Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Eccl. 3:18 Why does God allow people to continue in their sinful ways?


Eccl. 3: 18  Then I realized that God allows people to continue in their sinful ways so he can test them.  That way, they can see for themselves that they are no better than animals.

If God wanted to, He could make us do what is right in His eyes.  He could force His ways upon us.  He could take care of sin without any problem at all.  But, He has not chosen to do it.  In a lot of ways, I think it would make living a much easier process.  At least then, we wouln’t be constantly struggling to not sin.  But then, we would be merely robots in God’s hands and not able to have a love relationship with Him.  We would not be able to know Him in a deep and personal way, as one who helps us in our times of need and struggles.

God knows that the real test of one’s faith is how we handle sin.  He knows what we should know, that if we are His children we will not continue to sin against Him.  God is holy and there is no sin found in Him.  If He lives in us and controls us, then we should not sin against Him.  It’s as simple and plain as that.  There is no wiggle room when it comes to sin.  It is detestable to God and will be judged by Him.

No one has to tell you that sin is a problem for you.  We all know that we are not as godly as we would like to be or as others perceive us to be.  Sin is common to all people.  The more sin we see in us, the more we realize that we need the Lord.  We must have the Lord’s help if we are going to have victory over sin, because it is too powerful for us to overcome on our own.

When we don’t let the Lord help us, we will do as the animals do; we will follow our sinful instincts.  We can’t change our ways on our own.  We are born sinners and will die sinners without the Lord.  Denying that it is so does not change it.  God makes it very clear in His Word.

You will never know the peace of God while dabbling in sin.  You will know how strong your faith really is by how well you resist sinning.  Your love for God is seen in how you handle sin.  If you find yourself yielding to sin more than you do resisting it, you are not living in fellowship with God.

Dear friend. Only Jesus can help you with your sin problem.  No one can stop you from sinning, but Christ can help you overcome your desire to sin.  Let Jesus be your Lord and you will discover that you will no longer be a victim to sin; instead, you will be a victor over it.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Eccl. 2:10-11 Anything I wanted, I took......


Eccl. 2:10-11  Anything I wanted, I took.  I did not restrain myself from any joy.  I even found great pleasure in hard work, an additional reward for all my labors.  But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless.  It was like chasing the wind.  There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.

What are you living for?  What gives your life meaning?  We spend our entire lives trying to give our lives meaning.  Most will try to do good things.  Many try to carve their niche out in the world.  Many will seek fame, fortune or a following.  Many put all their energy in their families.  Many will rally around a cause they are passionate about.  Many are working hard for the day in which they can retire and coast the rest of the days of their lives.

No matter what you are working for to give your life meaning, it is all meaningless if what you are living for is rooted in the world.  There is nothing on earth that really give life meaning.  We live and then die.  Whatever we live for dies with us.  We can’t take anything on earth with us when we die.  It is all so meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

It is only when we find our meaning in relationship with Christ that we find something worth living for.  Nothing on earth can promise us eternal life.  Nothing can do us any good as far as keeping us out of hell.  Our only hope of eternal life is to live life in Christ.  Only Christ can assure us that what we are doing makes any difference at all. 

Dear friend, take a careful and honest look at your life.  What are you relying on to give your life meaning?  If it is not a relationship with Christ, you are living in vain.  You may be enjoying the fruit of your labors now, but it won’t last.  Your purpose for life will die with you if you do not have Christ.  If you know Christ, live like it.  Put your heart into it.  Make the Lord your number one priority in your life.  It is only in Christ that you will find a hope that will not die.

If you don’t know that Christ is your Savior, today is the day you must get right with God.  You don’t know if you will see the end of your day.  Your life will take on a whole new meaning if you will let Him into your heart.  You will find that there is indeed something worth living for.  Christ will forgive you of your sins if you turn to Him, confess them, repent, and ask Him for forgiveness.  What are you waiting for?  Do it now.  You will be glad you did.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Eccl. 1:9-11 Things never change.

Eccl. 1:9-11 History merely repeats itself; it has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. What can you point to that is new? How do you know it didn’t already exist long ago? We don’t remember what happened in those former times. And in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.

