The Beginning of Knowledge (Proverbs 1)

Pro 1:7, 28-29, 33 NKJV The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge, [But] fools despise wisdom and instruction. … (28) “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. (29) Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD, … (33) But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, And will be secure, without fear of evil.”

Dear Daughter, We all have choices about what we let influence our lives. We choose to listen to some folks or give more weight to what they say than other. We live in a day and age of echo chambers where if we don’t like the news (or the spin on the news) on one station we turn the channel to another. If we don’t like the politics of folks on one social media feed, we find a different feed, app, friends, etc. You have a ton of options on who you listen to, however there is only one place that you will find true wisdom and knowledge and that’s the LORD.

A reverent respect for God and His Word is where true knowledge and wisdom begins. There are mainly two different paths in life. The one who follows after God and the one who goes her own way. In Proverbs the one who goes their own way instead of following after God is called a fool because she has forgotten that she was made by God, for God and that her greatest purpose is in the hands of God. Fools suffer because of their foolishness.

God has a purpose and a plan for you, but you’ll only find it out when you seek after Him. Fools often despise God’s wisdom because they are looking only for short term gain. But what feels good in the moment can cost them more than they might expect. Remember Esau sold his birthright for a pot of stew. Don’t miss out on Godly wisdom because of bad advice from the wrong crowd. Seek, Find, and Listen to God’s Word, you won’t be let down.

Father, Thankyou for loving us enough to give us knowledge when we come to you in reverent respect. I pray for my children today that they would grow in wisdom and knowledge as they seek after you. I pray that you would keep their feet from the path that leads to destruction. Guard their way. Make them ever vigilant to drink from the stream of your wisdom. Give us grace as parents to teach them your word and to honor you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Join us in reading a Proverb A Day through the Month of May (or any month you want)

Read A Chapter Of Proverbs A Day In MAY

The goal is simple. Read a chapter of PROVERBS a day in the month of MAY! Will you join us?

The book of Proverbs stands out as a great source of wisdom to be passed down from parent to child. Solomon write and compiled Proverbs as wisdom to give to his son and in it he addresses issues such as choosing the right kind of friends, staying away from the wrong crowd, working hard, managing money, being respectful, choosing the right marriage partner, avoiding the dangers of alcohol, and so much more.  This wisdom is practical not just for parents and children but for all of us! 

https://pixabay.com/photos/bible-proverbs-heart-purple-pink-102684/

I’ve been reading my way through the book of Proverbs (a chapter a day) through most months as part of my devotional time. It’s a book filled with godly wisdom, broken down into short sayings. It is just 31 chapters long so it’s easy to read one chapter a day. And most days it seems like something I read in Proverbs applies directly to something I’m going through.  I’ll be reading through Proverbs, a chapter a day, through the month of May and reflect in writing about something from the chapter I’ve read.

I’ll be thinking in particular about parenting and my kids. Following the format of wisdom being passed down from father to son, I’ll be reflecting about wisdom I want my kids to see. Something else may jump out at you so feel free to comment in the comment section of each post. For some of you this is a place to start developing the habit of reading God’s Word each day, for others this may be supplemental to whatever you are already doing. Either way, I pray you are blessed in reading along with us a chapter of PROVERBS a day in the month of MAY (or any other month where this blog finds you!)

If you haven’t already, make sure your subscribed to this blog so you get fresh email posts each day in May. If you are on a desk top the email sign-up is to the right. If you are viewing this on a smart phone, make sure you click on the blog post and scroll down to the bottom. Just past the comment section is an area where you can sign up with your email!

Every few days I’ll come back and add links to the days we have already posted in May.

Why Social Justice is Not Biblical Justice (A Review)

There is a real divide in America today. A much bigger divide than their used to be. I miss the conversations I used to have with friends who saw the world in a different way and were willing to let me hear from their experiences and engage in constructive dialogue. I genuinely believe that those conversations helped me see a side of things I had never seen before and pray that my side of the conversation helped my friends as well. I hope to have those sort of conversations again and maybe this book can be a starting point for some construtive dialogue.

The church has always stood for justice. Obviously, not perfectly at every place and every time. But she has always stood for justice. Perhaps that is why so many of my friends in the Christian/ protestant/ evangelical camp (pick your descriptor) have so easily embraced social justice. We care about these issues! Yet, the approach that has been termed social justice is not rooted in a theology of biblical justice. It’s rooted in a humanistic worldview and it is pushing towards a cultural confrontation in which there doesn’t seem to be a peaceful resolution.

