WITHOUT consistently WORSHIPING, WALKING AND WORKING for Christ.

4b) RESPONSIBILITY is yours.  HOW DID YOU GET A JOB? You went out and got one.  You sought out the opportunity.  Start asking the questions - where can I go and what can I do?

Great series and great reminder for us all - Worship, Walk and Work and become a growing disciple of Jesus Christ.



Friday, July 17, 2015

Proverbs 16-17


Not a lot of commentary today from these two chapters because the verses are really straight forward.  So today I wanted to highlight a few verses from each chapter to let you meditate on them and put them into practice at work or in your home.

Chapter 16:

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY
v.4 - “the LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble…”
v.33 - “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every division is from the LORD…”

Powerful if you think about it.  God is in control of everything - even the wicked.  He has ordained days that the wicked seem to prosper, but then we see His mighty had at work and the wicked destroyed and God receives even greater glory and thanksgiving for His acts of rescue. 

Also notice v.33 - “The lot is cast…”  Casting lots was a way to make a decision and we see it again and again in the Bible.  They would have stones with Yes on one side and No on the other - 2 stones to be exact.  If it came up Yes/Yes they did it, or No/No they didn’t do it.  Sometimes there was a Yes/No, so they would throw it again.  The primary reason for casting lots was to render an impartial, unbiased decision on important matters.  It’s fascinating to notice that the sovereignty of God even reached down to a "coin toss or the roll of the dice” as we would call it.

ATTITUDES

v.18 - “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall…”
v.32 - “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city…”

First Pride - Pride and arrogance are recipes for disaster.  Hit the delete button in your life when you find pride.  James 4 and 1Pt. 5 both say the same thing - "Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1Pt 5:5 ESV)  Proverbs 29:23 says - "One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.”  What defeats pride?  Humility.  Seek to be humble in all things!

Then verse 32 says be slow to anger and rule your spirit - why?  God sees those who are in control as better than the mighty warriors who lack self-control.  Yes, it is tough to do, but it is possible.  Seek to reign in your anger.

Lastly - WORK AND ETHICS:
v.3 - “Commit your work to the LORD and your plans will be established…”
v.25 - “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death…”

I wish the writer of Proverbs would have put theses two verses back to back, but he didn’t.  How should I view my work?  Robert Burns wrote: “the best laid plans of mice and men often go array…” and that is so true.  Why?  Our plans were not in line with His plans.  Seek first to commit your work and all you do to the Lord and he will direct your path.  Without his help you are just aimlessly beating your head against a rock.

Chapter 17

STRIFE -(angry or bitter disagreement over fundamental issues; conflict)

v. 1 - “Better is a dry morsel with quite than a house full of feasting with strife…”
v. 9 - “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends…"
v. 14 - “ The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out…”
v.17 - “A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity…"

THE FOOL:
v.10 - “a rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hounded blows into a fool…”
v.16 -“Why should a fool have money in his hand to by wisdom when he has no sense?" 

THE FOOL BEING PRAISED - (RARE)
vv.
27-28 - “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.  Even a FOOL who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Proverbs 15

I hope you've had time already to look over the pages of Proverbs 15.  What a great passage!  Did you see our key words repeated again and again - the fool and the fear of the Lord.

Well, here is something that has stood out for me today:  People still think they can hide things from God...sin, money, selfish or foolish tendencies, hatred of other and so much more.  But look at verse 2 from Proverbs 15 - what does it say...

Proverbs 15:2 -"the eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good..."

Did you see it?  In the first nine words of the verse the concept of hiding anything from God is put to shame.  "the eyes of the Lord are in every place..."

This is not a new concept for the writer of Proverbs, King Solomon.  What I mean is this - the omnipresence of God almighty was something he would have learned from his daddy - King David.  Look at the words of Psalm 139:
"O Lord, you have searched men and known me!  You know when I sit down and when I rise...You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.  Even before a word is on my tongue - you know it...Where shall I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence? ...if I say "Surely the darkness shall cover me...even the darkness is not dark to you...the night is a bright as the day..."

David understood that the Lord was always present and always watching and he has given that instruction now to his son -King Solomon, and Solomon is relaying it on to us in greater detail.  Notice some verses that he points out about God's watchful eye on the good and evil people - first the evil:
 - The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD...
 - The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns...
 - The Lord tears down the house of the proud...
 - The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD.
 - The Lord is far from the wicked...

REMEMBER:  God is ever and always knowing and hearing and watching the way of the wicked and the good.  Nothing is getting by him.  It may seem like it to you in the moment, but the Lords ways are not your ways and the Lord is slow to anger, and we are not.  His patience is a character trait I am often grateful for in light of my sinful tendencies, aren't you?  Trust His word when it says that he will tread the wine press of his great wrath on the evil of this world, but be thankful that when we ask how much longer he says -"just a little while more..."  For sinners are still coming to Him.  Yes - He will deal with the wicked, proud and sluggard in his time - you can be sure of it.

