Better than Rubies (Proverbs 8)

Pro 8:10-13, 31-32 NKJV Receive my instruction, and not silver, And knowledge rather than choice gold; (11) For wisdom [is] better than rubies, And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her. (12) “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And find out knowledge [and] discretion. (13) The fear of the LORD [is] to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate. … (31) Rejoicing in His inhabited world, And my delight [was] with the sons of men. (32) “Now therefore, listen to me, [my] children, For blessed [are those who] keep my ways.

Daughter, I was working on one of our cars several years ago. I had to pull off one of the front rotors (the part that connects to the tire). I had the tire off, but the rotor wouldn’t come off. I looked everything up on YouTube and saw someone working on a similar vehicle. It was easy for them, but try as I might the rotor wouldn’t come off our vehicle. I even took a sledgehammer to try and pound it off. Finally in desperation I called a friend. My friend had a repair manual for our particular car and he noticed that our vehicle was different than the one in the video. There was an extra nut that needed to be removed. Sure enough we removed the extra (hidden) nut and everything came off like it was supposed to.

So many people go through life trying to fix themselves. They might even look up guides or listen to videos on how to do things, but if they don’t have the truth they will just end up frustrated. The highest aim and the greatest value you can search for in life is genuine wisdom based on the truth. The greatest asset you can have is a character of humility to learn from God who made you with a purpose and designed you to benefit from wisdom. Don’t waste your energy on winging it, seek God’s wisdom.

If you love and fear the LORD, you will be humble. You will hate what he hates. You will search diligently for the right and abhor the wrong. You will hate pride that threatens to take away the gift of wisdom. You will search for truth diligently and prize it above all.

Father, thank you for the privilege of raising my children. I pray that I model humility for them. I pray that they humbly seek truth from you all the days of their lives. I pray that they are blessed and benefit from wisdom. I ask that they would hate the things you hate. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Rejoice in the Wife of Your Youth (Proverbs 5)

Pro 5:15-20 ESV Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well. (16) Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets? (17) Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you. (18) Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, (19) a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love. (20) Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?

Dear son, my parents read a book to me when I was little about a little boy who was given a dollar. He met a friend who said he’d give the boy two quarters for the dollar. Two is more than one, the boy reasoned and so he made the trade. Another boy offered him three dimes for his two quarters. Three is more than two, the boy reasoned and so he made the trade. Still another boy offered him four nickels for the three dimes. Four is better than three he reasoned, and so he made the trade. Finally a boy offered him five pennies for his four nickels. Five is more than four he reasoned and so he made the trade. He came home to show his father what he had done and it was then that he realized that with every trade he’d lost value. I’m sure the story was intended to teach us the value of a dollar, but there was a deeper lesson as well. We are often tempted to make bad trades in life and we often don’t value some things like we should.

I cannot emphasizes the value of loving one woman all of your life. There will be moments of temptation that come your way all through your life. It is your duty to guard your heart and pursue your wife. When temptation comes your way count the cost and flee. I know men who have traded their entire life for a moment of pleasure. They traded their wife, their children, their income, their respect, their trustworthiness, and some traded their occupation for a few fleeting minutes of pleasure. There is grace for those who have made this costly trade (Psalm 51), but it’s my prayer that you guard your heart.

Let’s focus in on verse 19-20 for a moment. If you are going to truly value your future wife and pursue the wife of your youth above all it means that you will stay away from sexual relationships outside the bond of marriage. You don’t need any competing memories with your marriage bed. You don’t need any old flames to stir up old passions, jealousy or doubt. This means that you will stay away from viewing pornography. You don’t need to peak into someone else’s bedroom. You don’t need the fantasy of sex without commitment. You don’t need your head filled with false expectations or ideas of how to degrade and exploit women.

What do you do when you have natural urges and you aren’t married yet? Use that energy to go to work in building a life for you and the wife of your youth. Too many young men sit around and play video games into their 30s and beyond. Prepare yourself for marriage so when the right woman comes along you already have a job, have a plan, and are able to be married without living off of someone else.