That’s why, Why Social Justice is Not Biblical Justice is a much needed book for our moment. Author Scott David Allen does an excellent job of demonstrating the differenced between social justice and biblical justice. He writes not just to critique what is often called social justice, but to compare it to a biblical worldview. He does a thorough job of bringing voices of individuals on all sides of the issue to the fore front to let them speak for themselves, often quoting at length. He exposes the essential worldview at work in social justice and critiques it from a biblical worldview. He is not afraid to call out the names of individuals who he believes have compromised their biblical integrity by either forsaking justice all together, or trying to hold in tension social justice and biblical justice (which he argues can’t be done).

If you are looking for a book to help put everything in a biblical perspective, this book is helpful. It was extremely helpful for me and it is a book that I plan on passing along to friends and others who have wrestled through the challenges of social justice. I’m currently reading books from a Christian perspective on all sides of the justice issue. I’ve ordered several from different backgrounds and perspectives. If you have a book that you think would be a good read or recommend on the topic of Justice from a Christian perspective, feel free to comment and let me know. (Our culture is shifting and that might not be a completely bad thing in a lot of ways, but we need to have real and honest conversations not just complaints we offer up on social media.

A Book to Keep Reading to Your Kids

Every once in a while a children’s book comes along that transcends the moments of childhood and becomes a gateway to the rest of life. Among those books I count the Dr. Seus’ book, Oh The Places You Will Go and and Robert Munsch’s book, Love You Forever. These books are a blessing to read to our children, gifts still suitable for graduation, and powerfully reflective for the parents that read and gift them to our children. Add now to that same category Melissa Kruger’s book, Wherever You Go, I Want You To Know.

This is a powerful reflective book that reads easily, rhymes well, and most importantly captures the attention of my preschooler (we read it just about ever day). The illustrations are well formatted and compliment the writing. I can’t tell you how many times my preschooler and I have noticed new details in a picture that we previously missed. It’s definitely a Hill house favorite.

The sentiment of the writing is also very gripping, “where ever you go, I want you to know…” which ultimately leads to a conclusion of, “I pray you love Jesus with all of your heart.” For parents of faith, it is a simple expression of our deepest prayers for our children and is very emotional. It’s fitting as a book for preschoolers or as an emotional add on to some of life’s bigger ‘growing up’ moments like graduations, etc.

Disclosures*

THE CURSE IS UNDONE! (Revelation 19-22)

Revelation 22:3 ESV No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.

As we’ve read through the book of Revelation, several of the chapters depict a violent storm of God’s wrath. In today’s reading the storm of God’s wrath has passed, the bright rays of light illuminate everything and we notice that the sun is gone, but an even better source of light is present. God Himself is the light by which we will see! We see a wedding with a bride adorned in white, we see a river, we see the tree of life, we see a glimpse of our hope of glory, and we are reminded that the return of Christ is eminent.

What’s Missing: This subtle line, “no longer will there be anything accursed,” gripped me this morning as I read it. How wonderful will it be when there is no sin and the curse that follows it. When there is no consequence of the fall left to burden man. How free and wonderful will our worship be. How magnificent will be our enjoyment of all things. There will be no more guilt, no shame, no hunger, no hurt, no pain, no tears of sorrow, nothing to separate us from our God.

Who’s There: It’s not just about the curse being undone but because the curse is no more we will be able to abide in the presence of God. We will be where He is. No walls, no secrets, no separation. We will see Him for who He is and worship Him all the more! His glory won’t be veiled or hidden, but rather will be on center stage for all to see, worship, and adore. We won’t be running form Him, but running to Him. As dark as the clouds of God’s wrath hang in the background, the brightness of God’s glory will shine even brighter for those who are His.

Father, we stand in awe of you today! You are worthy of all worship and glory! We see only glimpses of eternity in this life. We behold shadows but crave the substance. Sin and the curse that comes with it has shackled all of creation. We longingly look forward to a day when our sin will be no more, where the curse is undone. We pray even now that you will our hearts with hope and longing for that day when we shall behold you in all of your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

RESOURCES:

2020 Post on Revelation 19-22

Join us in reading though the New Testament in 90 Days! You can find the plan and previous posts here.

Mighty Is the Lord God (Revelation 16-18)

Revelation 18:7-8 ESV As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, ‘I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.’ (8) For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”

Reading through Revelation is very sobering. It can be especially eye opening to read this section as it describes the wrath of God being poured out. We can tend to think of God in terms of only, grace, mercy, kindness, love, etc. But we must also note that God is also a God of wrath. His patience will come to an end. Humanity will face the great and terrible day of the Lord.