Things never change.  The details may vary, but the things that are happening today are merely a repeat of what has happened before.  Man’s nature is today what it was the day Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ushered in sin into the world.  It has reared its ugly head in unimaginable ways, and it always will.  Without Christ changing it, the heart remains desperately wicked.

You cannot read history without being exposed to the ugliness and destructive nature of sin.  It is the cause of all the inhumane treatment that has plagued humanity.  It is the cause of all the hatred amongst men.  It is the cause of all the self-serving throughout history.  We don’t have to live in the past to know that it is true.  Secular and Biblical history are all the proof we need.  As much as we would like to convince ourselves, there never has been an age of innocence since the time of the fall of man.

All the atrocities that have plagued man throughout history are not recorded.  Because of the advent of modern technology we have been exposed to some of the worst of what man can do to man, but we cannot say that it hasn’t been done before.  The sin encrusted soul is capable of any form of evil that you could ever imagine.  It will continue to be the way it us for as long as man is on the earth.  As bad as things are and has been, we know that the worst is yet to come.

God has warned us of what to expect on earth after Jesus comes and takes the church out of it.  Unimaginable horror will plague the earth.  When God removes His hand of protection over the earth, evil will rule unbridled.  It will be a time in which not only will man suffer from one another, but God will unleash the horrors of nature upon man as a result of his sins.

The future may be bleak, but you don’t have to be a victim of it.  God gives us a way of escape, and it is Christ Jesus our Lord.  God promises us a bright and glorious future if we put our trust and confidence in Him.  We have nothing to fear when Jesus is our Savior and Lord.  We can boldly face the future with our lives rooted and established in Christ.  Is Jesus your Savior today?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Prov. 31:10-12 Marrying with integrity.

Prov. 31:10-12  Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?  She is worth more than precious rubies.  Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.  She will not hinder him but help him all her life.

In a world that no longer holds marriage up with the values that it used to, today’s verses remind us to marry with integrity.  Much of the problems couples have today could be avoided if more thought was given to whom we marry.  A virtuous and capable wife doesn’t just become that way after she is married.  The character of the heart is established long before the wedding ceremony.  It is essential for the success of the marriage that the couple takes the time and puts in the effort to find a companion that has godly character before a commitment is made to marry.

A spouse who is godly in heart is worth waiting for.  It is much better to never marry than to marry someone who is not compatible with you spiritually.  If a couple is unequally yoked together all kinds of discord will crop up in the marriage.

It is a wonderful thing to be in a marriage where trust is not a problem.  It bodes well for life outside the home when there is no fear that one’s spouse may act in an ungodly way outside the home.  The life of a couple who trusts each other is enriched greatly. 

The goal of any marriage ought to be to help, and not hinder, each other’s life.  When a couple lives this way, their marriage is truly blessed with much happiness.

The character of the heart determines the character of the marriage. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Prov. 30:7-9 O God, I beg two favors from you before I die......


Prov. 30:7-9  O God, I beg two favors from you before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?”  And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.

If you were to be given two things from God before you die, what would you want them to be?  What are the two things that you want more than anything else?  What you would ask for says a lot about your heart. 

The writer of this Proverb asked first for the integrity of his heart so he would never tell a lie.  It was important to him that he would always tell the truth.  It certainly is a noble thing to want from God.  I wonder if we have the same kind of a desire for our soul.  Are we concerned about the integrity of our hearts?  From what I observe in the lives of many, I don’t think this is a priority.  We seem to be content with mediocre living in Christ and not wanting to be more like him as we should.  Do you always tell the truth?

The second thing on the writer’s mind was contentment with his life situation.  He wanted a heart that did not crave after the things of life.  He understood the danger of relying on stuff for his satisfaction in life instead of God.  He wanted no part of that.  He valued his relationship with God and was determined to not let the riches of the world rob him of fellowship with God.  It is something that we must all think about.  Do we let our quest for “better living” get in the way of our relationship with God?  He also was concerned about what affect not having enough would have on his soul.  He didn’t want to be in a position where he felt he would be compelled to steal in order to survive in the world.  He wanted enough to live on so that he could continue to live rightly before God and always honor His holy name.

