A Companion of Fools Will Be Destroyed (Proverbs 13)

Pro 13:20,NKJV He who walks with wise [men] will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.

Dear Son, There were a few years of my life when I lived in rebellion. My parents often didn’t know what I was up to and I would stay with a friend and we’d go drink. The stupidest thing I ever did was to ride in a car with an older man who would drive us around while he was drinking. One night I had too much alcohol and threw up all over my friends. They ended up putting me in back of pick up and driving me around for hours shirtless on a cold January night. I started blacking out and so they ended up propping me up on a strangers dirty toilet where I spent the rest of the night. Looking back, I had most of the symptoms of alcohol poisoning and I really needed medical attention but my friends were all underage and ignorant of what was happening.

I look back and think that there was a night that I was so close to death, not just because of what I had done, but because my friends were fools. They didn’t have enough sense to really help me when I needed it. Instead they threw me in the back of a truck until I had (or nearly had) hypothermia only to prop me up on a strangers dirty toilet. I’m grateful that I never really got all my memories back from that night, but one thing I do remember is that my friends would have been my downfall.

In college I became intentional about making friends. I tried to find the guys and girls who were making good grades, who were honoring the Lord, and making a difference in the world. Through their peer pressure I did crazy things like study, feed the homeless, get out of my comfort zone and go to another country to share the gospel and so much more. Many of those friends still remain my friends today and have reached out in real and tangible ways when I have needed them.

Who you chose to be your friends matter. Choose good and godly friends. Avoid foolish friends.

Father, Thank you for the grace of being a dad. I pray for each of my kids and ask that they would form real and lasting friendships with godly young people. I pray that they are an encouragement and blessing to their friends. 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 and Your Friends Carefully (Proverbs 12)

Pro 12:15-16 NKJV The way of a fool [is] right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel [is] wise. (16) A fool’s wrath is known at once, But a prudent [man] covers shame.

Dear Son, this world is full of people who are right in their own eyes. Our culture has shifted to a godless society similar to the kingless society we find in the book of Judges. We need to remember how the book of Judges ends. When everyone does what is right in their own eyes, they call for justice for the rape and murder of one woman and that justice turns into the near annihilation of an entire tribe of Israel and the forced marriage/rape of over 600 women.

Jdg 21:25 NKJV In those days [there was] no king in Israel; everyone did [what was] right in his own eyes.

In our day, this hyper focus on self leads to the denial of biological realities and seeks to force doctors, who have pledged to, “do no harm,” to mutilate the flesh of prepubescent children. Think on that for just a moment. The voice of the constructed self has more authority that biological reality. When someone is right in their own eyes, they will ultimately destroy themselves or others.

We have moved to a culture that ‘cancels’ things because of one negative personal experience or too often because of a fictitious narrative about those who could suffer. Don’t think the church is immune. I’ve seen pastor’s want to cancel Mother’s Day because a few women who had bad experiences with their mom’s growing up.

The solution is found in having several godly counselors. I’ve always enjoyed the privilege of talking with several men who will counsel me from the scriptures on a given matter. Seek to be one who offers godly counsel and seek to have friends who will guide you to the scriptures rather than affirm your delusions.

Father, Thank you for the privilege of speaking to my children. I pray that they’d receive all the wisdom they can from your word and that they’d act on it. Guide them in this generation to be salt and light. Give them insight in how to live truth and speak truth. Guard their words and guard their close friendships. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

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)

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.

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

Be Teachable (Proverbs 4)

Pro 4:10-13 ESV Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many. (11) I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness. (12) When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble. (13) Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.

Dear daughter, I heard a story about a grandmother who had given her grandson a bible. Unknown to him, she had inserted several 100 dollar bills in the bible. The grandson thanked his grandmother but secretly he despised her for giving him such an impractical gift. There were times in his life when he needed money and he would reach out to his grandmother for help. She would tell always give him a scripture reference and ask if he’d been reading his bible. He was polite and would thank her, but he never looked up the passages. Finally one day he asked her why she never helped him with money when he needed it. She knew he wasn’t reading the bible she gave him and finally confronted him to the point that he admitted that he’d never opened it. She said, “All you ever needed was at your fingertips, but you never opened the gift I gave you. Not only had I already given you the money, but even more than that, the infinite riches of God’s word were available to you all the time as well! What good is a gift if it is never opened?

God has blessed you with the gift of His Word. It is a guide for life. In it we learn about Him and about us. God has also given you parents to guide you. We’ve learned a lot about life through experience, from our own parents, and others. All of our learning testifies to the truthfulness of God’s Word. We have sought to live out the truth we have seen in God’s Word. There are things in our lives that you should emulate. Sadly there are also places where we have stumbled that we would warn you to avoid. Either way, God has given us to you to educate you. You have many gifts from God, but what good are those gifts if you never open them and use them.

Being teachable is the best skill you can ever have! If you are teachable you can learn almost anything. However to despise instruction is prideful. It assumes you can learn and discern things well on your own already. Pride will lead you to costly mistakes.