And rest assured as well, as Solomon tells us, that the LORD watches not just the evil but the good.  Notice from the Text:
 - the prayer of the upright is acceptable to HIM...
 - In the house of the righteous there is much treasure...
 - the lips of the wise spread knowledge
 - He loves him  who pursues righteousness...
 - the path of the upright is a level highway...
 - The LORD hears the prayers of the righteous...

Do not ever wonder if God is watching - by his very nature and character he is!  Ponder then, do I do justice and righteousness, or do I choose the path of injustice and sin?  What ever you choose, remember He is seeing your every move.  I would say CHOOSE RIGHTEOUSNESS...but the choice, as always, is up to you.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Proverbs 13-14


I hope you have been keeping up with your reading this week.  Remember that we have learned that a quality disciple - (and we all want to be a quality disciple right?) A quality disciple of Jesus is one who Worships Christ and Walks with Christ.  Walking with Christ is established by time spent in the Word of God!  Chisel out in your very tight and busy schedule a time to sit and read his word. But don't just read it, study it and memorize it.

Our church reading today is found in Proverbs 14.  I wanted to point out just two words today - Fool and Fear.

First Fool.  A minimum of 10 times in chapters 13 & 14 the word fool appears.  If something is repeated that much in the New Testament in two chapters we would be highlighting it an preaching a 5 part series on it.  Sadly though, the term fool is repeated over and over again in the book of Proverbs but we fail to learn anything from it.

I think the word is lost on us in our modern language so maybe the best place to start is with a definition.  In the Hebrew, Fool or Foolish is translated from two different words. 

The first is kes-eel’ which means - "Fool, stupid fellow, dullard (a slow or stupid person), simpleton, or arrogant one.” 

The other word is ev-eel’ which means - "be foolish, foolish, of one who despises wisdom, one who mocks when guilty, of one who is quarrelsome and of one who is licentious.”

Now can we agree, this is not a characteristic of a believer right?  (SAY I AGREE).  So when we see the word fool used in the text, we should instantly determine not to be like that person.  (SAY I AGREE)  Good!  Look at some of the verses attributed to fools just in chapters 13-14:
  • 13:20 - “…but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
  • 13:19 - “…but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools…”
  • 14:3 - “By the mouth of a fool comes a rod for his back…”
  • 14:7 - “Leave the presence of a fool for there you do not meet words of knowledge."
  • 14:8-9 - “…but the folly of fools is deceiving. Fools mock at the guilt offering…"
  • ONE MORE - 14:16 - “One who is wise is cautious and turns way from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.  A man of quick temper acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated.
Now, in contrast, the other word that appears frequently in several chapters of the book of Proverbs is the word “fear”. When you see it -  almost every instance is coupled with the phrase "FEAR of the LORD". 

Fear in the Hebrew is the word - yir-aw’ which means: "terror or fear, causing fear, the object causing the fear is awesome or terrifying, respect, reverence and revered."

Now I do not subscribe to the theory that when we read, “fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…(1:7),” that what it is say is God is just to be respected or reverenced.  I think that softens something that was never, ever mentioned in scripture.  Think about those that had an encounter with the living God.  Samson’s parents believed they were doomed for being with the Deity.  Elijah felt the strong hand of God on Mount Carmel in the fire at the altar and on Mount Sinai in the storm and in the wind and had to hide himself in the cleft of the rock.  Moses longed to see God, but was only permitted to see his glory pass by and that caused his face to shine so much the people were afraid and covered it in fear.  Isaiah was undone in Isaiah 6 for seeing into the thrown room of God for just a moment.  Peter saw the transfigured Christ and was so amazed he babbled out of shear fear and nervousness.  The disciples were taken back by Jesus as he calmed the storm.  Again the disciples were fearful when he came to them in the storm, walking on water.  Paul was blinded and radically changed by his encounter with the risen and glorified Christ on the road to Damascus.  Point is, over and over again in the scriptures, God was never just respected as being the best, but feared because of his awesomeness. 

As we read through Proverbs together, take time to circle these text, like verse 27 of chapter 14.  “..the fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death…”  As you read another one in another chapter - take a pencil and connect the statements and meditate on them.  There is great wisdom in understanding what God likes and what he hates.  Fools have no fear of the Lord.  Wisdom is grounded in the fear of the Lord.  “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight…” (9:10)


Two Words - Fool and Fear.  You will see them in almost ever chapter.  Don't be a fool, understand what God is instructing you in the Proverbs and Fear the Lord.