The two things mentioned in today’s verses are indeed noble desires to have.  May we too desire to always have hearts of integrity as we live in relationship with God.  May we too always value our relationship with the Lord so much that we seek for His protection from anything that would get in the way of us having pure hearts before Him. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Prov. 30:5-6 Every word of God proves true.


Prov. 30:5-6  Every word of God proves true. He defends all who come to him for protection. Do not add to his words, or he may rebuke you, and you will be found a liar.

It would do well for every believer to know these verses.  There is a lot of liberty that people take with God’s Word.  We need to stop the nonsense and let God speak His mind instead of trying to speak it for Him.

Every word of God proves true.  It stands on its own merit.  Whatever God says is what is.  The past has happened just as God said it did.  Things are happening today just as God said it would.  And, what is yet to come will happen just as God said it will.  No one can change the truthfulness of what God has said.  God’s Word is trustworthy because it comes from God.

We must be very careful about this.  It is so easy to be led away from God’s truth.  Satan is very good at getting man to twist the Word to say what he wants it to say.  We must examine all that we read and hear carefully in light of what God says.  We must stay close to God so that it is His voice we hear and not someone else’s.  We must never get the idea that we have it all figured out and do not need to be taught anymore. 

God says he will defend and protect you, and He will.  No one can take you away from the Lord if you stay in his fellowship.  No matter what man may be able to do physically to you, God will preserve your soul.  No matter what may be said about you, God will protect your soul.  Nothing in all of creation can harm you if you are living in the shelter of His love.

Do not ignore what God says about you in His Word.  He has your life covered if you are living in fellowship with Him.  The Lord will never leave you or forsake you.  He is always vigilant and will never let you get away from Him.  He does not have a conditional clause on this truth.  Don’t let anyone lead you astray on this.  You are safe in Christ.  Heaven awaits those who live in Christ.  We don’t have to do enough or be good enough to be in the Lord’s protective care.  All we have to do is take responsibility for our sins, confess them to Him, accept His forgiveness, and live like we are forgiven.  The Lord is on the side of all who do this.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Prov. 29:27 The godly despise the wicked; the wicked despise the godly.

Prov. 29:27  The godly despise the wicked; the wicked despise the godly.

I think for the most part, we only see this verse partially fulfilled.  There is no question about the wicked hating the godly.  It has always been evident.  Godliness is despised by the world.  It is true because ungodly people don’t like it when they are around others who are living better lives than they do.  They don’t like it when they are held to a higher standard that they cannot meet.  They don’t like it when they are told that they can’t make it to heaven on their own.  They don’t like it when they are told they are not the center of the universe.  They don’t want to hear about a place called hell.  They don’t want to be told that their “goodness” is not good enough to get them into heaven.  Wicked people want to do what they want to do whenever they want to do it and however they want to do it without being told there are consequences for their behavior. 

But, let’s be honest about it.  Do the godly despise the wicked?  We say we do, but do we?  Do we get bothered by the things the wicked do?  How much wickedness do we justify in our lives?  Do we just shun the obvious things others may see in us and embrace other things in the privacy of our lives?  Are we really so righteous that we can say that are not wicked to some degree in our lives?  What do we turn to for entertainment?  Where do we go to be entertained?  What do we we watch and read?  What do we allow to give us pleasure in life?  How much of the world’s practices do we participate in in order to get ahead in life?  How often do we stand up in the face of the wicked and denounce it and its messengers?

As children of God, we should be standing guard over our souls and keep wickedness out.  We should care enough about Christ in us to keep wickedness away from Him.  We should take God’s command for our holiness seriously.  No, it’s not easy.  Yes, it will require much of us.  We will not be accepted by a lot of people in and outside of the church.  We will find that many will be cruel to us and want to take advantage of us.  We will not be widely accepted.  We will often be on the short end of justice.  We may be laughed at and scorned. 

But I ask you, “Is it better to please God or man?  Is it better to be rejected by man or God?”  Daily you are making choices about whom you serve and associate with.  You will live eternally with the choices you make.  As for me, I will serve the Lord.  How about you?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Prov. 29:19,21 Everyone needs discipline in life.