When you are married and temptation comes your way, never despise your wife. Never for a moment imagine her as cruel for not giving you what you want, when you want it. This is a lie from the devil. Committed relationships take some work. The Devil will always offer you two shiny quarters and tell you that he’ll take that dingy dollar off your hands, but you must know that no matter how shiny the coin he offers you, your dollar isn’t dingy and it is worth way more than he is offering. Commit now to have eyes only for your wife. Count yourself blessed everyday. Do the small things in your relationship well. Kiss her on the way out the door in the morning. Open her door. Treat her like your queen. Speak well of her to your children. Speak well of her to your coworkers. Speak well of her often and never run out of good things to say. Pursue the wife of your youth don’t give your energy or attention to any other and you will be blessed. Sometimes work is the mistress the devil offers instead of another woman. Be careful not to pursue so much overtime that you stop pursuing your wife. (And dear daughter too, look for a man like this).

One last word. There are many lies and perversions in our culture. They are given to you by people with an agenda. I’ll be honest, I have an agenda too. I’m your dad, I want the best for you. You are more than a voter to me. You are more than a consumer to buy my goods. You are more than an opinion in a pole to persuade others. You are my son. My interest in you is greater than what this world offers. I’m on your team. I’m your biggest fan. I love you enough that I will not tell you just what you might want to hear. I will tell you what you need to hear. You are more than sexual appetites and animal lusts. Your identity is greater than your sexual urges. You are a man created in the image of God and you have the capacity to withstand sexual temptation (no matter what shape it takes).

Father, Thank you for my precious children. I ask for your blessing on their lives. I pray for their present and future relationships. I ask you to watch over them in their singleness and in their relationships. I pray that they would seek after you and your blessings. I ask Lord that they would live following your wisdom even when that runs counter to the culture. I pray that my wife and I are examples for them to follow. I ask for your grace to be multiplied to my family as we seek after you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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They Did Not Know Him: John 1 – 3

I saw an old friend the other day. I didn’t recognize them because they had a mask on. Yet all the things they were saying were vaguely familiar. Finally when the mask came down and they were revealed I realized who I had been talking too. I was so embarrassed. I should have recognized my friend.

What if God we’re speaking to you and you didn’t know it? That’s exactly what John says happened when Jesus dwelt among us. The very people who should have recognized him, didn’t. Further John reminds us that it wasn’t because he was wearing a mask, but because sin had blinded our hearts. The good news is that Jesus had come to deal with our sin and give us new hearts.

A Few General Observations: God himself stepped back on to the planet He created and His people did not know Him. As I read this morning and I was reminded of the creation account. What we see in Genesis before the fall is that people walked with God. They knew God. They enjoyed His presence. Now when God walks among his people agian, they don’t recognize Him (John 1:10).

What is particularly disheartening is that his “own” people didn’t receive Him. By “own” people we can assume we are talking about the nation of Israel. These were God’s chosen people. He caused them to come into being through the miraculous birth of Isaac. Delivered them through Moses. Then He continued to choose and bless them all through the Old Testament. These people, even in their existence, were a testimony to the work of the One True Living God. So how did they miss Him?

In Chapter three we begin to see the whole picture. Jesus comes as light revealing God to all who will see, but many don’t want to see because they love the darkness (3:19). Sin has blinded us to Seeing Jesus for who He is, but Jesus has come to deal with our sin.

Prayer: Father, I am so thankful that you have revealed yourself to your creation that we might know you. Thank you for saving me from my sin and causing me to be born again. Thank you for the power of the Holy Spirit in my life. I pray that your light would shine in my life so that it might be evident to all that you are the one who has changed me from death to life. I’m Jesus name, Amen

Resources For further reflection

The Lightlings (Children’s Book) by RC Sproul (affiliate link)

Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior (Hymn) by Fanny Crosby

Day 41: Romans 1-3 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes fromRomans 1-3 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

Paul jumps right into the gospel in Romans. He is not ashamed (1:16). He is making his appeal to both the Jews and to the gentiles. Paul says in chapter one that what can be known about God is plain in creation, but our perverse hearts seek something else to worship (1:20-21). The reason we sin is because we are sinners and that’s not something that takes place on the outside, that’s a heart issue!