Father, thank you for the wisdom you have given us in your word. Thank you for those you have called and equipped to model and teach your word to us. Thank you for my parents and thank you for the privilege of parenting my kids. I ask that we would all be teachable. Keep us from pride. Let us learn with humility from those you have given us as teachers that you might be glorified in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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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.

By The Spirit Whom He Has Given Us (1 John 1-3)

1John 3:24 ESV Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

The Holy Spirit is given to believers to make them holy. If you are growing in holiness it’s because of the work of the Spirit of God in your life. One of the things the Holy Spirit works in us to do is to love and obey the commandments of God. God doesn’t contradict Himself. He doesn’t issue a command that the Holy Spirit isn’t prompting you to obey. Indeed the Holy Spirit enabled us to obey the commands of Christ. What God has commanded His people to do, He has empowered them to do, by the Spirit.

What is the evidence that God is at work in our lives? The Holy Spirit! What is the evidence that we are abiding in God? We are being prompted and empowered by the Holy Spirit to keep His commandments. It’s when we have no desire to obey God that we need to evaluate the Spirit’s work in our lives. When we reject God’s commandments, we aren’t abiding.

Father, thank you for the Holy Spirit. Thank you for His work in our lives to cause us to love and obey your commands. We rejoice in being conformed more and more into the image of Jesus Christ. I pray that we would continue to grow in obedience and holiness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

RESOURCES:

2020 Post on 1 John 1-3

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

Sincere Demonic Wisdom(James)

James 3:13-18 ESV Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. (14) But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. (15) This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. (16) For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. (17) But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. (18) And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

I had a friend who was so puffed up with pride that it was annoying. What was worse, is that like me, this man had been called to gospel ministry. It drove me crazy that someone so prideful could attempt gospel ministry. Didn’t he know that he should be humble? Another lowly friend and I wanted to help my prideful friend off his high horse and bring him back to his senses. We met and discussed how to bring our prideful friend down to earth.

We thought we knew what to do, but as pious as we were, we wanted to check all the boxes on what we should do. We realized in our frenzied discussion of our friends pride that we hadn’t prayed for him. So we prayed for him and his pride. Then we realized that we hadn’t stopped to pray for ourselves and confess our own sins. So we began to confess our sins and somewhere in the confession something broke lose (James 5:16). Our prayers for our own sins became more fervent as our eyes were open to more and more sin issues in our lives. We soon came to the issue of pride and the Holy Spirit made it clear that the issue of pride we had seen in our brother was actually an issue of jealousy and pride in our own hearts. We came to tears and eventually came to our brother to confess our wrong.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. I learned that sometimes bitterness, jealousy, and pride in my own heart can cause me color how I see the motives of others. If I’m not careful, I’ll think I’m on a righteous crusade to set a brother straight, when what is really at work in my heart is sinful, disgusting, and demonic. I can be sincere, thinking I’m doing the Lord’s work, but actually be working against Him.

James reminds us today that there are two types of wisdom. They produce two different fruits. We should examine our hearts to see if we genuinely want to build others up in the faith or tear them down. The one so jealous for the “truth” that he wants to tear others down might be fighting for the wrong team.

Father, thank you for your Word. Thank you for brothers and sisters to whom we can confess our sins and who will pray for us. Thank you for direction on checking our hearts. It is so easy to operate in the world as the world operates. We need your accountability and grace every day. Let us be peacemakers filled with godly wisdom today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

RESOURCES:

2020 Post on James

Expositional Devotions through James

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

Faithful Men and Women (Hebrews 11-13)

Hebrews 11:6 ESV And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Hebrews 12:2 ESV looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

We often learn by following someone else’s example. We need to be shown what something looks like when it is lived out. We might grasp what faith is on an intellectual level, but demonstrating it in our own life in the midst of persecution might be challenging. Especially if we are young in the faith.

Writing to a young church who is experiencing persecution, the writer of Hebrews demonstrates what faith in God looks like. He examines the lives of different individuals throughout the Old Testament. He demonstrates the core aspects of faith (believing that God exists and he rewards those who seek him – 11:6), through the lens of different Old Testament saints.

In chapter twelve we are challenged to not be lazy, but to diligently lay aside the things that would stop us from demonstrating real, biblical faith in our own life. We are reminded that we are not the first to discover faith in the midst of persecution. And we are also reminded that Jesus has blazed the trail ahead of us when it comes to trusting God the Father in the mist of suffering. Indeed He is the, “Founder and Perfecter of our faith” (12:2).

My big takeaways today were two fold. 1. In Preaching and teaching, it doesn’t hurt to use examples and “case studies” to demonstrate doctrine as applied to everyday life. Indeed this might be exactly what a less mature audience (5:12) might need. 2. Am I laying aside the things that hinder me from pursuing God in faith? What “weight” can I lay aside? For me it’s not watching a few hours of TV this week that I might normally watch, so I might have time to study the Word of God more.

Father, thank you for your word. Thank you that you demonstrate what faith looks like. Thank you for the stories we have in the scriptures of so many individual who have walked with you. Thank you that we can learn what faith looks like. Thank you that we can lay aside the things that hinder us from growing in a relationship with you. 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.