Prov. 29:19,21  For a servant, mere words are not enough--discipline is needed.  For the words may be understood, but they are not heeded.  A servant who is pampered from childhood will later become a rebel.

Everyone needs discipline in their life. We need a firm hand on us to keep us motivated to do what is right.  We need encouragement if we are going to come under submission to those over us and obey them.  Left alone most people will choose to do their own thing, whether it is the right or wrong thing to do.  No matter how much understanding we have, if left to ourselves without any discipline, wrong choices will be made.

God knows our nature.  He knows that his Word is not enough to make us obey him.  He knows that there needs to be some authority exercised behind it.  He knows that application of truth is in reality more important than understanding truth.  Therefore, the Lord often will discipline us so that we might serve him faithfully and sincerely.  He loves us and wants to protect us from all that is false and damaging to our souls. 

The most effective form of discipline for God’s children is for us to experience the absence of His presence.  When we make wrong choices and wander into sin, we alienate ourselves from God.  His joy and peace eludes us.  Guily and shame take their place in our hearts.  There is nothing more miserable than to know that we are not right with God. 

God disciplines his children.  He adapts the way he disciplines his children through the uniqueness of each of their lives.  He knows best what we will respond to.  Patiently and lovingly He brings us to our knees in submission to him.  We need God’s involvement.  We need to know that He won’t let us get away with self-destruction. 

Discipline is a good thing.  Let us never shy away from it.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Prov. 29:18 When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild.

Prov. 29:18  When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is happy.

God has clearly shown us how to live so that we don’t wander from Him and damage our souls.  He makes it clear how to live lives that please Him and produce godliness.  He shows us how to relate to others and the world we live in.  The Lord reveals himself to us in a wide variety of ways so that there is no excuse for not seeing or knowing Him. 

When we ignore the Lord and choose to do our own thing, all kind of ugly things begin to happen to us.  When we take control of our lives and stop following the Lord, we fall into sin.  We fall away from the Lord and lose our desire to do what is pleasing to Him.  The longer we reject the Lord’s guidance, the wilder we get.  Sin never satisfies and it urges us to do more things to try and be satisfied. 

However, obeying the Lord brings us happiness.  There is a calmness that grips the soul.  There is peace and contentment for those who obey Him.  There is confidence that brings joy to those who follow the Lord. 

We all have choices to make.  We can either choose to obey the Lord or we can choose to not accept His guidance and do our own thing.  Choose whichever path of life you want, but never forget, there is responsibility for the choices you make.  We will be held accountable to God for which path of life we choose.

You will spend eternity based on the choices you make today.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Prov. 29:1 Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be broken beyond repair.

Prov. 29:1  Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be broken beyond repair.

We don’t like to be criticized.  We don’t like it when someone points out to us our faults and failures.  We like to think of ourselves as too good to be criticized.  We want others to see us in our strengths and not our weaknesses.  We take pride in ourselves and take it as a personal attack when someone criticizes us. 

What we need to remind ourselves of is that criticism is not all bad for us.  It is good to know what others see in us that is wrong.  Otherwise, how can we know what we need to fix?  We know we are far from being who we could or should be, so knowing what we need to work on is good for us. 

Now granted, attitude is everything when criticisms are given.  If it is done in love with the intent of helping, then it should be welcomed with open arms.  We need help in order to grow into godliness.  We need to spur one another on in faith.  We need others to help us because sinful pride often keeps us from seeing ourselves as we should.  If it is not done in love and received in love, criticism will create harsh feelings and a resistance to change. 

Criticism should be handled with humility and thankfulness.  Thank the Lord for those who love us enough to help us improve our lives before Him.  Accept graciously what others are saying and ask the Lord to help you to do better.  And when it becomes necessary for you to do the criticizing, do it in love and with much grace.  Ask the Lord to check your attitude to be sure you don’t do it with maliciousness.  Ask Him for proper words and the proper timing.  Let the Lord guide you so that in all you say you will edify to the glory and honor of His name.