[Side Note: a lot of people are fond of pointing out homosexuality in this passage (1:26-27). It is there, but there are also a lot of other sins that are listed as the result of our rebellion against God (1:28-31). Some that are a lot more evident in society. Things like gossip, disobedient to parents, boasting, being unloving, or unmerciful. We are warned in chapter two of judging those who do these things while doing them ourselves. Romans 2:4 stands out as a gem of hope against the backdrop of condemnation and the coming wrath of God… We should be those who seek repentance not the condemnation of those who are in sin.]

Paul says that the purpose of our conscience is to bear witness against us,  condemning us or justifying us as the case may be (2:15).  We take notice that our conscience is internal, in our hearts. Our consciences are not an outside influence like an angel sitting on our shoulder whispering in our ear. If we are really going to be acceptable to God we have to change from inside out. We must be changed in the heart (2:29). 

Paul reminds us that we are all sinners (3:23). We all miss the mark. We all inwardly don’t long or aspire of our own accord to glorify God. We are bent and broken creatures. So bent and broken that the only one who could really straighten us out is God himself. And that is exactly what He did through Jesus Christ (3:24-26). We grab hold of this being made right with God though God by faith (3:28).

FATHER, Thank you for the gift of faith and of salvation. We lift up those who seem content to live in sin and plead for their repentance. We plead for our own hearts so often bent by sin and swayed by the philosophy of this world. Thank you for the high calling of shepherding your people. Give us grace today. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

Find out about New Testament 90 – Here


Day 8: Matthew 1-4 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from Matthew 1-4 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

The reading for today centers on the beginning of the earthy ministry of Jesus. The gospel writer Matthew is sure to include genetic line of Jesus, in which four particular women are uncharacteristically mentioned (Tamar in 1:3, Rahab and Ruth in 1:5, and Bathsheba, called Uriah’s wife here in 1:6).  Knowing their individual stories helps provide context of the birth of Jesus. (If you don’t know their stories, look them up, they are singled out here for a reason).

The earthly family tree of Jesus has prostitutes, adulterers, and foreigners. These women were grandmothers of the Messiah. Each one living through broken circumstances to bring another life into this world.  In their arms they held the promise of the messiah. They held on to the same promise that was given to the first broken women, Eve,  on her way out of the garden…

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

I think we can draw a point of application to our own lives here. We don’t always see the big picture or how our lives are intertwined with others. We know that God can work through sorrow and heartache to bring about something greater than we could imagine even if we don’t see it in our own moment. The small joys of children after tragedy were blessings in and of themselves, but they were also the sight of God’s hand of sovereignty moving to bring the Savior into the world.

The scripture picks up with the birth of Jesus and carries on through Jesus’ baptism, temptation, and the calling out of some of the first disciples. I was particularly struck by the temptation passage.  On the Surface, Jesus quotes scripture to overcome temptation.  This is how it is often taught. But let’s go a little deeper. The first verse Jesus quotes is  Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man shall not live by bread alone.”  It helps to know the whole verse that this quotation comes from:

[Deu 8:3 ESV] 3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

The verse that Jesus quoted refers not just to the temptation that Satan was offering (food), but also hints at the provision of God. Just like God had lead Israel into the dessert, he had lead Jesus into the dessert (4:1) and just like God provided for Israel,  God would provide all Jesus needed. He didn’t need to create a shortcut. How often does it seem like things aren’t working out and how quickly do we look for a compromise. Rather than seeking God. Jesus succeeded where the Nation of Israel had failed to trust God.

We aren’t just entertained that Jesus whooped up on the Devil by quoting the bible, we are also drawn in and challenged to trust God alone for salvation. Do we trust that God will provide all the bread we will need (Remember in John 6, Jesus says that He is the bread of Heaven)?

Here is how I am praying through this scripture today:

LORD, thank you that you take broken lives and use them. I pray that you would mend all of our brokenness hurt and pain. Thank you that Jesus trusted you in the midst of temptation. I pray that you would keep me from temptation. I pray for those who are struggling today. I lift up the brokenhearted, those who have lost spouses, those who have started over in new communities, those who have found themselves as strangers in a new land, those who have been cheated on, those who have cheated, those who have been mistreated by family. I pray for those who are facing temptation and face addiction, I pray for those who lost sight of you and need to come home. I pray for those who are trusting in you and holding on to your promises. I pray for those who are facing trials and crisis of faith moments. I pray for those who I get to shepherd and those who minister to me. I thank you for the Holy Spirit and how He moves in my life. May our confidence be in you alone, no matter what the world may throw our way today. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