Notice that God’s wrath isn’t poured out on those who have received him into their lives, but it is poured out on those who have rejected God time and time again. Like in the days of the flood, Noah and his family were spared, but those who were outside the ark perished. In a similar way, those in Christ are spared the wrath of God to come.

It’s not as though God is unfair with His wrath. Those who receive it, have earned it. Because of God’s justice his wrath is poured out in exact measure. Not one drop more than those who receive it deserve. Not one drop less.

We seldom ever think of the weight or our sin against a holy and a righteous God. In our own court system it’s one thing to abuse an animal, it’s another to abuse a human. In some places you receive the death penalty for murder, a life for a life. But what is the consequence for a trespass against a Holy Eternal God? It’s an eternal crime worthy of an eternal punishment.

It shocks us to see such wrath poured out at the hand of God. It should shock us that God has been so patient. It should shock us even more that Christ would redeem and save some of us the from this great and terrible wrath. Sometimes we don’t appreciate the love of God displayed in Jesus Christ as we should because we have failed to take into account the wrath of God. The wrath that we would face apart from Him and the wrath that he took in our place.

Father, thank you for your overwhelming grace to save sinners from the wrath that is due us. We confess that we do not always know or consider how great and terrible an offense our sin really is. You are just, you are good, you are holy, you are worthy of all of our praise. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

RESOURCES:

2020 Post on Revelation 16-18

Join us in reading though the New Testament in 90 Days! You can find the plan and previous posts here.

Their Deed Follow Them! (Revelation 13-15)

Revelation 14:13 ESV And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

Those who die in the Lord (saved) during a time of great tribulation are doubly blessed. They are blessed in the sense that they are no longer striving and suffering. Often when a godly saint who has suffered physically passes away, we draw comfort from the fact that they are no longer suffering. Indeed for a believer to be no longer suffering on earth is to be rejoicing in heaven. Especially those who were hunted down, betrayed, and martyred.

The second way that they are blessed is that their deeds follow them. What they have done in obedience to Christ has not been forgotten. They will be remembered and rewarded for trusting the Lord. We won’t be able to take any earthly riches with us into eternity, but we will get to take the demonstrations of God’s grace that revealed themselves in real works of faith.

When I meditate on this today, I’m praying to walk in the good deeds which God prepared beforehand (Ephesians 2:1). I’m pondering what it means to store up treasure in Heaven (Matthew 6:19-20). I’m praying that I honor the Lord with my conduct. I’m also rejoicing in the testimony of those who were faithful to the end. Men and women who though dead, still speak through their outstanding lives of character.

Father, thank you for saving me. Thank you for enabling me to do good works which will honor you. I pray that I build my life out of the things that really matter and honor you. Help me to seek your kingdom first and honor you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

RESOURCES:

2020 Post on Revelation 13-15

Join us in reading though the New Testament in 90 Days! You can find the plan and previous posts here.

God is Still on the Throne (Revelation 10-12)

Revelation 10:5-7 ESV And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven (6) and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, (7) but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.

There is a lot of symbolism in these chapters. You can look back at last years post to see how I understand some of the images that are described in this section of scripture. It’s important that we don’t miss the forest for the trees in the descriptions in the book of Revelation. God is sovereign over His creation! The point of the book of Revelation is to note that He is Almighty Sovereign God and He reigns over everything. There is nothing that take Him by surprise. Events unfold at his prerogative and at their appointed times.

This is important because there will be moments where it looks like He is losing. His faithful servants will be persecuted. There is an evil enemy that seeks to devour them. Yet, even when it looks like the faithful are perishing, God is in control…. As we round the corner going into the Passion week before Easter, we are reminded that it must have looked like evil was winning when Jesus was crucified, yet it was through His death and resurrection that we are saved!

My big takeaway from todays reading is to remember that all of history is headed to a particular destination and will reach that destination at the exact right time. I’m reminded that God is in control. Somehow as I fret with small things that cause us stress (family, bills, work, etc.), I am comforted to place these things in the hands of the Lord and pray for His kingdom to come. There is great personal peace to be found by seeking first the kingdom of God.

Father, thank you for these chapters in the book of Revelation today that reminds me that you are in control. I admit I am often consumed with the minor details of life that I can’t control. How refreshing it is to know that you are in control of all things. I pray for your kingdom to come and your will to be done. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

RESOURCES:

2020 Post on Revelation 10-12

Join us in reading though the New Testament in 90 Days! You can find the plan and previous posts here.