Criticism is an essential part of healthy spiritual growth.  No one gets it right all the time.  We need to know how others perceive our walk with the Lord.  Not being open to criticism hardens the soul and prevents the Lord from helping us to become holy and acceptable in His sight.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Prov. 28:26 Trusting oneself is foolish, but those who walk in wisdom are safe.

Prov. 28:26  Trusting oneself is foolish, but those who walk in wisdom are safe.

We are our own worst enemy.  We fail to see ourselves in a realistic or honest way.  We tend to see ourselves in a positive light, especially as we compare ourselves with others.  We try to convince ourselves that we are okay just the way we are.  We sugarcoat our deficiencies.  We seldom see ourselves as others see us.  Being around us others can see us in our weaknesses, but we usually don’t see them as others do.  We convince ourselves that when Scripture speaks of sinful behavior and thoughts that it always applies to others and not ourselves.  Let’s be honest, we struggle to be honest with ourselves about ourselves.  Trusting ourselves is foolish because we are so easily convinced that we have it all together and don’t need help.

Those who know they are in need can be helped.  In fact, unless we see ourselves as in need, we can’t have a living relationship with Christ.  We do not need ourselves, we need Christ.  We need His companionship, instruction and corrections.  We need Him to humble us.  We need Him to keep us aware of our shortcomings and sins.  We need wisdom from God.  We need Him to keep us needy.

Wisdom keeps us safe.  Wisdom is knowing what is true and living it.  It is understanding that when God reveals to us things about us that need changing that we listen to God and change.  It is reading the Scriptures with open hearts and looking for things that apply to us.  It is being more concerned about seeing ourselves honestly.  It is knowing we are in need before God.  It is being aware of our sinfulness and repenting of it.  It is knowing that we are far from being perfect.  It is knowing that often we don’t get it right and need correction.  It is being able to accept correction gracious. 

Only those who have wisdom will be able to live right before God.  It is foolish to trust one’s self instead of God.  It is foolish for us to be so proud that we can’t be changed.  It is foolish to not listen to others.  It is foolish to ignore the instructions and chastisements of God.  Examine your heart before God today and be wise.  Surrender it all to Jesus and you will be wise.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Prov. 28:23 In the end, people appreciate frankness more than flattery.

Prov. 28:23  In the end, people appreciate frankness more than flattery.

Flattery makes us feel good, for a little while.  Everyone likes to have their ego stroked.  We all want to be noticed and appreciated.  We are geared to being liked.  Some will go out of their way to be liked.  Some will do drastic things in order to be liked.  Some will even impose evil things on others in order to make themselves feel important in the eyes of others.  Some people crave flattery so much that they are driven to portray a persona that they are not in order to be looked up.

However, no matter how much flattery a person may receive, it doesn’t last.  No one always does things that are worthy of flattery.  No one is so good all the time that others can sing their praises.  In fact, feasting on flattery is damaging to the soul.  It makes us feel good, but it cannot make us good.  When all we hear is flattery, it goes to our heads.  We get the delusional idea that what we hear is who we are.  Away from the limelight, we know that we are not always what others seem to believe about us. 

Frankness is far more beneficial to us than flattery.  When others will tell us the truth about us, we can help ourselves to change.  Frankness is needed.  Everyone needs to be surrounded by people who are not impressed by them and are willing to honestly tell them what others either don’t see or won’t tell. 

Being frank with someone is good, but it should always be done with love.  The Lord wants us to help one another to grow and become instead of tearing each other down by the things we say or the way we say them.  Whenever you are inclined to be frank with someone, pray before you speak.  You should care enough to speak out when it is needed, but you should always do it with the desire to help and not hinder a person. 

And, when someone is loving enough to be frank with us, we should accept the truth with grace and love.  We should never be so proud to think that we don’t need to be corrected and helped.  We should never think of ourselves in a flattery, but false, way.  We should accept what we hear with welcome hearts and ask the Lord to help us to do and be better children of God.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Prov. 28:14 Blessed are those who have a tender conscious, but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble.

Prov. 28:14  Blessed are those who have a tender conscious, but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble.

A tender conscious is good for the soul.  It is a good thing to be sensitive to sin.  We need to know when we mess up that it is not right or okay with God.  We need to know that we can’t sin and be right with God. 