Find out about New Testament 90 – Here


It is not what you say, but what you do that matters (Nehemiah 4: 6)

It is not what you say, but what you do that matters (Nehemiah 4: 6)

We just recently saw the 2016 summer Olympics. One of my favorite moments of the Olympics was when South African Swimmer Chad Le Clos’ taunted Michael Phelps. If you don’t know Michael Phelps has won lots of gold medals in swimming over the last several Olympics, he is the man to beat in the pool. It wasn’t just Le Clos’ shadow boxing in front of Phelps that brought a spark to the event it was some of the things he had said before everyone even got to Rio that made this an interesting rivalry. Le Clos’ was out to take down Phelps and his strategy involved trash talking and taunting.

What was really interesting was Phelps response. He just stared. It was a mean stare, no doubt, but it was just a stare. He didn’t say anything back. He didn’t engage in the trash talk. When it was his turn he just got in the pool and beat everyone to win another gold medal. You see Phelps knew something; you can talk all you want, but it’s what you actually do that matters.


Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives. Do not cover their guilt, and let not their sin be blotted out from your sight, for they have provoked you to anger in the presence of the builders. So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work. (Nehemiah 4:4-6 ESV)

Nehemiah does something similar here. He has heard the trash talk from Sanballat and Tobiah. He has prayed to God. He knows he is on the right path. There is no reason to respond with words. The only reaction is with action. He, along with all the people of Jerusalem went right on rebuilding the wall. They didn’t have time to stop.  Shouting back wouldn’t have accomplished anything.

There will be those who come along who will attempt to discourage you from doing the Lord’s work. They will tell you all the ways you are doing it wrong and why it can’t be done. They are experts at trash talking. They will attempt to cause you to fear what they might do, using intimidation as a tactic. Remember though that when it comes to doing the Lord’s work that He will defend His name, we only need to put one foot in front of the other and keep on carrying out the mission.

After the two swimmers got in the pool and the race began someone’s camera caught a picture of the pair near the end. Phelps was winning and he was facing forward looking towards the finish wall. De Clos’ was behind looking across the lane watching Phelps win.

For me the pictures serves as a sober reminder that if Lord has given you something to do, do it with all your might and don’t waste time trash talking or trying to figure out what someone else is doing.

because “They Supposed That The Kingdom of God Was to Appear Immediately” (Lk. 19:11)

He had just proclaimed in Zacchaeus’ house that he had come to “seek and save that which was lost.”  To their minds they couldn’t fathom what would be more lost than the city of Jerusalem under Roman rule.  Some had already sought to make Him the king by force.  But they didn’t understand the full magnitude of what Jesus had come to do.  They were looking to be saved from Rome, never did they imagine that He had come to save them from an even greater enemy.

I wonder if sometimes we might ever underestimate what Jesus is really up to in our lives? We have plans and ideas about how things should play out.  We have taken the liberty and written out all the plays that God should make.  We even take the time to find the verses that support our theories.  Yet in the midst of it we forget one thing: He is God and we are not. We don’t see the big picture.  We don’t have full knowledge of how things will play out. We don’t understand the full ramification of our own actions, how then could we fully fathom the mind of God.

They would have stopped Easter from ever happening in order to have a temporal king. They would have been free from Rome, but dead in their sins.  They would have national hero, but the world would be lost forever.

How many times along the road to the cross would he have been stopped if he listened to those around Him?  Have you ever Praised God that He didn’t listen to our foolish plans or ideas? His are always better, even if their is a bit of pain in the mix.  Have you ever thought that God provides for us exactly what we need in Jesus Christ, and this is often more than we have the foresight to want?


I thank you today for your patience with me.  Like those around Jesus at this time, I often try to fit you into my understanding of things.  I have ideas on how things should play out, but I am reminded today that your ways are greater and your plans are better.  I am following you today.


“Teaching and Journeying toward Jerusalem” (Lk. 13:22)

He was on a mission.  He was headed to Jerusalem. Yet all along the way he healed, he taught, he told about His kingdom.  Eventually he had to reveal the meaning. Eventually even the healing had to make sense in a larger picture, a larger portrait.

