Trust In The LORD With All Your Heart (Proverbs 3)

Proverbs 3:5-10 ESV Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. (6) In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (7) Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. (8) It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. (9) Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; (10) then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

Son, There are things that I wish I knew at your age. If I knew them then, how differently I might have behaved and how differently my life might have been. In our yard we have a tree that has grown up with the vine around it. If someone had the foresight to cut the vine early, the tree would have grown up to be straight and flawless. As it is, the vine was cut and pulled down years later than it should have and now the tree has the scar of where the vine cut into its bark. The tree will forever carry the mark of negligence because we didn’t cut the vine when it was young. There are habits/ thoughts in my life that I didn’t unlearn early in life and have warped me and as a consequence will take years to change.

Your life in a lot of ways is also like that tree when it was younger before the vine took hold. You are young and there are a lot of thoughts and voices that will try and steer you in all sorts of directions. You have the capacity to develop detrimental lifelong habits and thoughts that will hurt you. But you also have the opportunity to cut ties with those thoughts/ voices and pursue the things that will help you grow into godly womanhood.

The one thing you can do is commit to trusting in the Lord with everything. Commit to following Him. This will be displayed in a lot of different ways in you life. Do you trust God with your time? If you really do, you will form the habit of being gathered together with a fellowship of believers to worship Him on a weekly basis. You will spend time in His Word often. Do you trust God with your finances? If you do, you will habitually seek to be generous. You will set aside a regular tithe and offering to be budgeted before you pay your bills. To really trust the Lord is to follow Him and His Word above your own thoughts and desires.

Father, I pray for my children today. I pray that they would trust in you and lean not in their own understanding. I ask LORD for your grace to be multiplied to their lives. I pray that they learn quickly and easily from their parents about what it is to trust you in every area of LIFE. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

Diligently Seek Understanding (Proverbs 2)

Pro 2:1-9 ESV My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, (2) making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; (3) yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, (4) if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, (5) then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. (6) For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; (7) he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, (8) guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. (9) Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path;

Dear daughter, when you were little we used to watch a Disney animated cartoon series called Duck Tales. It was all about Scrooge McDuck and his pursuit of wealth. He would do anything (short of cheating) to make more money. He would win races, search for lost treasure, and fund crazy inventions. His pursuit was always the same, to make or keep money. He was so shrewd it was laughable.

The writer of Proverbs reminds us today that more than seeking to gain or keep money our most diligent pursuit should be understanding and ultimately understanding of what God might be up to. Understanding isn’t found just by reading about something, but in treasuring the commands of God, listening to godly authorities in our lives, and searching diligently to see God at work. With each pursuit in life we should seek to find out what the Lord is doing.

There are many moments where the people around you will sense or try and create the cultural current by telling you that to “be on the right side of history,” you need to join them in doing what they are doing. They want to tell you what righteousness is from their perspective or even worse tell you to define it from yours. Righteousness isn’t for us to define, it’s for God. All of us who seek to define our own righteousness will one day find that all of our righteousness is just filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).

Father, I pray today for my children and ask that they would diligently seek You and seek understanding. Let them be those who are able to discern truth from error. I ask that they would listen to the commands of their parents and other godly autorities that you have put in their lives. Give them grace to resist the temptation of fools to define their own righteousness. Let them be ready to meet you on the day of Christ’s return and not caught off guard because of their laxity. Bless me as I age to be one who grows in discenment and understanding. Let me be a blessing to my children and grandchildren. Preserve us in a culture that is shifting beneath us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

RESOURCES:

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

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)

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.

I Hear You Are Walking In The Truth(2 John, 3 John, Jude)

3rd John 1:4 ESV I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

My son recently needed to solicit support for a project he was working on. He got endorsements/ financial contributions from some folks and wrote several thankyou letters. I was really encouraged when I heard from a friend about my son’s demeaner and earnestness in thanking him for support. It was a good feeling as a dad to hear that my son was conducting himself well and being respectful, thankful, and polite to others.

What an even bigger blessing the Apostle John must have felt when he heard about how well his disciples were doing in the world. They were walking in the truth! They were growing in their relationship with God and demonstrating their faith not just in what they knew, but in how they lived.

As disciple makers, this is what we should long to hear more than anything. That long after our face to face discussions, bible studies, questions, and doing life together that those who we’ve poured into are taking steps in their walk with God and they are growing! We hear plenty of folks share, “Good word today, pastor,” or “I like the story you told, it helped me understand what it means to walk with the Lord,” etc., But what we long to hear more than anything is that those we’ve discipled are living it out in their lives. They are taking steps and growing.

Father, thank you for how you have brought us to faith and continue to work in our lives. We thank you for the grace of placing men and women in our lives to disciple us. We ask for grace for those we are discipling. We rejoice when they are doing well and walking in the truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

RESOURCES:

2020 Post on 2 John, 3 John, and Jude

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