They Did Not Repent (Revelation 7-9)

Revelation 9:20-21 ESV The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, (21) nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Sometimes when we read through this section of scripture we can get caught up in imagining what these creatures described in Revelation nine might be. In fairness, there tends to by a lot of symbolism in Revelation. What is unmistakable though, is that despite all of the calamity unleashed on mankind there is still a clear defiance against the LORD.

Those who survived didn’t repent of serving false gods nor the associated sins. This illustrates two things. One is God’s mercy in allowing them an opportunity to repent. Two thirds of the world’s population are left at this time. They have seen all that has happened. This is the time for them to humble themselves and turn to God. But unfortunately this also demonstrates how hard the hearts of the people are against the Lord. They have seen massive calamity overtake the world and yet their hearts grow harder against God instead of becoming soft.

This causes me to pause and question for the sake of application. Am I hardening or softening my heart to God? Do I receive his instruction? Do I welcome his discipline? Do I run to Him or run away from Him? What about my friends and my neighbors? Do they seek after God?

A Step Deeper: On this list of sins we see both “sorceries” and “sexual immorality.” It can be easy to pass over those words and not know what they mean. The Greek word for sorcery is pharmakeia, which is where we get our English word pharmacy. In the dictionary it’s first definition is mind altering drugs. The reason it is also translated as sorcery is because the practice of ancient magic included doing hallucinogenic drugs in order to get into contact with “spirits” who would do your bidding. (Who did you think the sorcerers thought they were talking to when they cast their spells?) The Greek word translated as sexual immorality is porneia, it is where we get our English word, “pornography.” It means any kind of sexual act outside of the bonds of marriage between one man and one woman. The list of perversions that this word refers too is a long list.

Father, thank you that you love us and welcome us to come to you when we come in humility and repentance, trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ. I pray today that our hearts would be soft to you. I pray that we would be submitted to do your will. I ask for our family, our friends, our neighbors to seek after you before the great and terrible day of your judgement. I pray they are found by your mercy and grace before it is too late. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

RESOURCES:

2020 Post or Revelation 7-9

Join us in reading though the New Testament in 90 Days! You can find the plan and previous posts here.

Jesus Is Worthy (Revelation 4-6)

Revelation 5:4-5 ESV and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. (5) And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

There is some similarity between Isaiah’s vision in Isaiah 6 and what John observes here. What an incredible thing it must be to gather in the sights and sounds of the throne room of the LORD God Almighty! Certainly He is worthy of all worship, honor, and glory. To see and hear these magnificent angelic creatures uttering praise to the Lord must have been an incredible experience and certainly John would have felt both God’s grandeur and his own insignificance.

When John sees there is a scroll that needs to be opened and no creature is worthy enough to open the scroll he weeps. In that moment he feels the weight of inadequacy and that no one was adequate to open this scroll. Then Jesus steps forward. He is Worthy. He has conquered sin and death. The world belongs to him twice. Once for it’s creation, and now through it’s redemption.

I was reminded to come to the Lord today in awe and worship. Jesus is worthy of all of our praise and adoration. He stood in the gap between men and God and purchased our salvation.

If you can, imagine a world where sin was left unchecked. Where for all of our striving, all we were accomplishing was our own damnation. Where everything we called good was actually an offense to our maker. Where no one was capable of worshipping God. Where the Creator was only mocked. That the only way He would or could be glorified was by the eternal damnation and destruction of a rebellious people. What a terrible place this earth would be. It would literally be Hell.

Now imagine, what if the Lord were to rescue and redeem all of creation. What if he took sin away from the world? Where folks walked down the street without lust, greed, envy, hatred or strife. What if everyone, everywhere genuinely loved one another and wanted the best for one another. What if everyone was genuinely happy to see other doing well? What a place this earth would be. That would be Heaven!

Jesus is worthy of all praise and worship because he has bridged the divide between man and God that was created by sin. He has redeemed those who have believed on him to eternal life. He created, preserved, and ultimately redeemed this world.

Father, thank you for Jesus Christ who is worthy of all of our worship. Thank you that He is worthy to step up and open the scroll here in Revelation. Thank you that he is worthy to rule the world. Thank you that you are sovereign in all of creation. Thank you that you have a plan for redemption and restoration for people who are sinners like me. THank you for the gift of faith that I can trust Jesus Christ and follow Him. Thank you for your overwhelming mercy and grace. You are worthy of all our worship. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

RESOURCES:

2020 Post on Revelation 4-6

Books:

Join us in reading though the New Testament in 90 Days! You can find the plan and previous posts here.