He was headed to the cross.  The one place where it would all come together.  The one place where it would all finally make sense.  He said he was going there, but they thought He spoke in a metaphor and they did not understand.  They thought He would ride in like a king and take over, the did not know how deep their problem was and they did not know how far He would go to deliver them.

Like a disease or a disfigurement mars the body of an otherwise healthy person, sin has disfigured the entire human race.  Like a blind man who has eyes but he cannot see, we are made in the image of God, yet we have profaned Him. So he came healing and proclaiming that His kingdom was at hand.  In Heaven there will be no more disease.  In Heaven their will be no more sin.  Christ has born it all on his own body on the cross! He stood in our place so we could stand in His!

You see, that was the mission.  The mission was not to heal a few thousand people (if that many) in Palestine a few thousand years ago.  His mission was not to come and make our lives comfortable again.  His mission was to reconcile us to God by taking on our sin debt! His mission was to save and he couldn’t do that without going to Jerusalem first.  Jerusalem was the appointed place and his appointed hour was quickly approaching


So often I am eager to glean a principle for practical living as if this whole Christian walk has to do with the exercise of my will.  While I know that my will is important, I also know that you have already completed everything I need to be reconciled to you.  Today I rest in that.  Today I rest in the fact that you are God and you know what you are doing.   Thank you for all you have done to bring me to faith in you.

“I Have Given You Authority (Lk.10:19)

“I have given you authority” those were the words.  Authority to tread on serpents, to suffer no harm.  This is a phrase that cuts both ways for those who follow Christ.

The first way it cuts is that it reminds us that we have no authority over evil other than that which has been given us by Jesus Christ.  It’s His authority, we just represent Him.  Our Church growth strategies, our evangelism programs and our best efforts to win our neighbors to Christ are just that… ours. Sometimes we forget that we are aliens in this world.  The power to save, the power to go and make disciples, the power to shine light into darkness doesn’t come from us… it comes from Him.  We go under His authority, “All authority has been given unto me” (Mt. 28:18).

second.  We have authority from Him!  Don’t let anyone tell you that you have no right to speak the truth, comfort the afflicted, and bring healing to those who are hurting. We are doing only what Jesus has told us to do.  It’s His authority.  Who trumps His authority?  No one!


Today I am both humbled and encouraged.  One the one hand I am humbled to remember that I can do nothing on my own.  I can only do what I see you doing.  I can only act out of the authority that you give.  I am also encouraged.  I am encouraged because I am your man.  You have called me.  You have set me apart and you have commissioned me to share your gospel.  Father, I ask that I would go boldly today in the authority that you have provided.  I ask that I would not act out of insecurity or self-preservation, but that I would be jealous for your glory today.

“You Give Them Something To Eat” (Lk. 9:13)

There they were on the side of the mountain and late into the day.  The people were listening to Jesus preach, but it became apparent that they needed a break to get something to eat.  Eating is necessary after all.  Eating is what sustains us, it keeps up alive. Necessities of life were encroaching upon meeting.  They could go on meeting, but they could not go on without food.

The plan was to dismiss the crowd.  The disciples had determined that.  We don’t have enough, let them go into the villages and purchase food.  Who knows perhaps this would have been an economic stimulus for the area they were in.  But Jesus had other plans.  He looks at his disciples and says, “You give them something to eat.”

I’m sure they looked around at each other at this point.  They thought, “We don’t have anything, well not much anyway… maybe one man’s lunch, but not enough for the crowd.”  But he takes it, he takes those small rations.  He holds them out and blesses them and begins to pass out food to feed the multitude.

But, wait, there is more to this story that just plain old white bread.  Jesus was meeting a physical need.  He was feeding the hungry.  Just like Moses called on God and God provided the manna.  Jesus was saying here that he would provide for all that we needed.  Not just physically, but spiritually as well.  He is the Bread of Life!

So then I remember, this is how ministry works.  I truly have nothing to offer, nothing much anyhow. Nothing apart from His blessing.  Nothing apart from His hands. He is the one that takes my weakness and exploits it for kingdom gain.  He is the one ultimately opens his word before me to feed me and a whole multitude beside.


I remember today how little I have to offer you and how gracious you are to multiply your grace to me and many more besides.  Use me today to open your word before your people.  I am nothing if I am not in your hands.