Don’t Waste Time on Swine (Proverbs 11)

Pro 11:22-23 ESV Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion. (23) The desire of the righteous ends only in good, the expectation of the wicked in wrath.

Dear son, When we think of a pig’s snout we don’t think of gold rings. You could put a gold ring in a pigs snout but it would be misplaced. Pigs put their noses in the mud! You might put a common metal ring in a pigs nose to help steer them out of the mud, but you wouldn’t give them gold! It would be a waste.

There are some folks who seem trustworthy but they aren’t. There are folks who may look good, but they aren’t good. Just like a gold ring might look nice in a pigs snout. It won’t be long until the nature of the pig comes out and it runs its ring through the mud… that’s just the nature of the pig! There will be people on this earth who lack discretion and aren’t to be trusted with your most precious thoughts, time, or treasures. Don’t give something that is sacred to someone who is profane.

Mat 7:6 NKJV “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

This isn’t just to warn you of the type of people who are out there. You must also decide what type of person you will be. Will you be someone who displays discretion and honors others? Or will you make light of others and their struggles? Will you seek the good or will you stir up hatred and strife? Will you be a producer or consumer?

Father, thank you for the privilege of raising our children. I pray that they would all follow hard after you. I pray that they would become men and women of character and integrity. I ask that they would have discretion and honor those who are worthy of honor. Keep them from profaning the holy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

Choose Your Words Carefully (Proverbs 10)

Pro 10:18-21 ESV The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool. (19) When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. (20) The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth. (21) The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.

Dear daughter, if you look closely my legs and hands are filled with tiny scars. Scars that I could have easily avoided. Most of them I don’t even remember. They started as something small like a splinter but they grew because of how I dealt with those smaller wounds. I was too afraid of the pain of having a splinter removed, so I would often hide them from my parents until they festered with infection. Hiding the splinters never got rid of them, it only made them worse. I needed to have the splinter removed to get better.

It’s the same way with hate. Denying that you hate someone in your heart doesn’t remove it. It only makes it fester and grow into a bigger wound called bitterness. Bitterness creates contempt and the original wound gets bigger and bigger not because of the actual offense, but because we haven’t dealt with it. Jesus reminds us that we shouldn’t hate from our heart but that we should deal quickly with our brothers offenses (Matthew 5:21-24).

Another way I got some of my scars is by overreacting to a small insect bite. I couldn’t stand the itching and so I’d scratch until I bled. Then I couldn’t stand the scab and so I’d pick at it making the hole in my skin bigger and bigger. My parents were always telling me to, “stop picking you scabs!” I know that sounds gross but some people do that with their words. Rather than leaving situations alone or letting people cool down, they step in and stir things up. They pick a side and open fresh wounds around them all because they don’t know how to control themselves or their emotions.

Some people are careful and wise with there speech. They seek to bring healing to those around them. They seek the truth of the matter and educate those around them. They help people with their words.

We all have mouths, but we don’t all know how to use them. You will have to decide if you will be a liar who conceals hatred in their heart, or someone who stirs up trouble in those around them with gossip, and slander or if you will be someone who educates and helps people around them. My prayer is that you will know when to hold your tongue and when to speak. That you will know when to stay silent and search out a matter and when to speak to benefit others.

Father, Thank you for the gift of raising my children. I pray today that you would watch over their lives and guard their hearts from hate. I pray that you would keep them from gossip. And that you’d bless them to be a blessing to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

Be Humble and Learn (Proverbs 9)

Pro 9:7-10 NKJV “He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, And he who rebukes a wicked [man only] harms himself. (8) Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise [man], and he will love you. (9) Give [instruction] to a wise [man], and he will be still wiser; Teach a just [man], and he will increase in learning. (10) “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One [is] understanding.

Son, My freshman year of high school we got a new basketball coach. He was hard. He believed in conditioning. I lost 20lbs in just three weeks of practice with the new coach! He also had a different style of coaching. He lead us through a series of drills and plays evert practice. Seldom ever did we just scrimmage like we had in the 8th grade. Some of the guys didn’t like him. They thought practice should be more fun and more like a game. They whined and complained about the new coach. Some never even bothered to learn the new offense or techniques that the coach was teaching us. Those who really listened to the coach and put in the extra effort earned key spots on the team. The guys who critiqued everything and put forth minimal effort either quit or were cut. The difference was in the attitude. Those who became key players were willing to humble themselves and learn, those who got cut, failed to learn from the expertise of the new coach.

Life is a lot like that. I pray that you are one who seeks out correction, learns from others, and is wise. I pray that you won’t be a prideful fool who just criticizes others. Anyone can criticize, but it takes a real man or woman to humble themselves and learn.

You will come across all sorts of folks in life. You may even be in a position to lead people one day. Learn the caliber of the people you lead. Those who are scoffers and criticize aren’t worth much of an investment. They will criticize you, but the problems is with them. Don’t let them get in your head and don’t imagine that you will fix them. Until they humble themselves to learn, they will never change and you’ll be wasting your investment in them.