Stubbornness on the other hand is bad for the soul.  A stubborn soul is a defiant soul.  When a stubborn soul is confronted by God or others concerning sin, there is a resistence to the accussation.  Often the stubborn in heart will deny that they have even sinned.  They become set in their ways and refuse to learn new things or change their ways.  They get defensive instead of being humble and compliant.  They are prone to let pride rule their behavior. 

A stubborn heart is heading for certain trouble.  God cannot do anything with someone who will not cooperate with Him.  Stubbornness prevents the soul from hearing God when He speaks.  Most of life’s lessons are learned from the mistakes we make, but the stubborn in heart do not learn much.  A stubborn soul is like hardened clay in the potter’s hand.  Even the most skilled potter cannot work with dried out hardened clay. 

Undealt with sin hardens the soul and makes it stubborn.  The longer sin is allowed to dwell in the soul, the harder it becomes to get rid of it and the more damage it does.  Keep your soul tender before God and take sin seriously.  When it rears its ugly head, deal with it right away.  Don’t let pride keep you from keeping your soul tender before God.  Keep your soul out of trouble with God and stay on top of things and you will know the blessings of God today and forever.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Prov. 28:13 People who cover over their sins will not prosper.


Prov. 28:13 People who cover over their sins will not prosper. But if they confess and forsake them, they will receive mercy.

It has never worked and it never will.  Whenever we try to cover over our sins we make a mess of things and our lives.  We may be able to hide our sins from others, but we can never hide them from God.  Sin in our hearts keep us at odds with God.  There is guilt and shame that plague us.  There is no peace with God, no joy in our living.  If we get caught by others, then there is additional consequences to pay.  Trying to hide sin, is never a good idea.

God  is merciful to all who sincerely repent of their sins.  Notice that part of the key for us to receive mercy is to forsake our sins.  This means that we walk away from them.  We put them behind us and strive to not do them again.  We break the habit of our sins.  We allow the Lord to change our character so we don’t repeat them over and over again.  True repentance must include our forsaking sin.  The Lord changes our desire to sin and if no change is noted, then true repentance has not happened.  It is easy to confess our sins and seek forgiveness, but it is much harder to forsake them. 

The Good News is that whenever we come clean and confess our sin and endeavor to forsake them we are forgiven by God.  If you are struggling with sin in your life, ask the Lord to change the desires of your heart so that you no longer want to sin.  You can try to cover up your sins, but it never has and never will work.  The soul is never at rest while sins are tried being covered up.  It is an exercise in futility.  Even if you can hide your sins from yourself and others, God sees them.  He will not ignore them no matter how much we may want Him to or convince ourselves He does.

Examine your heart today.  Be honest about what you find there.  If you don’t see any sin there, ask the Lord to search your heart.  Confess your sins as they are exposed.  Ask the Lord to forgive you and determine in your heart to forsake them.  God will be merciful and forgive you and give you peace so your soul can then prosper in the wonders of His grace. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Prov. 28:9 The prayers of a person who ignores the law are despised.

Prov. 28:9  The prayers of a person who ignores the law are despised.

People everywhere pray.  Most people believe in some kind of a god to whom they pray.  In every culture there are a multitude of people who pray.  God instilled in the human soul the need to believe in God and pray.  I can’t speak with authority on whether or not the prayers of people who have no understanding at all of Christ or God as He reveals himself to be in the Word are heard or answered by God.  I will let those far more knowledgeable than I am decide that.  I do know that God holds us accountable for what we do know and understand. 

God knows the heart and those who are sincerely seeking to please Him.  He knows those who desire to do what is right before Him but lack the knowledge and understanding to live by the law.  He is just and merciful and will respond to their prayers according to their righteousness and faith.

Our verse today addresses those who do have a knowledge and understanding of God’s laws and ignores them.  These are people who do not consider it important to take what God says seriously.  They have a head knowledge of the truth, but not a heart knowledge of it.  They show by their living that they don’t respect who God is.  They take for granted what God says and do not seek to live it. 

God rejects the prayers of those who do not live by the Word of God.  He does not hear those who ignore Him.  It is serious business to know what God says and do nothing about it.  All the prayers in the world will not be heard by God where sin and not Christ rules.  God gives us His Word to make us holy and productive servants of Him.  He demands that we submit to His authority over us.  There is no mercy for those who ignore God’s Word.

If you are having problems with God answering your prayers, you need to look carefully into His Word to see if you are missing something there very important for you to apply to your life.  You need to let the Spirit examine your heart and show you where you need to repent and change. 

God hears and answers the prayers of those who are striving to live by His Word. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Prov. 28:2 Where there is moral rot within a nation......

Prov. 28:2  Where there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily.  But with wise and knowledgeable leaders, there is stability.

Rotten to the core is how we can describe most countries today.  Everywhere you turn you see evil glorified.  You see people seemingly with no shame doing things in public that are immoral.  You see blatant disregard for godly living.  People are abused and used for personal pleasure and gain.  Where there is restrictions on public behavior, there is often a disregard for human life or accepted mistreatment of women and children.  No matter how it manifests itself, sin is everywhere. 

Some try to legislate morality in an effort to keep peace and order in society.  It doesn’t work.  Moral laws cannot change the soul.  You cannot mask evil hearts with laws.  When those who are evil run government, bad things happen and eventually governments fall and chaos reigns.  Unstable people cannot produce a stable country.

On the other hand, where there are wise and knowledgeable leaders there are stable governments.  Such people are grounded by the truth.  Wisdom comes from God.  He is the source of all lasting truth.  Only in God do we find that which works in life.  Only in God do we find a way to live that ensures us of eternal life.  Wisdom is the right application of knowledge.  It is taking the Word of God and applying it well to life.

Knowledge doesn’t just happen.  It comes from honest and open-hearted searching for truth.  It is understanding that is gleaned from studying the Scriptures and from living by faith.  It is an ever-expanding discovery of how to live a life pleasing to God. 

Wise and knowledgeable leaders govern well and keeps a country stable.  They are people who respect life.  They treat people well.  They do what is good for the common good of the people.  They live respectable lives and they do not lord it over others.  Wise and knowledgeable people understand the dangers of power and do not let it go to their heads.

Pray that the Lord would raise up wise and knowledgeable people to lead you.  Ask Him to intervene and move those over you to do what is right in His sight.  Ask Him to keep those who rule over you humble.  Pray for peace and stability. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Prov. 27:9 The heart reflects the person.

Prov. 27:19 As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the person.

Here is a truth that we must always remember.  What is in the heart matters.  We may be able to put on a front and fool people, but who we really are is determined by the heart.  Now there are a few things that we must consider about the heart.

The heart is the soul of man.  It is the spirit of man.  It is influenced and controlled by either Christ or Satan.  There are no other choices.  If the Lord is not leading the heart, Satan is.  No one can escape this truth and everyone chooses who will lead them.

The heart is directly connected to the mind.  Whatever we allow to linger in our minds find their way into our hearts.  The more we think about unholy things, the more we are influenced by them and the more likely we are to act them out.  We become what we think about.  If we ignore feeding our minds with godly things, sinful things begin to take over. 

We are naturally born sinners and the only way we can control our sinful nature is for us to keep our minds focused on godly things.  We must pursue God through His Word, the fellowship of His church and prayer.  The more time we spend on godly things, the less time Satan has to get a foothold in our hearts.  When we slack off in our pursuit of God, we give Satan the opening he is looking for.  He will take full advantage of his opportunity and begin the process of leading us astray.

If you want to please the Lord and live a victorious life in Him, you must diligently guard your soul by protecting your mind.  You must say no to sinful influences and thinking.  It’s not easy to do and we all fail, but it is what we must strive to do.  Fight the good fight for your soul and you will win the war through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Prov. 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.


Prov. 27:17  As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.

Friends are good to have.  Friends are people that come into our lives that we can lean on.  They support us.  They encourage us.  They help us when we need correction.  They defend us against those who would attack us.  They love us and try to help us be better people.  They do not drag us down or lead us into temptation.  Everybody needs friends in their lives.