On the other hand when you find folks who are willing to submit to authority and learn. Invest heavily in them. Their attitude will take your organization far. I’d rather have a teachable team of novices than a well versed team of malcontents any day. Jesus said it like this in Mathew chapter 7:

Mat 7:2-6 NKJV “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. (3) “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? (4) “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank [is] in your own eye? (5) “Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (6) “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

Father, thank you for my children and the blessing it is to parent them. I ask that they would be humble enough to learn. I pray that you keep them from pride and malcontent. I pray that they would be quick to examine their own lives and be ready for change. I pray that you give them wisdom in leading themselves and others. I pray that you guard their attitude from becoming someone who scoffs. 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.

I Know Your Works (Revelation 1-3)

“I know your works”

Jesus Christ in Revelation 2:2, 2:9, 2:13, 2:19, 3:1, 3:8, & 3:15

This phrase, “I know your works,” is repeated by Jesus through the second and third chapters of Revelation. In context they come as part of a larger charge that Jesus gives each church of the churches mentioned in individually (by location). I was struck with awe at the simplicity of these words and the implications for us today. How incredible are these words in the mouth of Jesus Christ to His church!

First, we dwell on who Jesus is and what he has done for the church. Before he ever shares about knowing our works, he reminds us who He is in each passage. These are the words of the one who, “loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5). He is genuinely for us! He isn’t hoping we’ll fail. He isn’t an enemy there to mock us. He isn’t even just a friend to pick us up when we’ve fallen. He is our Lord and Savior! The one who went to the cross for us so that we might be free from sin! These words on his lips are filled with the wonder of salvation.

Second, we notice that Jesus is God and is omniscient. When He says that He “knows our works, we must admit that He knows our works better than we do ourselves. There isn’t any shading or coloring the lines one way or the other. He looks and he sees them for what they are. If our works are made of particle board hidden beneath a thin veneer and are trying to be passed off as solid wood, He knows that! If they are the real deal he knows that!

Third, we notice that Jesus sees all of our works. The good ones, the bad ones, and the incomplete ones. I appreciate how Jesus addresses each church first with affirming the positive. We see him acknowledging what obstacles each church is facing and how they have responded. We all need this affirmation from our Lord and Savior and we all need to give it to others when we see them walking in righteousness.

Yet, Jesus doesn’t just address the positive. Most of the churches also had areas of concern. In love, He speaks to them and acknowledges what they need to do in those areas. How well must they have received these words of correction following his affirmation.

Today I am reminded that Jesus sees our works. He knows what we’ve been through. He knows the trials that we have faced. He knows the private moments of faithfulness where we chose to trust Him. He affirms us in those works. He also knows where we need to correct course and today we should be all the more energized to honor the Lord in area’s of our life where we have been slack.

On another level I am encouraged to day to disciple and care for others the way our Lord has cared for his Church. Were possible, we should be quick to affirm the good in others before we address them in correction.

Father, thank you for Christ who died for me and washed me from my sins. Thank you that I am a new creation in Jesus Christ and that it is possible to do good works in your name, though your Spirit. Thank you for the affirmation we receive from You when we walk in righteousness. May we be so affirming to others. Thank you for the correction you provide in our lives. May we be eager to address the areas that need correction so that we might glorify you all the more. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

RESOURCES:

2020 Post or Revelation 1-3

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.

(1 John 4-5)

1John 5:21 ESV Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

I was talking with my children about addictions yesterday. We have family members who have chosen a given substance or image over primary relationships. Where they should have been committed, they weren’t. And the things they should have avoided they pursued to unhealthy levels. We talked about how we are all prone to chase things to sooth, comfort, or help us rather than God.

We may not have graven images that we are tempted to go back and worship, but there are many things that can become functional idols in our lives if we let them control us. It might be a midnight craving temptation for food to calm an anxious mind, alcohol to numb emotional pain, pornography, drugs, gossip, etc. You name the substance or vice and there you have it.

I find it interesting that John closes the epistle of 1 John with this command to, “keep yourself from idols.” He has spoken so much about how Jesus Christ changes the life of a believer, the incredible work of the Spirit of God, and what it looks like to abide. Now he diligently reminds his readers that they must be on guard for the things that would tempt them. Just as Jesus taught us to pray against temptation (Luke 11:4), we should be on guard for the old way of life or substitutes that we might seek instead of seeking after the one true God.

Father, thank you that you have set us free from sin. Thank you that there is victory in Jesus Christ. I pray that we would be free to love others even as you have loved us. I pray that we would abide in you and your word in us. I ask Lord that you would keep us from idols. Guard our hearts from the false gods that we think we’d control but would really control us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

RESOURCES:

Last Year’s Post

Books:

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