Friends are necessary for fellowship.  We need to be able to spend time with friends and feed off their lives.  We need to be able to relax with people who will accept us for who we are and not for who they think we should be.  We need people in our lives who make us feel good about being with them.

We should be careful on our selection of friends.  We need to befriend those who have good character that we can trust and it takes time to discern those whom we can really trust.  Some people will appear to be our friends, but will disappoint us when things go wrong.  Some people will betray our trust in them.  Some will forsake us when it best serves themselves. 

Just as you need genuine, dependable friends in your life, others you know need you to be a friend to them.  They need to know that you can be depended on to be a help and not a hindrance to their lives. 

Are you good friend material?  Only a heart that stays connected to Christ can be counted on to be a true-blue friend.  Only Christ can help us to do what is right before God and right by others.  A person who is taking care of his soul will take care of others.  The Lord needs us to be the real deal.  There are people you know who need a godly person in their lives.  You will either sharpen or dull the life of others.  Stay spiritually sharp and you will sharpen others so that they in turn can sharpen others. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Prov. 27:12 Are you preparing today for what lies ahead of you?

Prov. 27:12 A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

It is foolish to barrel full-steam ahead without any idea what may lie before you.  We don’t know the dangers that lie before us.  Satan is a crafty and formidable foe and he likes to lay traps for us.  He doesn’t want us to get very far in our spiritual walk and will do all he can to hinder us or stop us altogether.  What lies ahead for us could damage our souls severely.

Wise is he who tries to anticipate what may lie ahead.  We obviously have no real idea what the future may hold for us, but we can take some precautionary steps today to better prepare us for whatever we may face.

It is imperative for the safety of our souls that we keep our eyes focused on Christ today.  We must stay in close fellowship with Him.  We must learn all we can about how to live in Him.  We must consistently work to develop a healthy relationship with Him.  In order to be ready for the future, we must be in the Word of God on a consistent basis.  We must read it, think about it, and strive to apply it to life.  We must spend time in prayer consistently.  We must take the time in prayer to worship and develop the discipline of lingering there.  We must be actively serving the Lord, doing all we can to bring him honor among men.  We must be witnesses for Him whenever we can. 

When we live in Christ today, growing in grace and our knowledge of Him, we will be ready for whatever may lie before us in the future.  If we don’t take of our souls, the consequences may be severe.  An unprepared soul may face the Lord unexpectantly and then it will be too late.  Don’t go into your future blind.  Be sure your heart is right with God.  Today may very well be your last day on earth.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Prov. 26:20 Fire goes out for lack of fuel, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.

Prov. 26:20  Fire goes out for lack of fuel, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.

In order to keep a fire going, you have to keep feeding it. In order to keep an argument going, you have to keep feeding it. Quarrels are unavoidable. We have different opinions on a lot of things. We want our opinions to be heard and understood. We want to convince others that we are right and they are wrong. We dig in our heels and refuse to back down. When no one gives ground, quarrels break down relationships. We allow our disagreements to keep us from getting along with others. We find ways to justify our position the longer the quarrel goes. We develop “reasons” why we are right and others are wrong. We refuse to budge because we let it become an image issue. Whether we are right or wrong doesn’t matter. Pride makes us right in our own eyes.

The only way we can keep from allowing relationships from being broken is to see the bigger picture. When we are at odds with each other, we cannot be right with God. When we let quarrels keep us from acting in a loving way towards another, we are stopping the flow of God’s love through us to another. We are keeping the good that could happen between us and others from happening. It is going against God’s will for us and it is sin.

When we find ourselves arguing with others, we need to humble ourselves and back off. We need to understand that severed relationships are never good. We need to stop the arguing and strive to live peacefully with others. We need to apologize where it is needed and move on. You may never agree with the other person on their stand, but that is not the issue. You can agree to disagree agreeably. You can set aside your differences and let the Lord help you to love each other.

If you are at odds with someone and it has broken your fellowship, don’t let your pride stand in the way of your reaching out and seeking reconciliation. Extend the hand of loving fellowship. Do the right thing before God and he will give you peace. Don’t add fuel to the fire, let it die out. You will be glad you did.